Another state house scare letter


Stuff’s report on the awful letter sent to a beneficiary has attracted 214 comments including this one (the 20th at 1:43):

We’ve received a Labour flyer all (with my name and address on it) about not losing the “family home”. Apparently the house we’ve owned for years is actually a state house, and National will sell it out from under us. Go Labour, we’ll be rethinking our options if they get in power. Australia or England?

And the 57th at 1:54:

I received something similar over the weekend. printed label with my name on the envelope stating that if I choose to vote national I will loose my state house. The funny thing is is that I dont live in a state house. Somehow Labour have obtained my details and possibly my social welfare history and placed their own meaning on it. These tactics just make me ashamed for the Labour party

Just this morning Keeping Stock had an excerpt from the States Services Commission on what happened last time labour tried that:

This flyer reminds us of a letter sent to state house tenants by the Labour Party prior to the 2005 election. Then, as is now, dire predictions were made; in that case the letter took the form of a fake eviction notice. In his report to Parliament for that year, the State Services Commissioner noted:

 Eviction notices

The last issue I wish to raise is the unintended and complex consequences for State servants of actions taken during political campaigns. In this election period, the Labour Party sent fake “eviction notices” to several thousand individual State house tenants as part of a housing policy promotion. This action had two consequences for the State Services. Firstly, it raised trust issues as tenants were suspicious that a government agency had given their private information to a political party, and, secondly, Housing New Zealand staff had to manage calls from worried and scared tenants.

Housing New Zealand confirms that it did not release its tenants’ mailing list. Labour Party president Mike Williams stated the party “constructed its own list” from publicly available information (New Zealand Herald, 10 September 2005). However, the outcome of this communication meant that Housing New Zealand call centre staff were placed in the potentially difficult predicament of managing calls from concerned tenants. Call centre staff were given guidance that they must remain neutral and not get into the position where they are discussing the pros and cons of various party policies on housing with tenants.

Repeating the same lies when they know the distress it causes recipients and extra work it causes state servants is despicable.

Kiwiblog has the letter and the facts on National’s record:

The reality under National is has increased the housing stock, with the only sales (a few dozen) being to existing tenants, and the capital used to buy more houses. In fact the total number of state houses has increased by more than 1,000 under National. National has also renovated or upgraded 50,000 state houses.

It is an absolute lie to say National is reviewing all state house tenancies. The policy clearly says only *new* tenancies will be placed on periodic review.

Whaleoil also has a copy of the letter and states the obvious: Labour is the nasty party.

National’s policy is here.


Law lags behind life


The Electoral Commission advises no campaigning is permitted on election day and says:

News stories posted on websites before election day can remain, as long as the website is not advertised on election day. Comment functions should be disabled on all websites, including social media sites, until after 7pm on election day to avoid readers posting statements that could influence voters.

That is the law but it is lagging behind life with so much communication taking place on social media.

Texting (which I don’t think is included), Facebook and Twitter are modern versions of letters and phone calls.

It would be impossible to police all Facebook and Twitter interaction and the idea that someone might be falling foul of the law for telling their friends something which might be construed as influencing their votes is ridiculous.


Where are your principles Pita?


Pita Sharples says the Maori Party opposes National’s plan to sell a minority share in a few state assets but:

He says the Maori Party could support the policy if iwi groups would be able to have priority access to the shares.

What’s happened to his principles? 

The policy is either worth supporting or not. 

I believe it is and that it is a necessary part of much-needed policy to reduce debt.  Some iwi agree and have shown interest in buying shares.

But supporting the policy only if iwi, or anyone else, has priority access is completely unprincipled.  

John Key has ruled out preferential treatment for anyone, saying all New Zealanders would be treated equally.


Look at the people who are telling you not to


Campaigners for MMP are telling us to support them because of the people who are telling us not to.

The same argument can be made for voting for change.

Look who’s telling us not to:

Green Party, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU), the Public Services Association (PSA), New Zealand Dairy Workers Union (NZDWU), Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), The New Zealand Nurses Organisation, First Union Incorporated, Campaign for MMP Incorporated, Labour Party, Rail and Maritime Transport Union Inc (RMTU), Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ), New Zealand Amalgamated Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Inc (EPMU), Unite Union, New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

Online hlep to get off the fence


A group of Massey University students have  launched a non-partisan web based tool to encourage young New Zealander’s to vote in the Election:

As part of a third year Massey University Design & Business project, five design students from various disciplines were challenged to design and develop a simple web-based tool to aid voters’ decision making in the 2011 New Zealand General Election. Moving beyond the classroom, the students believe it will make a difference to the way their peers engage with politics.

The interactive tool matches the users’ values with the values of different parties, as assessed by a panel of experts. A best match is then calculated to narrow down the options to present the most compatible parties. The tool doesn’t tell a user how to vote or specifically who to vote for, but does provide a sense of direction for further independent research. It aims to help put trainer wheels on the future for many young people who believe that politics has no shaping influence in their lives.

On the Fence Project Manager Kieran Stowers said: “A huge number of young people feel peer pressured when voting, either by going along with what their friends think or voting for a particular party just because that’s what their parents do. Or even worse, they don’t vote at all! It shouldn’t be seen as a chore, voting is a way of expressing yourself as an individual and we wanted to help people find their voice”.

You’ll find out more at On The Fence (though when I clicked on both launch it and tutorial my screen froze).

WIll the worm turn again?


The worm used for a telelvision debate between party leaders in 2002 influenced the result of the election.

Peter Dunne made a few sensible comments which the worm, recording reactions of undecided voters in the qudience, responded to positively.

That got media coverage and whatever his party was called then got its best result.

An updated version of the worm, the Ray Morgan Reactor,  is being used for tonight’s debate between John Key and Phil Goff on TV3.

Given that people self-select its results will be unreliable and a distraction from the debate. Just another example of media focussed more on entertainment than enlightenment.

That said, it you want to play the game you can download the reactor for iPhones here and for androids here.

iPhone Screenshot 2

Desperate lies


How much lower will Labour stoop in its desperation?

Cactus Kate calls it  cataclysmic in vileness and she’s right.
Imagine how you’d feel reading this  if you, your partner or you child were ill.
Imagine how you’d feel reading this if your marriage or partnership was rocky.
Imagine how you’d feel if you were on a benefit and didn’t know this is lies.
Imagine how you’d feel if you had a young child, already working and feeling guilty about not being with your baby most of the time.

The woman who received it sent it to Whaleoil and said:

A very ‘classy’ threat from Labour (see attached), it makes me wonder how do they get information about my child… and even if info is accessible, the use of it is rather inappropriate.

Political parties have access to electoral rolls which gives occupations and that could show someone is a beneficiary. But to the best of my knowledge they don’t have access to information on which benefit someone receives or the age of their children.

Regardless of where they obtained the information it is inappropriate use of it, especially when they are lying.

Labour has form for this type of lie-based campaigning. Keeping Stock reminds us of their letter to state house tennents in 2005 and the impact that had on state servants who had to deal with worried recipients.

That letter was full of lies and so is this.

For the record, National’s welfare policy is to introduce the obligation to seek part-time work when the youngest child turns  six five.

UPDATE: As Deborah points out in  the comments the policy also says someone on a benefit who has a subsequent child will have a part-time work expectation when that child turns one.
Note the words part-time and expectation.
That is very different from: under National’s new welfare policy beneficiaries who get pregant will be forced to find work when their baby turns 1 which is what the letter says.
The policy applies only to those who have a child while already on a sole parent benefit and the expectation is for the recipient to seek only part-time work.

13 more reasons to vote for change


The notoriously inaccurate* Horizon poll gives 13 more reasons to ditch MMP:

A Horizon poll of 2874 people is projecting National on 46 seats in a 122-seat parliament, and Labour and the Greens on 50.

That leaves 26 seats to decide the government and, according to Horizon, Winston Peters’ New Zealand First is on track to take up to 13 of them.

The 13 are: 1 a charlatan, 2 who? 3 a man best known for alcohol induced bladder weakness. 4 who?, 5 who? 6 who? 7 who? 8 who?, 9 who? 10 who? 11 who?, 12 who?, 13  who?

* The poll’s results are very different form all others and Keeping Stock and Whaleoil explain how easy it is to manipulate them.

November 21 in history


164 BC – Judas Maccabaeus restored the Temple in Jerusalem, an event commemorated each year by the festival of Hanukkah.

235 – Pope Anterus succeeded Pontian as the nineteenth pope.

1272 – Prince Edward became King of England.

1620 – Plymouth Colony settlers signed the Mayflower Compact.

1694 Voltaire, French philosopher, was born (d. 1778).

1783 – Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent, Marquis d’Arlandes, made the first untethered hot air balloon flight.

1787 Samuel Cunard, Canadian-born shipping magnate, was born.

1789 – North Carolina ratified the United States Constitution and is admitted as the 12th U.S. state.

1791 – Colonel Napoléon Bonaparte was promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the French Republic.

1863 Maori surrendered at Rangiriri.

 Maori surrender at Rangiriri

1877 – Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound.

1894 – Port Arthur massacre: Port Arthur, Manchuria fell to the Japanese, a decisive victory of the First Sino-Japanese War.

1905 – Albert Einstein‘s paper, Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?, was published in the journal “Annalen der Physik”. This paper revealed the relationship between energy and mass which led to the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc².

1910 – Sailors onboard Brazil’s most powerful military units, including the brand-new warships Minas Geraes, São Paulo, and Bahia, violently rebelled in what is now known as the Revolta da Chibata (Revolt of the Whip).

1916 – World War I: A mine exploded and sank HMHS Britannic in the Aegean Sea, killing 30 people.

1918 – Flag of Estonia, previously used by pro-independence activists, is formally adopted as national flag of the Republic of Estonia.

1920 – Irish War of Independence: In Dublin, 31 people were killed in what became known as “Bloody Sunday“.

1922 – Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia took the oath of office, becoming the first female United States Senator.

1927 – Columbine Mine Massacre: Striking coal miners were allegedly attacked with machine guns by a detachment of state police dressed in civilian clothes.

1936 Victor Chang, Australian physician, was born.

1941 Juliet Mills, British actress, was born.

1942 – The completion of the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alcan Highway) was celebrated (however, it was not usable by general vehicles until 1943).

1945 Goldie Hawn, American actress, was born.

1948 George Zimmer, American entrepreneur, was born.

1953 – The British Natural History Museum announced that the “Piltdown Manskull, initially believed to be one of the most important fossilized hominid skulls ever found, is a hoax.

1962 – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army declares a unilateral cease-fire in the Sino-Indian War.

1964 – The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic.

1964 – Second Vatican Council: The third session of the Roman Catholic Church’s ecumenical council closed.

1969 – U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Sato agreed on the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972.

1969 – The first permanent ARPANET link is established between UCLA and SRI.

1970 – Vietnam War: Operation Ivory Coast – A joint Air Force and Army team raided the Son Tay prison camp in an attempt to free American prisoners of war thought to be held there.

1971 – Indian troops, partly aided by Mukti Bahini (Bengali guerrillas), defeat the Pakistan army in the Battle of Garibpur.

1974 – The Birmingham Pub Bombings killed 21 people.

1977 – Minister of Internal Affairs Allan Highet announced that ‘the national anthems of New Zealand would be the traditional anthem “God Save the Queen” and the poem “God Defend New Zealand“, written by Thomas Bracken, as set to music by John Joseph Woods, both being of equal status as national anthems appropriate to the occasion.

God Defend New Zealand manuscript cropped.jpg

1979 – The United States Embassy in Islamabad, was attacked by a mob and set on fire, killing four.

1980 – A fire broke out at the MGM Grand Hotel in Paradise, Nevada (now Bally’s Las Vegas). 87 people were killed and more than 650 injured in the worst disaster in Nevada history.

1980 – Lake Peigneur drained into an underlying salt deposit. A misplaced Texaco oil probe had been drilled into the Diamond Crystal Salt Mine, causing water to flow down into the mine, eroding the edges of the hole. The resulting whirlpool sucked the drilling platform, several barges, houses and trees thousands of feet down to the bottom of the dissolving salt deposit.

1985 – United States Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard was arrested for spying after being caught giving Israel classified information on Arab nations.

1986 – Iran-Contra Affair: National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary start to shred documents implicating them in the sale of weapons to Iran and channeling the proceeds to help fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

1990 – The Charter of Paris for a New Europe refocused the efforts of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europeon post-Cold War issues.

1995 – The Dayton Peace Agreement was initialed ending three and a half years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

1996 – A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store and office building in San Juan, Puerto Rico killed 33.

2002 – NATO invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members.

2004 – The second round of the Ukrainian presidential election led to massive protests and controversy over the its integrity.

2004 – The island of Dominica was hit by the most destructive earthquake in its history.

2004 – The Paris Club agreed to write off 80% (up to $100 billion) of Iraq’s external debt.

2006 – Anti-Syrian Lebanese Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in suburban Beirut.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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