Rodney Hide

Marriage of convenience, but who will get the bash when it breaks up?

It is actually fascinating to watch Hone and Kim work so hard to convince everyone they are the answer to taking down National, and John Key with it.  But we all know it will come to conflict at some point.

Rodney Hide muses

The intricate Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom dance is proving every bit as exciting as the royal tour. What makes the Hone-Dotcom tie-up exciting is its incongruity. It’s the sheer implausibility of the marriage that commands attention.

The Mana Party represents Northland’s poor and dispossessed. And here’s Dotcom arriving at their conference with a cavalcade of late model European SUVs.

Dotcom drove up more like an African potentate than a suitor for the hearts and minds of Te Tai Tokerau.

Harawira believes “white mother[]****** have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries”. Dotcom is as white as white. The party that shouts the loudest about indigenous rights and Maori sovereignty is hooking up with a party led by a German self-styled “visionary”. Dotcom is not even a New Zealand European but a European European.

Harawira says he would be uncomfortable if one of his seven children dated a Pakeha. But here he is hopping into bed with one.

Just goes to show bonny boy Hone is for sale.   When all is said and done, he’s quite happy to enter into an agreements with another white mofo and setting himself up to be ripped off again.

It’s like a woman going back into an abusive relationship.  Hone doesn’t know how to be anything but a whipping boy.   I doubt his mum is proud of him right now.   Read more »

Rodney Hide on the travesty of MMP

Come September we could be watching the most popular political leader in the Western world, and the most popular party sitting on the sidelines as a coalition of the losers forms a government because of MMP.

Rodney Hide examines this with his column at NBR.

John Key is the most popular prime minister since polling began. It’s an extraordinary achievement. More remarkably, he’s the Western world’s most popular elected leader.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama must look on Mr Key’s numbers with envious eyes and considerable wonder.

His popularity drives support for his party. National consistently polls a third higher than Labour. And so Mr Key’s a shoe-in this election, right? No. It’s looking like a very close thing. That’s because we persist with a mongrel electoral system.

It’s not the party with the most votes that wins with MMP but the one that cobbles the support needed to govern. Mr Key and National could easily find themselves out in the cold.

I owe my entire parliamentary career to MMP, so I suppose I should be thankful. But I was never a fan of the system. My first serious political involvement was in opposing it. It was the first of my many political losses. Read more »

Cover up under Simon Bridges watch – Part 2

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While Labour and Winston Peters are using Parliamentary privilege to fire off stupid allegations at Judith Collins, they are ignoring a pile of incompetence within MBIE – the very Ministry tasked with growing NZs business.

Part one exposed the dodgy behaviour of MBIE officials under Simon Bridges’ watch.

It raised questions about how MBIE officials are managing the Government’s procurement process, and how questions about dodgy union organisations are being deleted from Supplier Questions in GETS.

Maybe it was a simple mistake, but then again we all know the unions love to think they have union-friendly government officials in their back pocket. Maybe that’s why they get an extra $500 for being a member of the unions. If Labour and NZ First want to talk about corruption, they don’t have to look any further than that rort.

But back to Simon Bridges’ MBIE officials.

This very same GETS RFP #448 then exposed a monumental flaw by the very officials tasked with advising Simon Bridges on his Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

In what is an astonishing revelation, MBIE advised – in their Supplier Questions about RFP #448 of 20 February 2014, that the Employment Relations Bill Part6A (vulnerable employees) doesn’t apply.

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Not sure how that works out for them.  Read more »

Rodney Hide on a dodgy union rorts and National’s lack of courage in taking on the unions

Rodney Hide discusses the dodgy union rort going on in the PSA:

For years government departments have been running a scam for the unions. The amounts involved total in the millions. The scam diverts your tax dollars away from their proper purpose to the union movement. The scam thereby indirectly assists Labour. It’s shonky.

The latest Government outfit engaging in the scam is Parliamentary Service. This is surprising. Parliamentary Service employs MPs’ staff and the many legions of people who make Parliament work. That includes MPs’ electorate agents, their office staff, the librarians, the cleaners and the messengers. To ensure a sound democracy and proper government the Parliamentary Service must be scrupulously fair and even-handed.

And here’s where it has fallen down. Badly.

The service has just settled a new Employment Agreement for all MPs’ support staff. The deal involves a kick-back for joining a union. There’s no other word for it. Staff who are members of the union receive a one-off payment of $1000. Non-union members receive a one-off payment of $500. The result is a $500 bonus for joining the union.

The two unions involved are the Public Service Association (PSA) and the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU). The $500 bonus more than pays the annual membership fee.

Parliamentary Service dresses up the union bonus as reflecting “the significant input of union members to the process of developing and agreeing the terms and the agreement itself”. But that’s phooey. The payment’s purpose is to pump union membership and fatten union bank accounts.

These unions are highly politicised and the Service and Food Workers Union directly affiliates to the Labour Party and pays levies for the privilege. The union even had a vote in choosing David Cunliffe as the new Labour leader.

The union’s webpage runs the banner, “Let’s Change the Government!”  Read more »

Rodney Hide on Len’s dodgy gym

Yay! more council money on toys for me

Yay! more council money on toys for me

Rodney Hide explains why Len Brown’s personal council provided gym is dodgy, and calls on the gutless councillors to do something about it.

A council worker caught “borrowing” council gear for several years for his personal use would be sacked. I would also expect he would be charged. It’s called theft.

He would have a good excuse if his manager gave permission. But the problem then is legal authority. The gear doesn’t belong to his manager. It’s not hers to loan.

And so we have the disturbing case of Mayor Len Brown’s personal gym.

The Herald reports that within a month of Brown’s swearing-in as Auckland’s first Super-City Mayor, his chief of staff was on the scrounge for fitness gear.

I would expect his chief of staff to be advising Brown to buy his own gear. That’s what paid political advisers do: they stop politicians doing stupid things.

But no, Phil Wilson emails the council’s sport and recreation manager Ian Maxwell seeking used equipment from a council facility or a council supplier who could loan or sponsor it.

At least Wilson recognised the problem: “The sensitivity, though, is that we don’t want to be seen to be spending any public money on him.” But note that it’s not the spending that’s the problem: it’s the spending being seen. The concern is to keep it secret.

I would expect Maxwell to email Wilson back explaining he would love to help but that he can’t.

Instead Maxwell replies that he’s on to it.

Wilson emails, “the almighty will be very pleased“.

And so the council’s leisure services “loan” the mayor a new treadmill worth $3000 and a gym system costing $2198.   Read more »

Revenge is not a policy platform

We all know now that Kim Dotcom is a vengeful character. He has stated that he will “destroy anybody” who he thinks will “harm his family”. That means that if you call in the lawyer to get you wages paid that he will destroy you, mock you on Twitter and mount and expensive legal battle. He is motivated by revenge.

Rodney Hide notes that is not a platform for a sustainable political party.

Motive matters, especially in politics. Voters want to know the “Why” just as much as the “What”. And that’s where the internet Party falls down. Kim Dotcom is driven entirely by revenge. And his fight with the US Government.

His beef is with the Prime Minister. Dotcom holds John Key personally responsible for the raid on his home and the taking down of his internet business. Hence the internet Party.

In the absence of the raid – and the threat of extradition and conviction – there would be no internet Party. That’s its point.

The party therefore lacks uplift. It’s not in any way inspiring. It lacks any underpinning philosophy or guiding principles. That’s a must-have for political parties. It’s what generates the passion and the drive that politics demands.

Paying people might get a ‘job’ done, but it does not pass through to enthusiasm.

Not surprisingly, those involved desperately lack passion and belief. The internet Party’s chief executive Vikram Kumar jumped from Dotcom’s Mega company.

He says his job now is that of a “start-up” and of taking “a concept to market”.

That’s not the stuff of politics.   Read more »

Hide on Jones

Rodney Hide looks at Shane Jones and his showing up of leader David Cunliffe.

The news this week is that the Greens have an MP named Gareth Hughes. And that Labour’s Shane Jones has been calling him names. And that Hughes has complained.

Say what?

Calling each other names is what politicians do. Besides, Jones’ name-calling was rather good. I had to look it up. He called Hughes a “mollymawk”. He then swapped to “mollyhawk”. That’s better.

A mollymawk is a type of albatross. A mollyhawk a young black-backed gull. Perfect. In one obscure word Jones captured the image of juvenile squawking. He summed up the Greens rather well.

Hughes is more like a seagull than he realises…he swoops in squawking and flapping, craps everywhere then flys out again to go do it all again somewhere else.

The name-calling and complaint are excellent political theatre and the stuff of headlines. But behind the theatre, deeper political machinations are in play.

Jones came a distant third in Labour’s race to be leader but you would think he had won it with the headlines he has been generating. He launched into Countdown, then foreign students, and now the Greens. He’s been on the front foot, with his hapless leader David Cunliffe on the back.

The contrasting performance is stark and it’s clear that Jones is emboldened. He hasn’t given up his leadership ambitions. He is clearly positioning for leader should Labour fall short this election.   Read more »

Hide on Cunliffe and his secret trusts

Rodney Hide writes what he thinks Matt McCarten’s memo to David Cunliffe should look like.

Memo to: David Cunliffe, Leader of the Opposition

From: Matt McCarten, Chief of Staff

From now on you do nothing, say nothing, think nothing. Not until you run it past me. Better yet, just do, say and think what I tell you. That saves time and minimises risk.

What part of your political brain thought it a good idea to run donations through a secret trust?

No. Forget I even asked. I don’t want to know.

Secret trusts? Anonymous donations? Big business? US bagman? That’s how we attack Tories. Now they are attacking us. Just be thankful they suck at it. Imagine if Trevor Mallard, the duck, was doing you over.

Did you not notice passing laws stopping this carry-on? We made it so political parties can’t hide donors behind trusts. We changed Standing Orders so MPs must declare gifts and donations. You were in Cabinet. It was a Big Deal.

Oh, I know our law never contemplated a leadership primary but the spirit is clear. That’s what you broke. National can hit you with this from now until the election.

You look sleazy. You look tricky. You look like a hypocrite.  Read more »

Bob Jones on why women can’t bear to vote for David Cunliffe

Jones is required reading, in spite of his hit & miss columns for the Herald, they never fail to entertain

Given today’s diminished public interest in politics, there is, in lieu, an increased focus on the leader. Critically, he or she must be likeable.

John Key epitomises this. He’s an easy-going natural smiler, which is a rare attribute, and National would be swamped in this year’s election if he wasn’t there. Winston has been in Parliament since the Boer War ended, but survives on that x-factor. There’s a million-dollar prize if anyone can provide a coherent philosophic raison d’etre for his party, or even name any of his ever-changing MPs, but the fact is people like him. Even most MPs do. Why? Because, like Key, he’s a natural smiler; indeed, he’s better than that, having the rare ability to laugh at himself.

Appearance is particularly a factor with some women voters. A politics professor friend told me recently of her astonishment at finding that – literally without exception – all of her women friends, including many life-long lefties, say they won’t vote Labour this year because they don’t like David Cunliffe’s face.

The same thing happened when Stephen Franks jumped Act’s ship to contest a winnable seat for National. He lost heavily. A National Party activist told me its subsequent surveys showed a collapse in female support because they didn’t like Stephen’s face.   Read more »

Hide on McCarten

Rodney Hide writes about Matt McCarten in the Herald on Sunday.

What you see with Matt McCarten is what you get. He’s upfront and honest in his beliefs and approach.

McCarten is a hard-left, political head-kicker. He’s been on the frontline of what he regards as a class war his entire life.

I concur. I have long had a political understanding with Matt and always found him to be honourable in all my dealings. My old man says the same thing about his dealings with McCarten in the late 90s.

The two sides of politics agree that McCarten’s appointment signals a hard swing to the left.

The one thing McCarten doesn’t do is compromise.

He split the Alliance asunder and forced Helen Clark to an early election rather than play along with Clark’s safe and centrist politics.

To keep McCarten on board Cunliffe must take Labour back to its socialist roots. There can be no more wish-wash from Cunliffe. Not if he’s serious about keeping McCarten.

Both left and right agree Labour MPs are in for a fright. McCarten can’t stand time-servers and fence-sitters. The Labour caucus is chock-a-block with both. Cunliffe, by appointing McCarten, has fired a rocket at his own MPs.  Read more »