Word of the day

June 20, 2011

Quisguous  – perplexing, puzzling.


Hubbards to face charges – UPDATED

June 20, 2011

“What would you have said if this had happened under a Labour government?” my farmer asked when news broke that Allan and Jean Hubbard were being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

I would have ranted and I would have been wrong. This is a matter for the law not politics.

There is no doubt the Hubbards did a lot of good for their community and the wider economy but there are very serious questions about whose money they used to do it, albeit for no personal financial gain.

In Counting the Cost Rebecca Macfie wrote:

If the Hubbards are indeed found to have committed fraud, their famously frugal lifestyle and commitment to charity – Hubbard estimates he has given away $200 million over the years – suggest they have not profited personally. But that’s irrelevant to the SFO: “Personal gain is not necessarily a requirement of fraud or theft,” says Feeley. “If I take $100 from you and say I am going to put it in the bank, whether I give it to the IHC or bet it at the race track, either way that would be a fraudulent act.”

A law unto himself, another Listener story by Macfie, provides a good background to the saga and if you enter Hubbard as a search term in the NBR the headlines tell a very sorry story.

Now the NBR reports D-Day for Hubbards?:

The Financial Markets Authority and the Serious Fraud Office were today set to lay charges in relation to a finance company, with speculation focused on Allan Hubbard’s Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Management Funds.

NBR was aware of last minute discussions between Mr Hubbard’s lawyer Mike Heron and the SFO over how the decision would be announced. A press release was due to be sent out by the regulators today.

It is a year and a day since the news first broke that the SFO was investigating the Hubbards.

It will have been a hard year for them – and for the people who trusted them with their money who will be lucky to get much, if any of it back among whom are the taxpayers who guaranteed deposits.

UPDATE: NBR reports: Hubbard to face 50 charges.


Key’s address to Aust parliament on TV

June 20, 2011

Prime Minister John Key’s address to the Australian parliament will be broadcast live on Sky channel 90 just before 5pm today.


Who do we trust?

June 20, 2011

The top three places in the Readers Digest Most Trusted people in 2011 go to scientists:

1. Sir Ray Avery, scientist, inventor, New Zealander of the Year 2010
2. Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister
3. Sir Paul Callaghan, physicist and New Zealander of the Year 2011

That is good publicity for scientists and science, although it is important to keep in mind the survey is biased from the start because participants are asked to rank people already selected not choose them themselves.

The others in the top 10 are:

4. The Hon. Justice Helen Winkelmann, Chief High Court Judge 
5. Roger Hall, film, TV and theatre actor, playwright
6. Bret McKenzie, comedian, actor, and musician 
7. Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, fashion designer
8. Jemaine Clement, comedian, actor, and musician
9. Simon Salt Gault, celebrity chef and MasterChef judge
10. Tony Kokshoorn, Grey District Mayor

Is this the first time a politician has appeared this high?

Certainly other politicians don’t score well:

The Rt. Hon. John Key, current Prime Minister (90);  Paul Holmes, broadcaster (91);  Paul Henry, journalist, radio and TV presenter (92);  Jim Anderton, Progressive Party leader (93);  The Hon. Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister (94); The Hon. Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs (95);  The Hon. Phil Goff, Labour Party leader (96);  The Hon. Tariana Turia, Maori Party co-leader (97); The Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, New Zealand First leader (98); The Hon. Rodney Hide, Minister of Local Government (99); The Hon. Hone Harawira, activist, and Member for Te Tai Tokerau (100).

Politician isn’t the least trusted profession though, that honour goes to journalists (sigh) and real estate agents. 

Fire fighters, rescue volunteers and paramedics are the most trusted professions (passing quickly over the point that volunteers aren’t professionals).

Participants weren’t asked if they trust this type of survey.


What’s Hone living on?

June 20, 2011

Last month Hone Harawira said that campaigning would be tough because he’d be doing it on the dole.

It’s up to the people of Te Tai Tokerau to judge if someone who’d been receiving an MP’s salary for nearly six years without saving enough to live on for a month  has the nous to be an MP.

They might also ponder how someone who purports to represent the poor and downtrodden doesn’t know there’s a stand-down period for people who’ve resigned from a job before they can receive a benefit.

The rest of us can ponder what he’s living on since he said he had no savings and he’s ineligible for the dole.

Someone with a better understanding of electoral law than I have might know whether donations to a candidate for living expenses count as donations which have to be recorded in election returns.


What’s fairer than free choice?

June 20, 2011

NZUSA is seeking a fairer alternative to the Voluntary Student Membership bill which is grinding its way very, very slowly through parliament.

But what’s fairer than free choice which is all that VSM aims to provide?

 


Leader in waiting for change

June 20, 2011

Prime Minister John Key in July North and South:

“I was lucky because when I became party leader National was in an upswing and the Labour government was in its dying days. I critiqued the government, but was able to spend a lot of that time actually talking about our agenda – what we’d do in power.”

Contrast that with Labour leader Phil Goff seen as to eager to moan in the Manawatu Standard :

The problem here is that Mr Goff looks like he enjoys negativity, that he lies awake at night pondering new ways to be a wet blanket. He frequently comes across as a little too earnest, a bit too eager to moan.

Opposition parties always run that risk, and keeping the Government accountable is important, but Mr Goff will soon need to show he can do a better job in the hot seat than Mr Key. In that regard, he has a great deal of work to do.

John Key took over National as it was gaining support and he’s built on that.

Phil Goff took over a party which had just been thrown out of office after nine years in power. Its support had been falling for most of the last six and he hasn’t been able to turn that round.

John Key has a united caucus, happy to work with him to earn another term in government.

Phil Goff has a divided and directionless caucus. His leadership is safe for now, only because none of his colleagues want to grasp a poisoned chalice.

National is getting on with the business of governing and clearly articulating a plan to build a better New Zealand based on savings, investment and export-led growth.

Phil Goff and Labour aren’t particularly good at critiquing the government. Every time they look like they’re getting somewhere with that they’re sidetracked by sabotage from within, own goals or side shows. If they’ve got a plan they’re having trouble articulating it.

National is running the country.

Labour doesn’t look as if it’s capable of running itself.

John Key is the Prime Minister.

Phil Goff doesn’t look like a Prime Minister in waiting, he looks like a caretaker leader in waiting for the inevitable post-election leadership change.


%d bloggers like this: