The Jackal: May 2011

31 May 2011

More Inaccurate Polling

There’s been some debate recently concerning political polling within New Zealand. Many are questioning discrepancies within the research and believe that we’re not seeing an accurate representation of public opinion. This was no more apparent than in last nights TV3 News item with the right wing Duncan Garner reporting on National's Kiwisaver cuts.

He presented a Reid Research poll showing 46% of New Zealander’s supporting cut’s to the Kiwisaver scheme, with exactly the same percentage supposedly being against the cuts. 7% did not know. Leaving 1% unaccounted for. You can view the report 10:26 into this broadcast. The report went on to say that only 25% of National and 75% of Labour voters don’t support the cuts. Most people should be able to spot the inconsistency within these figures.

Duncan Garner's own figures show the Reid research poll to be inaccurate. To compound their inaccurate polling, TV3 then released an article stating that: "Of the 1000 voters in the poll, 43% agreed with the cuts, while an equal number disagreed." It is typical of dishonest people to get caught up in their own lies. I’m sure TV3 can come up with some excuse for the mathematical contradictions, however they will probably not even bother to try and justify their misrepresentation.

Such discrepancies are not always so obvious though, with many false results being more cleverly presented to dupe the public into believing incorrect information. This discrepancy clearly shows a systemic failure in the way polling is being conducted and/or reported. There’s a serious credibility issue concerning polling and reporting that must be addressed. We cannot accept such inaccurate polling when there is much that relies on proper representation of public perception.

One person who is no stranger to misrepresenting information is David Farrar. He’s recently been granted a column in the NZ Herald to preach his particular form of fascism. Farrar is a trustee of the Free Speech Coalition, which recently undertook a court case in support of Internet child pornography. The Jackal’s contention is that such a person with obviously unbalanced and disingenuous viewpoints should not be granted more access to corrupt people’s minds.

With the closure of independent news organizations, the well-documented Mediaworks bribe and many news outlets succumbing to Nationals underhanded tactics to control their reporting, we’re likely to see an even more crooked representation of information from New Zealand’s mainstream media outlets. So much for democracy.

30 May 2011

Climate Change vs John Key

In a recent survey conducted by the WWF, 73% of New Zealanders believe that the Government should prioritise increased development of renewable energy to provide electricity and transport fuel in New Zealand. Only 18% said the government’s energy strategy should prioritise more exploration and mining for fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas.

With a clear majority saying that the Government should invest in clean tech, you would think that New Zealand would see some action to lesson our reliance on dirty fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. Unfortunately John Key has remained stagnant on this serious issue since National came to power. This is because the Prime Minister is a climate change denier; despite clear and irrefutable evidence showing mankind is damaging the Earth.

When National gained power in 2008, they despicably went about removing many of New Zealand's domestic climate policies that could have helped create jobs, safeguard the environment and move Aotearoa into a brighter future.

The costly delay to clean tech implementation puts human existence at an ever increasingly precarious position. The predictions of future severe weather events have come true in many countries with extensive flooding and increased storms. It's a devastating reminder of just how powerful Mother Nature can be.

Scientists now believe that even if the world cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions today, we're still going to see a worsening environmental effect and a reduction in food production capacity. With an already estimated 1 billion starving humans throughout the World, this is dire news indeed.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a major 2007 report forecast that the world would heat up by 1.8 to 4.0 degrees Celsius (3.2-7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared with pre-industrial levels and that some damage was irreversible. Despite countries like Germany, which have been able to reduce carbon emissions by a large implementation of solar and wind technology; that UN prediction is now blown out of the water.

Contrary to what John Key the clown believes, there's a scientific consensus showing that climate change is irrefutably related to mankind's industrialization. However, political momentum to fight climate change has declined since that 2007 report, especially in the United States, with a number of conservative lawmakers raising unfounded doubts about the science and saying that action is too costly. Their delay will surely be far more expensive than the implimentation of any remedial measures available.

Subsidies for electric vehicles? Two years on from this video, National has done nothing to reduce carbon emissions. It is clear that many countries (including New Zealand) have delayed measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and this has resulted in an increase globally by a record amount in 2010, to the highest carbon output in history.

The International Energy Agency reported CO2 emissions grew to an historic high of 30.6 gigatonnes, a 5% increase over 2008 levels after a dip in 2009. It's a sad fact that many countries are failing to adhere to greenhouse gas reductions, something the entire globe cannot afford to get wrong.

Recently the EU pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. For them to achieve this, the EU is setting itself milestones to achieve by 2020 and 2040.

The same cannot be said about New Zealand's National Government. John Key continues to show a large amount of inertia, presumably because of a continued incorrect belief that climate change is not real. National's failure to meet its ETS goals makes it clear that our supposed leaders current policies are not based on scientific information. Instead of making positive changes, they continue to help their rich mates in polluting industries, something that we can ill afford to have continue.
Let’s way up the pros and cons of energy sources:

Coal. We have a good supply of coal but it adds to climate change and our terrible air quality when burnt. It is also dangerous to source.

Nuclear power. Gives a vast amount of energy. Creates waste that is not easily disposed of and threatens life when the technology fails. Is difficult to decommission and has lasting effects for thousands of years. Makes the areas utilized unusable for future development. Becomes unsafe with common events such as earthquakes.

Fossil fuels/gas. Relatively little processing in terms of energy delivered. Dangerous to extract, contributes to climate change and is a limited resource.

Wind power. We have a plentiful supply of wind and many suitable locations where noise pollution will not affect anybody. Newer windmill designs are less noisy. Many people think that windmills are beautiful to look at and implementing this technology on a large scale can meet our entire energy requirement. 

Tidal. There are many areas of New Zealand vastly suitable to tidal generators. Being that many of our towns and cities are located close to the ocean, tidal power could be a burgeoning industry.

Solar. Is easy to manufacture and install. Utilizes a source of energy that is abundant. Small installations can be hidden from view. We would require large installations to meet our growing demand for energy.

Hydro. We have many suitable locations for additional hydro dams and a plentiful supply of water to power them. The down side is that such large developments require large capital input and damage some of New Zealand's most picturesque areas. Dams are subject to structural damage from earthquakes and many endangered species reside in suitable locations.

Geothermal. Is a clean energy source that is abundant within New Zealand. Currently generates around 57 TWh/a of Electricity in 24 countries. Has vast potential for further development.

Biomass. Can utilise many waste products but the process has not been perfected yet and is still relatively inefficient. Can create heat or waste by-product in processing.

There will always be a profit motive for all of these technologies. The profit motive of fossil fuel is currently inhibiting clean tech alternatives. The World has vast geothermal areas that are currently untapped, mainly on plate boundaries. Much of the infrastructure already exists to utilize natural areas where non-polluting energy can be harnessed. Every country in the world has the choice between technology that is safe and technology that is dangerous. It’s all about cost efficiency, safety and reducing greenhouse gasses. The order in which we prioritise, will determine our existence on this planet.

28 May 2011

25 Rules of Disinformation

This note provides a handy reference to most of the games used by spin-doctors and other assorted disinformation artists. Knowledge of these tricks enables us to spot their handiwork where ever they might appear. Those who've been on the receiving end of an injustice by Government or a Corporate will be familiar with many of these rules.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil:  Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it — especially if you are an executive, administrator, politician, official, or other public figure. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.

2. Become incredulous and indignant:  Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used to show that the original "topic" is being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the "How dare you!" gambit.

3. Create rumour mongers:  Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumours and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such "arguable rumours". If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a "wild rumor" which can have no basis in fact.

4. Use a straw man:  Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule:  This is also known as the primary or attack the messenger ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as "kooks", "right-wing", "liberal", "left-wing", "terrorists", "conspiracy buffs", "radicals", "militia", "racists", "religious fanatics", "sexual deviates", and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

6. Hit and Run:  In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism reasoning — simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.

7. Question motives:  Twist or amplify any fact which could so taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

8. Invoke authority:  Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough "jargon" and "minutiae" to illustrate you are "one who knows", and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

9. Play Dumb:  No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues by denying they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

10. Associate opponent charges with old news:  A derivative of the straw man. In any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with. Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually them be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues — so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions:  Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the "high road" and "confess" with candour that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made — but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, "just isn't so." Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later. Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for "coming clean" and "owning up" to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

12. Enigmas have no solution:  Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to loose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.

13. Alice in Wonderland Logic:  Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards with an apparent deductive logic in a way that forbears any actual material fact.

14. Demand complete solutions:  Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best for items qualifying for Rule 10.

15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions:  This requires creative thinking except where the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

16. Vanishing evidence and witnesses:  If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.

17. Change the subject:  Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can "argue" with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents:  If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how "sensitive they are to criticism".

19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs:  This is perhaps a variant of the "play dumb" rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon). In order to completely avoid discussing issues may require you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.

20. False evidence:  Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor or other empowered investigative body:  Subvert the process to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favourable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed.

22. Manufacture a new truth:  Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favourably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

23. Create bigger distractions:  If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.

24. Silence critics:  If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of their character by release of blackmail information, or merely by proper intimidation with blackmail or other threats.

25. Vanish:  If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen.

Written by H. Michael Sweeney

Police Prepare for Civil Disorder

Despite funding cuts for Woman’s refuges and many other social services, the Police got brand new expensive riot gear this week, which turns your average constable into a protester-bashing machine. Throughout the country, police have been kitted out with the armour to better prepare for public disorder. Police insist that the red bibs have nothing to do with the infamous Red Squad set up to deal with anti-Springbok tour protests.

For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. More than 150,000 people took part in over 200 demonstrations in 28 centres, and 1500 were charged with offences stemming from these protests. Despite well documented Police brutality, no Police were ever charged with assault.

The new armour has been distributed throughout New Zealand at an undisclosed cost to ensure all officers have the same level of protection in all police districts. National manager of operations Barry Taylor went onto say he did not anticipate it being used or seen during the Rugby World Cup. So this begs the question, what are you going to use this equipment for? There’s recently been many large anti Governmental protests occurring in other countries on the back of similar repressive policy’s that National are planning to implement, which could have sparked the large investment in crowd control equipment.
Police officers from around the country will spend two weeks at the Royal New Zealand Police College, training in the use of the new riot equipment. Being that abused Woman and children in New Zealand need the services of a refuge every other day, why has New Zealand purchased this expensive equipment to the detriment of essential services?

Many Woman’s refuges are already preparing to shut their doors on the back of Nationals funding cuts, meaning that battered females will no longer be able to escape their abusive partners. Cutting funding to Woman’s refuges while funding equipment that will spend most of its time in the broom cupboard is a travesty! The few occasions that the Police might utilize such equipment will be to subdue the will of the public, who ironically pay the taxes used to purchase such equipment utilized in their own repression.
The new crowd control equipment comes at the same time a proposal to give police officers the ability to use their stun guns whenever they feel the need gains media endorsement. Police have also been granted more access to firearms, continuing Nationals policy trend of the Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. How long the funding remains for that ambulance is debatable.

The granting of additional powers, more weapons in Police vehicles and riot control equipment comes despite the Minister of Police Judith Collins claiming that crime rates have fallen. The increased funding also comes on the back of some terrible cases of Police abuse and brutality that have seen relatively little media coverage. Surely the funds would be better spent on rectifying the negative culture that pervades our Police force.

27 May 2011

Friday Fun with Photos #2

Now I know the British Prime Minister David Cameron was figuratively in bed with the Yanks, but I never knew he swung both ways. And who would have thought that the President of the United States Barack Obama was conducive to a bit of policy persuasion of the sexual kind. Get a room you guys.

More Effluent from Dairy NZ

You might be aware that New Zealand has run an extensive worldwide campaign saying we're 100% Pure, which has cost us millions of dollars. This claim is of course untrue. 90% of our low land River’s and 50% of our lakes are highly polluted. You’re likely to be afflicted with sickness if you swim or drink from these polluted waters, something John Key is not aware of as exposed in this BBC Hardtalk interview. Talk about being divorced from reality.

John Campbell ran a good story the other night concerning the Waituna Lagoon, a renowned Ramser site of international significance. It’s close to flipping, which means it’s on the verge of collapse. Everything will die because of a lack of viable functioning ecological systems. It’s being decimated by cowshit, something the spokesman and CEO for Dairy NZ, a Dr Tim Mackle does not accept as a fact. In this interview, the mealy-mouthed denier tries to protect dirty dairying:

Did we hear you right Dr Tim… Did you just say that you’re not convinced the Waituna Lagoon pollution is a result of effluent runoff from farms? For fucks sack man. I realise you're paid the big bucks to try and protect your farmers, but please don’t lie to the public about a serious problem that has to be addressed. It's a sad fact that profitability is increased by utilizing polluting procedures, something Farmer's wont give up without a fight.

Click image for large map of Waituna.
If Dairy NZ does not think the huge amounts of effluent in our waterways is a problem, Council's are complacent about the pollution and the Government is half heartedly addressing the issues; there’s not much hope that NZ will ever clean up its act. Just in case you might believe what Dr Tim Mackle is saying, here are some facts about dirty dairying:

Many of our major rivers, even the apparently pristine Motu, are unsuitable for swimming, a Niwa study revealed. The “swimmability” of 77 of the country’s main rivers for which water quality monitoring is regularly done, shows the Motu, the Waipaoa, the Waikohu and the Mohaka Rivers in the East Coast area plus many others are degraded. Analysis has been carried out as part of the National Rivers Water Quality Network programme by the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Science. Niwa says the Waipaoa River at Kanakanaia is the worst on its list and is totally unsuitable for swimming.

That report, covering the 2009 to 2010 summer period, is not good reading for many regions. Of 206 rivers, lakes, lagoons and estuaries tested regularly by local councils, only 57 per cent were found to be safe for swimming most of the time.

The report showed that one in nine freshwater swimming spots, including popular west coast lagoons, often had too much faecal matter to be safe for bathing. The Niwa report says data from 1989 to 2007 shows an overall degradation in the water quality in New Zealand’s major rivers. It says nitrogen and phosphorus, key plant nutrients added to fertilisers increased strongly at many sites. These, plus faecal microbes and sediments, are key contaminants and many waterways in dairy land are among the most polluted.

The report also says monitoring shows that diffuse pollution from land use is overwhelmingly the main cause of water quality degradation. Did you understand that Dr Tim Mackle?
The Internationally renowned and now polluted Waituna lagoon.
Even the Minister of the Environment Nick Smith said the Government and Environment Southland had been slow in providing the necessary controls to properly protect water bodies such as Waituna Lagoon.

"I also think Environment Southland must take some responsibility in that it has chosen not to use powers available to it under the Resource Management Act to better manage farm intensification,” said Dr Smith.

The week that was 21 - 27 May

A study undertaken by a citizen's group has found radioactive substances in the breast milk of women in Japan. 12.5% of those tested, were affected by Fukushima Dai-ichi fallout. Samples were taken from across five prefectures, the tests found cesium in the breast milk of four women in Tokyo, Fukushima and Ibaraki, and radioactive iodine in the breast milk of a woman in Fukushima.

The findings were released on Wednesday, with the study being conducted one month after the magnitude 9.0 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which destroyed much of Japan’s northeast coast, triggering a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant which saw radiation leak into the sea, soil and air.

Reports of contamination in water and food then emerged in the weeks following the March 11 twin disasters. Safety levels of radioactive substances in breast milk have not been set by the Japanese government with readings being in the range of 5.5 becquerels of iodine and up to 10.5 becquerels of cesium. The allowable limit is currently 100 becquerels of radioactive iodine and 200 becquerels of cesium for tap water consumption by infants. The group has called on health authorities to make testing available to concerned parents.
Masataka Shimizu
The president of Japanese company Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) will step down over what many are now saying is the world's worst nuclear crisis the World has ever known. Masataka Shimizu's resignation comes as the firm reported a record loss of more than $14 billion for the past financial year after being hit by huge costs as a result of the crisis. TEPCO will appoint current managing director Toshio Nishizawa to replace Mr Shimizu, effective after a June shareholders' meeting.

The loss for Japan's biggest utility comes amid criticism over its handling of the nuclear crisis, in which it faces massive compensation claims, prompting the government to devise a rescue plan. The beleaguered utility says it has decided to scrap all four reactors at the plant crippled after the March 11 earthquake, and abandon plans to build two more. The company plans to cut jobs and draft a streamlining plan this year, as it looks to raise funds to pay for a compensation bill that some analysts have conservatively estimated to top $114 million.

Former Bosnian-Serb military leader Ratko Mladic has been arrested on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian civil war in the early 1990s. Ratko Mladic was one of Europe’s most wanted war crimes fugitives.  He has been on the run for more than 15 years, since he was indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal at The Hague in 1995. 
During the Bosnian war in the early 1990s he oversaw the siege of Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, which lasted more than three years and is the longest in the history of modern warfare. He’s also accused of having played a key role in the bloody attack in 1995 of Srebrenica, where thousands of Muslim men and boys were killed in Europe’s worst massacre of civilians since the Second World War.

A group of over 200 people protesting deep sea oil exploration in the Raukumara Basin marched up Auckland’s Queen St this week. The group carried banners, bearing the slogans: ''no oil drilling'' and ''Petrobras: go back to Brazil''. The protest left Princes Wharf and made its way towards the Town Hall. An Auckland Central police spokesman said the protest was peaceful and no arrests were made, but police did not know about the protest in advance. One of the protesters said she attended the march to protest the exploration and possible deep sea drilling by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.

“It’s hugely dangerous for our environment and our economy, I think in general most people are against an oil rig being set up.” she said.

On Tuesday protesters abseiled from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and unfurled a huge banner. The bridge is the northernmost of the east–west crossings of the San Francisco Bay. The protesters want Chevron to take responsibility for its oil pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon. The 30,000 Ecuadoreans affected by Chevron’s oil pollution in the Amazon issued a moving Open Letter to the United States last week, calling on Americans to stand with them in demanding justice.

A group of Rainforest Action Network activists heeded their call by unfurling a banner reading "Chevron Guilty-Clean Up Amazon" from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, which lies in the shadow of Chevron's Richmond refinery.

The New Zealand National Government has confirmed special tax breaks in the Budget for the two major rugby organisations behind the Rugby World Cup. Finance Minister Bill English confirmed the Crown would reimburse income tax incurred by Rugby New Zealand 2011, the company set up to run the tournament, and also by the New Zealand Rugby Union where it was involved. Separately, the Crown has agreed to reimburse the union for withholding tax incurred on payments made in relation to the tournament.

Inland Revenue has clarified that anyone representing overseas unions or official overseas rugby organisations also won’t have to pay tax on income received from games or Cup-related activity while in NZ. Visitors not part of official overseas rugby bodies may also be spared the taxman’s pinch, but may get 20 per cent tax deducted from appearance money or prizes received – including any bonuses handed out because their team made the semifinals.
A policy change means New Zealanders wanting to get a job during the Rugby World Cup will now face more competition from migrant workers. Immigration New Zealand has been encouraging migrants to take jobs created from the tournament. Usually when someone applies to work in New Zealand, and their job offer does not specify an end date, they are given a 12 month visa. But immigration officials have been told to make sure visas for low skilled jobs in hospitality and accommodation last until three weeks after the Rugby World Cup ends in October. Since September last year, unskilled, English speaking workers have been given no-questions asked extended visas.

Cuts to KiwiSaver were confirmed with the release of the 2011 budget this week. John Key had previously stated that no cuts to the scheme were going to be undertaken in Nationals first term as Government. The Prime Minister promised that changes wouldn't kick in until after the next election. No Right Turn has found that the cuts come into effect on July 1st of this year, showing that once again John Key is untrustworthy. The cuts effectively halve the member tax credit. Idiot/Savant goes on to say:

“Tax credits are paid at the end of a tax year, but accrue daily. So National are cutting KiwiSaver before the election, and stealing your tax credits every day from July. It’s not what was promised, and it’s not what they said they were doing. I guess they thought that no one would notice, and that they could bury it with some clever spin.

This is a foretaste of what is to come if National wins a second term: not just the cuts, but the deceit, the fundamental contempt for the electorate. If you want to stop that from happening, you know how to vote in November.”

26 May 2011

Parliament's Wall of Shame #3

Tau Henare
Tau Henare has once again shown what a complete douche bag he is through his Twitter feed. The Jackal doesn't like to see such atrocious behaviour like this and has therefore included Tau Henare in the Parliament's Wall of Shame. There is a certain amount of decorum and proper conduct required from our supposed leaders, something Tau Henare is woefully lacking in. Recent derogatroy statements by Henare about Hone Hawarewa can best be described as a brain fart by the National MP:

The prolific Twitter user sits in parliament looking busy, but he's actually just sending idiotic tweets. Back in Februrary this year, Henare abused Labour's Stuart Nash tweeting that "Stuart Nash looks like a tosser." Prime Minister John Key has refused to comment about Henare’s unbecoming conduct, which effectively makes people lose respect in Parliament. Henare also recently described Trevor Mallard as a “Bitch” in yet another stupid tweet:
For some reason Tau Henare thought the Jackal was tweeting on behalf of Trevor Mallard. The Jackal has no affiliation with the Labour Party, Tau Henare is clearly delusional. It’s not the first time Henare and Mallard have had a bit of argy bargy though. On 25 October 2007, Mr Henare had an altercation with Mr Mallard outside Parliament's debating chamber. Wellington accountant Graham McCready launched a private prosecution after police rejected his initial complaint, deeming he was not an interested party in the fracas.

It's understood Tau Henare had made personal comments regarding the Labour MP's marriage breakup and subsequent new relationship. Trevor punched Mr Henare after the baiting about his personal life. But that's not the half of it. On May 12th Mr Henare said that Labour MPs Stuart Nash and Phil Twyford should wipe his arse:
That's just the tip of the iceberg of Henare's abusive tweets. Back in August 2009, Tau Henare resorting to name calling against Local Government Minister Rodney Hide over the ACT leader's threat to quit if Maori seats were included on the Auckland super council. Mr Henare said Mr Hide had "played it silly" and he was a "buffoon" and a "jerk-off.” While the Jackal essentially agrees with this, it is still not acceptable for a Minister of the Crown to act in this way.

Mr Henare was also scathing of Maori Party co-leader and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples at the time. A lack of professionalism by Tau Henare has driven many to believe He’s an alcoholic and often drinks in Parliament. One Labour Minister said, "If ever there was an advertisement for a zero alcohol intake, that speech from Tau Henare was it." However it could just be plain old stupidity!
Taito Philip Field
In October 2005, Taito Philip Field lost his ministerial posts following controversies around allegations that he had improperly used his influence as an MP to receive material gain. Police launched an investigation into claims that Field had benefited from helping people with immigration applications. On 14 February 2007, Field was formally expelled from the Parliamentary Labour Party. To forestall moves to expel him from the Labour Party, Field resigned on 16 February 2007. Mr Field then returned to Parliament as an independent.

He had promised to support the Labour Government's legislative programme; However, on 21 February, he voted against the Labour Party on Green MP Sue Bradford's Members' Bill to amend Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961. On 24 May 2007, police announced that they would seek the leave of the High Court to lay corruption charges against Field. The offence, corruption and bribery of a Member of Parliament, carries a maximum sentence of 7 years' imprisonment. If Field was convicted while still a member, his Parliamentary seat would have been vacated.

At a press conference following the police announcement, Field asserted his innocence of the charges and expressed his intention to fight both the laying of the charges at the leave hearing, and any charges that might result from the police application. On 5 October 2007 the High Court ruled that the Police could lay corruption charges against Field. The Thai tiler at the centre of the corruption allegations, Sunan Siriwan, announced he would sue Field for $200,000 compensation for the year's work he undertook on Field's property in Samoa.

Field appeared in court on 26 November 2007 on 15 counts of bribery and 25 of attempting to pervert the course of justice, and was released on bail without entering a plea. After a depositions hearing in mid 2008, he was remanded to the High Court for trial on 40 charges. On 20 April 2009, his trial commenced on 35 charges, 12 for corruption and bribery as a member of Parliament and 23 for willfully perverting the course of justice.

On 4 August 2009, Field was found guilty of 26 charges at the High Court in Auckland. The ten-member jury found Field guilty of 11 of the 12 bribery and corruption charges, and 15 of 23 charges relating to attempting to pervert the course of justice. On 6 October 2009, Field was jailed for six years on corruption charges, with the sentencing judge saying his offending threatened the foundation of democracy and justice. An appeal failed in November 2010.

Phil Heatley
Phil Heatley announced his resignation from his portfolios on 25 February 2010, citing further problems with his ministerial credit card spending. Mr Heatley said his decision to quit came after he had looked closely at his ministerial credit card expenses for the past 18 months. An Official Information Act request by The Dominion Post had shown that Mr Heatley falsely signed a declaration and showed that Mr Heatley had misappropriated funds for his own benefit.

New documents then reveal that officials had repeatedly warned the disgraced Phil Heatley about his ministerial credit card use. He had already fallen foul the previous year by claiming $1000 a week in accommodation expenses after moving into a larger home when he became minister, while renting out his free Ministerial apartment. However John Key believed Heatley had not “intended to deceive” and soon reinstated the fraudulent Heatley.

Labour's Shane Jones put the thumbscrews on the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture after allegations of New Zealand companies supporting slavery-like conditions on fishing vessels within New Zealand waters. An article had revealed that New Zealand companies are employing foreign commercial fishing boats that pay their workers below the minimum wage, regularly beat them up, utilize slavery to maximise profits and put their workers in dangerous vessels that are not maintained properly.

Questions for oral answer, 5 April 2011

Hon SHANE JONES (Labour) to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture: Does he still have no major concerns about the way foreign boats were used by New Zealand companies as the Nelson Mail reports he said last year?

Hon PHIL HEATLEY (Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture) : As Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture I have concerns if any vessel, foreign or otherwise, misreports its catch, is not registered, breaches environmental standards, refuses to comply with requirements for observer coverage, or breaches any other obligations under the Fisheries Act.

Hon Shane Jones: Does he believe that foreign crews receiving wages reportedly as low as $238 per month is a major concern; if not, why not?

Hon PHIL HEATLEY: That is a matter for the Minister of Labour, but I am happy to comment. In the dying days of the previous Government, Labour reset the rules on foreign fishing crews’ wages and working conditions, and it seemed to be happy back then. I would be interested if the member could forward information to this Government if things have changed.

Hon Shane Jones: What specific improvements will he be advocating to ensure that foreign crews are adequately recompensed, or does he not care that this activity is besmirching the reputation of a major New Zealand industry?

Hon PHIL HEATLEY: As I said, that is a matter for the Minister of Labour, but it would be fair to say that the previous Government, in its last dying days, looked at fisheries regulations, vessel safety, crew welfare, and work visas. Labour came up with some changes at that time; I do not why it did not use that chance only 3 years ago, if it was so serious about this issue.

24 May 2011

Edward S. Lancaster - Asshole of the Week Award

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Not many people would have heard of Edward S. Lancaster. He's a forgettable kind of guy. Mr Lancaster is the head honcho of an Aussie mining exploration company called Grey Wolf Resources NL, which has recently been sniffing around New Zealand.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, there's one thing you need to know about Mr Lancaster, he's a complete conman and has a long history of fraudulence and deceit.

No wonder Mr Lancaster has come out in support of Nationals plundering policies... It appears that birds of a feather really do flock together. But don't take my word for it, according to a distant relation:

"Mr Edward Lancaster's real name is Ted Lancaster (with no ‘S’) in the middle. Ted is from a poor part of England and is an expert at defrauding people. He spent many years in NZ defrauding many people, including a lot of old age people who lost their life savings, building companies, real estate owners. He has stolen millions of dollars off unsuspecting people. He has had many companies and used them to launder money earned from selling drugs. He is the biggest crook that I have ever known.

When his options ran out in NZ, he escaped off to Australia. He has very recently set up his new business, Greywolf Goldmining and has lured some Chinese businessmen to expand his business. I have no doubt at all that he would rape and pillage the environment, take as much as he could from it, and trick everyone about how much he was going to pay them.

He has simultaneously applied to open mines all over NZ and is pushing to get the permission through by the end of the year. The Iwi near Golden Bay are worried because much damage would be done to the seashore. I know he also has his eyes on Pike River. It all comes down to dollars and greed. I am surprised that the Australian and NZ Governments are snatching at the opportunity, when this is such a new company. There are other more experienced mining companies in Australia. He is boasting, to the delight of the National government, that he will come up with a trillion dollars of resources.

Grey Wolf have already been exploring around Fiji. I notice that Ted’s family are involved. His daughter, Deborah runs the part in Fiji. His son and wife (equally large con) are helping with the management in Australia. I am wondering if our government already recognise Ted’s past, but are hoping no-one will notice.

I think that there needs to be publicity and I would like the Iwi to be protected from accepting the money Ted has offered them to shut up about it. I would also like to see our beautiful land protected."

But it's not just people who know Mr Lancasters dubious history who have been raising the red flags. Golden Bay iwi are calling on the wider community to help them stop Grey Wolf Resources from prospecting in their region. Greywolf Goldmining aka Grey Wolf Resources NL has been looking for oil and coal around Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks, the Farewell Spit Nature Reserve and the Westhaven and Tonga Island marine reserves.

The mining and drilling company also wants to know how much oil is off the coast of Westport and how much coal is in Collingwood and Puponga.

Now you would expect that somebody employed in this sector should have a high regard for the environment and New Zealands 100% Pure clean and green image. Especially in light of the Te Aroha’s Tui Mine cleanup proposal, which will cost the taxpayer around 9.9 million dollars if not more. But no! In a 3 News interview, Mr Lancaster openly states that his priority is the all mighty dollar:

Let's just recap... Mr Lancaster stated that "while there is an environmental concern the company is ultimately driven by the potential commercial profit," a sentiment I'm sure he shares with Acting Minister of Energy and Resources Hekia Parata, who seems rather absent in the matter. Being that Parata must have known about the consent process to explore these areas, she should have also been aware of the credibility of the people National is utilizing to further their mining agenda.

Another thing I would like to know is why these operations are always given Maori names? Seems rather disrespectful to me.

Mr Ted Lancaster... for your questionable morals, a history of deceit, drug dealing, placing money above the environment, destroying peoples businesses and lives; you are hereby awarded the prestigious Asshole of the Week Award. Hurray!

Worst Budget Ever

Now there was a fair bit of bagging the budget before it even hit the printing press. Many taking their cues from Nationals indication that the 2011 budget would deliver more of the same ineffectual and outdated policy's that have led to New Zealands financial difficulties in the first place. As the dust settles, the Jackal decided to have a look at Bill English's baby, and it's not a pretty sight.

While Blinglish delivered a Budget speech as boring and hollow as the document itself, Labours momentum failed to gain much traction outside the debating chamber for obvious reasons… The media once again failed to inform the public properly. A National $43 million dollar Mediaworks bribe obviously going a long way within the media rank and file. The perpetual hospital-pass no more apparent than on The Nation and Q+A. I mean for fuck sake man… Wyatt Creech. Need I say more? Bomber expertly reviews the right wing programs here.

What we have with Nationals Budget 2011 is a mix of money shuffling and policy contradictions. This is no more apparent than in this paragraph:

In total, the Government expects to accumulate an additional $34.3 billion of assets by 2015.

It then states that the Government will gain assets by partly privatizing our SOEs, a clear contradiction. But it doesn’t end there:

Taking these factors into account, growth is projected to lift strongly over the next two years.

National clearly place all their eggs in one basket with the supposed increased productivity from the Christchurch rebuild. Visitor investment for the RWC is also touted as Nationals saving grace. Complete and utter contradictions being that the rebuild is projected to cost around 8.8 billion dollars and the cost to the taxpayer for the RWC will be over $500 million. The poetic license of the fictional document continues with:

The headwinds from this phase are abating.
But it gets worse:

On balance, growth is likely to lift substantially from a low base, for a time exceeding the potential growth rate of the economy as spare capacity is reduced. The projected growth rate of 4% to March 2013 would be the strongest since 2004. As a result, employment is forecast to increase by over 170,000 from the end of 2010 to June 2015 and the unemployment rate to fall to 4.5%.

When National gained power there was (for all intents and purposes) a zero deficit balance. Since then we have seen unemployment grow dramatically, the cost of living increase exponentially and our deficit balloon to around 17 billion dollars. It might be convenient for National to continue to blame Labour for its own failings, however it's National who is digging New Zealand into a hole. Likewise, the Christchurch Earthquakes cannot be used as a scapegoat for the National Governments failings, which when viewed in the light is purposeful debt manipulation to have an excuse to further implement social spending cuts. Deceitful is the best word to use when describing National hacks like Bill English.

To claim that there will be any positive effect from the same old outdated policies is fraudulent. They have been proven to have failed. The 2011 Budget sets out to cut social spending whereby many businesses and services will need to close through lack of funding. This will have far reaching consequences far beyond any financial number crunching. Once again National intend to sack public sector workers and further undermine social infrastructure that will continue a recession New Zealand has not recovered from. It’s woefully apparent that Nationals claim of 170,000 new jobs is an outright lie. A lie that National used in their last budget and failed to deliver on. The carrot on the string and head in the sand mentality continues with:

Introducing National Standards in our primary schools is a major achievement that will pay off over years to come for our children, for parents and for teaching professionals.

Now I’m no expert, but I thought that the budget was meant to be a reality-based document? So why is the author ignoring what the Prime minster stated in that there are “teething problems,” and more importantly what the majority of teachers are saying about the badly designed National Standards. Clearly the 2011 Budget is more of a PR exercise than anything else. I’m soon loosing interest, however:

The Government will also play an important role in lifting New Zealand’s national saving by returning to fiscal surplus. In turn, this will reduce New Zealand’s vulnerabilities, and result in lower interest rates and a lower exchange rate than otherwise would be the case. This will help to support the tradable sector to expand.

For gods sake! Selling our State Owned Assets does not, I repeat NOT increase our ability to save. Millions of dollars going off overseas into foreign hands does not help New Zealand to save money. While we’re on the savings theme, cutting Kiwisaver does not help New Zealanders to save either. On one hand John Key says the scheme is "successful" and on the other he welds a carving knife. But the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide horror show doesn’t end there:

We have closely examined several programmes where costs have expanded rapidly, without full commensurate value to the community or the taxpayer. KiwiSaver, WFF, student loans and ACC are all examples of major programmes where cost escalation has occurred.

Kiwisaver can only loose money if the investments made on the saver's behalf are unsound. The Government can ensure investment safety by increasing security around the investment structure. The cost to encourage people to save is a worthwhile one.

The ability of an ordinary working family to meet its expenses needs to be maintained with WFF. The difficulty has arisen because of our low wage economy. If the Government wants to reduce subsidies for businesses that do not pay a living wage, then it needs to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

An education is a right that should not be impinged by wealth or age. The discrimination shown by the National Government with its intended social engineering against the poor is immoral. Under the Human Rights Act such age discrimination is illegal as well. If the Government wants to recoup more than 55 cents in every dollar it lends out so that people can become educated, it must ensure that there are enough well paid jobs for graduates to be placed in, so that they have the means to service their debt.

The measures imposed by ACC to deter and decline claimants, have saved the Government $638 million over four years. Even though ACC recognizes that the measures are unfair, they will continue to undermine Accident Compensation at the Governments request so that they have an excuse to privatize ACC as well. It is a similar con to that of giving the wealthy tax breaks, which has led to our huge deficit and then using that deficit as an excuse to partly privatize our assets. This will have a negative impact on those requiring assistance and society in general. Here is what National are promising with what is termed a Mixed Ownership Model:

1. The Government maintains a controlling stake in the company.

2. New Zealand investors are at the front of the queue

3. The companies involved present good opportunities for investors

4. The capital freed up from this is used on behalf of taxpayers to fund new public assets, thereby reducing the pressure on the Government to borrow, and

5. New Zealand consumers are protected by appropriate regulatory regimes.

Here is what that means:

  1. A percentage of the income will flow offshore. Effectively this will equate to the raised capital in as little as five years.
  1. Wealthy New Zealanders can purchase shares; however there is no system to ensure those shares will remain in New Zealand. The shares will likely be sold in a first come first served basis irrespective of nationality.
  1. The companies present good investment opportunities at an increased cost to the consumer. The consumer presently enjoys the benefits of owning Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Solid Energy. Our previously privatized SOEs charge more than their publicly owned counterparts.
  1. If the capital freed up actually goes on new public assets, the cost to maintain these will have a negative effect on the amount we have to borrow. In as little as five years New Zealand could have saved the income from our SOEs and invested it in further infrastructure and then been able to pay for the upkeep of that development without having to borrow further.
  1. There is no applicable regulatory regime within a free market ethos.
For National to hold up Air New Zealand as a success story is a sick joke. It shows that they are completely deluded and trying to con the public. You can read more about the true cost of privatization here.

If I wanted to read a work of fiction Bill English, I would go to the library. I suppose we should be thankful there is no funding allocation for the Welfare Working Groups recommended eugenics program. But I guess the Natz wouldn't make something like that public knowledge.