Aug 31, 2008

Poneke Also Worth A Visit

We agree with Poneke's every word

Roar Prawn And Whale Oil

have some interesting stuff up tonight. BB - very sorry that someone you know has died.

Whale Oil seems to be suffering a bit from over use so you might like to go straight to Roar Prawn. Tonight would be our advice as this may not be as interesting tomorrow.

Greens Don't Understand The ETS

This exchange with the Greens on the ETS has been most revealing. First it exposed exactly what we suspected on NZ First's big ask for the ETS - fishing. Pay and we deliver!!

But it also shows how little even the Green Party understand about the operation of this major change to the way our economy is to operate. Lets start with this quote from Green co-leader Fitzsimons

The Greens certainly aren’t keen to subsidise the fishing industry. However, it is the only trade-exposed sector that wasn’t to get any free units. That means, there is a process in the Bill whereby business that mainly competes with overseas firms who pay no carbon price get some of their emissions covered by free units. The idea is that if they don’t, they have a strong motivation to move overseas where there is no carbon charge, with no benefit to the climate but loss of jobs in NZ. The reason the fishing industry didn’t initially get any is that their energy source is diesel which as transport fuel, doesn’t generally qualify for free units because for every other industry it is used within NZ and not in competition with overseas firms. However for the fishing industry it is their main source of energy and they are directly exposed to competition from foreign fishers.Every other trade-exposed industry is eligible for 90% of their 2005 emissions for free with the phase out starting only in 2019. Fishing will get up to 50%, and only for the first three years.

Is agriculture not trade exposed? Are our tourism and education sectors not trade exposed? Education and tourism get no free allocation. Agriculture gets none until 21013. Yet all these industries will have their costs increased from inputs from electricity and transport fuels increased from 2010 and 2011. There will be zero compensation. Yet the poor old fishing industry gets a 50% subsidy on its one energy input - diesel for the first three years. Farmers don't get this straight away. Why? Because they don't donate to NZ First. Simple. Shame that the Greens are happy to go along with this. And shame on the MSM for missing this.

Jeanette Fitzsimons Comments Revealing

Have a read of the quote below from the co-leader of the Green Party

Fishing will get up to 50%, and only for the first three years. Also, Peters didn’t oppose the 10 or so significant improvements we got to the scheme and he asked for very little - this was the main thing. One can speculate as to why, but it isn’t unreasonable in the context of the ETS as a whole.

So why was fishing the main ask from NZ First on the ETS??????????

Fish Subsidies

On Friday we challenged the Green Party over their support for an environmentally unfriendly (and we believe corrupt) change to the Emissions Trading Scheme as it relates to the fishing industry. Frogblog have responded - for which thanks. Here is their reply

"I agree with the Hive that this is not an ideal outcome. I wanted to find out more so checked with Jeanette before I wrote anything about what had changed in negotiations, and she said:
The Greens certainly aren’t keen to subsidise the fishing industry. However, it is the only trade-exposed sector that wasn’t to get any free units. That means, there is a process in the Bill whereby business that mainly competes with overseas firms who pay no carbon price get some of their emissions covered by free units. The idea is that if they don’t, they have a strong motivation to move overseas where there is no carbon charge, with no benefit to the climate but loss of jobs in NZ. The reason the fishing industry didn’t initially get any is that their energy source is diesel which as transport fuel, doesn’t generally qualify for free units because for every other industry it is used within NZ and not in competition with overseas firms. However for the fishing industry it is their main source of energy and they are directly exposed to competition from foreign fishers.
Every other trade-exposed industry is eligible for 90% of their 2005 emissions for free with the phase out starting only in 2019. Fishing will get up to 50%, and only for the first three years. Also, Peters didn’t oppose the 10 or so significant improvements we got to the scheme and he asked for very little - this was the main thing. One can speculate as to why, but it isn’t unreasonable in the context of the ETS as a whole. It is much less than the farming sector is getting, and they will still face the carbon price for half of their emissions so have an incentive to reduce carbon wherever they can.
So, while it sticks in our throats somewhat, it is short term and less than other industries are getting.
As it turns out peak oil could well curtail fishing companies sooner than a carbon charge would anyway. All in all, while we’re not happy with this, it doesn’t seem worth dying in a ditch over either."

At The Hive we would have died in the ditch on this one. Particularly knowing what we know about the enormous damage previous corruption has done to the scampi fishery. We will talk to Jeanette direct on this after the election to see whether we can claw something back during the changes to the legislation that National will be overseeing.

Bye Bye Steve, Judith, Darien, Rick, Louisa, Lesley

Labour list - our analysis based on latest seat info we have to hand and assessment that labour will poll 32% of vote - Labour will have 39 seats . Note Duynhoven, Hawkins and Roberston are not on list and are likely to win their seats

List placing Electorate first name surname
1 Mt Albert Helen Clark - will win seat
2 List only Michael Cullen - list
3 Mt Roskill Phil Goff - win seat
4 Rongotai Annette King - win seat
5 Ikaroa-Rawhiti Parekura Horomia - list
6 Dunedin North Pete Hodgson - win seat
7 Te Atatu Chris Carter - win seat
8 New Lynn David Cunliff - win seat
9 Nelson Maryan Street - list
10 Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta - list
11 Mana Winnie Laban - win seat
12 List only Rajen Prasad - list
13 Port Hills Ruth Dyson - win seat
14 Hutt South Trevor Mallard - win seat
15 Christchurch East Lianne Dalziel - win seat
16 Northland Shane Jones - list
17 Waitaki David Parker - list
18 Waimakariri Clayton Cosgrove - win seat
19 Otaki Darren Hughes - list
20 List only Jacinda Ardern - list
21 List only Raymond Huo - list
22 Hamilton East Sue Moroney - list
23 Waiariki Mita Ririnui - list
24 Mangere Sua William Sio - win seat
25 East Coast Moana Mackey - list
26 North Shore Phil Twyford - list
27 Ohariu Charles Chauvel - list
28 Maungakiekie Carol Beaumont - win seat
29 Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis - lose
30 Rotorua Steve Chadwick - lose
31 List only Ashraf Choudhary - lose
32 Waitakere Lynne Pillay - win seat
33 Helensville Darien Fenton - lose
34 Tukituki Rick Barker - lose
35 List only Carmel Sepuloni - lose
36 List only Stuart Nash - lose
37 West Coast - Tasman Damien O'Connor - win seat
38 Auckland Central Judith Tizard - lose
39 Taupo Mark Burton - win seat
40 Te Tai Tonga Mahara Okeroa - lose
41 Hamilton West Martin Gallagher - lose
42 Papakura Dave Hereora - lose
43 Tamaki Makaurau Louisa Wall - lose
45 Dunedin South Clare Curran - win seat
46 Wellington Central Grant Robertson - win seat
47 Rimutaka Chris Hipkins - win seat
48 Palmerston North Iain Lees-Galloway - win seat
49 Christchurch Central Brendon Burns - win seat
50 Northcote Hamish McCracken - lose
51 Wigram Erin Ebborn-Gillespie - lose
52 Te Tai Hauauru Errol Mason - lose
53 List only Chris Yoo - lose
54 Tamaki Jo Bartley - lose
55 Clutha-Southland Don Pryde - lose
56 List only Michael Wood - lose
57 List only Farida Sultana - lose
58 Wairarapa Denise MacKenzie - lose
59 Rangitata Julian Blanchard - lose
60 Whanganui Hamish McDouall - lose
61 List only Anjum Rahman - lose
62 List only Susan Zhu - lose
63 Epsom Kate Sutton - lose
64 Rodney Conor Roberts - lose
65 Botany Koro Tawa - lose
66 Rangitikei Jills Angus Burney - lose
67 East Coast Bays Vivienne Goldsmith - lose
68 List only Eamon Daly - lose
70 Pakuranga Brian Kelly - lose
71 Hunua Jordan Carter - lose
74 Selwyn David Coates - lose
74 List only Tracey Dorreen - lose
75 Taranaki-King Country Renee van de Weert - lose
76 Bay of Plenty Carol Devoy-Heena - lose
76 Tauranga Anne Pankhurst - lose
77 Invercargill Lesley Soper - lose
78 Coromandel Hugh Kininmonth - lose
78 List only Raj Thandi - lose

Does Winston Wear A Rug?

Would you vote for a man who wears a wig?

Whaleoil makes the most serious allegation yet. Has anyone ever heard this before?

Franks Worth A Read

Stephen Franks is an interesting person to talk to about scampi. He was on the Parliamentary investigation that Winston eventually nobbled. They put Franks on because they needed a lawyer. Once Winston found out about Franks coming onto the investigation he freaked out. Part off the freaking out and bullying involved some rather harsh words from Peters to Franks. It must therefore be nice to be able to get revenge.

Franks has done his best to reconstruct the dialogue on Friday between the PM and Peters. Some people find it funny. We find it sad. Sad for New Zealand, former beacon of democracy and fair and non-corrupt Government. Take particular note of Franks' portrayal of the Privileges Committee. The link is here.

Has Mr Henry Been Telling The Full Truth? And Some More Questions Heather Roy and National Might Like To Ask The PM On Thursday

Page A6 of today's Sunday Star Times should be essential reading. Yes, we know that the Editor has helped many of us save on toilet paper, but she has allowed an extremely damaging article to slip through. It is by The Independent's Denise McNabb. Was the $100,000 K from Glenn really intended "to assist funding the legal costs incurred personally by Rt Hon Winston Peters concerning his election petition dispute" as he told the privileges committee or was it originally intended for use elsewhere. Have a read and see what you think. We can't find a copy on line but someone else might be able to track it down if you can't bear to by the paper (actually the whole paper this week is good apart from the Editorial and who cares about that. She will soon be working for the Labour legal spin machine).

We will also raise another question which McNabb doesn't quite pursue far enough

"At the time Henry told The Independent the motivation was to take ACT out of Parliament completely.

It was unclear whether he was referring to NZ First's or Labour's motivation.

Peters' petition [a petition planned against Hide in Epsom], if successful, would have shored up party numbers for Labour."

Now if Labour and NZ First were in cahoots as far back as 28 October 2005 might this explain a few things. Why Glenn was approached when he was, who suggested to Glenn that he might like to give $100 k to NZ First, why it was suggested, and why Peters has been able to hang on for so long. Does he have as much on someone else as we all have on him?????

Winston's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

We can't bring ourselves to read Winston's Blog but the Busted Blonde at Roar Prawn is made of sterner stuff. Get a load of this from Winston:

One of the biggest problems we have in New Zealand is that we judge the morality of larceny in accordance with the scale of it. Low socio-economic individuals who find themselves on the wrong side of the law are dealt with more harshly than those who take tens of millions in shonky deals and set up family trusts to hide their assets. In fact, in some cases, the unscrupulous rich are held up as role models of our society. These people have the cheek to hold themselves up as true pillars of the community, when they are really part of the rotten foundations.

Does he not have any self awareness????

What Tuesday's Question Time Will Look Like

This from Ruth Laugesen in the Sunday Star Times

Clark's lack of candour may be a turning point for this government. While Peters has been centre-stage, Clark has taken a potentially hugely damaging political body blow this past week. Trust was at the very heart of her successful campaign to sweep out National and her popularity stemmed from her willingness to be straight with the public. Her economy with the truth over what she knew about the Glenn affair seems certain to deal a hammer blow to her reputation.
When parliament meets on Tuesday Clark is expected to face a barrage of questions over what she knew and when and she may yet be called before parliament's privileges committee in relation to the Glenn donation.
The committee meets on Thursday, and may yet ask further questions of Glenn.
Peters stayed holed-up at his partner Jan Trotman's Herne Bay, Auckland, home yesterday, while his QC spent 30 minutes with the SFO just after 10am.
Peter Williams said he gave the SFO the statement from the Spencer Trust, which had received the Vela and Jones donations, and "showed all the entries and debits are perfectly clear".
Asked if the donations were declared, Peter Williams said, "Oh, I don't know about that rubbish, I couldn't discuss that" but he said there was no evidence of fraud.
"It is absolutely disgraceful.
"The press of New Zealand has combined in a tidal wave of prejudice trying to besmirch him.
"It's like a whole lot of sharks in the bloody sea around some sort of thing they want to eat."
Under new electoral spending rules requiring
greater transparency, any donation over $20,000 has to be declared within 10 days.
Asked why Peters had not opened up the books earlier to clear up the matter, Peter Williams said it was up to the accusers to "do their homework" and provide the evidence.
Mike Williams would not comment on whether his meeting with Glenn had taken place in Nice, in the south of France, in the past few months, as some reports have suggested.
The Labour Party has previously declared $500,000 in donations from Glenn, and was forced to acknowledge a $100,000 loan earlier in the year when Glenn made that public.
Mike Williams said yesterday that though he regularly met with potential donors, to date "Mr Glenn has not made a fresh donation to the Labour Party."
He said it was his duty to liaise with potential donors.
Glenn last week told the privileges committee that Peters had asked him for a donation, contradicting the claim of Peters and his lawyer Brian Henry that it had been Henry who dealt with Glenn. Peters has continued to claim he knew nothing of the 2005 donation until informed by his lawyer in July.
National leader John Key said it was "bizarre that the Labour Party have enough confidence to try and take more money off Owen Glenn, but not enough confidence to believe him when it comes to his version of Winston Peters' donations scandal".
"The prime minister now needs to tell New Zealanders on how many occasions she raised the contradictary version of events with Mr Peters and Mr Glenn, and furthermore, why she didn't instruct Mr Peters to directly contact Mr Glenn when he clearly refuted his version of events in February," said Key.
Prime Minister Helen Clark refused to answer questions from the Star-Times yesterday.

Clear The Decks For 18 October

Next week is going to be as bad for the PM as last week was for Winston Peters.

First it has started very badly today with both major Sunday papers containing bad stories.

Then there will be question time on Tuesday (she can expect a grilling), a general debate on Wednesday (Hide has more detail on the Scampi scandal to drop on the table), and the Parliamentary privileges committee on Thursday.

Now Thursday was going to be all about Peters. But we understand that there is a prospect of it being even more interesting with suggestions that the PM and Trevor Mallard be asked to testify on what Owen Glenn told them, what and when they told Winston Peters, and why they did not pass any of this on to Parliament or to the Cabinet Office and Parliamentary Services staff who should have been alerted to a possible false declaration and to the fact that a Minister was considering giving an honorary consulship to someone who had just donated $100,000 to him personally - to help pay his legal bills. The PM on the witness stand is going to be a very bad look. Which is why we don't think Labour can allow it to happen.

Labour will try and invoke urgency on the ETS legislation to have it passed Wednesday and to shut other debate down to the extent that it possible. Given the now direct link between the proposed ETS and subsidisation on the fishing industry we would have thought that comment on scampi would be very much on topic during the Third Reading of this legislation also.

Once the legislation on the ETS is passed we are expecting the PM to hop in the BMW and drive off to see the GG. That equals 18 October for the election.

Delicate Balancing Act Needed Over Glenn

How is Owen Glenn going to react to the news about what some Labour activists are saying about his memory, his drinking, and his attitude to Maori? Why even Michael Cullen said some unkind thinks about Owen this week. Will he be just as willing to reach for the cheque book now?

It seems the answer is no. This from the Sunday Star Times

Labour has been back asking controversial party donor Owen Glenn for more money despite a storm of controversy over earlier donations by the expatriate Monaco businessman.
Labour Party president Mike Williams yesterday confirmed he had met with Glenn within the past few months, but had been unsucccesful in raising more money.

Propects Of Grand Coalition Disappear

Remember Labour's strategy to stay Government? 38% plus support from Green, NZ First and Maori? Now read this from the Sunday Star Times

Fresh signs have emerged that Labour's prospects of forming a new government after the coming election are narrowing, with a blunt attack from a crucial coalition player.
Maori Party MP Hone Harawira told the Star-Times that the Labour-led government was "stale" and arrogant and it was time for a change of government.
"They're suffering from the arrogance of being in power too long. At the moment they're a coalition corpse. They're gone, and anybody who is associated too closely with them is likely to be gone as well."

Regular readers of The Hive will be aware of the respect we have for the Maori Party and for the leadership shown by Turiana Turia, Hone Harawira and Pita Sharples on several issues - such as climate change. We understand that relations between Labour and the Maori Party have deteriorated to such an extent that a leadership change within Labour is going to be necessary to start the rebuilding process. Maori have great respect for Phil Goff for example.

Where To Begin - Ralston Maybe

There is much to comment upon today, so much that it is hard to know here to begin. Lets start will Bill Ralston who tells us something we did not know. This is very significant and should be a real worry to Peters. If you think that Clark is going to have to back anytime before the election dream on. She is stringing you on. She believes you so much she is having her own investigations done.

Just after 8am on Friday I got a hurried call from one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers. Did I have an Auckland number for Sir Robert Jones?
I did not but suggested he wait until 9am and call Bob's Wellington office to get the landline number for the cellphone-phobic Jones.
"I can't wait until 9am. It's urgent," he replied in a slightly embarrassed tone before hanging up.
I bet it was urgent.
A few minutes before, Bob Jones had been on National Radio calling Winston Peters "a liar", stating he had misled the House, one of the most heinous crimes in Parliament and a firing offence.
Helen Clark was due shortly to meet an unrepentant Peters in Auckland to ask him to stand aside as Foreign Minister. She clearly wanted all her ducks in a row because it would not be an easy discussion.

Ralston then goes on to look at three reasons why Peters had to be stood down:

The Serious Fraud Office had announced it suspected there could be a "serious and complex fraud" involved in his New Zealand First party's financing and would investigate what happened with donations from Jones and the Vela family. It would not immediately investigate the Owen Glenn donation, or matters surrounding the Scampi inquiry, but left the door open to probe those issues if more evidence came out. Strike One against Peters.

Helen Clark had picked up that morning's Dominion Post to read a new accusation that Winston Peters had misled the House when, in 2006, he assured Parliament he had personally paid all his legal expenses in the Winebox inquiry. The paper revealed it had uncovered at least $24,000 in bills paid by the taxpayer through the Parliamentary Services organisation for Winebox-related legal work. Strike Two.

On her radio she heard Bob Jones deny a claim Peters had made in the House that Jones had seen the party's books and the matter of his misdirected $25,000 donation was "cleared up". An angry Jones insisted Peters had misled the House on that. Strike Three.

Aug 30, 2008

Phil - Our Recipe Suggestion For Today

It is sunny outside. OK, a bit cold down here in Wellington, but we hear that several BBQs are planned over the next week or so up in Auckland. This is an easy recipe that is healthy as well. Suggest you wash it down with a nice bottle of unoaked Chardonnay (Chablis Premier Cru is probably not pc at Labour Party gatherings - even of the right wing faction).


1 cup (250ml) extra virgin olive oil

juice and zest of 3 lemons

3 garlic cloves roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh marjoram, tied with some string

3 tablespoons limoncello or other lemon liqueur

12 scampi, halved lengthwise

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 cup baby herb leaves or micro cresssalt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lemons cut into wedges

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, zest and garlic in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat until nearly boiling, remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Immediately add in a bunch of marjoram and a shot of limoncello (or other lemon liqueur) and let rest for 1 hour.Cut the scampi in half lengthways and gently brush the flesh with the bunch of marjoram that has been soaking in the lemon-scented oil, gently place them shell side down and cook for 10 minutes, then flip them onto their flesh and cook for a further couple of minutes until just cooked.Meanwhile, combine zucchini, avocado, herbs, salt and pepper and olive oil in a medium bowl; toss to combine.Serve scampi with lemon wedges and avocado and zucchini salad.

Enjoy and say hi to Mike and Shane

Call For Independent Commission Of Inquiry Into Scampi Scandal

As well as making serious allegations of a dirty deal between the PM and Peters in her column today in the NZ Herald Fran O'Sullivan calls for an independent commission of inquiry into the scampi scandal.

She should also announce an independent commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption in the scampi industry which persist years after a select committee investigation hit rocks.
Act leader Rodney Hide's allegations in Parliament this week that NZ First was paid cash by Simunovich Fisheries after Peters made corruption claims against it cannot be left dangling.
The SFO's Liddell says that on the basis of the information now available he does not have a basis for using statutory powers to inquire into allegations that there was an attempt corruptly to influence the select committee inquiry into the allocation of scampi quota.
The SFO is not the right body to examine such claims. Nothing short of a full public inquiry headed by a High Court judge is needed.
Clark should appoint such a commission then call the election.

We don't often disagree with Fran, but on this one we do. We need to go further. We need a new institution, an Independent Commission Against Corruption with wide powers like that in Hong Kong. We have corruption in our system at central and local Government level and we need to stamp it out. This should be an election issue. Both Labour and National should pledge their support for this new institution.

Likewise both Labour and National should pledge to review our libel laws. It is a disgrace that, as in Singapore, these are able to be used to gag opponents and stop the truth coming out. Those who bring a case and lose it should have full costs, including all those of the defence awarded against them.

Allegations Of Political Interference In SFO Inquiry

Fran O'Sullivan makes a serious allegation in today's NZ Herald. She says that Peters and Clark have done a deal

Peters gets to offer up his portfolios to Clark (in the meantime) instead of being stood down or sacked. The SFO gets a prime ministerial nudge to hurry up the investigation instead of playing to the cameras and stretching out inquiries until after the election; a situation which could adversely affect NZ First's electoral chances irrespective of whether charges are ultimately laid.

This is very serious and if true, Labour should be very worried indeed.

Saturday Competition: What Is The Connection Between A Norway Lobster And Winston Peters?

Wall Street Journal On Palin

The Wall Street Journal has good coverage of how McCain came to maske such a brilliant choice for his running mate.

This is the start of main article.

Sen. John McCain picked first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, adding a little-known but reform-minded woman to his ticket. Introducing her today, he said she has "strong principles, a fighting spirit and deep compassion," and praised her record of fighting corruption.
John McCain appears onstage to introduce his vice presidential running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"She's exactly what this country needs to help me fight…the same old Washington politics of me first and country second," he told the raucous crowd at a rally in Dayton, Ohio.
Gov. Palin, 44 years old, thus became the first woman named to a spot on a Republican ticket, and only the second woman to run on a major party ticket. "I am honored," she said as she stood by a beaming Sen. McCain in her first few seconds in the national spotlight. (See an in-depth profile of Palin.)
She called herself an "average hockey mom," and introduced her husband, Todd, and spoke of her five children. That includes her oldest son, Track, who is about to deploy to Iraq. "Todd and I are so proud of him and all the fine men and women serving this country in uniform," she said. The crowd replied with chants of, "USA! USA!"
She also noted her efforts to fight corruption and highlighted her opposition to a much-derided congressional earmark for her state that Sen. McCain loves to hate as well. "I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere," she said. Gov. Palin also took on her state's political establishment that had been rocked by an FBI corruption investigation.

A Corrupt Suspension

To still be Prime Minister after the election Helen Clark needs to achieve a few things. She needs to keep National from winning an absolute majority. She needs Labour to get up to 37/38% support. She needs NZ First and the Greens to get over 5% support. And she needs these two parties, plus the Maori Party to support her after the election.

Now the PM also knows that NZ First is a one person party. Without Winston they are nothing. So she doesn't want Winston to be up on charges and she doesn't want Winston's campaign to not be functioning.

Winston's office is key to a successful campaign. If Winston had been fired and dismissed as a Minister for good he would have lost his office, and pretty much all hiss staff. These staff members are his eyes and ears and the people that do all Winston's leg work.

David Farrar is on to this. Read this post. Winston has been able to retain his office and most of the baubles. It is really only his image and ego that have taken a bit of a hit.

Key Continues To Show Strong Leadership

According to this morning's NZ Herald

National leader John Key will refuse to do a deal with Winston Peters or New Zealand First after the election, even if the Serious Fraud Office clears the suspended Foreign Minister.
Mr Peters is confident the SFO investigation into political donations by the wealthy Vela family and property magnate Sir Robert Jones will vindicate him, but Mr Key said last night that that was only part of a much wider problem for the NZ First leader.
"From National's point of view, we're ruling out working with New Zealand First and Winston Peters."
Asked if that meant he was ruling it out entirely, Mr Key said, "Yes."
If the SFO cleared Mr Peters, it "doesn't matter", Mr Key said.
It also did not matter if Parliament's privileges committee cleared him as well.
"The reality is that Winston Peters faces investigation not only by the SFO, but he also has to pass the test from the parliamentary privileges committee, and then go on and answer all the other many and varied allegations, which I would have thought if any of them are true would also be ruling him out as suitable to hold a [ministerial] warrant," Mr Key said.

If Helen Clark was a great leader she would say exactly the same things. We suspect that Phil Goff, should he be Labour leader, would be saying what John Key is saying. He is on record as saying that Winston speaks "bullshit". That is the type of Leader New Zealand needs.

Peters Joins Long Roll-Call Of Dishonoured Ministers

Click on this link to the NZ Herald aand feel the shame. These people are meant to be our Leaders. These people are how the rest of the world see us.

Sarah Palin - She Would Have Fired Winston Years Ago

As the first woman and the youngest person to be elected Alaska's state governor, Sarah Palin is used to breaking new ground.
The 44-year-old was elected in 2006 and has been credited with bringing in reforms in her two years in office.
Presenting her as his running mate in November's presidential election, John McCain described her as "someone with strong principles, a fighting spirit and deep compassion".
As well as portraying her as a devoted wife and mother-of-five, Mr McCain also stressed her executive experience and ability to stand up against entrenched interests and corruption.
"She has the grit, integrity, good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today," he said.
Mrs Palin is seen as boosting Mr McCain's ticket because she is a woman - and so may appeal to disappointed Hillary Clinton supporters - as well as being young, energetic and from outside the Washington political scene.
She is also viewed as having a strong social and fiscal conservative record. She opposes abortion and holds a life membership of the National Rifle Association.
She is the first woman Republican to be put forward as a vice-presidential candidate. The only other US female running mate was Democrat Geraldine Ferraro, in 1984.

The Next Vice President Of The USA

Aug 29, 2008

This Is Still About Scampi

Just a word of advice. You will see over the next few days a concerted attempt by Mr Peters and his lawyers to keep the focus of this enquiry narrow.

So we draw your attention to the wording of the SFO's announcement on this enquiry

I have decided on the information currently available that I do not have a basis for using statutory powers to inquire into allegations that Mr Glenn's donation was misapplied or that there was an attempt corruptly to influence the Primary Production Select Committee that inquired into allegations of corruption in the Ministry of Fisheries in relation to scampi quota in 2003. It is possible that the investigation I have authorised might be broadened at some later time and these other matters inquired into as a result of whatever information comes to light in the course of the investigation about to commence," Mr Liddell said.

We have bolded the relevant section. This inquiry and all the controversy is actually about scampi quota, MFish plans to introduce this quota, a Parliamentary enquiry that was launched at the request of a member and then shut down by that same member. There is considerable information already in the hands of the SFO. It will be interesting to see what else comes to light now the books are being opened. Do not expect the SFO to be content to see limited amounts of information such as one off bank statements. Remember deep throat's advice during the early stages of the Watergate investigation - follow the money. This is what the SFO is intending to do. All the bluster, bullying and spin from one side will be designed to stop this trail being followed. It is going to be an interesting few weeks.

Worst Foreign Minister Since Cooper Has Stood Down

We understand that Peters has stood down and the PM Clark has asumed his portfolios (note the unwillingess to give Goff back the Foreign Minister portfolio). Peters also due to meet SFO tomorrow.

This from Stuff

And this from the NZ Herald

Disturbing Post On Kiwiblog

How low can you go.

The really frightening thing is that we heard this too, from a Labour source.

South Island Power Supply Under Threat

The vulnerablilty of our electricity network has been exposed again with a critical pylon threatening to buckle. Read about it on Stuff.

Confidence Motion

Readers might like to look at posts from Farrar and No Right turn.

Government In Crisis

Early election likely.

Peters is defying the PM. He will not stand down quietly.

Confidence vote in Parliament looking inevitable for Tuesday. PM can't allow this to happen as she may not have numbers.

Senior Ministers awaiting Goff's return this morning. Goff was working the phones last night before departing Singapore.

Labour list announcement could not be worse timed.

Watch this space. Will report further when more news to hand.

Greens Party To Ultimate Corruption

We are amazed that this is passing below the radar screen. The revised ETS contains an enormous new subsidy for the fishing industry. This was, surprise, surprise negotiated by NZ First (Winston looks after his funders).

The link with Winston's funders is bad enough but the inconsistency with our position in international negotiations, a position supported by the Greens and Greenpeace, WWF etc. is incredible. Fish subsidies are the direct cause of over fishing. We are opposed to any subsidisation of this industry. The original ETS has no subsidy going to the Fishing Industry. Now they get 50% free allocation. This is an outrage. The Greens should be opposing this policy strenuously. Or are the Greens not real Greens???

What leaves a particularly bad taste in our mouths is the scampi industry. The scandal here is all about how quota has been allocated - to whom and at what level. There seems little doubt that the resource has been over fished. Too much scampi has been taken from our waters so there has been a big policy failure. We won't go into who has been doing the overfishing, but we are ashamed that these same people are now about to receive such a large wealth transfer from the Crown, simply because Winston peters wanted to make them happier.

Come on Frog and friends - what are you going to do about this????

Good News For Labour?

We are not sure we agree with this, but John Armstrong sees the latest twist in the Peters' scandal as good news for Labour (clearly Labour have not been sharing their internal polling with Armstrong). Yes, this does let Labour lance a huge boil, but huge damage has been done and the SFO inquiry, and confession by the PM that she knew about Glenn's donation in February have more than undone Labour's recent gains.

Very bad news for Winston Peters. But very good news for Labour. The Serious Fraud Office's decision to investigate NZ First's handling of large cash donations made to the party by well-known business figures is a more than timely blessing in disguise for the Prime Minister.
Facing mounting pressure to deal with Peters to stop his multiplying crises tainting Labour by association, Helen Clark now has the perfect excuse to stand him down from his ministerial portfolios without his having any valid reason to complain.
When she talks to Peters today, she can cite the precedent of David Parker, who was temporarily suspended as a minister while being investigated by the registrar of companies in 2006.

Philip Kitchin Delivers New Blow To Peters' Credibility

This from the Dominion Post

Winston Peters' damaged credibility is in even more doubt as documents reveal that his claim to Parliament that he paid all his Winebox inquiry legal fees is questionable.
Mr Peters has told Parliament that he "had to carry the can" for legal expenses incurred - but The Dominion Post has obtained copies of bills that show taxpayers paid nearly $24,000. The bills show Mr Peters' lawyer, Brian Henry, was paid the money by Parliamentary Service for Winebox legal advice.
The Winebox papers detailed a complex Cook Islands tax scheme used by prominent New Zealand businessmen to reduce tax liabilities.
The bills were paid by the taxpayer-funded agency, which administers parliamentary business, eight months after a commission of inquiry was set up to investigate Mr Peters' allegations that the Serious Fraud Office and Inland Revenue acted unlawfully or incompetently.
They are for services that included "researching into the Winebox", obtaining copies of transcripts of evidence, "consulting re media briefing of the legal position of Sir Ronald Davison [the counsel assisting the Winebox inquiry]", "preparation of media package in respect of events in the House of Representatives", and advice on a Winebox select committee.
Mr Peters answered questions in Parliament on May 10, 2006, about Winebox legal fees.
National MP Tau Henare, a former NZ First MP and caucus colleague of Mr Peters, asked the NZ First leader: "Who paid the legal fees for the Winebox?"
Mr Peters replied: "Who paid for the Winebox inquiry? Yours truly ... I would never have thought Tau Henare would have the temerity to raise that question. Shame on the member. I had to carry the whole can by myself."
However, four bills obtained by The Dominion Post, all dated June 2, 1995, and from Mr Henry to former NZ First staff member Terry Heffernan, suggest Mr Peters appears to have misled Parliament. The bills total nearly $24,000 and were coded as being paid by Parliamentary Service.
Mr Peters said last month that a legal fighting fund was set up in 1991 to pay for his Winebox fees and for other defamation cases he was involved in.
The bills also raise questions about Mr Henry's statement to Parliament's privileges committee, which is investigating a $100,000 donation to Mr Peters' legal fees from billionaire Owen Glenn.
Mr Henry told the committee last week that he eventually received legal aid for his Winebox legal advice under an arrangement with the solicitor-general.
But till he received that legal aid, Mr Henry said his fees were either paid by Mr Peters or through fundraising he did himself.
Mr Henry said he did accept work for Mr Peters as NZ First's leader where the work qualified for payment by Parliamentary Service and that "in the past three years I have been paid in this manner".
The bills do not mention NZ First or Mr Peters and were all sent to Mr Heffernan at "Parliamentary Offices, Wellington".
Mr Heffernan, who is standing as National's candidate in Christchurch's Port Hills electorate, was at the time employed as NZ First's parliamentary executive in the party's office.
When contacted by The Dominion Post, he was reluctant to comment but said in a statement: "If however, I was asked to give evidence on the matter to the privileges committee I would be prepared to front up to help the committee with any relevant recollections."

ETS Not Under Threat

NZ First have made the PM's job easier. According to Morning Report they are saying that they will continue to support the ETS regardless of the decision taken over Winston.

Peters' Suspension Unavoidable

So says Paula Oliver in this morning's NZ Herald

The Serious Fraud Office probe into New Zealand First's finances announced late yesterday makes Winston Peters' suspension as a minister unavoidable.
Mr Peters was defiant last night in the face of the announcement of an investigation into the fate of donations to his party, calling the inquiry "ridiculous in the extreme".
However, the serious nature of the probe makes it impossible for him to hold a Government role as crucial as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Prime Minister Helen Clark has set precedents of standing down ministers during inquiries and last night she conceded this immediately - while offering no defence of Mr Peters.
"I think it's best if he listens to his advisers this evening, and I will talk with him tomorrow," she said.

Aug 28, 2008

Peters' Corruption Big News In Australia

New Zealand's image is taking a beating. This from The Australian.

Winston Peters

Peters will be fired tomorrow. Thank goodness.

Under intense pressure from senior colleagues and with internal polling showing huge damage to labour support Helen Clark has no choice but to stand Peters down.

Yes, she wants her ETS passed, but you never know Winston might not throw the toys out of the cot. The PM knows more than most about what has been going on. She still has leverage.

But tomorrow is not soon enough. Image living in a country that has a Foreign Minister under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office??? Great for our image, particularly as Brazil's Foreign Minister has hit town.

Phil Goff For PM

While PM Clark has caused increasing chaos at home Phil Goff has been working his guts out offshore and again delivered the goods. We hear that the FTA with ASEAN is now finalised as far as NZ is concerned. This is great news.

We also hear that Goff has been worrking hard on the WTO front also.

Phil Goff should be made Foreign Minister again tomorrow. And if Labour want to avoid a total rout this year they should make him PM also.

Why We Need An Independent Commission Against Corruption

So that it won't be subject to the intimmidation that is being attempted on the SFO.

Have a look at this from the soon to be former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Put Up Or Shut Up SFO - Peters
Rt Hon Winston Peters has told the Serious Fraud Office to either lay charges against him or to shut up and go away.
Mr Peters today said the SFO had been creeping around back doors dropping hints and providing media speculation but not finding any evidence of wrongdoing or illegality on his part.
“I am prepared to wait on the court steps for them and if they don’t turn up they can go away for ever,” said Mr Peters.

ETS Should Be Going Back To Select Committee

Corruption pays.

Have a look at the treatment that the fishing industry is now receieving under the ETS.

“A new free allocation of units has been introduced for the fishing sector, which is equal to fifty per cent of the impact on fuel costs for a three year period.

There are major changes to the scheme that emerged from Select Committee. Those who submitted on the original bill should be given a chance to comment.

In particular we are worried about the proposed restrcitions on AAUs. This could increase the cost of the scheme to the economy significantly.

Clark Knew In February


From Stuff

Prime Minister Helen Clark has revealed today that she had been informed by billionaire expat Owen Glenn in February that he gave money to Winston Peters' legal fund.

More Roar Prawn

Another interesting post on Roar Prawn

Question #1

Hon BILL ENGLISH to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Racing; if so, why?

ETS Legislation

As a further sign of the panic going on in the Beehive over how long this Government can last, the ETS legislation has been raised to #1 on the order paper. It can't be left until next week. It will be interesting to see whether there have been any more significant changes.

The most significant economic legislation since the 1980s is about to be passed by 2 votes with the support of a party who has a liar for its leader. Shame.

And shame on NZ First for backing away from its 2005 election position. Further evidence why the party can't be trusted.

Maori Party Sensible As Usual

Thursday, 28 August 2008, 9:38 amPress Release: The Maori Party
Maori Party on ETS Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader 27 August 2008
The Maori Party looks forward to seeing the final version of the government’s Emissions Trading Scheme when the Bill is reintroduced to the House – but says it is unlikely to support it.
“We remain strong in our belief that, fundamentally, the ETS is still just an Emissions Trading Scheme, when what is required is an Emissions Reduction Programme,” said Co-leader Tariana Turia.
“A 2% reduction in emissions over ten years is simply fiddling while Rome burns. The time for scheming is over. Now is the time for a programme of action,” said Mrs Turia.
“A real Emissions Reduction Programme will require significant changes in our lifestyle, but the alternative, of doing almost nothing, will be a lot worse,” she said.
“A sound programme would be comprehensive, covering all industries and all gases. The government’s scheme is on the right track in that respect.
“But a scheme worth supporting would also be fair to all industries and consumers, and transparent, so everyone can see how the costs and credits have been allocated,” she said.
“Pollution is a cost of business that should be identified at source, and that business must be held responsible. Any cost they pass on to consumers will at least encourage environmentally responsible choices. The principle must be that polluters pay, because the purpose of the programme is to cut emissions.
“Instead we have deferred liability and masses of free credits going to the biggest industries and the worst polluters for years to come. This negates any incentive for them to make changes. This is not ‘polluter pays’ – it’s ‘pay the polluters’,” said Mrs Turia.
“Credits to assist export-exposed industries to adjust to the new regime should be allocated on the basis of need – not by blanket donations and exemptions to huge corporate lobbyists.
“Those free credits could be invested by the government in speeding up energy savings and moving to renewable sources, in building resilient and sustainable communities, and supporting poor and vulnerable people who will be worst affected by the social and economic upheaval,” said Mrs Turia.
“The government is not willing to fully explain the disastrous consequences of doing so little to save the planet, for fear of a voter backlash. We have to know the truth, so we can make the tough decisions that are needed right now.
“We are told the Green Party and NZ First have signed up to it. I predict that the concessions won by them will seem like a mere thirty pieces of silver, once the full impacts of climate change start to be felt,” she said.
“We maintain our original position - that we need a radical rethink of the whole approach. This scheme represents a failure of leadership.
“The need to make drastic changes to curb greenhouse gas emissions is what defines this moment in our history. We have no time to lose. The common interest must prevail in the pursuit of environmental justice, and social and cultural wellbeing,” said Mrs Turia

Final Dispatch

For Prime Minister Rudd From Dauth

Prime Minister

This message supplements my formal valedictory sent yesterday.

I am deeply honoured to be heading off today for my new assignment as High Commissioner in London, and I am looking forward to the new job enormously. However I have to say that I am regretting leaving New Zealand at this most fascinating of times. I wish that I could have remained here until the election, an election which might come sooner than we have been forecasting.

There are some in New Zealand who talk about the country slipping from first world status to third world. They normally talk about such a shift in the context of the the economy. But the last two days have seen New Zealand politics transform into something closer to the farce I witnessed in Kuala Lumpur than what we would expect from a country of our supposed type. While in Kuala Lumpur I witnessed the Government fabricate charges against Anwar to remove him from politics, here we have a Government trying to prop up a corrupt and increasingly pathetic Minister with tactics and excuses that are by the minute losing credibility.

Corruption is one of the sadder things to witness as an outside observer. And I have witnessed the last two days successive corruptions of the New Zealand political process. First the Government supported Winston Peters by misusing standing orders to shut down a question about Peters accepting bribes. Then yesterday when more damning news came about about a political donation, a donation which shows Winston Peters up as the pathetic liar he is, the Government tried to shut the political process down completely by insisting on a debate on Police use of tasers. Hardly an issue of great importance.

The Clark/Simpson Government has been able to get away with having Winston Peters in Government up until now as opposition to Peters had been largely restricted to the ACT and Green parties. The National Party has been consistently weak kneed with regard to Peters because there was always the prospect that post election Peters might hold the balance of power.
That changed yesterday when the National Party finally showed courage and leadership by stating that it would not have Peters in a National led Government. In this one gesture National has neutered Peters as a political force. Peters thrives on being the centre of attention and his role as king maker. He played this role as recently as the last couple of days over climate change legislation. Now the electorate knows that a vote for Labour is potentially a vote for New Zealand First, a vote for New Zealand First is also potentially a vote for Labour. This puts the National Party in a strong position and greatly weakens Labour's position. This is a growing concern to many in the Labour cabinet.

My own view is that Helen Clark will be forced to cut ties with Peters lest she too is seen by the electorate to be corrupt, or at least, accepting of corruption and dishonesty in her senior Ministers. I am frankly surprised that she has not yet fired Peters. She needed his votes for her climate change legislation, and earlier for the final confidence vote in Parliament, but wouldn't she have received greater support if she had taken the moral high ground and fired Peters for lying? It may be she needs to pass this climate change legislation to bolster her CV with a view to her post Parliamentary career, but the cost to her Party is potentially enormous. I sense a major shift in opinion occurring with the last vestiges of support for Labour disappearing from the various elites with which we interact. Reading the major newspapers today I could not find one sign of support for the Prime Minister's actions in keeping Peters in his job.

While my formal message yesterday was suggesting that Labour still had a slight chance of governing post election, I now think that chances of a fourth term for Helen Clark have all but disappeared. The electorate is embarrassed by what they are witnessing and they know what to do to change things. John Key is now looking as if he is heading for a convincing victory. While the Prime Minister might not be able to bring herself to end the Winston Peters era in New Zealand politics I feel the electorate will. And New Zealand will be a much better place without him.

I wish my colleagues at the High Commission well. They are in for a interesting few weeks. I will be monitoring developments from Canberra then London with great interest.

I look forward to calling on you and your colleagues in Canberra over the next couple of weeks.

What Will Helen Do?

There is plenty of advice in the media today Prime Minister. We suggest you follow it. A number of the senior members of caucus are getting extremely edgy.

Another Lie

Keeping Stock has a usfeul post pointing out that Winston Peters was at the Karaka sales in 2006. Peters said yesterday that he wasn't.

Aug 27, 2008

Key Rules Out Role For Peters In Next Government

Good on you John Key!

This from Stuff

Question Time

Today the real fun begins at question 2:

JOHN KEY to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs; if so, why?

The correct answer should be "No, because he is a corrupt lazy liar."

Ditch Peters Or Die

This from John Armstrong

Ditch Winston Peters or hang tight and risk Labour facing massive collateral damage for keeping him on as a minister.
Those are the bleak choices confronting the Prime Minister following Owen Glenn's explosive
testimony to the privileges committee that Peters asked him for a donation towards the latter's legal challenge to the Tauranga result at the 2005 election.
Helen Clark has constantly said that the verdict on Peters would be delivered by the "court of public opinion". By that, she meant the forthcoming general election.
Such are the massive contradictions between Peters' and Glenn's versions of events, however, the court is now very much in session.

Audrey Young Also Worth Reading (and watching)

This article from the NZ Herald's Audrey Young is also a must read. And make sure you watch the video.

To The Polls?

Watch this space. Labour has no choice to shut things down. Going to the electorate and dissolving Parliament is the only real option.

Can Helen Clark Survive?

Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand has allowed New Zealand's image to be tarnished by allowing Winston peters to remain as Foreign Minister as long as she has. She has also allowed NZ First and its Leaders to be protected from the scrutiny that has been so obviously necessary for some time. In doing so so she has tarnished the image of Parliament and our Government. Enough is enough. Either she acts fast of she too should be held fully accountable for her actions. We hope that the Labour Party is reflecting on the full consequences of what it has done. It has allowed our political processes to become corrupted. The public will not stand for this.

Can Peters Survive?

This from Tracy Watkins

Owen Glenn’s explosive testimony to the parliamentary privileges committee now means Peters’ future rests entirely on Prime Minister Helen Clark accepting his word over the billionaire businessman’s.
The question now is whether Clark will cut her foreign affairs minister loose – or delay till the privileges committee issues its findings. But on the face of Glenn’s testimony she has little room to manoeuvre; her foreign affairs minister’s version of events surrounding the soliciting of money from a man who is also known to have expressed an interest in the position as New Zealand’s honorary consul to Monaco, differs greatly – and puts Peters job squarely on the line.
It is an allegation that goes to the heart of his credibility. Clark would seem to have little choice but to suspend Peters till the matters are cleared up, one way or another. She has suspended other ministers for less.
Peters has always said that Glenn donated $100,000 to his legal fund after being approached by his lawyer, Brian Henry. He says he knew nothing about this donation till Henry informed him in July.
This is what Glenn says:
“The payment was made by me to assist funding the legal costs incurred personally by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP concerning his election petition dispute, at his request. Mr Peters sought help from me for this purpose in a personal conversation, some time after I had first met him in Sydney.
“I do not know Mr Henry. I do not believe that we have met. I do not recall that I, or my assistants, had any discussion or communication with Mr Henry other than to receive remittance details.”
This is what Mr Peters says in relation to Glenn’s statement that the donation was made at his request.
“[This] is not factual and does not coincide with my recollections. I believe that I met Mr Glenn many years ago and on the weekend of 13 August, well before the 2005 election, in Sydney, Bledisloe Cup weekend which is the only time I met him in Australia. ”
Only one of them can be telling the truth.

Peters Has To Go

How can Peters survive any longer. And how can Labour keep proping him up? Time now for National to take their gloves off. He isn't a viable coalition partner post election. This from Stuff:

Expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters personally solicited a $100,000 donation and then thanked him for it.
Mr Peters has previously said he had no knowledge of the donation made to his lawyer Brian Henry in 2006 to help pay his legal costs, until Mr Henry advised him of it last month.

Who Is The Speaker? Wilson Or Cullen?

When watching the video of yesterday's injustices in the house, have a look at the number of glances made by the Speaker in the direction of Michael Cullen....

Huge Swing Against Labour In Auckland Central

Whaleoil is reporting a leaked opinion poll result which shows that there has been a huge swing against Labour in Auckland Central. Where will Judith be on Labour's list? Indeed where will many of Labour's old guard be on the list? Will the new blood be moved up in competition with National's new blood?

Agreement On ASEAN FTA Expected Soon

But it seems that one country (New Zealand???) is still holding thigs up.

According to this morning's Dominion Post

Australia and New Zealand are likely to sign free-trade agreements with 10 Southeast Asian nations within weeks, in a deal aimed at boosting trade between the Pacific countries and a market of over half a billion people.
"I understand it's only a matter of protocol, a matter of procedure. We're working on one country which has some difficulty in this protocol but we think that it's within reach," the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of economy ministers of Asean and other Asia-Pacific countries in Singapore, Surin declined to identify the country.

Hush Money Claims

This from Stuff

Fran Also Confused About Road Tolling

Fran O'Sullivan looks today at the furore over Williamson's comments at the weekend

The communist politicians who run the world's most populous nation must look with some bemusement at how New Zealand's "private enterprise" party has twisted itself into knots over road tolls.
China uses public private partnerships (PPPs) to rapidly expand its highway network, and on most new major carriageways motorists are paying tolls to private companies.
It's built up so much expertise in financing and constructing big projects to time that China's free trade deal negotiators suggested that New Zealand should invite Chinese companies to tender for similar projects here, with the added incentive of cheap finance to boot.
But when National's shadow infrastructure minister Maurice Williamson raises the sensible suggestion that Kiwis might be happy to pay a $3 to $5 toll to use major new highways or tunnels, instead of sticking to the alternative slow route, all hell breaks loose.
This is fundamentally surreal stuff.....

Today A Huge Day In Politics

Privileges Committee on Peters

NZ First to decide on whether it betrays its supporters or supports Labour on the ETS

More fireworks in Parliament

Can the system take it? Or will Helen go to the polls?

Is NZ First About To Betray Its Supporters

NZ First is exactly where it wants to be, in the role of king maker over the ETS. Will he, won't he? In the spotlight, taking attention away from corruption allegations and the work of the privileges committee. But can NZ First actually support this bill? This is the policy NZ First was elected on last elected

only proceed with the implementation policies for the Kyoto protocol (aimed at reducing certain greenhouse gas emissions) to ensure they are in harmony with those of our major trading partners, and once a coherent plan has been formulated to allow the appropriate targets to be reached;

The proposed NZ scheme is very different even from the Australian scheme. China is our third largest trading partner. What is its scheme??

Question Five Video

Whaleoil has posted the video of yesterday's shutting down of allegations against Mr Peters. It is essential viewing.

Russian Recognition Of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Russia has upped the ante again by recognising Georgia's two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. This was in the face of a specific US request that Russia not do this. We agree with European Governments. This action is both unacceptable and regrettable.

Herald On Peters

The Herald writes on the new allegations made against Winston Peters.

Aug 26, 2008

HomePaddock Sails Close To the Wind

We are regular readers of HomePaddock and found today's posts very interesting. You might too.

Keeping Stock Also Worth a Read

Keeping Stock is an oldie but a goldie. Very interesting today.

Interesting New Blog Site

We have just stumbled upon an interesting new blogsite which contains plenty of food for thought. Readers might like to go there straight away as its content seems quite topical.

Just In From The GPC

Emissions Trading Legislation Will Hurt

News that the Green Party has pledged its support for the controversial emissions trading legislation should be ringing alarm bells amongst all consumers of energy, according to the Greenhouse Policy Coalition.

Catherine Beard, executive director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition says the emissions trading legislation before Parliament, due to its comprehensive coverage and lack of price safety valves, will be the highest cost scheme in the world.

“Unless the scheme is modified to allow for a more gradual exposure to the price of carbon in the economy, it is hard to see how the legislation will survive once the price shock flows through to consumers.”

“The Green Party is claiming they have made the scheme even tougher than it was previously, which should ring alarm bells for the public.”

“While Minister David Parker promoted the emissions trading scheme as being affordable at a price of $15/tonne of carbon, the international price of carbon has long since gone into the stratosphere and is now in the $40-50/tonne region – making this a high price to pay once those costs are passed through to every tonne of carbon associated with fuel and electricity.”

Catherine Beard says while the Green Party claim there will be concessions in the form of making homes more energy efficient, it is hard to see how lagging hot water cylinders and token support for solar hot water heating is going to offset the average price increase of around $600 per annum per household, once all the costs of increases of electricity, fuel and biofuel are added together.

Catherine Beard says it is hard to imagine any other country introducing a scheme which will increase the price of energy to businesses, households and food producers, with so little concern about the impact it will have on the basic cost of living or the number of jobs that will be lost.

“This is a major economic reform, and the time should be taken to make sure the end result for New Zealand is not just a loss of business to other countries that fail to tackle this issue with similar stringency to New Zealand.”

Shit Did Hit The Fan

but not the shit we were expecting.

Our political process has become further corrupted. Shame!

David Farrar is more diplomatic.

More later.

Shit About To Hit The Fan

Listen in or watch parliament around about 2.30pm today. Question 5

RODNEY HIDE to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by her answer given in oral question number four from the Rt Hon Winston Peters on 10 April 2003 that “This Government does not tolerate corruption. Any allegations are investigated.”?

Earlier questions on road tolling and PPPs will also be worth hearing. Winston Peters has question 1 and is doing his best to help Labour.

Further Confusion Over Supposed Misspeak

The recommendations of the public-private steering group on how to fund the massive Waterview Connection causes us to question again why some much fuss has been created by Williamson's copmments over the weekend. Here we have New Zealand's first PPP taking a big step forward, and Government saying that the mechanism could well be used for Transmission Gully or a new harbour crossing in Auckland. Here is Scoop's reprint of the Government's press statement welcoming the steering group's recommendation.

Loss Of Direct Air Services Should Be A Real Concern To Us All

The NZ Herald today carries the news that EVA is about to discontinue direct services to Taiwan and that Thai is thinking of ending direct services to Thailand. In both cases, the airlines feed onto a global network.

As an economy we need more, not fewer, carriers flying here.

This news makes us think again of the opportunity we foolishly turned away of having Auckland Airport owned by the same people who own Emirates.

And it makes us wonder again about the opportunity going missing for airlines to operate longer haul services out of Wellington. In part this is dependent on availability of suitable planes to fly these services (the Boeing 787 would seem the perfect plane for services out of Wellington, but it has yet to roll off the production line). Point to point is the way of the future. We commend the work being done by Wellington Airport to promote creative thinking by airlines about this opportunity.

Will NZ First Sign Suicide Pact?

That is what they will be doing if they agree to stay on the Government's lap and support the Emissions Trading Scheme. Winston is no fool. We can't see him taking a final decision this morning. We think he will seek more time. And so he should. Of course, we would really like NZ First to support the ETS. It will mean the loss of all votes from the productive sector for NZ First in its Bay of Plenty heartland where the ETS will cause thousands of jobs to be lost and many farms will become non-economic. This is all in the Government evidence presented to the select committee - including a by region analysis. We hope the NZ First caucus have done their homework.

Aug 25, 2008

Obama's Fuck up

We tought that Obama was campaigning about change you can believe in. But Biden? Where is the change? How is he different to Cheyney? The Wall Street Journal asks similar questions today.

In any number of ways, Mr. Biden does not help Mr. Obama's theme of changing Washington. The biggest false note in Saturday's joint Obama-Biden appearance was when Mr. Obama said that Mr. Biden will help him "turn the page on the ugly partisanship of Washington." Tell that to Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas or Ursula Meese, wife of Reagan-era Attorney General Ed Meese, whom Mr. Biden drove to tears with one of his ugly Judiciary Committee tirades. Mr. Biden has been in the middle of some of the Beltway's most ferocious partisan warfare.

Loser Party Places Great Hope In Convention

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times looks at the importance of the forthcoming convention for the Democrats.

Democrats gathering here for their nominating convention are significantly more nervous about Senator Barack Obama’s prospects this fall than they were a month ago, and are urging him to use the next four days to address weaknesses in his candidacy and lingering party divisions from the primary fight.

We think they should be nervous.

Can Greens Make A Decision Tomorrow?

Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has said that she is committed to reading all the submissions made to her party on the ETS before she outlines the facts to her caucus meeting. We see that over 2,500 have been received. And Fitzsimons is admitting in the NZ Herald that the submissions are arriving faster than they can be read:

Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said she was personally committed to reading all the messages before she outlined the situation to her caucus at its next meeting on Tuesday, when a final decision would be made.
"They are still arriving faster than we can read them," Ms Fitzsimons said. "So far we have not been able to look at all of them but it appears that they are split for and against."

Why The Fuss About PPPs and Toll Roads?

We though Labour was into this as well. Isn't there a group providing advice on possibly the first PPP road in Auckland? Won't tolling or some other form of user charge be essential if that goes through?

Isn't a toll a fundamental part of the Transmission Gully concept?

A number of businesses and business organisations are including us in their press releases (another new development perhaps being overlooked in the debate about the difference between jouranlists and bloggers). One arrived last week. It was advocating policies that all political parties should be adopting if they want New Zealand to improve productivity performance and to grow. This is what it said on land transport:

New Zealand has under-invested in road and rail, for too long and the
resulting bottlenecks are impacting negatively on our economic growth.
A substantial increase in expenditure on roads, rail, freight and public
transport over the next ten years above that already programmed is essential
if we are going to turn this situation around.
The current high oil price should not be a deterrent to investment in new
roads. It is likely that technological advances (e.g electric cars) will overcome
the effects of high oil prices and as New Zealand’s population grows there will
be increasing demand for roads. We should be investing now for the future.
There is great scope to improve the efficiency of road funding in New
Zealand. There needs to be more focus on commercial criteria and less on
political and bureaucratic processes in allocating resources in this sector.
The government should allow the use of more private sector investment
including public private partnerships (PPPs) and borrowing to fund the new
investment. This would help overcome capital constraints, accelerate
planning and construction and provide access to private sector expertise.

Legend of a lone crusader against forces of treachery

Tracy watlkins opinion piece on Winston Peters from today's Dominion Post is now online.

Well Done Danny Lee

A great day for New Zealand golf!

Here is the final score - 5 up with 4 to play.

Danny Lee 4 up with 7 to go

Those wanting to see the live scoring click here. This is really golf's 5th major and Lee's win, which looks likely, will be just as significant as Bob Charles winning The Open and Cambo winning the US Open.

What Has Happened To Principle In Our Parliament?

Excellent Editorial in today's Dominion Post. We agree with aall the words we are about to quote:

Others, such as ACT Party leader Rodney Hide and perhaps Greens co-leader Russel Norman, will try again to land a mortal blow on a merely injured NZ First Party leader Winston Peters. When the House last sat, he promised to answer questions about his party's funding, a promise he chose not to keep. In the meantime, he and lawyer Brian Henry have appeared before a privileges committee inquiry into a $100,000 donation from expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn toward Mr Peters' legal bills after the 2005 election and whether the MP should have declared it in the register of members' pecuniary interests.
The committee got no answers, either; Mr Peters and Mr Henry managed merely to muddy the waters further, though they did reveal their "blood brother" relationship - one that sees the lawyer render no bills to his client and pay bills on Mr Peters' behalf, which Mr Peters belatedly remembers he repaid.
Senior Auckland lawyers say the Law Society might well be interested in the revelations, with one QC calling the situation "extremely unorthodox".
If wimps on the privileges committee will not hold Mr Peters to account, maybe the Law Society or Serious Fraud Office will. Mr Glenn, and another donor, Sir Robert Jones, have already been in touch with the SFO, soon to be become part of the police. Given that it is perceived as too close to this Government, however, voters might have to rely on the independent auditor-general to unravel this mess.
But Mr Peters doesn't care. Last week he fulminated at the media, as usual; dumped on his colleagues, as usual; and played the victim before his dotty followers, as usual. He seems to have total faith that those who vote for him will do so again. He might be right. He is a magnet for conspiracy theorists and inhabitants of rest homes for the sadly bewildered, who might yet return him to Parliament.
That is precisely why, of course, National and Labour MPs on the privileges committee are pulling their punches. They fear they will need him after election night.
How craven. Whatever public respect politics as a profession has left is further dwindling because of the refusal of senior MPs to criticise the political show pony's inability to tell the same story twice and unwillingness to meet the standards he insists others attain.
Party leaders might be surprised at the kudos they would attract if they mutually agreed neither party would treat with him after this year's election.
That would be a stand of principle. But "principle" is a foreign word to most MPs, including Mr Peters. Mr Hide is fighting a lonely but dogged battle to make the NZ First leader accountable, and that is a disgrace.

Aug 24, 2008

TV3 Poll

The latest poll result will be no surprise to Hive readers as we told you what it was going to be on Friday. We heard it from our Labour Party sources. Interesting they had the result so early.

Very concerning for the Greens and NZ First. Now at The Hive we think that Winston and Party should be removed by the forthcoming election and New Zealand will be rid the pork barrel politics that NZ First has brought to New Zealand politics. But we see a continuing place for Green politics in our Parliament. And we don't think that Labour is a true Green Party. It might pretend to be to get votes, but who is it taking votes from????

Vote no to the watered down ETS and you will be back in Parliament Greens. Vote yes and you will be out for the next three years. Equation simple. Just as Duncan Garner said on the news tonight - look at the trend. Labour is taking your votes away.

How McCain Can Stay In Front For Good

Peggy Noonan, in the Wall Street Journal, looks at why McCain is pulling ahead and suggests how he can stay ahead. She sees the Rick Warren debate as having been important because it occurred at the time that the US was starting to think hard about the candidates - looking beyond the spin and hype. They realise that they know McCain. What do they know about Obama? And how to stay ahead? She suggests the one-term pledge. Hillary Clinton will vote for that!!


We can see why Obama doesn't want his VP to be a Cheney type. Biden will not be allowed to open his mouth.

Newzeal carries some interesting video provided by the McCain team on Biden's views on Obama.

The New York Times reminds us of Biden's views on blacks and Indians. looks at 'motormouth Biden'

What Happened To The Social Credit Supporter?

We all know what happened to the Social Credit Party, it became the New Zealand Democratic Party. But what happened to the Social Credit voters from the 1970s and early 1980s? They used to be a force to be reckoned with, getting 20% of the vote in 1981, and in the 1981-84 period they helped keep Muldoon in power. Then Bruce Beetham lost Rangitikei to Denis Marshall and the Party's support was virtually gone. Garry Knapp just didn't have it in him to asume the leadership mantle.
Voting Social Credit used to be a brave act. You would be a subject of derision. You used to be accused of owning a Skoda or wearing crimpalene suits. People would quiz you on Social Credit's economic policies and how they made sense. Since they did not make sense they were impossible to explain.

The Social Credit Party that achieved 20% support was a reflection of support for Bruce Beetham and a failure of both Labour and National to capture the support of a significant group of people. What did they believe in (other than Bruce Beetham)?

Bob Jones answers this question in a North and South article published in March 1988 (pp40-41). We summarise the average Social Credit supporter

middle aged or older male, living in a rural town, believing in financial conspiracies which they perceive lie behind the world's monetary and economic systems. Not one of them was 'intellectual' and 9 out of 10 members did not have the slightest understanding of Social Credit economics. They are often social misfits.

There we have it, the clue to where the average Social Credit voter has gone. Which Party is build around the personality cult of its leader? Which Party believes in conspiracy theories, often of a financial nature? Which Party draws its support from economic illiterates who live largely outside the main centres?

NZ First. That is where they have gone.

Yet Another Trust

Oh dear. It seemed to be going so well. No one had a clue what was really going on.

Remember Mr Henry telling the the privileges committee last week that since 1991 he had not issued Peters with an invoice for legal work?

Well read this from the herald on Sunday.

Rod Oram

We don't really want to get into a rave but we can't let Rod Oram's article today to pass. It is firstly overtly partisan. Second it is very wrong. Yes, the agriculture and forestry sectors are vulnerable to the way in which the international rules are written. Is it therefore a good idea to introduce a system domestically which is so obviously bad for those sectors prior to our achieving change to those international rules. Lets take forestry. These wonderful rules - written largely by the Europeans - assume that all carbon for forests is released the moment that forest is cut down. So we bear the cost for the cutting down of the forest even though the embedded carbon in the wood will in many cases be exported. The imported country bears no liability. But what about coal or oil? Does the producing country bear the cost of oil or coal it might be producing? No way. The importing country - the end user pays the price for the embedded carbon. Why the inconsistency????

Now lets look at agriculture - is anyone else applying their ETS type schemes agriculture in the same way that New Zealand is proposing? No.

Thank You Sunday Star Times

One of the things New Zealand has been lacking is a partisan media. WE enjoy being able to read or browse a US newspaper site or a UK news site so that we can get an appreciation for the views of one or other of the major political parties. In New Zealand one is never too sure whether a paper is overtly supporting one side or another - until today.

First the Editorial in today's SST "Clark's strength, experience serve us well".

It concludes "National has nobody like Helen Clark"

Then there is Rod Oram "If the ETS fails to pass in this parliament, National is widely optimistic to suggest it could pass its own legislation within nine months of taking office"

"Thus National's jockeying over the bill for short term political advantage at home will come at a very high cost of long-term disadvantage for those crucial two sectors [ag and forestry] internationally".

Aug 23, 2008

John Dauth To London

We can't find Tracy Watkins article on page B5 of the Dominion Post online yet but we do have this article from The Australian of 7 August. What Watkins misses is the obvious. Kevin Rudd is wanting to maximise the return on the expertise that Dauth has picked up in studying a Labour Government on its last legs. There is no better person in the Australian foreign service to go to London.

For the record we think that Dauth has done a great job for Australia here in his two years and it is a shame he can't be here for the election and its aftermath.

Carbon Trading Premature And Immoral

So says the Dominion Post's James Weir on page C1 of today's paper (we can't find this comment section on line).

Better to hold fire and line up the Kiwi scheme with Australia's proposal.

Our Government may have a legal mandate, but it has not a moral one to impose its far reaching legislation in what may be the emperors' last gasp.

We agree fully!

John Arnstrong - Peters Knows That He Is In Trouble

Very interesting article by John Armstrong today in the NZ Herald. We just quote from its ending. We think the polls are a bit clearer but generally agree with all of this:

The political credit NZ First had banked from delivering on its promises and keeping the minority Government stable has been run down rapidly in the weeks since it was revealed Glenn had made the donation Peters had so vociferously denied.
That Peters knows his party is in trouble is evidenced by two things. There is talk of putting Ron Mark up as NZ First's candidate in the Wellington seat of Rimutaka to try to win a threshold-nullifying constituency seat now that Peters has clearly done his chips in Tauranga.
Meanwhile, Peters has sought to reinforce his hold on the one voter segment that has been consistently loyal to NZ First. He has made upwards of 15 speeches to Grey Power branches in recent weeks. Among other things, he is promising a further increase in national super and subsidies for winter power bills.
He has also picked up on the string of finance house crashes which has seen many elderly lose their savings. He cannot get their money back, but he is promising a tougher regulatory regime and - in his latest move - a guarantee on deposits up to $100,000 lodged with the two New Zealand-owned banks, Kiwibank and TSB.
Peters is also warning that if NZ First is not returned to Parliament, then it is open for the next government to cut super. He doesn't mention National by name - that would be interpreted as him expecting a change of government. But he means National.
He has also sought to turn his current woes to advantage - claiming the media and Act leader Rodney Hide, who was partly responsible for getting Peters before the privileges committee, are the front for a conspiracy by the wealthy elite to destroy NZ First.
Will all this be enough to save NZ First? Not if the Serious Fraud Office launches a full investigation into the party's handling of donations.

Government Support For The Racing Industry

The NZ herald Editorial looks at the support that Winston Peters has arranged for the racing industry. The Editorial points out that this is unfair

The latter taxpayer subsidy was designed to go, dollar for dollar, to racecourse projects that enhanced safety and raised the quality of facilities. The $9 million to lift prize money was framed the same way. The racing codes were meant to match the taxpayer input and provide a business plan outlining the economic benefits to their industry and the regions involved.
Now, however, not even that proviso remains. In the first year, the Government is boosting stakes by $2.05 million on the four races, while the boost from the industry for the races will be just $1.17 million.
Mr Peters makes light of this by talking of the promotion of international racing in this country, the raised awareness of the major cup carnivals and their increased economic worth to the host cities.
The success of Australia's major carnivals is the obvious reference point. He has also been keen to highlight indirect benefits, such as the encouragement of bloodstock investment and retention of this country's best horses.
All this is laudable. Nonetheless, it is impossible to defend significant sums of taxpayer money being spent this way. No other gambling enterprise, private or public, receives or would expect such support. Imagine, for example, if the Lotteries Commission sought taxpayer money to top up Lotto's prize pool because the game was waning in popularity. It would doubtless be told to go away and formulate means of regaining Lotto's popularity and profitability.
In effect, racing now enjoys a considerable head-start over other forms of gambling. This is the more unfair in that it is unnecessary. As Mr Peters has pointed out, the reduced gaming duty has led to race stakes being increased from $39 million in 2006 to an expected $60 million this year. He has already supplied the stimulus to revitalise the industry. Racing did not require further bounty from the public purse. The Government should butt out and let it run its own race.

So if this is so very wrong, why has it happened and why was Treasury's advice ignored?