Nicky Wagner

Government moves to legalise e-cigs

The government has made a smart move for once, they’ve decided to make e-cigs legal.

The Government has unveiled plans to make e-cigarettes legal, in a bid to claw back lost ground on the ambitious target to make New Zealand smokefree by 2025.

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner has announced the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid will be made legal and will likely come into force late next year.

“Scientific evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes is still developing but there’s a general consensus that vaping is much less harmful than smoking,” she said.

“This is an opportunity to see if restricted access to e-cigarettes and e-liquid can help lower our smoking rates, reduce harm and save lives.”

Read more »

Tagged:

It’s election year next year, of course they aren’t going to change it now

Nicky Wagner is no slouch and she knows that whacking GST on online purchases in an election year might well cost significant amounts of votes.

That’s why she’s parked the issue until at least 2018.

The Government wants to lower the threshold on online purchases which qualify for GST from mid-2018, but says more work is needed and there will be no change without public consultation.

Currently, online purchases don’t qualify for GST and tariff duty unless the total tax owed is $60 or more – meaning a purchase price of about $400. But goods such as clothes, accessories, and shoes attract both duty and GST, meaning charges may be payable when the purchase price exceeds $225, according to the New Zealand Customs Service.   Read more »

Tagged:

All this talk of gifting seats to Labour is nonsense and wishful thinking

The Labour-Greens deal has been hammered as a meaningless piece of political theatre, and deservedly so because it achieves nothing. It could achieve something though, if the Greens stop being vote stealers and not run candidates in marginal seats where Labour has a chance of winning. Andrew Little should take a look at the Herald suggestions but not too seriously, and negotiate a deal to see Labour win seats because there is no Green candidate.

 Labour’s leader, Andrew Little, was quick to reserve his party’s options post-election, saying the agreement would end on election day. Is it a non-aggression pact for the election? It could be, they say. They might consider not contesting some seats to give a candidate from one or the other a better chance of winning. But that has not been decided either. Will it mean joint policies? Possibly.

The three seats where the Green candidate gifts the seat to National are Auckland Central, Ohariu & Christchurch Central.

Auckland Central  Nikki Kaye has a margin of 600 over Jacinda Adern. Denise Roche, the Green candidate, won 2080 votes. Those votes going to Labour could have seen a relatively comfortable victory to Jacinda.

Ohariu  Peter Dunne has a margin of 710 over the highly rated Ginny Andersen. The Green candidate, Tane Woodley, got 2764 votes.

Christchurch Central  This is a little harder for Labour to win as Nicky Wagner has a majority of 2420 thanks to exceptional work in the electorate over a long period of time, but she was running against a drip, Tony Milne from Labour, and David Moorehouse from the Greens won 2800 votes. Like Ginny Andersen, the Labour candidate, Duncan Web, is extremely highly rated by people outside the Labour Party, mainly for doing the Lords work fighting EQC, so he would have a good chance if the Greens did not run a candidate.   Read more »

Nicky Wagner needs to explain herself

Nicky Wagner as Customs Minister issued a press release on Friday regarding Customs and Excise Act amendments.

Buried in the middle of her release is mention of the contentious issue regarding accessing private computing devices at the border.

“The Government has agreed in principle that Customs needs to meet a statutory threshold before examining electronic devices.  We have asked Customs to do further work on what this would look like in practice and report back prior to introduction of the Bill.  The Government has also agreed in principle that, once the threshold is met, a person should have to assist Customs with the examination if asked.”

Which seems rather too broad for my liking, especially since Customs documents show that cabinet wanted a very, very broad definition and search and seizure regime in place.

customs 1 Read more »

Reader Content: A lesson in being stonewalled

by Rodney Hide

Whaleoil Readers may remember I have been trying to find out why the Insolvency and Trustee Service has had private investigators asking questions about my activities and movements.

My best mate Hendo is bankrupt — and they are investigating him; after all, everyone else has had a crack — but the Service has no power or authority to be investigating me.

My friends and colleagues have been detained without charge and compelled to give testimony by a Mr Dennis Parsons and a Ms Katherine Keneally from the firm Indepth Forensics Ltd. The two on behalf of the Official Assignee have hovered up information about me, my friends, my family, up to and including the health status of my mother- and father-in-law.

I am anxious to know what they want to know and why.  And why they have never approached me.

I have emailed and rung the Official Assignee Mandy McDonald to no avail. I have been to her Christchurch office to be told by Deputy Official Assignee Robyn Cox that she knows nothing of the investigation and that her staff were present at the interrogations only for the purpose of administering the oath.

She then called a security guard should I return. The security guard was employed for a week. I know because I took him coffee each morning with the promise I would be back the next day.

I have been to my local MP Nicky Wagner.  She secured me the Official Assignee’s assurance that I am not under investigation but this is patently untrue.

I have rung Indepth Forensics only to have them hang up and they refuse to answer my emails.   Read more »

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner wants laws that will only catch stupid people

Can’t say I’m against beating on stupid people, but it doesn’t make for good governance to have stupid laws for stupid people.

Powers that would require a person to provide a password or access to their electronic device will be useless if their material is instead stored online, Customs Minister Nicky Wagner admits.

However, Ms Wagner insists such a change to legislation is necessary and will still enable Customs to catch people with illegal material.

Customs’ preferred option is to require passwords for electronic devices without meeting a threshold, such as suspicion of criminal activity.

Ms Wagner has indicated a “two-tiered” approach could be taken with some sort of threshold met before a password was required.

She would not say what that could mean for travellers.

“We are premature to be able to say where we have landed … We want to manage it in the least intrusive way, but we need to catch the baddies.”

Critics of the proposal, including the NZ Council for Civil Liberties, have cited what they see as serious workability issues around the proposed change to require passwords, including the fact a person can have documents or files in cloud storage, meaning they will not be kept on an electronic device.

“Yes, you can say, ‘Well, you can put it in the cloud.’ And if they had any sense that’s what they would do. But actually, we catch [people with illegal material on devices]. It is still necessary,” Ms Wagner said.

Currently, when Customs examines a person’s electronic device the owner is not legally obliged to provide a password or encryption key.

The agency says if people refuse, it can leave no way to uncover evidence of criminal offending even when officers know the device holds that evidence.

Of nearly 90 submissions on a discussion paper on changes to the Customs and Excise Act, about 10 to 20 were opposed to Customs having the power to request a password, Ms Wagner said.

“That’s a few people I think reading the paper, thinking ‘this is outrageous’, without really understanding the whole background and context.”

Yeah, just a few people reading the paper that are outraged about the erosion of civil liberties.  Let’s just marginalise them.

Another example concerns the Ministry of Education and states, “Sharing passenger movement information could help match truancy information to more effectively intervene with children truant from school.” Katrina Casey, from the ministry, said she was not aware of any discussions about such a proposal.

Ms Wagner said she believed the document’s author “got a bit carried away”.

“Remember, we could be writing this legislation for 20, 50 or 100 years. So we are trying to write the greatest flexibility into that system.”

So first she’s wanting legislation that is easily circumvented and will only catch stupid people, and then she justifies the more excessive ideas by saying it needs to be future proofed.

Wagner is clearly out of her depth and just spewing sound bites.

 

– Nicholas Jones, a newspaper

Tagged:

Trotter comes back from his ‘mare with a ripper

Chris Trotter had a nightmare of a post about the wogs going broke in Greece.

But he has recovered his composure with a great post about how much distress Labour is in.

IF EVERYONE who voted for their Labour candidate in last year’s election had also given Labour their Party Vote, National would have lost. The discrepancy between the two vote tallies is startling. Everybody’s heard about Labour’s woeful 2014 Party Vote. At just 25 percent, it was Labour’s worst electoral performance since 1922. Nowhere near as well known, however, is the number of votes cast for Labour Party candidates across the country’s 71 electorates. That number, at 801,287, is 196,752 larger than the 604,535 Party Votes Labour received. If every Electorate Vote for Labour had been matched by a Party Vote, the percentage figure alongside Labour’s name on election night would not have been a derisory 25, but a much more respectable 34 – almost certainly enough to have changed the government.

Such a huge discrepancy between the Party and Electorate Votes indicates a political party in serious trouble. What it reveals is that where voters are either well acquainted with, or have been introduced effectively to their Labour Party candidate, they are much more likely to place a tick beside his or her name. When it comes to Labour as an entity in its own right, however, the inclination to give the party a tick is nowhere near as strong.

What this says is that people like some of their local Labour MPs but think the party as a whole are unfit to govern.

In the Christchurch electorate of Port Hills, for example, the long-serving Labour candidate, Ruth Dyson, received 18,161 electorate votes. The Labour Party on its own, however, mustered just 9,514 Party Votes – a whopping 9,205 less than National’s 18,719 Party Votes. Small wonder, then, that 27 of the 32 MPs in Labour’s caucus are electorate MPs, with only 5 coming in off the Party List.

Unless this situation is turned around – and quickly – Labour’s electoral performance can only deteriorate. As the party’s well-known and affectionately regarded electorate MPs retire, the assumption that Labour people will replace Labour people is being called into question. Once again, Christchurch supplies the example. The parliamentary seat of Christchurch Central was for decades regarded as one of the safest of Labour’s “safe” seats. True to form, in the 2005 General Election Labour’s majority was 7,836. In 2008, however, with a new candidate, it’s majority shrank to just 935. Three years later, National’s Nicky Wagner took the seat with a majority of 47 votes. In last year’s election National increased its majority to 2,420. Significantly, National’s share of the Party Vote over those four general elections rose from 30.5 to 44.6 percent. Labour will have to work very hard to recover Christchurch Central in 2017.

Read more »

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 »

What would National get for a pig hunt with Paula?

The pommy tory party has managed to auction off shoe shopping with Theresa May for an awful lot of money.

A mystery bidder paid more than £17,500 for a shoe shopping trip with Theresa May at Tory’s annual Black and White fund-raising dinner.

The dinner raised far in excess of its £3million target and was hailed as one of the most successful fund-raising events in the party’s history.

The opportunity to go shoe-shopping with the Home Secretary, which included tea and a £500 voucher for store in Bond Street, central London, was one of the star lots and bidding continued until after midnight. Mrs May is renowned for her leopard-print kitten heels and diamante patent brogues.

Read more »

Labour’s Tony Milne Problem

The Labour Party has a really big problem.

It keeps selecting candidates that cannot win, even in seats that they should win.

The best example of this is Tony Milne in Christchurch Central.

Milne did the hard yards over the years, made all the right connections and was very, very close to former MP Tim Barnett.

The problem is that to win you actually need to be electable.

Milne was never electable. Unfortunately for Tony he has absolutely no presence. He is a midget that wears massive dark framed glasses and walks into a room and nobody notices him.

Check out Tony’s campaign video.

Read more »