The Jackal: March 2020

30 Mar 2020

COVID-19 vs New Zealand

Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.

However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.

There’s really only one main very simple rule, stay at home. But for some reason certain idiots think they’re impervious to a virus that has now claimed 31,000 victims worldwide and is predicted to kill many hundreds of thousands more.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Covid 19 coronavirus: Police called to '60-person party' near Queenstown backpacker's 

Police were called last night to a backpacker party involving up to 60 people in a Queenstown park. 
Footage from the area shows backpackers spilling out of Deco Backpackers, which backs onto Rotary Park on Lake St in Queenstown. 
Officers were called at about 5.45pm to find a group of about 60 people having a party, a police spokesperson said.

However it’s not just people’s arrogance currently creating additional risk and likely prolonging the countries lockdown. As we all know, the neoliberal agenda has dramatically increased inequality in New Zealand, impoverishment that is now hindering people’s ability to safeguard their families through isolation.

Successive New Zealand Government’s have believed that benefits need to be set below the actual cost of living, to encourage people into low-waged employment, which has effectively resulted in a system of begging for food grants. Low benefit rates also mean people living below the poverty line don't have anything left over for a rainy day.

People living hand to mouth are being forced (through hunger) to leave the place they reside. In effect the discriminatory system is endangering Kiwis lives.

But it’s not just a hangover from an out-dated ideology that’s the problem. Capitalism is also ensuring that a lockdown isn’t being executed properly. Along with numerous businesses failing to close down properly when they were legally required to do so, and a questionable list of essential services to begin with, the Government is now contemplating allowing the reopening of other non-essential businesses.

Today, RNZ reported:

Coronavirus: PM to reconsider 'essential businesses' 

Ministers will meet today to discuss whether more services should be deemed to be essential and allowed to be open for business.

I’m sure there has recently been substantial lobbying of the Government by businesses with vested interests. Perhaps even a few more secret donations have been offered to National and NZ First to relax the rules? There are after all billions of dollars at stake.

Here’s the Prime Minister clearly stating that the economy is of utmost importance.

"New Zealand was well-placed going in, the debt to GDP level of many countries was very high relative to New Zealand, so that makes a difference for us. 
"At the same time we have to think about what the future looks like for sectors that have relied on people moving around the globe. So I am thinking, and ministers are thinking about our tourism industry in the long term. And what we can do to heat up and warm up and get our economy going, once we get through the other side of this."

What was that about not keeping all your eggs in one basket? Who was that saying we needed to diversify our economy I wonder? Certainly none of the selfish capitalists who are now bleating about their bottom lines.

If Covid-19 is as bad as they say, much of the economy won't get through to the other side. That means industries like tourism in New Zealand will effectively end. With confirmation that the virus can survive on items for weeks, there is no doubt that our export driven economy will also take a hammering.

"We will have to be managing Covid-19 until there's a vaccine, and that will be many months. My goal is for, at the end of this four weeks, to at least be in a position where ... some parts of the country can move to a lower level of our alert system."

Whether or not Jacinda Ardern places the economy above people’s safety will be the real test of her time in power. There will be intense pressure on her to think of the capitalists instead of the safety of every day Kiwis at the moment. Let’s hope she makes the right decision.

28 Mar 2020

Landlords are NOT an essential service

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.

Unfortunately for them that sense of superiority has recently been challenged by the Coalition Government, who has rightly implemented a number of rules to ensure tenants aren’t put at increased risk during the COVID-19 lockdown.

On Wednesday, the Beehive reported:

COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants 
  • Immediate freeze on rent increases 
  • Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances 
  • Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period
  • Tenants will still be able to terminate their tenancy as normal, if they wish
The Government is supporting New Zealanders to stay in their rental properties with a six month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having their tenancies terminated, says the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods. 
“These changes will ensure that people can stay in their homes during this challenging time. This enables families and individuals to self-isolate, to stay home and maintain physical distancing, supporting the public health of all New Zealanders.

Landlords will be spitting tacks about these measures, particularly as they come soon after a number of other worthwhile healthy home initiatives designed to protect the wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

In particular they will hate with a vengeance renters (who they view as second-class citizens) having the ability to terminate their tenancies while they cannot.

It came as no surprise then that landlords fired back at the Coalition Government for daring to initiate policy to safeguard people’s lives, particularly those who don’t currently have the resources available to move house.

On Wednesday, Stuff reported:

Coronavirus: Tenants told 14-day notices sent if rent not paid 

As the country prepares for a lockdown, property managers have been telling tenants that they must pay rent or likely receive a 14-day notice - something a renters' group says is "tone deaf". 
In Wellington, property management group Quinovic earlier this week told its tenants that notices will be sent if they do not pay in time. 

Who in their right mind would threaten to kick people out onto the street at a time like this? Unfortunately that’s exactly what some scumbag landlords believe they’re entitled to do, showing that they have no concern for tenants’ wellbeing at all.

Down south, renters in Christchurch were told in a letter by Prestige Property Management Limited that rent was still due as usual and the company emphasised it had a "zero rent arrears policy".

Zero empathy towards tenants more like. But if that wasn’t bad enough, the property owning gentry are now playing the poor me card.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Property investor claims human rights breach as Govt clamps down amid coronavirus outbreak 

Property investors say they are being left out of pocket, ignored by measures intended to help support the rest of the New Zealand economy. 
As part of its response to the Covid-19 disruption, the Government has imposed a rent freeze on the market for at least the next six months. Landlords who try to raise rents in that time face a $6500 fine. 
Tenants will also not be able to be evicted during the lockdown period unless both parties agree, or in limited circumstance - such as when a tenant is more than 60 days late with rent. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she wants the names of landlords breaking the rules.

It’s great that the Government is treating the issue of housing security seriously. There’s no doubt that the problem of unfair evictions causing increased risk and homelessness during the COVID-19 lockdown would be occurring if a National led Government was in power.

That's because on the whole the right wing and landlords don’t really care about poor people’s health and safety. New Zealand’s numerous substandard rental properties, resulting in sickness, disability and contributing to our low productivity rate is testament to that.

Here’s one of the leeches complaining that he’s not personally profiting during the pandemic.

One investor, Chris Isherwood, came home from overseas when the Government indicated New Zealanders should. 
But he had nowhere to live because he now could not ask a tenant to leave.

So Isherwood is complaining because he’s not allowed to immediately evict somebody during the COVID-19 lockdown, which would assuredly put other peoples lives in danger.

By complaining about not having somewhere to live (presumably because he cannot find a hotel or rental property), Isherwood is effectively complaining about the very same free market housing system that he’s been profiting from. How stupid!

It’s not as if tenants are getting a rent holiday, even though they will have additional costs because of the lockdown. Instead there’s a $25 per week increase to benefits and a doubling of the winter energy payment, which landlords will be hungry to soak up once the Government's rent freeze ends.

"I have not had any need for welfare in the past and have diligently worked my business over the last 17 years into a position where I can live independently, without need of handouts and freed up my full-time job for another person. I have not been a burden to the health system and keep myself fit and healthy.
"Until I put my business into management a few years ago, I had built up good relationships with tenants being a fair and caring landlord

A fair and caring landlord who wants to kick tenants out onto the street during a pandemic. What Isherwood is actually saying is that he doesn’t work and lives off of his tenants incomes through overpriced rental property, which is managed by invariably uncaring real estate agents.

It’s a sad fact that most landlords are intent on keeping their tenants impoverished by raising rents to breaking point. In essence the entire rental industry is predicated upon exploiting poor people and locking them into a cycle of poverty.

"I know this is a tough time for everyone and I will get through it regardless. This situation is however grossly unfair to landlords that rely on their rent for income. I never miss my tax payments, however, I am not receiving any benefits from my tax. This is not good enough and fundamentally wrong. On the face of it this is a breach of my human rights, don't you think?"

So apparently Isherwood doesn’t drive on roads and has refused things like a pension. Maybe he doesn’t even eat food or breath oxygen either.

This is just blatant dishonest propaganda from another selfish landlord. If Isherwood hasn’t managed the excessive profits from his numerous investment properties properly, he has nobody to blame but himself. If he doesn’t have any profits to show after 17 years of property ownership to get him though a 28 day lockdown, why should the taxpayer bail his greedy arse out now?

Most landlords, property investors and real estate agents have been partying up large with the excessive profits from their rental properties, while renters often live on scraps in cold and damp houses. That makes landlords now complaining and holding their hands out as if they’re the victims about as ridiculous as it gets.

The only thing the Government should provide to the rentier class is another raft of policy initiatives to ensure hard working Kiwis who have to rent in an overpriced market attain some dignity and ability to make ends meet.

19 Mar 2020

How to survive 14 days of self-isolation

So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get you through the Pandemic.

As we all know, humans are social creatures. That’s why it’s imperative to not just go cold turkey and cut yourself off from all human contact. So tip one is make sure you have a way to reach out and contact friends and family. It’s likely they’ll appreciate having someone to talk to as well.

Have you purchased some toilet paper yet? Seriously though, self-isolating means not going to the shops every 10 minutes so make sure you have enough supplies to last 14 days. When buying in bulk for a couple of weeks, it’s best to stick to the things you normally like to eat. However easy to prepare meals and a bit of snack food is worthwhile as well. Tip two is to run the gauntlet and stock up from your local supermarket, or better yet order online. Make sure to request a non-signature delivery.

So you’ve doubled your weekly shop, but other essentials should take precedence as well. Along with collecting any medications you might require, make sure you have a few self-care items to help maintain a healthy mind and body throughout the 14 days. Products that boost your immune system are also a good idea.

Have you done the housework yet? Cleaning surfaces with a good disinfectant will reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19 to anybody you live with and also help whittle away the time. So make sure you’ve got a good supply of essential cleaning products and some nice soap to regularly wash your hands with.

Unless working from home, you’re likely to have a lot of spare time on your hands. Therefore it's important to have a good form of entertainment. Thankfully we’re spoilt for choice these days with numerous streaming services. You might also like to download a few e-books if going to the library is out of the question.

Even if you don’t realise it at the moment, you’re likely to be a bit stressed about COVID-19. Reading books isn’t the only way to unwind and help take your mind off of things. Try some regular meditation and deep breathing and maybe even a daily regime of light exercise. This will help maintain not just your body, but your spirits as well.

So onto my eighth and final tip, which applies mainly to the elderly or people with pre-existing health conditions. Please contact health professionals if your symptoms worsen. You can do this by phoning your GP or calling Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

18 Mar 2020

National should isolate Simon Bridges

The Coalition Governments $12.1 billion economic package to help combat the financial effects of COVID-19 was generally well received across the board, even amongst many business leaders who would normally be critical of a Labour led Government.

However there was one glaringly obvious exception, Simon Bridges. The so-called leader of the opposition practically had a melt down trying to find a way to criticise the Labour led Government over it’s fiscal management during these trying times.

Today, RNZ reported:

Coronavirus: Simon Bridges criticised for 'politics-as-usual' pot shots amid covid-19 crisis 

But while a time of crisis and tragedy usually brings Parliament together - like gun reforms in the immediate aftermath of 15 March - for National's Simon Bridges yesterday was an opportunity to take pot shots. 
"Bluntly, what we see in this package today is money flowing faster into the hands of beneficiaries than the workers and the businesses that will lose their businesses and their jobs over coming weeks and months,'' he said. 
"You know, that to me is a crying tragedy."

You know what’s really a crying shame…Soimon’s misuse of proverbs and lack of basic math skills. The increase to benefits amounts to $2.4 billion while the business package amounts to $5.1 billion. So I’m not sure that Bridges is doing anything here except dog whistle politics.

However, Green Party co-leader James Shaw offered this critique.
"I thought that he was tone-deaf.” 
But Bridges said the public will see his opposition as constructive criticism.

Hahahahaha! Even the right wing’s twitter trolls aren’t defending his propaganda at the moment.

Yesterday's announcement sees $5.1 billion directly towards wage subsidies for affected businesses across the country - effective immediately. 
There will be a cap of $150,000 per business for those who can show they've had a 30 percent decline in revenue in any one month in the first half of this year. 
But Bridges said if he was running the show he'd be sinking a lot more money in than that.

Yeah right!

"I'd potentially do much more, I might not have a limit. That said I don't have costings, I don't have Treasury at my disposal, I haven't worked those things out.

Bridges claiming that he would have unlimited money to spend when he doesn’t even get to look at the books is about the dumbest political grandstand of this election campaign so far. Imagine if this idiot ever became Prime Minister?

It’s likely that through his continued and monumental bungling Simon Bridges will start to sink National’s polling results. When that happens what excuse do they have to not select another leader? I mean at this point even Bozo the clown would do a better job at running the National Party.

13 Mar 2020

The extremists are over-represented

Politics in New Zealand is a strange beast sometimes. Often politicians promote their ideas to the public veiled in moralistic posturing that hides their true intentions. However sometimes the veil drops and we witness the true ugliness of what certain politicians believe.

Yesterday, 1 News reported:

Shane Jones doubles down on Indian students comments in fiery clash with John Campbell 
Mr Jones' initial comments specifically said that the students coming from India had "ruined many of those institutions".  
But today, he said that the students were victims of dodgy schools. 
"Short-term migration, in my view, has been worsened by dodgy language schools and it has led to criminality where the students themselves have been victims," he says. 
"But often they're victims as a consequence of the actions of their own people. You can't walk away from that, John."

Wow! That’s some really ugly racist bullshit going on there. But why would Jones say such patently untrue things?

Mr Jones says when election day rolls around it'll be clear how the general public really feels. 
"I'll tell you, when the alarm clock rings on election day, more Kiwis - and remember, they come out at night - they're going to agree with me than you believe is possible."

Shane Jones - Racist politician
So Jones is intentionally being controversial to get attention in the hope that it will push NZ First over the 5 per cent threshold.

This type of politicking is a serious problem in Aotearoa. On one side of the political spectrum we have people like Jones pandering to racists who want to blame all the countries woes solely on immigration. On the other side we have people like David Seymour who openly elicits support from gun totting white supremacists who want to terrorise and blow up New Zealand mosques.

Then there’s the National Party, which in the face of an increasing number of unprecedented climate change disasters are seeking to impede the move towards renewable forms of energy and transport. If supporting polluting industries that could ensure our global extinction isn’t extremism, I don’t know what is.

So if you’re a white supremacist, vote for Act. If you’re a racist, vote for NZ First. And if you’re a climate change denier, vote for National. Everyone else (which would be a clear majority of Kiwis) should vote for either Labour or the Greens.

12 Mar 2020

Anne Tolley in breach of Standing Orders

It appears that despite a large amount of disinformation being propagated about what the law change actually means, the Abortion Legislation Bill will pass into law during its third and final reading.

However the slow process into law hasn’t been without controversy, namely David Seymour’s Supplementary Order Paper that wanted to do away with Safe Zones around abortion clinics similar to those already in place in countries like Australia, Canada and the USA.

Yesterday, RNZ reported:

MPs vote to remove abortion clinic safe zones from Bill 
ACT leader David Seymour's proposal was voted for in two parts - the first, to have the definition of Safe Zones removed from the bill, was narrowly voted down 59 votes to 56. 
However, MPs seemed unprepared for a second vote on the substance of his changes - doing away with all the provisions that would put safe zones in place. 
Up for debate were 150-metre safe zones that could be established around abortion clinics on a case-by-case basis, to prohibit intimidating or interfering behaviour. 
That second vote was on removing all the legal provisions for safe zones, including the ways in which the police could administer them so as to protect women from harassment as they sought abortions. 
That vote, to delete sections 15 through 17 of the bill, was taken in a voice vote only, and it passed - rendering the definition of 'safe area' redundant in the law.

It doesn't make much sense that the house would vote for safe zones, but then vote to remove the parts of the legislation relating to the enforcement of safe zones. Surely this is an error in how the vote was conducted or counted?

Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley passed it on a verbal vote. 
Green MP Jan Logie immediately asked for clarification on what had happened. 
"Can I just check the vote and how it evolved around David Seymour's SOP (Supplementary Order Papers) and what the outcome of that vote ... I just wanted to check and to see if I needed to change my vote". 
Tolley advised it was a "vote on the voices" and the "amendment was agreed to". 
Logie sought leave for a personal vote, but this was rejected.

What a shocker! So not just an error in how the vote was counted, but a calculated move to incorrectly administer the voting process.

This is clearly a breach of Standing Orders that require a personal vote to be held on conscience issues when one is called for, particularly when there’s confusion about the outcome of the verbal vote or the result is close.

The only logical reason National's Anne Tolley wouldn’t allow a personal vote to be held in this instance is because she doesn’t want women to be protected through the implementation of safe zones around abortion clinics.

The House of Representatives still has a way to rectify this voting error caused by an apparent anti-abortionist abusing her powers. But this would require the speaker putting their own personal beliefs aside to allow another vote to be held on the second part of David Seymour’s SOP. I have no doubt that it would also be voted down.

Clearly the majority of MPs are in support of safe zones and an intentional error by Anne Tolley shouldn’t usurp their or the will of the people they represent.

National still fear-mongering over Coronavirus

Simon Bridges - National Party Leader
We all know that COVID-19 is a terribly serious virus that will likely result in a prolonged global recession and many more deaths worldwide. Obviously anybody who is stupid enough to downplay the social and economic impacts simply shouldn’t be listened to.

However what we don’t need is politicians using the situation to promote their already daft policy ideas or make the situation worse by preying on people’s fears. I mean telling the public to panic buy items and then lying about what was said is seriously unprofessional and unbecoming of an elected official.

But if it wasn’t bad enough that National Party MPs have been sending mixed messages without any consequences and are unwilling to work constructively with officials or the Government to best help New Zealanders get through these troubled times…they’re now claiming that the Coronavirus response, even though New Zealand is in a unique global position, should be exactly the same as other countries.

Yesterday, the National Party reported:

Border control measures need to be strengthened 

The border controls the Government claims to have in place are just another example of all talk and no delivery, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says. 
“Australia has placed a travel ban on Italy. The situation around the world is evolving and the Government needs to be acting decisively and ensuring our border control is in line with our trans-tasman neighbours. 
“New Zealanders need reassurance that the border controls in place are as effective as the Government says. This means applying a travel ban from Italy and South Korea.

You can tell a lot about somebody in a crisis situation. What National Party politicians are currently telling us with their unhinged fear-mongering and politicking over this international disaster is that they’re entirely unable to speak the truth even when it matters.

However the really dumb thing about National jumping the shark is that the Coalition Government has in fact implemented further restrictions on travellers coming from Italy.

Yesterday, RNZ reported:

Covid-19 travel restrictions extended to travellers from Italy 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said travellers coming from any part of Italy would be required to self-isolate for 14 days if coming to New Zealand. 
She said a decision had been made not to enact a full ban on travellers because the self isolation option offered more flexibility and was working well for New Zealand. 
"My expectation now is that those who may have been considering travelling to New Zealand for holidays will be reconsidering that travel, not least because it means they will be confined to one space for a period of 14 days if they choose to do so," Ardern said. 
She said the decision had been made after consulting health and science advisers.

We're very lucky that there are only five confirmed cases in New Zealand and no new ones for nearly a week now, clearly indicating that authorities have got things under control.

But don’t believe me. Here’s what an expert says…

On Tuesday, the ODT reported:

Virus managed well in NZ: professor 

Prof Krause was the inaugural director of the university’s Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases. 
He said New Zealand was following a sound national pandemic plan. 
The country had taken "sensible" steps to counter the spread of the virus, and the pandemic plan was being led by good people and supported by a well-trained medical system. 
New Zealand had five cases of confirmed disease and they were being managed very carefully. 
"We’re facing a challenge but if we work together, we’re going to make it through," Prof Krause said.

So whom should we believe…the Government’s own health and science advisers and a professor and inaugural director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases or the National Party politicians crusading on anything that might make the Government look bad?

Obviously my money's on the professor.

10 Mar 2020

Simon Bridges plans to repeal National Party laws

Simon Bridges - National Party Leader
When Oscar Wilde said, “there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about” you know he must have been referring to politicians like Simon Bridges.

In modern day politics this axiom couldn’t be truer, especially for the National Party of New Zealand. In the absence of any new policy ideas, National has been re-announcing their plank over and over in order to gain media attention.

However the real kicker is that they've also been promising to repeal legislation that the National Party actually passed while in Government.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

National leader Simon Bridges unveils details of the party's 'regulation bonfire' plan 
Meanwhile, National also promised to reform Anti-Money Laundering laws – which it introduced when it was in government in 2016. 
"It was introduced so New Zealand was compliant with international obligations and to protect our interests against illegitimate money laundering," National's economic development spokesman Todd McClay said.

Actually the law was changed after the National led Government came under considerable pressure because New Zealand was revealed in the Panama Papers as a major international tax haven. But even before that the National Party had passed the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act in 2009. Surely Bridges isn't talking about rolling back that legislation?

Obviously these laws shouldn’t be weakened or fully repealed because we do not want dirty money being hidden in New Zealand. It is both damaging to our international reputation and our economy.

But if promising to repeal already weak Anti-Money Laundering legislation wasn’t bad enough, Simon Bridges also wants to weaken workplace safety regulations right at a time when workplace deaths have increased, which is a terribly counter-intuitive idea.

Yesterday, RNZ reported:

National wants 'common-sense test' on health and safety regulations 
Bridges said one of the key elements to be announced today is a health and safety common-sense test. 
"This is not about compromising New Zealanders' safety but it is about recognising what small business owners are telling us every day, that regulations are creating a lot of cost and burden in this area without the benefit," he said.

It seems a bit ridiculous that the leader of the National Party is promising to repeal yet another act that was passed by the last National led Government. In fact the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 was a bill introduced by non other than Simon Bridges himself. By saying that it needs to be changed he’s simply admitting that National got it wrong in the first place.

Of course this has nothing to do with changing regulations for the benefit of New Zealand. Instead, Bridges is grandstanding and using people's misconception that substantial deregulation is required to help the economy. The National Party previously weakening building regulations, which led to the leaky building crisis, is testament to that not being correct.

However the main thing that these announcements tell us is that the National Party has no actual plan at all. Instead they're simply grasping at straws and barking at every passing car to gain attention, which with the mainstream medias complicity is going to make for a very long and tedious election campaign.

6 Mar 2020

Another $150K in secret National Party donations

Simon Bridges - National Party Leader
There’s no question that the National Party has a real credibility issue at the moment. They simply cannot deny that they’ve received a number of very large and secret donations that have originated from the Communist Party of China.

Not only are these secret donations, namely two $100,000 amounts that were split up to avoid declaration, a part of a Serious Fraud Office case currently before the courts, but their former senior whip, Jami-Lee Ross, has now revealed that the National Party has been sitting on a further $150,000 in undeclared donations from China.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

Jami-Lee Ross accuses National of holding donations linked to Chinese Communist Party  
Jami-Lee Ross has used the protection of parliamentary privilege to accuse the National Party of holding $150,000 in donations linked to the Chinese Communist Party.  
It's not clear whether the allegation is related to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into two $100,000 donations to the National Party.

Actually it’s clear from the Hansard that Jami-Lee Ross is talking about another $150,000 worth of National Party donations that are completely different to the two $100,000 donations currently before the courts.

"The National Party had been the beneficiary of large amounts of foreign donations," Ross, a former National MP, said in Parliament on Thursday. 
"These donations are linked back to China and linked back to the Chinese Communist Party, and with ease entered New Zealand."  
Ross added, "What I learned was that large sums of money adding up to around $150,000 coming directly out of China in Chinese yuan over successive years ended up as political party donations."  
Ross hasn't made these allegations before. He did so in the House today because parliamentary privilege protects him from legal action like defamation.

The truth is also a pretty good protection against defamation claims.

"These funds eventually made their way to the New Zealand National Party," Ross said. "The New Zealand National Party still holds those funds. The National Party is still holding $150,000 in donations made over two successive years."

Sure, it’s easy to get blasé about another $150,000 in donations that the National Party failed to declare. But it would be good if the MSM gave it more attention than they did Helen Clark when she signed somebody else’s painting for charity. I mean on the scale of corruption the National Party’s secret Communist Party of China donations are a clear winner.

Here's Jami-Lee Ross spilling the beans in Parliament:

But let’s cut to the chase. Here’s where Jami-Lee Ross links the $150,000 CCP donations to the National Party:

Last year, I learnt, off the back of concerns I myself took to the proper authorities, that the National Party had been the beneficiary of large amounts of foreign donations. These donations are linked back to China and linked to the Chinese Communist Party, and with ease entered New Zealand. I didn't go searching for this information. I was asked if I knew anything of the origins of the donations. I didn't know. It was all new information to me, and I was surprised by what I learnt. 
What I learnt was that large sums of money adding up to around $150,000 coming directly out of China in Chinese yuan over successive years ended up as political party donations. Two individuals, Xi Xiaoli and Shaona Zhang, were used as conduits for the donations.  
These funds eventually made their way to the New Zealand National Party. The New Zealand National Party still holds those funds. The National Party is still holding at least $150,000 of foreign donations received in two successive years. I call on the National Party to return those foreign donations that it holds or transfer the money to the Electoral Commission.

So $150,000 worth of donations, converted from around ¥658,492 Yuan (which is a shit load of money), that wasn’t recorded properly by the National Party or registered by them with the Electoral Commission, has received less media attention than Helen Clark signing a painting?

But why exactly would the National Party fail to declare such large donations from the Communist Party of China? Surely they aren’t doing the bidding of a foreign government for cash donations, which if true would of course amount to treason!

And while we’re on the topic…since when exactly has treason not been treated seriously in New Zealand by the mainstream media? Is it perhaps too difficult for the right wing propagandists to acknowledge that their beloved National Party is in fact corrupt?

Here, Jami-Lee Ross summarises the CCP’s interference activities in New Zealand, making no mistake to categorically outline how the National Party was paid off:

The foreign donations I mentioned earlier all have connections to the Chao Shan General Association. The founder and chairman of Chao Shan General Association is Zhang Yikun. To summarise these two bits of information, the largest party in this Parliament has been the beneficiary of large sums of foreign money. That money is linked to an individual who was listed as one of the top three Chinese Communist Party united front representatives in New Zealand. That individual's PR agents say he has donated to many political parties and campaigns, yet he's never showing up in any donation returns in the past.  
One of Professor Brady's concluding remarks in her submission to the Justice Committee was that foreign interference activities can only thrive if public opinion in the affected nation tolerates or condones it. We must not tolerate or condone any foreign interference activities. We must also not stay silent when we see problems right under our nose. It's time for the political parties in this Parliament to address seriously the political party donation regime that we have.

So according to Jami-Lee Ross a top Chinese Communist Party united front representative provided the National Party of New Zealand with a further $150,000 that they also failed to declare. Why exactly isn't this information on the front page of the NZ Herald?

There’s no question that the current leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges, was directly involved in at least one of the $100,000 secret donations that the National Party failed to declare. It must also be said that if Bridges wasn’t aware of the other large donations directly funding his political party, he is entirely incompetent and should therefore resign.

If Simon Bridges is allowed to stand, then we risk having somebody who is likely a party to bribery from a foreign state potentially becoming Prime Minister of New Zealand...and that my friends is something no free thinking Kiwi or democracy should allow.

4 Mar 2020

Bridges votes against abortion law reform

There really has been a lot lost in translation concerning the abortion legislation currently before Parliament. Far from being a radical law change, it's mainly concerned with the removal of certain outdated criminal offences from the Crimes Act.

What the pro-lifers don’t seem to understand is the bill doesn’t liberalise abortion right up to birth. Instead it basically changes the law that currently means woman have to lie about their mental health to get the health care they need, which wasn’t actually a deterrent to having an abortion anyway.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Abortion law reform passes next parliamentary hurdle comfortably 
A bill that would remove abortion from the Crimes Act and scrap the legal test for the procedure in pregnancies earlier than 20 weeks is one step closer to becoming law. 
The Abortion Legislation Bill passed its second reading in Parliament in a conscience vote late tonight, with 81 votes in favour and 39 votes opposing, narrower than the 94 to 23 margin at the first reading last year. 
It was an emotional and mostly respectful night in the House, but a man was ejected from the public gallery for shouting "shame on you" when Green MP Jan Logie was speaking in support of the bill. 
All NZ First MPs supported the bill in order to try to have an amendment passed at a future stage of the bill that would put the issue to a referendum. 
But the vote tonight indicates that the bill might have enough support to become law, even if NZ First MPs decide to oppose it if their referendum amendment fails.

The Members of Parliament who voted against this bill are clearly on the wrong side of history. Amazingly that also includes the so-called leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges.

To be fair there is some opposition to the law change from minority groups. But most of their arguments are based on false information or fostered from a belief that abortion shouldn't be legalised under any circumstances.

But why would the opposition leader align himself with unhinged organisations like Family First NZ and vote against Andrew Little's well-researched Abortion Legislation Bill?

Here's what Simon Bridges said on Breakfast this morning:

I voted first ah yes at the first reading, no at the second. It simply boiled down to one issue, and I heard the conversation earlier and it was discussed at some extent, and that’s the legal test post twenty weeks to late term, which seems to me as too loose and vague. Look if that changed and was strengthened, I could support the bill.

Perhaps Bridges simply doesn't understand the law change or maybe he hasn't bothered to read the bill or any relevant submissions? If he had he would understand that termination after 20 weeks only occurs in New Zealand where there are severe fetal anomalies or the abortion is necessary to save a woman’s life. Nothing is actually changing in that regard, which makes Bridges look uninformed.

Surely the leader of the opposition isn't deluded enough to argue that woman and health professionals shouldn't be allowed to choose between a termination or an attempted birth that will result in a woman dying? What an idiot!

Simon Bridges - Leader of the National Party

It really comes down to an argument between demoralising woman for no reason or supporting the law change. It’s that simple.

So either Simon Bridges, who grew up with a Baptist minister for a father, is trying to elicit votes from ill-informed minority groups or he’s actually a fundamentalist himself. There certainly are a lot of indicators, such as voting against same-sex marriage and attempting to establish a values-based religious party to help support National, showing that Bridges is deeply conservative.

But with his ignorant comments today, Simon Bridges has stepped over the fine line that separates conservatives from crackpots!

2 Mar 2020

Opposition meltdown over KiwiSaver divestment

It was amusing to see National and Act react so badly last week to the Coalition Government’s decision to increase core benefits slightly. But it was absolutely hilarious to see them and their propagandists go into full meltdown about the announcement that KiwiSaver funds will be divested away from fossil fuel and illegal weapons companies.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Fossil fuels and illegal weapons to be excluded from future Kiwisaver default funds 
Fossil fuels and illegal weapons will be excluded from all future Kiwisaver default funds. 
The changes announced on Saturday mean investments in fossil fuel production and illegal weapons will be excluded from future KiwiSaver funds that are default providers. 
There are currently nine default fund providers, and their terms expire in mid-2021. 
The new rules will apply to the default funds that are in place from mid-2021 and the process to appoint new default providers starts later this year.

Well I guess silly opposition MPs had to say something about the divestment, but none of them could actually point to any evidence to support their unfounded claims that it was somehow a bad thing.

Instead, they simply based their feckless rhetoric on speculation that fossil fuel and weapons investments provide better returns and by doing so showed that they’re firmly in the pockets of those immoral industries.

Yesterday, Newshub also reported:

National, ACT and oil industry slam KiwiSaver's move away from fossil fuels 
National finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith called it "nanny state" and "virtue signalling", saying Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should be focused on shoring up the economy against the coronavirus threat. 
"Is Ardern also going to ban New Zealanders from investing in products which contain sugar, or fast food, alcohol and dairy? With this government it wouldn’t surprise me if while they ban investing in these things, they make investing in marijuana compulsory."

Goldsmith can't be serious? Saying fast foods are just like illegal cluster bombs or products containing sugar are similar to anthropomorphic climate change is stark raving mad! What a complete crackpot!

ACT's David Seymour called it "gesture politics". 
"It is a feel-good decision that will be counterproductive, hurting the economy for no environmental benefit. Labour and the Greens are so badly out of touch with how the real world works and New Zealanders will pay the price." 
Neither party mentioned anything about the land mine and cluster bombs ban in their statements. 

So National and Act said nothing about the illegal weapons divestment. That's likely because they would look even more foolish if they came out and openly supported things like cluster bombs or land mines, even though they do actually back these kinds of investments and have done so for many years.

It’s great to see that people power has won again. The Divest from fossil fuels campaign, championed by the good people at, was a well thought out and executed campaign that has had a number of victories around the world.

Here's’s post about the latest decision to divest:

We did it! Together we pushed the government to put climate change at the core of its decision to reform default Kiwisaver standards. Today the government announced that all default Kiwisaver funds will have mandatory responsible investment policies that exclude fossil fuel investments. This means that when anyone signs up to join Kiwisaver, they are now guaranteed that the default option for their savings will not be fueling the climate crisis.

Fantastic! It's victories like these that make me think we might just win the war against the creeping behemoth that is climate change. But to do so we must ensure oil and gas companies are impeded at every turn...and we must strongly convey our message to administrations around the world to convince them that their governance depends on finding solutions and implementing readily available alternatives to the destructive fossil fuel industry.