None of our business

26/10/2008

A journalist who wants to be taken seriously shouldn’t ask silly questions and a paper that wants to be taken seriously shouldn’t publish them.

Carolyne Meng-Yee asked Peter Davis if he showered with his wife and if he enjoyed sex and the HOS was silly enough to publish it.

There are few occasions when those would be legitimate questions for a journalist to ask and this interview wasn’t one of them.

It’s none of our business.

(And this is not an invitation for comments on the Davis-Clark personal life because that’s not our business either).


New word from a glasshouse

19/10/2008

I live in a glass house papered with typso typos.

It’s what happens when you type faster than you spell and proof read for sense so grasp the words but fail to notice that individuals letters have been transposed.

That means I am in absolutely no position to throw stones at other people’s typographical errors but I couldn’t resist this from Matt McCarten’s column in the HOS:

This is the first time most of us have seen Key in a prolonged setting where he was tested, in this case by the prime pinister.

Prime pinister – isn’t that delightful? Especially in this context where Helen Clark was trying to keep Key pinned down.

P.S. In light of John Ansell’s post on McCarten’s misnaming Key as Keys, I noted that the column gets the name right – but that like the typo may be due to the paper not the writer.


Organised crime behind melamine milk poisoning

18/10/2008

Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing papers suggest organised crime was behind the melamine poisoning of milk in China.

“The Chinese milk supply has been targeted by Chinese organised crime, which has been adding as a byproduct of the chemical industry, melamine, to raw milk supplied to processing plants,” the paper said.

“The harmful impact on consumers, particularly Chinese infants who are the most at-risk group, is the most serious concern,” the paper said.

. . . San Lu which makes infant formula and in which Fonterra has a 43% stake was one of the companies chich inadvertently used poisoned milk.

The document has been released to the Weekend Herald under the Official Information Act, although large chunks of the report had been deleted.

Among the deleted sections was one on New Zealand’s “international responsibilities”, while another missing piece covered the response by Chinese authorities to Fonterra’s concerns about the milk.

However, part of the paper indicates tension between Fonterra and Chinese authorities.

“Fonterra advises that by mid-September all of the adulterated product should have been accounted for or consumed,” the paper told the Government.

“This suggests that despite the authorities’ reticence to support a full product recall, Sanlu/Fonterra have managed to achieve a similar outcome through a variety of other methods.”

That supports Fonterra which says they did everything they could once they knew there was a problem.

The company has always said its first concern was the chidlren who were poisoned and their families but there were also concerns over its, and New Zealand’s reputation.

However, The Hive  quotes from another Herald story (which isn’t on line) that says that in China it’s Australia which is being associated with the scandal rather than New Zealand.

Perhaps we can thank Cactus Kate for that.


How much is enough?

08/10/2008

Tracy Watkins thinks John Key is offering enough:

A year ago, Key might have risked over promising and under delivering on those amounts.

But that was a vastly different world..

The failure to deliver more may peel off some soft support among those who were leaning toward National but, because of Working for Families, will not be a whole lot better off.

But the rest will probably agree with Key that it’s a package that’s right for the times.

So is it enough? You’d have to say yes.

Colin Espiner says the tax plan is tailored for the times.

Herald commentators  aren’t impressed:

John Armstrong says families on low wages are not so well off with National but:

Overall, the tax package wins plaudits for being fiscally responsible. It won’t win big in electoral terms because of its generosity – someone on $80,000 only gets $6 a week more than they would from Labour’s package.

As for National’s plan for rescuing the (sinking) economy, there was nothing new today. We’re still waiting.

Audrey Young says:

National’s tax package does what it promised in some respects, doesn’t meet promises in other respects and offers some complete surprises.

One of the surprises was the promise of an independent earner rebate. . . .

. . . But the biggest concern will be National’s commitment to reverse what many see as protections in the KiwiSaver scheme that Labour recently passed.

They stopped a loophole allowing employers to effectively deny KiwiSaver employees pay increases on the basis that they have done deals on KiwiSaver contributions.

National sees this through different glasses, giving employers freedom to give non-KiwiSaver employees pay rises equivalent to their contribution increases to KiwiSaver employees.

Excepting one is pay rise for today, another is one you can cash in only at 65.

It is a recipe for exploitation and unfairness.

Brian Fallow says:

At first glance the big transfer of money in National’s tax package is from KiwiSaver accounts into people’s pockets.

In the short term that gives them more to spend at a time when private consumption is flatlining.

But you can’t have your cake and eat it.

. . . Other elements of the plan are also disappointing from the standpoint of lifting our long-term growth rate – less of an increase in infrastructure spending, and the scrapping of the research and development tax credit.

At least it does not make the rather grim fiscal outlook released by the Treasury any worse. But it is only marginally better.

 Inquiring Mind has done a round up of comments on the blogosphere, which covers a range of views, some of which as he puts it can charitably be described as a partisan perspective.

UPDATE: goNZofreakpower  and Dave Gee  weren’t on Inquiring Mind’s list but are also worth a look.

UPDATE 2: So is Liberty Scott.


Trainer heard Peters thank Glenn

09/09/2008

The Herald reports that horse trainer Paul Moroney has backed up Owen Glenn’s version of his part in the New Zealand First donations debacle.

Mr Moroney said in an affidavit to Parliament’s Privileges Committee today that he was at a lunch at Karaka in 2006 at which Winston Peters thanked Mr Glenn for his help.

Mr Glenn has also produced a phone record from 14 December 2005 showing that he called Mr Peters’ mobile, a conversation that Mr Glenn says was to “inform him that I agreed to contribute”.

He also said he had consulted with Labour Party president Mike Williams before contributing so to make sure it would not be seen by Labour as “being unhelpful to its own interests”.

Mr Moroney in his affidavit said that on 31 January 2006 he was at the lunch at Karaka with Mr Glenn and Mr Peters.

He stated: “During the luncheon discussion, part of the conversation between Mr Peters and Mr Glenn involved Mr Peters thanking Mr Glenn for his help to him.

“Mr Glenn had told me before the lunch that he was meeting Mr Peters over the lunch, because he had made a donation to assist Mr Peters fund his legal expenses concerning the Tauranga election result. I recall Mr Glenn telling me that Mr Peters had contacted him to ask for his help with this.”

The committee is yet to hear Peters’ response and regardless of what they find the court of public opinion might be more interested in what Glenn said before he appeared:

Mr Glenn earlier today indicated he was offended by the way he had been treated by Mr Peters and Prime Minister Helen Clark, who he told of the donation in February. Helen Clark did not reveal she was told until recently, instead saying she took Mr Peters at his word that he had not been given a donation.

Asked if he was offended, Mr Glenn said “well, wouldn’t you be?”

He said he was keen to clear the air, but had a “clear conscience” over his role in giving the donation, and it was up to Mr Peters to deal with the legalities of it as the recipient.

“I’m not responsible for [Mr Peters.] I did what I did and I’ve got a clear conscience. I didn’t even know what the rules of engagement were for receiving donations.”

Mr Glenn has previously donated to the Labour Party, including $500,000 in 2005 and an interest-free loan of $100,000 subsequently.

He would not rule out donating to political parties again, but indicated a change in the personalities involved would be required.

“One thing about politicians – they come and go.”

He said he was saddened it had come to a question of his honesty, saying it was “like a school yard squabble.”

“I would have thought our MPs would behave in a better manner all round. They should be running the country. I think New Zealanders have a right to be better represented.”

That’s a very sad indictment on everyone involved in the whole debacle.

[Update: Tim Donoghue from the Dominion Post covers Glenn’s evidence here.


ETS high cost no benefit

09/09/2008

Brian Fallow’s column in this morning’s Herald points out the uncertainties over the cost of carbon.

The price the Government is assuming for the purpose of reporting its liability under the Kyoto Protocol in the Crown accounts is €11 ($23) a tonne.

But the high-quality, low-risk units New Zealand companies with obligations under the scheme are expected to favour are trading for €20.

And is the money being paid for this hot air going into research or developments which will improve the environment? No, and it might even make it worse:

It would be a perverse outcome for the global climate if growth of the pastoral farming sector in New Zealand were hobbled by climate change policy here, only for the demand for dairy products and meat it might have satisfied to be met instead by production elsewhere in the world whose carbon hoof-print (emissions per litre of milk or kilogram of meat) is greater.

Agriculture isn’t the only area where exporting emissions is likely and that’s because of a basic flaw in the Kyoto protocol. It takes a country by country approach to a global problem which means carbon emissions might be reduced in one place but increased elsewhere by moving production.

We pay the economic and social cost and the whole world pays the environmental cost because the ETS will add to the costs of production, transport and consumption but won’t reduce emissions.

It’s an expensive feel-good achieve-nothing fraud.


Casualty list

30/08/2008

Stuff has a list of Helen Clark’s ministerial casualties. The ones who have been sacked, suspended, stood down or forced to resign under her leadership since 1999 are:

June 28, 2000 – Dover Samuels

October 31, 2000 – Ruth Dyson.

February 23, 2001– Marian Hobbs and Phillida Bunkle (Alliance)

July 23, 2003 – Harry Duynhoven.

February 20, 2004 – Lianne Dalziel.

November 4, 2004 – John Tamihere

May 16, 2005 – David Benson-Pope.

October 19, 2005 – Taito Phillip Field

March 20, 2006 – David Parker.

July 27, 2007 – David Benson-Pope (again).

August 29, 2008 – Winston Peters.

If losing one minister may be regarded as a misfortune and two looks like carelessness, what can be said about losing a dozen?

The explanations for the ministerial falls from grace on Stuff is here and The Herald has photos here.


Politics beats democracy again

27/08/2008

Eyes and ears are trained on parliament awaiting developments over Winston Peters and the donations debacle and Annette King seeks leave to make a ministerial statement on tasers.

Political tactics 1 – democracy 0.

Should you be interested in tasers you can read about them in the Herald.


Will Peters be held to account?

18/08/2008

A Fairfax Media Neilson poll shows that the public is already holding Winston Peters to account.

The poll findings come as Mr Peters and his lawyer Brian Henry prepare to front up to a privileges hearing tonight into allegations surrounding a $100,000 donation from billionaire Owen Glenn to Mr Peters’ legal fund.

Mr Peters also faces questions over the secretive Spencer Trust, the existence of which only came to light after The Dominion Post revealed a $25,000 cheque from millionaire Sir Robert Jones was deposited in the trust and never declared.

Today’s poll for The Dominion Post suggests that the affair has dented Mr Peters’ credibility, with 48 per cent of voters believing Prime Minister Helen Clark should stand him down from his ministerial positions over questions surrounding donations to NZ First.

Thirty-seven per cent of voters disagreed, and 15 per cent had no opinion. The findings are more damning when it comes to voters’ views on whether NZ First should be involved in discussions after the election about the formation of the next government – just 39 per cent of voters think Labour should do another deal with NZ First, compared with 52 per cent who say no. The result was similar when it came to NZ First doing a deal with National – just 36 per cent said yes, and 54 per cent said no.

The polls leave no doubt about what people think but as the Herald editorial  points out he doesn’t need a lot of support.

Ultimately, of course, Mr Peters’ fate rests on the court of public opinion. But MMP allows him to be acquitted on the verdict of a tiny minority, one voter in 20 to be precise. He can survive with the support of just 5 per cent of voters nationwide. And even that pitiful support could enable him to decide which of the two main parties forms the next government. Hence, neither of them has tried to question his financial arrangements too closely.

Labour and National members dominate the privileges committee and there, too, they might not press him for answers. It is a worry that the committee has not bothered to contact Mr Glenn, who thought his donation went to NZ First. Like the Prime Minister, it might prefer to accept Mr Peters’ assurances that nothing untoward has been done.

We would all like to accept those assurances, if only to cease handing Mr Peters more attention, but somebody has to hold him to account, as he likes to hold others. If his peers cannot do it, who will?

It’s up to the voters. If NZ First passes the 5% threshold and holds the balance of power both Labour and National may be forced to seek their support.

Keeping Stock wants John Key to make it clear Peters won’t be welcome in a National-led government. But neither Key nor Clark can afford to write him off, just in case the voters deliver a result which forces them to negotiate with him.

The only way to ensure Peters isn’t in government (or a Minister outside cabinet or whatever other all care-no responsiblity role he’s able to negotiate) is to ensure NZ First doesn’t pass the 5% threshold and none of its MPs win a seat.


Pharmac boss backs Herceptin decision

10/08/2008

Pharmac chief Matthew Brougham explains the reasoning behind the decision to not fund 12 month courses of Herceptin.

He says that if one of his family had breast cancer he would recommend she take the nine week course which is publicly funded and that the jury is still out on the benefits of the year-long course.

The Herald editorial supports the decision and says that even if Pharmac had more money it would probably not spend it on longer courses of Herceptin.

And Kerre Woodham agrees that there is not enough evidence for Phramac to have reversed its decision to fund only nine weeks of the drug.

Update: Macdoctor responds to the Herald.


Peopleism next step for post-feminist progress

10/08/2008

When a friend is asked why her surname differs from her husband’s, she says it’s because he wouldn’t change his when they married.

 

That the question is even asked is a sign that feminism hasn’t achieved all it set out to. But I am not sure it’s the best vehicle for continuing the journey towards equality – if indeed that is where we ought to be aiming, because some say that women who want to equal men lack ambition.

 

Moving on from that, there are many ways in which life is better for women of my generation than it was for those before us because of the battles fought and won by feminists.

 

But while the barriers which used to stop women following traditionally male careers have largely disappeared, has much improved for those in what were traditionally female occupations whether it’s men or women who are doing them?

 

Feminism has helped women who want to break through the glass ceiling but it has done less for those who clean up behind them. And while it’s generally accepted that women can go where only men went before, the reverse is not necessarily the case.

 

So while women may be accepted as mechanics or engineers, a man who chooses to be a kindergarten teacher, a midwife or to stay at home with the children is likely to be asked, “Whad are ya?”

 

Whether it is a man or a woman who is left holding the babies, the role of primary caregiver is still an undervalued one and that can be said about a lot of other ocupations, paid or unpaid, regardless of who does them. Because when it comes down to basics, it’s the job not the gender which counts and feminism has done nothing to change that.

 

If you shear a sheep it is a job, if you knit its wool into a jumper in a factory or at home for money that’s work too but if you do the knitting for love, it’s only a hobby. Getting a lamb from conception through to chops in the butchery is real work, but getting the chops from the butcher’s to the dining table and cleaning up afterwards is not.

 

Whoever is doing it, these domestic duties are still largely regarded as the unpaid and often unappreciated preserve of women in spite of the best efforts of generations of feminists.

 

There are a lot more important issues than who does the dirty work at home to worry about, but I’m not convinced that feminism is the best way to address them either.

 

One reason for my reservation is that by definition feminism means for women, which leaves a niggling suspicion that it also means against men.

 

Even if it is possible to be pro-women without being anti-men, feminism emphasises the differences rather than the similarities; yet it’s easier to win friends, and campaigns, by establishing common ground than by highlighting divergence. So we should be seeking solutions to our problems, not because we are women but because we are people and these are people’s problems.

 

Self-advocates in IHC call themselves People First  because that’s how they want to be seen. And surely that’s the best way to see everyone, as people, without labels and regardless of any differences between us and others.

 

I am not repudiating feminism, but suggesting there is a step forward from feminism to peopleism; where issues and concerns are addressed by people because they are people’s issues and concerns.

 

Sometimes a group of people or its members might be better able to help those in the group because of what they have in common. But almost always people from other groups have something to offer too. And sometimes by labelling an issue a particular groups issue enables those in other groups to ignore it because it’s not their concern.

 

In other words sometimes women are better able to help other women, but that doesn’t mean men might not be able to help too; and it might prevent the side-lining of important matters as women’s issues if they were regarded as people’s issues.

 

 

And we’ll know we’ve succeeded when my friend no longer has to explain why she and her husband have different surnames.

 

 

This post was prompted by Noelle McCarthy’s  column in the Herald  and Deb’s response to it at In A Strange Land. and The Hand Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


No to MMP not necessarily no to proportionality

09/08/2008

Those opposing a referendum on MMP seem to be saying it will mean a return to First Past the Post. But there are other alternatives which may be considered including Supplementary Member, Single Transferable Vote and Preverential Voting.

The chances of us getting a referendum aren’t high because National, which will campaign on the issue, would almost certainly need the support of at least one of the wee parties to do it and Act and United are the only other parties which say they trust us to choose our voting system.

If we do get a say, I’d prefer to be able to rank the choices rather than just tick one because that could split the vote and allow a less popular system through, which ironically is one of the criticisms of FPP.

However, regardless of the referendum, MMP can’t continue forever without some changes because proportionality declines after each census and it will eventually be too far out of kilter.

That happens because when the boundaries are reviewed more electorates are created in the North Island, to keep the number of people in them equal to the number in the 16 South Island electorates which are determined by law. This means every six years the North Island gets more general seats and there is a corresponding decrease in the number of list seats.

We started with 60 electorate and 60 list seats in 1996; after this election there will be 70 electorates (including the Maori seats) and only 50 list seats.

Another problem with the boundry revision under MMP is that rural electorates are getting too big. I am not suggesting we should change from one person one vote; but I do want a system which recognises there is a limit to the area we can expect an MP to service.

People in an electorate covering 38,247 square kilometres (as Clutha Southland, the largest general electorate does) can not hope to get the same ease of access to their MP as those whose MP has to cover an area of just 23 square kilometres as Epsom, the smallest general electorate.

It doesn’t matter who the MPs are nor which party they represent, it is humanly impossible to service these huge rural electorates as easily or effectively as the smaller city seats.

P.S. For more on this issue see the Herald where Clare Trevett backgrounds the case for a referendum on MMP and looks at alternatives.


Southerners stand by their man

07/08/2008

Clutha Southland  people are not impressed by the bugging of their MP, Bill English.

As National deputy leader Bill English weathers controversy after the secret recording of his comments about selling Kiwibank, in the heart of his Clutha-Southland electorate voters were right behind their man.

Mr English was “a straight shooter” and an “absolutely outstanding” politician, said two voters spoken to by The Southland Times yesterday.

In a random poll, voters in Gore saved their harshest criticism for those who secretly taped the conversation during a cocktail function at the National Party’s annual conference and leaked it to the media.

“I think it stinks,” said one woman.

Another person described it as despicable. Most of those spoken to believed the controversy was unlikely to hurt Mr English in the polls.

“He should be a little bit more careful what he says but I don’t think it will cost him much,” said one man.

A woman who had been wavering as who to vote for would now definitely vote for Mr English.

“I think this will bring everyone behind him because it’s dirty tricks,” she said.

A good local MP gets support across party boundaries. Bill is very popular on his home patch , he has earned their loyalty so it’s not surprising his constituents are standing by him.

Mud sticks to the hand that throws it and because of that sometimes the person at whom it is thrown actually comes out cleaner.

Jim Mora’s Panel  reckoned there was nothing particularly damaging in the comments which were secretly recorded.

Garth George says it’s the work of a scumbag.

As far as I’m concerned, the whole thing stinks. And it is further evidence, if any were needed, that this nation has not only lost its moral compass, we have smashed it.

And The Herald  editorial says MPs will become more wary of discussing sensitive issues which is the public price of this dirty trick.

All of which I agree with. As I blogged yesterday, openness requires trust, that was abused and we will all pay for it if MPs become more guarded.


What’s wrong with letting us choose?

06/08/2008

Labour won’t support  National’s plan to hold a referendum on MMP.

What are they afraid of?

A referendum is a very blunt instrument for a very important matter and I’d prefer a Royal Commission or something similar to investigate the options before it goes to the people, but I don’t have any problem with giving people a choice.

It’s our voting system and many people believe that we were promised a referendum two terms after MMP was introduced. We weren’t – all that was promised was a review which was done by the politicians who had most to lose by any change. However, the belief that we were promised a say persists and even if it didn’t, a chance to look at the pluses and minuses of MMP and alternatives such as Single Transferable Vote or Supplementary Member is welcome.

If MMP is working well and people are happy with it the referendum will give it a stronger mandate than the 1993 one which brought it in; if people have problems with it then we’ll get something which might be better.

Labour isn’t comfortable with giving people a say but that’s not surprising, they’ve spent nine years proving they think they know what’s best for us, whether or not we agree.

[Update: I’ve just found today’s Herald editorial which supports the referendum too. It’s here.]


Too many questions too few answers

30/07/2008

Another day but still no answers to the qeustions about donations to NZ First and its leader.

The Dominion reports: Would that be acceptable for any other Minister, or any other MP responsible to her?

Five days after NZ First leader Winston Peters promised to return to New Zealand and answer questions about donations to the enigmatic Spencer Trust in an “orderly fashion”, its purpose and funding remain secret.

 At a 45-minute meeting yesterday with Prime Minister Helen Clark, Mr Peters gave an assurance that he and NZ First had done nothing illegal. Miss Clark’s chief of staff, Heather Simpson, Mr Peters’ lawyer and a NZ First staffer also attended the session.

It appears even Miss Clark remains in the dark over how the trust operates; she told Parliament yesterday Mr Peters’ word was good enough for her.

That wouldn’t be enough for any other MP responsible to her let alone a Minister.

The Herald notes another day, another promise.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters insists that there is a “massive” difference between his party getting funding from corporate donors via secret trusts and other parties getting it. He won’t say what, but is promising to spell it out in Parliament today.

But he failed in Parliament yesterday to give answers about Sir Robert Jones’ $25,000 donation to the secret Spencer Trust in 2005, despite having promised during the weekend that he would.

Sir Robert yesterday would not rule out calling in the police if he did not get a satisfactory response about what happened to his money.

Outside the House, Mr Peters was asked what the difference was between his party getting large donations from corporate donors via secret trusts and other parties getting it.

Mr Peters said the difference was “massive”, but that the reporters were not capable of understanding it. He said he would explain it today.

Another Tui moment from the master of manipulation, but manipulation is not acceptable for a Minister.

If there is ever a time we should be grateful that we are a tiny nation on the edge of the world it is now. Imagine what this behaviour from a Minister of Foreign Affairs would do to our reputation as a country relatively free from corruption if other countries noticed or cared.


Labour preparing to lose

27/07/2008

What is the significance of the rash of Labour appointments in the last month?

Gerry Brownlee listed 96 since June 20 in a press release last weekend, and The Herald had a story yesterday about Labour stacking the NZ Transport Agency with political allies.

It could be normal business, but it might also signal they’ve accpeted they’re going to lose the election so they’re doing what they can for their friends while they can.

Bill Ralston  points to another sign they’re preparing for a loss:

Labour strategists have become dangerously obsessed with trying to demolish Key personally and portray his party as having a secret agenda to sell everything and return us all to some kind of capitalist serfdom.

It is role-reversal. Labour has adopted the negative approach usually taken by opposition parties, allowing National to take a more publicly palatable positive approach to the country’s future.

It is like Labour has looked six months ahead and has already decided it’s the opposition – and maybe it is right.

Fingers crossed.


Poor pay price of protection

25/07/2008

 If nothing is salvaged from this sorry round, it is the world’s poor who will pay the highest price.

The Herald is correct when it says this in its editorial. It is the poor who are most disadvantaged by trade restriction.

The only fair trade is free trade.


Labour list a test for Clark

22/07/2008

Ranking a party list is never easy, but it is even more difficult when polls suggest that the election might result in a party having fewer MPs in parliament.

Colin James  discusses the test facing Helen Clark over Labour’s list in this morning’s Herald:

The question for Clark is whether she will assert her authority to insist on a bold list that cleans out has-beens and injects the abundant energy ready in the wings or leaves too much of it waiting for 2011. And will that list reflect closely her politics or can she inject diversity (by, for example, getting business-experienced Stuart Nash, Epsom candidate in 2005, well placed)?

Clark has promoted 40-somethings in her Cabinet and they are starting to show through, though too late to impress voters. Of the 15 MPs elected in 2005 who are retiring one way or another, seven vacate electorate seats. New candidates should win at least six. All but two of those candidates are 47 or under, which is the rising half of the electorate.

But if all sitting MPs are given priority places on the list, there is little room for new blood there unless Labour gets 38 per cent – 35 per cent if New Zealand First doesn’t make it back into Parliament and 1 per cent less if Damien O’Connor loses West Coast-Tasman.

For Labour to be sure of getting people like Chinese lawyer Raymond Huo, ex-Oxfam heavy Phil Twyford (slotted eventually to follow Clark into Mt Albert), rising youngster Jacinda Ardern, promising Maori Kelvin Davies and Nash, some of the half-dozen or so underwhelming list MPs need demotion.

But demoting sitting MPs risks destabilising caucus and the last thing Clark needs is tetchy MPs whose high opinion of themselves is not reflected by their places on the list.

But a leader’s legacy is not just action while leader. It is also what is set up for the next leader. Clark sometimes surprises. Her list will be a test.

And it will show if how she handles her short term political needs when they’re in conflict with the long term health of the party.


Words come back to haunt her

18/07/2008

Fairfacts Media over at No Minister discovered three stories on Helen Clark and one on Jenny Shipley from 1999 and 2001 on the Herald politics page last night. From one on Clark’s Mission:

Labour leader Helen Clark launched her election campaign yesterday aiming to capitalise on public anger over party-hopping politicians and waste in the public sector.

“Our mission is to clean up Government and to clean up Parliament, too. We want the defectors out,” she told a cheering crowd in the Auckland Town Hall already in party mood after a 45-minute routine by Pacific band Te Vaka.

Labour’s law to force MPs who left their parties to resign from Parliament would be accompanied by a new era of moderation, frugality and integrity in the public sector, she told the meeting.

“The party is over for the senior management of [Work and Income New Zealand] and of all those other Government organisations who have wasted public money.”

Is this another ad for Tui?

Over at Keeping Stock  Iventory 2 comments on one of the other stories about The Transforming of Helen Clark.

Edwards’ main criticism of Clark is her penchant for publicly criticising her ministers.

“That could bring Helen down,” he says. “Her view is, ‘If you’re going to be open, you have to be seen to be open – I’m not going to tick them off in private and the public likes it … ‘

“While she’s riding high in the polls she’s in a very strong position in her own party but … if she drops off in the ratings there may be a backlog of grievance there.

Hmm.

Hat tip: No Minister, Keeping Stock.


No recession here

16/07/2008

While city papers are full of stories of impending doom, The Oamaru Mail front page lead is headline: No recession here.

The Herald reports that motor vehicle retail sales dropped nearly 15% from April to May and 11.6% since last September.

But the Mail (not on Line) reports that North Otago sales are still holding up.

… Peter Robinson manager of North Otago Motor Group said Oamaru was bucking the trend despite rising fule prices and talk of recession.

“We are definitely going better here and talking with counterparts, it seems the rural and provincial guys are feeling better than the city guys…

He said the company had seen a  rise in sales since last year and had already sold 15 vehicle s this month.

“For us in North Otago it’s driven off the back of good agricultural returns. That puts a positive spin on everyone’s business and it flows through to us.”

Mr Robinson said he expected things to get even better due to good conditions in the agricultural sector and tax cuts expected later in the year.

A vehicle dealer we spoke to in Ashburton at the weekend was equally positive about business in Mid Canterbury and he too credited agriculture for it.


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