The Jackal: February 2013

28 Feb 2013

Today's good news

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27 Feb 2013

The Hobbit: Lies and Manipulation

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The Government was aware that a union-imposed boycott on Sir Peter Jackson's film The Hobbit had been lifted, but continued to insist that it was in place, official documents released yesterday showed.

So the government misled the public... No surprises there then.

The documents also revealed the minister was aware that a union blacklist - an international ban on actors working on The Hobbit on non-union terms - was lifted on October 18. At the time, the Government denied that the boycott had ended.

When Peter Jackson said there was a very real risk that Warners would relocate the production of The Hobbit to Eastern Europe and his wife the screenwriter, Frances Walsh, also said that Disney would not consider further productions in New Zealand because of difficulties with our immigration laws, they were lying.

There was no evidence to back up their claims, and they blatantly lied in order to ramp up the fear of New Zealand losing production work to give the government an excuse to do what they wanted.

However there's no excuse for the government going along with such disgusting manipulations, of which they were fully complicit in and aware of. At the time, there simply was no real possibility to move the filming of The Hobbit out of New Zealand, just a hollow threat made by Peter Jackson and echoed by other dishonest people.

They lied because they didn't want actors to negotiate collective bargaining rights and have residuals overseen by a union.

They also didn't want to give the Australian based Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) a list of actors they intended to use on the production... That's because New Zealand workers should be used if they're available and Jackson simply didn't want to employ Kiwis.

During the furore, the overblown claims by Jackson, Walsh and Warner Brothers became very ludicrous indeed. Here's one particularly insane letter amongst many (PDF) they wrote to the government in Oct 2010:

Dear Ministers Brownlee and Findlayson - just to be clear

Simon Whipp is doing this to enable the MEAA to become the distributor of all non-sag residuals on NZ films. (This has always been his end game) He is doing this so that he can claim to have negotiated The Hobbit contract. This in turn will give him and the MEAA access to a very large chunk of money via the actor's residuals. (The MEAA takes 5%-15% off all down stream earnings)

The things Whipp has cited as conditions for lifting the ban (facilities, meals and turnaround) are the same things he brought up as problems with The Hobbit contract. This is not a coincidence.

This is his way into our fim and NZ film industry.

If we allow this to happen the next action we will be facing from the FIA (backed by SAG) a joint union action to force the production to acknowledge the MEAA as having been party to the negotiation of terms and conditions for all performers, thus according them the right to distribute all Non-SAG residuals. Once the MEAA control residuals they control the film industry.

This guy has played us for fools. We have just heard that NZ Equity are about to make a statement claiming they have negotiated The Hobbit residuals with Warners.

We appreciate your support, but in light of the MEAA's tactics we cannot carry on for much longer in this insanity.

Best regards,

Fran and Peter

MEAA was going to control the film industry by negotiating residuals? Don't make me laugh! With such rubbish going on, it's no wonder they didn't want these documents made public.

The real kicker here though is there was no threat by MEAA to blacklist The Hobbit when the government claimed there was one and changed employment laws to cut New Zealand workers out of the deal... There was also no practical way Warners could relocate production to Europe when Peter Jackson claimed they were considering doing just that.

Knowing that the ban had been lifted, the lying bastards went ahead and wasted peoples time by organizing protests to keep The Hobbit in New Zealand anyway... What a bunch of dishonest pricks! With that kind of crap going on, it's no wonder The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey isn't a very good movie and bombed at the Oscars.

26 Feb 2013

How climate change is destroying the Earth


Created by:

Media shouldn't have full access

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Restrictions at this year's kapa haka championships has led to members of the public criticising mainstream media for the lack of coverage.

One Maori media outlet snubbed last week's competition, saying the lack of full access was a slap in the face. Te Matatini, held in Rotorua, finished on Sunday.

Media usually don't have full access to these kinds of events... That's because media people often run on ulterior motives and many of them simply cannot be trusted.

The media don't need full access to do their jobs properly and blaming a lack of coverage on management decisions instead of their own untrustworthiness is entirely disingenuous!

On Sunday, The Daily Post reported:

Te Matatini Incorporated Society has banned TVNZ from conducting interviews within the Rotorua International Stadium on finals day tomorrow of Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival 2013 after its Maori news bulletin Te Karere breached media guidelines.

Te Matatini managing director Darrin Apanui said he was disappointed with TVNZ's actions, after they previously adhered to news access guidelines on Thursday.

However a Te Karere reporter abused the privilege of being given access to a space by the VIP lounge to interview dignitaries and instead recorded a piece to camera within a restricted area which was broadcast in its bulletin on Friday.

So there's the real reason full access was declined to the media, because they abused their privileges. That shouldn't mean a lack of coverage though, and things like Hekia Parata being booed by the entire audience should have been reported on.

The fact that such an important event wasn't properly covered just shows how biased and spiteful our media representatives have become, and in my opinion gives even more grounds for not granting them full access in the future.

Five time winners Te Waka Huia in action at Te Matatini 2013

25 Feb 2013

Greedy Lying Bastards

Rodney Hide - Asshole of the Week

On Saturday, 3 News reported:

As the party faithful arrived at the modern day utopia, they were greeted with a rousing speech from former leader Rodney Hide, who attacked the media.

"The media won't know what you're talking about,” he says. “They think you have horns, hate the poor, hate Maori, hate the unions – well, that's true.”

So Act is going to target voters who are overtly bigoted like them, thinking that will get their dying party above the 5% threshold... What a bunch of idiots!

There's a fine line to tread here with most bigots preferring not to openly declare their racism... With Hide openly admitting that the Act party will discriminate against people on the basis of their skin colour many supporters will turn off the Act party, because the majority won't be overtly racist.

That makes Hide politically stupid and clearly displays the reasons why the Act party only polled 0.1% in the 3 News-Reid Research poll. Thankfully the racist idiots look unlikely to be back in parliament after the next election.

Really Hide should be commended on his exceptional work to undermine the Act party, but for now he wins this week's Asshole Award... Hide is truly an asshole of the highest order.

24 Feb 2013

John Banks is corrupt

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

A judge is considering whether Act Party leader John Banks should face charges this month for allegedly misleading investors.

The threat hung over Banks' head as he took the podium at yesterday's annual party conference.

Court papers supplied to the Herald on Sunday allege that because Banks was an executive director of finance firm Huljich Wealth Management, he has absolute liability for false statements in the company prospectus.

That's correct... Anyone who makes investment recommendations, as John Banks has done with Huljich, is an investment adviser under the law and can be prosecuted as such for any misconduct.

Prospective investors were not aware Huljich had injected his own money into the fund following losses made on investments he selected.

But a spokesman for Banks said last night that the Act leader could only be in breach of the Securities Act if it could be shown that the politician had been reckless, negligent or had known of the false claims in the prospectuses.

"Mr Banks can only be held liable for what he knew at the time."

That's incorrect... As an executive director of the company, Banks doesn't actually need to be aware of the misleading information. He only needs to have reckless disregard for his position and fail to ensure all advertisements are correct.

There's some evidence that shows Banks was aware that Huljich was in trouble when the false advertisements were made, and it was his job to ensure all advertisements (especially those with his photo on them) were not misleading investors.

In this way Banks' improbable ignorance is no excuse, and he only needed to allow misleading material to be published while he was a director to be guilty of committing a crime.

This newspaper has seen copies of the company's glossy prospectus that identified Banks as an executive director as recently as 2008.

But after concerns emerged about how the company was paying its returns to investors, the word "executive" was removed from in front of Banks' title on the website and in a subsequent prospectus.

That hardly lets Banks off the hook. As a director of the company, he's liable under the law. With there being no reasonable grounds for him to believe that the misleading prospectus was correct, he's likely to be found guilty.

When the judge considers the allegation, Banks' lawyers will argue that is irrelevant: that a director is a director under the Companies Act, and the word "executive" is legally irrelevant to his liability.

The fact that investors were misled is clear evidence of Banks' negligence as the executive director of Huljich Wealth Management. If his lawyer wants to argue that he was just a director at the time investors were misled, that won't change his liability under the law.

Banks, and former leader Don Brash, had until earlier this month to respond to papers filed in Wellington and Auckland district courts. The pair stand accused of making false statements in the prospectus.

A guilty verdict would undoubtedly mean the end of Banks' political career... It could even mean a bit of time in jail, which in my opinion is where corrupt cretins like Banks and Brash belong.

Bradley Manning over 1000 Days in Jail

22 Feb 2013

Solid Energy down the gurgler

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Solid Energy is at a crisis point, with a Government bailout almost inevitable, mine closures possible and further job cuts likely in another restructure to try to salvage the debt-ridden coal mining company.

The state-owned enterprise yesterday revealed it was in talks with its banks and the Government over its future after its debt rose to $389 million and a further "significant loss" would be in its half-year result.

Know we know the reason Solid Energy CEO resigned earlier this month... The company was going down the gurgler under Don Elder's mismanagement, and just like Jenny Shipley with Mainzeal, the coward Elder has turned tail and run.

No longer is there any accountability for the mismanagement that has caused these businesses to go into such debilitating debt... Instead the perpetrators simply get off scott free with a huge wad of cash to boot.

In 2012 Elder received performance pay of $304,129 on top of his $805,640 pay packet at the same time Solid Energy posted a $40 million loss and sacked 437 workers.

You would expect that such a huge amount of money would ensure the proper management of these companies, and that performance pay was related to them actually performing well... But alas that's not the case.

Finance Minister Bill English said the banks had taken action because they were concerned about getting their money back - and he would not rule out a bailout by the Government, saying it would not let the company fall into receivership.

He would also not rule out job losses among the workforce of 1200 and mine closures in a future restructure aimed at returning the firm to its core business of coal mining but with much lower overheads.

So National is planning to throw good money after bad and bail out another failing business... How stupid!

With the demand for coal likely to continue falling because of the huge increase in renewable energy projects around the world, which are increasing by more than 80% per year, Solid Energy's future is clearly in doubt. There's simply no future in coal and the sooner the government wakes up to that fact the better.

Mr English said the SOE was now worth "a lot less" than the $1.7 billion it was valued at last year, but he did not know whether it was worth more than its $389 million debt.

WTF! A company that was valued at $1.7 billion last year is, according to the Finance Minister, now only worth around $389 million? Even accounting for the 40% decline in coal prices the company should not have devalued that much.

This looks to be yet another case of asset stripping and making questionable investments to businesses that the board knew would never pay off. I guess the National cronies will do just about anything to get their hands on even more public money... What a bunch of bludgers!

21 Feb 2013

A Message to Anadarko from New Zealand

Japanese Whalers - Asshole of the Week

Today, ABC News reported:

Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd claims two of its boats have been rammed by a Japanese ship in Australian Antarctic waters.

Activists say the attacks happened after they were ordered to leave the area by one of the boats in the Japanese whaling fleet.

They say the factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, repeatedly rammed the Steve Irwin and then the Bob Barker, pushing it into a Korean re-fuelling boat.

Sea Shepherd says "concussion grenades" have also been thrown at their activists.

All for a bit of whale meat on their plates... These Japanese are crazy!

The group's director, Doctor Bob Brown, says he has alerted authorities and wants immediate action against what he calls "multiple breaches of international law".

"I have informed the Government," he told ABC24. "Theses are Australian territorial waters and it is time for the Government to reassert itself and send naval vessels.

"This is the worse incident we've seen since the sinking of one of our vessels.

"It's extraordinarily dangerous and a direct break of the law. The escort vessel hurling grenades is labelled 'Government of Japan'.

Causing an international incident is pretty damn stupid... Especially so because its the Japanese government supporting their Whalers breaching international laws.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke says he is trying to confirm the reports.

"Let's wait until I can get those reports confirmed, but I won't be going quiet once I get the information," he said.

The Sea Shepherd reports are obviously accurate, and the Australian government should send in the Navy to observe and intervene if there are further breaches of international law.

Putting peoples lives in danger and ignoring international treaties all in the name hunting whales (some of which are endangered), under the thin guise of "research" is not the way to go about things.

Obviously their despicable actions make the Japanese Whalers complete assholes! They therefore win this week's award... Let's hope they just fuck off back to Japan and leave the Southern Ocean to the whales.

20 Feb 2013

Leaders ignore climate change - Kennedy Graham

Drought conditions linked to climate change

Today, Auckland Now reported:

The green tops of Howe Young's carrots are turning yellow, the roots pushing their shoulders out of the hard soil. They should have been ready to pull a fortnight ago but he's still waiting for them to reach full size.

Pumpkins are "aborting" on the vine and those that do survive are covered in little scabs, remnants of attacks by heat-loving insects.

The relentless dry summer has been great for the onion harvest but not much else, the market gardener said.

A man cannot survive on onions alone.

Karaka in summer is always dry but rainfall on the property is 60 to 70 per cent below normal.

Auckland Council company Watercare said rainfall in the Hunua Ranges for February so far stood at 27 millimetres compared with an average of 109mm.

"We're waiting for the experts to tell us whether we're in a drought or not," Young said.

"Maybe they should ask the farmers. It is a bloody drought."

It's interesting that nobody has declared any official droughts in New Zealand yet, being that the conditions are so dry. Perhaps this has something to do with them not wanting to raise concerns about climate change, which is assuredly contributing to the dryness.

Also today, the NZ Herald reported:

Gisborne city's water shortage problem deepened today as the District Council moved to a higher water alert and banned the use of domestic sprinklers.

Water levels in the Mangapoike dams are lower than they have been at this time of year for 15 years and now half the water flowing out of taps comes from the emergency back-up source, the Waipaoa River.

Niwa's long-term weather forecast predicts dry conditions in the district over the next three months.

Council water team leader Marcus Koll said the council viewed the situation very seriously.

However there's still no mention of climate change from the mainstream media in any of their articles... They obviously expect us to believe that such extreme conditions occur every century or so and there's nothing unusual about having green fields turning into deserts.

It's unfortunate that the MSM is ignoring the fact that a severe drought happened in New Zealand only four years ago, which badly effected farmers and had a huge detrimental impact on our economy.

They seem to believe that January this year being the driest on record has nothing to do with climate change and it's "normal" to have things like a tornado season in Auckland every year.

Despite the denial that's apparent from the media and our current government, many institutions around the world now consider climate change to be a serious threat, so it would be good to at least have some public discussion in New Zealand.

The total media blackout on the issue of climate change must end.

Levi Hawken's I Will if You Will's challenge

More beneficiary bashing

Today, National reported:

“National promised to clamp down on welfare fraud, and I’m pleased to deliver on that promise today.”

The first initiative is to amend the law to create a new offence targeting partners or spouses of beneficiaries who are convicted of fraud.

Relationship offending last year cost over $20 million and makes up one third of welfare fraud prosecutions.

“Currently there are few options available to prosecute partners who know or benefit from such offending, leaving the entire debt with one partner,” says Mr Borrows.

How will they be able to tell what partners knew of the fraud and those that had no idea?

“Prosecuting partners who profit from welfare fraud will ensure that both parties who profit from the crime are punished, and will help the taxpayer recover the lost money faster.”

In some cases a partner won't know about the crime and wouldn't benefit from it, and yet National plan to prosecute and make them pay for a crime they didn't commit, which is entirely unfair.

In contrast to Nationals regular get tough on welfare dog whistling that often coincides with them slumping in the polls or being under fire, we see very little if anything concerning corporate corruption that costs the country far more than welfare fraud ever could.

Despite internal audits only picking up around 2% of fraud cases in New Zealand, the Serious Fraud Office pursued convictions against eight finance companies in 2012 for $2.2 billion worth of fraud.

That's a clear indication that National doesn't have its priorities right when it comes to saving the taxpayer money by reducing crime. Instead, they're picking on beneficiaries who aren't even criminals, and as usual it will be their children who will suffer.

Dolphin superpod off San Diego coast

National in denial over SkyCity report

Yesterday, National reported:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce today welcomed the release of the report by the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) into the expressions of interest process for an international convention centre in Auckland.

“The report dismisses the Greens’ claim that SkyCity was given an unfair advantage in the bidding process. The OAG makes it clear it has seen nothing to suggest the final decision to negotiate with SkyCity was influenced by any inappropriate considerations,” Mr Joyce says.

Boy that's a relief! We can all sleep better at night now that Steven Joyce says the government did nothing wrong! According to him, the Office of the Auditor-General's report (PDF) says that there was no advantage given to SkyCity... Thank god for that.

However today, the NZ Herald reported:

While the report revealed SkyCity was treated "very differently" to other bidders, Prime Minister John Key said it "utterly refuted" allegations his Government had struck a "cosy deal" with SkyCity. He blamed officials for "a few procedural matters" but said there was "nothing of substance that would have changed any of the outcomes".

The process problems identified by Deputy Auditor-General Phillippa Smith emerged in the report from the time the Prime Minister - also Tourism Minister - became personally involved. In August 2009, Mr Key told officials to halt a scoping project on a convention centre proposal to "close off the SkyCity angle". He later explained he had a "broad awareness" SkyCity had development plans.

Mr Key's understanding of the casino's desire for development followed a meeting between himself and SkyCity executives although neither Mr Key or the casino "can recall the discussion" on May 14, 2009. There was also a later meeting between the casino and the Prime Minister's chief of staff Wayne Eagleson on June 17, 2009, at which development was discussed.

So John Key has failed to provide the Auditor General with all the relevant details, once again using plausible deniability to get himself off the hook.

After the PM halted the scoping project, SkyCity met the PM's senior advisers in September 2009 who said they wanted changes to the Gambling Act which had previously stymied the casino's expansion plans by limiting the number of pokies and other games allowed.

Then Mr Key was briefed on options for the convention centre at a dinner with SkyCity board members and executives on November 4, 2009. He urged them to "think outside the box".
As the casino and Beehive moved closer together, Treasury began raising concerns about "process and probity".

Ms Smith said: "We have concerns about the apparent readiness of officials to support those discussions developing into more substantive negotiations without preparing to give advice on the Government's procedural obligations and options."

Warnings about process were conveyed to Mr Key in a briefing note on November 12, 2009.

In 2010, the Government began calling for an expression of interest from groups wanting the contract. At a meeting with officials, Mr Key said the SkyCity deal was "a good proposal".

However Ms Smith said the process "fell short of good practice in a number of respects". That included the fact ministers and officials continued to have contact with SkyCity to discuss its proposal.

Ms Smith said these meetings were "not appropriate" as it provided SkyCity with information other bidders did not receive. She also said the casino had the advantage in knowing the Government didn't plan on putting any money into the project, allowing it to shape its offer.

Clearly National and John Key in particular gave an unfair advantage to SkyCity by informing them of specific information that led to them winning the bidding process. That unfair advantage seems to have developed from a cozy relationship and what amounts to a conflict of interest.

The press release by Joyce and the previous claims by Key that there was nothing amiss while the report clearly confirms the Greens suspicions that SkyCity was given an unfair advantage are glaringly obvious contradictions.

With consideration to the way in which SkyCity was awarded the contract and that there's a lack of strong economic evidence for it, allowing the convention centre to go ahead would simply be wrong! But try telling John Key that.

100% comfortable? Don't make me laugh!

Today, the Listener reported on a few bits of the OAG report that shouldn't be ignored:

1. “We found a range of deficiencies in the advice provided and steps taken leading up to [the] decision.”

2. “Although decisions were made on the merits of the different proposals, we do not consider that the evaluation process was transparent or even handed.”

3. “By the time it was expected that SkyCity would put a firm proposal to the Government for support, officials should have been working to understand and advise on the procedural obligations and principles that would need to govern the next steps. We found no evidence that officials were doing so at this stage.”

4. “The meetings and discussion between the Government representatives and SkyCity were materially different in quantity and kind from those between the Government and the other parties that responded.”

5. “SkyCity was treated very differently from the other parties that responded and the evaluation process effectively moved into a different phase with one party. In our view, the steps that were taken were not consistent with good practice principles of transparency and fairness.”

6. “Overall, we regard the EOI [expressions of interest] process in stage two as having been poorly planned and executed. Insufficient attention was given to planning and management of the process as a whole, so that risks were not adequately addressed and managed.”

7. “We did not see any evidence of formal discussions or decisions on the evaluation process and criteria, or mapping out of the basic options for what might happen next, or advice to Ministers on how the process would be managed and their involvement in it. We do not regard this as adequate for a project of this potential scale, complexity, and risk.”

8. “We have concluded that the preparation for the EOI process and the EOI document, fell short of good practice in a number of respects.”

9. “In our view, the result was that one potential submitter had a clearer understanding of the actual position on a critical issue – that the Government did not want to fund any capital costs – than any other potential submitters … We accept that it is unlikely that this flaw made a material difference to the outcome. However, we have spent some time discussing it because we regard it as symptomatic of the lack of attention to procedural risks, and therefore to the fairness and credibility of the process.”

10. “We are unable to comment on the value of any contribution the Government might make as part of any eventual agreement with SkyCity, because negotiations have not yet been concluded.”

Here's a part of the Auditor General's summary:

Given this complexity, we were surprised to find that there was no documented analysis or advice on the process that needed to be followed from a procurement perspective, or any systematic consideration of the relevant principles and obligations that should guide the steps taken. In our view, those involved had a strong focus on the need to manage the difficult relationship between the commercial issues and the policy and political decisions that were needed, but too little focus on the disciplines that should govern commercial decision-making in the public sector.

The reason proper process wasn't followed is because Key had already made up his mind to award SkyCity the deal... There was therefore no reason for the Government to be disciplined in their decision making process. However the use of public money and changing our laws to suit private business interests should always be undertaken with the utmost care.

In my opinion, there were inappropriate considerations made by the Prime Minister because he had given SkyCity an advantage no other bidder's were offered, and that advantage leading to the contract being awarded to SkyCity is obviously highly inappropriate.

Couple those undeniable facts with the detrimental changes to New Zealand legislation demanded by SkyCity and one has to conclude that the wheels are falling off Keys plan for a gambling mecca in Auckland... National and their supporters seem to be the only ones who haven't noticed.

19 Feb 2013

This film should be seen by the entire world!

Rena environmental terrorism continues

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The owners and insurers of the MV Rena want to leave part of the cargo ship on the Astrolabe Reef - but Tauranga's Mayor would rather have the whole wreck gone.

The cost of dealing with the ship, smashed into pieces on the reef off the Tauranga coast, has now shot past $275 million and is set to become one of the most expensive maritime salvages in history.

Personally I don't think the cost should be a major factor in deciding whether part of the Rena should remain on astrolabe reef... Such a decision should be about the environmental impact.

This year, the insurers plan to remove contaminants to meet environmental guidelines, take away as much remaining cargo as possible and clear or close any hazards making the wreck unsafe for diving.

Under the proposal, some debris would remain around the site, and a discharge consent would have to be sought to account for slow release from the weathering of wreck steel and paint, residue oils and any lingering cargo contaminants.

So it's been nearly two years since the Rena first grounded and hazardous substances have still not been recovered... Talk about incompetent.

Closing or sealing any hazardous substances in containers on board the Rena or lost at sea will simply not work because the ocean has a way of getting into things built of steel.

Obviously the government should be ensuring that the Rena wreck is cleaned up properly and the question needs to be asked as to why they haven't been doing their jobs properly?

The insurers said the site would be monitored regularly, and pollutants would have a "minimal and temporary" effect. However, they said some contaminants from remaining cargo, hull paints or oils could affect the sea floor, potentially "restricting some ecological regeneration".

There's been no proper monitoring of the area to date and what would an insurance company know about the effects on the environment from the various unrecovered hazardous substances anyway? Absolutely nothing that's what.

There's still around 2000 litres of oil and lubricants on board the wreckage and around 28 containers carrying approximately 21,700 kg of Ferrosilicon, 24,096 kg of Potassium Nitrate, 23,240 kg of Alkylsulphonic Acid liquid, 5,400 kg Trichloroiscyanuric Acid and 490 tonnes of Cryolite yet to be recovered. Most of these were lost overboard.

There's a total lack of any proper scientific study concerning the environmental impact these hazardous substances are having on the Bay of Plenty.

Despite that lack of information, there's no doubt that leaving these various toxic substances to slowly leech into the ocean will be an environmental disaster of monumental proportions... Therefore it should not be allowed to occur.

If the company gained consent it would establish a "restoration package" to fund a range of research scholarships and grants for projects in the Bay of Plenty.

More empty words I'm afraid when you consider the continued long-term damage to the area such environmental terrorism would cause.

Removing the entire wreck would mean extending the period the exclusion zone would need to remain in place, involve greater disturbance to and destruction of the reef environment and "major operational challenges" including risks to workers, the ship's owner and insurers said. A previous assessment estimated that option could take up to five years.

Clearly there would be more long-term destruction by leaving the wreck on Astrolabe reef. Also, there are always dangers with such work... However removing the Rena wreck can be carried out safely and the owners and insurers are just fear mongering in the hope of saving some money.

Removing the entire wreck would mean extending the period the exclusion zone would need to remain in place, involve greater disturbance to and destruction of the reef environment and "major operational challenges" including risks to workers, the ship's owner and insurers said. A previous assessment estimated that option could take up to five years.

Being that the salvers have failed to uphold their promise of having no wreckage above sea level by the end of 2012, we can assume that the estimate of five years is also incorrect.

However if there was any real impetus to remove the Rena wreck it could be done a lot faster and the fact that there isn't is just as much the fault of the company responsible as it is the governments. National simply don't care about the continued environmental damage caused by their and the salvers incompetence.

GMO A Go Go!

18 Feb 2013

Libertarianz off the planet

Today, the Libertarianz reported:

Libertarianz Party leader Richard McGrath today urged anyone who objects to the coercive nature of the five-yearly census to destroy their papers.

“Members of my party up and down New Zealand will be burning, shredding, defacing or ignoring the documents sent out by Statistics NZ, as would be their undisputed right in a free country.”

That Richard McGrath eh! Not only is the Libertarianz leader totally overreacting, he's clearly not even aware that it's a lawful requirement to fill in the census using the correct information.

In my opinion, encouraging people to break the law isn't a good look, especially from a so-called political party.

“If the Bill of Rights Act 1990 had any teeth, it would protect those who don’t wish to complete their census forms from police harrassment and prosecution. Article 14 of the act states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.’ This includes the right to remain silent and to refrain from writing.”

McGrath is obviously off the planet... Nowhere does the Bill of Rights Act 1990 (PDF) state anything about the right to remain silent concerning a lawful requirement to give information.

The right to remain silent is usually only used by people who might incriminate themselves, which makes me wonder if McGrath has something to hide?

Besides, unless somebody is clearly breaking the law, the Census information can only be used for statistical purposes and must be reported in a way that cannot identify people.

In fact the Statistics Act 1975 (PDF) strictly prohibits the use of the information for anything but statistical purposes and employees collecting or collating the information must make a statutory declaration of secrecy first.

“A lot of New Zealanders are concerned about where the information in these forms will end up, and whether it is necessary to collect the information in the first place.”

The information is basically used to see how well New Zealand is doing. It shows things like home ownership levels and income rates for the entire country, and indicates whether things are progressing or not.

“And many are worried that the government is paying lip service to its role as the defender of basic individual rights such as free speech and expression. This will be a test as to whether the Bill of Rights offers real protection or is a sham.”

I'm not sure where the census tries to stop people from expressing themselves, but I really do hope the ever-deluded Richard McGrath would stop expressing himself.

The paranoid fool is strangely under the impression that the simple information requested will somehow be used against him, but can't seem to point out exactly how?

No wonder the Libertarianz fail to register on any polling.

State Of The Nation 2013 Summary

Collins fails to fix ACC

Today, the Dominion Post reported:

ACC has apologised to a rape victim after a manager in charge of sensitive claims tried to blame her when a report containing medical information was altered.

Instead, it was ACC that had censored important details from a psychiatrist's report about the rape and incest client.

So ACC blamed a sexual abuse victim for changing documents they themselves altered... This was of course to bring the claimant into disrepute in the hope of being able to decline her treatment.

The senior ACC staffers involved in the botch-up were Dr Dodwell, and ACC team manager Karmal Mark.

Dr Dodwell was asked by ACC to assess a medication claim from the client for treatment for complex mental health issues arising from her accepted ACC claim following years of systemic sexual abuse.

But half of the psychiatrist's report was deleted by ACC and the psychiatrist's signature was cut and pasted from another page.

The word "abridged" was inserted above Ms Mark's contact details before the report was sent to Dr Dodwell.

The changes were not properly recorded, and that "oversight" was clearly done for a reason... This was no honest mistake by ACC and in my opinion altering documents to try and discredit a client amounts to forgery.

After receiving the report, Dr Dodwell wrote: "A line appears to have been deleted . . . presumably by the claimant.

"Censorship of medical reports by a claimant is not acceptable and appears to breach the trust ACC demonstrated in allowing the claimant to bar direct contact with treatment providers."

The psychiatrist "clearly wrote something he considered significant to her management", Dr Dodwell said.

So before even checking, Dodwell immediately accused the client of altering the documents... How despicable! ACC would have written to the client to make the false accusations in order to cause her distress, which is another way ACC ensures claimants often give up fighting for what they're entitled to.

When The Dominion Post questioned ACC about the altered report, they delayed replying while they went back to the psychiatrist to confirm his original report was different to the abridged version.

The psychiatrist confirmed the full report was his, not the abridged version, and told ACC: "I have now confirmed this on three occasions to ACC. I trust three confirmations are adequate".

Finally, on Friday the corporation confirmed to The Dominion Post that a letter of apology would be sent to the client.

Of course ACC's apology was only forthcoming after the media became involved.

The sensitive claims unit client said it was typical of ACC to make thinly veiled accusations of what could amount to criminal behaviour against clients but she provided documents showing ACC changed the report, not her.

The debacle "is more than outrageous, it is criminal and yet they have had the audacity to blame me for tampering with a medical report".

"I'm appalled, disgusted and very distressed and angry. I am so damn angry about it . . . this is quite simply not acceptable," the woman said.

Such behaviour is obviously acceptable to the Minister of ACC, Judith Collins, who promised a culture change at ACC after the Bronwyn Puller debacle blew up in Nationals face. However nothing has changed and ACC is still causing claimants undue distress by being dishonest.

ACC medical assessors are obviously still being paid bonuses for declining claimants without good reason.

It's apparent that the lack of any government impetus to fix ACC is an attempt to shift public opinion concerning the no fault scheme so that it can be privatised... That's Nationals end game here, and that's why ACC is continuing to mistreat its clients.

Before being appointed medical adviser for the ACC unit dealing with its most sensitive cases, Dr Dodwell was sacked from his job in Australia.

In March 2008, he was dismissed from his role as chief medical officer at HealthQuest, a medical screening body for bureaucrats, after he passed on information about a teacher applying for a job.

You've got to wonder if ACC goes out and headhunts these types of people?

An investigation by a former New South Wales deputy police commissioner David Madden said Dr Dodwell tried to adversely affect a decision to employ the teacher by saying she was being investigated by police for defamatory website postings about him.

"The way in which he [Dodwell] went about informing the Department of Education was inappropriate and not reasonable behaviour of a public official," the Madden report said.

No wonder Peter Dodwell works for ACC, he's a complete wanker!

With many similar despicable cases of ACC abusing clients, it's obvious that the system is still highly dysfunctional. Clearly Judith Collins has totally failed to implement any type of culture change at ACC, which is another indication that she's a complete failure of a minister.

In my opinion, Judith Collins should resign from her ACC responsibilities forthwith... But unfortunately she's not being held to account at all for the mess that ACC has become.

Meet the crew of the Steve Irwin - Sea Shepherd

17 Feb 2013

Plagued by right wing hypocrisy

Today, Stuff reported:

Crown minister Chris Tremain has been accused of double standards for lobbying to ban oil and gas exploration in parts of his back yard.

Tremain, the Minister of Internal Affairs, of Local Government and Associate Minister of Tourism, is a member of a government caucus that supports offering large blocks of New Zealand countryside for oil and gas exploration, including the use of the controversial fracking technique.

But in a message to constituents in his Napier electorate, Tremain has written that exploration has been outlawed from geology around aquifers - or underground wet rock - in Hawke's Bay.

The water sources are crucial for the region's horticulture and agriculture industries.

As is the water from aquifers vital to many industries in other areas National wants to frack.

In an article outlining the "huge" financial opportunity oil and gas exploration offered "The Bay", Tremain wrote: "Sure, there are risks involved, but there are risks in everything we do from driving the car to playing a game of rugby.

"In the case of the oil and gas industry, Craig Foss [National Party MP for Tukituki] and I have worked with the Minister of Energy to remove our Hawke's Bay aquifers from exploration."

The double standards couldn't be more apparent... Here we have a National MP ensuring that his constituency is removed from the permit process while still promoting it elsewhere.

I wonder what Tremain's reason is for not wanting fracking in the Hawkes Bay? Probably the same reasons to not have it anywhere else in New Zealand.

The National party has made numerous attempts to mislead the public concerning the safety of fracking, while Tremain won't accept it in his own back yard.

Hypocrisy is obviously at epidemic proportions within the National party, but what else is new?

15 Feb 2013

Special Appeal From Paul Watson - Sea Shepherd

Closing ranks over Mainzeal collapse

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has defended his connection to the head of collapsed construction company Mainzeal after their relationship was criticised in Parliament.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has repeatedly questioned the relationship between the Government and Mainzeal since the company went into receivership last week, threatening 200 jobs.

He believed the Government knew of the firm's difficulties but continued to give it lucrative contracts in rebuilding Christchurch. Yesterday, he highlighted Dr Sharples' relationship with Richina Pacific chief Richard Yan, whose company owned Mainzeal.

That would be a conflict of interest if true, and makes me think there's a lot more to this story.

Dr Sharples took a $10,000 donation from Mr Yan before the 2011 election, and has been a strong supporter of the Chinese-born businessman's proposal to build New Zealand House in Shanghai.

Which could partly explain why the government continued to give millions of taxpayer dollars to Mainzeal knowing all the while that it was in trouble and might not deliver.

Talk about a total lack of due diligence and a case of I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, which I might add occurs all too often from within our current administration.

He said Mr Sharples and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully both refused to release correspondence with Mr Yan under the Official Information Act.

I wonder what they're trying to hide?

Did for instance past or present key government ministers make secret deals with private Chinese businesses to help Mainzeal secure lucrative Government contracts knowing all the while they might not be honoured? Such a thing is corruption, plain and simple.

These questions will likely remain unanswered until there's a full and independent inquiry... However one thing is certain, the fallout from Mainzeal's collapse will have very wide implications indeed.

Citizen A with Matthew Hooton & Keith Locke

News as infotainment

There's one pass time that's enjoyed by more Kiwi's than any other, watching television. It's our most popular leisure time activity by a long shot and often holds the attention of the entire nation with a diverse range of programming.

However that diversity has been steadily declining since our only public broadcaster TVNZ7 had their funding cut by the National government, ending transmission in June 2012... Other free to air channels simply disappeared without explanation around the same time.

Because of that, we no longer have as much free access to foreign news coverage, movies, documentaries or even as many programs produced right here in New Zealand.

But it's not just the decreased coverage that's the problem... There's been a dramatic decline in the quality of our current affairs programs and news coverage as well, which along with the advent of more infotainment and reality TV shows, has a detrimental impact on how informed us Kiwis are.

Information isolation is something New Zealanders should be wary of, because if we're not properly kept up to date with relevant coverage on the happenings both here and abroad, we run the risk of being seen as backwards. The ignorance that a lack of proper coverage causes is a clear disadvantage within a global community.

Thankfully all the major opposition parties have expressed their concerns about the lack of a public broadcasting network, and hopefully that concern will formulate into funding more public programming after National lose the next general election in December 2014.

The Great Gun Debate - Rap News 18

14 Feb 2013

Slater is pathetic

The ever-deceitful Cameron Slater has been posting like a madman in an attempt to discredit the 'Say No To Asset Sales' campaign.

It's a bit pathetic really, especially because Slater is so blindly opposed to keeping our power companies in public hands that he's willing to promote total lies, which for anybody who's familiar with Slater's propaganda should come as no surprise.

Today, WhaleOil reported:

This was the scene last night as the Green taliban [sic] and Labour conducted an anti-asset sales rally in Frank Kitts park:

Slater has also used a photo of around a hundred people who attended an Against Domestic Violence rally at the same location in an attempt to show that nobody cares about keeping our assets.

However his post's are entirely non-factual, and the turnout to the anti-asset sales rally at Frank Kitts park was respectable at around a thousand participants... Here's the proof:

There's already been well over 370,000 stop the asset sales signatures collected (over 11% of eligible voters), which easily meets the amount required for the petition to trigger a referendum on the issue.

With over half of those who voted for National at the last election also not wanting asset sales, a referendum will assuredly mean that New Zealand retains its most profitable and socially beneficial assets for future generations.

In my opinion, National would be pretty damn stupid not to allow a referendum to go ahead... But not half as stupid as Slater's pathetic attempts to mislead the public. That guy is a total plonker!

Join the sign-a-thin or download the petition here.

Jan Logie vs Gerry Brownlee

Holly Walker - Hero of the Week

We've all heard the repeated claims by the government that there has to be budget cuts in order to balance the books, and that without such sacrifice the government won't get back into the black.

But in reality National isn't doing much at all to reduce our government debt, which has increased by more than 190% since John Key became Prime Minister.

Instead, it's certain opposition MPs who are leading by example to ensure taxpayer's aren't further financially penalized by politician's expensive tastes.

Today, Holly Walker tweeted:

I think that's an excellent achievement and clearly shows that Holly Walker isn't increasing taxpayers costs by overspending. The Green party MP therefore thoroughly deserves this week's Hero Award... Well done.

Forest & Bird, KCC's Kereru Count

Newsflash! Tame Iti gets parole

Tame Iti, the mastermind behind the infamous "terrorist" training camps throughout te Urewera, has been granted parole to return back to his base camp and continue plotting the demise of the government.

No longer content with merely painting, writing and being outspoken about indigenous rights, Tame Iti has vowed to ride a horse bareback past local authorities and might even do the Haka... The sheer audacity of the man!

Today, Stuff reported:

Jailed activist Tame Iti says he is to be released from prison.

"It's a good day. They are sending me home. I can't wait to be back with my whanau," Iti tweeted this afternoon.

Iti is clearly talking in code here, and will instead be plotting to take over New Zealand with Tikanga Māori... Oh the humanity!

In January, Iti said he had a parole hearing scheduled for today. "As it is valentines day...I wonder if the parole board will show me some love."

Of course this wasn't about love, with the level headed Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust quick to respond to the news:

"I'm shocked! That evil genius Iti has obviously blackmailed his way to freedom" said McVicar. "When I signed up with Serco, I assured them that all Maori activists would be locked up forever. Now I'm in breach of contract and we'll lose millions."

The fallout to the parole boards surprise decision has only just begun.

Say no to asset sales in Aotearoa NZ

13 Feb 2013

Meet the Young Nats same as the old Nats

Yesterday, the Young Nats finally let rip with some highly self-important criticism of Nationals arch enemy, Winston Peters:

“Richard Prosser has attacked a sector of the community; and shamelessly defended this bitter and nasty attack – and Winston Peters is doing nothing about it” says Young Nats President, Sean Topham.

Richard Prosser took no responsibility for this attack; instead hiding behind a weasely-worded press release issued by Winston Peters, which had no apology.

But perhaps the most conceited bit is when Topham writes:

“The racist record Winston Peters and NZ First have racked up since their party’s formation is a pitiful contribution to politics and must stop.”

In my opinion, it's rather hypocritical of the Young Nats to be screaming blue murder about racism when their track record on the issue has been particularly reprehensible.

Young Nats member does Nazi salute 2012
Where was Sean Topham's apology for Young Nat member's showing their support for fascism and white power during their annual ball, and then uploading their racist photos to the internet for the world to see?

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Obama on Climate Change

National to blame for growing divide

Today, the Salvation Army released their fifth annual State of the Nation report The Growing Divide (PDF), which documents research done into crime and punishment, employment, incomes, social hazards, housing and the welfare of our children amongst many other issues.

Here's the forward:

We have two clear choices here: one is to continue the path we have been on more or less continuously for the past three decades, concentrating wealth and influence, and driving the marginalised further into the shadows, with yet more restrictive welfare entitlements and a yet more punitive criminal justice system. The other is to act more inclusively and to work consciously and deliberately at ways of ensuring that the most marginalised New Zealanders, and in particular, many poor families and unemployed young people, feel as though they are valued and valuable members of our society.’

~ Major Campbell Roberts, director of the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.

The report is critical of our political process and talks about the current National government not having a moral authority to make sweeping changes because of their slimmest of majorities and nearly one million eligible voters staying away from the polls. It calls Rogernomics deceitful, and talks about the marginalization such destructive policies have caused.

What's particularly concerning is the increased violence against children of between 18% and 20% during 2010/11. The amount of reported cases of child neglect rose even more dramatically, which clearly indicates that things are getting worse and not better for many families under the current administration.

The report also highlights the fact that our Police and judiciary system is biased against Maori, confirming other research conducted into this area. It also shows that our prison population has hit a new record high, which aren't mutually exclusive dynamics in my opinion.

Over the six years covered by this data, Maori males have been up to 30% more likely than non-Maori males to be prosecuted by Police for the same or similar crime. Criminalisation can have serious longer-term consequences for young people both in terms of the pathway they are put on to address their offending and because of the way criminalisation can subsequently limit future life choices and chances.

There are some positive aspects in the report such as a slight reduction in child mortality rates, improved enrolment's in early childhood education, marginal improvement to NCEA achievement gaps and a reduction in the rates of some types offending... But in comparison to the negative statistics reported, they don't mean a great deal.

Here's what the Salvation Army says about New Zealands outlook for the future:

It is possible to gain the impression from the data presented that New Zealand does not at present appear to have any great aspirations for its children. Relatively high levels of child poverty persist year after year, high rates of child violence and child neglect continue without any major policy shift or change in attitudes; and too many, mainly poor, young people leave school with no qualifications and drift into crime or to becoming parents early.

The Salvation Army also report that there's been an increase in the amount of joblessness of 62% between 2006 and 2011, a dramatic decline in the numbers of 15 to 19 year olds in employment of 28% and a failure of wages and salaries to grow in inflation adjusted terms for the last two years. The Salvation Army's report card into work and incomes, especially for young people, is grim reading indeed.

The robust report also makes comparisons with Spain and Greece concerning New Zealands youth unemployment rate, and says that there's underreporting and insufficient data available that's hiding the true extent of the problem. The current government has obviously hid these statistics because they're damning.

The report reiterates something many commentators have been saying for a long time:

Government and local councils appear unwilling or unable to acknowledge the extent of the housing problem New Zealand is facing, despite warnings from independent agencies.

The housing shortage is getting worse despite the growing mass exodus out of New Zealand by thousands of Kiwis each year. Such dysfunction is a clear result of government lethargy as a result of believing the market knows best, which is clearly not the case.

The report also highlights the problem of Housing New Zealand implementing harsher criteria, and that the true extent of the housing problem is also hard to fully quantify because of a lack of proper statistics from the government and other regulatory institutions.

It's well worth a read if you're interested in learning about the state of the nation.

12 Feb 2013

Richard Prosser - Asshole of the Week

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Comments on Muslims by New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser have sparked online outrage and have been slammed as racist by a Muslim leader.

In a column for Investigate Magazine, the Waimakariri list MP suggested young Muslims shouldn't be allowed to travel on Western airlines because 'most terrorists are Muslims".

Oh dear! Not only is Richard Prosser clearly a complete bigot, his claim that most terrorists are Muslims is entirely incorrect.

Such stupid claims have been disproven by research conducted by the Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

Collating FBI data also shows Muslim extremists undertook only 6% of terrorist attacks on US soil from 1980 to 2005, so clearly the idiot Prosser has no basis in reality for his claims.

He accepted that most Muslims are not terrorists, but it's "equally undeniable" that "most terrorists are Muslims".

"If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you're a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West's airlines," he wrote.

If the New Zealand government started discriminating against people in the way Prosser wants, they would be breaching the Human Rights Act 1993 (PDF).

In his article, Mr Prosser also said: "I will not stand by while [his daughters'] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners, are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan."

The 9/11 hijackers were Muslims, as were the London "tube bombers", Mr Prosser said, along with the Taleban and al-Qaida.

"There is a pattern here, I promise you," he wrote. "These are angry, young Muslim men who hate the West and want to destroy it.

"They attack us, and our institutions and infrastructures, and our way of life, and our values and beliefs and precepts, because we are not like them, and for no other reason."

One minutes googling can disprove such ignorance, so why in this day and age of technological advancement could Prosser still be so damn deluded?

Although he's distanced himself as an MP from his repugnant article, Prosser is still responsible as a representative for what he writes.

Prosser therefore has no place within parliament and Winston Peters should sack him forthwith. If NZ First allows Prosser to remain, they're condoning his defunct beliefs, and that's something no reasonable political party should be doing.

Russel Norman vs Steven Joyce

Keys refugee dog whistle

The recent spat of fear mongering by the media and National concerning refugees is obviously to take the focus off other more important issues... But let's have a look at it anyway.

Today, Radio NZ reported:

Prime Minister John Key says it is possible New Zealand will use Australia's offshore detention centres to process mass arrivals of asylum-seekers.

He says New Zealand can't rule out the very real possibility that such people will eventually make it here in significant numbers.

Such People? There's very little chance that a boatload of refugees is going to travel another 2,250 km to a lower standard of living in New Zealand, and if they did, the best solution would be to look after them as best we can.

Just before Christmas, he says, Australian intelligence agencies believed a boat was heading to New Zealand from Indonesia.

This is clearly a dog whistle that John Key is blowing as hard and as loud as he can to drum up support from the bigots.

But what the xenophobes really need to understand is that New Zealand has an obligation under its agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to take 750 refugees per year.

However the government only lets in a fraction of that amount with around 200 people per year or roughly 25% of the total allocated. New Zealand is therefore failing to adhere to its international refugee obligations.

Mr Key says he understands the boat was either prevented from leaving, or intercepted.

He says the Government is spending tens of millions of dollars upgrading the Mangere Refugee Centre, but other options have to be considered.

Key is clearly making shit up and would be hard pressed to supply any evidence of his claims. What National is also doing is wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on another jail when there's no evidence that it will be required to process refugees.

Asylum-seekers who have already reached Australia are in the process of being transferred to the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recently labelled the centre unlawful, and criticised the conditions as inhumane. A similar centre in Nauru reopened in August, and there are centres in mainland Australia too.

Mr Key says there have already been discussions between New Zealand and Australia about sending people to offshore centres if boatloads of illegal arrivals start to turn up in New Zealand waters.

He says he's been assured by Australian prime minister Julia Gillard that conditions at the centres meet international standards.

Does Key honestly believe it's a good idea to transfer New Zealand refugees into Australian Detention Centres when we're not even adhering to our refugee quota under the UNHCR obligations in the first place?

That seems to be a most silly idea especially considering the Australian Detention Centres have recently been severely criticized by the United Nations High Commissioner.

Despite what Julia Gillard believes, Australian Detention Centres clearly don't meet international standards... You can read the UNHCR's full report here (PDF)... Here's some of its more relevant findings:

There are still very significant inadequacies in the legal and operational framework governing the transfer, treatment and processing of transferees from Australia to PNG, which require priority attention.

The determination process fails to properly identify whether a transferee is a refugee in need of protection under Australia and PNG’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The temporary living conditions for most transferees at the closed detention setting remain harsh and, for some, inadequate. The centre also has arbitrary detention that is inconsistent with international human rights law.

The on-going delays in establishing any procedures to assess children’s refugee protection needs, and broader best interests, are particularly troubling.

Assessed as a whole, the current arrangements for the transfer of asylum seekers to unsatisfactory temporary facilities, within a closed detention setting, and in the absence of a legal framework and functional system to assess refugee claims, do not currently meet the required international protection standards.

It's therefore pretty obvious that the Australian Detention Centres are hellholes that systematically breach people's human rights, and that's where the ignoramus Key wants to send people who are looking for a brighter future.

With regular hunger strikes and the odd riot, Australian Detention Centres are obviously not the place we should use in the unlikely event of a mass arrival of refugees to New Zealand.

11 Feb 2013

Too Precious to Risk

Damien Grant bullshit artist

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

David Shearer and his cohort of prospective coalition partners, the Greens, Mana and NZ First, are holding a show-trial into who killed the manufacturing industry.

Forty thousand manufacturing jobs have disappeared, Shearer declares.

Actually, it's now likely to be a lot more than that with the latest Labour House Survey (PDF) that was released a few days ago showing another 17,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost during 2012.

What he does not say is those 40,000 jobs have gone since a peak right before the 2008 recession and almost half of that loss occurred in the final year of the last Labour government.

The global recession began in December 2007 and the peak in manufacturing the idiot is talking about occurred in September 2008 at exactly the same time the global economy took a particularly sharp downturn.

That means the right wing cannot blame the recession for the continued shedding of manufacturing jobs, because there was growth in the manufacturing sector under Labour for the first half of the recession.

What's obviously to blame for all but the most brainwashed neoliberal ideolog is Nationals woeful economic mismanagement.

The losses in manufacturing since 2008 have been more than made up for by new jobs in education and training, health and professional services.

Is that why unemployment has more than doubled under the current National administration? Talk about cherry picking statistics to fit his defunct and baseless argument.

Damien Grant is obviously a complete conman, and probably wouldn't know the truth is it came up and bit him on the arse! Why the Herald allows his drivel to be published is anyones guess.

In the meantime, those of us not engaged in the sector would be paying more for imported products such as petrol. Particularly distressing, the cost of upgrading my smartphone would rise.

However things aren't cheaper because importers and distributors are soaking up much of the savings by increasing their profit margins... So while we're losing lots of manufacturing jobs as more companies go out of business because of the high dollar, we're still paying overinflated prices.

It's not really about consumerism either... The reason behind National keeping the dollar high is probably a bit more complex than that... John Key is first and foremost a money trader after all.

Key obviously has little thought for how well Kiwi families are doing, as exhibited by the growing inequality and poverty throughout the country.

Manufacturing jobs have been killed because the economic tide has moved.

The reality of the situation is that more people have less money to buy imported items that are still too expansive. The only people who really benefit from such a scam is the middle men who are making a killing off using slave or extremely low waged labour in places like China and India.

The facts of the matter remain... Most other developed countries around the world have recovered a lot faster than New Zealand has from the recession even though we were in a better position to begin with, so simply blaming it all on the recession is clearly unfounded.

The main culprit is Nationals woeful performance... Their complete lack of any proper economic planning or initiative is clearly the reason for New Zealands declining economic position.

I wonder if people like Damien Grant will ever wake up and smell their own bullshit?

New Zealand Sea lions in trouble

Keys Big Gay Out fail

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

But when he took to the stage at the invitation of Miss Ribena, a drag queen with a penchant for purple, there was a slight shift in mood.

"F*** you John Key," several voices in the crowd called.

Do I sense a shift in attitude towards John Key? About bloody time.

Key spoke to the crowd and reaffirmed his plans to vote for Labour MP Louisa Wall's Marriage Amendment Bill, which would see same sex couples afforded the same rights of marriage as heterosexuals.

He championed that the rate of Aids contraction in gay men had dropped by 30 per cent in the last three years.

"He obviously meant HIV," said a woman after Key's speech.

"He doesn't know what he is talking about."

What a plonker! Not only did Key get HIV mixed up with AIDS, he got the statistics totally wrong as well...  According to the Ministry of Health, the amount of gay men contracting HIV has decreased by 24% between Jan 2008 and 2012.

That's good news, but what's even better is that there's been a whopping 155% reduction in the amount of AIDS notifications during the same time period.

That guy can sure sell some snake oil, but he shouldn't be trying to take credit for Labour MP Louisa Wall's Marriage Equality Bill (PDF) or the decrease in new cases of HIV for that matter.

It was a Labour government that introduced HIV screening for new immigrants in 2006, which has assuredly helped to reduce the amount of new HIV cases in New Zealand.

So once again Key is trying to steel other peoples limelight.

Key had recently downed more than a standard drink of beer in less than six seconds after losing a game of beer pong to Grey Lynn resident Mikala Collins so the mistake could be forgiven.

In my opinion, a competent Prime Minister should be able to handle skolling a single beer without turning into an idiot.

And then, Auckland local Andy Lawrie attempted to reinforce the point that Key might not be as progressive as he purported. Lawrie was seen lowering a coat hanger affixed to a bamboo pole over the head of the Prime Minister.

"It's just a little reminder," he said.

On the coat hanger was a "gay" red shirt.

"It's just to make people remember."

Last year Key was lambasted for announcing on radio that the shirt his fellow radio announcer was wearing was a "gay red shirt". He later admitted he had picked up the usage from his children and used it as a synonym for "weird".

Key isn't beneath trying to illicit votes from the gay community while also trying to gain votes from the redneck community by calling the gays weird! Bloody politicians eh!