Shane Jones

Will the next MP for Northland please stand up?

Winston Peters’ bid to take over the now vacant Northland seat is gathering momentum.

The by-election was forced by the resignation of Mike Sabin last week.

Police knew about issues affecting the former MP but the Police Minister is refusing to comment about whether he knew and who he told.

It’s not even a week since Mr Sabin resigned, but already fighting for his Northland seat has begun.

It’s a safe National seat, but Mr Peters would fight hard, chipping into National’s lead.

But John Key says Peters is acting as a bit of a tease “[I] wouldn’t bet the marae on it.”

Along with Mr Peters, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is also considering running for the seat. Read more »

Woolworths Australia under investigation for same Bully Boy tactics as Countdown

Countdown claimed to be exonerated despite 91 complaints against them, after a report and investigation from the Commerce Commission.

Woolworths in Australia has the same owners as Progressive/Countdown in NZ  and our Commerce Commission let them off the hook after Shane Jones claims.

Woolworths is now being accused of the same bully boy Maia style standover tactics as has recently occurred in New Zealand and the Australian regulators are investigating.

WOOLWORTHS buyers have told suppliers their products could be pulled from shelves just days before Christmas if they refuse to fund the supermarket giant’s new Cheap Cheap advertising campaign.

“I was asked for a contribution of almost $1 million, and when I refused to pay I was told a ‘range review’ was underway and I would be informed of the outcome early next week,” said the sales manager of one of Australia’s leading health product companies.

“The implied threat is that some of my products will no longer be stocked if I don’t pay up.”

Woolworths staff have also been accused of telling suppliers the payment requests had the “endorsement” of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) – a claim that the consumer watchdog rejects.   Read more »

Oh Countdown, why didn’t you quit when you were ahead?



Not content to let a 9-10 month Commerce Commission investigation into your business practices rest after being ‘exonerated’, Countdown’s boss Dave Chambers has come out hitting against the country’s politicians.

His chief lobbyist, and Matthew Hooton’s mother in law, Sue Wood can’t have told him that politicians have very long memories and don’t take likely to being told what to do by businessmen.

Then again she might have, if reports out of Parliament telling of her aggressive lobbying of MPs are anything to go by.    Read more »

Comcom’s investigation into Countdown boils down to: What is an “ask”



WOBH was one of first out of the blocks after Kiwi suppliers tipped us off about Countdown’s Godfather type behaviour, earlier in the year.

However today we see the Commerce Commission clearing Countdown from any anti-competitive behaviour, saying that it has investigated 90 complaints.

After a disasterous PR year for Countdown, its boss Dave Chambers is now on a PR offensive saying he’s been exonerated and that “the shadow of these false allegations” had been distracting for the company, alongside having a crack at former Labour MP Shane Jones.

All is not quite as rosy for Countdown as they would like, and the 90 complaints shouldn’t be dismissed quite so quickly. It’s not like it was one or two complaints… 90 complaints indicate they’ve got some “communication problems”.

To have ‘numerous suppliers asked that they not be identified’ should further demonstrate to Dave Chambers that all is not well with their supplier relationships.

The Commerce Commission’s observations that despite “Progressive’s conduct in each investigative case was not likely to be unlawful” they cautioned a number of parties, and included the warning:

exchanging information about future competitor behaviour, or discussing supplier interactions with a competitor. These types of exchanges create an environment in which anti-competitive agreements or conduct can 
easily emerge. This creates significant risk for the parties involved, including employees. Such exchanges and discussions should be avoided.

The Commerce Commission Report also says:

We accept that a smaller retailer may not be able to apply the same commercial pressure as Progressive. However, that in itself does not mean that Progressive has taken advantage of any substantial market power.

Meanwhile Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove is putting on a brave face and has issued a media release pushing for a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets. He’s saying that:

The Commission was only able to look at the letter of the law. In Labour’s view the law is not strong enough. In Australia the ACCC is currently prosecuting Coles for anti-competitive behaviour and has a code of practice.

The UK has an independent adjudicator with a mandatory code of practice. In that country there are ten dominant supermarket players who effectively control 85 per cent of the market and that has been judged to be too much concentrated market power. In New Zealand there are two dominant players, with 95 per cent market share.

My spies in Parliament are telling me that Countdown chief lobbyist Sue Wood has been sent in to calm the horses. Gee that’ll be a welcoming sight.


Labour’s institutional dysfunction

Danyl McLauchlan is one of the few on the left wing that I can respect.

His observations when he isn’t being silly or writing bad satire are usually spot on.

He has taken the time to discuss the Labour party and what he sees as their impending collapse.

I don’t know if Labour is a dying party. Looks like to to me, but there’s still time to turn things around. I do think there’s an important difference between National in 2002 and the Labour Party in 2014. After their 2002 election loss National realised that it faced an existential crisis and took drastic action. They bought Steven Joyce in to review the party, underwent a huge reorganisation and then united behind their subsequent leaders, Brash and Key. The sense I get from Labour is that they don’t have anything to worry about because hey, National was in big trouble a few years ago and now look at them go! Sure, Labour aren’t doing great right now but it’s just history; it’s political cycles. You gotta ride it out and wait until the tide washes you back into government again. There was a nice example of this from former Labour President Mike Williams on the Nine to Noon political segment last week. Williams announced that the leader of the Labour leadership contest will probably be the Prime Minister in 2017 because four term governments are rare. Forget all that hard work of somehow beating John Key, which Labour has no idea how to do, or even reforming the party. Fate will just return them to power, somehow, because that’s what sometimes happened in the past.

I don’t think Key and National see themselves as being circumscribed by fate, and that they should just resign themselves to losing in 2017. I think they’ve built a fearsome political behemoth that dominates New Zealand’s political landscape and which they hope will endure for a long, long time, even after Key finally retires in his fifth term (or whenever).  Labour dying is not a worst-case scenario for the New Zealand left. Labour hanging around, slowly dwindling, occupying the political space of the center-left but not winning an election for another twenty years is the real and highly plausible doomsday scenario. I don’t know how much of National’s strength is an accident of Labour’s current weakness, but I do know that the new Labour leaders job will be reforming their party, and not beating Key. That’s not even an option for Labour until they somehow transform themselves into a modern professional political party, and figure out who they are and what they stand for.

Read more »

Shane Jones family man / el cheapo / destitute / social services bludger – you pick

The Herald has this very odd story today.  I’m not sure what to make of it.  It has no byline – nobody wants to own it.

Former Labour MP Shane Jones earned infamy for his stays in hotels as a minister, but the frequent flying ambassador’s crash pad in Auckland these days is a humble South Auckland state house.

Mr Jones’ home is in Kerikeri but when he is in Auckland for work or in transit he and his partner Dot Pumipi often stay with her mother, Linda, who lives conveniently close to the airport. Mr Jones said when he was not overseas he usually spent from Tuesday to Thursday in Auckland for work.

Mr Jones’ presence had clearly been noticed – the Herald was tipped off that he was staying in the property.

Tipped off no less.  Like Jones was running a meth lab from his MIL’s place.   But it gets weirder

Mr Jones said he did have a place to stay in the inner city but often went to Linda’s instead because Dot liked to spend time with her mother, who is in her 70s. He said there could be troubles in the neighbourhood and he liked to flatter himself that he provided a sense of security “even though I’m no Buck Shelford”.

It did provide handy parking for his car while he was overseas and meant he did not have to use hotels when catching early flights.

The state house crash pad option could be about to come to an end, however.

Here we go.  The mother in law lives in a state house.  But how is this relevant to Shane and Dot staying at mum’s?

Linda is about to be moved to a smaller, one-bedroom, house so her house can be redeveloped for a large family.

Linda was not paid for having them: “There’s no dodgy boarding arrangement,” he said.

A Housing NZ spokeswoman said there were no specific rules preventing state house tenants having family to stay unless it breached the tenancy agreement, caused problems for neighbours or there were issues of overcrowding. “It’s a matter of common sense.”

Oh my… someone dobbed Jones in because he was getting free accommodation on the tax payer. Because his MIL won’t charge them for staying?   (That would have been a different scandal)

This has to be the lamest hit piece I’ve seen for some time.

No wonder nobody had the guts to put their name on it.

Here comes the hit:

The Ministry of Social Development allows those on benefits or the accommodation supplement to have someone stay for up to three nights a week before it affected their entitlements.

Unbelievable.  The suggestion is that Dot’s mum should have her accommodation supplement reviewed because she’s got family staying for a while.

Sterling job Herald.  Take a bow.


– NZ Herald


Something to go to today since the weather is rubbish


Could be an interesting meeting this weekend for Aucklanders concerned about the council’s racist Unitary Plan, and trashing of property rights.

Remember when Shane Jones called a stupid digging instrument for corrupt extraction of RMA ransom payments a spade earlier this year.

Of course Labour did not pick up his mere when he left, because it did not fit with the identity politics that was all they had left. Bob Jones seems to have been the next public figure to risk tackling this issue (link). He reminded everyone that thousands of properties were newly vulnerable to iwi discovery of taniwha or other spirits and cultural needs that might need placating with koha.

A group called Democracy Action have called a public meeting in opposition to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

The Plan kowtows to iwi elite and forces the rest of us to pay in cultural impact assessment fees, and lip service to so called spiritual and cultural values (taniwha) just to do things like replacing a window or putting in a pool.  Read more »

Circus? More like a party of clowns

Labour's leadership contest has become a Carnival of CLowns

Labour’s leadership contest has become a Carnival of Clowns

Vernon Small chokes down a bite of dead rat and writes about the state of his beloved Labour party that in his mind at least has become like a circus.

By rights the political debate should be focused on the Government’s handling of two things.

How does it meet its self- imposed need to do something alongside traditional allies and friends in Iraq and Syria without getting too deeply embroiled in the war against Islamic State?

And how will John Key make a dent in the number of children in poverty, given the Government’s pre-eminent focus on work as the best route out of poverty?

That begs the obvious question: what about the large number of working poor? And how out of tune was Bill English with his view that planning laws and local government rules were the main cause of poverty because they drive up house prices?

But then along came Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Shearer and the whole Labour three-ringed circus to demand its place in the limelight.

Read more »

Herald editorial on Cunliffe

The NZ Herald editorial echoes my belief that David Cunliffe is about to jack it in.

Their editorial is perhaps a push for him in the right direction.

Someone ought to put David Cunliffe out of his political misery. He has allowed his nomination for the Labour Party leadership, which he gave up last week, to go forward – but he should reconsider.

Not only did his political capital run dry with the public on September 20, his mis-steps since and his very presence in a “primary” contest for the leadership will degrade and destroy Labour’s hopes of unity and revival.

The entry into the race of former union leader Andrew Little, alongside Grant Robertson, might have been thought to give Mr Cunliffe reason to stand aside. Mr Little is no star but will take votes from the affiliated unions who last year were pivotal in crowning Mr Cunliffe. The Little campaign attacks Mr Cunliffe at his strongest point, with the wider party thought to be divided and the Labour caucus firmly against a Cunliffe return.

Could it be that Mr Little’s campaign has one achievable goal: to take the former leader out of the reckoning?

Read more »

Labour needs to lose dead wood, but how?


Dave Armstrong at Fairfax writes about Labour needing to chop out some dead wood.

Boom boom! Last week began with pure farce as New Zealand’s largest centre-Left party performed the latest episode of Labour Behaving Badly.

Like a naughty fourth former who had just received bad end-of-year reports, Labour’s caucus rounded on leader David Cunliffe, who had bravely led them down the garden path to their worst result in almost a century.

Cunliffe could rightly argue that winning was always going to be a big ask and that he did his best. But he should know that it’s only in big multinational companies where CEOs are heaped with praise and massive bonuses after a disastrous result.

Cunliffe did well in the debates and drove himself to exhaustion in the final fortnight but it was too little, too late.

Yes, Dirty Politics and the Moment of Truth denied him oxygen but it was the first six months of his leadership where the real damage was done.

Various distractions, often thanks to leaks from both sides of the House, and too many gaffes never allowed him to focus on issues. Even during the campaign he made the mistake, as he later admitted, of not working more strategically with the Greens.

Read more »