Sep 30, 2008

Rename Roar Prawn Raw Porn

Look at this, a male run blog would be condemned. And it is not the first time! Whaleoil was for his girls with guns series. Shame on you Raw Porn for your use of nudity to boost your ratings.

WCC Lays Facts Bare

Roar Prawn may be upset by this

Clarification re nudity on Wellington beaches

Today's Dominion Post story, headed 'Capital's beaches open to nudists', is somewhat misleading. Wellington's beaches aren't 'open to nudists' despite the fact the City Council has removed and replaced an old bylaw relating to the requirement to wear suitable bathing costumes on beaches and other public places in the city.

Under the Local Government Act 2001, Wellington City Council, along with all other local authorities, is required to review and update its bylaws - especially if they contain complicated wording that's difficult to understand, or if they no longer are relevant.

Earlier this year the Council reviewed a number of bylaws - including the old Harbour, Beaches and Foreshore Bylaw - which, in part, required all persons over 8 years of age who were on, or swam at, a beach to wear a swimsuit or clothes. The wording of the old bylaw was 'clunky' and not really suitable for the 21st century.

The review was a fully public process and included extensive public consultation in April - and then submissions to Council meetings before the final decision on the bylaws was made in June.

Admittedly a review of bylaws is not something that usually excites the community greatly - but we received no submissions relating to beach nudity.

The removal of the old bylaw does not mean that people can freely remove all their clothes on any city beach.

If someone removes all their clothes on Oriental Bay beach, for example, and then offends other beach users, the Police could be called and could require the person to put their clothes back on. The Summary Offences Act can be used by the Police to enforce this.

Nudity is really not an issue on beaches in Wellington City - and we're not expecting a sudden rampant increase in nudity as a result of the withdrawal of the bylaw. Generally, for example, people do not go fully nude on Oriental Bay beach.

It is quite well known that the isolated north-eastern end of Breaker Bay Beach, on the South Coast, is Wellington's 'unofficial' nude beach. Because it takes a long and arduous walk through soft sand to get to the beach, relatively few people go there and so people generally are free to sunbathe nude without causing trouble.

For further details please contact:
Richard MacLean, City Council Communications, tel 04 801 3578 or 021 227 8180.

Ben Thomas Is On To It

The mainstream Media might be a bit slower than The Hive but they have also picked up on the Regulations Review Committee consideration of the changes made by regulation to the Overseas Investment Regulations.

Writing for the NBR Ben Thomas says the following:

Parliament’s regulations review committee has slammed the government’s on-the-hoof changes to overseas investment rules that stymied a Canadian pension fund’s takeover of Auckland International Airport in April, saying it was an “unusual and unexpected” use of regulatory powers.
The committee’s report, released today, also recommends the government dumps the rules that allow the cabinet to create new criteria for ministers’ decisions about overseas investment. In the alternative, it recommends that ministers be required to consult before making changes to criteria for decision-making.

Ministers should be resigning over this, which possibly explains why this report has taken so long to be finalised.

Has Hooton Converted To Communism?

Is it his continuing close association with Laila? Is it because he has spent too much time reading the Sunday Star Times? Is it because he shares a blog with Comrade Trotter? Or did he just get too cold one day on his recent ski trip down south? Something seems to have happened. A rift seems to have grown between Hooton and Whaleoil. Earlier today he described Whaleoil as a "far-right ultra", and now he is disagreeing with Whale Oil over the Prime Minister's right to lie. Hooton being an apologist for the PM??? What is the world coming to. Particularly when this election is meant to be about trust.

The Hive finds it particularly strange that Hooton would take this position so soon after Labour First tried to beat John Key up over his TranzRail shareholdings.

Regulations Review Committee Upholds Complaint

Great news, but what a shame that the report was not issued before Parliament wound up. The Overseas Investment Amendment Regulations (2008) have been found by the committee to be:

an unusual and unexpected use of the regulation-making power. The regulations also contain matters thatcan be argued to be more appropriate for parliamentary enactment.

We note that the AIAL decision has already been made and that any action taken in respect
of the regulations will have no impact on that decision. Nevertheless the regulations are of
general application and we think that the issues raised by the complainants in respect of the
application of the Act to strategically important infrastructure should be considered by the

We have also noted our concern regarding section 17(2)(g). The proliferation of regulationmakingclauses such as this is troubling, and we recommend against their use. Section 17(2)is a form of Henry VIII clause. Such clauses should be used only where urgent need to add to statutory decision making criteria is envisaged. In such circumstances the regulationmaking power should be used in conjunction with satisfactory safeguards to ensure a transparent and open legislative process is followed.

NZX Down Over 4%

Reaction to the news out of Europe and the US has seen a sharp fall on the New Zealand Exchange also, with the NZX 50 currently down 4.32% to 3,056. Things seemed to have plateaued. The initial fall was greater.

Sharples Agrees With Hooton

Ben Thomas has a scoop up on the NBR site. Details of tonight's interview with Pita Sharples on Alt.TV.

Our own view has been that the National policy on Maori seats is all about negotiating leverage post election, as about real policy intentions.

This is what Sharples says:

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says his party receives signals “privately” that the National Party is not too committed on its position of abolishing the Maori electorate seats.

Host Martyn Bradbury put to Dr Sharples right wing commentator Matthew Hooton's view that "the desire to dump the Maori seats was simply window dressing for the more meat-eating National fringe than genuine policy," and asked whether the announced policy suggested National were more serious about abolishing the seats.
Mr Sharples replied: “No, I think Mr Hooton is pretty close. That’s the same message we’ve been getting privately, that in fact it’s well off.”

Biggest One Day Point Drop In Wall Street History

This is a big shock, and in response Wall Street has set a new record, a bad one. A 778 one day fall in the Dow. This from Reuters

The Dow industrials plunged overnight in the blue-chip average's biggest one-day point drop ever after US lawmakers unexpectedly rejected a $700 billion financial bailout, spooking investors who saw it as essential to halting a global market meltdown.
The Dow lost about 778 points and posted its biggest daily percentage decline since the October 1987 stock market crash, while the benchmark S&P 500 also had its worst day in 21 years after the House sent the bailout plan to defeat by a vote of 228 to 205.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq had its worst day since April 2000 when the Internet bubble collapsed.
The failure of the bill, which would have let the Treasury buy up bad mortgage debt from struggling banks, added to serious concerns after the credit crisis claimed new victims, including Wachovia Corp and a bevy of European banks.
Fear was deep and widespread, as investors dumped stocks for the relative safety of US government bonds. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, Wall Street's main barometer of investor fear, jumped 39 percent to 48.40, a nearly six-year high, and was at 46.72 at the close.
"I am shocked. Credit markets were struggling even with the prospect this bill was going to get passed. Now the bill doesn't get passed and it just throws one more monkey wrench into the mix," said Bob Doll, global chief investment officer of equities at BlackRock Inc, one of the world's largest asset managers.
The Dow Jones industrial average sank 777.68 points, or 6.98 percent, to 10,365.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 106.59 points, or 8.79 percent, at 1,106.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 199.61 points, or 9.14 percent, at 1,983.73.
An index of financial services shares lost 16 percent, while Bank of America Corp fell 17.6 percent to $30.25.
Goldman Sachs slid 12.5 percent to $120.70.
"This is bad in a lot of different ways," said Bill Strazzullo, partner and chief market strategist at Bell Curve Trading, in Boston. "Short-term, the market is getting crushed, but more importantly, we are telling clients we could be at the beginning of a whole new down phase. There is the potential for the S&P 500 to go all the way down to 1,000."
The bailout's demise comes after US bank Wachovia was forced to sell most of its assets to Citigroup in a deal brokered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Oil Down 10%

The shock rejection of the Administration's proposed financial market bail out is flowing through to other markets including to commonities. Oil is back 10%. This from Reuters

Oil prices dropped nearly 10 percent overnight after the US House of Representatives rejected the US$700 billion rescue package for the financial sector.
US stocks plunged after lawmakers voted against the bailout and major US and European banks needed emergency deals to stave off collapse, sending investors fleeing to the safety of gold and debt.
US November crude settled down $10.52 to $96.37 a barrel, after touching a session low of $95.04, in the second biggest drop since April 23, 2003. November crude dropped 11.8 percent last Tuesday following a spike in the expiring October crude contract in the previous session.
London Brent crude traded down $9.56 to settle at $93.98 a barrel.
The House voted 228-205 to reject the bailout bill, which would have authorized the Treasury Department to purchase broken mortgage-backed bonds from banks with the goal of jump-starting stalled capital markets.
"The bailout package being defeated sent stock markets tumbling, weighing on petroleum as well," said Tom Bentz, analyst at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Inc.
The mounting economic crisis has stirred concerns about oil demand, helping drag prices from a record high above $147 a barrel in July.
In addition, investors who had rushed into commodities earlier this year as a hedge against inflation and the weak dollar have sold crude for safer havens.
"This decision is a shock to the system," said Sarah Emerson, director of Energy Security Analysis Inc. "The oil market is reacting strongly in part because of the implications of a weak economy on demand."

How The Markets Are Reacting To The News

A picture speaks..........................................

CNN has a good wrap up.

No Need To Travel To Kapiti: Nudists Welcome In Wellington And Not Just On The Beaches

What will this do for Oriental Bay property prices? Will the residents be able to cope?

Shock news today that nudists are welcome on Wellington beaches too, including Oriental Bay. But things get better - there is no bylaw stopping people going nude anywhere in the city!

This summer could become a real eye-opener with nudists legally allowed to strut their stuff on Wellington beaches, including the golden sands of Oriental Bay.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council had "quietly got rid of" an old bylaw that required beach-goers over the age of eight to wear swimming togs or clothes.
"There is a bit of topless sunbathing on Oriental Bay Beach but generally people tend to keep their swimming kit on when on busy beaches.
"So the old bylaw was of no use and was not enforced by council staff. We don't have apparel enforcement officers."
The move means the council has no bylaws on its books that expressly prohibit nudity - not just on beaches but anywhere in the city.

No It Isn't : Batten Down The Hatches

The House of Representatives appears to have voted against the bail out. Given the turmoil in European markets overnight this can't be good for our market opening today. More later on today.

Sep 29, 2008

The Bailout Is Sealed

This from the Wall Street Jounal

The White House and congressional leaders agreed on a deal to authorize the biggest banking rescue in U.S. history.

The $700 billion program would effectively nationalize an array of mortgages and securities backed by them -- instruments whose deteriorating value has clogged the nation's financial system.

Lawmakers finished writing the bill late Sunday, after which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declared it "frozen," meaning no changes would be made. The bill leaves many mechanics of the operation up to the Treasury. Among these are the crucial issues of how the U.S. government would decide which assets it will buy and how it would decide what to pay for them. The legislation leaves the Treasury 45 days to issue guidelines on those procedures. The bill awaits votes in Congress starting on Monday.
From big Wall Street houses to small community banks, executives have expressed an interest in signing up for the bailout. But some have said the extent of their involvement will depend on critical details.

The political fallout from the bailout could be substantial, given the enormous expenditure of taxpayer money. Some polls show wide opposition. But the legislation includes provisions designed to guard against ultimate losses for the government. And it calls on the Treasury, as an owner of mortgage securities, to "encourage the servicers of the underlying mortgages" to minimize foreclosures.

The Winston Leaks: Vast Conspiracy Or Inside Job

Everyone should be reading Autocar and Pat Booth in particular, as Pat explains much about the leaks of information that have helped expose the truth about our former Minister of Foreign Affairs. Thank you Keeping Stock for pointing this out.

Winston Peters might not need to look very far for the whistle-blower who caused him so much strife.
He has thrashed about whipping up emotional storms over what he describes as intrigues to destroy him and his party.
But evidence suggests an inside job from his own New Zealand First by someone who drew from secret party files.
That seems a logical source of a series of highly significant letters sent to media investigators over several months. Some letters were long and verbose but they were also full of specific, damaging detail and precise figures.
One of the most important was backed by a copy of a Vela Brothers’ donation cheque. Specially written for $9995, it could and did slip past the legal obligation to declare donations of $10,000 or more. As did others from the same source.
That evidence of a specially crafted and secret donation process looked out at Winston Peters, his critics and supporters, from the front page of Wellington’s Dominion Post as long ago as July 22.
That cheque rebutted Winston Peters’ denials that Vela corporate money had changed hands – and in this sleight-of-hand, drip-feed fashion.
The cheque and other details in those anonymous letters were part of a two-year investigation by the paper’s Phil Kitchen, New Zealand’s most determined and skilled investigator of his generation. Ask Louise Nicholas and various former policemen about him if you have any doubts.

Well Done Cambo

Third place in the British Masters is a great result. Well done Michael Campbell. A very welcome return to form continues!

There May Yet Be A Bail Out

All reports are suggesting that negotiations in Washington have made progress and that we might have a final agreement in the terms of the bail out of the US financial system by the US taxpayer. This might just save our sharemarket this morning...

We Now Know What Tommy Gear Does

He is Winston's enforcer. Tim Donoghue has a little gem of an article on page 2 of the Dominion Post today.

Donoghue reports that "NZ First's mysterious Tauranga staff member [paid for by Parliamentary Services] Tommy Gear was used to lean on the Maori Party to get it to change its parliamentary voting stance against Winston Peters.

The DomPost also reports that "Mr Peters said yesterday he was not going to waste his time commenting on "mindless speculation" about a possible meeting. He denied any knowledge of this meeting [a bit like donations we guess] and said that he had no intention of talking to Mr Gear about it.

Peter Brown To Go Home?

The NZ Herald has an article on a debate between candidates on immigration held in Auckland over the weekend. One of The Hive's correspondents was at this meeting. The Hive was there to both monitor what NZ First had to say and also assess the performance of Labour candidate Dr Rajen Prasad (The Hive is now hugely supportive of the decision by Labour to include Prasad in its team and encourages his rapid promotion).

But Peter Brown delivered the goods we were expecting. We quote from the NZ Herald

New Zealand First says it will not welcome immigrants if they come from societies with a "class system" or where women are treated as subservient to men.
Deputy leader Peter Brown, an immigrant from England, told a crowd of mainly refugees and immigrants at a political debate in Mt Albert yesterday that New Zealand was an "egalitarian society" and those who could not integrate were not welcome.
In this country "Jack is as good as his master, and Jack's wife is as good as Jack", he said and suggested that under New Zealand First's immigration policy, those who could not accept this would not be wanted.
Mr Brown was speaking to a crowd who packed the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall yesterday to listen to eight political parties debate immigration and say how their party would support migrants and refugees.
Many in the crowd were seen shaking their heads with disapproval at Mr Brown's suggestions, with some - such as refugee Mohd Faisel Daud - leaving the hall.
Mr Daud said: "I still don't know who I will vote for, but after listening to Mr Brown, at least I know who I will not be voting for."

We asume that Mr Brown will be heading back to the UK pretty soon after the election given that, coming from a society with a "class system" he is not welcome by his own party.

Sep 28, 2008

TV3 Poll

The TV3 poll is Labour's favorite poll. Labour usually does best in this poll for reasons that we don't fully comprehend. So tonight's poll (which we missed because we were down at the Stadium supporting Phoenix achieve its first win of the season) will be seen as worse news than those other polls which one is not allowed to believe in - a bit like fairies down the end of the garden, or that New Zealand has no corruption.

62 seats to National and 3 to ACT. But why did Garner put the Maori and United in behind Labour in opposition? Maybe to make things seem more exciting.

But we do agree with Duncan, Labour does seem to be leaving its run a bit too late.

Foreign Warship In Wellington Harbour

Maybe the media is all over this, but if it is, we have missed the reporting. A frigate belonging to a foreign power snuck into Wellington Harbour last night and is currently hiding behind Somes Island.
If we are not mistaken this is it, the Argentine Naval Training Ship Fragata Libertad.

Cambo Leads British Masters

We missed this in the media but have been busy today. But we are pleased to see that Michael Campbell's return continues and that he is currently in a share of the lead in the British Masters. It is going to be a big and tiring day for Campbell. He needs to finish off four holes of Round 3 and and then play the final round. We wish him all the best.

Update - Cambo retained the lead and after round three - now -10. He and Westwood share the lead.

Planning To Control The Blogosphere

Fairfacts Media of No Minister has an interesting post on attempts offshore to exercise political control of the blogosphere and what this might mean for New Zealand. There is a thoughtful look at the attempt to hoax Whale Oil (isn't it interesting that a number of left wing blog and media commentators would have you believe that Whale Oil was hoaxed, and seem quite definitive about knowing where the hoax may have come from. Fortunately Whale Oil smelled a rat straight away and sought advice from a range of bloggers. Our only complaint about Whale Oil's handling of this is that he did not got straight to the Police. Given that the Police were being maligned as much as the subject, then they would have had a strong incentive to investigate with vigour. Whale Oil says he is still investigating. We still believe it should be put in the hands of the Police.).

Sean Plunket

Sean Plunket bares his soul on pages 32 and 33 of the Herald on Sunday. It is well worth a read.

We won't go into his reasons for leaving Morning Report, but we do think that this will be a great loss for New Zealand and the show.

Two things jumped out at us:

We share a common favorite fable - The Emperor's New Clothes

And this.

"It is not the first time he's left a job on a matter of principle. In 1995 he quit the Holmes show over stories he was doing on New Zealand First allegedly using parliamentary staffing money to run the party."

It is a great shame that Plunket was not able to take that investigation to a conclusion. We might have been spared some of the recent shame and distasteful taint in our politics - sorry Poneke, it is true - a bit like The Emeror's New Clothes, someone has to shout out the truth.

Blogs And The Media

We missed this during the week but heard about it on Media Watch this morning so tracked it down. Denis Welch talks to Kathryn Ryan about the role that blogs are having in current New Zealand politics. Note Welch correctly classifies The Hive.

Matt McCarten A Must Read This Morning

In New Zealand politics there are a few givens. Winston Peters being owned by interests in the fishing and racing industries is one. Green Co-Leader being the agent introduced by Laila Harre and Matt McCarten to control the Green Party's economic policy agenda is another.

Today McCarten shows his true colours.

There is unfortunately a factual error Matt. Why did National under Ruth Richardson have to bail out the BNZ? Because it inhereited a rather large problem left oveer from the previouss administration. Who was Deputy Prime Minister in that administration???? Oh, yes, Helen Clark.

Rod Oram Rips Into Fonterra

Some quotes from Canon Oram this morning. We can't see this will be going down well with a dairy sector already in a bad mood this morning because of a time change designed to meet the needs of the townies.

FONTERRA'S NAIVETE in China came through loud and clear at its press conference this week. Responsibility for that, and the tragedy it triggered, comes back to the co-op's management and board. And to its shareholders for the corporate culture they promote.

It was clear from their comments Fonterra had next-to-no idea of what was going on in Sanlu, the large Chinese dairy company in which it has a 43% stake. Its links to its $200m investment ran only to three directors on the board and a handful of technicians. Only one spoke Mandarin.

Fonterra's inadequate management systems have left a widening trail of human and financial disaster. With its year-end results this week Fonterra wrote off $139 million of its investment in Sanlu, reflecting the cost of the product recall and the demise of the Sanlu brand.

All this is nothing less than a serious failure of Fonterra's management and governance. The root causes go back to its history and culture. Farmers had always kept their co-ops and the Dairy Board on a very short rope, with adverse consequences for finance and governance.

With such cost-conscious shareholders, the businesses always had to invest piecemeal. This resulted in patchwork of less than-ideal international holdings that Fonterra, created in 2001 by the mega-merger of the co-ops and the Dairy Board, is still trying to meld into a coherent global entity.

Shareholders' penny-pinching only makes management's job harder. It's obvious, for example, Fonterra should have devoted much more management resource to Sanlu to enable deep and functional relatuionahsips to develop.

Governance is the dairy industry's other great weakness. Farmers have always believed in excessive control of their co-ops. This resulted in bloody, highly personalised and dysfunctional politics in the old days of multiple co-ops and the Dairy Board.

Since the creation of Fonterra, the culture has got a little better. Farmers have at least accepted a few non-farmer directors who bring skills they lack. But the board is still far too short of people with deep international experience.

Moreover, the board fails at least three other good governance tests: van der Heyden and some of the other farmer-directors are far more intimately involved in the running of the business than they should be, blurring the division of labour between board and management; Ferrier is not on the board even though a chief executive should be; and risk assessment is woeful, judging by China.

Here endeth the Lesson

The Pope Speaks

Margaret that is. The star of Michael Bassett's book on the Lange years now has a column in the Sunday Star Times. Interesting.

Labour Wounded Most As Trust Trampled

A11 of the SST is noteworthy. The Editorial is actually critical of Labour. OK, they try their best to smear John Key's good name, but the bottom line is, that in an election that Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and David Cunliffe say is about trust, Labour has come of worst on the trust issue thanks to the way Winston Peters has been handled. The paper also comes very close to saying that Labour should be cutting the strings completely with its Axis partner because a future Labour First Government would have real legitimacy questions asked of it. This in turn will lead to unpopularity.

Sep 27, 2008

The San Lu Saga

Today's New York Times has a long article on the San Lu scandal in China. The whole article is worth reading as it is a good summary of the facts as we know them. Most importantly it portrays the New Zealand Government in a positive light

The problem was finally exposed in September when the New Zealand government, after discussions with Fonterra executives, contacted authorities in Beijing. Beijing officials say they knew nothing about the scandal until September, though a Fonterra company spokesman said the company believed the central government knew in August.
Chinese leaders have since responded forcefully, even as they have distanced themselves from responsibility for the scandal.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi To Stand Down - Good

The pressure from Anwar Ibrahim is too great. Malaysia's Prime Minister sees the writing on the wall and has announced that he is standing down so that his party, the party that has misused the ISA to lock up an anti-Government blogger, can fight Anwar with new leadership in place.

The Hive continues to demand the immediate release of Raja Petra Kamarudin and will continue supporting Anwar until Raja Petra Kamarudin is released. We note that our Malaysian readership is growing steadily. 70 Malaysians from 7 cities visited the Hive yesterday.

This from Bloomberg

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may quit in March, four years before his term expires, as an emboldened opposition threatens his ruling party's 51 years of uninterrupted power.
``There were two or three members who felt the transition should be done early,'' he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today after an emergency party meeting postponed a December leadership election by three months. Abdullah, who will make a decision next month, said the delay will expedite the transfer of power to his deputy
Najib Razak.
Abdullah has previously resisted calls from ruling party lawmakers for fresh leadership to fight opposition leader
Anwar Ibrahim, who claims to have wooed enough support in parliament to seize power himself. Anwar has attacked the government's handling of the economy and increases in gasoline prices, which pushed inflation to 26-year highs in July and August.
Today's announcement ``doesn't really solve the overall political scenario'' of a ruling party ``that needs to be rejuvenated,'' said
Mushtaq Ibrahim, who manages about $1.4 billion as chief investment officer at Amanah SSCM Asset Management Bhd in Kuala Lumpur.
Abdullah, who earlier planned to hand power to Najib, 55, in June 2010, said he still has work he wants to do, including pledges to reform the judiciary. Abdullah, 68, said today he will decide whether to compete for the presidency of the ruling
United Malays National Organisation by Oct. 9.
Anwar's Opposition Gains
Political uncertainty has risen since a three-party opposition alliance won control of an unprecedented five of Malaysia's 13 states in March. Anwar fell 30 seats short of ending majority control of the 222-member parliament by Abdullah's UMNO-led coalition.
``They have lost the mandate of the people,'' Anwar, 61, told reporters in Hong Kong today after addressing an investor conference.
``The issue is not Abdullah or his deputy,'' the opposition leader said, repeating a call for the government to negotiate on a transfer of power to the opposition.
Abdullah and Najib have rejected Anwar's claims to have secured majority backing in parliament, and have called the opposition's campaign for power, including a pledge to scrap Malaysia's preferential policies for the ethnic Malay majority, a threat to the multiethnic country's economy and security.

New Zealand Least Corrupt Country In The World

Poneke has a thoughtful post today on the 2008 Transparency International Global corruption survey.

Now Poneke has a bit of a rant about bloggers and members of the mainstream media who would suggest that we are not totally without corruption. We don't agree fully with his case.

The reason we are upset with politics at present is that, for the first time in our lifetime here in New Zealand, we have blatant corruption at play. In part it is due to one person, but also it is a consequence of our MMP electoral system, which has allowed Pork Barrel politics to really come into play here.

We want New Zealand to remain the least corrupt place on earth. And given political inaction - again a consequence of MMP - it has fallen to bloggers and the media to fight the fight. ACT with its two members of Parliament has been staunch all along, and it has been great to see National, Green, United and Maori parties all line up against the offender also. If Labour would join the others we would be happy and the issue could be removed from the political agenda.

Fortunately we don't need to worry for much longer, the public will vote for a clean up on 8 November and then the enquiries can really start - scampi, hoki, racing, organised crime - all can be investigated without political interference, and hopefully we will be an even better role model for the world than we are right now.

However, we do need to learn from this and put processes in place to stop this issue coming to the fore in future. One solution would be to change the electoral system. Another would be to create a powerful and totally independent anti-corruption commission.

While, with one group aside, we are largely free of corruption at central government level, we are less confident about local government. An ICAC could usefully focus attention in that direction.

Gross US Internal Debt To GDP

We still can't find the chart used by Gaynor in this morning's Herald piece but we have found this in one of his earlier articles - thanks to a useful collection of Gaynor's articles on the Milford Asset Management website. This chart is just as frightening. The current bailout is all about avoiding the steep fall that occurred in 1931. We are the same type of tipping point. But the US administration would like to engineer a less steep descent, but descend we must......

Gaynor On The Bailout

Thanks to No Minister we have just read this very useful analysis the current turmoil in international capital markets by Bryan Gaynor. He gave a similar analysis to Bell Gully clients in Auckland and Wellington earlier in the week.

The US$700 billion bailout is an attempt to save the financial system from imploding, albeit it is now widely recognised that the structure, with the massive amount of toxic securitised debt and derivatives at the top, is structurally unsound.
There was clear evidence of these venomous products in New Zealand this week when Credit Sails, which is a securitised debt instrument sold to the public by Forsyth Barr, announced that it would not pay its quarterly dividend and Standard & Poor's downgraded its rating. Credit Sails' net asset value is only 41c for every $1 subscribed.
The American public is opposed to the bailout because it believes that those responsible for the unsound structure have the most to gain.
A similar situation occurred in New Zealand in the early 1990s when the Bank of New Zealand nearly went under. There was strong public opposition to the Government's purchase of the bank's bad loans because Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite, who were held responsible for the problems, were perceived to be the main beneficiaries of the Crown's intervention.
But the correct decision was made, the bank was saved and the Government got all of its money back and more.
The only downside to the BNZ bailout was that Fay and Richwhite lived to fight another day and later applied their particular brand of destructive capitalism at Tranz Rail.
The US Government bailout will not solve the finance sector's fundamental problems, namely the excessive use of poor quality securitised debt and high risk derivatives to create credit, but it will give the industry more time to resolve its problems.

Unfortunately we cannot find a copy on line of the graph that accompanies Gaynor's article. That might be just as well. It is frightening.

A kind reader has found a different version of the same graph. many thanks Anon.

Will There Be A Bail Out?

Negotiations are continuing over the proposed financial market bail out in the US.

This IHT report summarises the current state of play.

We are frankly of two minds on this issue. On one hand we don't want the debt inflated bubble to burst and see a huge shock of 1931 style proportions. So we like the Administration's idea of a gradual or managed de-leveraging. But on the other hand de-leveraging is going to have to happen and times are going to be tough for some years - either way. What will the effects of this large infusion of funds by the US Government be? Who is paying? Ultimately the US taxpayer. What will the impact be on demand and on inflation? This is a really complicated issue and there are no easy answers. It is no wonder that this negotiation is a difficult one.

If there is no resolution by the end of the weekend, expect more fireworks on the stock market Monday, where New Zealand will be thee first maarket in the world to open.

Clark - Goff Tensions Growing?

There was much talk this week about why Helen Clark chose to steal Goff's thunder over the major breakthrough in relations with the US. Clark was claiming triumph before Goff had even arrived in New York. 12 hours after her announcements it was still possible that the deal might fall over. It was not until 7am on Tuesday that the US joining the P4 negotiation was actually announced in New York. Yet it was confirmed by the PM on Monday afternoon NZ time.

What was going on? Was it designed to distract away for the guilty finding by the Privileges Committee? Was it simply a desire by the PM to be announcing some good news? Or was it a sign of growing tension over the Labour leadership.

This did not get much airtime in the media but Trans Tasman picked it up:

When you are PM you get to announce the good bits. So Helen Clark broke the news the US wanted to start free market negotiations to join NZ, Brunei, Chile and Singapore while Trade Minister Phil Goff was still in the air on his way to New York ……Goff, however, is made of sterner stuff and took several hats in his luggage. He was actually Acting Acting Minister since Clark is really the Acting Minister while Winston Peters awaits the referee’s decision from the penalty box. Wearing his Disarmament hat, Goff did some work on UN business and also joined Commonwealth Ministers scrutinising Fiji, whose military PM Voreqe Bainimarama was circulating around the UN trying to persuade anyone who would listen he and his soldiers were really acting only in Fiji’s greater good……

Is Noelle McCarthy Really Of The Left?

Some members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy believe that Noelle McCarthy is not to be trusted as she is far too left wing.

We have never met Noelle McCarthy beyond one or two chats over the airwaves. The only things we really know about her are that she like shoes (a lot!), and men really like her radio shows (women do not). She also managed to get Don Brash to confess to meeting with the Exclusive Brethren, thus causing National to lose the last election. This is why she is probably regarded to be a communist by some on the right.

According to her column today in the NZ Herald she is currently unable to vote and she is sick of the political campaign before it has even begun. But that doesn't stop her sticking the knife in:

I am sick of politics. New Zealand politics. So utterly totally sick of it. Winston should straighten up and fly right, and stop drawing fatuous comparisons between the privileges committee and a well-reviled kleptocracy. He won't.
Helen should cut him loose and wear it. But she won't.

We agree with both these sentiments. Noelle then gets even meaner. She starts extolling the virtues of Green co-leader Russell Norman.

There are little lights in the gloom of course. Mere swamp gas, probably, but Russel Norman is looking good. Call me old fashioned, but there's something satisfying about a politician who actually answers a question.
Doesn't prevaricate, doesn't bluster, and doesn't fall back on the tried and tested strategy of blaming the other crowd when things get sticky.
Last Sunday I was part of the panel who got to interrogate Norman on Bill Ralston's Campaign 08 show on Prime.
Viewers would have seen a man who didn't have all the answers, or none that we wanted at least, but who tried, nevertheless, to be as frank and honest and fluent as possible in his responses. He couldn't have known, of course, that I'd come away unfulfilled.
My current disenfranchisement precludes any sort of meaningful engagement with an elected representative. I was always going to be disappointed, but that's my problem, not Russel's.
As disappointments go, he was one of the more effervescent. There was a moment when I actually admired him, I swear. It helps that he's tall and rangy and has a way with a pinstripe, of course.
Until he came into the boardroom afterwards and started talking the most awful nonsense about fairy terns in Whangarei that is.

Why is this cruel? Because Noelle is sufficiently well plugged in to know that all the Labour polling is showing that Russel Norman is a big turn off. He is a disaster as far as the electorate is concerned. Everytime he appears on air or TV support for the Greens falls. Labour is so worried about this that they have communicated their data to Jeanette Fitzsimons.

In her own subtle way we think Noelle is shaping up to be OK.

Don't Scoff At Goff

Like Fran O'Sullivan we have been somewhat amused at some of the negativism that has been reprinted in the New Zealand media about the great achievement by Phil Goff earlier in the week in getting the US to formally announce that it was negotiating to join the Trans Pacific Economic Triumph. A whole lot of people who don't know that much about the subject tried to pour cold water on the announcement. But already it is proving successful. Australia, Peru and Vietnam are lining up for membership also. P4 is about to become P8, and trade liberalisation is back at the heart of the APEC agenda.

Also like Fran O'Sullivan we think that this triumph coming on the back of the China FTA, the ASEAN FTA and the leadership he has shown on the Fonterra/San Lu problems Goff has enhanced the case for his becoming the new leader of the Labour Party. Fran is less cutting that we would be, but we would argue that events over the same period that Goff has been delivering good outcome after good outcome Helen Clark and Michael Cullen have been inflicting disaster after disaster. We believe they both must go as soon as possible after the election. And shame on other Labour leadership contenders such a David Cunliffe for being prepared to toe the Clark/Cullen line so closely.

In today's NZ Herald Fran says the following:

While Helen Clark and Michael Cullen are dealing with fallout from the Peters donations affair, it is Goff who is chalking up the victories on their behalf on the foreign affairs front.
Phil Goff's successful forays on the international trade front position him as a potential Labour leader when Helen Clark ultimately steps down.

On San Lu

But once Goff was briefed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on September 2, he ordered officials to get more intelligence together so the Prime Minister and relevant Cabinet colleagues could decide the next steps.

On Peters

Goff's nose was out of joint when Clark gave his prized foreign affairs portfolio to Peters to buy New Zealand First's support after the 2005 election.
His frustration famously erupted at the subsequent Apec meeting in Busan where he told me that having Peters in Cabinet would be like having your mother-in law living in your house rather than next door - "it's much easier sometimes when she's next door as you've each got your own space" - adding he would be keeping a "close eye" on his former portfolio.

Goff pulled his head in after Peters went ballistic over the sniping and concentrated (at least publicly) on his own pivotal trade portfolio while Peters' antagonistic relationships with journalists got in the way of him publicly chalking up policy successes.
This must have rankled with Goff who has all along recognised the value of professional media relations to amplifying New Zealand's successes in the foreign relations arena. On this score, Peters was a disaster.

Sep 26, 2008

Why Would Winston Peters Need Five Days In Rome?

At close to $6,000 a day what did he do? And why was he supposedly attending an FAO meeting? This is nothing to do with his portfolio.

Who else did Winston meet in Rome????????????????????????????????????

DHB Faces Huge Cost Increase

This just in from the Greenhouse Policy Coalition


Energy Minister David Parker announced a $1.595 million loan to the Otago District Health Board for energy efficiency improvements on 24 September which is predicted to save them $300,000 per year on energy bills, but according to analysis done for the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, the emissions trading legislation will result in a conservative cost increase for the DHB of $1,299,000 for energy.

Catherine Beard, executive director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition says while it is excellent that the DHB is investing in energy efficiency, the cost savings will be more than wiped out by the higher prices coming the way of all energy users as a result of the emissions trading legislation.

“According to publicly available information the Otago District Health Board has a 30 MW coal fired boiler which uses around 18kt of coal p/a. Assuming efficiencies achieved as a result of the new investment in energy efficiency reduce that consumption to 16,810kt of coal per annum. At today’s carbon price of $40/tonne of carbon you are looking at needing to find an additional $1.3 million per annum.”

Catherine Beard says the increased costs are conservative as they don’t include the increase in electricity costs the DHB will face as a result of the carbon charges.

Catherine Beard said the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, which represents industrials in the energy intensive sector, believes that the emissions trading legislation is high risk for the economy because there are no limits to how high the carbon price can go.

“In the absence of a deep and liquid global carbon market, carbon prices are currently being determined by political decisions in Europe, rather than reflecting least cost emissions abatement.”

“There are many problems with the legislation that will need to be fixed if we don’t want to cause unnecessary economic pain. One such problem is the lack of any mechanism to ensure a low and stable price. Australia is contemplating achieving this via a price cap.”


The Baubles Are Expensive

What was the cost of the official bit of Winston's travel in April May last year, the trip that included the visit to Vegas?


Can you believe it?

Come on Grey Power, do you support this?

New Questions On Winston

8314 (2008). Rodney Hide to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
Following her reply to Question for Written Answer 08058 (2008), did any officials or employees of Parliamentary Services accompany the Minister on the trip including the trip to Las Vegas; if they did, what was the cost?

8313 (2008). Rodney Hide to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
Following her reply to Question for Written Answer 08058 (2008), did the New Zealand Embassy In Washington ask the US Government for any facilitation for Winston Peters during this travel?

8312 (2008). Rodney Hide to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
Following her reply to Question for Written Answer 08058 (2008), what was the original itinerary and the full programme for the travel prepared by Ministerial offices?

8311 (2008). Rodney Hide to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
Following her reply to Question for Written Answer 08058 (2008), who wrote up the itinerary supplied and on what date?

8310 (2008). Rodney Hide to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
Further to her reply to Question for Written Answer 08059 (2008), who did pay for these flights; were they booked by the Parliamentary Travel Office; if they were not booked by the Parliamentary Travel Office who did book them?

8309 (2008). Rodney Hide to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
Further to her reply to Question for Written Answer 08058 (2008), did the New Zealand Consul General in Los Angeles accompany Winston Peters while in Las Vegas or did the Consul General provide any facilitation for Winston Peters as he transited through Los Angeles?

Poneke On The Bus Dispute

Poneke has a very interesting post up today based on feedback he has received from a Go Wellington driver. The comments on Union Boss Nick Kelly are most revealing

The general public also need to get all their facts straight as the media and the union hasn’t been putting the correct facts out there. I voted in favour of the deal and think the rest of the driving staff are idiots, especially since they look up to Nick Kelly.
Nick Kelly has never done anything for them. He doesn’t even try to get to know them. He comes in for his break at 11am and you never see him until 3pm when he goes out again. Never stops to talk to anyone. He’s only in it for his own personal gain. I for one will be resigning from the Tramways Union. Phil Griffiths
[the former union secretary, who died in June] would have never let it all pan out the way it ended up panning out at such an early stage.

Remember that the Standard and Frogblog both supported the Tramways Union action.

McCain And Obama Neck And Neck

Well done John McCain. Great tactics. And the polls now show you tied with Senator Obama.

Sharples: Clark Near The End Of Her Time

We will quote from respected Maori Party leader Pita Sharples:

Party co-leader Pita Sharples said he was no longer sure if he trusted Prime Minister Helen Clark, and said she was nearing the end of her time.
"She has been a great leader; she has done great things for the country," Dr Sharples said in an interview recorded yesterday for TVNZ 7. "But maybe she is nearing the end of her time."
Recent events in Parliament showed Miss Clark was clinging to power, he said.

"She is appearing quite desperate ... she is behaving like someone who is really, really desperate to get back into Parliament at any cost."

As the Dominion Post's Dan Eaton notes

Dr Sharples' outburst was his second attack on Labour in as many days. On Wednesday, he inflamed the row over Parliament's censure of NZ First leader Winston Peters by accusing Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia of trying to bully the Maori Party into supporting Mr Peters.
The Maori Party is regarded as a possible kingmaker in the government-building negotiations that are expected to follow the election, with neither Labour nor National likely to gain enough votes to be able to govern alone.

Further Poll Setback For Larger Axis Partner

55% of Aucklanders intend voting National. Dear, dear, dear. And nationwide support for National has risen to 51.4% according to the NZ Herald DigiPoll. Labour, the largest party in the Labour First Axis has seen support drop to 35.7%. Even more serious for the Axis is that none of its possible support parties are over 5%. Winston First New Zealand Last is polling at 2.8% and the Greens likewise failed to make it over 5% and are on 4.9%.

But then believing polls is like believing in fairies. But we should all believe Winston shouldn't we?

Sep 25, 2008

New Record

3,655 unique visits today. We thought that Winston's many lies was good for readership! But Nick Kelly Communist Union Boss is pretty good also. If you have not viewed the video we linked to earlier today you should. This certainly circulated around town and surprise, surprise by 5pm the two parties were back at the table, with the focus on a solution for Wellington workers, as opposed to world revolution. We are now more hopeful of an outcome!

Shame on the Labour Party and Green Party for supporting this dangerous twat! If you have not watched the video you should (down the bottom of the page).

Trans Tasman On David Benson-Pope

Dunedin South Labour MP David Benson-Pope is expected to soon announce he will be standing as an independent candidate this election. Benson-Pope was passed over by Labour’s candidate selection team. This followed his departure from Labour Ministerial ranks after claims of inappropriate behaviour in his previous career as a teacher

Trans Tasman On Peters

Just a brief quote

Peters is furious. He’s lashing out at National and those he now sees as its allies. Even the Maori Party has been accused of treachery and betrayal. Peters says it told Maori media it would support him and then voted against him. He sees it as evidence the Maori Party is aligning itself to work with National post-election.

Trans Tasman On Clark's Leadership Style

Today's Trans Tasman is a ripper. You should be subscribing. We will highlight three stories. The first is on the PM's leadership style

Helen Clark is firmly in the active-negative mould. Such types tend to run highly activist Govts but they don’t do uplift. They tend to “pour energy into the political system, but it is an energy distorted from within.” They tend to possess an embattled attitude and a tendency to see any disagreement as disloyalty or worse. These types don’t just have opponents, they have enemies. And they tend to take a grim satisfaction in beating those enemies.

Such leaders tend to cling rigidly to a course of action even when it is clear it is hurting them: to admit wrong is to admit weakness. US presidents in this mould have been Nixon, Johnson, Hover and Wilson.

Her die-in-a-ditch stance over Winston Peters only makes sense when viewed as an activenegative leader in decline.

One last lesson about active-negative leaders – they tend to end badly – and they tend to leave their parties in a mess.

Nick Kelly - Union Boss

We have managed to track down that video we recall seeing last year when Nick Kelly was standing for Mayor. It is down the bottom of this page. It is well worth a viewing. Do you believe that this guy is really fighting for the best interests of the average bus driver or do you think he has a wider agenda? Remember, The Standard has endorsed the current strike being led by Nick Kelly.

The Greens are also supportive.

Raja Petra Kamarudin Still Inside

So here is our daily post in support of Anwar Ibrahim. The Far eastern Economic Review has done a good article on Malaysian politics and Anwar's role. You can read it here

Labour Supports Strike

The Communist instigated bus strike that is causing chaos in Wellington seems to be endorsed by the Labour Party. The official Labour Party Blog - The Standard has this blast from the past.

We thought that official Labour policy was to focus on raising productivity, not blackmail, to raise wages

Wellington bus drivers are striking this morning and good on them. I was happy to find my own way to work today. The company, GO Wellington, is claiming the drivers claim of 12% is too much in “these economic times”
But talk of percentages is nothing but a red herring when the basic truth is these drivers are paid less than $13 an hour for a skilled and stressful job. After tax that means about 20 hours of work a week just to rent an average room in Wellington and two hours just to buy a kilo block of cheese. An adult movie ticket? Another two hours. A tank of petrol for an average car? Another ten hours.
As we’ve
said again and again we have a problem with low wages in New Zealand and tax cuts are not going to help that. What is going to help that is raising wages and it’s good to see Wellington bus drivers doing what they can to make that happen because under the current market-driven labour-laws nobody else will.

How many drivers are actually on $13 an hour?

What do Annette King and Grant Robertson think about this?

The Next Riddle

Which towns in the US are best known for their mafia links?

SFO Head Gets Strong Backing

The NZ Herald today reports that widely respected Auckland QC Jim Farmer is backing the actions of the SFO chief.

Serious Fraud Office director Grant Liddell made a brave and correct decision to hand over evidence showing NZ First leader Winston Peters misled the privileges committee, says an Auckland Queen's Counsel.
Jim Farmer said criticism of Mr Liddell's judgment by Prime Minister Helen Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen, was wrong and unwarranted.
Mr Liddell's evidence was uncovered in the SFO investigation and showed that Mr Peters had a $40,000 debt paid for him by the Spencer Trust, contradicting his version that he paid it himself.
Dr Farmer said Mr Liddell had a simple choice: whether it was responsible to "sit on" relevant information, or to hand it over.
"He is in charge of his own office and should do what he thinks right.
"He has obviously taken a responsible decision. It is very defensible on its merits and it doesn't warrant attack from politicians, particularly personal attacks in the form of saying he has poor judgment."
The criticism of Mr Liddell's judgment was particularly directed at how he did not consult Crown Law before handing over the evidence.

Labour Heading for Disaster In Auckland Central

Whaleoil is reporting on yet another leak from Labour - this time its internal polling on Auckland Central.

Thursday Riddle

Which country (other than the US) is well known for its Mafia activities?

Scampi Back On Agenda

Interesting post from Roar Prawn on scampi this morning. Why would Winston say that? It is a bit like the reference to cheque cashing a few weeks back, and references to funds offshore......

Cullen Involved In Bullying

Sharples has just brought Michael Cullen into the growing scandal. On TV One Sharples has exposed that Deputy PM Cullen made "sinister comments".


AXIS Goes Into Crisis Mode

With attempts to smear John Key having failed the Labour First Axis Government has gone into crisi lockdown overnight following the news that a senior Minister and an NZ First staffer had tried to pervert the course of justice. Both Labour and NZ First are denying any wrong doing. A pity they have no credibility left with the media or the NZ public.

This from Audrey Young in the NZ Herald

Labour and New Zealand First last night denied attempting to pervert the course of justice over the privileges report on New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.
The serious accusation was made by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples - who also condemned Mr Peters' attacks on the Maori Party.
The accusations follow Tuesday's majority vote of censure by Parliament against Mr Peters for knowingly filing a false return of pecuniary interests, notably a $100,000 donation for his legal expenses from Monaco-based billionaire Owen Glenn.
The Maori Party held the balance of power on the vote in the House and it supported the censure motion.

If it had changed its vote and joined Labour and New Zealand First, it could have blocked it.
Dr Sharples said a minister telephoned him twice - on Sunday and on Monday - to try to persuade the Maori Party to oppose the censure motion.
He also said a New Zealand First staff member had sought to influence MP Te Ururoa Flavell - who was on the privileges committee - during a meeting.

Interesting Post From Hong Kong

Can things get any worse for the NZ First team? Read this post from Cactus Kate in Hong Kong....

Sep 24, 2008

Winston On Close-Up

Winston on Close-Up tonight was a very sad sight. We guess if we were facing 10 years in the clanger (how will the inmates react to Winston? What have he and Ron Mark been saying about gangs in recent years???) we might be sounding similarly desperate. Incoherent and pathetic. Very sad. Sainsbury missed a great opportunity when Winston asked him to name one policy position that had changed because of big business donations - scampi enquiry? ETS subsidy for fisheries? horse racing industry subsidy?????? And we have not even started on hoki....

Why We Don't Like Communists

They try and collectivise, then they use the collectivisation to screw us.

This is just what is happening right now on the buses.

Those out of Wellington may not know that we are currently being held ransom by the Tramways Union. Buses stopped working today on the morning commute. Even school children were left stranded by these arseholes. And guess who heads this union? This from Poneke

Militant Workers Party activist Nick Kelly has become the new president of the Wellington Tramways Union, the union representing Go Wellington bus drivers.
Nick joined Go Wellington as a bus driver last year. His little-publicised ascension to the union leadership this month is very likely associated with the escalation in the pay dispute between Go Wellington and its drivers, which saw drivers take industrial action in today’s morning peak hour and the company responding by announcing it would lock out the drivers from 5.30am tomorrow.
Nick is an idealistic young man who has been associated with radical causes for years. In 2001 he was sacked as Labour MP Paul Swain’s electorate chair for protesting against a free trade deal.
“I joined Labour when I was 14 years old, naively believing it to be a left-wing party,”
he wrote in an article published on Scoop the following year.
In 2006 he was president of the Victoria University Students Association. When he was defeated in his bid for re-election, he accused the Labour government of mounting a conspiracy against him. When he stood for the Wellington mayoralty last year, he said the Workers Party goal was “to help build the socialist left and fight to end the capitalist system.”

There was some good video up on this little prick Kelly from the last Mayoralty race unfortunately it seems to have been taken down. it was frightening stuff, except for those who thought he was joking....

Monthly Readership Passes 40,000

For the first time our monthly (non-calendar) readership has passed 40,000. Between 24 August and 23 September The Hive had 40,116 unique visitors.

Wednesday Riddle

Remember the $1 billion in funding, in part to subsidise home insulation, negotiated by the Green Party as part of the agreement to vote for the ETS?

Guess who owns shares in the company that makes this product????

This really stinks. Of course it would be too much to hope for One News to pick this up.

Hat tip: Labour Party Research Unit

Goff Continues To Deliver The Goods

Phil Goff does it again. P5 has just become P6

This just in from Simon Crean

23 September 2008


Following discussions I have held over recent months, I am pleased to announce that Australia will actively consider participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative.

The original Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has been in place since 2006. After initially joining negotiations to add investment and financial services to the Agreement, the United States has announced that it will now negotiate to join the full Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which includes New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile. Other countries are also considering possible participation.

“FTAs in our region that are genuinely comprehensive covering goods, services and investment will contribute to closer economic and trade cooperation and help to sustain regional economic growth and prosperity,” Mr Crean said.

“It is therefore very much in Australia’s interests to consider participation in this initiative as it will open up new opportunities for Australian exporters, business and our broader community.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative has the potential to make a positive contribution to continued economic liberalisation and integration in the Asia-Pacific Region.

“We share the goal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership members and the United States of working to achieve a high-standard, comprehensive free trade agreement that brings together countries from the Asia-Pacific region for their mutual benefit and economic prosperity.”

The Review of Export Policies and Programs, produced by Mr David Mortimer AO and released on 22 September, recommends that Australia participates in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement as a basis for negotiating an Asia-Pacific regional trade agreement.

“The Government will give detailed consideration to the question of Australia’s participation in an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation and will soon begin a public consultation process to seek the views of all interested parties,” Mr Crean said.

Following the release of a public discussion paper on the merits of Australian participation in negotiations on an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement submissions will soon be invited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Labour First Axis = Bullies

Read this. What an absolute disgrace. Who was this Minister? Who was this staffer?

Maori Party Disgusted at the Winston Peters’ AttackDr Pita R Sharples,
Co-leader 24 September 2008

Dr Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party today poo-poohed the personalised attack on the Maori Party by NZ First Leader, Winston Peters.
“I emphatically reject Mr Peters’ criticism of us “riding the waves of sentiment” by publicly supporting him, and then “selling him out,” said Dr Sharples.
“Our stand has never been about Winston Peters – it’s about accountability and integrity, and these principles are important for every MP, not matter who they are.
“All of us in the Maori Party have deliberately refrained from criticising Mr Peters in the public arena - in fact we have gone to considerable lengths to point out to his detractors his considerable achievements within his current ministerial portfolio, and over the years. In addition, both my Co-leader Tariana Turia and I have offered our personal best wishes to Winston to see him through this enquiry,” he said.
“More importantly, the Maori Party refrained from jumping to any conclusions about his behaviour until we had seen and heard all the evidence presented to the Privileges Committee.”
Dr Sharples said the party’s representative on the Privileges Committee, Te Ururoa Flavell, presented a very clear analysis of his findings on the matter to the House yesterday at 4.00pm. “The Maori Party concurred with his analysis and, therefore, despite any personal feelings of support for Winston, our caucus was well prepared to make the hard call on his behaviour on the basis of the evidence provided,” he said.
An attack on our credibility over this issue by Winston is totally out of order, and without any substance at all,” said Dr Sharples. “The Maori Party values its political integrity and has spent three years in the house - walking our talk.
Dr Sharples said he was not only taken aback by the personal attack from Winston Peters, but was disappointed at the personal lobbying by a NZ First staffer and a government Minister over the past weekend to influence the Maori Party’s decision prior to the vote.
“I personally had two separate phone calls from a senior Minister urging me to vote in favour of Winston, and suggesting that there would be unpleasant repercussions from Maori people if I didn’t. Both Tariana Turia and myself were disgusted with this kind of activity, aimed at perverting the course of justice and fair play.
“But one thing Winston Peters said is right, and that is - the people will decide on November 8. His populist antics versus our integrity,” said Dr Sharples.

The Hive has no doubt about the integrity of the Maori Party and its leaders. We are great fans. We also have no doubt that the Maori Party will do well this election. They deserve to.

Don't Expect An Answer To These Questions But They Are Good

From Ian Wishart

These questions have just been filed with Kathryn Street, the PM's chief press secretary, at 9.30am today:
Has the Prime Minister, or any other Minister in her government who owns investment property, ever excused themselves on the basis of a conflict of interest from discussing cabinet papers or legislation, or voting on legislation, that deal in any way with taxation issues on investment properties?
Has the Prime Minister, or any other Minister in her government who is any kind of beneficiary of a family trust, ever excused themselves on the basis of a conflict of interest from discussing cabinet papers or legislation, or voting on legislation, that deal in any way with taxation issues on family trusts?
Ian Wishart
TGIF Edition

Rumblings Inside The Labour Team

It is fitting that our 2,700th post is devoted to some encouraging news. It comes from Roar Prawn. It develops a theme we began earlier today (and confirms two of the names that we have been hearing also) - upset within the Labour part of the Axis about the formation of the Labour First Axis. We quote most of the post because it is very interesting:

No sooner had the prawns put up the the post on Shane Jones being shitty with the lack on integrity in Labours ranks than the email and and phones went crazy.....sBugger me - the finks in labour are ratting out their bosses in the hopes that National will employ them when they get in.. It's understandable in the land of mortages nappies and lattes.So add to a disgruntled Shane Jones,
A gobsmacked Lianne Dalziel ( remember she is a lawyer and it wont pass her test)
Phil Goff - the man most respected by National - because, well he is centre right. And he has integrity.
And Damien O'Connor. He got demoted for being a dork to a list place that means he's gonna have a tough job getting back in even if Labour wins... So he gets to watch peters who is a dishonest deceptive lying dork get all the protection Clark can give him.. So he is "spewing" according to my source ....

The Busted Blonde goes on to mention the "coup" word. We are not too sure, but the knives sure are being sharpened for the post election period.

In commenting on our earlier post BB also made this blog entry, which again is worthy of a quote:

Yes, Apparently my Maori sources say that Jones is really whakama ( embarrassed ) about his party and how it is fawning over Winston - Remember Mr Jones was a Maori Fisheries Commissioner for well over a decade and he knows where many of the bodies are buried and its not at sea.. He has been talking privately about how disgusted he is about having to support Winston . He had the chance to become a National MP -( Shane is very centre right) but chose Labour - Bloody shame really.

Herald On Peters - Don't Come To Work Monday 10 November

The NZ Herald editorial is also on Winston Peters

It is stating the obvious to say Winston Peters should have resigned as a minister some time ago. And that he should go now, after the censure delivered by Parliament's privileges committee. He will not, of course, and, the New Zealand First leader may even see a silver lining in that dark cloud. The Prime Minister has said she will not reinstate him as Foreign Minister, but that he will remain a minister without portfolio. As such, Mr Peters is free to hit the campaign trail with the salary and perks of a minister but none of the responsibilities. This farce will end with voters having to deliver the Don't Come Monday letter on November 8.
That aside, there is nothing in the privileges committee's admirable report to give comfort to Mr Peters or to the Labour Party, whose MPs on the committee joined those of NZ First in opposing the majority recommendation. There is no compelling argument to deflect from the significance of the censuring of Mr Peters for filing a false return to Parliament, in which he did not declare a $100,000 donation from expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn.

Malaysia's Future PM On The Arrest Of Leading Blogger

This from Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's next Prime Minister

September 12, 2008

ISA Detention of Raja Petra Kamaruddin

I condemn the arrest of social activist and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the draconian and infamous ISA. By sanctioning the use of the ISA to avert the process of transformational change in Malaysia, the UMNO-led BN government is confirming that it has lost touch with the will of the people and is no longer capable of leading within the framework of a just and democratic society.

Raja Petra should be released immediately and any allegations leveled against him by the Ministry of Home Affairs must be resolved swiftly by the due process of the law. Raja Petra should be given access to proper legal counsel, and his wife and children should not be denied an opportunity to visit him while he is held captive under this illegal detention.

Raja Petra’s detention and the show cause letters issued today to Sin Chew Daily, The Sun and Suara Keadilan, and its earlier banning of prominent political websites, demonstrate clearly the government’s willingness to subvert the freedom of speech at a time when expression of dissatisfaction with the government’s policies is at an all time high.

In the aftermath of the March 8th elections and the Permatang Pauh by-election the Malaysian people have demonstrated their courage and commitment to building a mature democratic society. The dastardly act of detention without trial will do nothing to abate the current government’s declining credibility, and in fact will likely hasten its eventual collapse.

Keadilan reiterates its vehement opposition to the practice of arbitrary detention without trial. We have consistently called for the immediate release of all ISA detainees, as such practices have no place in a democratic society. The ISA is used to quash dissent and smother those who in exercising their right to free speech voice opinions contrary to the preferred views of the ruling clique.

Invoking the ISA just days before September 16th is clearly an attempt to engineer an atmosphere of fear and instability that would justify the government’s heavy-handed tactics against those aligned with the political opposition.

Opposition Chief

David Farrar Look Alike Jailed For Two Years

This is an absolute outrage.

Raja Petra Kamarudin, a cross between David Farrar (looks) and Whaleoil (bite to his prose) has been jailed for two years by the Malaysian authorites using the draconian internal security laws, laws that were a hangover from the British rule and the Malayan Communist Insurgency. Note that he has been put in a high security prison!!
What is the New Zealand Government doing about this??????
The Hive is going to take up the cause of Anwar Ibrahim (the voice of democracy in Malaysia) everyday until Raja Petra Kamarudin is released.
This from The Guardian

A high-profile anti-government blogger has been jailed for up to two years in Malaysia, his lawyer said today.
Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin, who was arrested two weeks ago, was last night sentenced under Malaysia's draconian security laws.
The beleaguered government's long-time critic was taken today to a high-security prison where he could be held indefinitely without trial as the detention order, signed by the home minister, Syed Hamid Albar, can be renewed.
Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin, a prominent Malaysian blogger, outside court in Kuala Lumpur. Photographer: Vincent Thian/AP
"This is definitely a big blow to the idea of civil liberties, especially at a time when everyone is asking for greater rights," said his lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar. "I don't think the government did itself any favour in attempting to regain popular confidence."Raja Petra, 57, is accused of insulting Islam and threatening national security by inciting racial tensions in the ethnically mixed country on his popular blog and website,
Malaysia Today.
The site was blocked several times when Raja Petra was questioned by police and charged with sedition over material that appeared on his blog over the past few months.
In one article Raja Petra implied that a senior government minister was linked to the murder of a Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu. The ongoing trial of her alleged killers has kept Malaysia spellbound.
Raja Petra also said that the evidence against the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, who will appear in court again tomorrow accused of sodomy, was fabricated. He refused to reveal his sources when he appeared before the high court last month.
To the fury of civil rights campaigners and lawyers he was detained on September 16 along with a journalist and an opposition MP, though the others were subsequently released.
Raja Petra is being held at the Kamunting detention centre, in the central state of Perak, which hosts about 60 other internal security law detainees, most of them suspected Islamist extremists.
Observers believe the home minister may have signed the order to prevent intervention by Raja Petra's supporters in the courts to secure his release.

They Have Stooped Pretty Low

From today's Dominion Post Editorial

Mr Peters and Prime Minister Helen Clark have attempted to dismiss the committee's findings as a politically driven exercise. They are not, as an examination of the votes of the Green, Maori Party and UnitedFuture members of the committee shows. The first two, at least, are closer politically to Labour than National, but Green Party co-leader Russel Norman and Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell chose to believe Mr Glenn rather than Mr Peters. So did UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

That should be a matter of regret to Mr Peters who, whatever anyone thinks of his politics, has added greatly to the drama and theatre of the House during his long parliamentary career. It should also be a matter of regret to the prime minister and her Labour colleagues. The finding that a senior politician knowingly misled Parliament not only diminishes his standing but that of the institution and the MPs who operate within it. It is further confirmation that politicians cannot be trusted to meet even the most basic standards.


In Mr Peters' case, Miss Clark has the power to demonstrate that such conduct is not acceptable for ministers in her government. That she has not done so because she harbours the hope that support from NZ First might enable her to form a fourth government after the election is a matter of regret.

Fonterra Scandal

Fran O'Sullivan is on Fonterra's case again today. With the news out that San Lu lied about the tainting of its milk products for as long as Winston Peters lied about his donations this year, clearly there is something very wrong with governance and oversight in San Lu where Fonterra is a 43% shareholder.

Fran asks why Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Hayden did not front up to the media? Good question. Last night in Wellington some were speculating that Henry might be wanting to hang his CEO out to dry on this. Clearly Fonterra needs to improve things following this scandal. The CEO's media management on this has been very bad, and his actual performance, particularly vis a vis the international media has been much criticised (he virtually exploded in one international interview).

Watch this space.....

Key Share Trading: Blemish Not King Hit

We share John Armstrong's assessment from the NZ Herald this morning

John Key's once squeaky-clean image has been blemished by his failure to disclose the full extent of his Tranz Rail shareholding before Labour embarrassed him by doing it for him.
But his reputation is a long way from being irrevocably tarnished by Labour's revelation that he owned 100,000 shares in the rail operator when everyone had been led to believe the figure was closer to 30,000.
Labour has finally landed a big hit - but not the king-hit it has been looking for.
The story, which dates back to 2003, is too old and arcane for most voters to be bothered about.

Parallel With Zimbabwe

An interesting parallel Winston Peters chose to describe the privileges committee process. Short arse bully despots who think they are above the law. Can anyone think of any similarities?
We think that this is a further sign of Winston having lost the plot.

Labour First AXIS Consolidates

Those doubting the existence of a formal axis between Labour and new Zealand First can be in no doubt after Labour's decision to politicise an otherwise non-politicised process around the privileges committee process. I know several members of the Labour caucus are ashamed by their Leader's decision to keep associating with the little liar. They should be. If things continue down this course expect Labour to spawn yet another breakaway party. To date it has spawned the Alliance, United, ACT and Maori.

Sep 23, 2008

The Hive And The Standard Agree

This doesn't happen all the time but when it does we should be celebrating!

This from the official Labour Party blogsite The Standard

In principle, a free trade deal between the US and the P4 countries (NZ, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei) is a good thing.
If we want our world’s limited resources to be used efficiently, we should not place artificial barriers in the way of trade without good reason.

EU Backtrack On Emissions Trading

Remember how we had to rush our legislation through Parliament and throw bi-partisanship to one side so that we would keep those German consumers buying our goods and tourists visiting NZ?

Well read this

Climate change fears after German opt-out
By Chris Bryant in Berlin, Fiona Harvey in London and Tony Barber in Brussels
Published: September 22 2008 16:43 Last updated: September 22 2008 16:43
A German government decision to back an almost total exemption for industry from new rules that would force companies to pay for the carbon dioxide they emit threatens to undermine a key tenet of European Union climate policy, climate campaigners warn.
The decision is a victory for German industry, which feared European Commission proposals for an auction of carbon emission permits would cost billions of euros and restrict its ability to compete internationally.
Angela Merkel, chancellor, warned recently that although she supported the need to tackle climate change, she “could not support the destruction of German jobs through an ill-advised climate policy”.
Climate campaigners said the move would open the door to a slew of objections from other states seeking to protect their own key industries during the next phase of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS).
“There are a lot of countries that want to protect their own industries without the economic arguments to back this up,” said Joris den Blanken, senior policy advisor at Greenpeace.
The European parliament’s industry committee last week voted to replace the current free distribution of carbon-dioxide permits with a mandatory auction between 2013 and 2020 in a bid to help cut European greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels.
The proposals are likely to face a vote at a plenary session of the parliament later this year but must then be ratified by the heads of member states.
The German government is not alone in seeking opt- outs. Poland is anxious that auctioning could severely affect its power companies while Italy is pushing for free carbon permits for specific sectors.
After months of internal wrangling, Germany has accepted that from 2013, power companies, including those that construct new power plants, should take part in the auction process.
However, because this is expected to lead to higher electricity costs, the government is to insist that energy-intensive industries like aluminium producers should be compensated with free carbon permits.
Germany will also push for an exemption for large emitters like the steel industry, subject to these companies using the best available emission control technology.
Remaining companies would have their purchase of certificates capped at 20 per cent of total emissions.
The German government defends its stance by claiming there is a risk of carbon-emitting industries relocating to countries where they would be free to pollute.
“As long as European companies are governed by stricter climate protection regulations than their competitors in countries like China, we have to seek to establish special rules,” said Sigmar Gabriel, environment minister.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008
Also see
Steel, aluminium at risk under EU ETS -draft
UPDATE 1- BRUSSELS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Parts of Europe's steel and aluminium industries are highly exposed to international competition and may need free allowances to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) after 2013, according to a preliminary EU analysis.