Word of the day

December 12, 2011

Jacitation – loud or public bragging;  false boasting or claim, especially one detrimental to the interests of another; tossing.


First idiot racer’s car to be crushed

December 12, 2011

A Milton idiot will be the first to lose his car crushed under new legislation:

Eighteen-year-old Karn Clarrie Forrest, of Milton, appeared before Judge Stephen O’Driscoll in the Balclutha District Court, sitting in Gore, today on two driving charges.   

Forrest was charged with driving while disqualified and driving a vehicle with a sustained loss of traction on State Highway 1 north of Milton on September 29 . . .

Prosecutor Sergeant Penny Stratford noted as it was Forrest’s  third conviction for driving with a sustained loss of traction and under section 129A of the Sentencing Act – which  was amended two years ago – his car could be confiscated and  destroyed.   

The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Act and the  Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act – legislation specifically targeting street racers – came into force in  December 2009. . .

 Judith Collins got the nickname Crusher as the architect of this legislation and said she would look forward to pushing the button for the first crushing.

However, she has been promoted in the new Cabinet, so that pleasure might go to her successor, Anne Tolley.

 


Politics Daily returns

December 12, 2011

Politics Daily, a compilation of political stories in the MSM and blogospehre by Dr Bryce Edwards , has made a welcome return.

You’ll find it at Liberation and at the NZ Herald.


All better without subsidies

December 12, 2011

A visiting dairy farmer from the United States said they have very few subsidies now and that’s the way most farmers there like it.

The prefer to prosper, or not, through their own efforts rather than at the whim of the government.

That sentiment is shared by farmers here and the OECD:

Countries should focus on improving farm productivity, sustainability and long-term competitiveness, rather than policies that distort markets.

NZ has the lowest agricultural  subsidies in the OECD:

New Zealand has the lowest level of government support to agriculture in the OECD, at just 1% of farm income. Australia (3%), Chile (4%) and the United States (9%) are also well below the OECD average.
  • The European Union has reduced its level of support to 22% of farm income, but remains above the OECD average.
  • Support to farmers remains relatively high in Korea (47%), Iceland (48%), Japan (49%), Switzerland (56%) and Norway (60%).
  • Brazil, South Africa and Ukraine generally support agriculture at levels well below the OECD average, while support in China is approaching the OECD average. In Russia, farm support now exceeds the OECD average.

I didn’t think we had any support at all. If I’m reading the report correctly that 1% is sector-wide policy measures  representing general services to agriculture.

New Zealand farmer were dragged unwillingly into the real world in the 1980s but I haven’t met a single farmer in the last 20 years that would want to go back.

Farmers and the country are better off without subsidies.


New cabinet

December 12, 2011

Prime Minsiter John Key has announced a new cabinet with a mixture of fresh talent and experience:

 “There has been a revamp of some portfolios, and some first-term Ministers have been rewarded for their performance.

“The new National-led Government is ready to hit the ground running.  There is a lot of work to do as we look to continue implementing our plans to build a stronger economy, reduce debt, and create more jobs.

“The front bench is being strengthened with the elevation of Steven Joyce, who will have a mix of economically-focused portfolios reflecting the priority the incoming National Government places on economic growth.  He will get a new portfolio called Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, as well as Economic Development, Science and Innovation, and Associate Finance.

“Hekia Parata and Paula Bennett are also promoted to the front bench.  Hekia Parata gains the Education portfolio.  Paula Bennett retains the Social Development and Youth Affairs portfolios. 

“Hekia Parata will build on the good work of Anne Tolley in the Education portfolio, particularly around the implementation of National Standards, one of National’s key policies to boost student achievement.  Anne Tolley becomes Minister of Corrections and Police, and Deputy Leader of the House.

“Judith Collins is elevated and gains the Justice Portfolio vacated by Simon Power, along with ACC and Ethnic Affairs,” says Mr Key.

Other changes include:

  • Gerry Brownlee will resume the role of Leader of the      House, and is given the Transport portfolio.  He retains the      all-important role of Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.
  • David Carter receives the Primary Industries portfolio, which combines the Agriculture, Biosecurity, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Forestry portfolios.
  • Jonathan Coleman picks up Defence, State Services and Associate Finance, while Phil Heatley picks up Energy and Resources while retaining Housing.
  • The Infrastructure portfolio is incorporated into Bill  English’s Finance portfolio, and the Disarmament and Arms Control  portfolio is incorporated into Murray McCully’s Foreign Affairs portfolio.

“New Minister inside Cabinet Amy Adams is given the Associate role for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, and also becomes Minister for Communications and Information Technology, and Internal Affairs,” says Mr Key.

Other new Ministers inside Cabinet are Nathan Guy and Craig Foss, who were both Ministers outside Cabinet in the previous term.  Mr Guy picks up Immigration and Mr Foss Broadcasting and Commerce.

There are three new National Ministers outside Cabinet – Chris Tremain, Jo Goodhew and Chester Borrows, all of whom pick up a mixture of portfolios.  Maurice Williamson is the fourth National Minister outside Cabinet.

“The support party Ministerial roles have already been announced, but I want to acknowledge again their contribution to the formation of a strong, stable, National-led Government.”

The Ministerial line-up also includes a number of changes to reduce the number of portfolios and separate Ministerial responsibilities.   Ten portfolios or Ministerial responsibilities have either been disestablished or incorporated into other portfolios.

“This is a strong line-up for our second term.  The new Government will be totally focused on delivering for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

The new Ministry will be sworn in at Government House in Wellington on Wednesday morning.

The full list is:

 

1  Rt Hon John Key;   Prime Minister; Minister of Tourism, Minister Responsible for Ministerial

Services, Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service, Minister Responsible for the GCSB.

2  Hon Bill English Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance (The Finance portfolio incorporates the responsibilities formerly included in the Infrastructure portfolio).

3  Hon Gerry Brownlee,   Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, Minister of Transport, Leader of the House, Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission.

4  Hon Steven Joyce   Minister for Economic Development, Minister of Science and Innovation, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Associate Minister of Finance.

5  Hon Judith Collins  Minister of Justice (The Justice portfolio includes responsibility for the Law Commission), Minister for ACC, Minister for Ethnic Affairs.

6  Hon Tony Ryall   Minister of Health,  Minister for State Owned Enterprises

7  Hon Hekia Parata   Minister of Education (which includes responsibility for the Education Review Office), Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.

8  Hon Christopher Finlayson  Attorney-General Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations,

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Associate Minister of Maori Affairs

9  Hon Paula Bennett Minister for Social Development, Minister of Youth Affairs

10  Hon Dr Nick Smith   Minister for the Environment, Minister for Climate Change Issues, Minister of Local Government

11  Hon David Carter  Minister for Primary Industries which incorporates the responsibilities formerly included in the Agriculture, Biosecurity, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Forestry portfolios.

12  Hon Murray McCully  Minister of Foreign Affairs portfolio which incorporates the responsibilities formerly included in the Disarmament and Arms portfolio;  Minister for Sport and Recreation.

13  Hon Anne Tolley   Minister of Police,  Minister of Corrections, Deputy Leader of the House

14  Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman   Minister of Defence, Minister of State Services, Associate Minister of Finance.

15  Hon Tim Groser   Minister of Trade, Minister Responsible for International Climate Change Negotiations, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs.

16  Hon Phil Heatley    Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister of Housing.

17  Hon Kate Wilkinson Minister of Conservation, Minister of Labour, Minister for Food Safety, Associate Minister of Immigration.

18  Hon Nathan Guy  Minister of Immigration, Minister for Racing,  Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Associate Minister for Primary Industries.

19  Hon Craig Foss    Minister of Commerce, Minister of Broadcasting, Associate Minister for ACC, Associate Minister of Education.

20  Amy Adams Minister of Internal Affairs, which includes responsibility for Archives New Zealand and the New Zealand National Library; Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Associate Minister for Canterbury, Earthquake Recovery.

MINISTERS OUTSIDE CABINET

21  Hon Maurice Williamson Minister for Building and Construction, Minister of Customs, Minister for Land Information, Minister of Statistics.

22  Chris Tremain   Minister of Civil Defence, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Associate Minister of Tourism, Associate Minister of Transport.

23  Jo Goodhew   Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Minister for Senior Citizens, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Associate Minister of Health.

24  Chester Borrows   Minister of Courts, Associate Minister of Justice, Associate Minister of Social Development

SUPPORT PARTY MINISTERS

Hon Peter Dunne  Minister of Revenue, Associate Minister of Conservation, Associate Minister of Health.

Hon John Banks   Minister for Regulatory Reform, Minister for Small Business, Associate Minister of Commerce, Associate Minister of Education

Hon Dr Pita Sharples  Minister of Maori Affairs, Associate Minister of Corrections, Associate Minister of Education.

Hon Tariana Turia   Minister for Whanau Ora,  Minister for Disability Issues, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Housing, Associate Minister for Social Development, Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment – he delegated responsibilities in this portfolio will specifically relate to the Employment area.


Referendum riddle

December 12, 2011

Why would the Maori electorates vote so strongly in favour of MMP ?

The Maori Electorates were massive MMP supporters (Te Tai Tonga at 78.9% for keep, the only one below 80% support);

FPP, PV and SM would have given them several more Maori electorates – 12 with FPP and PV and 9 with SM rather than 7 under MMP.


The challenge of 2014

December 12, 2011

National’s chances of winning this election were always reasonably good.

New Zealand has few one term governments and there was general acceptance that John Key and his team had faced an unprecedented series of natural and financial disasters beyond their control.

The next election will be much tougher to win.

I wouldn’t go as far as Jane Clifton who says the punchline to this election is that National has probably already lost the 2014 election.

But I agree with the reasons she gives that will make it difficult:

Aside from the obvious bummer, that the global economy’s ructions will make this a pig of a term to be in the Beehive, National faces so many unavoidable no-win decisions it beggars belief that it can maintain its current high level of popularity. And unless it can do at least as well again next election – and no government in history ever has – it’ll be a rare two-term administration.

Then there’s MMP which:

will always favour the formation of Labour-led governments because of the way our enduring political parties tend to fillet up. That National, overwhelmingly the most popular party, only just scraped back into office, underlines this tendency. This is not because New Zealanders are more left-leaning than right. By world standards, we have high voter mobility between our two major parties. The left’s edge is down to a confluence of now fairly entrenched tendencies regarding the smaller parties.

The most striking is the propensity of the grumpies, undecideds and elderly to migrate in meaningful numbers, almost overnight – typically to Winston Peters. . .

However, National is starting from a much stronger position than Labour.

No political party ever has too much money, but National’s accounts are in the black. Labour was in debt after the 2008 campaign, it is very unlikely it found it any easier to raise enough money for this one.

National has a leader popular in the party and outside; it has a unified and loyal caucus that is agreed on policy.

Labour is going through a leadership contest and once that’s settled the leader will face the Herculean tasks of uniting a divided caucus, winning loyalty from those who didn’t want him, getting members back on board and developing policy which finds favour not only with the party but with voters.

National has by far the most members of any party in the country, and its membership is increasing.

Labour’s membership is low and falling.

Some National supporters want it to go further and faster but most are happy with the direction its going – less spending, more savings, investment and export-led growth.

Many Labour supporters aren’t sure where it is and are divided over where it should be going.

National is leading a government.

Labour will be competing with the Green Party, New Zealand First and Mana in opposition. It has to make a decent fist of that and sort out its many internal problems before it will look like a government in waiting.

National’s challenge is to provide strong, stable government,  hold its vote and then find sufficient votes among potential coalition partners to gain a third term.

No-one’s pretending that will be easy but at this stage Labour’s challenges are greater.

They are both internal and external and until it sorts them out its chance of wooing voters back from the centre right are slim.

The outcome of the 2014 election is by no means assured but in spite of the challenges it will face in government and MMP it’s far too soon to write-off National’s chances of a third term.


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