Red Alert

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The right wing agenda

Posted by on May 22nd, 2013

*Update to post. It’s fair enough that the comments are focussing on why I’m not support this or that. I highlighted and bolded one issue that I could definitely support. I didn’t highlight others that I thought needed discussion because I didn’t outright support them. But have subsequently done so. I do however think the discussion should be about the impact of the agenda and not about what I think.

On the 4 April, in the great stone-and-glass National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, luminaries descended to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Australia’s leading free-market think-tank.

Tickets to the gala dinner cost a minimum of AU$500 (£340) per head, and an auction to raise funds for the IPA featured prizes including a guided tour of the Reagan Ranch in California and a behind the scenes Fox News “experience” in New York City, including a meeting with host Bill O’Reilly . Among the speakers were Rupert Murdoch, journalist Andrew Bolt, billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart, and a man named Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition.

Tony Abbott, Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch took turns sharing the stage. Andrew Bolt (a conservative columnist for the Melbourne Herald Sun) was MC. By accounts, Abbott praised his fellow key-note speakers, especially Murdoch, and promised the crowd a “big yes” to many of the think tank’s list of 75 policies to radically transform Australia.

It is worth remembering that Tony Abbott and his conservative Liberal Party, David Cameron and the UK Conservatives and John Key and the National Party are all advised by the PR gurus Crosby Textor.

It’s also important to note that this dinner and the following ideas were the brain children of a right wing think tank. But it’s no coincidence that these three men and their parties share much of the following agenda. I wonder how many of these ideas (which have relevance here) will find their way into National’s agenda if they win another government term? I have marked the  ideas which I think have merit.

  • Means-test Medicare
  • Eliminate family tax benefits
  • Abandon the paid parental leave scheme
  • Abolish the Baby Bonus
  • Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
  • Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food
  • Repeal the alcopops tax
  • Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
  • Repeal the Fair Work Act
  • Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
  • Introduce a single rate of income tax
  • Return income taxing powers to the states
  • Cut company tax to 25 per cent
  • Cease subsidising the car industry
  • Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
  • Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
  • End local content requirements for Australian television stations
  • Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
  • Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states
  • End mandatory disclosures on political donations
  • End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
  • Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and  privatise any sections that have already been built
  • Privatise Australia Post, Medibank and SBS
  • Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16
  • Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
  • Slash top public servant salaries
  • Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database
  • Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it (if it is replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone).
  • Abolish the Department of Climate Change
  • Abolish the Clean Energy Fund and repeal the renewable energy target
  • Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
  • Repeal the mining tax
  • Privatise the CSIRO and the Snowy-Hydro Scheme
  • Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
  • Introduce fee competition to Australian universities
  • Means test tertiary student loans
  • Repeal the National Curriculum
  • Introduce competing private secondary school curricula
  • Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
  • Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
  • Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
  • Eliminate ‘balance’ laws for radio and television broadcasters
  • Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law
  • Eliminate media ownership restrictions
  • Cease funding the Australia Network
  • Rule out government-supported or mandated internet censorship
  • End public funding to political parties
  • Introduce voluntary voting
  • End media blackout in final days of election campaigns
  • Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
  • Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a % of GDP
  • Legislate a balanced budget amendment which limits the size of budget deficits and the period the government can be in deficit
  • Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
  • Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
  • End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering
  • Remove all tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
  • Remove anti-dumping laws
  • Deregulate the parallel importation of books
  • End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace laws
  • Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
  • Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games
  • End all public subsidies to sport and the arts
  • Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
  • End all government funded ‘Nanny State’ advertising
  • De-fund Harmony Day and close the Office for Youth
  • Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
  • Allow the Northern Territory to become a state
  • Introduce a special economic zone for northern Australia including:
    a) Lower personal income tax for residents
    b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
    c) Encourage the construction of dams.

Labour’s Summer School: the place to be

Posted by on January 13th, 2013

2013 is the year Labour will start to flesh out our policy process. In two weeks Labour members will get another chance to have in depth conversations about policy, social democracy and ideology.

Labour members from around New Zealand will descend on Wainuiomata in my electorate in to be part of Labour’s largest Summer School ever.

Summer School is Labour’s pre-eminent forum for Labour members of all ages to discuss, debate, and develop ideas on social democracy and how the Labour Party can realise and define its vision. Summer School has been an annual feature in January since 2003 and is organised by Young Labour. It offers Labour members a vital opportunity to think beyond day-to-day politics and to push the boundaries of what we can achieve.

This year is the largest Summer School ever and will culminate in David Shearer delivering a speech on Labour’s priorities in 2013.

The 2013 Summer School theme “Labour’s Unique Narrative for the Future” will encourage us to consider what makes (or should make) Labour unique among the political parties in Aotearoa and what values and history reinforce our uniqueness as the progressive party of change.

We will discuss a slew of interesting sessions on a range of policy, organisational and ideological issues with great speakers such as Rod Oram, Brian Easton, Gavin Ellis, Deborah Russell and Amanda Brydon.

Have a look at the Summer School flyer and programme. It is your chance to have an impact on Labour’s policy process and discuss the big issues: economic challenges of the future, the role of neoliberalism in Aotearoa, human rights and solutions to inequality.

If you would like to attend Labour Summer School you can click here to find out more information and register.

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Respectful politics – time and place

Posted by on October 6th, 2012

Last night I attended the 101st anniversary of the Republic of China (Taiwan) anniversary, along with other parliamentary colleagues, Rajen Prasad, Hon Peter Dunne and National MP Jami-lee Ross. Peter Goodfellow, National Party President was there, and Paul Hutchinson attended, but had to leave early.

This was one of those occasions when we were there as invited guests to help celebrate the community’s pride in their country’s history and their place in New Zealand. When MPs attend these kind of events, we are welcomed as an important part of the celebration. As guests, our job is to respond appropriately and join in with the spirit of the occasion.

Speakers from all sides of the political spectrum spoke respectfully. There were no party politics, just an acknowledgement of the friendship and links between our countries, the contribution of the Taiwanese community in New Zealand and the celebration of their 101st special birthday.

But one person got it wrong. Colin Craig, Conservative Leader was also an invited guest.

He chose to use his speech to try to draw links between the Conservative party’s “family values” and Taiwan. For example,  (he said)  Taiwan has lower divorce rates than New Zealand.  And then he launched into a political speech about the marriage equality bill.

Maybe he thought he was onto a vote winner. But he caused embarrassment to his hosts and other guests.

And he showed appalling judgement.


Assisted dying – the social conversation

Posted by on September 25th, 2012

So much has been said recently about my End-of-Life Choice bill which is sitting in the ballot waiting against the odds to be drawn out.  The conversation has been stimulated again by Evans Mott’s trial (discharged without conviction for helping his wife to prepare for her lonely suicide), and the death of Gretha Appleby (pronounced by the coroner recently to be self-inflicted, which is what she always said she would do when she thought the moment had come for her). Here is Tony Nicklinson’s story, as told by his daughter. Read it and tell me if you don’t understand yet. Then keep talking.

The OLD MAN and the SEAT

Posted by on September 1st, 2012

For those of you who watch and like Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, this is a hilarious and incisive piss take of Clint Eastwood’s rant at an empty chair (representing Obama) at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida this week.

He also takes apart Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech as a”whitewash of American history” where Romney pretends that the world before Obama was some kind of idealistic nirvana. We all know that politicians are prone to reinterpreting history. The Republicans (and conservative side of politics generally) make reinventing history an art form.

As Jon Stewart said: He talked about “a perfect America that used to exist until Barack Obama ruined it… and so what if that America had never actually existed.”

This is well worth watching. I couldn’t find it on Youtube, so you have to click the link to find the video clip.

Disclaimer. I am actually a Clint Eastwood fan (of his movies). Can’t help it

New Zealand is better than this

Posted by on August 6th, 2012

The Immigration Amendment Bill is nearing its final stages in the Select Committee and will be reported back by September.  This was the bill that appeared from nowhere a couple of months back, right in the middle of the John Banks scandal.  It was a dog whistle John Howard would have been proud of  – designed by the government to divert attention and create a problem in people’s minds that doesn’t exist.  The language in introducing the bill was of “queue jumpers” and “illegal migrants” and  was about creating fear and prejudice.

The bill purports to prepare New Zealand for the unlikely event of a mass arrival (defined in the bill as more than 10 asylum seekers) and enables mass detention for up to six months. The explanatory note in the bill says that  it will “enhance New Zealand’s ability to deter people-smuggling to New Zealand by making it as unattractive as possible to people-smugglers and the people to whom they sell their services”.

But the Bill has no provisions for  sanctions against the activity of people-smuggling, but instead focuses on imposing sanctions on asylum seekers who arrive in New Zealand as part of a deemed “mass arrival”, by contrast with those who do not.

Meanwhile, the government has carried out  “Exercise Barrier” at a cost of $200,000, which apparently tested New Zealand’s systems in the event of a mass arrival.  The very name, “Barrier” and the photos of Customs and other officials pretending this was an SAS like military exercise say a lot.

Submitters on the bill have been overwhelmingly opposed to this bill and will probably be overwhelmingly ignored.

We have been warned that the provisions in this bill could be a political football in the way they have become in Australia. We have also been warned that New Zealand’s international reputation and compliance with the Refugee Convention will come under intense scrutiny.

Canada recently enacted a similar kind of bill.  It was extremely divisive and controversial and it’s probably no coincidence that the Canadian Act’s author, Jason Kenny, visited New Zealand last year and spent time with our Immigration and other Ministers.

New Zealand is better than this.

Total Employment Change from 2008 Reveals Imminent Crisis

Posted by on February 21st, 2012

Increase in unemployment under National

Increase in unemployment under National

The Household Labour Force Survey Survey report of the December 2011 Quarter released last week revealed that our unemployment rate slipped slightly to 6.3% from 6.6%. While a rate of 6.3% in itself doesn’t necessarily mean we have reached crisis levels, the focus on the overall unemployment rate does conceal detail about our employment situation that if brought to the surface will shine light on what I believe is an immiment crisis looming in our economic horizon.

Since JohnKey’s National took office in November 2008, 53,000 New Zealanders have joined the unemployment ranks. That’s a 54% increase in the number of people unemployed to a total of 150,000. For these people, National’s promise of a ‘brighter future’ has utterly failed to materialise, especially if you have a mortgage and teenage children you are supporting through school.

While the impact of the recession cannot be ignored, the number of people unemployed has actually increased since the recession officially ended in mid-2009. The official unemployment figures only tell part of the story. Many more people are without work but are not counted as being unemployed. Many are described by the Salvation Army as being “discouraged unemployed”. They would like to work and would accept a job offer if given, but they would not be deemed as actively seeking work because for instance looking for work through a newspaper does not meet the threshold of “actively seeking work”. The number of Kiwis jobless has increased by almost 100,000 under National’s watch to now 261,300 people as of December 2011. In the meantime 59,964 people are receiving the Unemployment Benefit as at December 2011 a fall of 7% from 67,084 as of the December 2010.
So is this it? Is this the brighter future promised to all New Zealanders?

Number of people jobless

Hayden Munro

Posted by on February 5th, 2012

Hayden is one of those doing some thinking about the future direction of progressive politics in New Zealand. Patrick on Progress Report has published a series of three blogs that are certainly worth a look.

One. Two. Three.

It’s time

Posted by on October 24th, 2011

For the election campaign to begin in earnest.

Four weeks of intensive politicking begin now.  New Zealanders have an important choice to make on 26 November. They need to know the details of  what’s on offer and get a feel for how each of the major parties will perform as our next government.

In the last 6 weeks of the Rugby World Cup, the importance of teamwork, discipline, focus and skill have been on display to the world. And playing to win. It can be tough and uncompromising when there’s a single goal in mind.

Like the RWC, NZ’s election is for a good cause. In the case of the election; New Zealand’s future. Our kids. Our economy. Our environment.

Labour is playing to win.

Everyone’s talking about it

Posted by on October 19th, 2011

A good read from Ann Salmond, anthropologist and author weighing into the debate on inequality in the NZ Herald yesterday.

The international rating agencies have done all New Zealanders a favour. The double downgrade of the country’s credit rating makes it clear that the policies and philosophies promoted by successive governments are not working.

The “invisible hand” of the market, first conceived in the Enlightenment but coupled at that time with notions of justice, human dignity and “the rights of man”, has failed to deliver prosperity and happiness, in New Zealand as elsewhere.

The problem, it seems, is a loss of balance. In the pursuit of profit, everything in the world – the earth itself, other species, knowledge and indeed, other people – has been turned into a “resource” to be exploited, often without care or conscience.

In the process, ideas of justice, truth and the common good have been undermined. Without these bulwarks, democracy falters, capitalism fails to share wealth and the distribution of income shifts dangerously out of kilter.

Since the 1990s, income inequality in New Zealand has soared. In the midst of successive financial crises, the hand of the market still harvests wealth for the wealthy. While the richest avoid taxation, billions can be found to shore up the corporate sector, but not to deal with child poverty, third-world diseases, high rates of youth incarceration and suicide, and other indicators of suffering and failure.

The philosophies that persuaded many Kiwis to betray their own best values are bankrupt, and our future is at risk. A nation that does not care for its children has a death wish. A society that destroys the environment that sustains it will fail.

She questions why people support policies that are not in their own interests, or of future generations.

Some suggest this is because the middle 40 per cent of income earners aspires to join the top 10 per cent and does not want the bottom 50 per cent to displace them. This may help to explain the rise in consumerism and household debt, but it is only part of the story.

People also have to be persuaded that there is no alternative to the policies that beset them, or that external factors are to blame, or the likely impacts on their lives are misrepresented. Here, the freedom of the press is vital. If the independence of the media is compromised, the flow of information is in danger and independent voices are silenced. The press becomes a tool in the politics of diversion, with stories about celebrities and scandals displacing reporting on serious issues.

Even in economic life, when collective values collapse, failure is likely. In New Zealand, recent research indicates that arrogant, greedy and unilateral styles of management result in loss of productivity and profits, as good employees leave for other businesses or countries.

Salmond concludes by saying that more than a change of government is needed. What is needed in New Zealand is a change of heart.

Good stuff.

Do people make it entirely on their own

Posted by on September 27th, 2011


Message to women – the numbers say it all

Posted by on September 5th, 2011

Continuing a well established pattern the latest National list continues to sideline women.   Are there no competent women out there who share National’s philosophy?

If we compare the National and Labour lists by gender this is what we find – in the first 10 positions National has 2 women, Labour has 4; in the first 20 positions National has 5 women, Labour has 8; in the first 30 positions National has 7 women, Labour has 12; in the first 40 positions National has 10 women, Labour has 16; in the first 50 positions National has 14 women, Labour has 21.  So National has women in 28% of the first 50 places and Labour 42%.

Women make up just over 50% of the population so I accept that Labour needs to work harder to increase the number of women in our Caucus.  But at any given point in our political history Labour has led National in terms of representation of women in Parliament.  Fighting for real equality for women is part of Labour’s core values and there is no doubt we have delivered consistently in this area with strong leadership from Labour women MPs.

In comparison this National Government has failed to deliver for women. In fact National has an appalling record in areas like progressing pay equality (closing the Pay and Employment Equity Unit, failing to act on pay investigations and cutting funding to the EEO Trust) and violence against women (cutting successful programmes and creating  less secure funding for those delivering successful programmes like Girls Self Defence, leaving the Domestic Violence Bill languishing on the order paper).  A number of legislative and policy changes have disproportionate negative effects on women (reducing access to the Training Incentive Allowance, 90 days fire at will provisions, meagre increases to the minimum wage and cuts to Adult and Community Education).   Where are the strong voices advocating for women in the National Caucus?  The current Minister’s priority seems to be increasing the number of women on Company Boards.   This is important and I support greater representation of women everywhere (including in the National Caucus) however I don’t think this initiative is really the most burning issue for the many NZ women who are struggling to make ends meet.

Where’s your socialist streak?

Posted by on August 26th, 2011

I bet you didn’t know that New Zealanders are really just a bunch of socialists.

John Key said we are, so it must be true.

According to Wikileaks cables in the media today John Key met with visiting charge d’affaire Glyn Davies in 2008 and told him National could not adopt conservative policies because a “socialist streak” runs through all New Zealanders.

Next time Alan Peachy rails against Labour as “those socialists” in one of his raving speeches in the house (which always reduce me to fits of laughter), I will enjoy reminding he has a socialist streak too.

More on wikileaks in the media here.

Filed under: media, politics

The importance of being Labour #3

Posted by on August 24th, 2011

One of the things I’ve learnt about politics is that it’s a rollercoaster.

Another is that it’s important to acknowledge mistakes. I made one this week. For that I apologise. It was never my intention to argue entitlement to a share of the votes.

I have to earn votes. Whether it be personally or for the Party. And I’ll be judged, along with everyone else standing on November 26.

Labour has a proud history. The essence of being Labour is at the core of my being and I will always be Labour. It’s much bigger and more important than me.

I don’t want to relitigate the issue here. Though it’s important to keep the conversation going.

I am and remain committed to open-ness and transparency in communication with you all. Even if it’s painful.

I am a fighter. I care about the people I represent and the reasons for representing them. I want our country to be strong and proud. And I’ll fight for the policies and for a government that will benefit all of us.

And I don’t always get it right.

The polls that matter

Posted by on August 21st, 2011

Matt McCarten’s commentaries have often had me tearing my hair out.  I’ve known Matt longer than most, and I know he and I share the same views on many things, especially when it comes to low-income workers and the poor. Where we differ is how change can be achieved politically and that comes across in his criticism of Labour. I’m sure he’s aware that the right-wing repeat his every word when he criticises Labour, but I bet they don’t reproduce his NZ Herald column today.

Matt, like the other union delegates at the packed CTU Conference on Friday sat up and took notice when Phil Goff spoke.

Phil nailed it.  He nailed the feelings of worker representatives who have seen the cost of living increase, tax cuts for the rich and nothing for them and their families. He spoke to their concerns about their workmates and families operating under National’s changes to employment law.  He spelled out our agenda for real change, of which there is more to come. He sent a message to the mining families on the West Coast saying Labour’s not going to muck around with mine safety.  We’re going to do what’s needed.

He showed there is fire in the belly in the Labour leadership and the Labour Party.   He showed passion, empathy and warmth.

It was a good reminder not to get distracted by silly made-up stories about Labour’s leadership, and pollsters that can’t get to working people.  One delegate said his union had just finished stopwork meetings of 4,000 workers around the country and of these, only 4 had been polled in the last year.

The polls that matter can be found in the stories and conversations on the doorsteps and workplaces of  South and West Auckland, in Otara, Manurewa, Manukau East, Mangere and Ranui.

The polls that matter are the 350,000 workers and their families represented at the CTU conference on Friday.

National Party Blues

Posted by on August 15th, 2011

At the National Party’s Conference Party on Saturday night Natties were supposed to dress up in 1930’s gangster costumes (very appropriate I thought) and they hired some of NZ’s best to play for the gang. I don’t blame the musos for agreeing, because they need to making a living.  But Facebook comments and suggestions were not so discreet once followers found out who the band were playing for.  Here’s a sample:

  • Make sure you throw a shoe!
  • Just remember they are innocent victims of being born rich, and dumb, a dangerous mix.
  • Into the Jaws of Death rode the xxx… good luck brave fellow
  • There must be some sort of modal weapon that you can subtly employ?
  • If you hit just the right low frequency, and hold it, they should all spew.
  • Subtly change all of the rhythm into charge of the light brigade – and shoot them all with your laser “peace and money for all” guitar… let me know how that goes for us.
  • ABBA: “Money Money Money”
  • The Beatles “Little Piggies”
  • Sadly the fabled “brown note” (between 9 and 20Hz) doesn’t work, although you may be able to induce some anxiety.
  • Sell out Saturday
  • “Depression Blues”:
  • Crank out some old school metal for them man… for whom the bell tolls!
  • Hope you didn’t try too hard (to bite your tongue, that is).

And there’s heaps more. I’m giving no clues about the origins of the Facebook comments, because these are musos who need the money.  Even though they are part of NZ’s wonderful musical talent pool, beggars can’t be choosers and if they kick up a fuss, they might be next on the hit list for John Key’s removal of rights for performers.

But it seems like National Party shindigs are not popular gigs in the NZ Music scene.

Musicians need to eat and while they might play the tunes, they are definitely not in tune with John Key and his mob.

Tweet of the Week

Posted by on July 24th, 2011

Moana is unable to post this week. I am the ring in. So I shall start with a King and end with a Queen (yes I will)

PS: I don’t think my layout is as good as hers

These words give us all strength and courage

NorwayUN NorwayUN

King Harald of #Norway: “when the nation is tested, the strength, cohesion and courage of the Norwegian people becomes evident.” #Utøya

15 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

and these

@andy_williamson Andy Williamson

RT Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg: “The answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity” Hope our world leaders are listening

23 hours ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Retweeted by Roselady64 and 100+ others

and these

olavkjorven Olav Kjorven

Deeply saddened by senseless attacks in Norway. Thanks for outpouring of support from around the world to a hurt but sturdy people.

17 hours ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

then there was this. Not so good

homebrewcrew Home Brew

‘Key uses Norway massacre to justify NZs military involvement in Afghanistan’. Can we please do something bout this guy in November people?

9 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

and the clash of stories

mingyeow Ming Yeow Ng

Via @dcurtis: Norway was attacked, Amy Winehouse is dead, Greece has defaulted, the US is about to, and New York melted. What a week :(

7 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Billy Bragg had this to say about the 27 club

billybragg Billy Bragg

It’s not age that Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain & Amy have in common – it’s drug abuse, sadly #27club

14 hours ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

and the final word goes to Her Majesty about “that other story” which, am pretty sure, won’t go away easily

@Queen_UK Elizabeth Windsor

No, Mr Murdoch, you cannot “pop round” after you’ve finished at the Commons.

19 Jul via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Key – a case study in leadership, not!

Posted by on July 21st, 2011

Key’s appalling handling of the SIS/Israeli/Christchurch earthquake issue demonstrates beyond a doubt that the man is not a leader’s elbow. That is the polite version.

Not in the public interest? Give me a break! What is more important than our country’s sovereignty, not being an easy touch for identity or passport fraud even by a “friendly” country, and the integrity of our own passport system? That’s in the national interest, John.  Perhaps it’s not in the National interest? You tell me.

If there were no issues around the behaviour of the four unfortunate Israelis in the van in Christchurch that day, why did the SIS conduct an investigation? Why did the survivors depart the country so quickly? The other two guys who died were in my view innocent tourists. I got an email from their desperate parents asking for the privately funded SAR team from Israel to be admitted to NZ and Christchurch and I sent that on to Murray McCully. I was surprised that the team wasn’t accredited but more surprised that there wasn’t any explanation. I might be wrong about all that but the Opposition hasn’t been briefed on this, so I’ll stick to my version.

But importantly for NZ, Key has fluffed this from the start. Let’s be fair, Foreign Affairs was never his forte, but why not just say you were going to mount an enquiry, get some advice, and would get back to the media asap? If you are going to wing media standups, as he thinks he can do, expect some questions you can’t answer. Instead, we get that excruciating interview which went on way past its Press Secretary tolerance time (I would have thought – where was his Press Sec?) and well into injury time.

We have been abused by Mossad agents before in 2004. We have a right to be suspicious. Key’s leadership was conspicuous by its absence in this case.

Act imploding

Posted by on July 10th, 2011

Almost unbelievable that as a major tax policy debate gets underway Act decided to try and replay the race card.

The Herald on Sunday reports that John Ansell is to be sacrificed. Very unfair given that Brash has been spouting on the issue for several days now. But Brash has never had much political sense.

And it is obvious that he and Boscawen approved the ads.

Feel a bit sorry for John Banks. Funding Lusk and team to swap Hide for Brash and then watching as the polling goes down while his new leader runs round like a chook without a head.

The real irony will be if Banks gets into Parliament and Brash doesn’t.

And Ansell goes back to working for his close mate Bill English.
Update. Stuff confirms Ansell gone.

One of the most powerful of speeches…

Posted by on July 3rd, 2011

Late last week I spent a day and a half at NetHui in Auckland. Couldn’t make the full 3 days. It’s a new initiative, organised by InternetNZ.

It will be an annual event. That all MPs should attend and all of you.

It was all about the internet. What it means for us. What the opportunities and the scary challenges are. And that it’s about equality.

Lawrence Lessig was the keynote speaker.

Some takeout messages:

  • Kids, dropouts, outsiders have been the innovators and have developed the major changes on the internet
  • The internet is about reviving a culture of passive consumption to re-creating a culture of sharing, participation and making new stuff.
  • The need for truth tellers about the network.
  • The enormous challenges for policy-makers and law makers. One of which is for politicians to move away from a culture of being funded  and therefore influenced by private interests. To halt law-making by lobbyists. And consider other ways.
  • How NZ could become a beacon of light in showing the way forward on many of the issues that arise because of the internet

If you watch nothing else for a while, watch his speech. It’s on Youtube in 3 parts.

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here