The importance of homework

15/01/2014

Last year in the same week a Bill passed its third reading in parliament and another didn’t make it to its first.

The Bill which did pass was the Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Bill, sponsored by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean who had done all the homework necessary to get unanimous support for it.

The next day a Bill sponsored by Labour’s Jacinda Ardern was rejected by the House because she didn’t do enough  homework to get it past first base.

SCOTT SIMPSON (National—Coromandel) : The sponsor of this Care of Children Law Reform Bill, Jacinda Ardern, has nominated the Justice and Electoral Committee to scrutinise the bill should it pass this first reading. Therefore, as chairman of the committee it falls to me to have a first go at what can really be described only as a very sloppy and lazy member’s bill by this member. . .

This bill is a very light piece of work. Essentially, it requires the Minister to ask the Law Commission to review the law relating to the care of children and update its September 2000 report on adoption. It requires the Law Commission to report within 12 months with a report, recommendations, and, indeed, a draft piece of legislation, and, further, it requires the Minister of Justice to introduce that bill as drafted by the Law Commission without amendment within 7 days—without amendment within 7 days. So there are significant constitutional flaws in this member’s bill. There are absolutely shabby constitutional issues that the member clearly has not addressed or even thought about. . .

So the problem is that the member sponsoring this bill is essentially trying to use her member’s bill to get the Law Commission to write her bill for her. That is sloppy. That is lazy. It is a lazy approach. It is politically lazy—it is politically lazy—and it is intellectually lazy. . . .

You’d think that would be a very good lesson on the importance of doing homework, but she’s done, or more to the point, not done it, again.

This time over the issue of prisoners flying on commercial flights.

It was nothing more than union grandstanding and Cameron Slater did the homework that the journalists who broke the old news should have to expose that.

That didn’t stop Jacinda Ardern rushing to get in the news – but the Waikato Times knows a tempest in a prison teacup when it sees one and opines:

. . . The Corrections Association was not so reticent, accusing Corrections of putting public safety at risk with what it called “secret” flights. Association president Beven Hanlon said repeated inquiries among prison officers found no one who had been aware of the flights until late last year. In his 16 years as an officer and a decade as head of the union, he had never heard of a maximum security prisoner being put on a plane with the public. He was shocked.

Really? But he had commented publicly about a raft of recommendations in an Ombudsman’s report on an inquiry into the transportation of prisoners in 2007. The report said transporting prisoners by air was common and both charter flights and scheduled public flights were used. The numbers of escort officers were increased for maximum security prisoners. The report found no systemic problems with prisoner transport by air and made no recommendations about them. “Few incidents occur during air transport, and we were given no reason to believe that any systemic problems exist,” it said. Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, now demanding answers to the union’s claims, should first have taken time out to read the Ombudsman’s report (tabled in Parliament under a Labour government). Kicking up a fuss would be in order only after she was sure that Corrections practices, indeed, are endangering public safety.

It’s not uncommon in election year for unions to chase headlines in the hope of helping their Labour friends.

But MPs need to do their homework before joining them otherwise they just add to the picture of an opposition which hasn’t yet got its act together rather than the government in waiting it wants to be.


Election editorials

28/11/2011

The ODT – Three more years:

On any measure, the result of the 2011 general election is a resounding vote of confidence in the leadership and policies of John Key and the National Party. Not since the 1972 Labour victory of Norman Kirk has a single party reached such high levels of support, with National gaining 48% of the vote and 60 MPs in Parliament (pending the outcome of the special votes). The achievement is all the more remarkable given the challenges the country has faced during the past three years . . .

Timaru Herald – No real surpirses:

So now we know. The months of polling are over and we know for sure.

We don’t know everything, because special votes may slightly alter the picture, but we know John Key will be the one to form the Government that will take us through to 2014, when we’ll do it all again. It’s not a surprise, though some elements of the overall picture have been somewhat surprising, particularly the return of Winston Peters to Parliament on the bridge of the good ship NZ First, with a crew of seven supporting him.

For the great survivor of New Zealand politics, it’s a decidedly more comfortable ride than those of John Banks, Peter Dunne and Hone Harawira in their single kayaks. . .

The Press – A mother of a mandate:

As mandates go, they don’t get much bigger. How far will John Key push it?

In a hallmark of the Key style, he will take it as far as he thinks he can while carrying the public with him – but don’t take that as an indication he will go softly on asset sales.

Labour’s brave morning-after talk that it had won the argument on asset sales was nothing more than that – a chin-up exercise aimed squarely at the party faithful after an old-fashioned rout . . .

Dominion Post – Key has the right to sell family silver:

National has won the mandate it sought to pawn the family silver and reshape the welfare system. Prime Minister John Key would be wise to exercise it with discretion.

His party’s 48 per cent share of the vote in Saturday’s election is National’s best result since 1951. It is a personal triumph for the prime minister who has retained the confidence of the public despite having to make provision for the rebuilding of Christchurch in the midst of a global recession . . .

Manawatu Standard – City an atoll of red in an ocean of blue:

The blue tide on Saturday night came from all sides of the compass, but stopped just short of Palmerston North again.

Iain Lees-Galloway, the incumbent Labour member of parliament, somehow managed to not only stop the surge of National support over the country, he increased his majority from 1117 in 2008 to a provisional 3001, with special votes still to be counted.

National won the seat when it came to the party vote, which was probably the prime objective of candidate Leonie Hapeta, who at one stage looked like threatening to turn Palmerston North blue for the first time in decades . . .

Waikato Times – Challenge ahead for Nats:

 In many way it was the most predictable election result in years.

But while his party might have walked off with some 48 per cent of the vote, Prime Minister John Key might well be ruing his actions in the closing weeks, particularly around the now infamous “teapot tapes”. . .

Hawke’s Bay Today – Labour did Nash no favours:

The election delivered just one seismic jolt in Hawke’s Bay but it was one that many had predicted and the casualty, as was the case around New Zealand, was Labour. Actually there were two other casualties in the bailing out of parliament of Labour list MP Stuart Nash and they were the city of Napier and Mr Nash himself . . .  

Gisborne Herlad: Voter’s deliver big tick for John Key’s National Party:

The New Zealand public has given John Key’s National Party a big tick of approval, though not so resounding as to allow it to govern alone — unpopular asset-sale plans made that unlikely.
Mr Key has his mandate for partial privatisation of the state’s power companies and Solid Energy, though, along with radical reform of the welfare system. . .

NZ Herald – Demanding times ahead for National:

So the electorate did not want the National Party to govern alone. Other than that, which signifies its deep resistance to unbridled power, it has handed Prime Minister John Key most of what he wanted – and his opponents on the left nothing much at all.

The election result was encouraging for a party seeking a second term leading the Government. By increasing its share of the vote, and saving enough of Act and United Future to get it over the line, National has its majority. With the Maori Party’s three votes as ballast, it appears more than secure, unless special votes alter the seat allocation to National’s detriment. . .

 

 

 

 

 


If government’s the answer you’re asking wrong question

13/01/2009

Adam Smith at Inquiring Mind has a series of posts bringing letters to the editors of various publication to the notice of the blogosphere.

From a Parallel Universe # 15  is from the  Waikato Times – 10 January

Time to resign?

After this week’s news regarding Fonterra is this another litany of lies?

I believe it is time for John Key to intervene in the interests of New Zealand (as Helen Clark would have already, I believe). Henry van der Heyden and Andrew Ferrier should resign before the whole New Zealand economy goes down the drain.

JOHAN MARINUS DE WIT
Hamilton

Adam initially thought it was black humour but then decided the writer was serious.

I hope his initial reaction was right but I too fear it isn’t and Adam provides various acts of foolishness by the previous administration which might incline people to believe government intervention in private businesses is normal.

But the writer is not only politically misguided, he’s also worrying unnecessarily about Fonterra.

The Sanlu investment was a disaster and the management and directors may still have questions to answer over that; and the milk payout, already well down on last season’s, is likely to go lower.

But the company has already written off  Sanlu, last season’s payout was a record, the drop is largely the result of international commodity markets and even if it drops below $5 it will still be above the longterm average.

The world is in a financial mess and New Zealand is in recession but Fonterra is not in crisis and even if it was if the government was the answer you’d be asking the wrong question.


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