Rodney Hide

Bigger than Harry


Rodney Hide’s mate Hendo’s experience at the end of unlawful police action gets top billing in The Press.  We can only hope van Beynen notices this before he goes on this next fiction finding tour.

Winston hands Andy his arrrrrs

Rodney Hide reviews the major strategic error Labour made in Northland

It seemed a good idea. Support Winston Peters in the Northland byelection to give John Key a bloody nose.

It would save the embarrassment of coming third and show Andrew Little’s ability to work with Peters. So Little dumped on Labour’s own candidate.

The young Labourites cheered. Finally, a leader with smarts. It’s MMP in action, they cried. It’s pragmatic politics. Labour must hold its nose, look the other way, and back Peters. If that’s what it takes, that’s what we do.

The old hands weren’t so sure. Dumping on your own candidate didn’t seem right. And Labour’s support for Peters embarrassed them.

Not as it it hadn’t happened before.   Kelvin Davis stood up against the party’s wishes for him to pull up lame and let Hone Harewira bring in Kim Dotcom’s Laila Harre and perhaps even John Minto.  When it comes to pragmatism, Labour have no problem.   Read more »

Rodney Hide: A Routine and Regular Abuse of Power

Guest Post

Annmarie Foidl

Annmarie Foidl

Three weeks ago my mates were summonsed by Senior Insolvency Officer Annmarie Foidl. We all say WT…? I tease them. I am not called.

They turned up as ordered and Deputy Official Assignee Deborah Coles had them swear an oath. They are interrogated by Private Investigator Dennis Parsons and his sidekick Katherine Kenealy, both from InDepth Forensics, Hamilton.

Parsons questioned my mates about my movements and my activities.

Bloody Hell!

I rang Parsons. Kenealy answered and hung up.

I emailed and left messages for chief Official Assignee Mandy McDonald. I heard nothing back. Read more »

Rodney Hide schools Jackie Blue

Rodney Hide schools Jackie Blue on what a waste of space her job is.

He is of course talking about Blue’s ill-considered opinion over Paul Henry stating a few home truths about Helen Clark and Hillary Clinton.

Henry had said in regard to Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House: “Why, if feminism has come so far, does she feel the need to highlight the fact that she’s a woman?

“Shouldn’t she be selling herself on the fact that she’s the best person, the right person, for the job, no matter what her sex?”

Henry also noted other high-profile females had “fallen into the same trap”, including Helen Clark in her bid to become Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Henry has a good point. The feminist complaint was “jobs for the boys”. The argument was women shouldn’t be excluded because they’re women. But the argument has become that women must be selected because they are women. Clinton and Clark have replaced sexism with reverse sexism.    Read more »

Election bribes, why taxpayers lose while polticians win

Rodney Hide explains how election bribes work, and how when politicians win, invariably it is the taxpayers who lose.

To succeed politically, you must win votes. That’s what counts. If you don’t win votes, you won’t be a politician. It’s the one-and-only job requirement.

The need for votes drives politicians.

And with that insight economics explains and predicts political behaviour just as it explains and predicts all human behaviour.

Labour leader Helen Clark won the vote of students (and their parents) in 1999 promising to wipe interest payments on their loans. She won the vote of graduates in 2005 promising to wipe their interest payments, too.

Her purpose wasn’t to reduce the burden of debt on students. Her purpose was to win the votes she needed to win power. The promises were straight election bribes.

The policy takes from the working poor – the truck drivers, the self-employed, the factory workers – to give to the privileged – the future lawyers, accountants, professors and company executives.

To win, Ms Clark had to reach across to would-be National voters and secure their vote. She did so by reverse income redistribution: she took from the poor to give to the rich.

It’s not pretty politics but, for politicians, pretty is winning and losing is ugly.

I well remember door-knocking in blue ribbon Epsom to have students and their parents telling me they were voting Labour because “they would be mad not to.”

The 81,000 students who received Ms Clark’s full interest write-off benefited on average by $18 a week. That’s something they noticed – and voted for. The nation’s two million taxpayers lost just 74c a week. That’s a sum they didn’t notice and didn’t affect their vote.

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Rodney Hide on the eco-terrorists of Waitakere

Rodney Hide calmly explains the wrongs of the kauri eco-terrorists int he Herald on Sunday.

Quick, whack your old trees down. Otherwise you run the risk of having MP David Cunliffe living up it and being bossed about from New York by former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Supermodel Rachel Hunter will weigh in with obscenities on Facebook: that’s because you fail to appreciate the “life force” your tree holds.

That’s what has happened to architect John Lenihan and his family. They were going about the lawful enjoyment of their Titirangi property, including chopping down their old kauri. It was theirs. They bought it. But no matter. They had to be stopped.

They had protesters outside their property, a fellow living up the tree, a nationwide media furore and everyone from the UN down telling them they were greedy and evil. They received death threats.

No one said what the Lenihans were doing was illegal but plenty of people were screaming abuse and happy to break the law.

The dispute could have been resolved peacefully by the protesters digging deep and buying the property. Rachel Hunter could afford it. So, too, could Helen Clark. And David Cunliffe.

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The farce for the North

Does Winston Peters really care for the North?

The short answer is no. New Zealand First hasn’t stood a candidate in the north since the 2005 election…10 years of not caring.

Rodney Hide also explains why it is that Winston is just playing the political charlatan once again.

The mischief in me wants Winston Peters to win Northland. The upset would be huge. National would lose a seat to New Zealand First.

Peter Dunne would be emboldened by National needing him and Act to pass legislation. Dunne says he would revisit his Supply and Confidence agreement with National – a deal made when his position was less propitious.

It would be a big hit on the Government. Peters would take one of National’s safest seats. National’s election night outright-win would be reduced to two votes short. The smallest tail would wag the biggest dog.

A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

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Unintended consequences always undo policy objectives

Rodney Hide explains in the NBR:

Too often we evaluate government policy by what politicians say they are trying to achieve. That’s what gets reported. That saves having to think.

But good intentions are not enough. It’s actual results that matter. And politicians may mean well but still prove a disaster.

To rely on what politicians promise is to be continually misled and let down. We need to see what their policies will actually deliver. That requires we think and apply a little bit of economics.

In 1999, the Labour Party won votes saying it wanted to reduce the burden of student debt. The intention was lauded. The policy was to drop the interest charge on students to zero.

But free loans created the incentive to borrow more, not less. Students who didn’t need a loan could make $3000 while completing their degree simply by reinvesting their free money back with the government. The incentive for students is now to borrow whether they need the money or not.

Officials advised the new Labour-led government that free loans would add an extra $600 million to student debt within two years. The effect was as predicted.

Within the year the proportion of eligible students who borrowed jumped 10% and the amount the borrowed jumped on average per student 23%.

The loan scheme’s administrators concluded, “The increase in borrowing in 2000 can be attributed to the change in the interest rate write-off policy, which reduces the cost of the borrowing.”

The free-loans-to-students policy produced the opposite result to what politicians promised: student debt went up and the debt burden on students increased.

The intention was good. The outcome was lousy. Students are now more indebted than ever.

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Rodney Hide responds to The Press and Martin van Beynen

Martin van Beynen wrote a hit piece on me in The Press yesterday.

In his considered opinion I deserve a smacking.

So errant cricketer Jesse Ryder wants to fight rogue blogger Cameron Slater in a charity punchup in Christchurch next month.

It looks like a match-up made in heaven – but for a few little issues.

The first is that Ryder has not that long ago been in hospital with what appears to be a major head trauma.

He maintains he has had medical clearance but I wonder what the medical staff who looked after him and restored him back to health think of him putting himself at needless risk.

Ryder, who has squandered his natural cricketing talents through ill-discipline, already seems short of a few brain cells and you have to wonder if this is the sort of risk he should be taking.

It may have escaped van Beynen’s attention that this is a charity boxing match, both Jesse and I are getting in the ring for Kidscan…not for anything else, although there is considerable personal physical benefits including rapid weightloss and seeking out a challenge. I’ve now met Jesse and he has had as torrid a time with media as I have…we are kindred spirits as far as that goes.  He’s a quiet and humble bloke…not at all that has been portrayed by media scum.

Slater’s participation is not much more than a public-relations stunt.

As one of the country’s most loathed and tainted figures, he may see the fight for charity as a way to make amends and show that deep down he is a brave and worthy bloke who is prepared to front up to the country and redeem himself through pugilism.

I would rather see him redeem himself by spending a year washing dishes in a Salvation Army refuge for the homeless but, I guess, with his good connections in business and elsewhere, he should raise a pretty penny for charity.

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Rodney Hide on the fools who have good intentions

Rodney Hide slips the knife into Seeby Woodhouse, tickles his ribs up for several paragraphs then right at the end twists hard.

I can remember a similar sentiment I expressed to Seeby over lunch one day shortly after he blubbed on the stage at one of Dotcom’s manufactured public events, though I was rather more brutal and nuanced like Rodney is.

Seeby Woodhouse is a smart and successful tech entrepreneur. He exemplifies the barminess that comes over even the best and brightest when it comes to environmental policy.

He told NBR’s Ask Me Anything he votes Green: “Although the Greens’ policies may cost me a little more as a high-income taxpayer, I’m happy to pay that in return for clean rivers, a non-polluted environment, freedom from internet spying, Kiwi kids who go to school with lunches, a future for my kids where the planet doesn’t boil and generally sound economic policies that deliver for all sectors of society.”

I, too, would vote Green – and pay more tax – if the results were as Mr Woodhouse believes them to be.

But noble intentions aren’t enough; they don’t guarantee good results. And belief is no substitute for reason.

The century just gone was choc-a-bloc with noble intention and naive belief. The result? Unrivalled human misery. Nationalistic fervour and the promise of workers’ paradises delivered gulags, death camps and a world at war.

Naive political belief – as exemplified by Mr Woodhouse – is at once charming and beguiling and the most dangerous thing on the planet.

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