The Jackal: December 2012

24 Dec 2012

The EQC Song

Asshole of the Year - 2012

Welcome to The Jackal's prestigious Asshole of the Year Awards for 2012. The Jackal has been running a weekly asshole award with recipients automatically nominated for the coveted Asshole of the Year Award. It's what you've all been waiting for... Here are the nominees:

The previous National party lister, Greg White, won an Asshole Award for having the clear stench of corruption about him. Through his various conflicts of interest and underhanded dealings the asshole ensured a Taranaki iwi lost almost $20 million in dodgy investments Greg White had set up. The money has not been recovered and the conman has not been held to account.

The usually thoughtful Gareth Morgan won an Asshole Award for his ranting about "lefties, extremists, nutters," the "green extreme" and the "loony left" and saying that they are inhibiting their causes. Unfortunately the entrepreneur and philanthropist's inability to control himself has often undermined much of the good work he does concerning the environment, with many environmentalists now not giving him the time of day.

Mark Unsworth of government relations consultancy Saunders Unsworth, is perhaps the best example of a capitalist running dog that New Zealand has ever seen. His despicable attack on Massey University environmental scientist Dr Mike Joy for speaking out about environmental pollution was totally unacceptable! His attempt to use a position of power to try and close somebody down just because of what they're saying is why the prick won an Asshole Award... And rightly so.

Those who know Louis Crimp and what he believes in will fully understand why he's won an Asshole Award. The thoroughly racist Act party financial backer is as deluded as they come and typifies the old bigoted fool! People like Louis Crimp are why the Act party will not be around after the next election.

The ever repugnant Cameron Slater won an Asshole Award for yet another feckless rant about how terrible Winston Peters is and failing to check the facts. The deluded right wing propagandist was proven completely wrong about what Peter's said when the Teapot Tape transcript was leaked to the public.

Despite the transcript proving Slater to be full of shit with his accusations about the NZ First leader, he still continued to promote his poisonous brand of disinformation. Anybody who keeps track of Slater's blog knows that he's a consummate liar... Believing what he writes is akin to believing the holocaust never happened.

Judge Raoul Neave won an Asshole Award for giving Guy Hallwright a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket after he was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard.

There were some real doozy judgements this year that were completely disproportionate to the crimes committed. Raoul Neave unequivocally displayed that there is one law for the rich and another for the rest of us. The problem of rich people being able to buy their way out of more serious sentences is something that's so entrenched within our judicial system as to be somewhat unfixable. The problem is now so large and systemic that it's ignored by judges and politicians alike.

Tim Groser won an Asshole Award for spending up large again while on an all expenses paid first class trip to Paris costing the taxpayer $33,494 in airfares. However he has undoubtedly exceeded himself with other acts of assholism concerning the Kyoto protocol, with Groser's lack of negotiation skills leaving the rest of the world thinking Kiwi's must be a bunch of inbred hicks to have voted such an idiot into power.

The Minister for Climate Change Issues is obviously a climate change denier, with his ability to come up with the worst possible excuses for not dong anything about climate change having no equal. Similarly Groser's excuses for implementing the TPPA with it's entirely detrimental investor-state dispute provisions were entirely feckless. Groser is more than just an asshole, he's also a traitor to New Zealand.

Bill English is the worst Minister of Finance New Zealand has ever had. Not only has he failed to meet every financial projection National has made, he's now going to go back on their promise and increase taxes to pay for Gerry Brownlee's roads of little significance. The Minister of Finance won't get us back in the black of course, because he couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery. Through the disasterous neoliberal agenda Bill English has ensured that many generations of Kiwi's will be shackled through the governments unprecedented levels of debt that are now comparable to Greece's.

English won his Asshole Award for duping the public into believing asset sales would help reduce debt and also pay for new infrastructure spending, while actual figures from treasury show that the sales would come at a longterm financial loss. It's simply cheaper to pay the interest on the debt to service new capital expenditure than it is to lose the revenue streams from our SOE's.

The deluded fool John Roughan won an Asshole Award for arguing that the founding document of New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi, should simply be ignored, echoing the bad faith shown by National during asset sales negotiations. More recently Roughan tried to dismiss the massive privacy breach at ACC, arguing that the victims of sexual abuse and violent crimes weren't identified in the leaked information when they were. The old hack is clearly a lying fool! As long as people like Roughan get away with making up whatever bullshit they like to fit their own decrepit belief systems, we will continue to get manipulative articles in the NZ Herald that are written with all the skill of your average drunkard.

Other nominations for Asshole of the Year include:

Guy Hallwright
Jian Yang
Michael Christian & Mel Greig
Michael Laws
John Hansen
Paul Mackay
Phil Heatley
Kate Wilkinson
Bob Jones
John Tamihere
Ray Sharp
Tony Gibson
Richard Pearson
Vladimir Putin
Robert Bales
Mary Beth Sharp
Cathy Odgers


Hekia Parata has been an unmitigated disaster as Minister of Education. From failing to read and understand Ministerial briefings to signing off on the Novopay disaster to flip flops that would make the best gymnast jealous, Parata has displayed an unprecedented level of incompetence and a gross lack of care in looking after our children's education.

After a lackluster propaganda campaign on increasing class sizes, only the most ideologically blinded Nact supporter believed that reducing the amount of teachers per student would equate to better learning outcomes. That's why Parata won an Asshole of the Week Award, for developing policy that was so clearly detrimental. Just like closing and merging schools in Christchurch, National's changes to teacher student ratios was a badly researched, poorly thought out and a terribly executed policy that threatened to kick our world class education system in the guts.

As the Minister of Education, the buck stops with Hekia Parata... She should be made to resign.

Second runner-up:

John Banks is a disingenuous bumbling right wing bigot that has no place within our halls of power. After intentionally trying to hide the $15,000 donation from SkyCity and the $50,000 donations from Kim Dotcom, Banks was unbelievably allowed to keep his position because of a Prime Minister who's equally if not more inept than the slimy Act party leader.

John Banks seems to have a knack at getting away with his dodgy dealings... In 2007 Banks along with former National Party leader Don Brash escaped prosecution for misleading investors in their Huljich Wealth Management fraud. That lack of accountability has clearly emboldened the conman to be even more dishonest.

Politicians need to be held to account when they're caught selling themselves to the highest bidder and the days of anonymous donations should be over. Businesses must not be allowed to purchase New Zealand's decision making process because of a few corrupt politicians... And clearly John Banks deserved his Asshole of the Week Award for displaying such a low standard of ethical behaviour.

Any Prime Minister with an ounce of credibility wouldn't have confidence in John Banks, and the fact that John Key allows such a moron to reside in his government speaks volumes.

Which brings us to the winner of this years Asshole Award, John Key.

The Prime Minister really did outdo himself this year, giving us lots and lots of reasons to think he's a complete asshole... From comments about David Beckham's intelligence, gay red shirts, eating maggots, the GCSB cover up, ignoring child poverty and failing to ensure Ministerial accountability, just to mention a few of his more overtly disgraceful acts. However the main reason Key has won is because he's entirely remorseless when caught out acting like the contemptible fool he is.

The smiling assassins juvenile attitude obviously makes him unsuitable to be the Prime Minister of New Zealand and his childish comments to provoke a spectacle on Waitangi day were in my opinion particularly despicable! Key's verbal diarrhea in the house of representatives and his ability to provide a veritable shit storm of disinformation knows no bounds. The antithesis of good leadership is clearly the frontrunner by a country mile and therefore John Key is Asshole of the Year for 2012. Hurrah!

23 Dec 2012

Protests happening around the world

22 Dec 2012

John Roughan rewrites history

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

ACC data leak turned out to contain nothing personal. 
Among the Christmas cards I get at work there is always one from the Privacy Commissioner, Marie Shroff. Invariably it contains a good visual gag. 
This year's features a Slane cartoon of a boy stuck with his head and upper body in a Dutch dyke and a passer-by explains to another, "The leak was worse than first thought". 
I hope the irony was intended, because it's time to acknowledge that the biggest leak of the year, the one that the news kept calling a "massive privacy breach" which the commissioner had to investigate, turned out not to be very big at all.

John Roughan seems to be questioning whether ACC leaking the names and details of 7000 claimants, including 250 sensitive-claims clients who were victims of sexual abuse and violent crimes, was a big deal... What an idiot!

If leaking thousands of people's personal information isn't a 'massive privacy breach' I don't know what is?

It sounded serious when it was first reported that the personal details of thousands of ACC claimants had been accidentally emailed to one unnamed claimant. Among them were said to be victims of sexual offences.

Said to be victims of sexual offences? Trying to dismiss this as a none event is bad enough, especially when Roughan is doing his best to ignore the facts of the matter, but providing disinformation of this magnitude in New Zealands main newspaper is entirely unacceptable.

One of the undeniable facts that Roughan has ignored is that the leaked information did contain the addresses, names and other private details of victims of sexual abuse and violent crimes. Instead of acknowledging the seriousness of the problem, Roughan decides to belittle those that do understand the magnitude and scope of the privacy breach.

Meanwhile, Labour and the Greens made a sustained attack on ACC's "culture", not just its carelessness with email but its determination to check all claims rigorously and get the injured back to work quickly.

The story took on so many dimensions and ran for so long that the Privacy Commissioner's investigation of the original data leak became little more than a footnote.

Actually the Greens and Labour were raising concerns that the Privacy Commissioner, Marie Shroff, also concluded were serious problems within ACC. Roughan is trying to rewrite history here, and doing a pretty lousy job of it.

By the time they presented the Privacy Commissioner with their report, the country was sick of the subject and hardly anybody read it.

How on earth would Roughan know that? He obviously doesn't have access to the download statistics of the Privacy Commissioners report (PDF), and is therefore lying like the fool he is.

It ran to 102 pages. You had to read to page 99 to discover exactly what sort of confidential client information had escaped.

But finally, in the fifth appendix, there it was: a sample of the fabled spreadsheet of "personal" data. It consisted of four tables listing claimants' names (removed for the report), their claim numbers, review numbers, branch, lodgement dates, issue codes, decision dates and the like.

That was it. That is all there was.

There was nothing that could be of the slightest use or interest to anyone outside ACC. No personal details alongside the names, no injury information, nothing.

What a load of turgid rubbish! Firstly the leaked information contained addresses, which would be of interest to more than just ACC staff. The victims of violent or sexual crimes would not want their addresses known by their abusers and many of those abusers would be interested in where their victims lived. Only a complete fool would think that such information wasn't important.

The other fact that Roughan is ignoring is that sensitive claims are identified at registration through their injury code and these codes were included in the leaked information. Therefore the leaked information directly identified people who were the victims of sexual and violent crimes. The codes within the leaked information also outline exactly what injuries were inflicted.

Saying that the victims of violent and sexual crimes weren't directly identified in the leaked information when they were is a particularly disgusting part of Roughan's propaganda. Either through sheer ignorance or contemptible blatant disinformation Roughan is displaying a complete lack of journalistic integrity. The deluded old hack then has the gall to question reports that deal in facts.

That is what all the fuss had been about. 
The thing that disappointed me was that so many people had known all along that the "massive privacy breach" amounted to nothing more than this. Investigative reporters, the Privacy Commissioner, her Independent Review Team, all would have discovered the contents of the spreadsheet very quickly.

None blew the whistle. No reports that I saw looked critically at the facts at the heart of a story that kept on growing and giving. The Privacy Commissioner did not say something to restore a sense of proportion. The review team, no doubt well paid, went about its investigation as though there was a serious problem.

Roughan is correct that nobody else worth mentioning is dismissing the massive privacy breach at ACC or the Privacy Commissioners report... That's simply because they shouldn't be brushed under the carpet like the ignoramus Roughan is trying to do.

The sense of proportion for Roughan seems to be that he wasn't directly affected and so he doesn't care. But what's even worse is that he's actively lying to try and dismiss the problems inherent in the way ACC operates, with the Independent Review Team concluding that:

The Breach that occurred was a genuine error but that errors are able to happen because of systemic weaknesses within ACC’s culture, systems and processes. The subsequent “response process” could also have been better if appropriate policies, practices, escalation protocols and the “right culture” were in place to allow for transparency of breach handling at the appropriate levels, in an appropriate manner. A similar incident is much more likely to happen again in the current environment if the issues identified in this Independent Review are not addressed systematically and systemically.

Perhaps the NZ Herald might like to report on any progress that ACC is making to address the issues identified by the Independent Review Team... Such an article would be worth reading, which is more than can be said for Roughan's tripe!

An accident had happened. An ACC rehabilitation officer had a monthly sheet of case reviews on his screen when he decided to respond to an email. He dragged the data aside, clicked a wrong button and unwittingly attached it to the return email.

Computers are a minefield for privacy. Accidents will happen, despite all the procedures the commissioner's expert team has laid down. It happened to Social Welfare kiosks a short time later.

Despite these privacy breaches both being a result of incompetence and a lack of proper procedures, they're different types of privacy breaches that cannot really be compared. Being that this fact like many others has entirely escaped John Roughan's awareness just goes to confirm that he's an idiot of the highest order. Let's hope he takes more than just a couple of weeks off over Christmas.

20 Dec 2012

Greenpeace says thank you

19 Dec 2012

Brownlee's budget blowout

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The Government has been accused of being a Christmas Scrooge and increasing petrol prices in order to protect its promise to get back into surplus in 2014-15.

Gerry Brownlee yesterday announced a price rise of 3c a litre at the pump for the next three years on petrol excise duty, and an increase in user charges by the same amount.

The tax is expected to raise a net total of $300 million over the next two financial years and will be dedicated to fund the roads of national significance under the existing timeline.

This is yet another economically detrimental move by a government that obviously doesn't have a clue. Let's be frank, there are no roads of national significance that the National government has undertaken. Investing in roads that don't have an effective cost to return ratio is not significant, it's stupid.

But Finance Minister Bill English conceded at the half-yearly opening of the books yesterday that without the extra excise, the tiny forecast surplus would have shrunk altogether. However he insists the excise was driven by the need to meet the roading plan timetable, not his surplus.

The May Budget forecast a $197 million surplus by 2014-15, which shrank yesterday to a mere $66 million.

So they stuffed up the budget yet again, this time by $131 million... Talk about incompetent!

Now that the tax cuts for the rich have not boosted the economy as was promised by John Key and with budget blowouts for Gerry Brownlee's stupid roads of little significance, National is just going to tax the people more to make up the shortfall.

Earlier this year, Gerry Brownlee claimed that the hugely expensive roading projects he was undertaking "would focus on supporting economic growth" but he and the rest of the neoliberal morons fail to understand that higher fuel costs will inhibit economic growth. Therein lies the sheer stupidity of Nationals policy, that increased taxes to build stupid roads will mean less economic growth which will negate the main reason to build the roads in the first place.

Gerry Brownlee also said that National would use the $12.3 billion to provide people with a range of transport choices, while being entirely averse to investing in public transport and particularly Auckland's inner city rail loop. This is despite that project showing a positive investment to return ratio meaning that it would pay for itself.

The timing of the announcement is also a conceited move to try and limit any public backlash. Increasing petrol costs by 3 cents a litre over three years for an increase in tax of 9 cents per litre by 2015 will be deeply unpopular and the announcement has been made just before Christmas to ensure people are distracted by the festive season.

National knows this new tax will be hugely unpopular, and will be working hard to reduce media coverage. They'll be happy with the limited exposure so far with a small article on page five of today's NZ Herald not even spelling out the total cost of the increased charges.

In comparison to the month long media furore the fifth Labour government received when it proposed to raise the tax on fuel by a similar amount, which effectively lost them the 2008 election, there has been a disproportionate response to National's fuel tax increase. It's entirely pathetic coverage and shows that the MSM is biased and still in the back pocket of big business and those who represent them, the National party. Unfortunately the people are not being represented at all.

16 Dec 2012

Lessons to be learned from tragedy

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

A visiting American professor says the latest mass shooting should give New Zealanders confidence they have got gun laws right.

Gregory Luke Larkin, a world-renowned expert in injury prevention from Connecticut's Yale University, who has treated gunshot victims in his home town, said: "In the wake of this latest tragedy in an American school, I must register my shame as an ex-patriot American."

Larkin, the Lion's Chair and Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Auckland as well as a keen hunter, said he hoped the latest tragedy would spark gun law reform in the United States.

"I would like to congratulate New Zealand policymakers and citizens who can be proud of learning the hard won lessons from Aramoana.

Larkin appears to not know what he's talking about. A few years after Aromoana, the Minister of Police commissioned another independent report into New Zealand's gun laws.

In 1997, the Thorp report (PDF) concluded:

1. That the Arms Act 1983 and its subsequent amendments do not provide an effective code for the control of firearms in New Zealand, and in particular:
a) that the 1992 Amendment has received a low level of general compliance by the public, from which it follows
b) that the Police have not “been able to adequately enforce compliance”.

2. That there is a need for radical reform of the firearms laws. This is most likely to be achieved by a staged programme of reform, managed by an Authority not affected by conflicting interests and loyalties, in the manner outlined in this report.

However after extensive pressure by the gun lobby, consecutive New Zealand governments have largely failed to implement any of the Thorp reports recommendations, meaning that our gun laws are still inadequate. That fact seems to have escaped Larkin's awareness.

"America, however, stands proud in her resolve to avoid the facts, ignoring both logic and hard data. While many people can handle guns safely, the few who cannot must give us pause.

"New Zealand gets it, that there must be rules on how firearms are handled, registered, stored, and collected.

Most firearms don’t need to be registered in New Zealand, so clearly Larkin doesn't know what he's talking about. A lack of gun reform in this area is despite the Thorp report recommending:

That the present licensing system be replaced by a combined licensing/registration system based upon three-year firearm-specific licenses, the new system to be introduced over three years, commencing on 1 July 1999.

There's no doubt that the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting is a terrible tragedy, but comparing the United States' horrendous firearms crimes with New Zealands to try and justify the weak firearms laws here is entirely wrong!

Just because New Zealand has around a third of the firearm crimes per capita as the United States doesn't make those crimes acceptable in any way whatsoever. It also doesn't mean our firearms laws shouldn't be improved.

The NZ Herald also reported:

The deaths of 20 children in a devastating shooting rampage at an elementary school in Connecticut reignited the debate over gun laws that until now has yielded little change.

After the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Barack Obama appeared on television with tears in his eyes to make an emotional plea for "meaningful action" after the latest outrage.

"As a country we have been through this too many times," Obama said, mentioning earlier shooting massacres, in Colorado, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Let's hope the latest in a long line of deplorable gun crimes in the US will be the catalyst to them changing their gun laws.

But defenders of the Second Amendment insist that restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic weapons is not the solution.

"There's a good side of guns and you can't forget about either," said Alan Gottlieb, the head of the Second Amendment Foundation.

"There was nobody in that school who was allowed to have a firearm to protect themselves or those children. And I find that to be deplorable.

"I'm sure the person who committed this horrible act knew he could go in and do it because no one else could have a gun.

The gun lobbyists are obviously completely nuts. Surely it's better to have laws in place that don't allow guns to fall into the wrong hands in the first place. A proper storage safe along with other required reforms might have ensured this latest tragedy didn't occur.

Saying that staff at schools should be armed in case a nutter turns up all guns blazing so they can have a shoot out is just stupid. What if there are no adults available and what about the students who will get caught in the crossfire? Perhaps the gun lobbyists are arguing that children should be armed so they can defend themselves? Ridiculous! The best solution is to inhibit the ability of people with psychological problems from attaining firearms in the first place.

There's no question that the gun laws in the US need major reforms, and it just so happens that the firearms laws in New Zealand need strengthening as well.

15 Dec 2012

Obama on Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

Michael Christian & Mel Greig - Asshole of the Week

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

It's probably too much to hope that the desperately sad prank-call affair is the beginning of the end for the sub-sub-culture that should answer to the name Radio Moron.

For the simple reason that so many people seem to like it, wherever you are on the airwaves, you're only a tweak of the dial away from having your ears and intelligence assaulted by loud-mouthed exhibitionists convinced of their own hilariousness and hell-bent on reducing everything to a lowest common denominator of raucous inanity.

A woman is dead, and at the time of writing there was no reason to think she wouldn't still be alive if she hadn't answered the prank call.

Clearly Michael Christian and Mel Greig bear some responsibility for the death of Jacintha Saldanha, who took her life shortly after their stupid prank call. With the contents of her suicide notes now coming to light and showing that she was upset at the Australian DJs trickery, its pretty obvious their disrespectful actions have led to Saldanha's suicide.

That initial stupid prank was bad enough, but then the morons at the centre of this media spectacle tried to claim they never intended to mislead anybody, which is patently false. The prank would only have worked if they managed to trick somebody, and that somebody happened to be a senior nurse at King Edward VII hospital, Jacintha Saldanha.

Saying that their hoax wasn't really a hoax is clearly bullshit, and contemptibly adds further insult to the intelligence and memory of Jacintha Saldanha, who's shame at being tricked appears to be the main factor that lead to her taking her own life. Michael Christian and Mel Greig are obviously partly responsible for her death and should feel highly ashamed.

Whether these idiot DJs who are now in hiding because of death threats were aware that their trickery would cause somebody else enough shame to commit suicide just reflects badly on them. Only a truly narcissistic fool would fail to comprehend the potential ramifications for their actions.

That's what separates the wheat from the chaff, those who care enough about other people to treat them with respect and those who simply don't care and cause other people misfortune either for their own gratification or in the case of 2Day FM for increased ratings.

The disgraceful Michael Christian and Mel Greig then made the situation worse by trying to publicly apologize... Well that's what the headlines read anyway. What they were actually doing was gaining even more attention with a few crocodile tears and obvious insincerity that was nothing more than a publicity stunt. Despicably they were using the suicide of Jacintha Saldanha to raise their public profiles. What a couple of assholes!

This isn't an isolated incident of appalling grandstanding by the Australian DJs or the radio station they belong to either... The worst of which was when a 14-year-old girl was encouraged to reveal on air while strapped to a lie-detector that she'd been raped.

The difference with this more recent case is that the harm caused is blatantly obvious for all to see, when normally such harm that unthinking fools like Michael Christian and Mel Greig cause is hidden in a multitude of other socially destruction effects, not just suicide statistics.

This week the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that it has opened a formal investigation, which will hopefully lead to the shitty radio station being closed down. In the mean time I hope that Michael Christian and Mel Greig stay off air for good, we don't want to hear from such assholes like them again.

14 Dec 2012

Equal Education Unequal Pay


Time to compensate David Bain

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Yesterday, she [Judith Collins] was forced to release reports on Mr Bain's claim for compensation, after a backlash for her criticising the author, retired Canadian judge Ian Binnie, while keeping it confidential.

She redoubled her criticism of him, saying he went beyond his mandate and made extensive, serious errors.

Justice Binnie points a highly critical finger at the investigation into the 1994 murders of five members of Mr Bain's family, and recommended compensation for him because of its "extraordinary circumstance".

That blatantly breached his terms of reference set by former Justice Minister Simon Power, who explicitly told him that he did not want an opinion on whether Mr Bain qualified for compensation and said the issue of "extraordinary circumstances" was a matter for the Cabinet.

It would seem most extraordinary to make a finding of compensation and not mention the main reason for why that compensation should be granted, which is Police misconduct leading to wrongful conviction. It also appears that that's what the Minister of Justice is most angry about and what is motivating her to try and discredit the well-respected Justice Ian Binnie.

Collins in fact asked for Justice Binnie to outline any extraordinary circumstances that led to David Bains wrongful conviction. In his report (PDF), Justice Binnie has shown that the extraordinary circumstances of extensive police misconduct and flaws in their investigation should mean Bain receives compensation. In my opinion, Binnie is well within the terms of reference to supply such findings.

Collins would of course have preferred that Justice Binnie didn't criticized the Police at all, however that would put him in a catch 22 situation. If Binnie hadn't made any mention of the main reason for why compensation should be granted, then people could complain that his investigation wasn't robust enough to grant compensation.

The NZ Herald also reported:

Police last night rejected damning criticism of their handling of the David Bain case, as it was revealed failures in the original investigation were behind the recommendation that compensation be paid.

The police comment came after the release of retired Canadian judge Ian Binnie's report, which said the basis for Mr Bain getting compensation was the "acts and omissions of the Dunedin police [which] played a significant role in his wrongful conviction".

He said "these acts and omissions constituted so marked a departure from the requirements of the New Zealand Detective Manual of the day as to amount, in terms of the Minister's letter to me of 10 November 2011, to 'serious wrongdoing by authorities' in 'failing to take proper steps to investigate the possibility of innocence'."

Justice Binnie's finding of police failure was due to "criminality or wilful misconduct" on their part.

Serious findings that point the finger directly at police misconduct, so it's no wonder that the manipulative Collins is spitting tacks at Justice Binnie. With the report finding of "egregious errors of the Dunedin Police that led directly to the wrongful conviction" of David Bain the case for his compensation is strengthened and in my opinion should be settled.

Clearly David Bain deserves a large payment for the 13 years he spent in prison for a crime the courts have acquitted him of doing. Justice Binnie has found that the original conviction was a grievous miscarriage of justice because of police misconduct. The report shows there was sustained and serious wrongdoings by authorities that should now be investigated.

But instead of doing the right thing, Judith Collins is further impeding the course of justice in an attempt to minimize the damage to the Police's reputation. She obviously doesn't want to pay any money to David Bain either because many New Zealanders still view him as being guilty. This is a most serious issue because the Minister has a number of powers at her disposal and appears to be willing to abuse them.

The information released revealed Ms Collins had given police a copy of Justice Binnie's report months ago, received a "memorandum" of rebuttal and then passed those comments to Dr Fisher. There is no information showing whether Mr Bain, his lawyers or supporter Joe Karam were given any information early.

So a biased Minister who's hell bent on protecting the police and is manipulating the situation to ensure David Bain and his representatives are at a disadvantage.

It appears that Judith Collins is so ideologically opposed to giving any compensation for wrongful conviction that she's openly attacking a well respected Supreme Court Judge who's findings appear to be entirely correct. Certainly the reasons given by Hon Robert Lloyd Fisher QC, in his review (PDF) of Binnie's report and for a further inquiry don't stand up to scrutiny. Neither does the excuse Collins has made for not releasing all the information to David Bain and his team.

Last night, Ms Collins' office said police needed the chance to respond to the "significant criticisms" contained in the report. A spokeswoman said "police provided comments on Mr Binnie's findings of 'serious misconduct' and his criticism of individuals without right of reply. Police comments were provided to Mr Fisher".

The Police have already had well over a month to work on their public response to Binnies report making Collins' claim that they need more time disingenuous! How long exactly are they going to draw out the situation and what's the total cost to the taxpayer I wonder?

The claims by a Police spokesperson that Binnie's criticism of police officers that don't have a right of reply simply means they're likely talking about officer's who have since died. That's who the report is mostly concerned with, the original investigating officer's like Detective Chief Inspector Peter Robinson.

Another Bain Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Milton Weir, gave damaging evidence that was found to be wrong on five occasions. He was also found to have committed perjury at David Bain’s 1995 trial and the inconsistencies in his testimony are telling. Some of the officers involved are still available to be held to account for their misconduct, but with Collins in charge that's not likely to occur.

The conviction of David Bain was gained on evidence that in more than one instance was false. When Binnie finds that there has been serious misconduct, he's likely referring to that false evidence provided by police which was a clear perversion of justice.

It appears that Justice Binnie has simply demonstrated that the person or persons involved in presenting that false evidence knew that it was false and intended to mislead the jury. That was the main factor in the case that led to David Bain's conviction, a wrongful conviction, built on false evidence provided by corrupt cops. That David Bain should now be compensated for that perversion of justice is no longer in doubt.

Citizen A - Protests, the TPP and media bias

13 Dec 2012

Everything Hekia Parata touches turns to shit

I watched some of the last sitting of the house of representatives yesterday, and was disappointing to see Hekia Parata dismissing concerns about her unlawful attempt to close an all girls' special needs school.

What really got my blood boiling though was that the Minister of Education didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing on her part whatsoever.

In fact Parata said the advice and reports that showed there would be an increased likelihood of sexual abuse of the 22 girls with special needs if she closed their school could simply be ignored because other advice said it wasn't an issue.

Where that ghost advice originated from or what exactly it was the Minister doesn't divulge, which makes me think that it doesn't exist other than as an excuse for Parata's incompetence.

That incompetence was grossly exhibited when she blatantly ignored clear advice that her decision would cause students harm, so it's no wonder Justice Robert Dobson has ruled against her moronic decision.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

In a reserved judgment in the High Court at Wellington, Justice Robert Dobson said Ms Parata's order to close Salisbury School, a residential establishment in Nelson, was unlawful because it relied on the possibility of sending some girls to live at Halswell School in Christchurch - a boys' special needs school.

Ms Parata had argued there was no evidence to suggest handicapped adolescent girls would be more vulnerable if moved together with boys. The plan was to have separate living quarters.

But Justice Dobson said that seeing the risks took "no great leap in logic".

The school had raised the issue during a meeting with Ms Parata, and a report about the vulnerability of girls at special needs schools had been earlier published for the Education Ministry and police.

"The minister's decision failed to have regard to available warning signals raised by and on behalf of the [school] trustees about greater levels of risk of abuse in a co-educational setting," Justice Dobson said.

Today, Tumeke reported:

Normally education policy is designed to have a positive effect on the lives of children. To specifically design a situation where special needs female students are sent to another special needs male school to face sexual and physical abuse 7 times greater in risk however seems to be more akin to building a children's playground out of depleted heavy uranium.

This is just the latest episode in a long series of Ministerial stuff-ups and only came to media attention when concerned citizens had to go to the high court in order to get another one of National's unbelievably stupid decisions overturned.

The cost to the tax-payer for yet another court case against the Crown have of course not been divulged... Costs that really should be paid for by the idiotic Minister who's ignored extensive advice, her own ministry's reports and overwhelming opposition to such an incomprehensibly dumb decision.

Parata's stupidity appears to be based on nothing more than saving a few bucks, money that can then be used to pay for the tax-cuts for the rich. National's ideological drive to save a few dollars with complete disregard for the consequences is actually costing the country dearly. We have increased costs of people having to fight the government in court and there are increased costs when things fail because decisions aren't being made in the best interests of the country and all its people.

As the clear frontrunner at ignoring advice, flip-flopping and generally stuffing up her portfolio, Parata has displayed a level of incompetence any Minister in all of New Zealand's political history would have trouble besting. There's no question that she should resign, and currently the only thing that's protecting her is arrogance and a completely deluded Prime Minister.

Today, the Nelson Mail reported:

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has called for Parata to be sacked after the judge's ruling.

Ms Turei said this was Ms Parata's "latest and most dangerous failure" and left her position untenable. She called on Prime Minister John Key to sack her.

National had also faced a public backlash over plans to close schools in Canterbury following the earthquakes.

"Hekia Parata's blatant disregard for the safety of girls at Salisbury College in Nelson must be the final straw,'' Ms Turei said.

Ms Parata was unwilling to listen and her refusal to heed warnings about pupil safety was "dangerous and extraordinarily arrogant."

"What kind of minister would put school girls in harm's way? You simply can' t have someone in the job who does that," she said.

12 Dec 2012

The next Prime Minister of New Zealand

Collins slammed by Supreme Court Judge

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

David Bain is asking the Ombudsman to intervene in his claim for compensation to direct that Justice Minister Judith Collins release the confidential report by former Canadian judge Ian Binnie to him.

That way his team will be able to assess whether Mr Binnie made errors in law, according to Mr Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed, QC.

Ms Collins' predecessor, Simon Power, commissioned the report after Mr Bain claimed compensation in 2010.

Yesterday she trashed Mr Binnie's report and explained why she believed it needed to be peer reviewed by New Zealand QC and former High Court Judge Robert Fisher.

"My concerns are broadly that the report appeared to contain assumptions based on incorrect facts, and showed a misunderstanding of New Zealand law," Ms Collins said. "It lacked a robustness of reasoning used to justify its conclusions."

She said she was not prepared to take the report to the Cabinet without being peer reviewed because she did not believe it would stand up to public scrutiny.

She rejected any notion that she was "shopping around" for an opinion she liked.

That's exactly what it looks like to me... The accusations she has made against Judge Ian Binnie are serious and effectively say he's incompetent. There's no way to verify if her accusations are true or not because Judith Collins has kept the Bain report secret.

Judith Collins' accusations would reflect very badly on Judge Binnie if they were allowed to go unanswered, especially for people who don't realise that Collins is as manipulative as they come. Thankfully the highly respected and Supreme Court Judge Ian Binnie has stood up for himself and clearly won't be bullied by a rabid dog like Crush-less Collins.

Today, the NZ Herald also reported:

From Geneva, Justice Binnie today released a statement from Geneva hitting back at her criticisms.

"The language of the press release shows it to be a political document which, given that the minister is engaged in a political exercise, is not surprising. "However I expected the minister to follow a fair and even handed process leading up to that political decision," he said.

In his statement, Justice Binnie also said it was unfair his report had not been shown to "the party most directly affected" - David Bain.

"The minister of course is free to seek advice wherever she wants but if she wanted input from the actual parties to the compensation inquiry (as distinguished from input from her colleagues or other persons with no axe to grind) she should surely have sought input from both sides. There may be much in my report that Mr Bain disagrees with. He doesn't know because he hasn't seen it."

New Zealanders had strong views about the David Bain case and most would want his compensation claim for wrongful conviction and imprisonment dealt with in an even-handed and fair way, said Justice Binnie.

In response to claims his report contained assumptions based on incorrect facts and a misunderstanding of New Zealand law, Justice Binnie said he received input from a "distinguished and totally independent New Zealand lawyer".

"Whatever else New Zealand law states, it is certainly well established that it is most improper for 'a client', especially a legally trained client, to attack publicly a lawyer's advice while simultaneously claiming privilege to protect from disclosure the advice that is being attacked. I would expect that the Minister, as a former Auckland tax lawyer, would be well aware of this principle."

It appears that the Minister of Justice's comments about Judge Binnie are completely unfounded. Clearly the esteemed Judge Binnie is highly annoyed by Judith Collins' unscrupulous accusations that question his conclusions and malign his reputation...

Claiming that Binnie hadn't adhered to New Zealand law in making his findings that Bain should be compensated is obviously incorrect. Saying that the report "lacked a robustness of reasoning" is like calling Binnie a senile old fool, an insult Collins has made simply because the conclusions in the Bain report didn't match what she was wanting and perhaps expecting.

The cost of the crowns mismanagement of the Bain saga will be astronomical, and Judith Collins' attempt to further delay any compensation payment to Bain is yet another costly maneuver by the state to punish somebody for a crime they've been found not guilty of. This fact should make many New Zealanders question whether Collins is fit to be a minister of the crown at all.

In my opinion, Judith Collins should release Binnie's report immediately to see whether it stands up to public scrutiny or not. If she truly requires a second opinion, she should use somebody who's not biased in any way. Getting her pet Judge to provide recommendations suited to her beliefs in this matter is so horrendously wrong that it beggars belief.

Perhaps Ian Binnie might again be available to provide an unbiased and independent judgement, but I think Collins has well and truly burnt that bridge she was trying to stand on.

Listen to a podcast with Judge Ian Binnie here.

11 Dec 2012

Metiria Turei vs John Key

Labour vs The Standard

Today, the Otago Daily Times reported:

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran admitted she was the senior MP attacked online at the weekend and yesterday for complaining to Labour Party hierarchy about comments made by commentators and bloggers.

The Otago Daily Times contacted Ms. Curran after noting the increasing number of mentions the Labour Party MP and IT spokeswoman was receiving on Twitter.

Among the allegations was that Labour Party MPs identified anonymous bloggers by their IP addresses on the party's Red Alert blog.

That's nothing new, Red Alert has a policy of identifying commentators through their IP and an active email address so that their details can be passed onto the police if needed. Most blogsites automatically log such details these days.

Ms.Curran said the people she complained about were party members, some of whom were using pseudonyms and had contributed to other party members being attacked and the Labour Party being undermined.

"There are questions about the conduct of anonymous bloggers who belong to the party but may be bringing it into disrepute, and it's an issue the party needs to grapple with in the digital age."

While not saying who her complaints were against, several left-wing bloggers named the person as "Colonial Viper", from Dunedin, a member of the party.

So it wasn't Claire Curran that named Colonial Viper, it was CV himself and other left wing bloggers. This contradicts the claims that Curran was targeting any specific dissident members of the Labour party and threatened to out them ie make their real name publicly known. It appears that her raising the issue with the council was to gain advice on what the party should do, if anything, about negative commentary from party members.

You can understand why she might want clarification on such issues, being that members have access to the internal workings of the party and can use that information against Labour, as we have seen in recent weeks from The Standard with posts like this one by Irish Bill.

In my opinion Labour should move to inhibit the damage that selective and biased leaking of information to the media can cause, especially when it's source is party members who shouldn't be undermining Labour with information that cannot be verified.

It appears that what Clare Curran was talking about was Labours ability to identify dissidents and protagonists, and potentially remove them from the party membership.

The claims that she wanted to out people are clearly a fabrication promoted by people who want to further damage Labour for some reason. Interestingly enough they're the same so-called left wing bloggers and commentators who promoted the Cunliffe coup, which also makes me question where their loyalties lie? They clearly have no place within Labour if they constantly try to undermine the party by attacking its leadership.

Having said that, in my opinion the threshold would have to be very high indeed to implement such a policy to rescind membership, although I think it's a required policy that all political parties should have in place. In fact most of them already do have such policy to varying degrees.

So let's examine some of Colonial Vipers comments to see if he meets that threshold:

1. Funny then that the only people who escalated talk of a coup to the media…were ABC MPs.  

2. Fuck off. Its the Shearer camp who escalated this publicly with off record leaks and on record comments to journalists.

Well that's obviously not true... The Cunliffe coup so to speak was initially promoted by various blogger's who were supportive of a leadership change, and the media then picked up on the controversy within the blogosphere.

As far as I can tell, at no stage was a coup promoted by "Shearers camp". CV is therefore promoting a falsehood to undermine the Labour party leader, which by association undermines the effectiveness of the opposition.

3. Shearer comes across very genuinely but he is inexperienced as an MP. He seems to own precious little left wing philosophy and politics in general. And he has also been badly advised.

Perhaps a valid criticism... However being that I'm not a Labour party member I have no insight into David Shearer's advisory to know if such an assertion is correct. I'm therefore relying on CV's account of the situation. Unfortunately CV has already promoted untruths to try and undermine Shearer, so it's a case of the boy who cried wolf on too many occasions.

4. Outside of Auckland, hardly any ordinary Labour Party members (not the activists) knew that David Shearer existed, let alone anything about him, until the last 2 weeks of loud, positive press coverage.

An observation to again try and undermine David Shearer by implying he's not experienced enough. In fact CV has argued extensively in favour of John Key as Prime Minister in comparison to David Shearer, which seems a strange position to take for a supposed Labour party supporter and member.

5. Something like 18 or 19 Labour MPs, some of whom were very experienced, voted Shearer in to that top job. They picked him, in their best judgement, as the best choice to lead the Labour Party into the 2014 election.

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Another falsehood... The entire Labour party has endorsed David Shearer. People who aren't aware of that fact might rely on CV's questionable insight into these matters, but I don't.

6. And Shearer himself should have said, thanks but no thanks, I’ll take my turn when I’ve time under my belt and it’s right to do so.

The continued low level snipping from CV towards David Shearer goes on and on. However I don't think it's to a degree that warrants his removal as a member of the Labour party and I don't think Clare Curran was specifically talking about him when she raised the issue with the council.

Colonial Viper has obviously chosen not to follow his convictions and leave the party of his own accord. Instead he and The Standards admin have claimed that Clare Curran is bullying people into silence, while not remaining very silent at all themselves on these issues. They have also not been able to provide any evidence of that bullying.

I'm somewhat disappointed in all of this, mainly because it takes the focus off the real problems National is causing. I'm also disappointed that the move by some of the protagonists to once again undermine Labour in order to halt Clare Curran's potential policy changes has gained such support on the left. This means that any move by Labour to now remove what are effectively traitors in their midst who obviously don't support Labour is less likely to be initiated.

In my opinion Labour need to close ranks and focus on the real enemy, which is the neoliberal agenda that's currently destroying the social fabric of New Zealand. Without that unity, Labour has a rather large disadvantage compared to National leading up to the next election, which the right wing are sure to exploit. Let's hope Labour including all it's membership, like the Greens, can provide a unified effort to win the next election... God knows the country needs it.

10 Dec 2012

Tax the Rich: An animated fairy tale

9 Dec 2012

Crown ignores P contamination

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The house, listed with a capital value of $435,000, had been seized by the Government under proceeds-of-crime laws because its owner was convicted on serious drugs charges. But police didn't recommend to the local council that it be tested for drug residue and it was only withdrawn just before the auction when Waikato-based forensic consultant Todd Sheppard announced he had tested it himself and found a positive result for P.


Crown solicitor Nicola Graham said she erred on the side of caution after concerns were raised at the auction, and the property was now being tested for P.

Police Minister Anne Tolley last night said: "I would expect all agencies would work together to make sure all necessary checks have taken place to ensure public safety."

I would have thought that any house associated with the manufacture of P would be tested for residual methamphetamine contamination?

The problem here is that property owners have a lot to lose financially if the house they own is found to have been used to manufacture the drug known as P, and the same can be said for the Crown. That's why the government has done nothing to fix this issue.

If the Crown had actually erred on the side of caution, they would have got the house tested well before it was put up for sale.

This shows a complete lack of thought on the part of Crown agencies, being that they were willing to let the house be sold to a hapless buyer who would've been none the wiser to the problem and landed with a large cleanup bill of between $5000 to $35,000. In fact some houses are so contaminated that they have to be demolished, meaning years of litigation to try and recover costs from people who are often in jail.

Despite the government making a number of assurances, there's still no public database of houses that have tested positive as meth labs or the ones that have been decontaminated. Unfortunately the problem is still being quietly swept under the carpet by the Crown to protect property owners and insurers from potential losses, and this suits the drug industry just fine.

7 Dec 2012

Exxon Hates Your Children

6 Dec 2012

Vint Cerf, the father of Internet says:

On Monday, Google reported:

Starting in 1973, when my colleagues and I proposed the technology behind the Internet, we advocated for an open standard to connect computer networks together. This wasn’t merely philosophical; it was also practical.

Our protocols were designed to make the networks of the Internet non-proprietary and interoperable. They avoided “lock-in,” and allowed for contributions from many sources. This openness is why the Internet creates so much value today. Because it is borderless and belongs to everyone, it has brought unprecedented freedoms to billions of people worldwide: the freedom to create and innovate, to organize and influence, to speak and be heard.

But starting in a few hours, a closed-door meeting of the world’s governments is taking place in Dubai, and regulation of the Internet is on the agenda. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is convening a conference from December 3-14 to revise a decades-old treaty, in which only governments have a vote. Some proposals could allow governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries.

I cannot express enough gratitude to Vint Cerf for his most excellent creation.

The issue he's highlighted does sound rather serious, and would seem to follow the same perverse moves by many governments around the world to crack down on the Internet. The main concern here is that any changes in the law could allow for governments to further abuse people's freedoms. They could attempt to undemocratically limit valid criticism, which isn't of benefit to mankind in any way whatsoever.

The great thing about the internet is the ability for people to share information that can be highly beneficial in promoting peace and restoring justice in countries ravaged by war. Public opinion is a hugely powerful tool that government propagandists used to have complete control over. The internet has given the power to the people... So it's no wonder they're moving to change things back to the status quo. We shouldn't let them.

Russel Norman - Hero of the Week

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

As Norman tells it, that shows the local banks are "strip-mining the economy", making profits that are way above average and sending them offshore.

"No one wants bankrupt banks but if they were doing averagely well that would be great. To say that the banks have to be the most profitable on the entire planet to be successful is going a bit far," he said on Radio NZ.

It's no wonder some in the financial sector are up in arms, being that Russel Norman is telling it like it is. Banks have been making an excessive profit from New Zealander's love affair with housing, and most of that profit leaves our shores never to be seen again.

The reason there's such a backlash to what Dr Norman is saying is because he's correct, and the government should indeed act to reduce the damage foreign owned banks cause our economy.

Thankfully New Zealand has a hero in the form of Australian born Russel Norman who is willing to raise his head above the parapit about things that matter...

Speaking of things that really matter, Dr Norman might not raise the issue of climate change in every speech he makes, but when he does he's most compelling in his argument.

Here's a five minute speech about the Climate Change (New Zealand Superannuation Fund) Amendment Bill (PDF) from yesterday's debate:

There’s no question that Dr Norman articulates himself well and is as dedicated as they come to a future government that will reduce GHG emissions to protect our environment. In fact his ability in the house to show National up for their environmental failures is second to none.

Yesterday, Stuff reported that Russel Norman was the first politician to table a tweet in the house of representatives, a tweet written by the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, who wrote:

None of the dimwitted National MPs were aware enough to object either, which is most amusing. Perhaps they were too occupied with rubbishing Dr Normans interest in holding the Financial Portfolio after the next election. Despite their childish attempts at humour, most people find Russel's attitude refreshing in an all too stagnant political arena, a political arena that the Greens are effectively challenging with new ideas.

Russel Norman is as sharp as a tack and quick to respond to any gibes with well aimed rebuttals. In fact his political nouse has been recognized by left and right wing commentators alike, with regular praise coming from Duncan Garner, Fran O'Sullivan and Cameron Slater just to mention a few unlikely fans of the good Doctor's prowess as a politician.

Thanks to the stewardship of the Green party co-leader Russel Norman, I think the Greens will be successful in their quest to implement climate change legislation in the next left wing government to ensure New Zealand once again leads the world on environmental issues.

So for leading the charge on such issues and being an inspiring leader, Russel Norman wins this weeks Hero Award... Well done mate.

Arctic Report Card 2012

Farmers should oppose fracking

Today, Stuff reported:

A Taranaki farming couple are "shellshocked" after 120 of their cows dropped dead one by one in their paddock.

Around 20 vets who rushed to the Oeo farm of Chris and Catherine Cook on Tuesday could not save the animals, part of a herd of 600.

Mrs Cook's brother, John Murphy, speaking for the family, said the loss of the cows was a devastating blow.

"The farmer was out there topping up the water troughs and minutes later the cows were falling to the ground," he said.

Although there are a number of possible explanations for the deaths of the 120 cows, there's one that's obvious because of its absence from the article... The water and or land were contaminated by fracking. The questions that should really be asked is was there land farming occurring and where did the farmer get the water from?

The potential for fracking to pollute pasture and water supplies in Taranaki isn't just speculation... Documented evidence shows that blow-down pits at the Kapuni site had polluted the groundwater which was no longer fit for human or stock consumption. The BETX (benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylenes) contaminated water also didn't meet the criteria for irrigation, meaning it was highly toxic.

Of course Shell Todd Oil Services, which owns Kapuni, and the complicit regional council say there's no link with the fracking that's occurred in the area and the groundwater contamination, however BETX has been regularly used in fracking around Taranaki and there's no other reasonable explanation for it to be found in the groundwater other than unsafe storage of well fluids in fracking blow-down pits.

The problem here is that the oil and gas industry and the complicit Taranaki regional council are being secretive about the amount of pollution that has occurred and is still occurring in Taranaki because of fracking. They certainly won't be telling farmers when and where their water supplies have become contaminated with highly toxic chemicals that can kill their herds and impact on their livelihoods.

He said the cows were worth around $400,000, and their deaths would probably mean around another $300,000 loss of profit for the season.

"Cows are just so important and so close to farmers. It's like losing a loved one. In this case it's like losing multiple loved ones," Mr Murphy said.

That's why farmers should be against fracking... There's very little benefit compared to the potential adverse impact on our most profitable industry.

This cow died after drinking frack-contaminated water.

Top 10 reasons not to get Igloo

On Monday, Sky and TVNZ launched their hardly anticipated new subscription television service. Here’s our list of reasons why it shouldn’t be under your tree this Christmas or anywhere else in your house for that matter.

10. It’s probably still broken.

The custom built platform was supposed to be launched months ago but has been delayed due to “technical problems”.  Is the launch simply exploitation of the spending season or a Christmas miracle?

9. TVNZ are involved.

Remember when TVNZ said “TiVo transforms television“? How are all those customers feeling today?  How long before Igloo too melts down?

8. A comparable Freeview box is less than half the price.

There are a number of basic models of DVB-T receivers which also have the ability to record to a connected USB storage device.

7. Sport is ultra-expensive.

The base “30 day channel pack” plus purchasing every Super XV match The Chiefs play during that period would cost you up to $99.74. On Sky this would cost $72.46 and include more channels, every Super XV game and a lot more sports besides.

6. Paying for content that used to be free.

Two of the eleven Igloo channels feature content that TVNZ used to broadcast for free:  Kidzone24 and TVNZ Heartland.

5. All Igloo content is Standard Definition.

The only content that you’ll be able to view in High Definition is from any of the free-to-air channels that broadcast in HD.  All of the extra content you’re paying for is delivered in standard definition.  This includes movies and sport.

4. High per channel price.

The “Sky Basic” package costs approximately $1.36 per premium channel compared with $2.27 per premium channel on Igloo.

3. Igloo is not a middle option.

Currently, a new 12 month “Sky Basic” package (~63 channels) with 3 months free sport and SoHo and free installation costs $553.44. A new Igloo box (~34 channels) which you install yourself and a 12 month subscription costs $478.05. A new Freeview box (~29 channels) which you install yourself costs from $99.

2. Two thirds of the channels you can already watch for free.

That’s right.  They’re already free.  And also the most watched.

1. You’re not an Eskimo.

They’re the only ones who should have an igloo.

Those are our top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t get igloo and now we want yours.  We’ve got a brand new Samsung MyFreeview HD digital TV recorder (BDE-8500) worth $649 to give away.

In addition, if anyone reposts this on their own blog, we’ll include any comments made there in the draw to win the free Samsung digital TV recorder. Have at it.

H/T Regan Cunliffe at

5 Dec 2012

Youth Delegate @ Doha climate conference

Jan Wright's fracking publicity stunt

Today, the NZ Herald tweeted:

That's excellent I thought, because there are a number of questions I have been meaning to ask the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, about her interim report (PDF) into the environmental impacts of fracking in New Zealand.

So I clicked on the NZ Herald link and was happy to see that the live chat session had only just started.

After 29 minutes, lizziemfitzgerald asked:

Based on your interim finding it seems that fracking hasn't caused any problems in Taranaki so why do you think that there needs to be better regs?

Jan Wright replied:

I haven't reached a firm conclusion that there have been no problems in Taranaki. While I haven't found any big red flags, I will be having a closer look at the monitoring that has been done. That said, I don't think it's possible to take the Taranaki experience and extrapolate it to other parts of the country, other kinds of fracking, and greater scale.

To which I asked:

Saying that you haven't reached a firm conclusion that there hasn't been any problems in Taranaki because of fracking is a roundabout way of saying you know of fracking related problems. In my opinion, you should acknowledge these various problems in your reports. I am aware of four major environmental problems as a result of fracking in Taranaki. Although I understand your need to be diplomatic, these need more than the once over lightly.

Clearly the report is misleading if lizziemfitzgerald comment is anything to go by, as there are numerous instances of environmental damage in Taranaki from various fracking incidents.

Unfortunately these problems are often not reported by the largely self-regulated fracking industry or by the complicit Taranaki Regional Council. Even when they are, they are hidden within screeds of other information and worded in a way that makes them seem less serious. Unbelievably most of the various fracking problems that have been reported were not even mentioned in Jan Wrights interim report.

How can the public have faith that Jan Wright is undertaking an unbiased investigation if she doesn't even mention all the fracking problems in Taranaki that have already occurred? Some of these problems are of major concern such as the irreparable damage to aquifers around the region.

After a while without getting a response or indeed having my comment appear on the site at all, I repeated it at 12:55 PM.

The NZ Herald then wrote:

Thanks everyone for all your great questions so far. This live chat will end in a few minutes....

Unfortunately I now have little faith in Jan Wright to properly investigate and make the appropriate recommendations concerning the highly dangerous fracking industry. This was nothing more than a publicity stunt, and a failure of one at that.

Brendan Horan should go

Speculation is rife about the expelling of Brendan Horan from NZ First yesterday by Winston Peters. The shocking move in parliament was preceded by a lot of procedural mumbo jumbo whereby Gerry Brownlee had to propose a way for Winston to even raise the issue because of the Speakers anal retention to the rules.

The idiot John Banks even jumped in to try and move things along, which made the house look like a complete circus.

Anyway Winston Peters was finally given the chance to speak and succinctly expelled Horan from NZ First. Despite this, many people have started to question the decision, not so much to come to Horans aid, but to damage Winston Peters' credibility.

Today, David Farrar at Kiwibog wrote:

But Horan is still a member of the party. Now you can argue that these rues don’t stop the caucus suspending an MP, or even expelling him. But it seems the caucus has not made any such decision on Horan. It is unclear if they have even had a discussion on the issue.

Farrar is copying a post by Scott Yorke, who yesterday wrote:

I’m going to assume there hasn’t been a hearing by NZ First’s board, because I’m sure someone would have mentioned a hearing if one had taken place, and I’m also going to assume from Horan’s defiant statements that he hasn’t resigned as a member. And while his future plans are unclear, he hasn’t to my knowledge joined another party.

Clearly it's incorrect to say no opportunity was given to Horan to present his side of the story prior to the decision to expel him from the NZF caucus. Peters gave Horan every opportunity to provide information to him to base a decision on. Peters and the NZ First caucus also had to make a decision about this, and it turned out that the information provided was compelling enough for Horan to be expelled.

Scott York and others assuming NZ First never had a meeting to discuss Horans future involvement in the party is a bit unwarranted, and clearly Horan is no longer a member of NZ First. Whether he stays on as an independent will largely depend on Horans belief at his innocence, and just how much of that evidence against him is made public.

The bit I'm feeling uneasy about though is the fact that Mana Ormsby, Horans half brother, made this a public matter in the first place. Their mothers request was that money be recovered from Horan making this a family matter... Clearly there's a level of vindictiveness in making a private matter public that therefore makes me question the motive behind ruining Horans political career, which I might add has nothing to do with recovering any supposed money Horan stole from his mother.

We cannot know at this stage if the accusations are true or false, and such family squabbles can go on for years and years. Despite the question of Horans innocence or guilt being largely unanswered for the public, Winston had no choice but to limit the damage a scandal like this would do to his party, being that his supporters would naturally identify with Horans accusers.

Personally I think Winston Peters did have compelling evidence to base his decision upon, and despite Horan being a likable guy, he fits well into the usual mode of a conman who's unable to accept he's done anything wrong. Even if he doesn't accept he has done anything wrong, his continued presence in the house of representatives is questionable... Mainly because there is always a presumption of guilt with politicians.

Either way, this scandal has been detrimental to NZ First. It has also been detrimental to the publics perception of politicians and clearly a better system of vetting potential MP's is required.