December 2 in history

December 2, 2018

1409 – The University of Leipzig opened.

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by fire.

1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in the United States.

1775 – The USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag(the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himselfEmperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a joint Russo-Austrian force.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: US President James Monroe delivered a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: US President James K. Polk announced to Congress that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

1848 – Franz Josef I became Emperor of Austria.

1851 – French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrew the Second Republic.

1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became Emperor of the French (Napoleon III).

1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter was born (d. 1891).

1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown was hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper’s Ferry.

1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.

1884 – Sir Erima Harvey Northcroft, New Zealand lawyer and judge, was born (d. 1953).

1899 – Philippine-American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, was fought.

1908 – Child Emperor Pu Yi ascended the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1917 – Six p.m. closing of pubs was introduced in New Zealand as a ‘temporary’ wartime measure. It ushered in what became know as the ‘six o’clock swill’, as patrons aimed to get their fill before closing time.

'Six o'clock swill' begins 'Six o'clock swill' begins

1917 – An armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovskbegan.

1920 – Following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.

1923 – Maria Callas was born (d. 1977).

1924 – Alexander Haig, American soldier and politician, was born (d. 2010).

1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Model A .

1928 –  Frederick Bennett, who had a Ngāti Whakaue mother and an Irish father, became the first New Zealnder to be consecrated as a Bishop.

First Bishop of Aotearoa consecrated

1930 – Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover went before the United States Congress and asked for a US$150 million public works programme to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

1939 – New York City’s La Guardia Airport opened.

1942 – Manhattan Project: A team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

1943 – A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, with a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

1946 – The British Government invited four Indian leaders, Nehru, Baldev Singh, Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan to obtain the participation of all parties in the Constituent Assembly.

1946 – John Banks, New Zealand businessman, MP and 38th Mayor of Auckland City was born.

John Banks At Opening Of Grafton Bridge cropped.jpg

1947 – Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots broke out in Jerusalem in response to the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

1948 – Elizabeth Berg, American nurse and author was born.

1954 – Red Scare: The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemnJoseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and China, was signed in Washington, D.C..

1956 – The Granma yacht reached the shores of Cuba’s Oriente province and Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castrodeclared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain formed the United Arab Emirates.

1972 – Gough Whitlam became the first Labor Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years.

1975 – Pathet Lao seized power in Laos, and establishes the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

1976 – Fidel Castro became President of Cuba replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

1977 – The first World Series Cricket “supertest” match played between Australia and West Indies.

1980 – Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita FordMaura ClarkeJean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, were murdered by a death squad in El Salvador.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

1990 – A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl won the first free all-German elections since 1932.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot and killed in Medellín.

1993 – STS-61 – NASA launched the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

1999 – Glenbrook rail accident near Sydney.

1999 – The United Kingdom devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.

2001 – Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2008 – Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned after the 2008 Thailand political crisis.

2015 – San Bernardino attack: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wound 22 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

2016 – 36 people died in a fire at a converted Oakland, California, warehouse serving as an artist collective.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


December 2 in history

December 2, 2017

1409 – The University of Leipzig opened.

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by fire.

1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in the United States.

1775 – The USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag(the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himselfEmperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a joint Russo-Austrian force.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: US President James Monroe delivered a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: US President James K. Polk announced to Congress that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

1848 – Franz Josef I became Emperor of Austria.

1851 – French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrew the Second Republic.

1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became Emperor of the French (Napoleon III).

1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter was born (d. 1891).

1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown was hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper’s Ferry.

1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.

1884 – Sir Erima Harvey Northcroft, New Zealand lawyer and judge, was born (d. 1953).

1899 – Philippine-American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, was fought.

1908 – Child Emperor Pu Yi ascended the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1917 – Six p.m. closing of pubs was introduced in New Zealand as a ‘temporary’ wartime measure. It ushered in what became know as the ‘six o’clock swill’, as patrons aimed to get their fill before closing time.

'Six o'clock swill' begins 'Six o'clock swill' begins

1917 – An armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovskbegan.

1920 – Following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.

1923 – Maria Callas was born (d. 1977).

1924 – Alexander Haig, American soldier and politician, was born (d. 2010).

1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Model A .

1928 –  Frederick Bennett, who had a Ngāti Whakaue mother and an Irish father, became the first New Zealnder to be consecrated as a Bishop.

First Bishop of Aotearoa consecrated

1930 – Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover went before the United States Congress and asked for a US$150 million public works programme to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

1939 – New York City’s La Guardia Airport opened.

1942 – Manhattan Project: A team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

1943 – A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, with a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

1946 – The British Government invited four Indian leaders, Nehru, Baldev Singh, Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan to obtain the participation of all parties in the Constituent Assembly.

1946 – John Banks, New Zealand businessman, MP and 38th Mayor of Auckland City was born.

John Banks At Opening Of Grafton Bridge cropped.jpg

1947 – Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots broke out in Jerusalem in response to the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

1948 – Elizabeth Berg, American nurse and author was born.

1954 – Red Scare: The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemnJoseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and China, was signed in Washington, D.C..

1956 – The Granma yacht reached the shores of Cuba’s Oriente province and Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castrodeclared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain formed the United Arab Emirates.

1972 – Gough Whitlam became the first Labor Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years.

1975 – Pathet Lao seized power in Laos, and establishes the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

1976 – Fidel Castro became President of Cuba replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

1977 – The first World Series Cricket “supertest” match played between Australia and West Indies.

1980 – Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita FordMaura ClarkeJean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, were murdered by a death squad in El Salvador.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

1990 – A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl won the first free all-German elections since 1932.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot and killed in Medellín.

1993 – STS-61 – NASA launched the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

1999 – Glenbrook rail accident near Sydney.

1999 – The United Kingdom devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.

2001 – Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2008 – Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned after the 2008 Thailand political crisis.

2015 – San Bernardino attack: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wound 22 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

2016 – 36 people died in a fire at a converted Oakland, California, warehouse serving as an artist collective.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Sense of entitlement

July 19, 2017

Who said:

…how could he have done all of those things credibly—and this is the important issue—knowing that his career and his credibility depended on his honesty? He has signed off on documents that have now led him to be in court on a charge of criminal fraud. There is an issue here of honesty, an issue of credibility, and that has had a very significant and very negative effect on this Government. . .?

It was Metiria Turei.

She was talking about John Banks who resigned from parliament, was charged, found guilty but subsequently cleared.

This makes her guilty of hypocrisy in light of her unashamed admission of benefit fraud.

It also shows a sense of entitlement:

. . . Spread over three years however, Turei’s lie of omission starts to look less like a one-off act of dishonesty and more like a systematic attempt to rort the system. Letter writers and talkback callers have voiced their anger over what they see as her sense of entitlement to public money – not helped by the fact that taxpayers are providing her with a huge salary today.

There is also considerable public anger over her selective and self-serving morality. Turei has effectively argued that she had a moral right to rip off the system because she had to feed her baby. She is wrong because hardship doesn’t give anyone the right to break the law. Her example encourages others to do the same and is unfair on those who struggle through legally. It is a particularly bad look coming from a party leader on a base salary of $173,000 a year.

The self-serving morality and sense of entitlement are also reflected in the welfare policy she announced.

It would increase benefits and remove the obligations now required of beneficiaries and sanctions imposed on those who don’t fulfill them.

That would undo the good work that National has done in helping people into work and in doing so reducing the long-term social and financial costs of benefit dependency.

Turei isn’t the only one to show no respect for taxpayers’ money.

There’s also the absolute stupidity of Gareth Morgan’s mad idea to have taxpayers provide $200 a week pocket money to every 18 – 20 year-old:

The $200 payment – which would be after tax – worked out to $10,000 a year, and would go to everyone regardless of income or whether or not they were studying. Unlike other benefits it would not drop off if a young person moved into employment.

It would replace the student allowance, which currently is tied to parental income and maxes out at $177.03 after tax for single people under 24. It would also replace the first $10,000 of any other benefits and the student living costs segment of student loans.

Morgan argued the financial security this would provide would bring down rates of youth suicide and financial stress. . .

Has he got any data for that? There is plenty of data on what happens when you give people money whether or not they need it.

Only people with no real understanding of people and economics would think either Turei’s or Morgan’s policies have merit.

As Alan Duff says:

. . . I am repeating the warning that free money to able-bodied humans anywhere can do just the opposite of what it intends: take away the will to work, the guts to struggle, the spirit to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. . .

Every cent spent on unnecessary welfare is a cent that could be spent on health, education, infrastructure and any of the other areas where it could do more good.

Every cent spent on unnecessary welfare is a cent taken from other people.

Every cent spent on unnecessary welfare feeds a sense of entitlement and erodes independence.

These policies are also political cynicism at its height because both Turei and Morgan must know that both are so unrealistic and unaffordable they could never be government policy, whichever parties were in power.


December 2 in history

December 2, 2016

1409 – The University of Leipzig opened.

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by fire.

1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in the United States.

1775 – The USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag(the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himselfEmperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a joint Russo-Austrian force.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: US President James Monroe delivered a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: US President James K. Polk announced to Congress that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

1848 – Franz Josef I became Emperor of Austria.

1851 – French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrew the Second Republic.

1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became Emperor of the French (Napoleon III).

1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter was born (d. 1891).

1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown was hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper’s Ferry.

1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.

1884 – Sir Erima Harvey Northcroft, New Zealand lawyer and judge, was born (d. 1953).

1899 – Philippine-American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, was fought.

1908 – Child Emperor Pu Yi ascended the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1917 – Six p.m. closing of pubs was introduced in New Zealand as a ‘temporary’ wartime measure. It ushered in what became know as the ‘six o’clock swill’, as patrons aimed to get their fill before closing time.

'Six o'clock swill' begins

1917 – An armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk began.

1920 – Following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.

1923 – Maria Callas was born (d. 1977).

1924 – Alexander Haig, American soldier and politician, was born (d. 2010).

1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Model A .

1928 –  Frederick Bennett, who had a Ngāti Whakaue mother and an Irish father, became the first New Zealnder to be consecrated as a Bishop.

First Bishop of Aotearoa consecrated

1930 – Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover went before the United States Congress and asked for a US$150 million public works programme to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

1939 – New York City’s La Guardia Airport opened.

1942 – Manhattan Project: A team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

1943 – A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, with a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

1946 – The British Government invited four Indian leaders, Nehru, Baldev Singh, Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan to obtain the participation of all parties in the Constituent Assembly.

1946 – John Banks, New Zealand businessman, MP and 38th Mayor of Auckland City was born.

John Banks At Opening Of Grafton Bridge cropped.jpg

1947 – Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots broke out in Jerusalem in response to the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

1948 – Elizabeth Berg, American nurse and author was born.

1954 – Red Scare: The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemnJoseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and China, was signed in Washington, D.C..

1956 – The Granma yacht reached the shores of Cuba’s Oriente province and Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castrodeclared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain formed the United Arab Emirates.

1972 – Gough Whitlam became the first Labor Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years.

1975 – Pathet Lao seized power in Laos, and establishes the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

1976 – Fidel Castro became President of Cuba replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

1977 – The first World Series Cricket “supertest” match played between Australia and West Indies.

1980 – Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, were murdered by a death squad in El Salvador.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

1990 – A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl won the first free all-German elections since 1932.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot and killed in Medellín.

1993 – STS-61 – NASA launched the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

1999 – Glenbrook rail accident near Sydney.

1999 – The United Kingdom devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.

2001 – Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2008 – Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned after the 2008 Thailand political crisis.

2015 – San Bernardino attack: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wound 22 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California..

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Banks acquitted

May 19, 2015

The case against former Auckland mayor and Act leader John Banks has been thrown out:

The Crown misled the Court of Appeal by failing to disclose a document to John Banks ahead of an appeal hearing, according to a new judgment.

But the three senior judges this was an “error of judgment rather than misconduct”.

The case against Mr Banks has been thrown out and he will not face a second trial for allegedly filing a false electoral return.

The Court of Appeal has sensationally reversed its previous decision to order a retrial following the late disclosure of a document, which Mr Banks’ lawyer David Jones QC said “contradicts all evidence given at trial” by the Dotcom witnesses and made the prosecution “untenable”.

In a judgment just released by the Court of Appeal, Justices Ellen France, Forrest Miller and John Wild ruled that Mr Banks should not stand trial again and he was acquitted.

The senior judges disagreed with the Crown’s argument that the ‘Butler memorandum’ did not need to be disclosed.

“We hold rather that the Crown could not both withhold the memorandum and resist the appeal in the manner that it did. The effect was to mislead the Court.

“We are satisfied that there has been a serious error of process. It is, we accept, attributable to an error of judgment rather than misconduct.” . .

 That error of judgement does not reflect well on the court.

The trial largely hinged on the credibility of who was right about a contentious lunch at the Dotcom mansion. Banks was convicted but his wife Amanda later unearthed new witnesses who corroborated their version of events, so the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial. . . .

Mrs Banks, understandably, did not take kindly to the judge in the earlier case accepting Kim Dot Com’s word rather than hers:

 . . The Court of Appeal’s decision notes Mrs Banks “was stung by the Judge’s opinion of her reliability”.

“She became quite obsessed as she puts it, with identifying the two Americans. . .

That obsession led to the evidence which secured her husband’s acquittal.

 


Key #1

December 4, 2014

Prime Minister John Key is Trans Tasman’s politician of the year:

This year’s 10th annual Roll Call can reveal John Key as its Politician of the Year. It was a straightforward choice. Key has stood head and shoulders above the rest in the polls, and his party romped home in its third election, the third time in a row it has added extra seats as well.

Key polled highest among the Trans Tasman Editors, contributors and their Capital insiders who make up the panel which compiles Roll Call, and despite signs there may be trouble ahead for Key if he is not careful, 2014 was his year.

Of course winning a fourth term will be dependent as much on the party’s support staff and their management as the Parliamentary team. The same goes for Labour as it battles to rebuild after its shattering defeat.

Roll Call says Key is “still phenomenally popular and if he comes through a third term without serious damage, a fourth could be within his grasp. But he’ll have to be careful.”

Trans Tasman’s Editors note “Key has not only performed strongly at home, he has become an international figure as well, cementing his and NZ’s reputation abroad with his election as chairman of the International Democratic Union.”

“However there are clouds. The fallout from the “Dirty Politics” saga continues. It should have been firmly put to bed in the campaign. And Key’s tendency to “forget,” or “mishear” the question is becoming a worrying feature of the way he involves himself in the Parliamentary and media discourse.”

“He has the respect – almost the love – of the voters, he needs to be careful he does not treat them with contempt. A fourth term does beckon, but the PM’s tendency to be just a bit smug, a bit arrogant, and at times a bit childish could derail it.”

“For now he is a titan, but Labour has a new leader and a new sense of purpose, and the next election is a long way away.”

National’s Front Bench performed exceptionally well in 2014, with just a single Cabinet Minister losing ground. Nikki Kaye fell from 6.5 to 6, after the “bright young thing” nearly lost Auckland Central. Roll Call suggests she must work harder.

Steven Joyce adds half a mark, taking the man most see as John Key’s successor to 8. “He doesn’t drop the ball and handles a raft of senior portfolios with calm confidence. Outside Parliament he was National’s campaign manager and must share some of the credit for its victory.”

Bill English, last year’s Politician of the Year, maintained his score of 9 out of 10. He is still “the safest pair of hands in the cabinet. Cautious, dependable and now mostly steering clear of debating chamber rhetoric.”

After a bad year in 2013, Hekia Parata has battled back to take her score from 5 to 7. “Key believes she’s competent and wasn’t going to hang her out to dry. He’s giving her the benefit of the doubt in delivering on a gutsy vision for the Education sector.”

Murray McCully takes his score from 6.5 to 7.5 after putting together the team which won NZ a seat on the UN Security Council and doing many of the hard yards himself, while Maggie Barry gets kudos for fitting in well to Conservation and being who “some say is the most popular National MP behind Key himself.” Her score jumps from 3 to 5.5.

The Ministers outside Cabinet are more average with Craig Foss, and Jo Goodhew, going down in score, Louise Upston and Paul Goldsmith staying the same and just Nicky Wagner boosting her score from 4.5 to 5.

Both support party Ministers, Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell boosted their scores. Dunne from 4 to 5 “gets a point for coming through a horrible year with his head/hair up” while Maori Party leader Flavell goes from 6 to 6.5. “We’ll make a call and say he’s going to be an outstanding Minister.”

The dubious honour of low score for National goes to Melissa Lee. “Hard working but faded after a good start.”

Among the thoroughly shattered Labour MPs, there was little to write home about. David Cunliffe’s score falls from 7.5-6 after the election defeat. But “history may judge him more kindly than last week’s headlines. Is he NZ’s Kevin Rudd?”

Andrew Little’s star starts to shine though. His score jumps from 4.5 to 7. “No-one is going to die wondering what Little thinks. He’s a tough talking union man from way back who isn’t going to compromise his beliefs.”

Labour’s low scorer is Rino Tirikatene who stays on just 2.5 out of 10. “Do still waters run deep or are they just still? Has had time to find his feet and still no impact.”

For the Greens co-leader Russel Norman is the standout, holding his score on 7 out of 10. “After John Key Norman works the media better than any other party leader… If the Greens had gone into coalition with Labour he would have been hard to handle.”

And of course the old war horse Winston Peters is still there, blowing a bit harder than usual. He boosts his score from 7 to 7.5. “Does he have the will and the stamina for another three years on the opposition benches and a campaign in 2017?”

This year for the first time Roll Call also looks at the impact those MPs who left Parliament at the election had, and it is here we find this year’s low scorers Claudette Hauiti and John Banks, both on 1 out of 10.

As for the numbers:

Of National’s 60 MPs, 30 improved their score on last year, 7 went down, and 10 stayed the same. There were 15 new MPs who were not ranked.

Of Labour’s 32, 12 went up, 8 went down, 5 remained on the same score as last year and 7 were unable to be ranked.

ACT’s single MP was unable to be ranked. Of the Maori party’s 2 MPs 1 went up, and the other was unable to be ranked, while United Future’s single MP improved his score.

The Greens had 3 of their 14 MPs improve their score, 4 went down while 6 remained the same, one was unable to be ranked.

For NZ First 2 MPs improved their scores, 1 went down and 2 remained the same. 6 were unable to be ranked.

Of the National MPs able to be rated this year, 32 had a score of 5 or higher, while 13 scored below 5, while for Labour it had 16 of its MPs rated 5 or above, while 9 scored below 5.

The 2014 roll call is here.

 

 


Compounding moral bankruptcy

June 9, 2014

John Banks served as an electorate MP and Minister, retired then returned to parliament representing a party with whose principles and philosophy he had something in common but which weren’t best matched to his own.

Laila Harre served as a list MP and Minister, retired and is now seeking to return to parliament leading a party which doesn’t appear to have much in the way of principles.

Worse it’s led by man whose actions appear to be diametrically opposed to all she professes to believe in.

As Trans Tasman pointed out last week:

. . . It is possible, back when she was an ardent campaigner for feminism and against capitalism, racism and corporatism, Harre foresaw the day she would sign up to front a party funded by a convicted German fraudster who made much of his money from pornography and who also has a fetish for racist, not to say outright Nazi, humour. Harre wasn’t even elected: she was anointed by the aforementioned convicted German fraudster who has trafficked in pornography and who thinks n-word jokes are hilarious.

There are many terms for this sort of thing, none of them complimentary. We will avoid the ‘h’ word – not just because MPs are not allowed to use the term hypocrisy in the House, but mostly because hypocrisy is part of the human condition. All of us fall short of our ideals. But this is not mere hypocrisy, not a minor falling short. This is moral bankruptcy of a particularly shameless kind. . .

At least Banks had some positive things in common with Act.

All Harre has is negative – the aim to get rid of John Key and National.

And Banks wasn’t bought by anyone.

Harre is accepting Kim Dotcom’s money – a salary of more than $100,000 for herself and millions for the party.

If she thinks he won’t expect her to dance to whatever tune he calls, she’s compounding the moral bankruptcy with stupidity.

 


Of chips and planks

June 9, 2014

If John Banks was the answer, Act had asked the wrong question.

They needed someone to win Epsom, but they also needed someone who could get rid of the confusion over what it stood for and unite it on the foundation of liberal values on which it was founded.

He proved he could win Epsom, but wasn’t able to do anything more for the party and almost caused its demise.

Like another former Act MP who had first entered parliament in another party, Roger Douglas, Banks showed it’s almost always a mistake to go back.

His term wasn’t entirely wasted. He achieved the introduction of partnership schools and children who failed in the conventional system have been given a chance to succeed in another.

No doubt he also did the work for his constituents that almost always goes unnoticed, except for the people who seek their MPs help when all other avenues have been exhausted.

But sadly, for him, his party and constituents, his term has finished prematurely and in shadow.

He had a dreadful childhood and could well have followed his parents into a life of crime.

He chose a far better path,  succeeded in business and spent decades in public service.

Had he not decided to return to parliament he would have carried on succeeding and also helping people, out of the public eye.

Instead, his achievements and the good he did have been overshadowed by a court case and a guilty verdict.

There will be no comfort in the knowledge that had he followed the letter of the law and used a trust there would have been no case and that by choosing to observe its spirit he opened himself to the charge which was laid and the court case that ended in a guilty verdict.

The premature end to his career does seem a very high price to pay when so many others have manipulated electoral law in far worse ways and gone unpunished.

In saying that I’m not excusing what was done or criticising the verdict and I hope those who are crowing at the outcome and pointing out the chip in Banks’ eye will examine the planks in their own.

Among them are those who know a lot about the theory of poverty, let’s remind them he knows about it in practice.

Let this be his legacy – that je overcame disadvantage, cruelty and poverty and did indeed, as he aimed to, balanced the family ledger.

P.S.

If you prefer reading, here is the transcript from Hansard:

Hon JOHN BANKS (Leader—ACT) :Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker. The seeds of my political philosophy lie in my background. I am not sure how much the previous speaker, Hone Harawira, knows about child poverty. I know a lot about child poverty. I know what it is like to live in a house with no power and no running water; having a bath once a week in a 44-gallon drum cut in half; sleeping on straw covered with sacks; going to bed every night hungry, piddling the bed every night—psychologically disturbed—and being thrashed every morning for piddling the bed every night. I know what it is like going to school every day in an ex-army uniform with no shoes; spending all day, every day, out of the classroom stealing other kids’ lunches; going home to bread and milk—at best—at night, cooked over an open fire with sugar on top; if I am very lucky, taking Weet-bix covered in dripping to school each day; and living in a very dark hole. That is child poverty.

If I thought that the policies of the previous speaker from the Tai Tokerau would work against that—and they do exist; they do exist—I would go to the other side of the House and support him. I would be the first to line up to support him. Why would I not be the first to line up to support Hone Harawira if he had the answers to this country’s deep, deep vein of underprivilege, desperation, desolation, and despair that so many of our kids live under? If I thought that his policies were the answer, I would line up with him and I would say so.

But let me give him one ticket out of child poverty that he might like to think about. That one ticket is twofold: living in a home with unconditional love—and I never knew about that—and a world-class education. I did get that—a world-class education. If every one of his people lived in a home with unconditional love and access to a world-class education, then in a generation we would get rid of the deep vein of social deprivation and child poverty in this country. That is the ticket. That is the only ticket—not welfare, not big Governments, not more borrowing, and not more handouts. It is instilling in people that having children is a God-given right but an awesome responsibility, that love goes a long, long way, and that a world-class education is a ticket to the future for so many of these people whom the previous speaker talked about and represents to the best of his ability in this House. But he is misguided.

In a couple of weeks we are going to open the first charter school—they call it—in Northland. I do not mind whether they call it a charter school or whether they call them partnership schools, but this is what I can tell you. The first partnership school in Whangarei will open in 2 weeks’ time. As a private provider for the last 4 years it has taken 40 Māori boys and girls from the poorest, poorest families in the whole of the Tai Tokerau. It has boarded them in Whangarei, and it has given them an opportunity to go to the best State schools in Whangarei, mostly Whangarei Boys High School, and after school they are tutored. They get in that collective home unconditional love every day of the week and tutoring every night of the week. They feel a sense of purpose and direction.

Those young people sit National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level 1 with a 100 percent pass rate, I say to the Minister of Finance, a 100 percent pass rate in that partnership school in Whangarei for the last 4 years, a 100 percent pass rate in NCEA level 1 in Whangarei with Māori boys who come from places that the previous speaker represents and knows nothing about. The previous speaker has a doctrine he peddles in this House that is bankrupt—more borrowing, more welfare, and less responsibility. He does it because he thinks there are votes in it. There are no votes in representing people who have no hope, and that member will not get up on his hind legs and say to this House: “I’m going to support the partnership school that has served my mokopuna in Tai Tokerau for so, so long.” That member and the Labour Party have promised to close down that school, which gets a 100 percent—100 percent—pass rate in NCEA level 1.

That is the ticket out of deprivation. That is the only way, the one-way street, the only way out of poverty in this country. It will take a generation, but this is what this Government is working on. It stands for bringing those people up. It is like high tides raising all boats. Lift the standards at the bottom and the high tide will rise and raise more boats—all boats. We have tried throwing money. We have tried borrowing money. We have tried big welfare. And what we do know is that any Government big enough to give you everything you want is a Government big enough to take from the hard workers everything they have.

So if we want to deal with the deep vein of social deprivation—and I do because I know what it is like, and it is a dark place, a very dark place—then we have to deal with the fundamentals of human behaviour: taking responsibility for your family, giving them unconditional love regardless of your status or your wealth, taking advantage of a world-class education that is there for you at the school down the street, and encouraging young people to do that. It will be a generation, but it will lift them out. If we want to empty the jails, we have got to educate the young people. If we want to get the health lists down, we have got to teach young people what it is like to be in charge of yourself and take responsibility for your own actions. Then we will make progress. But borrowing from the savings of offshore people to hand out to others in a country and mounting up the debt to the next generation is not the way we deal with poverty in this country.

Of course I support sandwiches and food in schools—by God, I would have loved some sandwiches and some food in school—but that is not the answer. The answer is getting the fundamentals of the New Zealand economy so that we are internationally competitive. I pay tribute to Bill English, whom I have worked with closely these last 2 years, who has done a remarkable job of turning this economy round. I give praise to the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the National Party caucus—my coalition partners—for taking tough decisions. The answer to child poverty, I say to the parliamentary Opposition, is not about taking others’ money and throwing it at a problem, because we have tried that and it has failed.

The answer is education. The answer is giving everybody the opportunity of the dignity of work, and you can have a job only if you are educated. And you can get educated only if you go to school. And you can go to school only if you come from a home that loves you. And the corollary to that is a dark place, and I know about living in dark places. So if we want to deal with the fundamental issues of about 20 percent of this country’s young people coming from dysfunctional homes and families, we have to deal with the causes, not with the political side effects for the purposes of getting a few votes.


Politics Daily

June 8, 2014

While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end.

You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

John Banks

Colin Espiner @ Sunday Star Times – Banks’ public fall from grace

Southland Times – The plank must look pretty good

Grant Shimmin @ Timaru Herald – Banks situation a right mess

Dominion Post – Hard lessons for all in Banks verdict

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Tweet of the Day – 8 June 2014

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Geddis on Banks

Michael Cummings @ Manawatu Standard – Stench of corruption may affect election

Rodney  Hide @ NZ Herald – They’re all winners more or less

Kerre McIvor @ NZ Herald – Shame sticks to both sides of this episode

Sunday star Times – Laughing all the way to the Banks

Labour Party

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – The right divide

Election

Jon Sergeant @ Taranaki Daily News – Bad pre-election policy from Left

TV3 – Lisa Owen interviews Epsom candidates

Mike Williams @ NZ Herald – Higher voter turnout could topple Nats

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Mark or Mike? Doesn’t really matter the missing million isn’t really a million or missing

Cameron Slater @ Wahle Oil – Labour’s former general secretary isn’t hopeful for Labour

Economic Development

TV3 –  Lisa Owen interviews Steven Joyce

IMP

John Weekes @ NZ Herald – Dotcom to stand for parliament in 2017

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Dotcom wants citizenship so he can then become an MP

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Citizen Kim – yeah right

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Never going to happen

Other

Andrea Vance @ Sunday Star Times – What’s the real deal on the theories

Beehive – New Akaroa Marine Reserve opened
Minister of Conservation, Nick Smith, opened our newest marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour today. https://www.national.org.nz/news/news/media-releases/detail/2014/06/08/new-akaroa-marine-reserve-opened
Matthew Beveridge – Leaving on a plane

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Nashy’s pimped poor person makes the news, is a Mob associate and owns a pitbull

Steve Braunias @ Sunday Star Times – Secret diary of . . .  Julian Assange

David Farrar – Kiwiblog – Adult Community Education

TV1 – ACT Campaign Manager Richard Prebble on TV1’s Q+A


Banks resigning

June 8, 2014

A media release from John Banks:

“Further to the of the decision of the High Court at Auckland last Thursday,  I will  resign the seat of Epsom effective from 5pm this Friday the 13th of  June 2014” Mr Banks said.

“I will write to the Speaker tomorrow advising him of my resignation, said Mr Banks.

“This timeframe allows a number of constituency, administrative and staffing matters in Epsom and Wellington to be dealt with over the next few days.

“I have been privileged to serve the people of Epsom and New Zealand at both a local level and in Wellington. 

“I have given my heart and soul over four decades to making a worthwhile contribution to this country.  I have always endeavoured to do the right thing.  Consequently I am deeply saddened at this turn of events.

“As the matter is still before the Court I will be making no further comment” said Mr Banks.

This is a sad end to decades of public service motivated by the desire to balance the family ledger.

It is however, the honourable thing to do.


Banks considering options

June 7, 2014

A media release from Act leader Jamie Whyte:

 On Thursday, Judge Wylie found John Banks guilty of knowingly filing a false electoral return.

John will be sentenced on the 1st August, and has applied for a discharge without conviction.

Until then he is legally entitled to remain as a Member of Parliament but he could also choose to step down as an MP prior to sentencing.

John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his alternatives.

Act campaign manager Richard Prebble says resigning before the verdict could damage the Act brand.

. . . Mr Prebble said the affair had “probably” had an effect on Act, but in a recent Roy Morgan poll taken while Mr Banks’ trial was proceeding, the party’s support rose while that for Labour and the Greens went down.

“If he was to quit as a member of Parliament when he hasn’t been convicted, that might damage Act’s brand.” . .

I think he’s wrong about that. Banks is the party’s past and it should be looking to the future.

 . . . When asked whether Mr Banks should resign, Dr Whyte yesterday told National Radio he wanted his sole MP “to follow due process”.

Dr Whyte said he hadn’t been in touch with Mr Banks since the verdict and “I’m not quite sure what his intentions are on this”.

He hadn’t spoken with Mr Banks because “these events don’t really concern the Act Party”.

“John isn’t involved in our campaign, he isn’t going to be an MP after the next election and this is as far as we’re concerned because this was to do with his mayoral campaign.

“This is not an Act Party issue,” Dr Whyte said.

It’s not an Act Party issue but it will be a distraction for the party, and for the government if Banks stays in parliament.

Even if he wants to appeal the decision or apply for a discharge without conviction, resigning would be the best thing to thing to do.


Cunliffe chucks stones from glass house

June 6, 2014

Prime Minister John Key said he was not in a position to offer the former Auckland mayor, now Act MP, John Banks advice.  

. . . “It’s not for me to offer a view on that,” Key said in Nelson this morning.

“In the end he is the leader of another political party.

“I can’t offer him advice any more than I could offer David Cunliffe advice on whether he should resign.”

Asked about Cunliffe’s claims that the Government was being propped up by a “corrupt” politician, Key said Cunliffe should rule out working with the Internet Party.

“I’m not going to be lectured by David Cunliffe,” he said.

“If he was the man of principle he says he is, he’d be ruling out the Internet Party and Kim Dotcom who’s before the court and is a convicted fraudster, but he’s not going to do that. Most people will see it for what it is, which is politics.” . . .

The PM didn’t have to sack Banks as a minister because he resigned.

He doesn’t have the power to sack him as an MP.

Banks was elected by the people of Epsom. Unless or until he’s convicted he can resign, which would be the honourable thing to do, or tough it out for another few weeks until parliament rises but he can’t be sacked.

Cunliffe should be very careful about criticising the PM over this because he’s chucking dirty great stones from a glass house.

He does have the ability to rule out any deal with the Internet Mana Party but won’t because he knows he might need the support of its MPs to govern.


Banks guilty

June 5, 2014

John Banks has been found guilty.

John Banks says he is surprised and disappointed by a guilty verdict against him delivered today.

The MP, found guilty of filing a false electoral return, gave a brief statement outside court today about the verdict delivered by Justice Ed Wylie.

Unless he is discharged without conviction he will lose his seat and the government will lose its majority.

This confirms National’s wisdom in inviting the Maori Party into government.

It votes against a lot of legislation but can be relied on for confidence and supply.

The reasons for the verdict are here, the full judgement is here.


Personal and political

May 27, 2014

That Kim Dotcom doesn’t like Prime Minister John Key should have been obvious to anyone who’s taken even a cursory interest in the news.

But yesterday’s testimony by Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, a witness for the defence in the case against John Banks, shows something beyond dislike that appears to be both personal and political:

Kim Dotcom vowed to “destroy” John Banks and Prime Minister John Key, MP Mark Mitchell has told the High Court in Auckland.

Mitchell, the National MP for Rodney, today gave evidence for the defence at ACT MP Banks’ trial for filing a false electoral return.

Mitchell said he had met Dotcom at a barbecue in his electorate where the internet entrepreneur was “agitated” about the case to extradite Dotcom to the US on criminal copyright charges.

He said Dotcom told him: “I’m going to destroy John Key, I’m going to take down John Banks, I’m going to take down the Government.”

Mitchell’s other evidence was suppressed. . .

Dotcom ought to be very grateful he’s in New Zealand which shows a great deal more respect for the law and democracy than he appears to.

In many other countries that sort of tirade against a Prime Minister and MP would result in a charge of treason and in some they wouldn’t bother with such niceties as a fair trial before reaching a verdict.


No testing highs on animals

May 5, 2014

The government will not allow animal testing on so-called legal highs.

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out any animal testing on legal high products.

Parliament will pass legislation this week to pull all legal high products from shop shelves until they can be proved to be safe. . . .

John Banks was the only MP to vote against the original legislation because it allowed animal testing. and he was right to do so.

(I posted supporting him here)

I accept the case for using animals to test drugs which could potentially help people but I can’t see any ethical justification for using them to test recreational drugs.

This will have the same effect as banning the drugs altogether.

That isn’t without problems is preferable to allowing tests to be carried out on animals.

 


If no-one rides free . . .

April 11, 2014

An ex-staff or Kim Dotcom has revealed that no-one rides for free with him:

A former employee of Kim Dotcom says he was told to lavish ACT Party leader John Banks with gifts and travel offers, possibly to build up favours from the politician. . .

“If you’re thinking as I was – I was thinking ‘how generous, how nice – he must be really liking this gentleman and […] wants to show his hospitality'”.
But in hindsight, he thinks Dotcom was trying to “trap” Mr Banks.

“Looking at the situation in hindsight yeah, it would look as if like he was being stitched up,” Mr Mardikian says.

“No one rides for free with Kim. And if you think about it, and go through every situation, there’s never been a time of just open generosity; it’s always been for something in return.” . . .

If no-one rides for free, what price will Kim Dotcom expect the Mana party to pay for an alliance with his Internet Party?

He will provide money, but what will he want to extract in return?


The MP most likely . . .

March 28, 2014

Kim Dotcom is claiming a sitting MP will join his Internet Party.

. . . He repeated his claim that it would be represented in Parliament, whether or not it achieved the 5 per cent MMP threshold for list seats, because a sitting electorate MP would join.

He would not name the person or say which party he or she represented, because of a confidentiality agreement, but it was not Harawira. The MP’s name would be revealed in June. . .

He didn’t know how many MPs were in parliament when asked by Seven Sharp.

There are 121, 70 of whom hold seats.

Given the unity in National and the high probability all those running again will hold their seats any of its 42 MPs would be mad to leap from a rock to sinking sand.

John Banks is retiring and Peter Dunne would have lots to lose and nothing to gain by any dalliance with Dotcom.

Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are also retiring. The third Maori Party MP, Te Ururoa Flavell would also have too much to lose by leaping from the steady waka into a dotbomb dinghy.

Dotcom says it’s not Harawira and we can take his word on that because while he’s the lone paddler in the Mana waka, he’s not stupid enough to tip it up.

That only leaves Labour.

A few of its MPs might feel uneasy in their seats and most will have some doubt about the probability of being in government after the election.

The prospect of power can do strange things to people but even unhappy Labour MPs wouldn’t be stupid enough to think they’d have a better chance of success by leaping into the unknown.

Who then is the MP most likely to join Dotcom?

Almost certainly someone in his dreams.


Schadenfreude

March 5, 2014

David Cunliffe’s many mistakes over the use of a trust to hide donations to help  his leadership campaign have provided his opponents with the opportunity to accuse him of all sorts of things, including hypocrisy.

Probably none relishes this more keenly than John Banks who can be forgiven for more than a wee bit of schadenfreude:

ACT MP John Banks labelled Mr Cunliffe and former leader David Shearer, who initially failed to declare an overseas bank account, as hypocrites.

“These are the same people who paraded in the house as paragons of virtue and railed against me day after day, week after week and month after month. They should look at themselves – these people are hypocrites.” . . .

Duncan Garner also employs the h word:

. . . David Cunliffe is a former high-flying business consultant – his wife is a top lawyer – they know how these things work. His friends are business people. His wife knew about it and kept all this secret. How on earth did she think they were going to get away with this approach? Their collective judgement on this is woeful.

Where was he when Labour rallied against National’s use of trusts to fund its many elections campaigns? It’s why Labour changed the law and brought in the Electoral Finance Law. Was he not in the Parliament at the time? No, he was there. Did he speak up against National’s use of secret trusts? Oh yes he did.

Labour politicians of all shapes and sizes criticised National for months for receiving secret money. Cunliffe was in there, boots-‘n’-all. Trevor Mallard went further and claimed there was a ‘secret American bag-man.’ It was never proved.

I’ll never forget Labour climbing into National over electoral finances. Now Cunliffe looks like a complete hypocrite despite the apology. National has every right to pile into him on this. Just like Labour piled into National over secret trusts and campaign donations.

I’m starting to wonder just who Cunliffe is. What does he stand for? Is he anti-business or pro-business? Does he care about the poor? Or hang out with the rich? My big question really is this: Who is the real David Cunliffe?

Is he a fake?

That’s an f word no politician can afford to have directed at them, especially when more than half his caucus will also be feeling more than a wee bit of  schadenfreude.


TVNZ reviewing programmes for bias

February 19, 2014

Using facilities at a state-owned broadcaster for Labour Party meetings and communications was a serious lapse of judgement.

But the bigger concern is whether there was political influence in editorial and programming decisions and interviews.

TVNZ’s Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick says:

. . . TVNZ will now launch an investigation into staff use of TVNZ resources to support political party activities. It will also review the editorial independence of the Maori and Pacific Programming division during Shane Taurima’s time as manager (February 2013 to February 2014).

The investigation will be led by Brent McAnulty, TVNZ’s Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs and report to me, as TVNZ’s Editor in Chief. Brent will head up a review team that has access to all TVNZ internal resources, and a search has begun to identify a suitably qualified external person to provide an objective and independent critique of our editorial performance. 

This investigation will be conducted as a matter of priority but it won’t be a rush job – we’re focussed on carrying out a robust and comprehensive investigation that looks into this matter thoroughly. 

The review findings and recommendations will be made publicly available.

Given our position as New Zealand’s most watched news provider we hold ourselves to the highest standards of editorial independence and balance. Clearly a line has been crossed here – it’s unacceptable and we make no excuses for what’s happened.

Our focus now is to clearly and fully understand what has happened; how this happened; and what we need to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she was treated unfairly by Taurima.

. . . Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says she was treated unfairly by TVNZ interviewer Shane Taurima.

The TVNZ unit manager resigned from the state broadcaster yesterday after it was revealed he took part in a Labour Party hui, and that TVNZ property was used to hold party meetings.

Bennett was grilled by Taurima on youth unemployment, in April 2012 on Sunday morning current affairs show Q+A.

“I felt that it was actually really biased,” Bennett told reporters this morning.

“I came out of there and couldn’t work out whether it was anti-National, anti-me, I don’t know what it was.

“It was one of the worst and the least-informative [interviews] for viewers, to be honest, that I’ve ever done in my career … I always felt that he was much tougher on National Maori women … but you have got to be careful that you don’t start over-thinking things, as well.” . .

Good interviewers don’t badger and interrupt.

They ask intelligent questions, listen to the answers and ask more questions.

They are firm, they can be tough, but they must be fair.

Taurima isn’t the only broadcaster who’s had political allegiances, but John Armstrong explains why they are different:

What about Paul Henry? Inevitably questions are being asked – especially by some in a smarting Labour Party – as to what difference in political terms there is between Shane Taurima, who has been forced to resign his management position at TVNZ, and Henry, who unsuccessfully stood for Parliament for National in 1999 but yet has been given his own late-night programme on TV3.

Well, quite a lot actually.

For starters, Henry is but one example of someone starting or resuming a career in broadcasting after a dalliance with politics. You can go back to Brian Edwards who stood for Labour in 1972 but lost narrowly, and Pam Corkery who also briefly hosted a late night TV show, in her case after leaving Parliament.

Labour’s John Tamihere became a talkback jock after losing his seat. John Banks has regularly interchanged political and broadcasting roles, even to the point of holding both at once.

However, all were hired because of their larger-than-life personalities rather than their politics which they were anyway totally upfront about.

Along with Corkery, Henry has shown no inclination to return to politics.

Taurima stood down from his TVNZ role while he sought nomination as the Labour candidate in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti byelection last year. After failing to win selection, he returned to work at TVNZ where he was head of the Maori and Pacific unit.

Given his management role in news and current affairs, TVNZ’s senior management should have sought assurances he had no intentions of standing for Parliament again.

TVNZ was aware, however, that Taurima was considering standing in another Maori seat at this year’s election. At that point, Taurima should have been confronted with two choices: either sever your political affiliations or quit TVNZ. . .

Act MP John Banks has used the issue to ask a very good question – why do we have state television?

TV3’s revelation that Shane Taurima, TVNZ’s former manager of the Maori and Pacific Programmes unit, hosted a Labour Party meeting last year on the broadcaster’s property and involving other TVNZ staff, shows another good reason why TVNZ should be sold, said ACT MP John Banks.

“This issue is not Mr Taurima’s politics. It is the fact that he and some of his staff wrongly used taxpayer’s property to further his political objectives” said Mr Banks.

“The easiest fix is for the taxpayer to get out of the television business. TVNZ should be sold.

“There is no reason for the State to be in the risky television business. We should sell now because TVNZ will soon be worthless as a result of technology changes.

“In private media if a journalist pursues a political agenda using company resources that is solely a matter for the management, shareholders and advertisers.

“If TVNZ were in private ownership no one would care about Mr Taurima’s Labour Party activities on the premises” said Mr Banks.

https://twitter.com/johnbanksnz/status/435576690576588800


Hypocrisy nothing to do with race

January 31, 2014

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is accusing East Coast MP and Police Minister Anne Tolley of racism after remarks in parliament yesterday.

. . . Speaking during the debate on the Prime Minister John Key’s opening statement to Parliament, Tolley said she was insulted by Green Party claims that she was out of touch.

She said said her role as an electorate MP included meetings with constituents who were among the poorest in the country.

“I’m actually insulted to be lectured about how out of touch I am with average New Zealand by a list MP who has no constituents, lives in a castle and comes to the House in $2000 designer jackets and tells me I’m out of touch,” Tolley said. . .

Asked about Tolley’s comments, Turei said racism was behind the attack.

“I’m shocked that the National Party would attack me and my home and my appearance. I think it is a racist attack,” she said.

“I think they seem to think it is all right for them to wear perfectly good suits for their professional job but that a Maori woman from a working-class background is not entitled to do the same. I think it is pure racism.” . .

Rubbish.

She was being criticised for hypocrisy, her race had nothing to do with it.

Opposition MPs, and the left in general,  like to think they are champions of the poor and the only ones who understand poverty.

What they don’t understand is that many on the right have been poor but they’ve done something about it.

Two excellent speeches in parliament this week provided very good examples of that.

One from one of the longest serving MPs, Act’s John Banks, the other from National’s newest MP, Joanne Hayes.


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