Freedom only for those with whom agree?

December 9, 2014

Judith Collins’ first column in the Sunday Star Times has provoked an outpouring from the left about media bias and right-wing conspiracies.

The column was about an issue of health and safety in the building industry which a constituent brought to her notice.

It wasn’t party political. It’s highlighting the sort of issue which comes to MPs’ notice and which the good ones act on.

The condemnation from the left wasn’t universal. Brian Edwards  defended the column.

But others from that end of the spectrum threatened to cancel their subscriptions.

They appear to not grasp the concept that freedom of expression isn’t only for those whose opinions with which you agree.

 

 

 


Dare we hope?

October 29, 2012

The Sunday Star times reports that New Zealand has been tipped to quit the Kyoto Protocol.

Kiwiblog points out that isn’t the case. We’ve committed to the five-year period which ends in 10 weeks.

There is no international agreement for any commitment after that.

There is growing speculation the Government’s silence is because it could save face internationally by waiting for big players like China and the US to refuse to sign up to the second Kyoto round, before following suit.

Of course, as it would be economic and environmental madness to have an agreement without them (or India).

But not unilaterally agreeing to a future binding commitment, is vastly different to walking away from a current commitment. If reporters can not understand this, then here’s an analogy.

If I lend you $1,000 and you agree to pay me back $200 a year, and then after five years you have paid me back, are you walking away from your commitment if you don’t keep giving me money in the future?

But OM Financial carbon broker Nigel Brunnel thinks New Zealand will sign up to new commitments in Doha, but then delay ratifying them. That could buy time to pursue aligning with a group of Asia-Pacific partners, and adopting voluntary emissions targets outside of Kyoto.

That fits into two of the Government’s climate-change themes, New Zealand doing its share, and not damaging competitiveness by enforcing heavy carbon payments on businesses when trading partners like the US and China do not.

Because of that, about 85 per cent of world carbon emissions are not covered by international reduction agreements, and it is said in government circles that China’s emissions increase daily by New Zealand’s entire annual carbon output.

It is simple. Any agreement which doesn’t include binding targets by China is worthless in an environmental sense.

The Kyoto Protocol was the triumph of politics and bureaucracy over science and common sense.

It was riddled with inconsistencies for example the liability for some products fell on producers, for others on consumers.

It also used a blanket approach which took no account of individual countries’ differences. The clause which required trees to be replanted where previous ones had been cut down might have made sense if the aim was to preserve native forests. But it made no sense in New Zealand where it might be better to use flat land where pine trees had been felled for pasture and plant trees on steeper land where they would prevent erosion.

It also took a local approach to a global problem which could have perverse consequences. New Zealand has a very high proportion of carbon emissions from animals but we’re also leaders in efficient production of food. Nothing would be achieved for the environment if costs here led to lower production here and higher production from less efficient farmers elsewhere.

So the SST is wrong. We’re not quitting Kyoto but dare we hope New Zealand won’t make any commitment for a second phase and instead put scientific efforts and money into initiatives that really will help the environment without wrecking the economy?


More urban land than rural foreign owned

July 9, 2012

The idea that New Zealand was passing into foreign hands is a myth according to Terralink managing director Mike Donald.

The Sunday Star Times (not online) reports that 280,000 hectares of rural land has been consented for sale over the last seven years.

That’s less than 1.5% of the country’s total rural land and most of it has been bought by people or organisations based in the USA, Britain and Israel.

Furthermore the amount of productive land bought by foreigners each year has dropped sharply over the last decade.

Overseas Investment Office figures show 15,242 hectares of farming and forestry land was consented for sale to foreign buyers in 2011, significantly down from the 48,828ha in 2001 and the least since 2007. The total combined area of the Crafar Farms was 7900ha. Rather than the nation’s dairying being put up for grab, it was commercial and industrial land that outstripped other categories.

Nearly 5 per cent of all industrial land in New Zealand has been consented for sale to overseas person or entities.

It isn’t clear if that includes land already owned by foreigners or whether it was all sales of land owned by New Zealanders.

Whichever it is, that’s not a big area of rural land which highlights the stupidity of Green co-leader Russel Norman’s Bill to prohibit the sale of “sensitive” land to foreigners.

He defines “sensitive” as anything more than .05 square kilometres (about 12 acres) but the figures show that if there’s a problem with too much land in foreign hands, it’s with urban land, which is sold in smaller parcels, rather than rural which is usually sold in larger blocks.

Why would it be alright to sell a horticultural property or lifestyle block to foreigners but not a livestock or cropping farm? Why is farmland more sensitive than land for factories, housing or shops?

That said, Donald does point out there could be grounds for concern if consents for sales of farmland to foreigners continue at the same rate as they have been over the last seven years.

The discussion then shouldn’t be on how much land an individual foreigner can buy but how much land in total should be owned by foreigners.

I don’t have any concern about less than 1.5% of farmland being in overseas ownership and I would be opposed to a blanket prohibition of farm sales to foreigners. However, I can see cause for concern if too much land was in foreign hands.

Quite how much is too much is a matter of debate and it would be far better if the effort was put into determining that rather than banning foreign ownership of farms outright.

 

 


Facts missing from figures

February 11, 2012

The Sunday Star Times put the sale of the Crafar Farms into perspective with a story on how much land has been sold to people from which countries in the last five years.

Figures released by the Overseas Investment Office show that of the 872,313 hectares of gross land sold to foreign interests over the past five years only 223 hectares were sold to Chinese.

People from the landlocked principality of Liechtenstein had purchased 10 times more land than the Chinese – 2,144ha in the same period.

The top buyers were the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Israel. The United States had 194 purchases for a total of 193,208ha.

The figures do not show if there are any New Zealand ownership shares involved.

Nor do the figures show how many of the purchasers were sales from foreigners to foreigners and Inquiring Mind points out the difference between net sales and gross sales.

Nor do they include how much land owned by foreigners was sold back to New Zealanders.

Last week the sale of land to foreigners got a lot of attention but the purchase of foreign-owned shares in Dairy Holdings by New Zealanders has not got nearly as much attention.

Yet this sale brought a 25% share in 58 farms covering nearly 15,000 effective hectares, back into local ownerhsip.

Another omission from the discussion on sales of land to farmers is facts on what they do with it.

A farm in our neighbourhood is owned by  Frenchman. We have friends from Wales and the United States who own land here and whose farming and environemtnal practices and community involvement would put many New Zealand farmers to shame.

It isn’t where the owners come from, it’s what they do with the land that really matters.


How to eat a jellybaby

September 11, 2011

How to eat a jelly-baby isn’t something I’ve ever given much thought to, but it is one of the questions in the Sunday Star Times nationwide politics and psychology survey Brainscan.

Answering puts you in the draw to win an iPad.

I think I eat the whole jelly-baby at once.


For better, for . . .

September 11, 2011

Quote of the week:

…confidence and supply agreements: “They’re like marriage documents – they’re not just for Christmas…They’ve given the government great balance.”

It comes from John Key in a Sunday Star Times profile.

It says a lot about the man and his attitude to commitments he makes.

In coalitions, as in marriage, choosing the right partner in the first place is important and he deliberately ruled out one:

No one believed me, but I was absolutely convinced that on election night 2008, if Peters held the balance of power, I was going to ring Clark and say `it’s all yours’. Because I knew I might be able to put together a government – vaguely – but it would never last. He’s never lasted. Every prime minster has sacked him in the end – it’s just dysfunctional.”

That, in contrast to his predecessor, is very clear evidence that this is a man a principle who does not want power at any cost.


Edwards 1 – SST 0

February 11, 2011

The media is supposed to be one of the guardians of free speech, why then would a national newspaper seek to muzzle a blogger?

Brian Edwards has had a series of blog posts on Amanda Hotchin and the Sunday Star Times. 

His second last post on the matter was a carefully worded one in which he reported on four affidavits from witnesses who backed Ms Hotchin’s story. It was a model of how to give the facts without disclosing an opinion.

The SST has responded by threatening him with defamation.

The email informing him of that is headed not for publication:

I have chosen to ignore that advice. The Sunday Star Times is a national newspaper with a circulation massively bigger than my website. It has a large and powerful voice. If it is unhappy with what is said about its content or its writers, it has the opportunity, not available to the average citizen, to make a public response which will reach a large audience. Instead, in this case, it has chosen to send me a lawyer’s letter, marked “Not for Publication.” My response is that I am not prepared to be bullied or intimidated, and certainly not in secret.

Edwards 1 – SST 0.

The blog is probably read by only a few hundred thousand people but the threat ensures it will be read by many more.

It was referred to a post on the journalist’s chat group Journz last night.

It’s made the  NZ Bloggers Union see red. Cactus Kate , Kiwiblog and Whaleoil,   three  of New Zealand’s most widely read blogs, have taken up the fight for free speech.

And the paper’s only rival, The NZ Herald, is loving it.

What would have been a story read by a few hundred people is now reaching 10s of thousands.


Wrong comparison misses real story

January 23, 2011

You’d be forgiven if you imagined our MPs lived in a different world, writes Rob Stock.

That’s the opening statement of a Sunday Star Times story (not online) headlined A peek at how the other half lives.

It looks at likely policy initiatives this year and then says:

Examples of that kind of whack in the wallet came last year when working parents of young chidlren were told they would have to absorb the rising costs of pre-school childcare after the government cut funding to the sector by $449 million, and many feel that GST hikes left them worse off.

Whack in the wallet is a wonderfully emotive term and Stock makes no mention of the tax cuts and one-off increases to benefits which offset the GST increase.

While it would be foolish to expect the average MP to be on a par financially with the average person, the average man or woman in the street could be forgiven for thinking the parliamentarians making the decisions that hit their wallets live in a different world when it comes to personal finances.

And certainly, the 122 men and women occupying seats in parliament have a different financial profile from the average man or woman.

Stock then takes the 2010 register of parliamentarians pecuniary interests as a guide and says:

Though the register is now dated, it provides a view into the personal wealth themes among MPs, and allows readers to contrast parliamentarians fortunes with their own.

Passing over wealth themes whatever they might be, the inference from all this is that there is something wrong, on the contrary it shows there is something right.

It indicates that many of the people who govern us had successful careers before entering parliament and that they invested wisely. Rather than being something to envy, it’s something which ought to give us reassurance. If they know how to earn, and look after, their own money they are more likely to take a responsible attitude to policies which impact on ours.

It is meaningless to compare MPs’ salaries and assets with those of the average working-age person because the average person doesn’t have the work load and responsibilities of most MPs. (I say most because there could be the odd list MP who does little to earn his/her salary and I specify list because any electorate MP who doesn’t more than earn his/her salary loses his/her seat).

Stock has made the wrong comparison and missed the real story.

A more meaningful comparison would be between MPs and people who run their own businesses or have senior management or governance roles.

A much more interesting, and useful, story would compare what MPs earned before they got into parliament with what they get as an MP.

An even more fascinating story would show how many, and  from which party, took an income hit when they entered parliament; how many earn more as an MP than they did before and how many earn more afterwards.

Those comparisons would give us the real story.


Voters not parties determine who wins electorates

January 17, 2011

Most voters don’t want the National Party to stand aside in Epsom and Ohariu to help coalition partners if a Horizon poll conducted for the Sunday Star Times (not online) can be believed.

In Epsom, only 16% think National should stand aside, with 55% saying it shouldn’t. The bulk of Act (53%) want National to stay out of the electorate.

In Dunne’s Ohariu electorate, 48% want National to field a candidate, 16% want it to stand aside and 36% don’t know. Of National’s 2008 voters, 54% oppose the party standing aside for United Future.

This is a sorry reflection on the respondents’ understanding of MMP and recent history.

It’s the voters in the electorate who’ll determine who wins the seat not National.

National fielded candidates in both seats in 2008,  and previous elections, it was the people in those electorates who voted tactically who gave the seats to Rodney Hide and Peter Dunne.

Having Act in this parliament gives National the ability to govern with its support although at times it has turned to its other coalition partner, the Maori Party, to pass legislation Act didn’t favour.

It’s debatable whether there is any advantage to National in having Dunne in parliament.

If around half those who voted for the Green candidate had voted for the Labour one in Ohariu in 2008 Dunne would have lost his seat and United Future would have gone with him. The votes which that party received would have been distributed among the other parties in parliament and National would have got another MP.

From 1999 – 2005 votes for Dunne enabled him to prop up the Labour-led government.

Dunne’s hold on the seat was strongest in 2002 when National was at its weakest, since then his majority has slipped and the electorate could now be regarded as marginal.

Hide had a bad year as party leader last year, although he performed well as a minister. If he’s worked hard in his electorate the people of Epsom might overlook his use of the perks he’d campaigned against and return him to parliament.

As in previous elections they’ll work out what to do themselves regardless of any nods or winks from National.


Distinguishing rogues

January 9, 2011

The line only one poll counts is right but it doesn’t mean that those interested in politics don’t take notice of opinion polls between elections.

However, there are reliable polls and there are rogue ones and Kiwiblog has a very goodguide on how to distinguish between them.

It’s something the Sunday Star Times ought to have applied when reporting on the latest Horizon poll and to be kept in mind by anyone reading:

Two-thirds of voters polled last month by Horizon Research believe National will be able to govern after the election, expected to be held in November.

But when asked to reveal their personal voting intentions, the result makes the election too close to call. National is by far the single most popular party, with 40.4% of the 1718 people polled saying they will give it their party vote, compared to just 28.3% for Labour. But the poll also predicts 8.9% for both the Greens and New Zealand First, 2% for Act, 1.7% for the Maori Party, and 1.2% for United Future.

When those parties are taken into account, a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First alliance (46.1%) would be a whisker ahead of a National-Act-Maori Party-United Future coalition (45.3%).

In every other poll in the past year National is around, and often above 50%, Labour rarely gets above 33% and New Zealand First, thankfully is safely under 5%.

It isn’t impossible, but highly unlikely, that National will continue to keep enough support to govern alone as the election approaches. It’s not impossible that Labour could lead the next government and that NZ First would be part of it.  

But as Whowouddathort shows this poll is so inconsistent with others it can’t be taken seriously.


Waitaki shows how to use council credit card

July 26, 2010

The Waitaki District Council has only one credit card which is locked in the council safe and requires authorisation by the chief executive or financial manager before it can be used.

The ODT reports that in the last two years it had been used for just 24 transactions totalling $11,126.

The Dunedin City Council has a less Presbyterian approach to credit cards. The ODT found that in the last three years the DCC’s 206 credit cards had been used for purchases totalling more than $4.8 million.

Exactly what those purchases were has not been divulged because council chief executive Jim Harland wants the paper to pay the cost of getting the spending details.

In his response, Mr Harland said he would detail the spend after the newspaper paid the estimated $8278 it would cost to research, collate, and produce it.

The newspaper’s last request was processed free of charge, despite the draw on council staff hours, as he accepted there needed to be a degree of accountability for senior staff, he said. . .

. . . Mr Harland cited privacy and harassment concerns to decline the newspaper’s request to release information about staff who might have apologised, made repayments, or had otherwise been spoken to about possibly inappropriate spending.

Mr Harland also declined to release the positions and names of those behind the $4.3 million spend, citing privacy and harassment concerns.

Naming them would subject them to publicity not warranted by their positions, he said.

THe ODT isn’t the only paper having problems extracting information on council credit cards. The Sunday Star Times is attempting to find out who Manakau mayor Len Brown wined and dined to the sum of $810 charged to his mayoral card. 

If council employees are spending council money on council business, where’s the problem? If they’re not, don’t the public whose rates fund councils have a right to know about it.

 If they took as much care to use the card correctly as the Waitaki Council does they, and their ratepayers, would have nothing to worry about.


Security relates to risk

March 14, 2010

“Breaking the news is good, making it isn’t.”

These words of advice from a seasoned editor obviously don’t apply at the Sunday Star Times which stupidly sent its reporters to test security at sports stadiums last week.

Shock horror, they cry, there isn’t any.

Well why would there be?

There is always a risk of some idiot doing something stupid, as these reporters did. There’s also a risk of someone with evil intent harming others.

But the risk of acts of stupidty is higher than the risk of terrorism in New Zealand and we can’t live our lives in fear nor with the expense and restrictions which high security would impose on us.

Police Minister Judith Collins points the stunt could have led to the evacuation of a stadium and games being called off.

“This would have caused not only great public inconvenience and cost, but possibly presented a risk to the safety of spectators.

“Common sense would tell you that running around a stadium dressed as a bomber has the potential to end very badly.

“If there had been panic there was the very real possibility that people – particularly the elderly, children and those less mobile – could have been hurt. . . “

Ms Collins said security at major events is based on risk, and that security at a provincial rugby game will be much less than for a major international match.

“The only thing people masquerading as bombers will achieve is an unnecessary increase in security at considerable cost and inconvenience to the public,” she said.

David Farrar over at Kiwiblog makes a similar point:

New Zealand is not a country that has security based on paranoia. It is based on credible threat. I do not want to live in a country where I get x-rayed going to the local rugby match. Bizarrely, the Sunday Star-Times does.

But any more of these silly stunts and security might be tightened. That would include restrictions on the Prime Minister and other high profile people to whom reporters and the general public have remarkedly easy access.

The SST would be among the first to complain then and have only themselves to blame.

I was in Britain in the early 80s when there was the real and ever present threat of terrorist attack by the IRA. Security in some places was tight but generally people were free to get on with their lives without restrictions because that would have been seen as a victory by the terrorists.

There was a similar reaction after the 2005 London bombings.

If real acts of terrorism don’t lead to restrictive security in other countries, why would the SST expect our freedom to be curtailed when the risk is so low here?


It pays to be clean

March 29, 2009

The Sunday Times Story of the family who got repeated stomach bugs because their cleaner wiped the loo with their towels is revolting.

But what shocked me most was that the cleaning company charged $50 a hour.

I have nothing against a business making money and realise the hourly rate will cover not just wages but overheads.

But either they do things differently in the city or I’m very out of touch because $50 an hour for cleaning sounds exorbitant to me.

I wonder how much the cleaner got?

If it was half the amount the home owner paid, it would be a little more than twice the sum offered to a graduate journalist in an advertisement spotted by David Cohen:

Starting salary is $25,000.

Interesting. According to the Department of Labour, the minimum wage is $12 an hour, or $24,960 a year, which puts the offered amount here only microscopically higher (not quite 2c an hour before tax) than what an entry-level burger-flipper might expect to command at McDonald’s.

Even if the cleaner got a quarter of the charge-out rate, s/he would be nearly 50 cents an hour better paid than the reporter.


Should we be worrying about Fonterra?

February 17, 2009

The Sunday Star Times is concerned about Fonterra’s plans to stockpile milk powder.

Fonterra’s managing director of global trade, Kelvin Wickham, last week pointed the finger at the US Department of Agriculture for buying up more than 100,000 tonnes of surplus milk powder from US producers and stockpiling it in limestone caves near Kansas City.

What Wickham did not mention was that Fonterra was already well advanced in its plans to begin doing the same thing here, but not in limestone caves. Instead Fonterra will be stockpiling excess milk powder in modern, high stud warehouses up and down the country.

Maybe he didn’t, but there is a difference between a government stockpile and a supplier owned co-operative one. The former is a taxpayer subsidy which might encourage more production, any costs for the latter will be carried by farmers.

 Frenemy  is also concerned and if I’m reading the post correctly seems to think Fonterra was trying to hide something.

I don’t think that’s the case. The ODT reported last November on the company’s plans to use the former Fisher & Paykel site at Mosgiel for storage and I’ve read other references in shareholder communications and/or the media.

And what’s the alternative? You can’t turn the milk supply off overnight if  it starts outstripping demand and, when cow numbers are dropping in Europe and the USA, the medium to long term outlook is still pretty positive.

Farmers cranked up production in response to last season’s record payout but supply usually peaks in November, it’s been dropping since then and tanker pick ups are down to alternate days on many farms.

Some farmers are planning to dry cows off early rather than milking to the end of the season to conserve feed in response to the high cost of winter grazing and because they’d have to pay $5.50 for extra shares for any increased production.

But in spite of that, and the gloomy headlines, this is market reality and we are all going to have to focus on our cost structures.

Meanwhile on the positive side while the payout is down from the record high, $5.10 isn’t too bad when the three biggest costs – fuel, fertiliser and interest are dropping. 

If Fonterra was actively encouraging farmers to produce more milk than the company can sell I’d be worried, but stockpiling the surplus from what they’re already getting in response to falling international demand looks like a sensible response to market signals.


Which do you believe?

January 11, 2009

Conspiracy theorists who think newspapers are overly influenced by advertisers might be relieved by evidence to the contrary in today’s Sunday Star Times.

The front page lead is a doom and gloom story headlined Top holiday house prices in freefall which contrasts markedly with an advertising feature in the property section talking up real estate on Waiheke Island.

And which carries more weight – the news story by Jenni McManus or the property ad?


Just one thing . . .

November 3, 2008

If I was asked to name some of the ills Labour has foisted on us I’d be spoilt for choice.

But if I had to name just one thing it is the way they have turned so many people into beneficiaries because of policies based on their view of “fairness” rather than need.

Doug Graham summed up the reasons for this in yesterday’s Star Times:

Labour seems to believe the more of our money it spends on us the better it is and the more thankful we should be. It seems to enjoy the sight of long queues of Oliver Twists with a begging bowl asking for more. Most of us would say that if increasing numbers of us have to rely on the government for our very survival, then we’re heading for disaster and it won’t be long before people who really need help will suddenly find the cupboard is bare.

It’s better socially and economically to leave those who can look after themselves to do so and restrict tax payer funded assistance to people in genuine need.

Governments give and governments take away and if they give away too much in good times they’re forced to take it from those who need it most in bad times.


Key’s a go-getter

October 26, 2008

The Sunday Star Times asked John Key to do a BBC perosnality test and found he’s a go-getter.

Go-getters, according to the BBC researchers who developed the personality test, are inventive, resourceful problem-solvers with a love of life who, bizarrely, are the personality type “least likely to enjoy reading poetry books”.

All but the last of these traits would be useful in someone who could  lead us out of a recession and while I love poetry I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list of requirements for leadership.

The SST invited Helen Clark to take the test but she declined.

You can take it here.


Was Sanlu advertising infant formula?

September 21, 2008

Heinz was prevented from advertising a change in its baby formula  which made some babies ill in New Zealand because of a code banning the advertsing of alternatives to breast milk.

But in China, where four babies have died and thousands are ill because of drinking infant formula poisoned by melamine, the Sunday Star Times (not on line) reports:

… breast feeding has gone out of fashion.

Most mothers return to work soon after giving birth. Few work places provide a private location for expressing breast milk. even mothers who do breastfeed often give formula as a supplement in the mistaken belief that their breast milk is not enough.

World Health Organisation guidelines which discourage advertisements for breast milk substitutes are generally strictly adhered to in developed countries. But are they everywhere?

There are many concerns over the way Fonterra has handled the problem of Sanlu, in which it has a 43% share, using contaminated milk in the production of infant formula. This report suggests we have reason to ask if the company breached WHO advertising standards too:

“. . .  and its advertising was famous for boasting that its formula underwent ‘1100 tests, safeguards the health care of babies and is trusted by mothers everywhere’.”

No company Fonterra is involved in would advertise breast milk substitutes in New Zealand. It should not allow any company it is involved with to do anything to get in the way of the message that breast milk is best for babies anywhere else either.


ETS makes us naked emperor

September 8, 2008

One of the many criticisms about the rushed legislation to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme is that we are outpacing our trading partners.

Eric Roy, quoted in a column by Steve Braunias in the Sunday Start Times (not on-line) put it this way:

Climate change, he said, was like a nudist club where every other nation was a member but New Zealand was the only country taking its clothes off.

The Dominion Post  uses less colourful language:

The Government should have opted for a more measured approach, linked to what other nations do. It should have sought to build a political consensus for an enduring system, and National should have been a more willing participant in that.

There is no question that Labour is well-intentioned. Despite that, the legislation is part of a strategy that remains deeply flawed. It risks concentrating on the accountancy of who ends up picking up the bill for carbon emissions, rather than on reducing those emissions. The debate over what sort of assigned amount units – a form of Kyoto carbon credit – can be used to balance the books is a symptom of that. So too is the decision to pay an average of $112 a household as a one-off compensation for the expected increase in the cost of power.

The reality is that the scheme, designed to meet New Zealand’s Kyoto protocol commitment, will end up increasing the prices that consumers pay for all manner of things, and damage the economy, without necessarily doing anything about reducing the amount of carbon emitted in New Zealand.

The high economic and social costs might have been justified if the ETS was going to have a positive impact on the environment but it won’t.

The money and energy which would be better spent on research will be wasted on bureaucracy, consultants and traders.

There will be no decrease in global emissions as a result of our scheme and there may even be an increase if production is exported.

To extend Eric’s metaphor, the ETS will turn us in to a naked emperor. It will strip our economic and social fabric without providing any environmental benefit to cover us.


Source more interesting than the story

August 10, 2008

I could get excited about the headline: Brash gets plum job as National attacks cronyism because the Sunday Star Times seems to be assuming that a National government is a given.

But there is nothing in the story to raise my pulse rate. It says Don Brash will be appointed ambassador in either the UK or USA by a National Government and quotes earlier comments by Brash in which he says people appoitned to such roles should be qualified for the job and not put there for political convenience. 

There is a big difference between appointing a former Reserve Bank governor to a position he is more than qualified for and for example sending Jonathon Hunt, a former MP for wine and cheese to London as British Ambassador or appointing Dianne Yates to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Board because she comes from the Waikato.

However, more interesting than either the headline or the story is the source. The by line credits Anthony Hubbard and Nicky Hagar. 

If there is substance to the speculation it points to yet more leaks of sensitive information from National and once more Hagar is associated with it.

No Minister  and Kiwiblog both have posts on this story.


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