Tim Groser

Fran O’Sullivan on China, National and Labour nasty tactics

Fran O’Sullivan writes about John Key’s China triumph:

John Key has firmly put his personal stamp on the New Zealand-China relationship by forging a “trusted partner” status with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi heralded the co-operation between China and New Zealand as “pioneering and exemplary”, saying he believed Key’s tour would instil new vitality into the bilateral relationship.

The Chinese President not only made sure New Zealand media were present for all of his reassuring opening remarks at the onset of the two leaders’ bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People, but he also welcomed Key and his officials “as family” to a rare private dinner.

This is no mean feat, given Beijing’s barely disguised anger over the Fonterra botulism scare that last year resulted in scathing editorials in official news organs over the New Zealand Government’s perceived failure to rigorously police food safety standards.

Chinese consumers were justifiably angry over the Fonterra fiasco. It not only diminished their confidence in the safety of New Zealand infant formula but resulted in significant collateral damage to the smaller Kiwi exporters that had the foresight and wit (which Fonterra at that stage lacked) to manufacture New Zealand-branded infant formula for the Chinese market.

Key’s visit has drawn a line under that episode.

Which is why Labour and their flunkies in MFaT wanted to rain on the parade.

But the Opposition has been determined to try to ensure Key does not get to politically bank the positives from the deepening bilateral relationship.

This is a mistake, especially given Labour’s own groundbreaking role in forging bilateral ties with China.    Read more »

Busting myths: TPP

Patrick Smellie provides a useful list to help with busting the myths of the left wing losers who oppose everything and anything to do with free trade.

So, that’s No 1 in a list of the things that opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement don’t want you to understand. The secrecy surrounding TPP negotiations is typical of any such exercise.

No 2: The bogey of corporations being able to sue governments is not only overblown, but corporations can do that now, without a TPP. Look across the Tasman, where Big Tobacco is suing the government over its plan to enforce plain packaging for cigarettes.

No 3: Corporations might try to sue but they’ll be whistling if the government is acting in the public interest. Raising new taxes, protecting the environment, or regulating for public-health reasons won’t be excuses to mount court action.

No 4: United States corporate interests are obviously among those seeking influence on the TPP agenda, but that doesn’t mean the US Senate and Congress are on board. That’s why US President Barack Obama is having such trouble getting “fast-track” authority to negotiate TPP.

No 5: US politicians know less about what’s in the TPP negotiating documents than US corporate lobbies. So it must be a plot, right? Well, actually, no. Politicians in the US, and in New Zealand for that matter, can agree to maintain confidentiality and be briefed on whatever they like with respect to TPP. Labour’s trade and foreign affairs spokesmen, Phil Goff and David Shearer, avail themselves of this benefit. They support TPP, along with Shane Jones and some other Labour heavy-hitters, even if leader David Cunliffe is a leaf in the wind as he tries to balance what he knows is right and what his backers on the Left of the Labour Party expect.  Read more »

Doctors playing politics… again

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Via the Tipline

APEC is vitally important to NZ; even more so as a tiny country reliant on exports at the bottom of the world. It shows that NZ is part of the Asia Pacific Region.

While it’s a shame Obama couldn’t make it, nearly every other leader turned up to Bali for this years’ APEC conference.  Most people would know that attending a conference like APEC takes some planning. As Prime Minister, you don’t wake up one morning and say “ok boys let’s go to APEC this week”. It takes months and months of planning and work to make sure NZ is seen as an active participant and Key’s meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping are quite important.   Read more »

When will Nathan Guy go?

Fonterra is making moves to mitigate the PR disaster that still swirls around them. They have sent two senior managers on leave.

One wonders how long before Nathan Guy gets the arse card?

It was telling that all the ‘splaining was left to Tim Groser and Nikki Kaye. If Nikki Kaye is preferred to speak on the issue instead of Nathan Guy then you know he is in trouble.

Fonterra has put two senior managers on leave as its probe into operational matters that led to a botulism bacteria scare deepens.

The move follows the resignation on Wednesday with immediate effect of Gary Romano, managing director of the dairy company’s New Zealand manufacturing operations.  Read more »

Borat’s home bans Fonterra

It looks like more countries are banning Fonterra products. Including Borat’s Kazakhstan:

Former Soviet republics Belarus and Kazakhstan have joined Russia in banning Fonterra dairy products in the wake of the dairy giant’s botulism scare, Trade Minister Tim Groser has confirmed.

A spokeswoman for Mr Groser said the two central Asian nations had placed “temporary restrictions” on Fonterra products, the same move taken by Russia last week.

The two countries were small markets for Fonterra, the spokeswoman said.  Read more »

Listen to reasoned explanations of the GCSB bill

Christopher Finlayson explains patiently and slowly what the GCSB Bill is actually about.

I makes the ranting and raving of Labour and the Green party and their paid flunkies look like a bunch of deliberate liars.

Read more »

The Nasty party returns, no surprises it is Sue Moroney

Tim Groser may not speak like the stable boys’ scrubber but I don;t think it was necessarily helpful for Sue Moroney to prove yet again that she is a nasty piece of work.

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Hooton on The Clown

Matthew Hooton, not one to turn down a glass of wine, nails Aaron Gilmore, the Clown of Christchurch East:

I am the last person to criticise someone for getting rolling drunk.

By some measures, the volume of wine per person reported to have been drunk at National List MP Aaron Gilmore’s infamous Hanmer Springs dinner was positively temperate.  (Although, despite many years of trying, I have never had a wine waiter at a flash restaurant deny me service, so perhaps there is more to this part of the story.)

In a country where, rightly or wrongly, binge drinking remains acceptable and commonplace, what really does in Mr Gilmore is not his drunkenness but the horrible way he is reported to have treated the waiting staff, including clicking his fingers and abusing them, and – perhaps even worse – his idiotic threat to have the prime minister fire one of them.

On this point, I yesterday found myself in complete political agreement with the ‪Service and Food Workers Union, something no doubt damaging to both me and the union.

The shame of Hooton writing that last line must be immense, which makes it all the more powerful.

When previous MPs have run into trouble for drinking they have survived because their uncouth behaviour has not crossed the line into personal abuse.

When Mr Gilmore’s fellow Christchurch MP, Labour’s Ruth Dyson, was picked up one night for drink-driving, there was no suggestion she had been rude to the police and she had the integrity to resign as a minister before the sun came up.

Similarly, when Mr Gilmore’s fellow National Party MP, trade minister Tim Groser, got himself well-and-truly inebriated at the bar of an Emirates A380 flying home after a disastrous Middle Eastern trade mission to bury his mother, there was no suggestion he abused anyone (except, I was told by my spies on the flight, me – after he found out what I, after a few wines, had written about the trade-mission fiasco for that Friday’s NBR).

In any event, both Ms Dyson and Mr Groser were valuable to their prime ministers and governments.  Mr Gilmore has no such advantage.

He has no redeeming political features at all, and I doubt he will even make the list come the next election, despite his impressive CV.

To say Mr Gilmore’s political career is going nowhere is an understatement.

Reportedly never popular even within the National Party in his home district of Canterbury, he was National’s 2008 sacrificial lamb in the safe Labour seat of Christchurch East, losing to Labour’s Lianne Dalziel by over 5000 votes.

Nevertheless, he snuck into parliament on the list, but received no promotion in his first term as an MP, indicating the low regard in which he is held by John Key, Bill English and Steven Joyce, and much of the rest of the National cabinet and caucus.

Meanwhile, his 2008 contemporaries Nikki Kaye, Simon Bridges, Hekia Parata, Amy Adams and Michael Woodhouse have become ministers, and the next in line for ministerial jobs, Todd McClay and Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, already chair the powerful Finance and Expenditure and Social Services select committees respectively.  There will never be any such promotions for Mr Gilmore.

Undeterred at having achieved nothing in his first term except attract publicity over a false CV, he sought re-election but was awarded the lowest place on National’s 2011 list among incumbents except for newbie Jami-Lee Ross, only elected as MP for Botany earlier that year, and the unloved Paul Quinn.  He was also put up again for Christchurch East.

In the 2011 election, it turned out that is not just National Party officials and MPs that seem to have a particular dislike of Mr Gilmore but also the good voters of Christchurch East.

His career, such as it is is over. He may as well just piss off. He won’t though such is his hubris.

As of this morning, the Prime Minister and his office appear almost to be begging for a formal complaint from the Heritage Hotel which they could hand over to Ms Upston as a first step towards getting rid of Mr Gilmore.

Any of the next few names on National’s list – Claudette Hauiti, Jo Hayes or Leonie Hapeta – would offer the party more in terms of electoral appeal than Mr Gilmore.

But they do have to move carefully.

Unlike, say, NZ First, National is a democratic party and, as Jim Bolger found with Mr Peters, Bill English with Maurice Williamson and Don Brash with Brian Connell, it is extremely hard to get rid of a recalcitrant MP.  Even in the recent NZ First case, Mr Peters failed to drum the disgraced Brendan Horan out of parliament altogether.

Mr Key just announcing Mr Gilmore is fired achieves nothing.  He needs to be encouraged to resign.

Of course, he probably won’t.  Mr Gilmore will never get a job as well paid as this one, especially now we know he doesn’t have the high-level finance-sector qualifications that were once claimed.

Right now, for doing pretty much nothing, he earns $142,000 a year, plus free air travel and subsidised Bellamy’s booze.

Sadly, he’s probably not going anywhere.

Unless of course all the other scandals associated with Aaron Gilmore surface in short order. They will.

Groser out of running

Tim Groser is out of the running for his bid to head the WTO.

Looks like he will have to find a plan B to exit parliament…but the Nats will be quietly relieved he got the arse card because if he left then Claudette Hauiti would be next in to parliament.

Trade Minister Tim Groser’s bid to head the World Trade Organisation has failed.

A spokeswoman for the minister has confirmed to APNZ this morning that Mr Groser had withdrawn his bid.  Read more »

Eat your hearts out Muzza and Tim, bet you can’t beat this

Murray McCully and Tim Groser think they have it sweet…but they aren’t explaining hookers and private jets:

Sen. Robert Menendez, the powerful New Jersey Democrat who this week was named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is facing a Senate ethics probe into whether he accepted inappropriate gifts from a wealthy Florida eye surgeon who is under FBI investigation.

The Senate Ethics Committee is conducting a preliminary investigation of two trips Menendez took to a luxury beach resort in the Dominican Republic in August and September 2010 as a guest of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a longtime friend and political donor.

The review comes on the heels of an FBI raid on Melgen’s medical offices in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday night and Wednesday as part of an investigation into what sources called possible Medicaid fraud.

But wait it get’s better:  Read more »