Govt seeks clarification on Minaret Station ruling


The government is seeking clarification from the High Court on the Land Valuation Tribunal’s decision on the Minaret Station rent case.

Minaret Station took a test case to the tribunal after the previous government decreed amenity values be included in the value when rent was set on pastoral lease properties.

The Tribunal ruled in Minaret’s favour.

A media release from Minister of Land Information, Maurice Williamson and Agriculture Minister David Carter is quite clear they are seeking clarification of the ruling on a technicality not amenity values.

The Government remains supportive of the decision and is committed to implementing pastoral lease rents based on the earnings capacity of a property,” say Agriculture Minister David Carter and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson.

“However, the Solicitor General has advised the judgment leaves an unclear definition of “capital value” which presents some complexities around valuing pastoral leases in the future.

“For this reason, further clarification is needed,” say Mr Carter and Mr Williamson.

“This is not about amenity values.  This Government has no intention of revisiting Labour’s policy of including amenity values in the rent setting process,” says Mr Carter.

“It is a case of defining a narrow technical aspect of the ruling.”

“We want to bring certainty to the application of our previously stated policy on pastoral lease rents.  Clarifying the decision will benefit both the Crown and leaseholders,” the Ministers say.

Any suggestion that the government was planning to relitigate the issue of amenity values would have been very disappointing for pastoral lessees. The Ministers have made it quite clear they aren’t going to go there so I don’t think this announcement will cause any concern. 

But the issue has been financially and emotionally expensive for lessees so I hope the technical issue is settled quickly.

Music, In A Foreign Lanugage


In the dim, dark recesses of my memory lurks a vague trace of a poem about foreign language which would be appropriate for International Languages Week.

Try as I might I can’t dig it out so went searching on the internet and found Music, In A Foreign Language by Andrew Crumey at

 – Music, In A Foreign Language –

In a cafe, once more I heard
Your voice – those sparse and frugal notes.
Do they not say that you spoke your native Greek
With an English accent?

Briefest of visions: eyes meet across the cafe;
A man of about my age – eyelids heavy,
Perhaps from recent pleasures.
I begin the most innocent of conversations.

Again I see that image;
Ancient delight of flesh
Against guiltless flesh.
Sweeter still, in its remembering.

Most innocent of conversations: once more, I am mistaken.
He leaves; the moment lost – and to forego
The squalor of this place, I read again your lines; those sparse and frugal notes.
In a taverna, you found beauty, long ago.

And when you draw, with your slim, swift pen
The image of that memory – time’s patient hostage;
Then how can I forget him, that boy whom you could not forget,
Or that music, in a foreign language?

– Andrew Crumey –

Who’s confused Sue?


The referendum on child discipline hasn’t closed yet, but Sue Bradford is already making excuses:

“Feedback I’ve received from the public over the last few weeks tells me a lot of people feel pretty angry at the confused nature of the referendum question and the waste of $9 million of taxpayers’ money this represents,” she said.

The waste of money started when the law was drafted badly in the first place. It continued when former Prime Minister Helen Clark refused to allow the referendum to take place with last year’s general election when it would have cost much less.

The referendum is badly worded but it’s not hard to work out what its intention. It is asking people if they support the law change which made it illegal to smack children for the purposes of correction. Those who do should vote yes, those who don’t should vote no.

That is much clearer than the law itself which even it’s architect doesn’t understand because she says:

“The `Yes’ vote is a vote for keeping the law as it is, providing children with the same legal protection from violence as adults.

She’s wrong.

The law for which she is responsible, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act says:

 Parental control

  • (1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of—

  • (a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
  •  (b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
  • (c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or
  • (d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.
  • (2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.

    (3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).

    (4) To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.

     Which bit of justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of – preventing . . . don’t you understand Sue?

    Smacking to correct is illegal, smacking to prevent is not.

    The wording of the referendum could be better but its intent is clear. That is more than you can say about the law which criminalises parents who smack for correction but protects those who use the same amount of force, or more, providing they do it for prevention.

    To misquote Blackadder, this law is so stupid you could pin a tail on it and call it an ass.

    We’re still highly taxed


    If  KPMG’s international tax survey was a school report, New Zealand would be told it has improved but could do better.

    We’ve moved from 18th to 24th on the list which shows the level of personal tax paid.

    The improvement is a result of dropping tax rates and increasing the top tax threshold from $60,000 to $70,000. However, as KPMG New Zealand partner Paul Dunne points out (in the NBR) that’s less than twice the average wage and a very low income to attract a top tax rate by international standards.

    Australia is 34th on the list. Its top tax rate is 45% but that doesn’t kick in until personal income gets to $180,000.

    Bahrain, the Cayman Islands, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates top the list with a 0 rate of personal income tax.

    Is that what oil does for an economy? If so, what a pity milk and meat don’t have the same effect.

    Holding hands across the water


    A population of four million people isn’t a very big city by international standards and makes us a very small country.

    When we’re so small we need good mates, and no relationship is more important for New Zealand than that with our closest and biggest neighbour, Australia.

    The joint statement from Prime Ministers John Key and Kevin Rudd  commits to strengthening trans-Tasman economic integration; streamlining travel and trade between the two countries,;co-operation between our Productivity Commissions,;collaboration on the design, implementation and a linking of emissions trading schemes; and continuing very close defence relationships.

    Both countries have a lot to gain from all of these but I am not convinced we should go as far as a common currency.

    Using euros in several countries makes travelling in Europe much easier for tourists. But locals gave us the impression that the countries with stronger currencies had benefitted more and those with weaker ones had found it costlier. If that is so it might not be as good for us as Australia.

    (That is based on anecdote, you’ll get a more scientific analysis at The Visible Hand where Matt Nolan has the pros and cons of a common currency).

    While holding hands across the Tasman has benefits for both of us, the sporting rivalry will always remain. Both Prime Ministers have an extra reason to hope their team wins the rugby tomorrow because they’ve agreed the one whose team loses will wear the other team’s tie on Monday.

    Doctoring assumptions


    Listening to acting Prime Minister Tony Ryall talk to Jamie McKay on The Farming Show yesterday I was reminded of a conundrum which did the rounds about 30 years ago:

    A father and his son were involved in an accident and both were very seriously injured. They were taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance and admitted to the emergency department. A general surgeon was summoned to treat the father and a peadiatric surgeon was called for the child.

    The surgeon, took one horrified look at the wee boy and said, “That’s my son.”

    Who was the surgeon?

    If you can’t work it out, listen to Tony explain about the rural bonding scheme for medical graduates.

    If you still can’t work it out, the explanation is after the break. Read the rest of this entry »

    August 21 in history


    On August 21:

    1770 James Cook formally claimed east Australia for Great Britain and called it New South Wales.

    1920 Christopher Robin Milne, who inspired his father to write the Pooh Bear stories, was born.

    The real stuffed toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne and featured in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
    1930 Princess Margaret was born.
    1938 Kenny Rogers was born.

    1958 Auckland became the first New Zealand city to introduce the Barnes Dance, stopping all traffic to enable pedestrians to cross in all directions at once.
    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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