Hamish Rutherford

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Demanding politicians apologise can get rather cringeworthy at times, they can wind up being almost like the apology Father Jack Hackett gave to Bishop Brennan.

But Labour is focussing now on the fact that the only apology, such as it was, issued by John Key last year was to me.

Why they OIA’d that is beyond me…what a waste of time.

John Key delivered just a solitary written apology in 2014, ironically to one of New Zealand’s most controversial political figures.

According to Key “to the best of my recollection”, the prime minister wrote just one letter of apology this year, parliamentary questions asked by the Labour Party show.

Perhaps ironically, that single apology was delivered to Cameron Slater, the WhaleOil blogger who largely supports National but has brought much controversy upon the Government. ? Read more »

No interference, no communication, time to reinstate Collins

Hamish Rutherford finds that Judith Collins had no input at all into investigation of the poor behaviour of Adam Feeley.

Another claim by Nicky Hager and the hacker that has fallen down with an examination of the truth.

Judith Collins had no input into an investigation into the conduct of the former boss of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) once it was set up, the State Services Commissioner (SSC) says.

Less than a month before the election, Collins was forced to quit as a minister after an email written by Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater suggested that as Police Minister she was ??gunning for [Adam] Feeley??, then the director general of the SFO in October 2011.

At the time Feeley was under investigation by the SSC, following media reports that he celebrated charges against former Bridgecorp boss Rod Petricevic by drinking champagne belonging to Bridgecorp directors.

Eventually, the investigation cleared Feeley, who continued in the role for around a year, before leaving to become chief executive of the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

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Good moves by National on local body politics

National has announced some good initiatives around local body politics today, while Labour is splurging even more money at a sector that can and does does the citizens hard already.

The Government will “crowdsource” for new ideas on how to get rid of “dumb” local and central government regulations, Prime Minister John Key says.

He told the Local Government New Zealand conference in Nelson today that a Rules Reduction Task Force would be established in response to the latest Productivity Commission report. The task force would look at local and central government regulation.

Some rules homeowners faced were “dumb” and “needless bureaucratic hurdles”, Key said.

“Some things on the face of it don’t make much sense, like making it compulsory for a homeowner to install windows in a room that already lets in a lot of light through the ranch-slider doors,” Key told delegates.

The task force would be comprised of officials and tradespeople to “root out local regulation that could be improved”.

“We already know there are property owners up and down the country who are frustrated with the regulatory requirements they must meet, and the time and money it takes to complete transactions,” Key said.

“The decisions that councils make on regulation affect the whole country.”

Finance Minister Bill English has said that local government rules added to construction costs.

Key said the task force would develop ideas with the public.

“It is my intention that we invite ratepayers and homeowners around the country to contribute their thoughts on removing unnecessary rules and regulations via email and social media,” Key said.

“If you like, we’ll be crowdsourcing ways to reduce the rules and regulations that stop people doing sensible things with their own properties.”

“There are some things that homeowners go through because councils are required to implement regulations and rules which are completely outdated, that were written for a particular reason but which no longer work,” Key said after his speech.

“Essentially what we’re going to say to New Zealanders is ‘look, if you can see crazy rules and regulations that you have to comply with, that make no sense, email them to us’.

“We think we’ll be able to do a rewrite of a lot of those regulations, particularly for property owners.”

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Colin Craig’s best hope…and it isn’t Rodney

Hamish Rutherford write at Fairfax about Colin Craig’s best hope…and it isn’t Rodney electorate.

As one National MP noted, for Colin Craig to win one of the electorates he has highlighted ?he would virtually have to have National not stand a candidate’.

Mark Mitchell may not have meant it that way but Wednesday’s dismissal of Colin Craig may simply have said what many National Party MPs may have been thinking for some time.

The Rodney MP, a former policeman and hostage negotiator, caused a minor stir when he initially batted off questions of whether he would step aside to allow Craig a free run, as a matter for the prime minister.

Later that day, as the comment was taken as a sign of an impending deal, Mitchell had clearly grown frustrated, quoting the lovable protagonist from The Castle as he dismissed Craig’s chances of pushing him aside.

“Tell him he’s dreamin’.”

Last election Craig pushed his dodgy polls that said he was in front in Rodney, and Mark Mitchell still spanked him by 12,000 votes. The biggest supporters of Colin Craig anywhere are those who have never met him.

With Mitchell the most junior of the National candidates in the three seats, and Craig standing in Rodney in 2011, attention naturally turned initially to Mitchell. But Rodney is more likely to provide a lesson on just what is required to assist Craig into Parliament than it is to be the new Conservative headquarters.

When voters were last given the choice between the two, with Mitchell largely an unknown and Craig running an expensive campaign, the decision was emphatic. Mitchell won by more than 12,000 votes.

Although the back benches of Parliament have hardly raised Mitchell’s profile nationwide, three years on there is little to suggest that Rodney voters will be more likely to push for the Conservatives this time.

That fact may frame the thinking on a deal with Craig: a cup of tea with the prime minister may not be enough if Mitchell is on the ballot.

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It wasn’t Labour, or John Key, so who ordered the censorship at Fairfax?

Earlier today I busted Fairfax with their radical censorship of an article that was published yesterday.

Huge amounts of the original article were expunged and replaced with additions that made no sense. So much was removed that it shows clear manipulation of the story by someone.

WOBH?contacted Labour and received an emphatic denial that they were involved in censoring the story. The spokesman for David Cunliffe said “We aren’t that powerful”.

Contact was also made with John Key’s people who as predicted said it wasn’t them.

I stand by my statement earlier that John Key probably laughed out loud when he saw David Cunliffe was calling him a liar.

Fairfax have now added a disclaimer to the bottom of the edited article.

balance Read more »

John Key on the nasties in parliament

John Key spoke to some Tawa College students about the nasty party tactics of the opposition.

Hamish Rutherford reports:

Politicians risk offending the public through “nasty” behaviour or mindless tweets, Prime Minister John Key says.

Animosity in the House appears to have stepped up in recent weeks, and Key said today that there had been “a bit of a nasty streak running through Parliament”.

NZ First leader Winston Peters this week referred to his former caucus colleague, Brendan Horan, as the “Jimmy Savile of New Zealand Parliament”.

Horan claimed the next day that NZ First was misusing taxpayers’ funds by using its leader’s budget to pay for software designed to attract members.

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne, one of New Zealand’s longest-serving MPs, said this week that behaviour in the House had hit a “lower low than we’ve had in a long time”. MPs were using parliamentary privilege for a “free hit” on opponents.

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Another Cunliffe cock up [UPDATED]

As suspected and intimated here on the blog it was David Cunliffe’s office and Curran’s who inadvertently leaked Dotcom’s conceived ICT policy from LAbour.

How many more cock ups will Labour’s caucus put up with from this tool.

But it gets worse…they have named Rob Egan…long suspected to be a blogger at The Standard as the culprit.

However late last night Labour’s chief press secretary Simon Cunliffe confirmed that the email sent in error actually came not from Curran’s office, but from that of the Labour leader.

While Simon Cunliffe would not say who the particular staffer was, Fairfax has been told it came from Rob Egan, a former communications manager for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Curran could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile Fairfax is saying yesterday that it was Cunliffe’s worst day yesterday…that was before this latest cockup.

David Cunliffe faced his worst day as Labour leader yesterday after admitting to a lapse of judgment over a trust that channelled anonymous donations to his leadership bid.

He was then forced to watch as National crowed over the accidental leak of his party?s information technology to a government minister.? Read more »

Hooton’s campaign of misinformation begins

So Matthew Hooton has finally started his broadband campaign against the Government, as revealed on this blog two days ago. As usual he has used the same tired old grouping of the disaffected, the greedy and included tax dodging ratbags and second rate bloggers to patch over the appearance that the grouping is nothing more than his drinking buddies.

I have to give Hooton some credit, though. Even though he was openly boasting that he was going to get journalists to fall for his campaign, the journalists have still taken the bait hook, line and sinker.

In saying that, it was nice of Hamish Rutherford to acknowledge me in his story today, although he?s since removed the compliment.

The campaign is expected to come under attack from the Government, and has already been slated by Right-wing blogger Whaleoil.

What?s become clear from today?s launch is that the broadband campaign is actually a Labour-led political campaign.? Read more »

Labour’s SkyCity hypocrisy, Ctd

David Shearer has now had to admit that despite calling the SkyCity deal “sleazy” he is quite happy to pop in and avail himself of their hospitality, which he described and just saying hello.

Patrick Gower doesn’t think much of this:

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Busted – Shearer enjoyed SkyCity hospitality while slagging them off as sleazy

So, when David Shearer was slagging off SkyCity yesterday in parliament he didn’t feel just a little bit guilty of such sanctimonious hypocrisy?

John Key needs Peter Dunne to pass the Skycity deal?that sleazy deal?because all he needs is one vote, and that is coming from Peter Dunne.? Read more »