Third blue electorate needs new MP

July 26, 2016

Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson has announced he won’t be seeking re-election next year.

This follows the announcement by Waikato MP Lindsay Tisch that he’ll be retiring next year and East Coast Bays MP Murray McCully’s announcement he won’t contest his seat.

That’s three blue electorates which will be seeking candidates to become new MPs and that’s good for caucus renewal.


Stones from glass house

June 16, 2014

The Labour Party has been caught throwing stones from a glass house – again:

A wealthy Auckland businessman, whose links to the National Party led to a minister’s resignation, also made a secret $15,000 donation to the Labour Party – and hosted a Cabinet minister at a lavish dinner in China.

The Labour Party has previously accused the Government of “cash for access” deals with Donghua Liu, who received citizenship after lobbying from National minister Maurice Williamson and whose hotel was later opened by Prime Minister John Key.

But the Herald can reveal Liu, 53, also paid $15,000 at a Labour Party auction in 2007 for a book signed by Helen Clark, the Prime Minister at the time, according to a party source.

The source said Liu also hosted Rick Barker, the then Internal Affairs Minister, at a dinner in his hometown of Chongqing.

Mr Barker, who is now a regional councillor in Hawkes Bay, confirmed he was a guest at the dinner and also visited Liu’s cement company while on holiday in China

But he said he was not aware Liu was a Labour donor and he was not in China on official business as a minister. . .

Political donations made at fundraising auctions or dinners are not recorded individually, but the total amount raised is declared. . . .

Kiwiblog corrects that last statement:

. . . If a donation at an auction or dinner is larger than the disclosure threshold it must be declared with the identity of the individual who made it.

The disclosure limit in 2007 was $10,000. Liu donated $15,000 to Labour. The party should have declared him as a donor. . .

This is yet another Labour failure to abide by the disclosure rules.

There is another interesting aspect to this story – it comes from a party source.

That points to instability and unhappiness in the party’s ranks and raises some questions:

Who knew about the donation then who is in caucus now or still active in the party?

Why didn’t s/he/they warn the MPs attacking National over Liu that they were throwing stones from a glass house?

What has prompted the source of the story to talk now and what else does s/he know that the public ought to know too?


Wagner new minister

May 5, 2014

Nicky Wagner is to become a Minister outside Cabinet:

Prime Minister John Key has today reallocated the portfolios made vacant by the resignation of Maurice Williamson as a Minister.

Christchurch Central MP, Nicky Wagner, will be made a Minister outside Cabinet and take on the portfolios of Customs, Statistics, Associate Conservation, and Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.

“Nicky has been an MP since 2005, and has done a great job in Christchurch and in chairing the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

“As a Minister I expect she will treat her new portfolios with the same hard work and enthusiasm.”

In other changes, Nick Smith will take on the Building and Construction portfolio, and Michael Woodhouse will take on Land Information.

“I would like to thank them for taking on the extra responsibilities,” says Mr Key.

The Governor General will swear in Nicky Wagner on Wednesday 7 May. . .

Nicky won the Christchurch Central seat at the last election after serving two terms as a list MP and is currently a parliamentary Private Secretary.


How rumours start

May 1, 2014

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn posts:

And then there’s this bit:

In a statement, Prime Minister John Key says he’s accepted Mr Williamson’s resignation.

“I have been made aware that Mr Williamson contacted Police some time ago regarding their investigation of Mr Donghua Liu,” Mr Key said.

Which raises the other obvious question: why didn’t Key sack him then? . . .  Or is corrupt behaviour only punished if it becomes public? . . .

IS has mis-read the sentence.

He doesn’t allow comments so I’m correcting him here.

The sentence means that the PM knows that the contact with the police was some time ago not that he’s known for some time.

If he’d known for a while he’d have said:

 I was made aware some time ago that  . . .

This is how rumours start. Someone misreads what someone says and accuses them of doing something wrong.

The wrong in this case is in the reading, and interpretation of that, by the writer not the actions of the speaker.


Maurice Williamson resigns as Minister

May 1, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has accepted Maurice Williamson’s resignation from Cabinet:

 “I have been made aware that Mr Williamson contacted Police some time ago regarding their investigation of Mr Donghua Liu,” Mr Key says.

“Mr Williamson has assured me that he did not in any way intend to influence the Police investigation.

“However, Mr Williamson’s decision to discuss the investigation with Police was a significant error of judgement.

“The independence of Police investigations is a fundamental part of our country’s legal framework.

“Mr Williamson’s actions have been very unwise as they have the potential to bring that independence into question.

“I have advised the Governor General to accept Mr Williamson’s resignation as a Minister.

Mr Key said he will appoint a new Minister outside Cabinet early next week and in the meantime, Nick Smith will act in the Building and Construction portfolio, Nathan Guy in Land Information, and Simon Bridges in Customs and Statistics.

The Minister has done the right thing by resigning from Cabinet for this error of judgement.

The resignation is as a minister, he is still the MP for Pakuranga.


Oamaru on-line census trial worked

April 14, 2014

Several trends have emerged following analysis of the 2013 Census online option, Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says.

Close to two million census forms, or 34 per cent of all forms, were done online, with the response rate peaking at 130,000 forms per hour on census night.

“The average time taken to complete an individual form was 10 minutes and eight minutes for the dwelling form.

“The Auckland and Wellington regions had the highest proportion of individual forms done online.  It was also interesting to note the online option was most popular for people who were born overseas, of Asian ethnicity and aged in their thirties,” Mr Williamson says.

Another feature of the 2013 Census was a trial in Oamaru that saw everyone receive internet access codes via mail, with paper forms only delivered on request.

“About 65 per cent of people completed forms online, which was nearly double the national rate.  It shows an online delivery and collection method for census can work in New Zealand.

“It also gives Statistics New Zealand a strong base to explore online options for other surveys,” Mr Williamson says.

As more people have reliable internet connections, on-line options should become more popular.

It will be considerably less expensive for Statistics NZ.

However, it might require an opt-in for paper as was used in Oamaru to prompt those less confident, or more reluctant, about using the internet to take the on-line option.


Lies, damn lies and Winston

February 22, 2014

Winston Peters delivered his state of the nation speech yesterday.

It was full of the usual dog whistles against immigrants and Asians in particular.

One of the claims he made was that Huka Lodge had been sold to Chinese investors.

This has been denied by the lodge and Minister for Land Information Maurice Williams.

. . . “The Overseas Investment Office has spoken to Huka Lodge director and shareholder David McGregor, and he has confirmed no sale has been made or is being considered.

Huka Lodge was last sold in 2003, following Overseas Investment Commission approval, when a Labour Government was in power.

Peters has back-tracked ever so slightly:

Later, Peters modified his claim to say the lodge was for sale.

But only very slightly:

But Peters was unrepentant last night, accusing the OIO of having become a “political pawn”.

Such was the paperwork involved, the OIO may not know the status of the sale, Peters said.

“It’s for sale.”

This is in spite of Huka Lodge director and shareholder David McGregor confirming no sale has been made or is being considered.

But Peters has never let the facts get in the way of his stories in his quest for votes.

It’s just another case of lies, damn lies and Winston.


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