Peter Dunne

Helen’s photoshop fairy has been back I see

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And now for the movie star version:   Read more »

Guest Post: Don’t forget the big picture this election

A reader emails his thoughts on the election.


Elections seem to bring with them plenty of sideshows stories.

This year is no different.

Who is David Cunliffe going to apologise to next?
What story is Winston going to make up?
Who is going to offer the biggest election year bribe?
Are the Conservatives getting a deal?
And then of course, Kim Dot Com is one giant sideshow.

Amidst all of this, one thing needs to be remembered. The big picture.

This election is critical for stable government.

A Labour-Greens-Internet-Mana-NZ First government would be a disaster for this country. The worst in many decades.

I am not even a National Party supporter, but agree that John Key must remain Prime Minister.   Read more »

Is Wiremu Curtis a terrorist, fanatical dreamer or a genuine man of peace?

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The full video is available here: TVNZ Ondemand

Recently TVNZ’s Sunday program screened an article on Wiremu Curtis a former Black Power member, also known as ‘Haroon’. Haroon who insisted he was going to the Middle East to get an ‘education’ was allegedly stopped at the airport by SIS agents, and according to Haroon allegedly shown papers that show he had in what he describes in his own words “weapons of mass destructions.”

Now I’m going to be honest, I didn’t actually watch the program when it screened at the time, but after having my attention drawn to it from other sources prompted me to watch it and analyse it a little closer. Immediately things struck me as a bit odd, such as his comment that the SIS showed him papers proving he had “weapons of mass destructions.” It is all well and good asserting these types of comments in the public domain, as the SIS will never publicly comment on operational matters.   Read more »

Is pride keeping Peter Dunne from doing the decent thing? Or is it something more sinister?

I’ve covered the issue of legal highs versus natural marijuana many times.  And I’ve also shown how medical marijuana isn’t just some sneaky back door for people to justify the use of what continues to be an illegal drug, but it is at times the only substance to bring relief to very painful or distressed lives.

Yet our champion of the legal high, Peter Dunne, keeps wanting nothing to do with the idea.

Debate over medical cannabis has been hijacked by “nuisance” campaigners who are making it harder for people with serious diseases, says Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

The Government has come under renewed pressure to conduct trials on medicinal cannabis products, while New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said last week he was in support of NSW becoming the first Australian state to legalise medicinal cannabis for terminally ill patients.

Dunne believed there was only a small number of cases where people were “genuinely ill” and that many who lobbied him on the subject were secretly hoping to legalise weed for recreational use.

“There are a lot of people leaping on the bandwagon because they see it as a way of achieving another objective, which has nothing to do with medical cannabis,” he said. “They’re a nuisance. Sadly what they’re doing is muddying the waters for those who may have a genuine case.”

The comments have drawn criticism from parents of children with rare diseases who say Dunne has deflected responsibility on the issue.

You have to wonder where his head is at.   When you look someone in the eye that is in excruciating pain every hour of their lives, and tell them that they can’t have low medical quantities of THC as pain relief, because it will open the door for others to abuse it, what sort of objectives do you have as a minister?

Is all just about money and law an order?   Read more »

List spots signal potential deals

Claire Trevett observes that National’s list spots reveal the intention behind National’s potential deals.

National has sent a clear signal it will do a deal in the Ohariu and Epsom electorates by ranking its candidates in those electorates in high list places.

The highest ranked non-MP is Brett Hudson, National’s new candidate in Ohariu. Ohariu is currently held by United Future leader Peter Dunne, one of the National Government’s support partners.

Prime Minister John Key is expected to announce next week whether he will guide National voters in Ohariu and Epsom to give their electorate votes to Mr Dunne and Act’s David Seymour in those electorates to try to ensure National has support partner options.

Mr Hudson is the only non-MP who is ranked above some sitting MPs, at 39th place on the list and on current polling is a certainty to get into Parliament.

Epsom candidate Paul Goldsmith is ranked at 30 – nine slots above his 2011 ranking.

Mr Key is also expected to decide whether to cut a similar deal in East Coast Bays.

Read more »

Loving parents break the law

What is your child was in so much pain, or so much distress, that conventional medicine has no answers?  What if, just a touch of cannabis all but solves those problems?

As a parent, what would you do?

Josh Fagan reports

Parents are giving their children cannabis to treat serious diseases, and they’re resorting to growing their own plants or importing them illegally from overseas.

At least three New Zealand customers order liquid cannabis products from Mulaways Medicinal Cannabis in Kempsie, about 400km north of Sydney in rural New South Wales.

The cannabis tincture has been credited with providing relief for children with terminal illnesses and has sparked renewed debate over clinical trials of medicinal marijuana.

Mulaways founder Tony Bower said three New Zealanders were on a mailing list of about 150 customers. Other Kiwis flew to Australia to source the drug and dozens more were added each week to a bulging waiting list, he said.

But the supply of liquid cannabis could dry up altogether if Bower is sent to prison. He is due to appear in court in October charged with cultivating cannabis and breaching a good behaviour bond he was placed on after a six-week stint in jail in mid-2013.

He said he felt a “duty” to keep growing the plants and supplying the product to children, even if it meant going back to prison. “It’s crossed my mind to stop and pack up but these are sick kids. What else can I do?”

Bower said the delivery of the drug to New Zealand was particularly risky – not only for him but for the customers who ordered it. The maximum penalty for importation of liquid cannabis – considered a class B drug in New Zealand – is 14 years in jail. Possession or use offences carry a maximum three-month jail term and/or a $500 fine.

“To tell you the truth, that’s why I don’t [send] as much to New Zealand,” Bower said. “It’s hard because you’ve got people who risk getting their children taken off them.”

When you have to decide between helping your child, and not breaking the law, the choice for many parents is very simple.   Read more »

Public ready to accept decriminalised and even legalised marijuana

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If there is one thing the “Legal High” debacle has achieved is that people have seen that the supposedly manageable safe way of using artificial cannabis has turned out to be anything but.

Derek Cheng reports

The latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows just under a third of those polled thought smoking cannabis should attract a fine but not a criminal conviction, while a fifth went further and said it should be legalised.

Forty-five per cent said it should remain illegal, and 2.6 per cent said they did not know.

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said: “All the results I’ve seen in New Zealand recently were overwhelmingly opposed to reform.”

While most National Party supporters (53.8 per cent) favoured the status quo, almost 45 per cent supported legalisation or decriminalisation.

The Government last night remained firm in its stance on cannabis.

“We do not think there are any benefits for decriminalising or legalising cannabis, for medicinal purposes or otherwise, which outweigh the harm it causes to society,” said Justice Minister Judith Collins.

The harm is already part of society.  By legalising or decriminalising it, all you do is turn something that many, many Kiwis are already using in their daily or weekly lives into something that is no longer a criminal act.

This issue, to some degree, will mature in the sense that as parliament renews with younger MPs, they bring with them more updated social expectations.   Just like gay marriage couldn’t have made it to legal status 20 years ago, 20 years from now, New Zealand parliament will have an easy majority of MPs ready to accept marijuana and hemp and its many, legal and useful applications – including medical.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said there was no sense of any great political appetite for reform.

There you go.  No political appetite.  Just like there has been no political appetite for changing the retirement age, although we can all see it edging towards the cliff as an issue that will grab us by the throat sooner or later.

Labour drug and alcohol spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said there was a growing mood for reform.

“We wouldn’t look at legalisation in the first instance, but we want to use the Law Commission report as a starting point for a conversation.”

Labour also say “not on our watch”, but are happy to look a little more open to thinking about it.

The Green Party calls for no penalties for possession and use of cannabis for people aged 18 and over, though it still wants selling cannabis and cultivating for sale to be against the law.

And that will probably be the stance we will adopt as a country in a decade or two.

But it will require another flush or two of new talent to enter the political system first.

 

- NZ Herald

Clinging to wreckage

John Armstrong wrote yesterday in the Herald about David Cunliffe’s dreadful week:

When it comes to casting aspersions, few insults are as venomous, vicious or more driven by utter contempt than accusing someone of being a “scab”.

That is particularly the case on the left of the political spectrum where the battles of old between capital and labour provided the source of the term to describe those who broke rank from the union and who were then ostracised forever.

A workforce which is now largely non-unionised has made such name-calling far more infrequent, and at times sound rather dated.

But there was nothing quaint about the leader of the Labour Party this week insinuating colleagues who did not give him their full support were scabs.

It was astonishing. It implied treachery in the extreme. What the outburst really revealed was someone looking for scapegoats for his own self-inflicted woes.

David Cunliffe actually stopped one step short of uttering the word “scab” during his appearance on Campbell Live on Wednesday evening. But he noted that in the Labour movement “there are words we use for strike breakers”. He meant one word. And you did not have to be Einstein to work out what that word was.

Likewise those MPs in Cunliffe’s sights who must be furious at being labelled in such derogatory fashion.

David Cunliffe called more than two thirds of his caucus scabs…it won’t be a surprise if they continue to white ant him right up until the election.

In fact, Cunliffe spent much of the week trying to play the victim following the embarrassing revelation that he had helped Donghua Liu with his application for New Zealand residency, having just 24 hours earlier denied any such advocacy on behalf of the controversial Chinese businessman.

Cunliffe countered that National had set him up, having known for weeks about the letter he had written back in 2003 to immigration authorities on Liu’s behalf.

It is true National was well aware of the letter, but only because it had conducted a document trawl to find out more about Liu after he proved to be of major nuisance.

John Key says he did nothing with the letter as it did not seem particularly germane to anything at the time.

That is difficult to accept. The letter would have looked like a gift from God – especially as its contents cut right across Cunliffe’s “crony capitalism” campaign.

If Cunliffe was stitched up, he compounded things with his denials of any contact with Liu.

Read more »

Peter Dunne on Cunliffe’s hypocrisy

Peter Dunne gives some insight into how MPs should handle both immigration matters and donations.

I have always followed two firm rules for immigration – and actually all constituency – cases, aside from the obvious point of keeping clear and full records. Any letters of advocacy I write on behalf of a constituent have been drafted personally by me, rather than a member of my staff, as I am more likely to remember something I have written myself, rather than just affixed a signature to. Second and more important, I have never accepted a donation or gift in return for pursuing an immigration case. Where there have been occasions – usually after the event – where someone offered to make a donation, I have always referred them directly to the Party Treasurer. So I actually never know whether any of these offers have ever been followed up, which is as it should be.

I say this not to be sanctimonious, but because it strikes me that David Cunliffe has done neither. I do not think he had full oversight of Mr Liu’s approach to him regarding his immigration status, but I do think he – and his colleagues it would appear – had way too much involvement, more than they are letting on now, in respect of Mr Liu’s financial support. It is that ambiguity and shadiness that is doing the damage now.  Read more »

Is this Labour’s secret strategy?

Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish has revealed Labour’s secret victory plan:

I’ve been thinking about the crisis enveloping David Cunliffe and the Labour Party. It seems increasingly clear that the whole thing was a National party setup.

But if the Nats think this is some sort of victory for them, they should think again. The whole thing is backfiring badly, and they will end up regretting their smear. Already the nation is turning on National, as people wake up and realise who is behind this scandal. I’ve seen at least three people on my Twitter feed questioning National’s tactics.

I’m not at all worried about the polls out this week, one of which showed support for Labour as low as 23%. 23% is a pretty good base to build from, and if Labour can hold that number on September 20 and then do deals with the Greens, Mana-Internet, NZ First, the Maori Party, Peter Dunne, and ACT, they should be able to form a government, if several National MPs also defect to Labour.  Read more »