Quotes of the year

December 31, 2014

Offering to trade fines for sexual favours is not simply sleazy as the judge seemed to view it. It’s about a principle which is absolute, regardless of its nature or monetary dimension. It behoves the Police Commissioner to appeal against this ridiculous sentence so wiser heads can send a vitally important message, namely that corruption is corrosive, strikes at the heart of civil society and will absolutely not be tolerated. Sir Bob Jones

“I love to observe how they process the high school situation. Over the last couple of months I’ve just started to realise that, wow, people in the real world don’t care if your legs aren’t perfect.” Lorde

”I find the chances of it being stolen are pretty minimal, but the chances are even more minimal of it disappearing by itself through two paddocks surrounded by deer fencing,” Bill Keeler

It’s been said that the New Zealand economy is likely to be the “rock star” of 2014 but we all know what happens to rock stars who spend all their money on having a good time. I’ve said it before – the only way we’re going to become a top-tier First World country is by growing the pie.

Sadly, we’ve always been much better at eating them. – Colin Espiner

To judge the dead may give some comfort to the living, but no matter how fervently the misdeeds of previous generations are condemned, they cannot be undone. Therefore, whatever justice we seek to do here and now, let it be to right the wrongs of the present – not the past.

We fair-skinned Polynesians are not – and can never be – “Europeans”. Just as contemporary Maori are not – and can never be again – the Maori who inhabited these islands before colonisation. Both of us are the victims of historical forces too vast for blame, too permanent for guilt.

And both of us have nowhere else to go.Chris Trotter

 

Just 380,000 individuals pay half of all income tax.

If you earn more than $80,000 you are in that group. Most tax is paid by businesses through corporate tax or receipted GST payments. Possibly 80 per cent of the country is taking more from the state than they are contributing.If you are a net contributor most of your money will go to paying for the welfare of others.Most of those who seek to reduce their tax obligations are net contributors to our society. The only complaints against them are they do not pay enough.Beneficiary cheats, by contrast, are providing nothing to start with and seek to enrich themselves further by deception and dishonesty.Judges understand this, which is why beneficiary cheats go to jail for longer, as they should. – Damien Grant

Democracy, certainly at candidate selection level, isn’t generally a process of exquisite delicacy, scrupulous manners and sensitivity to hurt feelings. Oftentimes it’s just a few steps removed from full-on internecine civil warfare, albeit conducted largely out of sight. – Southland Times commenting on Labour’s selection process for the Invercargill electorate.

“The other analogy I have learned quite a lot is this idea that life’s like the drafting race because you learn quickly, farming, all the things that begin with D like drenching and drafting, docking and dagging, getting into debt and dealing with DOC. If you go up the drafting race, even for a ewe you have to look good: You mustn’t limp, head up, eyes forward don’t show your teeth if they aren’t terribly good, clean bum, good digestion, good tits – the whole way – because you want to go to the right, to the mixed age ewe mob, because [then] you get kind dogs and good food. Straight ahead is not much fun because you will end up a chop on the table. – Christine Fernyhough

“Nah, no tear in the eye. I’m from south Dunedin,” he grinned. Brendon McCullum

‘‘A government is a periodic monopoly that needs the threat of other entrants to get it going.’’ – Bill English

We must avoid complacency that might flow from believing today’s good times are permanent.

We don’t want to make a habit of doing the hard work under pressure, then putting our feet up just when the serious long-term gains are within our reach.Bill English

If there are going to be on the ground and social media campaigns, they needs to be led by Australians.  We need to get Australians saying that they want the best products at the best price.  We need Australians to demand choice instead of supermarkets telling them what they’re allowed to buy.  We also need Australians to see how deeply cynical the supermarkets are by reinforcing the values we share, namely, freedom of choice.  This needs to turn Coles and Woolworths market research on its head and hit them where it’ll hurt the most; market share.  That’s the only language they understand.  It is also by reinforcing that Kiwis are kin, something the centennials of the Great War will strongly affirm. – Bruce Wills

Personally, I’ve never heard of an economy taxing its way to greatness but I have sure heard of economies taxed into oblivion.Willy Leferink

And perhaps that’s the every day wisdom of parents at the fore – it’s the minestrone soup solution of life – if you’re short of meal options, throw all the vegetables into a pot, with a sprinkle of flexibility and the seasoning of life, and see what you come up with. – Tariana Turia

The notion that environmental protection and economic development are potentially conflicting goals is not, in my view, a recipe for success. It removes any expectation that businesses should take responsibility for protecting the environment; or that environmentalists need to consider social or economic costs of environmental outcomes.

In my world, economic and environmental considerations are two sides of the same coin. It is hard to be green if you are in the red; but you cannot have long-term social or economic prosperity if you undermine the natural capital you rely on to create it. – Lynda Murchison

People’s first consideration when buying food was price, despite claims they might buy based on factors like organic growth, she said.

While people might think buying organically or from the farmers market was environmentally friendly, research showed carbon dioxide emissions were higher buying that way, Prof Rowarth said. – Jacqueline Rowarth

. . . Even during booms some businesses will fail, and even during recessions some businesses will soar. That is because what ultimately determines the fate of companies is not whether the economy grows 1% or shrinks 1%, but the quality of management and their ability to anticipate and handle changing conditions be they for their markets, their inputs or their processes. . . Tony Alexander

Members of the Opposition believe monetary fairies can make the exchange rate settle permanently lower by forcing interest rate cuts and printing money while letting inflation therefore go up. Given the non-zero possibility that such economically ignorant policies get introduced it is worth getting inflation protection by investing more in property – not less. Tony Alexander

 The global financial crisis was the worst economic meltdown in living memory.

“The 1987 crash was a a blip on the charts by comparison.”

On top of that, the Christchurch earthquakes dealt a massive hit to the government books. “The mythical observer arriving from Mars who saw the accounts in balance after two thumping great shocks like that – you’d have to say someone had navigated pretty smoothly through that.” Donal Curtin

Two thirds of the [welfare] liability came from people who first got a benefit under the age of 20. “So it confirms what grandma told you. “Don’t let those young people get off the rails because when they do it’s very expensive.” – Bill English

That it can sweetly awaken, and joyously strengthen and that you need to give it to get it. Sarah Peirse answering the question: what do you know about love?

“I don’t think our native species care too much as to whether it is public land or private land. Whether it be iwi, or whether it be Sir Michael Fay, what we’re interested in in these partnerships is maximising conservation gain.” Nick Smith

Federated Farmers is an apolitical organisation – “we don’t care who is in government as long as they agree with us”.Conor English

. . . Taxes are not the price we pay for a civilised society. At best they are the price we pay for a civilised government. But they are also the price of overly bureaucratic procedures, unpredictable outcomes, and the loss of freedom to make our own decisions. – NZ Initiative

I make no apology for being a male. I hope I’m seen as a considerate, compassionate and communicable male; I make no apology for that. If I have faults, and I’m sure I do, well I don’t think  I can blame my gender for my behaviour without it being a cop-out. There ain’t nothing wrong in being a bloke if you behave yourself properly! – Chris Auckinvole

Mr Speaker, my second point I wish to make is the importance of valuing hands on learning within our education system. We must appreciate these very important students who in the future will fix things, build things, be it trucks, motor cars, be it buildings, be it bridges, roads, essential infrastructure and all manner of other things.

To do this the education system must equally value these people as much as we do doctors, nurses, lawyers and accountants and design an education curriculum accordingly. Putting it simply, we want to create many Einstein’s, but to create an Einstein you also need 1000 skilled technicians to make those things. – Colin King

“Talking about ponies and horse races, if you think of the economy as a horse race, you know it would be silly to put the hobbles on one of the leading horses so the rest can catch up,”Alister Body.

“I don’t think a party that’s on the extreme edges one way or another is going to be beneficial for Maori,” . . . “I think we as Maori also need to realise that compromise is a part of political involvement in New Zealand politics,”  . . .  Dr Lance O’Sullivan.

. . . if democracy means anything, it means suppressing the savage within and submitting the issues that divide us as individual citizens to the judgement of the electorate as a whole. Even more importantly, it means accepting that collective judgement – even when it goes against our individual contribution to its formation.Chris Trotter

HONG KONG | How did this small city-state of 7.3 million people go from having a per-capita income of only a few hundred dollars per year to a per capita income that is equal to that of the United States in only 50 years? The simple answer is they had the British common law legal system, strong private property rights, competent, honest judges, a non-corrupt civil service, very low tax rates, free trade and a minimal amount of economic regulation. There was no big brother government looking after the people, so they had to work hard, but they could keep the fruits of their efforts. . . Richard W. Rahn

One of our human limitations is that we look at the problems ahead through the eyes of our current technology and from this perspective they can look overwhelming. This myopia traps us into negativity – we think we must go backwards to achieve our goals – Dr Doug Edmeades

For the health-conscious, the prevailing wisdom is that natural food is the best food. But no matter what studies of GMOs say, one scientific fact is inescapable: basically none of our dietary staples are natural. Some 10,000 years ago, our ancestors picked tiny berries, collected bitter plants and hunted sinewy game, because these are the foods that occurred naturally in the wild. Then came agriculture, and with it the eventual realization that farmers could selectively breed animals and plants to be bigger, hardier and easier to manage. David Newland

. . . Most of all they should embrace the modern age and recognise that social and economic salvation and uplifting the underclass does not simplistically lie in ever increasing taxes on the industrious and thrifty and their transfer to the indolent. There’s nothing positive or progressive about that. . . Sir Bob Jones

We think it’s pretty legal, we think these guys are just having a crack and have a bit of an eye for the main chance because it’s an election campaign. – Steven Joyce

I won’t be wanting to see any hint of arrogance creeping in.” . . .

. . . “One of the big messages I’ll be wanting to give incoming ministers and the caucus is that it is incredibly important that National stays connected with our supporters and connected with the New Zealand public.” John Key

“Make sure you know why you’re in it – politics is not about celebrities. And nurture your self worth.

“You can’t afford to mortgage out how good or bad you feel because of tomorrow’s headlines.” – Julia Gillard

New Zealand is not perfect, but we do now have a multicultural society based on a bicultural heritage.Philip Burdon


Wilkinson, Shanks won’t seek re-election

November 7, 2013

National MPs Kate Wilkinson and Katrina Shanks have announced they won’t be seeking re-election.

Kate entered parliament as a list MP and won the Waimakariri electorate in 2011.

She was Minister of Labour and Conservation until earlier this year.

“It has been a fantastic privilege to have been both an MP and a Cabinet Minister in the John Key-led Government,” Kate Wilkinson said.

“It has been humbling and satisfying being able to help constituents in the area – especially following the Canterbury earthquake events, when we all learnt so much as a region and as a country.

“One of the most satisfying achievements was obtaining funding for the North Canterbury Health Hub and I certainly want to see that through.

“I first stood as the National Party candidate for Waimakariri in 2005, taking Waimakariri from being a Labour stronghold to ultimately becoming a National seat. Winning the electorate vote in the 2011 election was an absolute thrill.

“I had in mind in 2005 that I would stand for election for three terms. I feel that it is now time to consider fresh challenges and opportunities. I will remain focused on working for the people of Waimakariri until the election and look forward to supporting National’s new candidate.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Waimakariri for their ongoing support and for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of so many exciting projects which have assisted in making Waimakariri such a special place.”

Katrina has been in the unenviable position of standing in Ohariu but not seriously contesting the list vote in order to help Peter Dunne hold the seat.

“It has been an incredible privilege to serve in the John Key-led Government,” Katrina Shanks said.

“New Zealand now has one of the strongest economies in the world, an education system which focuses on every child, a healthcare system which is responsive to patients’ needs in a timely manner, and most importantly considers families to be the cornerstone of this great country.

“Working as an MP it has been an honour to be able to meet so many great New Zealanders, especially those who give to our communities through their volunteer work and make a real difference to so many people’s lives.

“I came into Parliament wanting to put the spotlight back on families and highlight the important role which they play in our society today. The work I have performed both in my select committee roles and policy development has allowed me to contribute greatly in this area.

“Working across three Wellington electorates has meant that I have made many friends and been supported by many people. I thank these people for their support of the work that I have undertaken.

“I have decided that now is the right time to leave my career in politics, and look to spend more time being closer to my young family. I look forward to taking up new challenges outside of Parliament.”

These announcements follow similar ones from Chris Tremain, Chris Auckinvole, Paul Hutchison, Cam Calder  and Phil Heatley, and Bill English’s decision to seek a list spot rather than contesting the Clutha Southland seat.

National lost a lot of MPs in 2002 but had big intakes in 2005 and 2008 as well as some new MPs in 2011 and two since then.

This is providing good opportunities for renewal which is healthy and will enable National to campaign with a lot of fresh faces.


Calder not seeking re-election

October 25, 2013

National list MP Cam Calder has announced he won’t be seeking re-election next year.

“It has been a huge privilege to serve in the National-led Government,” Dr Calder said.

“Under John Key’s leadership, New Zealand now has one of the strongest economies in the world. We have made significant progress in improving the lives of New Zealanders in vital areas such as law and order, health, and education to name but a few.

“It has been an exciting and extraordinarily varied experience, and I still relish every day, but after two terms in Parliament there are a number of projects, both in New Zealand and overseas, that I wish to consider in the years ahead.

“I am proud of what the National-led Government has achieved. I have been a strong advocate for reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever, particularly in Manurewa where I am based. I have also been a vigorous proponent for an awareness campaign highlighting the need for men to take responsibility for their prostate health. I am delighted the Government is making significant progress in these areas.

“My member’s bill, the Summary Offences (Possession of Hand-held Lasers) Amendment Bill, is before the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee. I am hopeful I can shepherd it through the House during the remainder of my term.

“I shall continue to devote my energies to the Manurewa community and to my many Parliamentary duties through to the General Election next year.”

Cam entered parliament on the list in 2009 and is well regarded for his work as an MP.

Napier MP and Minister Chris Tremain and list MP Chris Auckinvole have already announced they won’t be seeking re-election.

Some retirements are healthy for the party, providing the opportunity for new talent.

 


Knowing when to go

October 3, 2013

National list MP Chris Auckinvole has said he won’t be standing at next year’s election.

. . . Auchinvole said yesterday he intended to resign. “One could say leaning towards retirement. You never have enough, but I am 68 now, I’d be 70 shortly after the next election. It is my intention to retire from party politics.”

He said he had a “number of really good opportunities in the commercial world” to pursue.

The Scottish-born MP entered Parliament, as a list MP, in 2005 “along with half the caucus”.

In 2008 he won the West Coast-Tasman seat from Labour MP Damien O’Connor, who regained it in 2011. . .

I’ve enjoyed the interaction I’ve had with Chris who did a lot of work behind the scenes to help the families of the Pyke River mine victims.

He’s the second National MP to announce his retirement from parliament this week. Napier MP, and Minister, Chris Tremain won’t be seeking re-election either.

. . . Prime Minister John Key indicated he anticipated “one or two” more would follow suit, but declined to say who. . .

One of the few silver linings to the dark cloud of National’s 2002 election defeat was that it cleared out a lot of longer serving MPs. That allowed a big influx of fresh blood in 2005 and there was a good intake of new MPs in 2008 too.

National had a couple of mid-term resignations which brought two fresh faces into the house before 2011, eight new MPs at the election and two more new ones since then.

This has given National the mix of experience and freshness which a caucus, and government, need.

Good MPs know when to go and it’s better to go on their own terms than lose a selection challenge – although challenges have brought in some excellent MPs including John Key, Bill English and Judith Collins.

A few more announcements of end-of-term retirements, in plenty of time for the party and prospective candidates to prepare for selection would be healthy.

It would also reinforce the difference between National and Labour which hasn’t had nearly as much fresh talent and is still saddled with too many MPs who haven’t accepted they’re near or past their best-by dates.

This could be a positive reflection on the potential employability of former National MPs in contrast to those in Labour who might not be as attractive to would-be employers.

But being unemployable outside parliament is not a good reason for clinging on to a seat.


What will it take?

May 9, 2013

Dear Aaron,

If you were at the Mainland Conference in Hanmer to the end you’d have heard West Coast Tasman based list MP Chris Auckinvole’s final words.

You might remember him talking about the importance of the two wings of the party, the MPs and the volunteers,  and the good that can be achieved when they’re working in unison.

That was before we knew you hadn’t been at the conference dinner as any MP who took his responsibility to the party seriously, and respected the volunteers, would have been.

The party understands the competing demands on MPs – parliamentary duties, electorate work, family commitments – but just one weekend a year we ask you all to come to your regional conferences.

It’s an opportunity for volunteers to discuss policy with you, air concerns, get to know you. The social functions are an important part of that.

That you chose not to grace the conference dinner with your presence might have been overlooked. Your behaviour at the dinner you did attend can’t be and everything that’s happened since has made it worse.

I was part of the committee which met in 2011 to rank the party’s list.

Our deliberations are confidential but the rankings are not.

You were the lowest ranked sitting MP and anyone with any humility would have worked out why.

Once a list is ranked and put before the public at an election the party can’t change it. But someone can, as Paul Quinn did, turn down the opportunity to take up a place with his dignity intact and get on with his life.

You didn’t take the hint from your list placing and claimed the vacant seat. Why?

You’ve been reported as saying that you have enough money to live  on without needing to work so it can’t be the salary.

I don’t know if you did any good in the few weeks you’ve been back as an MP but in the last few days you’ve done immeasurable harm.

John Key and National have retained a fairly high and reasonably constant level of popularity in polls for several reasons. One of those is party discipline.

Both the wings Chris talked about have been strong and flying in unison.

Your antics are threatening that.

The Prime Minister has lost confidence in you and the president says the party is disappointed.

That is putting it very, very mildly.

If there’s one thing that gets volunteers riled  it’s an MP who doesn’t understand the importance of discipline and unity, doesn’t uphold the standard of behaviour expected and puts himself before the party.

What on earth are you thinking?

If your words and actions are anything to go by it’s not what’s best for the government, the party, parliament or the country.

What will it take to make you understand what you’ve done wrong and what’s the only thing you can now do to make it right?

Yours in disappointment,

Ele


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