Friday, October 29, 2004

God - that happened quickly.... 

After a quick post earlier this morning, I get to work and see this...

Labour president not aware of 'pay back' advice to Tamihere
Blogs honour - I had no idea at the time of the initial post - but good to see that this one is not a goer!

More spin than a Gentle Annie 

The spin doctors have put this one out there to see if it will fly:
Suspended cabinet minister John Tamihere has been advised by senior Labour figures to pay back a portion of the $195,000 payment he received from the Waipareira Trust as a way of salvaging his career. Sources said most of the payment was for bonuses or consulting work but a sum – thought to be about $50,000 – was an ex gratia payment which could be characterised as a golden handshake.
Mr Tamihere's defenders have argued that the payments Labour campaigned against in 1999 were paid to executives who were being levered off the public payroll, but Mr Tamihere's payment was for a job well done.
My god - the level of spin from this administration is frightening. Note the careful use of 'sources', standard practice to put it out there and gauge public reaction.

If the public buy it, it becomes 'the position' - if they don't (and in this case - they won't), no one ever said it.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Claytons interview for Clayton 

A while ago PNN blogged on the Simon Dallow interview with Rodney Hide, where he pretty much put the boot in where ever possible.

So I watched Agenda on Saturday morning expecting some more ‘hard hitting journalism’ – what I got was nothing more than a State Funded (sorry.... "Charter Driven") Party Political Broadcast from Labour’s new trouble shooter and hard man, Clayton Cosgrove.

Susan Wood served him up the questions emailed from Level 9 earlier that day and Clayton read his part of the script. Someone try to convince me that Clayton didn’t know this one was coming:
That sort of success. Now how is he personally taking this because he's looked, I mean he's a scrapper like you but he's looked wounded hasn’t he, and how is he and how are his family?

Oh to be honest you know you get kicked in the guts so many times and John always you know like all of us you want to respond, you've gotta look people in the eye, but when a process like an inquiry's put in place normally it's the victim that has to say hang on I've gotta grit my teeth because I have to you know adhere to the process, but it is – I'll tell you the roughest thing, and Mr Hide I'm sure will be proud of this, you know when his wife who's a tough individual, you go to the grocer's shop with the kiddies and you know she sees another front page with another spurious allegation and she breaks down and the little ones look at her and say hey Mum why are they doing this to Dad, you know that is tough, that is tough and I'm sure Mr Hide is proud of himself with that.
That was after Susan had declared her undying love for the man and said that some nasty people didn't like liars in an earlier question:
It seems at the moment if we can talk about John Tamahere the man that he inspires this great loyalty from someone like you who's sitting there, you’re almost – you’re holding the faith, it's almost a religious faith you’re holding for this guy. On the other hand there are those who really want to chop him down. What is it about the character or the makeup of this guy that inspires such passion?
The full transcript is available here – I don’t advise it, it is as horrible to read as the programme was to watch. The JT affair has already been blogged to death and will continue to be no doubt – and thank god for that if that sort of crap is all we are going get from our 'Network' current affairs.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Read this 

PNN sums up what National should be screaming about, loudly, and over and over and over....

PNN - Rant Warning - Where Has All The Money Gone?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

This could get ugly 

Health Minister Annette King has sipped from the poison chalice that is the Health Portfolio successfully for some time now, but it looks as though things might go sour rather quickly.
The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists is calling on the Government to bring forward the December 1 enforcement date of a health sector code of good faith under new industrial law, requiring striking unions to provide life-preserving patient services.

"Urgent Government action is required if the catastrophic national six-day strike is not to be a complete disaster for patients," executive director Ian Powell said as Parliament was due last night to pass the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill through its final reading.
So, a direct call from an Association of professionals in her portfolio for "urgent Government action" to help avoid an impending crisis, and the response via a spokesman?
A spokesman for Health Minister Annette King said her policy stood of not commenting on industrial issues.

It happened on your watch George 

Question No 8 in The House today:
8. Hon TONY RYALL to the Minister of Police: Do the police despatch taxis in response to 111 calls; if so, in what circumstances?
No doubt George will hide behind the "I don't comment on operational matters" defence - but really, how many shockers can the police have before the Minister falls on the sword? Police will argue that it is limited resources etc that are the root cause of the issue, and they may well have a case - although the Piha Taxi example looks like a hideous error of judgement, pure and simple.

Whatever the cause of these operational blunders, surely at some stage the Police Minister 'cops it'.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"United Future is just an ego-fuelled irrelevance" 

My Right could not have said it better. In the 'Poll Comment' in this weeks NBR, Nick Bryant successfully describes United Future's contribution to the New Zealand political scene - bugger all. Peter Dunne is second only to Matt Robson in idiotically believing he has a genuine mandate.

I hated that bloody worm at the time, and I hate it now. I was in the audience for 'the debate' that somehow catapulted United Future from complete obscurity to relative obscurity. The debate proved nothing more than lefty types don't mind whooping it up in public - the worm followed the noise level from the audience precisely.

After asking what the good people of Ohariu Belmont see in this sanctimonious prat (Wigram folk seem to be a lost cause), Bryant closes his piece with this;
Finally, some advice that was passed down from a wise old fellow to his son in England early last century: "Son," he said, "never trust a man who waxes his moustache, orders soup at lunch, hunts south of the Thames, and, dinner dress aside, wears a bow tie."

In the absence of hard evidence not to, it's advice I intend to follow.
Hard to disagree.

Monday, October 18, 2004

One happy reader writes... 

"Question: Why was the insurance on Tamihere's urban assault vehicle $2252? Does it mean the trust (taxpayer) has to pay for several previous dic convictions plus probably all his whanau are under 25 with well-endorsed licences (if any).

Quote: "Someone has to pay for my mortgage and family". I know the feeling but unfortunately most of us have to find the money ourselves."
My Right has always had a bit of a soft spot for JT - but this one looks indefensible. If he had been part of the sisterhood - I don't know if even that would saved him.

I hate the fact that many in public service, be it a Trust or Government Department, feel as though they should draw a salary and also have their personal lives subsidised by the State.

Rodney, screw being 'statesman' like for a while and get in there demanding heads.

Friday, October 15, 2004

"It's in my Department, but I'm not responsible" 

Social Steve is having a bad time of it of late, after cock up followed debacle, the last thing he needed was an embarrasing revelation. Queue the release of some preposterously PC bollocks from Housing NZ;
Disclosure of the content of the corporation's training manuals is potentially embarrassing for the Government, which has been trying to dispel suggestions it is pandering to Maori since National Party leader Don Brash accused it of entrenching Maori privilege.

Included in the manuals – prepared by Switch Trainers and Consultants – are a series of statements about what Maori might reasonably have expected when the Treaty was signed in 1840. They include the assertion that:

# There would be limited British settlement areas where British law would apply; and

# The bulk of the country would still belong to the tribes, which would rule themselves as they wished, with some Pakeha settlers there by agreement and observing Maori law.

But what Maori got, the manuals state, was:

# An imposed Pakeha government making laws for all without reference either to the Treaty or to Maori needs.

# The deliberate undermining and destruction of Maori authority and social systems.

# Wars of conquest launched against them by governments.

Asked on Wednesday if he agreed that Maori expected to retain control when they signed the Treaty, Mr Maharey said that was a "little different" from his understanding. But he told Parliament yesterday the assertion was "a fact".
Now it would be easy to dismiss this as the work of a typical Government Department leather elbow cardigan clad plonker - but there is something a bit more disturbing than that. For a long time now the Government has been quizzed on what exactly is meant by "the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi" which has found it's way into all sorts of legislation and Government Department mandates. If this is an interpretation accepted by this Government - God help us.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Treasury on the leash 

The Letter this week refers to the BNZ Weekly Overview (pdf) which reveals that even The Treasury are not spared the whip from the Government's spin machine. This quote from BNZ Chief Economist John Whitehead is just plain frightening:
Treasury are probably engaging in the biggest smoke and mirrors exercise we have seen from them since 1990. But to give their shenanigans the benefit of the doubt the driving force behind these manoeuvres as back then could be from above for political reasons.
There is almost $5b available by traditional surplus measures used in New Zealand for decades to use for both increased spending and tax cuts. The question then is when will we tax payers get some of our money back or does the government plan a major expansion down the track of the economic activities of the state?
There are two disturbing elements here. Firstly that it seems unmistakable that The Treasury are happy to sing from Dr Cullen's, "I love to tax - so you tell them I need it", song book despite the independence supposedly guaranteed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Secondly, and more importantly, this prick has stashed 5 billion dollars of our cash for his own purposes!! Whether those purposes are cynical vote buying, idealogical agenda's or Social Steve Maharey's bad ideas, My Right does not care - it was ours - give it back man.

Message to John Key - get yourself on the front page with some numbers, even if you have to rely on Mr Whitehead to put them together for you.

I hate to bait fate 

But Transit appear to be doing so on what must be one of the most dangerous stretches of road in New Zealand. Seven deaths in 6 months over 5km of road and the response from Transit is 700 metres of wire. Forgive My Right for wondering who will front for cameras from Transit when someone dies somewhere along the other 4300 metres.

But they will have someone watching the wire...

Stuff - "Eye on 'killer highway'"

Monday, October 11, 2004

If Bank's concession speech was forced 

then this article in the Herald was even more so;
Banks gracious, humbled in defeat
After cheer leading for pretty much anyone but him all the way through the campaign, could the Herald not a least acknowledge his professional and polite handing over of the reigns without being snide? Why not humble rather than humbled in the headline for instance? It goes on with little digs and barbs all the way through:
It was a gracious, controlled concession speech: "I have spoken with Mr Hubbard and given him my congratulations." The people had spoken and he respected that, etcetera.

Banks nearly lost his public composure only twice. Thanking supporters, his voice wobbled as it alighted on wife Amanda's name. A minute later, another wobble arrived and threatened to stay.

"All my adult life," he said, "I have had an overwhelming commitment to civic duty," his voice slowed and faltered, "and ... in a small way," he struggled to get the words out ,"to balance the family ledger."

It was a fleeting moment of vulnerability from a man not given to emotional revelation. The "family ledger" is the legacy of Banks' parents Archibald and Kitty, back-street abortionists who were both jailed when he was 18.
The etcetera at the end of the first paragraph just sounded picayune. Not quite the hatchet job the NBR did on Hubbard (insert your own reference to a spectacular back fire here...) - but a bit of balance and respect is clearly out of Julie Middleton's range.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Damn - spoke too soon 

The day My Right accuses Social Steve Maharey of being sensible - he goes out of his way to demonstrate that I was getting a little carried away. This from question time yesterday:
Dr Muriel Newman: Would the Minister have disestablished the Community Employment Group if there had not been any adverse publicity?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: No, I definitely would not have, because this Government works through those kinds of debates in a very cool and calm fashion to decide what it will do. What we have found on numerous occasions, as the member will know, is that the accusations that were made about, for example, the Pink Kit home-birthing kit for women, the Mâori Women’s Welfare League, and the Porangahau marae committee all proved to be utterly, utterly baseless. We do not react to that sort of criticism; we base our changes on evidence.
Hat Tip to SageNZ for highlighting one of the most glaring contradictions since Michael Moore won an Oscar for a 'documentary'.

About time 

Parliament's health select committee have finally decided to admit that NZ Vets were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and suffered the same side effects as all other Vets exposed.
Overwhelmingly, the committee accepted that New Zealand Vietnam veterans were exposed to a very toxic environment," committee chairwoman Steve Chadwick said.

"That's our key recommendation for the Government to consider."

However, the committee stopped short of recommending compensation or an apology, saying most veterans who made submissions simply wanted acknowledgement.

Today's report would be considered by the Government, and it was up to the Government to decide if it wanted to apologise, Ms Chadwick said.
Thank god for that, given this quote from a report in 1998 seemed to establish the validity of this claim way back when...
Side-effects Laboratory studies made in 1969 established a link between Agent Orange and birth defects, and two years later the use of chemical defoliants was stopped. But it was too late. By then some 5 million acres of forest had defoliated, half of which remains unrestored today. Dioxin accumulated from repeated spraying entered the ecosystem of Vietnam, while tens of thousand of troops on both sides had been exposed to the chemical. Not least, Vietnamese birth defects are now double those of neighboring countries. Scientific surveys, continue to uncover side-effects, the latest (1996) documenting the high proportion of children with spina bifida born to Vietnam veterans.

Other spinoffs of Agent Orange include nerve and urological disorders, skin diseases, and soft-tissue cancers. In 1984 a $240 million settlement was made to Agent Orange victims in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada (excluding South Korea, the second-largest foreign contingent), but many are still fearful of long-term reproduction in their children."
Although the New Zealand Government did try to keep the numbers of Kiwi's sent to Vietnem to a minimum, to appease ANZUS allies, in 1969 there were over 500 men representing the New Zealand Government in areas where Agent Orange was used.

My Right does not believe that the Government should apologise for the fact that these Vets were exposed to Agent Orange, that was beyond their control. But they should acknowledge that it happened and apologise for the delay in that acknowledgement. In terms of compensation, that is trickier in terms of posthumous payments to widows etc, but we should be taking damn good care of the Vets that are left.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Maharey sounding sensible... 

A piece today by Colin James has outlined Social Steve's plans to tidy up the benefit system and streamline the number of entitlements a case worker may have to consider for each client. Policy detail hasn't been thrashed out - but the intention sound both luadable and sensible:
"But Maharey has been cooking up something much bigger. The working title is the "single benefit" and it should clear the Cabinet in December after some more work by officials to ensure no beneficiary is left worse off at the changeover and to quantify the national cost-benefit.

There are, Maharey says, 10 "base benefits" (among them unemployment, sickness, disability, DPBs and widows) and 36 "add-ons" designed to meet special needs and difficulties. These grew up during the 1980s and 1990s when the focus was tightened on to individual need.

Fine-tuning needs-based payment is a rational approach. But it has led to frontline welfare staff spending around 70 per cent of their time untangling the web of benefit entitlements for those in need. The complexity has also spawned an "advocacy industry" designed to help beneficiaries to get from bamboozled staff what the law says they are entitled to."
National has a real problem now. If Labour can tame the devout social engineer that is Steve Maharey and get him sounding off about rationalising and even reducing bureaucracy, and Trev gets a bit more licence to put the slipper into the odd Powhiri or Scholarship, then without being radical, differentiation for National is nigh on impossible.

As James concluded, "If that sounds like National and Act, don't be too surprised. In this field, as in others, once-mushy Labour has been quietly nudging the centre line. Even Maharey, the one-time sociologist."

Labour will do whatever it takes to retain power - they have proved this on many occasions. If Don Brash has one legacy - it will be hauling Labour back from the idealogical far left (heard much from Margaret Wilson lately) to the sensible slightly right of centre.

It may not get him elected - but it has done us all a huge service.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Lessons learned... 

Look at the state of this guy...
Attention – it's Mr Radical
Now My Right does not condone violence or bullying in schools, but really, cause and effect sparky.
He spent two of "the most intense years" of his life at Shirley Boys' High School before transferring to Hagley at the beginning of 2003.

"I would get picked on every day, separated from the class, yelled at, beaten up, pushed over. All because I was different.
You are not 'different' - you are an attention seeking sap. You may not 'deserve' everything you get, but you do go out of your way to ensure you receive it.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


The last time My Right was speechless, he said nothing. He said nothing again this morning when he read that the murderer (not technically correct I know, but when a man beats a man to death with his bare hands, it kinda fits...) of David McNee has tried to 'out' another four high profile Auckland men that paid him for sex.
The man who killed interior designer David McNee claims he will expose four other "high-profile" men who paid him for sex.

Phillip Layton Edwards is serving a nine-year sentence for the manslaughter of Mr McNee last year.

Since he was moved from Mt Eden prison to Auckland Prison at Paremoremo last week, Edwards, 24, has tried to send letters to four Auckland men asking for money.

He allegedly told the men he would tell the media that they paid him for sex.

If true, that could raise further questions about the so-called "homosexual panic" defence that some commentators allege saved Edwards from a murder conviction.

Edwards' lawyer Roy Wade argued at the trial that Edwards was guilty of manslaughter because he never intended to kill Mr McNee.

The defence said Edwards was paid to perform a sex act upon himself and that he was provoked when Mr McNee violated their "no touching" agreement.
So here is a guy admitting that he had played 'pitcher' and 'catcher' in the past - but he still paniced and beat an old man to death when he got a little busy handed contrary to their "arrangement".

This one shits me to tears. If at any stage of the trial he said it was 'panic' that caused him to commit the act of violence - hull him back up on a perjury charge as well as the murder charge he was always guilty of.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Getting it on because they don't get along 

The NBR are considering laying a complaint of contempt of court against Dick Hubbard. This is due to Hubbard actually naming the figure he was sueing the NBR for in his original action against the publication.

This seems like a slightly strange law, but it is law, and he appears to have breached it.

This fight seems personal enough to crack on well after the race to become Auckland's favourite show pony. There is something curiously alluring about this ruckus. My Right is just waiting to find out the source of this mutual loathing - it must be something good.

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