Six months on and its time for a performance review

by Orinjamba on April 14, 2018 at 1:30pm

It’s been roughly six months since this slow train wreck of a government has been in office so I thought it would be a good time to review how things have been going so far from my perspective. I’m basing my opinions predominantly on how things have been progressing in the house.

As expected the overall theme could perhaps be best summed up by the image of the traditionally Kiwi experience of seeing two glowing amber eyes in the middle of the road when heading around a lazy bend at 85 during the small hours. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Labour had no real expectations of winning the last general election and when the dust finally did settle were found staring into the oncoming headlights of a term in office. Perhaps they spent too much time and energy fossicking around for a decent leader during their time in opposition and not enough on policy development. It’s very easy to have a broad strategic platform of ideas to work from but quite something else putting together the means of achieving desired outcomes.

The election bribe of first-year free tertiary tuition is looking more and more dumb by the day. The fact this was not better targeted at specific streams of learning and training is monumentally stupid and wasteful. It may potentially provide some opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to access higher levels of education but I think there are smarter and better ways of achieving this. Time will tell. As for the closing of charter schools to mollify a mean spirited union void of any honour or passion? Don’t even get me started.

Another aspect which has been interesting to watch is the level of rampant racism being displayed, particularly by the Green Party. It was quite revealing listening to Golriz in the house a few weeks back during the submission process discussing the Pacer Plus Trade proposal. The Greens are opposed to such a deal as they see it as just another means towards stripping poorer nations of their assets and resources. Following her reasoning, Willie Jackson was next to speak and in so many words alluded to the patronising way ‘brown’ people are often referred to as if they had no brains to speak of and should be molly coddled as if they were children. I’ve always appreciated Willie’s perspective and while our politics are somewhat diverse he has always struck me as being someone with not only passion but also an enormous degree of street smarts and humility.

As for Marama Davidson’s upgrade to co leader all I can say is that it’s no real surprise. To be honest I’m struggling to understand why they even bothered having an election in the first place. She is obviously someone who believes passionately about the most disadvantaged however doesn’t appear to understand that capitalism is the best system for not only bringing people out of poverty but also raising living standards across the board in general.

But what about our new Prime Minister? Well, I’m sure many will disagree but I for one think she’s been handling herself pretty well really, especially considering the number of disparate personalities she’s been given to manage. I think the Youth Camp scandal pretty much sums up the level of idiots who currently populate Labour. A couple of days ago I wondered what the results would be of an I.Q. test for all of our current parliamentarians. Perhaps it’s better not to know though. In short, I believe Jacinda is coping remarkably well in the house. I find her politics quite tiresome and painful at the best of times but I respect her as a politician. Her confidence and aggressiveness in the House is really something to behold. Mind you I suspect she does get quite a bit of support from the gentleman sitting to her immediate left.

My prediction is that she WILL return after a brief break. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, she simply has no choice. The weight of expectation from people who believe a woman should be able to have a family AND a career is simply too much for Ms Ardern to ignore altogether. The second reason is that, like her or loathe her, Jacinda is passionate and genuinely believes in what she is doing.

Across the House it’s been a little painful to see the implosion of National, especially considering they won more votes than any other party. It would have been a very different story if the Maori Party had been able to hold on to even one of their seats, a fact which has been noticeably forgotten on both the left and the right. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out in the next election, especially if people such as Lance O’Sullivan and Tariana Turia lend some back bone and renewed mana to the centre-right, something I am predicting will happen in no small degree.

As for Simon Bridges, I think he needs to take some fashion advice from Winston. His suits are extremely bright and seem to be getting more shiny and obnoxious as the year progresses. He appears to be morphing day by day into the sort of cartoon cliché Mafia Don you’d expect to see in a show like the Sopranos. It will be interesting to see how long he lasts before being ‘taken care of’. His seeming inability to couch questions properly in the house and follow the speaker’s directives tends to disrupt the opposition’s momentum and I’m not sure how long it’s going to take him to understand irony and develop ways of avoiding it.

Judith Collins, on the other hand, has been serene and exemplary in her manner. Her no-nonsense and direct approach has been in stark contrast to her leaders and when she gets her gloves off during general debate time we see glimpses of a future Prime Minister in waiting.

Trevor Mallard still hasn’t answered my email inquiry about removing all references of Jesus from the opening prayer to parliament. It just strikes me as being a bit weird and over the top really. I mean, it’s like having a kennel with no dog in it. I sent him a follow-up email this week but don’t expect any reply.

So out of ten what would I give this crowd so far? Well, I give them a solid four and the only reason they rate that high is the degree of stability and certainty Peters provides. If the old Silver Fox wasn’t there then we’d really be in trouble. A bit like a one-legged man, in an arse kicking contest.

PS:

This article was written before government’s announcement of an end to off-shore Oil and Gas exploration.

Perhaps the Labour Party have given up all hope of ever winning the New Plymouth electorate again. Unless I’m very much mistaken the last time they held this seat was back in 2005 with Harry Duynhoven.

This is a real nasty shock for all those families who rely on this industry for their bread and butter. Particularly those family and whanau just starting out with babies on the way.

I’m imagining that our Prime Minister won’t be visiting the Naki for any photo ops in the near future.

As for New Zealand First’s future? Well, that could be even bleaker.

7 Rodney Hide wants Jacinda to put her money where her mouth is on fossil fuels

by Cameron Slater on March 29, 2018 at 9:00am

Rodney Hide wants Jacinda Ardern to put her money where her mouth is on fossil fuels in his latest column for NBR:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the world has moved on from fossil fuels. It’s a nice line but it’s wrong. The world is burning more oil, gas and coal than ever before.

Fossil fuel consumption has rocketed up 57% since the 1992 Earth Summit when the “world” set the goal of stabilising greenhouse gas emissions. Despite all the jamborees, communiques, policies and air miles since, the world has not moved on. Far from it.

President Barack Obama declared in 2008 that future generations would look back on his nomination as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Fast forward 10 years and he’s still – as we know – helicoptering to play golf. Flowery green rhetoric always marches hand-in-hand with great dollops of hypocrisy.

True to pattern, Ms Ardern has told Greenpeace activists she is “working hard” on ending oil and gas exploration. I don’t know what “working hard” could possibly entail. It’s easy for a government to ban exploration. It could be done in a day. It would be extraordinarily dumb and very costly but it would not be hard.

The “hard work” line is just political flimflam.

But then so is banning exploration. It’s the idea that somehow if New Zealand stopped looking for oil and gas, New Zealand would stop using oil and gas. It doesn’t follow. Oil and gas are traded around the world.

Rodney is right. It is just flim-flam. Our Prime Minister has plenty more flimflam statements she can trot out too. Her comments are just virtue signalling when you look at the facts like Rodney has:

New Zealand’s production is a drop in the bucket. In BP’s statistical review, New Zealand’s gas production is lumped in with “Other Asia Pacific.”

The more sensible approach would be to figure out how to get by without using oil and gas and so eliminate the need for exploration. Now that would be hard work. And to ban the use of oil and gas while the country is heavily dependent on both would plunge New Zealand into a new dark age.

And that’s where Ms Ardern’s thinking falls apart. She appears to be the hippie in the smoky bus with a “ban drilling” bumper sticker. Except she’s not. She’s the prime minister.

The hippie’s hypocrisy is amusing. The prime minister’s is dangerous.

It makes for “bumper sticker” government, without understanding or thought of consequence.

Bumper-sticker slogans is all Jacinda Ardern has got; it is all she has ever had. Rodney calls her out, challenging her to live her own rhetoric:

Instead of musing about a post-fossil fuel world, Ms Ardern should live it. So should the signatories to the Greenpeace petition calling for the end of oil and gas exploration. Anything less is dishonest politics.

Prime Minister Ardern and her partner have a huge carbon footprint by the nature of their work and lifestyle. Her work to ban exploration would have sting if she first showed by example how it’s possible to “move on” from fossil fuels.

Even better, she should get the “whole-of” government to move on from fossil fuels. It would be wonderful. That would be instant small and limited government. We would be left free to live our lives and to prosper with precious fossil fuels reserved for fun and production and no longer wasted on talking heads and oppressive bureaucracy.

Jacinda Ardern can’t forgo her fossil fuel use. How else would she be able to jet back to Auckland and rush home in a crown limousine to keep the dog on the porch?

-NBR

Hooton on Jacinda’s living nightmare

Image

by Cameron Slater on March 29, 2018 at 8:00am

Please make it stop! Pleeeeease

Matthew Hooton outlines each and every disaster currently besetting Princess Fairy-dust. He explains that she may well end up being a one-term Prime Minister:

It’s early days, but Jacinda Ardern risks being the first one-term Prime Minister since Walter Nash.

Eighteen years ago, Helen Clark’s Government was about to be confronted by the Winter of Discontent. The next eight years are a warning not to prematurely predict a Prime Minister’s early demise.

There is a big difference between what Matthew Hooton is saying there and the current government. Helen Clark was a competent politician and manager of people. Secondly, her caucus feared her and her Chief of Staff Heather Simpson. Thirdly, Clark knew how to cut throats. He adds:

Still, the speed with which stuff-ups, miscommunications and genuine scandals are now piling up against Jacinda Ardern’s Government is unprecedented.

In just two weeks, there have been at least eight, all either woefully mishandled by Ardern or reflecting the inherent instability of the first Government reliant on both NZ First and the Greens.

The Government’s only silver lining is that the issues are emerging so quickly they may crowd one another out in the public mind. To re-cap events since March 11:

• Labour’s management of the sexual assault allegations at its youth camp was, to quote Clark, “unbelievable”. That is exactly the word to describe general secretary Andrew Kirton’s version of events, yet Ardern has held no one to account.

• Dithering after Theresa May called for solidarity following the Salisbury attack suggested Ardern is afraid of her own Foreign Minister and reluctant to assert herself as the nation’s chief diplomat. Her later announcement there are no undeclared Russian intelligence agents in New Zealand was mocked by the world’s media for its naivety.

• Ardern broke prime ministerial precedentto greet 50 Greenpeace activists on Parliament’s forecourt, telling them the end of oil and gas exploration is nigh. That afternoon she told the media the opposite and by morning talked of exploration continuing until 2046. Politicians often say different things to different audiences but not usually on the same afternoon in front of the same TV cameras.

• Shane Jones’ popular attack on Air New Zealand was good politics for NZ First but Ardern’s weak admonishment of her minister is a joke in NZ First circles, encouraging future flamboyance from her coalition partner.

• Phil Twyford’s weekend announcement of a “medium density” development in Mt Albert lacked the credibility even of Nick Smith’s pronouncements during his ill-fated term as housing tsar. Twyford’s claim the new Government will build up to 4000 homes on just 29ha of land — with site efficiency of 63 per cent once roads, parks, shops and schools are taken into account — suggests population density comparable with Mumbai and six times that at Auckland’s controversial Hobsonville Pt. With the plan requiring zoning changes, consent hearings and utility installation on bare land, Twyford’s suggestion he will be putting the key in the door of the first houses next year indicates he has absolutely no idea of what is involved.

• Little-known NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft attracted attention after allegations she claimed to be speaking on behalf of ministers when threatening National MP Mark Mitchell over provincial growth fund projects in his electorate — but Ardern has made only perfunctory inquiries over the allegations.

• Ardern’s failure to sack Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran for being — on the most charitable interpretation — less than forthcoming with the truth over her dealings with an RNZ middle manager over the controversial $38 million RNZ+ proposal constrains her from acting decisively against future bad behaviour by ministers. Ardern risks further humiliation as more information emerges next week.

• Ardern’s decision to become personally involved in the nurses’ pay dispute by advancing yet another “independent panel” will heighten public-sector wage expectations at a time the Government is already up against its fiscal limits. Expect nurses and teachers strikes through winter.

Wow, that is some list of woes. From what I can gather the ‘Cyclone’ Curran will continue for some time. Labour are planning on brazening it out. National, however, are planning on drip feeding it for as long as possible in order to prolong Ardern and Curran’s agony. Hooton explains some core differences between Clark’s government and Ardern’s:

Clark of course recovered from her Winter of Discontent, starting with her so-called smoked salmon offensive. But the conditions in 2018 are different. Clark’s Government was not reliant on parties to both its left and right.

Moreover, after Clark’s years protecting the public health system from the Rogernomes in the Lange-Palmer Government, her knifing of Mike Moore in 1993 and her humbling of Michael Cullen during the aborted leadership coup of 1996, there was never any doubt she was almost always the smartest person in the room and certainly the toughest.

Hooton is right; Helen Clark was tough. She simply cut the throats of troublemakers. All Ardern does is grimace at them and throw out the odd worried expression squeezed out of her botoxed forehead. Hooton finishes:

Ardern may yet come back from the Easter break refreshed and ready to restore a semblance of control. Her next problem, though, is that she will soon be going on maternity leave, putting the unpredictable Winston Peters in charge.

I doubt it. After Easter there are two more weeks of parliament and the drip feed. Then, of course, there will be the naming of the alleged sexual assault attacker from Labour’s youth camp.

Jacinda Ardern does not look happy. Spinning ’round and ’round on her big chair in her office isn’t fun anymore.

-NZ Herald

A brutal and honest assessment of Jacinda Ardern by John Armstrong

by Cameron Slater on March 26, 2018 at 9:30am

John Armstrong has written what may well be one of his best columns. It shows what he is capable of when not taking dictation from Bill English:

Jacinda Ardern sold herself to the voting public last year as a politician who was as fresh and pure as driven snow.

During the past couple of weeks, her prime ministership has looked about as fresh and pure as mud-caked slush.

She has been deluged with unwanted distractions which have dominated the headlines and made it commensurately difficult to talk about the things she would prefer to have highlighted by the media.

Dealing with such an unrelenting litany of political mishaps goes with the territory of prime minister, however.

All of a sudden Wonder Woman is looking like just another struggling premier side-tracked by side shows.

Brand Jacinda would seem to be metamorphosing into Calamity Jacinda.

Ouch, that’s brutal. It’s also true as Jacinda Ardern is ill-equipped to deal with anything other than soft, fluffy headlines and slogans.

For the first time since her seemingly effortless ascension to the country’s top job just five short months ago, she has appeared flustered, if not rattled.

And snarly and nasty to boot.

Ardern’s difficulties have left many wondering whether they are a sign that the wheels are already falling off her Heath Robinson-like contraption of a government.

Her three-party combo is far more complex and potentially much more volatile than any other constructed since the introduction of MMP.

Labour needs no reminding of the Greens’ capacity to be thankless thorns in its side.

Add the in-your-face bolshiness of New Zealand First to the mix and you have a recipe for mayhem.

Isn’t it wonderful? I think it is. Blogging has never been easier.

With regard to the latter party, Ardern can expect more friction of the kind generated this week by Shane Jones in his full-on offensive against Air New Zealand.

In one stroke, he made it absolutely clear that such constitutional niceties as collective Cabinet responsibility, which constrains ministers from going solo in speaking out, now count for very little.

No politician lost votes pinging the national carrier. There are correspondingly no votes gained in defending the airline.

But the latter was the invidious position into which Ardern was thrust courtesy of the deliberately over-the-top call by the Minister for Regional Economic Development for heads to roll on the board of Air New Zealand.

Jones got the media attention he was seeking. But his undermining of Ardern did nothing for public confidence in the stability of the Government overall.

Well might she feel let down by Jones. Well may she feel let down by Jones’ leader who backed him to the hilt.

Jacinda thinks she is in charge, but anyone closely connected to the government knows that it is really Winston Peters calling the shots.

It is high time Winston Peters worked out that being Deputy Prime Minister—a post which enjoys a $37,000 margin on top of the standard $290,000 salary paid to Cabinet ministers—requires him to act in the Government’s wider interest rather than solely New Zealand First’s self-interest.

Bwahahaha. Winston Peters works in the best interests of Winston Peters. He always has and always will.

The list of those who have let Ardern down in past weeks is not confined to Peters’ party, however

Ardern was badly let down by Andrew Kirton, Labour’s general secretary, and Nigel Howarth, the party’s president, following the shocking revelations of under-age drinking and allegations of sexual assault at a Young Labour-organised summer camp.In particular, Howarth took so long to front in public that you could be excused thinking he was auditioning for the role of the Invisible Man.

Well might Ardern wish that Peters was the Invisible Man.

He further badly let her down in his other role as Foreign Minister.

She bent over backwards to stem the criticism rightly heaped upon him for his woeful handling of New Zealand’s response to the attempted murder of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

Peters veered close to provoking a foreign policy crisis through point-blank refusal to use the words “assassination”, “nerve agent”, “Russia” and “responsible” in the same sentence.

The Prime Minister has also been badly let down by the Greens, who have instantly revived their flagging reputation for adopting the weird and the whacky by announcing they would be gifting their allotment of parliamentary questions to the Opposition.

James Shaw was the first to agree the idea sounded crazy. Not only does it sound crazy. It is crazy. It is also little short of treachery.

Senior Labour people I’ve spoken to say that they have privately declared war on the Greens. They never liked them in the first place and they will now try to do to the Greens what National did to ACT.

It seems to have escaped the Greens that their gesture—ostensibly made in the interests of improving ministerial accountability—is a breach of the spirit, if not the wording of their co-operation agreement with Labour.

If things are going to fall apart, however, it will likely be because of clashes over policy matters.

One such battle is already looming. The Greens’ parliamentary wing now looks likely to yield to pressure from the wider party membership to block legislation instigated by Peters which would see MPs indulging in party-hopping chucked out of Parliament.

That could be entertaining.

Peters is obsessed with getting an anti-waka jumping law back on the statute books after a previous such measure expired more than a decade ago. There is little or no room for compromise.

We are thus entering unchartered waters. When it comes to steering into the rocks, there are going to be many false alarms, however.

Should the governing arrangement collapse, the party deemed as responsible for bringing the House down can guarantee it will be punished heavily by voters.

One thing pundits haven’t realised is that if the government collapses it doesn’t necessarily require an election. Both the Greens and NZ First could go cut a deal with National and the confidence in the house would change immediately, as would the government, all without an election. At the moment that could be easily triggered given the parlous state of Labour ministers and their hapless performances.

It could prove to be fatal. The Greens and New Zealand First are currently registering less than 7 per cent support in opinion polls. Neither party holds an electorate seat which would void the 5 per cent threshold.

The Greens are hogtied; New Zealand First slightly less so. Were the current Government to collapse, Peters could approach National and try to form an alternative administration.

He would have little bargaining power.

Moreover, National might prefer to take advantage of the chaos to try to convince voters that a stand-alone National majority government was the best option in ensuring the restoration of political stability.

That would be extremely risky…trying to go alone. That was Bill English’s plan and we all know how that ended up. John Key never managed it. Simon Bridges is no John Key.

The danger lies in the parties accidentally ending up in circumstances which make it impossible for them to back down or back off over some issue where they are in serious disagreement.

Avoiding such a scenario requires discipline. That commodity would seem to be in increasingly short supply, however.

Ardern needs to read the Riot Act to Peters and Shaw. She also needs to take heed of it herself.

She won’t do that. She is just like John Key but without the ruthlessness. She wants to be popular and liked. Being nasty doesn’t become her and she can’t cope with the pressure of doing that.

She let herself down while clearing up the mess created by Peters’ botched handling of the Russia problem. And badly so.

Her claim this week that New Zealand had been ahead of the international pack in declaring Moscow was behind the attempted murder of Skripal was as outrageous as it was audacious as it was patently incorrect.

She made reference to a statement issued under Peters’ name which condemned the “totally repugnant” use of chemical weapons as a tool for assassination.

Peters’ statement, however, offered not a word on whether responsibility for the assassination attempt could or should be sheeted home to Moscow.

In marked contrast, Britain’s other allies showed no hesitation in laying the blame for the nerve agent attack squarely at Russia’s door.

It took a couple more days for New Zealand to fall into line and declare via a joint statement issued under Ardern’s and Peters’ names that “Russia has serious questions to answer”.

No-one who has kept tabs on how events unfolded will be fooled by the Prime Minister’s blatant and shameless attempt to rewrite history. She will get away with it on this occasion. The conduct of foreign policy is not something the public cares that much about.

She is a perfect example of spin over substance – something I have been saying about her since 2008 when I had lunch with her in Morrinsville.

Ardern would be well-advised not to make a habit of playing fast and loose with the facts, however. Her patter might be silky smooth. But she cannot expect to talk her way out of every predicament that she finds herself enmeshed in.

Sooner than later, she will be caught out.

Voters have invested much hope in her being a politician who can be trusted absolutely. To make fools of those who have shown such faith in her would be to invite a backlash truly terrible in its scale and vitriol.

It is worse for Ardern and she sanctimoniously lectured Bill English during the election campaign about never telling lies. That lie has been well and truly outed in recent weeks

Looks like Jacinda’s letter to Trump was ignored

by Cameron Slater on March 24, 2018 at 9:00am

Jacinda Ardern’s letter to Donald Trump asking to exclude New Zealand from his new steel and aluminium tariffs looks to have been ignored.

U.S. President Donald Trump has temporarily excluded six countries, including Canada and Mexico, and European Union states from higher U.S. import duties on steel and aluminum meant to come into effect on Friday.

In a presidential proclamation published late on Thursday, Trump said he would suspend tariffs for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and the European Union, the U.S.’s biggest trading partner, until May 1, 2018 as discussions continue.

I guess mocking Trump for being orange has backfired on little Cindy.

After May 1, Trump would decide whether to permanently exempt the countries based on the status of talks, the White House said in a statement.

The United States was set to begin imposing the higher import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, mainly aimed at curbing imports from China, as of 12:01 a.m. EST on Friday.

“I have determined that the necessary and appropriate means to address the threat to the national security posed by imports from steel articles from these countries is to continue these discussions and to exempt steel articles imports from these countries from the tariff, at least at this time,” according to Trump’s proclamation released by the White House.

It said countries not on the list could discuss with Washington ways to address U.S. national security concerns caused by imports of steel from that country.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the EU would respond firmly if the United States did not exempt European steel and aluminum.

The European Commission had proposed that if U.S. tariffs were applied the bloc would challenge them at the World Trade Organization.

Canada and Mexico are in the midst of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Trump had said Canada and Mexico would only be excluded after the successful renegotiation of NAFTA.

Trump said South Korea was listed because of its important security relationship with the United States, “including our shared commitment to eliminating the North Korean nuclear threat.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is pushing for a three-way leaders’ summit with North Korea and the United States aimed at ending the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula. Trump has said he is willing to participate in the meeting although no date or location has been set.

I’m not sure that there is anything Labour can do or say that will help right now. They will have to reply on Tim Groser in Washington to smooze the way. All that mocking of him and his Trump party will have to be shelved.

Jacinda Ardern continues to sabotage our economy

by Cameron Slater on March 20, 2018 at 9:00am

Jacinda Ardern is just a sloganeering, virtue-signalling fool.

Her latest foolish position is to put on her concern face and say she is looking into ending oil exploration, ignoring potential wealth under our very own soil.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delayed attending a state visit to personally receive a Greenpeace petition calling for the end of oil exploration.

Standing in front of a series of posters of Labour leaders which had made high profile environmental decisions, Ardern said her Government was “actively considering” the issue.

Although her statement was light on details and Ardern has previously refused to rule out ending offering new exploration blocks, the decision to walk to the front of Parliament was highly symbolic.

Several hours later Ardern appeared to play down the comments and National has dismissed the move as a “quickly invented publicity stunt”.

 

She’s know all about those. Why insult the Indonesians to pander to Greenpeace? Other than it was after the parliamentary wing of Greenpeace handed all their questions over to National.

“We’re working hard on this issue and we know that it’s one that we can’t afford to spend much time on,” Ardern said at the Greenpeace rally.

“But we are actively considering it now and we are considering all of these issues in mind and with this government’s pledge that we will be carbon neutral by 2050, that’s not in question.

“But these are the intermediate decisions that we have to make in between. So while I ask for time, I’m not asking for much. But just enough that we can make sure that we factor in everything that you would ask us to factor in,” Ardern said, including “grave environmental concerns”.

But is it really an issue? Are people marching it the streets to stop oil explorations? Would they in Taranaki?

Ardern told the crowd she was supposed to be attending a state visit but had elected to receive the petition because of its importance. Behind her the Parliament flagpole was flying the Indonesian flag to mark the visit of President Joko Widodo.

Important to Labour to start beating up the Greens. But to no one else.

By 4pm Ardern appeared to walk back the comments, saying consideration of what to do with the process under which areas are offered for oil exploration was something that “every government does around this time of year”.

National leader Simon Bridges said there was nothing in the announcement.

“I think this is a quickly-invented publicity stunt by the Prime Minister to distract from her week from hell,” Bridges said, accusing Ardern of giving different messages to different audiences.

“By all accounts it seems the Prime Minister was trying to give an impression of high symbolism, of leaving a foreign leader waiting because this was such a pressing issue,” Bridges said.

“The reality of her post-Cabinet press conference was much more business as usual.”

Bridges speculated Labour would make nothing more than process changes around the way the Government offered exploration areas to industry.

“If we are to transition to a low carbon economy, we will continue to need fossil fuels and particularly gas, just to keep the lights on.”

Spot on Simon. He’s starting to come good.

Since taking office the Labour-led Government has been under mounting pressure to end oil exploration in New Zealand.

Greenpeace said the petition was signed by 45,000 people, including Dame Jane Campion, Taika Waititi and actor Lucy Lawless.

So what? That isn’t mounting pressure and who cares what those three think? Typical FAG members.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock said Ardern had won praise for describing climate change as New Zealand’s “nuclear free moment” but now had to put the words into action.

“The world can’t afford to burn even existing fossil fuel reserves let alone seek out new oil and gas if we want to avoid catastrophic warming.”

The planet isn’t warming, and it isn’t catastrophic if it is.

Energy Minister Megan Woods is due to speak to the New Zealand Petroleum Conference, an event run by lobby group Pepanz, in Wellington next week.

Pepanz chief executive Cameron Madgwick said while Ardern’s statements suggested no decision had been made, the move on Monday did appear to point to a direction the Government was going.

“Coming out to accept a petition from an environmental NGO [non government organisation] would appear to suggest that a decision may already be very close to being made,” Madgwick said.

The organisation did not know what to make of the Prime Minister’s actions, because the only written statements from Labour was an energy policy which stated an ongoing role for oil exploration.

“The country will still use oil and gas production for many, many years to come, even if we don’t look for them here or produce them here.”

Jacinda Ardern would rather we keep paying Arab nations for oil instead of using our own. It is economic sabotage.

 

-Fairfax

Good luck sweetie, you called him orange and he won’t have forgotten

by Cameron Slater on March 20, 2018 at 9:30am

Jacinda Ardern is mounting a forlorn hope.

At her first international outing she insulted Donald Trump, calling him orange, and Winston’s pal Rex Tillerson is now gone, so the chances of this exemption happening are remote.

The Prime Minister has written to the United States president seeking an exemption from his steel and aluminium tariffs.

Donald Trump signed off earlier this month on tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium imports, but exempted some countries, including Canada, Mexico and Australia.

Jacinda Ardern said she outlined in the letter her understanding of his concerns and what drove the imposition of the tariffs.

“We are awaiting a response, as are many other countries who have sought an exemption as well.”

Finance Minister Grant Robertson earlier said he did not support the tariff and did not want a trade war.

The tariffs are expected to come in on 23 March.

We shall see if a letter will work. I suspect not. The US loses nothing in slapping tarrifs on our steel and aluminium.

Who knows. It may well finish off the smelter and free up some power for those god-awful electric cars.

 

About all that booze at the Labour camp

by Cameron Slater on March 16, 2018 at 11:30am

Labour party officials may care to check out the following sections of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and the huge applicable fines – none of which I have seen mentioned to date in any form of media.

Now that we know there was a walk-in chiller and a mountain of booze, these clauses of the Act are particularly pertinent.

235 Use of unlicensed premises as place of resort for consumption of alcohol

(1) A person who is the occupier, or has or takes part in the care, management, or control, of any unlicensed premises commits an offence if that person allows those premises to be kept or used as a place of resort for the consumption of alcohol.  

 

(2) A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $20,000.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to the consumption of alcohol—

(a) by any person on any premises on which that person resides, whether that person is the occupier of the premises or not; or
(b) supplied to any person by way of gift by any person who resides on the premises on which the alcohol is consumed.

(4) A person who acts as, or as if he or she were, an occupier or a person having any part in the care, management, or control of any premises is to be treated as an occupier of the premises, but without affecting the liability of any other person.

(5) Premises may be treated as being kept or used as a place of resort for the consumption of alcohol even though they are open only for the use of particular people or particular classes of person, and not to all people who wish to use them.

and;

236 People found on unlicensed premises kept as place of resort for consumption of alcohol

(1) A person who is not a constable acting in the execution of his or her duty commits an offence if he or she is found on any unlicensed premises kept or used in breach of section 235.

(2) A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $2,000.

(3) It is a defence to a charge under subsection (1) if the defendant satisfies the court that he or she—

(a) was present on the premises for a lawful purpose; and
(b) neither took part nor intended to take part in any unlawful sale, supply, or consumption of alcohol.

and;

241 Supplying alcohol to minors

(1) A person who supplies alcohol to a minor commits an offence.

(2) A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $2,000.

(3) It is a defence to a charge under subsection (1) if the person supplying the alcohol (the supplier)—

(a) is a parent or guardian of the minor, and supplies the alcohol in a responsible manner; or
(b) believes on reasonable grounds that the minor is not a minor; or
(c) believes on reasonable grounds that subsection (7) applies to the minor, and supplies the alcohol in a responsible manner; or
(d) believes on reasonable grounds that he or she has the express consent of the parent or guardian of the minor, and supplies the alcohol in a responsible manner.

(4) When considering for the purposes of subsection (3)(a), (c), or (d) whether alcohol was supplied to any person in a responsible manner, the court may, in relation to the occasion on which the alcohol was supplied, take into account the following:

(a) the steps taken by the supplier to supervise the consumption of alcohol:
(b) whether food was provided with the alcohol:
(c) whether a choice of low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages, or both, was offered:
(d) the nature of the occasion:
(e) any arrangements for, or provision of, safe transport:
(f) the period over which the alcohol was supplied:
(g) the strength and volume of the alcohol supplied:
(h) the age of the minor:
(i) any other matter it thinks relevant in the particular circumstances.

(5) Subsection (1) applies irrespective of any liability that may attach to the licensee or any manager or other person in respect of the sale or supply of the alcohol.

(6) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (1) by supplying alcohol to a person who then supplies it to a third person who is a minor, unless it is proved that the person knew or had reasonable grounds to believe that the alcohol was intended for a minor.

(7) This subsection applies to the minor at any time if he or she is then no longer subject to guardianship by operation of section 28 of the Care of Children Act 2004.

That is almost impossible for Labour to get out of. The supplier of the booze and the supervisor of the camp are in the gun. Ultimately, they are also responsible for the ensuing alleged sexual assaults.

Labour can’t escape their responsibilities. They even had someone at the camp who runs a bar in his private life. He knows what host responsibility is, and the adults in charge should have known what “duty of care” and “in loco parentis” mean as well.

They should be for the high jump. We shall see.

What is the worst thing about the Labour youth camp scandal?

by Deb on March 16, 2018 at 12:30pm

Much has been published over the last few days about the Labour youth camp scandal.

There is so much about this whole sorry saga that is rotten, that I have found myself stuttering with indignation from bad decision to weasel excuse, trying to decide which screw-up, of the many, is the worst.

I will leave the sexual assault allegations to one side: that’s a matter for the police. I’ll also not dwell on the delay in offering support to the victims immediately. That’s just a no-brainer: worst decision made. Hands down.

As for the rest, let’s look at the prelude and the aftermath: which of these is the biggest screw-up?

Serving alcohol to minors and inadequate supervision

All kinds of rules broken with this one. Given this was a Youth Labour event, I don’t understand why alcohol wasn’t completely banned, and why that rule wasn’t strictly enforced. That just removes a whole lot of risks and complications. Some of our readers have told anecdotally of school camps where there is a complete alcohol ban: not even the parents are allowed to drink. This makes a lot of sense: it removes any ambiguity about degrees of intoxication and there’s no risk of alcohol falling into the wrong mouths.

I’m also a bit stunned that the person in charge was not present when all this went down. As Camp Mother, her job was to supervise and ensure the safety of those attending. She should not have bailed until the last little poppet was tucked up safely in their own bed. Even if she had to prop her eyes open with matchsticks, she’s the last one to call it quits for the night. That’s her job and her sole reason for being there.

Not telling the parents

Kate Hawkesby wrote a good opinion piece in the ‘Herald’ and covered this. Her point of view is summed up well with this sentence:

 “I would hope no amount of ‘but that’s the law’ would stop any other parent or adult telling me if my child had suffered or experienced something so gravely traumatising.”

Kate also raised some good points about 16 being the age of consent and how there is no clear step from child to adult. It is ambiguous, and even at 16 support from parents is desirable.

The consensus I’ve read and heard is that most people think the parents should have been told. Would it be easy to tell a parent that someone has messed with their child in some way? No way. And, for the same reason, I don’t think a 16-year-old should ever have to make that choice or be the one to do the telling. The parents should have been told straight away. No ifs, buts or excuses.

The cover-up

Labour can try and spin this until they are red in the face. The “we were acting in the best interests of the victims” is a crock. If that spin was even remotely true, they would have given them all the support they needed immediately, instead of doing nothing for three weeks and hoping it went away. This is a cover-up, pure and simple. They cared more about the party image than the kids in their care. That makes me see red. And I’m not a red-seeing kind of person.

The hypocrisy of it all

Just a few weeks ago, on 27 February while this was quietly ticking away in the background, Ms Ardern was appealing to landlords, saying, “Landlords should ignore market signals and poorly designed public policy, and instead just look to ‘morality’.“

Morality. Right. You sit there and lecture landlords about the morality of charging a market rate rent, while your party is quietly spinning the wheels, and desperately hoping they won’t come off; silently doing nothing, except cover up an alleged sexual assault at a Youth Labour camp.

I think for me, the hypocrisy is what really sticks in my craw.