Knowing right from wrong

July 17, 2017

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has admitted she is a fraudster:

. . I was one of those women, who you hear people complain about on talkback radio.
Because despite all the help I was getting, I could not afford to live, study and keep my baby well without keeping a secret from WINZ.
Like many families who rely on a benefit, Piu and I moved around a lot when she was little.
We lived in five different flats with various people.
In three of those flats, I had extra flatmates, who paid rent, but I didn’t tell WINZ. I didn’t dare.
I knew that if I told the truth about how many people were living in the house my benefit would be cut.
And I knew that my baby and I could not get by on what was left.
This is what being on the benefit did to me – it made me poor and it made me lie.
It was a stressful, terrifying experience. . .

 

Turei isn’t the first MP to admit to benefit fraud, but this one paid it back:

Parliament is a house of representatives.

I doubt there is any MP who has not done something wrong, just as I doubt any of us who aren’t MPs could put our hands on our hearts and say we’ve never done anything wrong.

Doing wrong is one thing, not knowing right from wrong is quite another.

Turei has compounded the wrong of benefit fraud with no attempt to put it right and with the attempted justification: it made me poor and it made me lie.

What does it say about the morals of the woman who wants to be a Minister?

What does it say to people, especially those on low incomes, who work hard and pay taxes to support people in genuine need?

What does that say to all the people on benefits, all of whom are poor, many of whom don’t have the support Turei had from her baby’s father, her own family and his, and most of whom manage without lying?

It’s a similar message to the one in the policy she announced of removing the penalties and obligations on beneficiaries including the requirement for drug testing and sanctions for not actively seeking work.

Most beneficiaries want to get off benefits, many need help to do so which might include a carrot and a few need a stick.

Without sanctions, fathers of children whose mothers are on benefits will have to pay nothing, people who don’t try to get work-ready and actively seek work will be left to languish on benefits and everyone else will pay directly through taxes and indirectly through the social problems including poor health, low education achievement and higher crime that benefit dependency promotes.

Quote of the day on this goes to Act MP David Seymour:

Green Party policy: If you stay at home and smoke drugs all day you get a pay rise. If you get up and go to work you get a tax hike.

Benefits should help those in genuine need.

Some beneficiaries will need permanent help but for most taxpayer help should be a temporary bridge to help them from dependence to independence.

 


Valedictory roster

June 19, 2014

Parliament’s Business Committee has released the roster for valedictory speeches from retiring MPs:

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Cam Calder

4.15pm – 4.30pm John Hayes

4.30pm – 4.45pm Chris Auchinvole

4.45pm – 5.00pm Colin King

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Chris Tremain

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Kate Wilkinson

Thursday, 24 July 2014

4.45pm – 5.00pm Dr Rajen Prasad

5.00pm – 5.15pm Darien Fenton

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Dr Pita Sharples

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tariana Turia

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Paul Hutchison

4.15pm – 4.30pm Hon Phil Heatley

4.30pm – 4.45pm Eric Roy

4.45pm – 5.00pm Shane Ardern

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Tau Henare

5.15pm – 5.30pm H V Ross Robertson

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tony Ryall

The Herald opined that valedictories should be the preserve of “deserving” MPs:

No fewer than 14 National MPs are retiring at the coming election, plus a couple from other parties. While the turnover is refreshing for public life, it carries a cost if every departee gives a valedictory address. . . .

Few voters could name many of those retiring this year. Many are leaving because they have not been able to make much impact and accept that they should give others a chance. More credit to them, but valedictory time should be reserved for those who have made their mark and will be missed.

That is very ungracious and also shows a depressing level of ignorance about the role of MPs.

Most of the good work MPs do never makes the headlines, much of it can’t because it’s helping people over matters which must remain private.

Maiden speeches and valedictories are among the best speeches given.

All MPs deserve the opportunity to do one and in doing so show their work and parliament in a far better light than it’s normally portrayed.


Rural round-up

June 15, 2014

Breeder takes on challenge – Tony Benny:

When Gerald Hargreaves took over the family farm from his father in the 1970s, he wasn’t very interested in the Angus stud his father had established in 1954. But a comment reported back to him by a friend fired him up.

“My father gave me some cows and I wasn’t really interested in the stud to be honest and I sold them, but thought I’d better not sell my father’s,” Hargreaves says.

“One of the opposition breeders said, ‘He probably doesn’t know what he’s doing, he should have sold the lot’. I said, ‘stuff you’ – it took someone to challenge me.” . . .

Kiwifruit growers upbeat at Fieldays:

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has noticed a remarkable turnaround in the mood among growers coming to the national agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek this year.

Zespri grower and government relations manager Simon Limmer said a lot of kiwifruit growers were calling into its site, and the contrast with the past few years as they battled the PSA bacteria scourge could not be more striking.

“The mood is very positive, very optimistic, and on the back of three years of real uncertainty and a certain sense of desperation as to where this industry was heading – it’s a really good place to be,” Mr Limmer said.

“Growers are feeling positive the PSA situation looks to be manageable, we’re seeing volumes of gold kiwifruit recovering heading into the market – market returns are up across all varieties. . .

New graduates strengthen biosecurity frontline:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says 29 new biosecurity graduates will further strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system, and help safeguard our primary industries from pests and diseases.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today welcomed 24 new quarantine inspectors and five new dog handlers at a ceremony in Auckland.

The new quarantine inspectors will be based at Auckland (15), Wellington (3) and Christchurch (6). Five new biosecurity detector dog teams will be split between Auckland (4) and Christchurch (1). . .

Forestry company fined after worker hit by log

Forestry company HarvestPro has been fined $80,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $40,000 after one of its workers was hit by a log weighing more than a tonne.

Tau Henare was working on a logging operation at Whakaangiangi on the East Coast when the incident occurred in September 2012. His job was to attach strops to fallen logs, which were then dragged up a hillside to be prepared for transport away from the forest.

Mr Henare was hit by a log that had come lose from the jaws of a loader on a landing above and slid down a steep hillside. He suffered fractures to his arm and leg that have required multiple surgeries and left him unable to work. . .

How to calculate the maximum number of hours an employee can work during calving and mating –  John Brosnan:

Over the last year or so there has been a lot of discussion in the media around farm practices in relation to keeping wage records, hours worked on farms and in particular employees not earning minimum wage within their pay period.

This was not helped by rumours that MBIE (the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment) were going to treat an accommodation allowance as a part of salary/wages differently from how IRD have traditionally viewed it. . . .

Goodman Fielder plans $27M upgrade of Christchurch milk factory to meet Asian demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Goodman Fielder, the Australian food ingredients maker, will spend $27 million to expand its Christchurch ultra heat treated milk plant, giving it additional capacity to meet increased demand for its Meadow Fresh brand in Asia.

Work to extend the existing UHT building and install a new pasteurising, sterilising and palletising line as well as a new 250ml high-speed filler is expected to be completed by October 2015 and will boost production at the site by 50 percent, enabling it to process an extra 32 million litres a year, Sydney-based Goodman Fielder said in a statement. . .

Fun side of farming:

In just a few short weeks rural youth will be out in full force trying to prove they’ve got what it takes to be the 2014 AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg Champions.

Close to seven hundred primary and secondary aged students battled it out in the seven Regional Finals across the country earlier this year. The top three teams from each region progressed through to the Grand Finals, set to be held alongside the ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Christchurch, 3-5 July.

“These students have been preparing for months,” said Josie Hampton AgriKidsNZ & TeenAg Project Leader. “They pour everything they’ve got into this competition and it’s quite an honour for them to represent their schools at Grand Final.” . . .

Wool.i.am the star of new campaign for Cavalier Bremworth:

Long established New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Bremworth has launched a quirky new ad campaign which focuses on its unique ability to manage the quality of its wool carpet from the farm right to the floor. It’s also a celebration of having Kiwis on the job every step of the way.

View here at: http://goo.gl/FNqV97

The hero of the campaign continues to be its animated sheep (Wool-i.am) who takes a journey with the wool from the farm to its tufting plant in Auckland. Cavalier Bremworth, as part of parent company Cavalier Corporation, is the only carpet maker that owns and controls the whole process for wool carpet production – it owns a wool buying business, a half share in the country’s biggest wool scours in Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay, and then its own dyeing and spinning plants in Napier, Wanganui and Christchurch. . .

 


Tau to retire

April 8, 2014

National list MP Tau Henare has announced that he will retire from politics at the election.

He’s one of the more prolific tweeters among MPs and that’s how he told the world:

The Dominion calls him a veteran:

. . . The veteran MP announced he will retire at the election.

The 53-year-old former Maori Affairs Minister made the announcement via Twitter this morning, saying: “Well, I’m on my way to caucus to inform my colleagues of the @NZNationalParty that I intend to retire at the upcoming General Election.”

Henare was first elected to Parliament in 1993 elections for New Zealand First in the former Northern Maori electorate.

He is currently chair of the Maori Affairs select committee and a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee. . .

He will be the 15th National MP to step down during this term or at the election which has provided a wonderful opportunity for healthy renewal in the caucus.

Contrast that with Labour which so far has had only one retirement announced.

National MPs are showing they know they can succeed outside parliament, most Labour ones are too scared to try.

National will be presenting fresh ideas and fresh faces to voters, Labour will have the same stale faces who squandered the good years of the noughties, and lost the 2005 and 2008 elections, offering the same old tax and spend policies.


Hobbit sequel

November 29, 2012

Steven Joyce, in his role as acting Minister of Finance, explains the plot of the next sequel to the Hobbit:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Word has reached me of a drama that is currently playing out, which might be suited to the big screen or perhaps go straight to DVD. In this particular performance—it is a very similar movie—the “Fellowship” is led by a tall, thinning, grey wizard, who surrounds himself with a loyal legion of— . . .

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: In this particular performance, the “Fellowship” is led by a tall, thinning, grey wizard, who surrounds himself with a loyal legion of halflings sworn to protect him against a slimy, bearded creature hiding and plotting in the darkness, consumed by jealousy, and relentlessly in pursuit of his “precious”. Their journey is made more difficult by the presence of a number of goblins still loyal to their former leader, an all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing eye, watching from a distance—roughly, between here and New York. We are due to hear more about the conclusion of this particular story in February of next year, but I understand that it might be a little bit of a flop, because, rather than giant eagles, the fellowship have decided to put their faith in an elderly mallard.

On a more serious note, he also details the contribution the screen industry makes to New Zealand economy.

Mr Speaker, may I be the first to wish you a happy “Hobbit Day”, and say that New Zealand has a vibrant screen industry, which directly supports more than 2,700 businesses, over 95 percent of which are involved in production and postproduction work. The Statistics New Zealand 2010-11 screen industry survey reported that revenue from the screen industry increased to almost $3 billion in 2011. Feature film revenue for New

Zealand has been trending up since the screen industry survey was first released in 2008. In 2011 feature film revenue increased by 15 percent to more than $700 million, and international revenue also grew by 17 percent, to more than $440 million, with almost $390 million coming from North America.

Hon Tau Henare: How are the Hobbit films supporting New Zealand jobs and the wider community?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The Hobbit films have led to around 3,000 jobs to date, with about $1.5 million per week being paid to the crew. There has also been a significant flow-on effect: 93,000 hotel beds have been occupied, 1,800 rental cars and 1,650 other vehicles used, just over $9 million spent with local suppliers for set construction, and just under $1.5 million spent with local food suppliers. Further, the media exposure for New Zealand tourism from the films and from today’s world premiere will be felt for years to come. The Government realised the benefits that would come from making these films in this country, and is proud to have actively supported The Hobbit films from the very beginning.

Hon Tau Henare: What reports has he seen opposing development of the New Zealand screen industry?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen a number of comments, which included, firstly, opposing and, then, pledging to repeal the legislation passed to enable the filming of The Hobbit, even if it meant losing the films offshore. I have seen other comments that label the passing of that legislation as “staggering”, “a day of shame”, and also “a disgrace”. I note with interest, though, that these people, who are loosely described by the media as “Hobbit-haters”, have clearly changed their tune, with a number of their rank now attending the red carpet world premiere of The Hobbit in Wellington this afternoon. These same people will no doubt attend the opening of the Auckland International Convention Centre when it happens, will no doubt attend the opening of the Denniston mine when it happens— . . .

The H word is considered unparliamentary but it applies to the Hobbit-haters who moan about job losses and the sticky economy but oppose legislation and development which will lead to economic growth and create more jobs.

 

 


Who would oppose secret ballots?

May 10, 2012

Tau Henare’s Employment Relations (Secret Ballot for Strikes) Amendment Bill passed into law yesterday by 61 votes to 60.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said:

“Strikes can be incredibly stressful, both financially and mentally. Workers have differing personal circumstances so it is only fair that any vote on whether to strike is made in private.

“This law will provide protection for any workers who may feel judged by colleagues or intimidated through a voting process that does not use secret ballots.”

Who would oppose a measure which helps protect workers from undue pressure or intimidation?

Well, National, Act and United Future voted for it.

That leaves Labour, the Green and Maori parties and New Zealand First opposing it.

That has to be a case of opposition for the sake of it rather than on principle.


Speakers office running on less than 50% of previous term’s cost

October 7, 2011

The final speech by speaker Lockwood Smith looking back on the 49th parliament, is worth listening to.

It includes some statistics, the most impressive of which came during his tribute to his staff.  Dr Smith gave credit to his senior private secretary who managed to run the Speaker’s office on less than 50% of the cost of the previous term.

Other stats:

  • The house sat for 1650 hours, 150 more than the previous parliament.
  • A quarter of those were in urgency and Dr Smith said he hopes proposals for changes to Standing Orders adopted by the House will facilitate less reliance on urgency in future.
  • Only two Members Bills received royal assent. That was only one fewer than in the 48th parliament and he hopes that proposed changes will enable more of those Bills to be considered next term.
  • The Finance and expenditure select committee was the busiest, in terms of reports presented to the House, the Commerce select Committee was a close second.
  • There was a 40% increase in the number of written questions asked of Ministers.
  • In spite of 17 fewer sitting days more oral questions were asked and Dr Smith put that down to Question Time continuing even when the House was in urgency.

Dr Smith turned from statistics to reflections on some of the memorable moments of the term.

Among these was a speech by Tau Henare who interjected with a mention of Linda Lovelace about which Dr Smith said: “you my colleagues seemed to understand what that meant, I had no idea what he was . . . on about.”

He finished by wishing his colleagues well, thanked them for treating him with courtesy and concluded with “Go the mighty All Blacks.”

Dr Smith has gained respect from across the House and outside it for the  improved behaviour in the House and his even-handed treatment of MPs. This was not always appreciated by Ministers who are held to a higher standard than those in previous administrations.


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