Privilege’s Committee

Should the Privileges Committee investigate Cunliffe’s secret trust?

A reader emails:

Cam,

Did Labour jump up and down when Colin Craig lent the cConservatives a bucket of money and then wrote it off after the election?

How is that different from Cunliffe’s secret trust?

When he gets caught out he can’t just return the money, the donation was still made and accepted.

If he doesn’t disclose the donations the Standing Orders relating to gifts will be shown to me meaningless. The Privileges Committee should investigate or he should resign. Simple as that.

Thomas  Read more »

Random Impertinent Questions

via the tipline

How come Winston Peters is sitting on the Privileges Committee investigation regarding Andrea Vance and the idiot Peter Dunne when he has claimed all along, in parliament, that he has known the content of the emails since the get go?

Why isn’t he giving evidence instead of sitting in judgment?

Surely this is closer to Zimbabwe than his fanciful claims?

John Edwards writes on Fairfax’s Privacy whinge

Fairfax has rushed off to the Privacy Commissioner. Think for a minute how absolutely hilarious it is for a media organisation that plies its trade rummaging in the privacy of other people to now rush off to the Privacy Commissioner because someone allegedly abused their privacy. My sides are hurting from laughing at the irony of it all.

However what are their and Peter Dunne’s legal chances with all of this?

John Edwards suggests not much chance at all.

Without any power to compel the production of information, David Henry needed to rely on the cooperation of other parties.  In order to cooperate in the absence of any legal obligation to disclose, Ministers, Parliamentary Service and others needed some authority to hand over information to the inquiry.

If an agency that is subject to the Privacy Act voluntarily hands over personal information, they need to be satisfied that doing so is consistent with the purposes of collection, is authorised by the individual concerned, or is necessary for the maintenance of the law (or one or two other exceptions).

The Parliamentary Service held copies of emails, and of security card records of both Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance. All of that is personal information. But the Privacy Act does not apply to the Parliamentary Service (except in a limited sense, relating  personal information about employees). Therefore, however you feel about what they should have done, giving all the information to the inquiry, even emails, could not be a breach of the Privacy Act, so no remedy for Dunne/Vance. There might be  a Privileges Committee inquiry, changes to procedures, or even to Standing Orders, but in respect of the Parliamentary Service, no one gets to claim a cent.   Read more »

Russel Norman volte-face on Dunne fiasco

Russel Norman has posted this message on Facebook…it represents a sudden change of attitude, I wonder what brought that on.

Norman 11062013 Read more »

Andrew Geddis on the Privileges Committee

Winston Peters ran off tot he Police, Russel Norman too thinks the Police should troll through MPs emails and David Shearer stuttered off to lay a complaint with the Privileges Committee.

Andrew Geddis thinks this might be a big gamble with little reward. After all Winston escaped with a slap ont he hand with a wet bus ticket the last time he ventured to the Privileges Committee.

Firstly, though, Geddis pours scorn on the grandstanding with Police.

For reasons more fully covered here and here, there simply is no way the leaking of the Kitteridge Report itself meets this offence provision – the fact the PM himself was due to release it a few days later testifies to that. And there is as yet no evidence whatsoever that any other material that really is “likely to prejudice the security or defence of New Zealand” has been leaked to anyone – even if Peter Dunne had access to such material, the fact that he is a prime suspect in leaking one sort of information isn’t any reason to suspect he’s leaked another sort. So, absent some as yet unrevealed June surprise, I’m calling this a dead end.

Good, because did anyone really want Winston and Russel’s police goons demanding emails of MPs?  Read more »

Fairfax will resist attempts to grab emails

Fairfax has said they will resist any attempts to grab emails, after Winston Peters, Russel Norman and David Shearer all called on the Police to exercise Stasi-like activities to grab emails relating to the Dunne affair. They are also now looking at using the Privileges Committee as some sort of Star Chamber too.

Which is all ironic considering Winston Peters last trip to the Privileges Committee where the Labour party effectively ran interference on his behalf over the misleading of journalists and his failure to declare substantial donations.

Labour leader David Shearer wants Parliament’s privileges committee to probe the Peter Dunne saga as Fairfax Media says it won’t be releasing emails between its journalist and the MP.

Dunne, the UnitedFuture leader, faced fresh pressure today over his role in the leaking of a sensitive report into the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and Opposition parties were demanding the release of emails between him and journalist Andrea Vance.

Shearer said he had lodged a privileges complaint with the Speaker regarding Dunne’s statement to a select committee that he did not leak the Kitteridge report into the GCSB.

Fairfax Group executive editor Paul Thompson said politicians should tread carefully before embarking on a witch hunt. That could have a chilling effect on how journalists covered politicians.  Read more »

Erin Leigh case referred to privileges committee

Audio from Scoop (Video isn’t on Inthehouse for some reason)

Speaker’s Ruling: Speaker refers Supreme Court decision on Erin Leigh case to Privileges Committee – full ruling

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More distractions for the campaign manager.

Clark leaves, Corruption leaves too…yeah right

Now that Clark has gone, New Zealand returns to its rightful place as a corruption-free country:

However that supposes that the dreamers at Transparency International actually left their offices in Wellington. It is farcical that they constantly give New Zealand a corruption rating so high. one wonders how they measure it or if they ever do actually leave their office.

I can point to numerous daily occurrences of corruption. The person who prepared that report must have his/her head in the sand.  Its rife.  The only problem is that most are so good at it, that they legalise what they are doing.  The others have their tracks covered for them and it all gets swept under the carpet before the proverbial hits the fan.  Try as I may no one wants to know or listen.

Here are but a few examples;

A recent tender proffered by a Government department with a specification for an item that is so tight that only one product int he world can actually meet that criteria. A quick search of the authorised agent for that product shows that the licence is held by a man and his wife with a 100 shares between them living on a boutique vineyard in Nelson. They are the sole representation and the contract is going to be for around USD$5.5 million. They have no infrastructure, no support systems or ability to support the product which is highly technical.

Another tender being let by the same organisation has just let it to a company that doesn’t and can’t manufacture one of the core components of the tender. This is a consumable item that will be let for 5 years and worth again several million dollars over the lifetime of the contract.

I blogged about corruption at ACC, that has largely been swept under the carpet but is still going on. Just slightly different players.

Then there is the major government organisation that has an essential piece of equipment supplied by a company in Brisbane, with zero representation in New Zealand, again like above, no support, no technical expertise.

How about the LAV purchase? If there wasn’t corruption involved with that process then I’m a screaming poof.

Winston Peters and NZ First joining Labour in nicking hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers money, denying they did it, when caught, lying about it, then refusing to pay it back in the case of NZ First, and then also lying about their donations, breaching electoral law and lying to a parliamentary Privileges Committee and walking away scot-free. Corruption? Of course it was.

Then there is the case of the insolvency specialist that has a penchant for one particular type of business, just so happens to end up owning the new holding companies for those businesses which have a miraculous turn-around in turnover with no discernable movement in stock levels. Apparently the secondary property development market is booming.

And how about all the Toyota vans being stolen and having their engines ripped out on the quiet and shipped off to parts sandy.

I could go on and on and on about the corruption in New Zealand, but Transparency International doesn’t want to know, and neither does anyone else. I’ve come to the conclusion that those who should care are in on the lark themselves.

Richard Long goes Turkey Shooting

Richard Long goes on a turkey hunt against the gobblers of the left moaing about Crushers Container Prisons or Crim Tins as I like to call them. He has no shortage of targets with them all gobbling away begging to be shot at.

Why only two to a cell? When that suggestion replaced the blackboard menu outside a cafe in Ngaio, Wellington, a few months ago, it was clear the Government had won the “lock them up and throw away the key” argument.

Ngaio is one of those Labour- voting leafy suburbs, adjoining Wadestown, home of the chardonnay socialists. If the liberals cannot win the penal debate in these areas, then they have lost it completely.

Accordingly, when former Labour Party president Mike Williams was complaining on television at the weekend about the dangers of prison double- bunking, and described the new modular container prison cells as “Dickensian”, he was baying, so to speak, into the wind.

What on earth was Mike Williams asked for anyway? More importantly where is the current Labour President…hasn’t he just disappeared?

So was penal reformer Peter Williams when he fronted up on prime-time television against Corrections Minister Judith Collins. She has always been regarded as a bit of a shrieker, but she sat calmly, with a wan smile, while Peter Williams went completely over the top on the evil, degrading container cells proposal, predicting it would all end in failure and tears.

Out of touch, and out to lunch while we enjoy the turkey club sandwiches.

The critics lose touch with the electorate on this. They leave the impression that, even if Corrections offered to house their clients in the Holiday Inn and the Intercontinental, Messrs Williams and Williams would still find fault with the wine list.

The overall electorate view is that prisoners have it sweet. While many financially stretched households are turning off the heaters and curbing food bills, they view prisoners as having an easy life, in centrally heated accommodation, with three good meals a day.

Many will no doubt reason that, if more prisoners have to double-bunk, it might be a rather big disincentive to going to jail in the first place. The prospect of sharing your cell with a nasty piece of low life might help slow the escalation in the prison population – estimated to climb from the present 8300 to 12,500 by 2018.

Exactly, nothing would encourage me more to obey the law than the thoughts of sharing a 6m square cell with a 200kg prisoner named Bubba.

As for the container cells, taxpayers will welcome the cost reductions. At $248 a day, it costs as much to accommodate prisoners in our Corrections system as it would to put them up in a good hotel. The cost of the Spring Hill facility was a staggering $643,000 a bed. Plugging in the container cells to existing prison facilities with the infrastructure to support additional inmates will cost only $53,000 to $63,000 a bed.

AN ADVANTAGE of moving in this direction at the moment, with the world economic downturn, is that ports are littered with excess containers. And it was a brilliant touch to suggest that prisoners could learn rehabilitation skills by helping to adapt the containers for their own use.

Corrections chief Barry Matthews won further points when he was asked what prisoners thought of the container proposal. “I’m not interested in what the prisoners think,” he said.

Finally someone in the media gets the numbers right, rather than simply repeating the numbers that Clayton Cosgrove reefed out of is arse. On Barry Mtthews, he certainly needed some points as he was certainly plumbing the depths of low scores until he saw the light and endorsed Crusher’s thoughts. I think he must have felt the cold steely stare of the Minister for longer than he cared to and has now had a subsequent attitude adjustment.

By harping on about “Dickensian” prison conditions, Labour is managing to leave the impression that it wants to indulge prisoners with spa pools and feather pillows. It would be a better political tactic to concentrate on more effective rehabilitation programmes in a bid to reduce our awful recidivism rate of about 70 per cent.

Oh they do, they do, heated floors, Plasma TV’s….that is prisons under Labour. I and the electorate by the looks of it prefer Crushers vision for our prisons.

Mike Williams resigns

Mike WilliamsMike Williams, the Fat Tony of NZ politics has resigned from the presidency of the Labour Party and it is official.

The pity is that this failed muck raker still hasn’t resigned from his numerous state paid directorships despite working actively against the government.

He has more than enough time to do the decent thing, it is time he was Borised.

Stephen Joyce should have a short sharp word with him over the transport related appointments and hand Williams a kleensak to takes his stuff home.

Andrew Little is tipped to take over making a further mockery of the Electoral Commission’s contention that being the head of the EPMU and being involved in the management of the Labour are somehow seperate things.

UPDATE: Apparently he has resigned his board positions.