Compare the chairs

September 2, 2014

Duncan Garner chaired last week’s debate between the finance spokespeople for five parties.

He began by saying each speaker had three minutes to give a pitch and he’d accept interjections if they were witty.

The speakers largely abided by his rules and on the few occasions any tried to speak over another Garner quelled him.

On Sunday  Corin Dann chaired a debate between Finance Minister Bill English and Labour’s spokesman David Parker.

He kept control throughout, only rarely did one of the MPs try to talk over the other and Dann kept good control when that happened.

In both debates the audience heard almost every word the speakers said.

Contrast that with the Leaders’ Debate between Prime Minister John Key  and Labour’s David Cunliffe on Thursday.

Mike Hosking rarely seemed to be in control and let Cunliffe away with constant interruptions.

The result was he looked like a boor and it was difficult to hear what either he of the PM was saying.

I wondered if Hosking was worried about the perception of bias, Kerre McIvor does too:

. . . Moderator Mike Hosking could have been more aggressive himself.

There had been criticism from Labour over the choice of Hosking to chair the debate. It felt he had pinned his colours to the mast by introducing Key at a business meeting and exhorting those there to vote for him.

Perhaps Hosking felt a little hamstrung – if he pulled up Cunliffe too often, the accusations of bias would appear to have some justification. . .

That a debate could have a strong influence on how people vote is concerning.

But whether or not it does, it should allow the speakers to speak and the audience to hear what they say and it’s the chair’s role to ensure they do.

Not PC has some advice on a proper debate.

Garner and Dann showed how to do it.

The chairs in the remaining debates should follow their example.


Poll of polls

September 2, 2014

Colin James’ poll of polls:

Two new polls have affirmed a moderate downward trend in National’s support since July — but only to a still-high level of support at which to govern it would need, at most, support from ACT’s and United Future’s single electorate seats. National’s latest four-poll average was 48.4%.

Labour looks to be troughing. But it also appeared to have troughed in July, only to drop again in early August. Its latest average was 26.2%, below its whole-of-2014 average of 28.8%.

The polls in the latest four-poll average were all taken after Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book was launched on August 13 but before Judith Collins’ sudden resignation on 30 August. The latest midpoint between the start and finish of interviewing was 25 August.

Amidst all this, the Greens held steady at a 12.5% average, which would net it 16 seats, half of the total Labour could expect on its reading.

cjpoll

cjpolls

The two winners from the fallout from National and Labour have been New Zealand First, average 5.2%, and the Conservatives, average 3.1%, both slightly down from recent peaks. Internet-Mana was 2.6%, the Maori party 0.9% (not enough to bring in additional seats to Te Ururoa Flavell’s electorate seat unless other candidates win electorate seats), ACT 0.4% and United Future 0.2%.

A Maori Television poll has Maori Party leader and sitting MP Te Ururoa Flavell with 50% support in Waiariki.

The Maori Party has voted with the opposition more than the government. But given the choice of working with a National-led government of propping up a Labour/Green/NZ First/ Internet/Mana one it is almost certain to opt for stability and certainty rather than instability.

 


Beyer sees the light

September 2, 2014

The rope between the Internet and Mana parties is beginning to fray:

Internet Mana candidate Georgina Beyer has gone rogue and come out swinging at her party’s so-called visionary, Kim Dotcom.

She says he’s pulling the strings and is in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge.

Internet Mana’s the party that’s big on going big – big names, big productions, big personalities. But now it seems it’s got big problems too.

“Who is pulling the strings? Well, the big man himself,” says Ms Beyer.

Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP and New Zealand’s first transgender MP, is Mana’s candidate in the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga.

She believes Dotcom is tearing her party apart.

“His reasons for becoming involved in New Zealand politics in the way he has is one of retribution against people who he feels have slighted him,” says Ms Beyer. . .

She has seen the light but her leader was still letting the puppet master pull his strings last week:

The Internet Mana Party has had another media blowout, with Hone Harawira stopping an interview and walking off after just one question.

Mr Harawira refused to talk about his party’s U-turn on cannabis and would only take questions on a Te Tai Tokerau candidates’ debate.

He was once one of Parliament’s toughest opponents to cannabis, but Mr Harawira has flip flopped. Mana now wants to see decriminalisation – fitting with the preferred position of Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party. . .

Dotcom is buying political power for two reasons – hatred of Prime Minister John Key and an attempt to stop his extradition to face charges in the USA.

The  IMP agreement need last no longer than six weeks after the election. If Beyer can persuade others in the party to return to their principles it could fall apart much sooner.


September 2 in history

September 2, 2014

44 BC  Pharaoh Cleopatra VII of Egypt declared her son co-ruler as Ptolemy XV Caesarion.

44 BC  The first of Cicero’s Philippics (oratorical attacks) on Mark Antony.

31 BC  Final War of the Roman Republic: Battle of Actium – off the western coast of Greece, forces of Octavian defeated troops under Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

1649  The Italian city of Castro was completely destroyed by the forces of Pope Innocent X, ending the Wars of Castro.

1666  The Great Fire of London broke out and burned for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral.

1752  Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar, nearly two centuries later than most of Western Europe.

1789  The United States Department of the Treasury was founded.

1792  During what became known as the September Massacres of the French Revolution, rampaging mobs slaughtered three Roman Catholic Church bishops, more than two hundred priests, and prisoners believed to be royalist sympathisers.

1807  The Royal Navy bombarded Copenhagen with fire bombs and phosphorus rockets to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon.

1833  Oberlin College was founded by John Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart.

1856  Tianjing Incident in Nanjing, China.

1862  American Civil War:  President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restored Union General George B. McClellan to full command after General John Pope’s disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run.

1867 Mutsuhito, Emperor Meiji of Japan, married Masako Ichijō.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan – Prussian forces took Napoleon III of France and 100,000 of his soldiers prisoner.

1885  Rock Springs massacre:  150  miners, who were struggling to unionize so they could strike for better wages and work conditions, attacked their Chinese fellow workers, killing 28, wounding 15, and forcing several hundred more out of town.

1898 Battle of Omdurman– British and Egyptian troops defeat ed Sudanese tribesmen and establish British dominance in Sudan.

1901  Vice President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt uttered the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” at the Minnesota State Fair.

1925  The U.S. Zeppelin the USS Shenandoah crashed, killing 14.

1935  Labor Day Hurricane  hit the Florida Keys killing 423.

1937 Derek Fowlds, British actor, was born.

1945 World War II: Combat ended in the Pacific Theatre: the Instrument of Surrender of Japan was signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

1945 Vietnam declared its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1946  Interim Government of India was formed with Jawaharlal Nehru as Vice President.

1957 President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam became the first foreign head of state to make a state visit to Australia.

1958 United States Air Force C-130A-II was shot down by fighters over Yerevan, Armenia when it strayed into Soviet airspace while conducting a sigint mission. All crew members were killed.

1959 Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil, was born.

1960  New Zealand enjoyed perhaps its greatest day ever at an Olympic Games. First Peter Snell won gold in the 800 m, and then within half an hour Murray Halberg won the 5000 m to complete a remarkable track double in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

Golden day for Kiwi runners in Rome

1960 The first election of the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration. The Tibetan community observes this date as Democracy Day.

1967 The Principality of Sealand was established, ruled by Prince Paddy Roy Bates.

1972 – New Zealand’s rowing eight won gold in Munich.

1990  Transnistria was unilaterally proclaimed a Soviet republic; the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev declared the decision null and void.

1992  An earthquake in Nicaragua killed at least 116 people.

1996  A peace agreement was signed between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front in Malacañang Palace.

1998  Swissair Flight 111 crashed near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia. All 229 people on board were killed.

1998 The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Jean Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

September 1, 2014

Comminatory – threatening, punitive, or vengeful; a clause inserted into a law, edict, patent, etc, describing a punishment that is to be imposed on delinquents, which, however, is not in practice executed with the rigor that is conveyed in the description, or not even executed at all.


Two killed at WINZ office

September 1, 2014

Two people are dead and another seriously injured after being shot in the Ashburton WINZ office:

 

. . . A balaclava-clad man carrying a sawn-off shotgun entered the Work and Income office on the corner of Cass and Moore streets and fired several shots before fleeing on a bike.

The gunman was last seen heading towards the Ashburton river. Shots have reportedly been heard since coming from the river. 

A source told Fairfax Media that one person was shot dead on site and another died at Ashburton Hospital.

Police confirmed that two people had been killed and the third person was in hospital. . . .

This is firstly a tragedy for those who died, their family friends and workmates.

It is also a shock for the community and other public servants:

Ashburton District Mayor Angus McKay said he felt “weak at the knees” when he heard about the shooting at the town’s Work and Income office.

“Ashburton is not this kind of town,” he said.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett called it “an extreme situation and tragedy”, adding that all resources were going into looking after WINZ staff.

She was travelling down to the town this afternoon.

Public Service Association (PSA) said the shooting was a tragedy and nobody should go to work in fear that they might not return home. 

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy,”

“We don’t know what the cause is, but we will be supporting our members from Ashburton Work and Income at this terrible time. . . .

This has already been used for political point scoring on Twitter.

It shouldn’t be.

No political views justify killing innocent people at work.

It’s a tragedy.


Rural round-up

September 1, 2014

Agri-careers promoted - Sally Rae:

Agriculture is ”far more than milking cows and drafting sheep”.

That was the message from Jacqueline Rowarth, professor of agribusiness at Waikato University, to a group of Dunedin secondary school pupils last week.

”It’s everything that New Zealand does because New Zealand business is agribusiness … Our whole lifestyle is from what we export,” she said. . . .

Effluent making power, hot water :

Dairy effluent could be used as a source of heat and electricity on Southland dairy farms.

If trials are successful, the dairy farming waste product could become a valued resource in the future.

Monitoring at two farms in Dacre and Pukerau has shown that anaerobic digestion of dairy farm effluent in unheated effluent ponds, is consistently producing large volumes of methane, even during the cold conditions of the Southland winter. . .

Retiring Fonterra director looks for new challenges  – Gerald Piddock:

Jim van der Poel has lived and breathed Fonterra for more than a decade.

But after serving on the board of the country’s biggest company for 12 years, the Waikato farmer will step down as a director at Fonterra’s annual meeting in November.

A board member since 2002, van der Poel was immensely satisfied with the role he played in Fonterra’s development over the past decade. . .

No excuse now – Richard Rennie:

The right kit, the right market conditions, and high-quality supply mean there will be no excuses for Fonterra’s executive not to deliver higher dividends and milk prices to its shareholders.

Large-scale south Waikato farmer Ian Elliott believes that after last week’s $1.2 billion investment announcement into plant and Chinese market ventures, the company should be poised to achieve its full potential for New Zealand and farmer shareholders.

“Having investment into plants that can produce higher value products removes that last barrier to achieving the optimum returns for farmers,” Elliott said. . .

Time to leverage export dominance -

Fonterra has given its value-creation wheel a strong crank by announcing more processing plant construction at home and a new joint venture with Beingmate, the No 1 infant formula company in China.

Its borrowing intentions of $1.2 billion will increase the debt:equity ratio to 45%.

At home it needs to expand peak processing capacity and avoid the constraints which cost farmers about $900 million last season in foregone revenue. . .

Council approves dam funds -

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has approved an advance of $3.1 million to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) to cover the period until financial close on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

The decision was made in a public-excluded session of Wednesday’s council meeting and supported by all councillors present.

Given the lodging of appeals to the High Court on the proposal, financial close for the scheme will no longer occur by September 30, with the best estimate now March 31 next year.

All investment funds contributed by the council in this development phase are part of its overall financial contribution to the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.  . . .

 

 

 


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