Politics

Virtue signalling by Starbucks backfires

The Blaze reports on the end of Starbucks virtue signalling over refugees.

After President Donald Trump’s signed an executive order on immigration and refugees last month, Starbucks pledged they would hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said at the time.

But now, their decision has apparently backfired.   Read more »

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Paul Foster-Bell to quit

Paul Foster-Bell has announced he is going to step down at the next election.

National list MP Paul Foster-Bell will stand down at the election, after pulling out of the candidate selection race for Wellington Central.

Mr Foster-Bell, a former diplomat, first entered parliament in 2013, replacing Dr Jackie Blue.

“Today I informed local National Party members that I am withdrawing my name from consideration for selection in Wellington Central, and that I will not seek a place on National’s list for the 2017 general election,” he said.   Read more »

When is a win… a win?

Lethargy won in Mt Albert.

It does show that Mt Albert is ripe for a bit of external campaign pressure.  With that level of lethargy, anyone can take that electorate in September.   But I doubt a party will bother as it will prefer to put energy into true marginals.

More importantly for Jacinda Ardern, it has elevated her profile once more.  Little would be an idiot not to have her front and centre for the general election.

 

– Twitter

Let’s have a jolly good time on the taxpayers’

Guest post

The latest Minister’s credit card expenses for the September to December 2016 are out and, as usually, media have raked through credit card spending trying to discover what Ministers have been over indulging on with taxpayer’s money.

We learned that Todd McClay took Winston Peters to Paris and they dined on foie gras and snails at a bistro in Paris. Hey, while in Paris might as well try a snail or two.

Rarely do they examine the opposition parties expense accounts. Why bother, they don’t get the opportunities to travel or waste taxpayer’s money like the governing parties or do they but it doesn’t come under the microscope? However, we are going to do some digging and examine the expenses of the three opposition parties since the 2014 elections to December 2016.

Labour have 32 MPs – In December 2016 Michael Wood replaced Phil Goff.

Greens have 14 MPs – In September 2015 Marama Davison replaced Russell Norman and Barry Coates replaced Kevin Hague left late in 2016.

NZ First started off with 11 MPs but gained an extra MP when Winston Peters won the Northland by-election early in 2015.    Read more »

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Bill doesn’t know what is going on and Murray isn’t telling the truth

NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully

The other day Bill English said he was waiting to communicate with Israel over the diplomatic impasse but the Jerusalem Post reports another story:

Israel is waiting for an explanation from New Zealand regarding why it surprised Jerusalem and sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 2334 before there can be any talk of repairing the damaged ties between the two countries, a senior diplomatic official accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post.

That is quite different from what Bill English has said:

“New Zealand was involved with sponsoring the resolution. I think the Australian Government probably disagrees with that… we want a constructive relationship with Israel and we intend to work on that relationship.”

[…]  Read more »

Does Gareth Morgan really believe in evidence-based policy

Gareth Morgan states that he is unlike other political parties and that their policies are evidence-based.

Once we have a clear idea of the problem, we can look at opportunities to resolve it. What does the theory suggest? What does the evidence suggest? What have we tried in the past, and how did that work? What have they tried overseas, and how well did that work?

Of course there is evidence and there is evidence. Some evidence is high quality, and priority should always be given to that. Establishment governments here and overseas often don’t want to monitor and evaluate policy because they don’t want to know if it hasn’t worked. Sometimes an idea is new or novel, and hasn’t been tried elsewhere. As a result, sometimes there isn’t much evidence around on a particular topic. However, lack of high quality evidence shouldn’t always be a barrier to action. Overall, we have to make a judgement based on the best available evidence at the time, which is where values come into play.

Establishment parties often twist the question of evidence to their political advantage. Look at the issue of obesity, where the Government has announced a ‘22 point plan’ to deal with the problem. They say there is no evidence that junk food taxes work, yet there is more evidence for the use of junk food taxes and restrictions on advertising to children than there is for any of the policies in their ’22 point plan’.

Read more »

WO Property: NZ Herald editor’s millionaire’s pad

I got the idea for this segment from a NZ Herald piece yesterday. I figured if it is OK for them then it is OK for me.

NZ Herald editor Shayne Alexander Currie is sitting on a goldmine in one of the leafy suburbs of the isthmus of Auckland.

He owns a property at Valley Rd in Mt Eden. It’s a Grammar Zone, iconic Mt Eden Villa. The Whitepages suggests an S Currie has a phone subscription at that home too. How quaint.   Read more »

“My people” and the politics of exclusion – Hide

Dusting off his megaphone, Hone Harawira echoed what has become commonplace for Maori MPs speaking of “Our People” as in, “the rights of Our People are important” and “We must always be guided by [creating a strong, Maori sovereign point of view within Parliament] because that’s what Our People want.”

When referring only to themselves, MPs employ the singular and speak of “My People”.

For example, when in hot water, Harawira declared, “I answer to My People, not to them or to anybody else.”

Bill English would be toast if he deployed the same affectation and spoke of “My People”. The reaction would be short and sharp. We would not tolerate it.

His colleagues would assume he had lost the plot and dump him.

English is prime minister, not some ancient king with royal rights over us.

And nor is Harawira. “His People” don’t belong to him.

Indeed, “His People” voted him out. And when he was an MP, the voters weren’t “His People” but rather he was privileged to be their representative. He was their servant, not the other way around.

Be that as it may, his people weren’t happy he had shacked up with a mischievous rich German who was trying to pretend he’d hang out with your average Maori from up north, because he understood their struggles against the government.  Hone’s mistake was that he laid bare his naked self-interest and it had nothing to do with “His people”.   Read more »

National are tired and fluffing around the edges

A major new campaign to stop people littering aims to change behaviour and to educate people, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Parliamentary Private Secretary Scott Simpson announced today at National’s Bluegreen Forum in Auckland.

“Litter is a risk to New Zealand’s clean green brand and the best solution is where everyone responsibly disposes of their waste. That is why the Government is investing $3 million in a behavioural change campaign, the development of education materials and a national litter survey to help ensure we keep New Zealand beautiful.”

“The environmental harm from litter is not just the aesthetics but the harm plastic, paper and cans can do our waterways, marine environment and to wildlife. There is also the risk to New Zealand’s clean green brand.”

The ‘Do the Right Thing’ initiative will be funded through a grant to Keep New Zealand Beautiful from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund. This is the most generous support the Government has ever given Keep New Zealand Beautiful. The criteria for the fund was changed in 2016 by the Government to included improved litter management. The education component will be run through the Enviroschools organisation and the information campaign aligned with the Packaging Forum.

“Keep New Zealand Beautiful is an iconic kiwi institution and it is fitting in its 50th year we back this trusted name and organisation with the job of getting Kiwis to ‘Do The Right Thing’,” Dr Smith says. Read more »

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Traffic lights on a motorway?

Surely, this is a joke?

Apparently, it isn’t.

Until a week ago I was looking forward to Waterview motorway connection like a kid waiting for Christmas. Correction: Like a kid who has been waiting 40 years for Christmas.

That’s as long as I’ve lived in Auckland and for all that time I have resented our ridiculous route to the airport.

Having to leave the motorway at Gillies Ave or Market Rd and wind through suburban streets has been a disgrace to a decent city. No wonder foreigners taking a taxi from the airport to the CBD start to wonder if they are being hijacked in Pah Rd. Ever since we were promised the Waterview connection would provide motorway all the way from the North Shore and central city, I have been counting the years and months until its scheduled opening, just a month away now.

Then last weekend, we heard it will have traffic lights.   Read more »