Steven Joyce

National supports dead beat dads, gives left wing media commentators a budget bonus

Who would ever have thought that National would be seen to be supporting dead beat dads?

It seems incongruous but that is what John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have done with their bludgers budget: they have given dead beat dads a write off of their penalty payments.

At least two left wing media commentators will be ecstatic about those changes in the budget.

Prime Minister John Key says he hopes that plans to write off $1.7 billion in penalty payments on parents who missed child support payments will encourage those who have moved overseas to start paying child support again.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay said the overly punitive system had resulted in “paralysing” debts for some parents which meant they had given up trying to pay and thousands had gone overseas.

About 120,000 people had child support debt which totalled $3.2 billion – about half of which was owed by people now living overseas. Only $700 million of the total was in child support while the rest was interest and penalty fees for late payments.

Mr Key said it was the responsibility of liable parents to make child support payments. “They have a legal obligation to pay for their kids and they have a moral obligation to pay for their kids, and they should be doing it.”

However, the Government had to take a pragmatic approach and recognise that many were simply failing or could not afford to meet those obligations.

“We need to breathe the hope into those 120,000 families and individuals who see a hopeless position.

“What we are saying to those people is to come back, start making the principal payments to those low-income families that you owe it to, and we will forgive the interest and we will forgive the penalties.”

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Time to stop the corporate welfare

The Government says it doesn’t know if the millions it pours into corporate welfare via the Callaghan Innovation fund is helping or benefitting New Zealand.

Sounds like a bloody good reason to end it.

The benefit from millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research subsidies may be heading straight offshore.

A boat building firm owned by Team Oracle’s founder, American billionaire Larry Ellison, drug giant Bayer, Nasdaq-listed Fiserv and global software firm SAP are all recent recipients of research and development grants from Callaghan Innovation, the government agency charged with administering the money.

But the Government says it has no idea whether any of its investment is actually benefiting New Zealand.  Read more »

After Key. Then what?

When the media regularly speculate about what is to happen after you’re gone, it is an indicator that you are in the autumn of your political career.   Audrey Young assists the process along.

The ponytail saga might have confirmed Mr Key’s infallibility to his hero-worshippers, but it has made talk of his succession a little more relevant.

As was evident in his biography, John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, his threshold for tolerating failure is low.

In 2012, after a difficult but not disastrous year, he talked to wife Bronagh about whether he was still committed to remaining in the job.

And she was stronger than him about staying on and not be seen to be ”running away”, as he put it.

He has said he will stand again in 2017 because that is what leaders have to say until they change their minds.

But nobody would be shocked if Mr Key changed his mind if his popularity waned, given that his popularity sustains his political drive.

If it happened, it would not happen soon because he would want to recover his respect rather than slink away.

There is no suggestion of a leadership challenge.

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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 »

Someone needs to tell Dalton he’s dreamin’

Grant Dalton really needs to watch ‘The Castle’ and listen to Daryl Kerrigan.

Team New Zealand will fight for an America’s Cup pre-regatta in Auckland, despite the event’s organisers announcing all races will be in Bermuda in 2017.

Prime Minister John Key said it was “extremely unlikely” the team would get government funding following the announcement on the Cup’s official website yesterday.

Team NZ board chairman Keith Turner told the Herald it “was not the end of the road” for an Auckland qualifying race and the America’s Cup Event Authority’s (ACEA) statement was not legal. The decision was subject to a legal process after the ACEA backtracked on its decision to hold an Auckland event, he said.

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We’d have a surplus if Key and Joyce didn’t keep splurging on corporate welfare

John Key has announced in a pre-budget speech $80 million more of corporate welfare.

The Taxpayers’ Union is predictably upset.

The Taxpayers’ Union is shocked that the Government is wasting the last $80 million of the ‘Future Investment Fund’ on corporate welfare through Callaghan Innovation’s ‘R&D grants’.

“This is corporate welfare under the guise of ‘innovation’,” says Taxpayers’ UnionExecutive Director, Jordan Williams. “The fund was meant for health, education and infrastructure, not hand outs to private business.”

“Callaghan Innovation gives money to private businesses that pocket the returns. As Sam Morgan has previously pointed out, the main “R&D” component of the grants is the creation of a whole industry who write proposals so companies can cash in.”  Read more »

Northland, polls and polling vs final results

Arts, Lifestyle & Travel blogger David “Pinko” Farrar has a very brief post on the Northland polls.

  • Winston Peters NZF 16,089 54.5%
  • Mark Osborne NAT 11,648 39.4%
  • Willow-Jean Prime LAB 1,380 4.7%

Those polls were pretty accurate.

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The vacuity of Andrea Vance’s analysis

Andrea Vance was spreading propaganda for the Joyce faction in her recent column, but she needs to understand some basic facts about the National Party. Otherwise her opinion is based on factual errors and flawed logic. In the interests of getting decent journalism from a paid journalist there will be a series of posts pointing out the errors in her analysis.

The first point is that the National Party leadership is decided by the National caucus.

To win the leadership you have to have the support of the majority of the caucus. There are no formal rules, and previous leadership battles have either been concessions of defeat or a two candidate race. In the event there are more than two candidates it is expected that the leadership race will be run the same way as selections, with the lowest polling candidate dropping out and votes taken again until there is a winner by majority.

The contention that Steve Joyce and Paula Bennett are presumed replacements for John Key needs to be checked against whether they would win votes from half of caucus.   Read more »

Fat Tony on Northland

Mike Williams aka Fat Tony has a column in the Hawkes Bay Today about Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle.

MAKE no mistake, the outcome of the Northland byelection last Saturday is a political boilover of seismic proportions.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters won one of the National Party’s safest seats with an election night majority of more than 4000 votes, erasing a National Party majority of over 9000 votes in the general election just a few months before. Winston Peters’ final majority is likely to increase when the nearly 1000 newly-enrolled special votes get included in the total.

This 13,000 vote turnaround is unprecedented in our political history, but it is the internal dynamics of Peters’ triumph that should give Prime Minister John Key and National Party campaign manager Stephen Joyce pause for very serious reflection.

Apart from a governing party losing a safe seat, two statistics set this contest apart from any previous byelection. About half of the voters chose to cast their ballot before election day and the level of participation was huge.

The early voting phenomenon is unprecedented, and it exceeds a trend in recent polls.

The turnout level is a genuine abnormality. It has been a rule of thumb for years that byelection turnout levels are half of the previous general poll. The Christchurch East byelection saw 13,000 electors vote compared with the 28,000 who had voted in the previous general election.

This is the established pattern.

Northland broke that mould. With 28,000 voting in the byelection, this wasn’t much short of the 34,000 that voted in the general election five months before.

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I can’t believe Andrew Little still has not spoken to Winston Peters

Unbelievably, since Andrew Little has become Leader of the Opposition, he has barely spoken to Winston Peters and even more unbelievably he hasn’t het met him since Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle.

Claire Trevett highlights the bizarre situation.

The member of Parliament-elect for Northland, Winston Raymond Peters, returned to the House this week, a Phoenix rising, a man transformed.

Strangely, the result has quite gone to Labour’s head. It is acting as if it won the byelection. For the past two days, Labour MPs have strutted in and asked a number of Northland-related questions in Parliament.

Leader Andrew Little and other Labour MPs dedicated their general debate speeches to rubbing National’s nose in the dog poos that was its campaign. Little has also talked about working more with Peters to build a united, strong Opposition. Labour seems to think sending its voters Peters’ way has bought it coalition insurance, a strong comrade-in-arms.

Little best invest in a long spoon before he starts attempting to spoon Peters.

Labour voters did help Peters but at least 9000 of his 15,400 votes did not come from Labour.

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