December 15, 2005

Anti-spam bill passes first reading

Internet in NZ

I'm delighted that Parliament has voted 119-2 (or close to that) in favour of the anti-spam legislation. It will now be referred to a select committee where InternetNZ will be making detailed submissions on it.

INZ (and me) strongly supported it at first reading. We do have one area we want changed - that of enforcement, to reduce compliance costs on ISPs. We are investing considerable resource so we can propose an alternate enforcement model to teh select committee and the Government.

ACT voted against, as expected. I understand their reasons for doing so, even if disagreeing with them. Overseas experience has shown us that good legislation allowing major spammers to be tracked down and prosecuted does help reduce the levels of spam. It won't make it go away, but it will help.

For those interested, the InternetNZ press release is over the break.

Continue reading "Anti-spam bill passes first reading"
Posted by David P. Farrar at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Don Brash responsible for Australian race riots!

Politics in NZ (General)

Well not quite, but that is almost the lines the Greens are taking.

Don put out a PR slamming the group putting up posters in Wellington inciting racial hatred. He makes the point "The idea that some people cannot have the same depth of feeling for this country because of the colour of their skin or their ethnic background is bigoted nonsense".

The Greens say that Brash though is responsible for making racism respectable in New Zealand (by arguing all NZers should have equal rights!).

They go onto compare his Orewa speech to the race riots saying "Cronulla is Australiaís Orewa".

Often I am glad the Greens are in Parliament, as they do some good. But at times like this I am highly motivated to try and knock them under the 5% mark next election just to rid us of such offensive stupidity.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:07 PM | Comments (39) | TrackBack (1)

Peters loses

Winston First

The Speaker has just announced to huge applause in the House that the Electoral Court Judges have determined that the election of Bob Clarkson as MP for Tauranga was not void.

Perhaps Peters will finally now concede he lost.

Huge congratulations to Bob and his team. Awful to have to go through this, but great to have Peters' claims fall short.

UPDATE: The decision is online. Good work MOJ staff.

UPDATE 2: Just finished reading the 45 page judgement. It is going to be an incredibly valuable guide for candidates for future elections. They concluded that the maximum spent, in terms of what constitutes election activities under the Act, was $18,159.79.

UPDATE3: Peters is a very bad loser. He outraegously attacks the ruling as meaning there are no rule or limits on candidate expenditure, when even a first year law student who reads it could tell you it says no such thing.

He also says he plans to get his colleagues (ie Helen) to change the law for the next election.

What a pitiful loser he is. Not a hint of graciousness or concession.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:23 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack (1)

EPMU and Air NZ

Politics in NZ (General)

Some (not all) on the left are very upset with the Engineers Union (EPMU) for the proposal to save half the 600 jobs being made redundant at Air NZ. This is an interesting debate between (in my view) those who want to actually achieve something for their members and those who prefer protest over solutions.

Comrade Tweek has a copy of the Alliance press release. Let's look at some of their complaints:

1) The unions have hired Michael Stiassny who "is not known as a workers' champion" and specialises in company restructuring and insolvency

This is in fact a brilliant move by the EPMU. If they hired Jane Kelsey or Brian Easton to come up with a plan to convince Air NZ they don't have to make all 600 jobs redundant, then Air NZ would spend around 2 minutes considering the proposal. By hiring someone with real credibility in terms of corporate restructuring, they have made it far far harder for Air NZ to not take the proposals seriously.

2) Only 300 of the 600 jobs are being proposed to be saved

Well given a choice between 0 and 300 jobs being saved, EPMU is working in the best interest of its members. They have obviously concluded that there is no chance of persuading Air NZ to keep all 600 jobs, so they have gone for a compromise.

Now Span says that as Air NZ is already profitable, then Air NZ doesn't need to cuts jobs.

3) Span basically suggests that as long as the airline won't go bankrupt it should not cut jobs, and the EPMU should not accept any reduction in terms or conditions

It's hard in a few sentences point out the fatal flaws of an ideology which says as long as a company doesn't go bankrupt, it shouldn't cut costs. Let me just say that I don't think you'll find a lot of people wanting to invest in such a company in the first place.

4) In relation to an argument from me over cost of capital, Span says the Government has wider interests to consider

Firstly I can't think of a more inefficient way to help people by having government owned companies forced to feather-bed. Muldoon tried it and it was a disaster. Since giving that up we now have 3% unemployment.

But as importantly people overlook that it is an opportunity cost for the Government. If the Government did not have say $1b tied up into Air NZ, it could then spend an extra $80 million or so a year (every year) on say free doctors visits for kids - unless the return from the investment in Air NZ is equal to or greater than it would get by paying off debt.

5) Len Richards says the unions should lead a nationwide campaign to force the Government to intervene and save the 600 jobs

The reason the EPMU has not decided to do this is because Andrew Little is not a moron. He know that such a gesture has a 0.001% chance of success, would allow the comrades to feel good about having tried, but in the end achieve absolutely nothing for his members.

The Government knows that if it interfered in this particular redundancy decision, then no Government Department, agency or company could ever make staff redundant again due to fear of pressure leading to Ministerial intervention.

Mr Little also knows that government intervention would also lead to the resignations of the entire Air NZ Board, some of its senior management and send the share price hurtling down-wards.


The EPMU may not succeed with their alternate plan, but good on them for pulling out all stops to try and achieve the best results for their members. I hope Air NZ carefully consider their proposal.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 08:52 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Competence Missing

Politics in NZ (General)

Tuesday's Colin James article touches on the David Benson-Pope saga, highlighting that what happened 23 years ago is not the issue as much as the Government's handling of events this year.

James concludes that the perception that Ministers are competent and on top of their jobs was only valid up until 2004.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Humour

This is just so funny. A Frenchman spent six months pursuing the online girl of his dreams, and then when they finally met up, it turned out to be his mother!!!!

It just doesn't get funnier than that.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:05 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

ACC levies

Politics in NZ (General)

When employers were given a choice of company for their workplace accident coverage, workplace accidents fell (it's called incentives) and so did premiums.

Labour re-imposed a state monopoly, but promised it would not cost levy payers more.

Yet once again today the self-employed have received a 10% levy hike, on top of previous ones. And they can't choose to go to a company which provides a better service, even though this is just for their own self-insurance!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 05:22 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

A sensible stance on assessment

Politics in NZ (General)

The NZ Herald editorial on school assessment and NCEA is very balanced, and for me is right on the money.

The Herald makes the point that standards-based assessment is as well suited to some subjects as it is ill suited to others. It works well for motor mechanics or maths, but far less well for arts and humanities.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 05:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

One down, more to come?

Media

Well despite the Government having said for ages there is nothing wrong at TVNZ, the charter is excellent, the board do not interfere, the truth is coming out.

Former Labour Minister Dame Ann Hercus resigned off the board last night, and the outgoing CEO incredibly has accussed another director of leaking against him.

Ian Fraser also accusses the PM's Office of leaking the details of Judy Bailey's salary. They deny it of course. Also alleged that H2 tried to get hold of a copy of Ian Fraser's contract.

I think it is an excellent lesson in why governments are often very very bad shareholders. Unless the board is replaced and some guarantee of government non-interference is supplied I suspect many suitable candidates for CEO will not touch the job with a barge pole.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 05:02 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

December 14, 2005

Tookie Williams

United States

Tookie Williams was executed by the State of California a few hours ago. Now I am not a supporter of the death penalty (see one example here) but this guy wasn't exactly a poster boy for clemency, despite the attempts by some to paint him as a hero, who should receive the nobel peace and literature prizes for his books.

A few useful facts from Wikipedia:

* Shot Albert Owens in the back as he was lying on the floor during a robbery which netted $120
* Said he killed Owens "because he was white and he was killing all white people."
* Killed three Taiwanese immigrants during a $100 robbery. They were shot several times at close range
* When found guilty told the jury "I'm going to get each and every one of you motherfuckers."
* In prison involved in over a dozen assaults on guards and other prisoners
* has constantly refused to co-operate with law enforcement agencies by revealing any information at all on gang operations

It's one thing to be against the death penalty, it's another to paint Tookie Williams as a hero.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 11:43 AM | Comments (130) | TrackBack (0)

Whoops another lie from DBP

Labour

This time he denied that he had spoken to the Prime Minister about his handling of the Police Report. Not even the most naive MP or journalist believed this was possible, so he then snuck into the House in the evening to admit he had spoken to the PM about it.

Also got an admission in the House yesterday that he authorised his press secretary to leak favourable parts of the police report, and also authorised the press secretary to say that the Minister was unavailable for an interview and had no comment to make; yet he does not think that is deceptive conduct!

He publicly states the report is for the police to release, he privately writes to them asking them to delay it, he then leaks favourable extracts while at the same time saying that the media should report he has no comment, and he thinks this is not deceptive??

It should be of course no surprise that it is being reported his press secretary will keep his job. Benson-Pope would be unable to survive an employment relations authority hearing into the case.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:59 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Type of Inquiries

Politics in NZ (General)

The vast majority of voters I am sure don't care about what sort of inquiry is set-up, when some scandal hits a Minister. But it is important.

You see the Government often goes for an inquiry where there are few powers for the inquiry head. They refuse to establish inquiries where witnesses can be summoned to give evidence.

And now as we see in the case of Phillip Field, the witnesses are simply refusing to talk to the inquiry. Which increases the chances the inquiry will be unable to conclude wrong-doing.

How convenient for the Government, if this does eventuate. Especially as the PM had already declared before the election he had done nothing wrong.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:45 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack (1)

Appalling literacy in NZ

Politics in NZ (General)

Literacy rates are so bad in NZ, that it appears most of the Cabinet are unable to read.

You see John Armstrong has usefully highlighted that the Government's latest ploy to avoid having to actually answer questions in Parliament is to claim they have not read something.

So you have the PM claiming that she hasn't even read a police report which concluded one of her Ministers had prima facie assaulted pupils. She must have been too busy reading a novel instead.

And just as incredibly you have Steve Maharey as Broadcasting Minister claiming he hasn't read a memo from the CEO of TVNZ which states the charter is a failure - from the very man who was employed to try and make it work. Could there be a more important memo for that portfolio?

I suppose they subscribe to the philosophy that ignorance is bliss.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:20 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Even the Unions are now calling for quicker tax cuts

Politics in NZ (General)

Fairly stunned by the news that the CTU has secretly advised Labour to bring forward its (chewing gum) tax cuts from 2008 to 2006.

This now means the following groups are in favour of greater or quicker tax cuts:

National
ACT
United Future
NZ First
Maori Party
Greens
Progressive
CTU
Business NZ

And against greater or further tax cuts are:

Labour

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:08 AM | Comments (36) | TrackBack (0)

Australian Editorial on VSU

International Politics

The Australian has come out strongly in favour of the VSU legislation just passed in Australia. It says:

VSU involves a profound point of principle: no Australian should be forced to join a union

They also make the point, student union leaders often refuse to accept:

And while the student unions and newspapers will of course be free to run any political line they like, lacking a captive audience they will be forced to work harder to connect with students' needs and preferences. They will be the better for it.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:51 AM | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

December 13, 2005

A question

Politics in NZ (General)

Why do so many supporters of the party which is on 1% in the polls, keep talking about why they think the party at 46% in the polls needs to worry about leadership issues?

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:39 PM | Comments (61) | TrackBack (0)

Xmas Presents for DPF

DPF

snow.JPG

For all those who want to take sympathy on DPF spending Xmas away from home, and in freezing winter (forecast is for -21c tonight) instead of summer, you can send me presents from my wishlist I have set-up on Amazon Canada.

I used to buy off Amazon a lot but the postage to NZ got so expensive that the books etc started to be more expensive than buying locally. However by being in Canada it means it is only local freight charges, and I get them in a few days!

The wishlists are a cool idea, as people buying for you just click on what they want to purchase, and it is automatically sent to the recepient and charged to the donor. I've used them in the past to send stuff to Risawn in Kosovo but never had one for myself before. I've also taken part this year in the secret santa programme where everyone who agrees to take part buys a present (max US$15) for someone else randomly assigned to them, using that person's Amazon gift list.

For those who are expecting presents from me, they will get them when I return. Now everyone did want maple syrup didn't they? :-)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Game over for the charter

Media

In the last few months we have had commentator after commentator and industry expert after expert say that Labour's strategy with the TVNZ Charter was not working - that one can't have TVNZ with conflicting imperatives of being a commercial broadcaster, but also have the fluffy charter about national identity.

Well thanks to the Greens, we now know that no less a person than the outgoing CEO of TVNZ agrees. This is a damning indictment on the policies which brought in the charter, and Maharey's reputation in broadcasting must now be heading towards his one for tertiary education.

Fraser's memo states that TVNZ local content will shrink markedly next year to pre-charter levels, that priority will be given to commercially valuable programmes and other programmes will be scheduled in "inhospitable" places.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 11:49 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Just in time for dinner

DPF

Flew Air Canada from Winnipeg to Toronto and got met at the airport by one of the locals. By pure coincidence there was a dinner that evening with the local party and the chairman of the national campaign for the Canadian Conservative Party, and we got to Barrie (around an hours drive from Toronto) dead on 6 pm when it was due to start.

Almost 100 at the dinner, so got to meet pretty much all the locals. Was seated at the top table as compensation for being introduced to everyone at Patrick's friend from Australia :-)

The national chair is actually a former party leader - John Reynolds. He was fairly up to date on NZ politics.

I'd been told he would have his assistant with him, and assumed it was the woman pictured below who sat one his right, rather than the reasonably elderly gentleman on the other side.

Helenaguergis.jpg

As it happened the gentleman was his assistant, and in fact had been his politics lecturer when Reynolds was a student! The young lady (who is one of the most stunningly attractive people I have met - photos don't do her justice) is in fact the MP for Simcoe-Grey, Miss Helena Guergis. Luckily I managed to hide the fact that I thought she was a parliamentary staffer until she was introduced.

Guergis also spoke briefly at the meeting, and is a very good public speaker. A number of people told me that she is a rising star and could well be deputy leader or higher one day. She is already in the shadow cabinet despite only being elected 18 months ago.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 11:08 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

Which country is this?

International Politics

71% say their lives are going well
69% are optimistic about their country's future
60% say they feel safe in their neighbourhoods, up from 40% in June 2004
Average household income is up 60% in 20 months
70% rate their economic situation positively
Cellphone ownership has gone from 6% of households 18 months ago to 62%
75% express confidence in the upcoming election
74% say the schools are good
66% say crime prevention is good, up 13%
62% say medical care is good, up 11%

Click here to find out what country this is.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:53 AM | Comments (56) | TrackBack (1)

I love the irony

New Zealand

Police called to quiet a rowdy party, and the party is of local noise control officers and other council staff.

They should have confiscated the stereo!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:22 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

December 12, 2005

She's back!

Blogosphere

A big welcome back to Cactus Kate.

Already talking about how she once had a crush on the NZ Herald's Bernard Orsman!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:38 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack (0)

Rockies Train Trip Photos

DPF

train1.JPG

First up photo is of a typical pine forest covered with snow.

train2.jpg

This is a waterfall most of the time. Frozen solid currently.

train3.JPG

And this is a lake. Also frozen solid.

Continue reading "Rockies Train Trip Photos"
Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Peters leaving Tauranga?

Winston First

Aaron Bhatnagar has blogged that it appears Winston Peters is closing down his Tauranag office, and setting up office in Auckland instead.

Guess he isn't too confident about that electoral petition then!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:52 PM | Comments (54) | TrackBack (0)

Accused of Plagiarism

Media

Jason Watson posts on NZ Media Bias further on the issue where a TVNZ Producer accused him on air of having stolen a story from TVNZ. It seems it did not occur to the producer that Jason actually already had the story before them, through personal links.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:41 PM | Comments (42) | TrackBack (0)

The train trip

DPF

This was written and updated as I was on the train. Probably should censor it somewhat, but hey people may find it amusing.

Train is very relaxing, and getting to know quite well my fellow travelers.

The actual bedroom is very small Ė as in the bed when pulled down fills it up. But you donít spent too much time in there.

The back carriage has a lounge, a bar and an observation deck, and I am next to that so have spent a fair bit of time there. There is also a dining carriage and the dinner on Tuesday was as good as most restaurants. Had dinner with an Australian farmer who was traveling with his two daughters. Chatted economics all meal and bored the kids to sleep.

Towards the middle of the train is the skyline carriage. It has the activities room where one has games and videos, but also a skydeck with 360 degree windows with the best views. Not much to see so far as been moving out of Vancouver and it has been dark (it gets dark soon after 4.00 pm!).

Watched the Wedding Planner in the activities lounge last night. Was pretty dreadful, but the girls all liked it so one gains kudos for watching it. Afterwards got playing cards with an American girl traveling by herself. Getting on pretty well, but she is around 6 feet tall which may be a problem. Iíve actually gone out with someone over six feet before, and we stayed together for around nine months so it isnít necessarily a problem. However it just isnít the done thing to hit on someone who is half a foot taller than you Ė they need to make the first move!

Continue reading "The train trip"
Posted by David P. Farrar at 09:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Race Riots on Sydney Beaches

International

Tim Blair has a roundup of the coverage. Up to 5,000 people were involved!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 09:04 AM | Comments (137) | TrackBack (0)

A spectacular photo

Media

The NZ Herald has a spectacular photo of a car smashing through the barrier at Meremere and sneding a cameraman flying into the air.

You can see the poor cameraman, Robert Miller, around 12 feet up in the air and upside down. Somehow he came out of it with only minor injuries.

Mal Bain, who took the photo of the other cameraman in the air, did incredibly well to get such a spectacular photo.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 08:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2005

National up in the polls

Polls

Tonight's One News poll has National up 2% to 46% and Labour down 3% to 36%. I don't believe there is a 10% gap, and polls so soon after an election don't mean much, but it is logical that Labour would be losing some ground with the last few weeks being full of negative stories on Peters and Benson-Pope.

Labour are lucky they have Xmas coming up as they will have a second chance next year to get the Government off to a positive start. But if they fail at that, they may find like National/NZ First did in 96/97 that if you don't at least start strongly, you have little chance to make the finish line.

If the poll results tonight did reflect an election (and remember they tend to be overly optimistic for National) then the seats would be:

National 59 (+11)
Labour 47 (-3)
NZ First 0 (-7)
Greens 8 (+2)
Maori 4 (nc)
United 1 (-2)
ACT 1 (-1)
Prog 1 (nc)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:27 PM | Comments (41) | TrackBack (0)

Homophobia a priority crime in the UK!!!

Political Correctness

Okay I think most people know I am not exactly conservative on most social issues in that I support civil unions, gay marriage, gay adoption etc.

And I deplore actual hate crimes where people get assaulted or killed just because they are gay.

But what the hell are the UK Police doing in treating as a police matter a complaint that a children's rights author made homophobic comments because she did not believe that homosexuals should be allowed to adopt.

This confirms all my worst fears about hate speech legislation. Especially when reading how the Police speak to all parties in an incident, even if it is not strictly a crime.

One should not have to endure the Police asking you about your views, on the basis of comments you make on a radio show (unless they are clearly fostering violence or similiar). This is a small step to having the Police contact bloggers because someone has complained a blogger is racist or homophobic. Idiotic and silly.

I don't agree with Lynette Burrows views, but as they say I absolutely defend her right to hold them and promote them.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:17 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

Hugo Chavez

International Politics

Had never read too much on Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. As he turned up on Wikipedia's front page I read their article on him.

Is it just me, or does he remind others of Mugabe? Not as bad as Mugabe, but the rhetoric, the blaaming the West, the consolidating power, jailing opponents etc.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:01 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

Why I don't like the death penalty

United States

Silent Running blogs an open letter to Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi regarding the death sentence given to Cory Maye who shot a police officer when they raided the wrong house, and illegally entered his house using a no-knock warrant.

There may well be more to the story that is conveyed in the blog post, but it is certainly enough to make me glad that we can reverse our miscarriages of justice.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

A hate crime or not?

International Politics

Russell Brown blogged last week with his lead item being how "Kansas university professor Paul Mirecki, who devised a course describing intelligent design as "mythology", has been tailgated then beaten by two men who made reference to his course as they dealt to him."

Obviously such an act, if accurately described, is appalling. But did it happen as the professor claimed? Michelle Malkin has not come to any conclusions, but points out the Police no longer are calling it a hate crime, and also that the professor has suddenly resigned from the university and is refusing to give any more interviews.

There may well be logical explanations for all of this, time will tell.

Hat Tip: Sir Humphrey's

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:29 AM | Comments (48) | TrackBack (0)

Joining a Union

Politics in NZ (General)

The SST has an article on young people joining unions. This is actually a pretty sensible thing to do for many young people. I helped several teeangares I knew (they were in my venturer unit) join a union when their employer (a suopermarket owner) was making unreasonable and illegal demands of them. The union was very good as an advocate for them, as it is pretty hard to be assertive of your rights as a 15 year old.

As people get older and more confident, most of them have less of a need for someone else to represent them. Personally there is no substitute for direct communications between an employer and employee, but it does depend on your job and your employer.

Where unions annoy me is where they get overly political and are more worried about the Sandinstas in Nicarargua or sporting tours than actually representing their members direct interests. At least with voluntary membership now people can and do leave if they get too political. However in the state sector the Government/taxpayer bribes employees to become union members so that many people join to get the bribe, but don't want to be members as they think the union is crap at communicating with them and takes them for granted etc.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:04 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)

A moronic bank robber

New Zealand

They say the average criminal is pretty dumb, but this guy takes the cake. After robbing a bank in person, he then rings up two days later and tries to rob it again by telephone, asking the Manager to bring a paper bag full of cash to a meeting.

The Police simply traced the phone call!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

More warmongering from Iran

Middle East

After calling for Israel to be wiped out, the President of Iran has denied the Holocaust occurred, and said that Israel should be moved to Europe (ie wiped out).

In a few months Iran could have nuclear weapons. If they ae not stopped I think there will be a very nasty war.

I think it is getting to the point where countries like New Zealand have to consider whether one should continue to trade with a regime like Iran?

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:28 AM | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0)

December 10, 2005

A Korean Parliamentary Debate

International Politics

Stef has photos of a Korean parliamentary debate, which of course is a good old fashioned punch-up.

I especially like how the media compared the actions of some MPs to the moves of professional wrestlers!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Desperate Tactics!

Blogosphere

Silent Running is so desperate to beat Tim Blair for the best Aust-NZ blog that they have resorted to such underhand tricks as topless photos!

Very funny, even if not totally work-safe.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Corby and Drugs

International

I could never work out why Australians got so hysterical about Schapelle Corby as the evidence against her was pretty over-whelming, and her main dfenece seemed to be that she was very pretty. Yes the Indonesian Justice System isn't the best in the world, but that's a good reason not to smuggle drugs there.

Anyway she has rpeeatdely said she has never been involved with drugs and doesn't know anyone who is. Unfortunately Australian Police have found multiple photos of her with a South Australian man who has just been arrested for you got it - marijuana smuggling.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:16 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

Another blog gone

Blogosphere

The only thing sadder than a blog stopping due to media or work issues, is a blog stopping due to ill health.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DBP Roundup

Politics in NZ (General)

You're offline for just a couple of days and you miss heaps of good editorials and columns which all have one thing in column - condemning David Benson-Pope.

But to save me having to look for them all, Rodney provides an index.

In the same link Rodney also comments on how the Waikato Times compared him to Ilie Nastase who amongst other things had slept with around 2,500 women. Is there something we should know? :-)

UPDATE: Rodney also has found in the police files a statement from a teacher who claims she was bullied by DBP. She at least got an apology from him but states "I am worried for the boys who have gone public as he tries to crush anyone who disgarees with him"

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Appalling

New Zealand

It's not a major crime in that it wasn't murder, rape or GBH etc but I still feel appalled that a Belinda Sutherland of Masterton assaulted a Chinese tourist just because she didn't like her speaking Chinese on the train.

Pity we can't deport her to London where she would have to listen to dozens of foreign languages on the Underground!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Will it make $10b?

Politics in NZ (General)

When the surplus was approaching $5b I remember debating with Labourits whether this was sufficient to allow tax relief. They insisted that somehow $5b was not enough.

I suspected that they actually have an ideological hatred of giving NZers any of their tax money back, so I started asking them at what level of surplus would they agree we could afford tax cuts. They would look nervous and refuse to say.

So then I would pluck a ridiculously high figure out of the air and say, well what if one day incredibly the surplus was $10b, would you then agree one could afford some tax cuts? They'd look nervous at this, but usually agree that yeah it is hard to argue a $10b surplus in a $50b government is too small to allow tax cuts.

Yesterday Treasury announced the four month surplus is a massive $3b, suggesting the full year surplus could get close to $10b.

I look forward to Labourites soon saying that $10b is still too small a surplus and that in fact they meant $20b surplus before they would agree to tax cuts.

Of course I suspect that the surplus could even by $50b and some of them would never agree that it is fair to reduce taxes on those who pay them. Because at the end of the day they just don't believe that much in private property!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 11:51 AM | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0)

Freedom comes to Australian universities

International Politics

The Australian Senate passed last night legislation outlawing compulsory membership of student associations. Rebel National Senator Barnaby Joyce was left impotent as the Family First Senator voted with the Government to pass the law.

As the Family First Senator said: "Forcing students to join a student union in the 21st century is crazy"

Let us hope that New Zealand will not be too far behind Australia in bringing freedom to campuses. It will take a change of Government, but should be relatively simple to implement once we do.

And before anyone tries to argue that students can already decide to go voluntary, let me just retort that even putting aside the near impossibility of a fair campaign and vote, there is no sound reason why 51% of students should be able to force 49% to fund their political campaigns and other activities.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:58 AM | Comments (64) | TrackBack (0)

Armed Air Marshals

New Zealand

Just as we hear of the first shooting of a passenger by armed air marshals overseas (a justified one though by the sounds of it) the NZ Government announces a law change to allow armed air marshals on NZ flights.

I suspect this is the result of pressure from the US, rather than a plea from Air NZ cabin crew.

I recall one suggestion that the best way to stop hijacking of planes is not to have armed air marshals, but to arm all passengers. The suggestion was that as you board the plane you are given a pistol. But the pistol has only one bullet in it. So you know that if you try to hold up the plane, all the other passengers can shoot you, and you only have one shot.

I suspect the downside of such a policy will be if passengers start to have arguments with each other, they may turn lethal :-)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:28 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Cathy's Blog

Blogosphere

Cathy has asked me to post this message on her behalf, as so many people have been asking what has happened to her blog. Very sad as yet another talented writer is pushed out of blogging.

Blogging Hits A Bogging

There has been a little trend lately in blogland to pack up shop and stop your blog. These people have done so voluntarily.

I didn't.

I deleted my blog after the following sequence of events, none of which involved the rumoured discovery by Hong Kong expat wives of the blog:

Now as all of you will know if you have a google function, you can put my name in it and you will shortly find out where I work. Oh you are a genius. You really are.
Because very likely I can do the same thing back to you.
You see when I started blogging in May I thought of using a pen name. But I hated the whole idea of writing behind a name that was not mine. It felt a little...dishonest. And yep, my writing style is about as distinctive and subtle as it would be driving a Mac Truck through Auckland's Viaduct basin.

Yesterday I received a comment in from a very distinctive and full name of one of my co-workers.

This led to two possibilities:

a) Now it either WAS the co-worker, but he never uses his full name, or
b) It was in fact some genius who looked up my name on google and found the profile of one of my coworkers and pretended to be him.

Which of course it is only a matter of time before the said genius does something more stupid. We all know the answer was b) as I am pretty sure it was the same person who then posted under another name seconds later about an issue the co-worker would not have been the slightest bit interested in.

So yeah, I had to delete the blog because just like EVERYONE who seems to read my blog, I spend some time doing so at work. I was not necessarily concerned about the content on the blog for they hired me having actually met me, so they know my sense of humour and writing style, as much as the time issue. I don't track down the computer and therefore company this chump is surfing the net and commenting on in work hours. But I could and I could make his life very uncomfortable as well. But I don't because that sort of behaviour is just plain g.a.y.

I spent perhaps an hour a day including part of my statutory lunch time writing, reading and commenting on blogs. I frequently write articles at home the previous night and paste them during the day onto the blog. Why? Because it is fun. That's all. I don't get paid for it. I don't receive favours in return for doing it.

Work is not fun. No one can possibly say their job is fun all the time. Work sucks for possibly 80% of the time. It involves usually intellectually unstimulating repetitive tasks. But we all have to go do it... because we are adults. Unless we are a dropkick Socialist or a student. I spend at least eight hours a day still on work related issues. But where the line becomes blurred between personal and work you always have to laboriously defend yourself.
And I did not want to do that because it is the end of the year and frankly, I don't have the energy.

So the blogging community has an issue here. Do we sanction such behaviour as to bring blogger's paid professions into the blogsphere to eliminate them from the blogroll? Or do we show some spirit as to what the whole blog thing is all about - having fun, sometimes at each others' expense. But most of the time it is interacting with others in the blogging community.

If we don't then what will happen is that professional people will not blog. This will lead to a horridly distorted view of the world by other bloggers, most of whom seem to work in media, are self employed or work for political parties. It will also make the blogsphere a whole lot more boring as people will not write about anything controversial or confrontational for fear of being "found out". If you want me to write about what I have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and how I saw an elderly handicapped woman sitting at a bus stop and a maid walk a dog in Hong Kong. Then fine. Personally I would rather be writing a legal opinion.

It is not a left/right thing. I defended notorious leftie Jordan Carter recently against another right wing blogger having a go at a post he wrote that brought Jordan's job into it. I did so because it was not correct behaviour. He is an adult, he has to work and regardless of my personal or political opinion of Jordan, it has nothing to do at all with the job that someone else pays him to do because we can assume he adds value to their organisation.

I will now have to go to the trouble of re-inventing my character for the blogsphere. I will have to do so under anonymity and without full disclosure. I don't think this is the honest thing to do and I don't like doing it.
However while there are people out there who just don't get what it means to operate a blog, I am afraid that this is what will have to be.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:24 AM | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

December 09, 2005

In Winnipeg

DPF

Shit that was a stunning train trip. Will blog on it more fully later as only have an hour at Winnipeg Airport before I fly to Toronto.

Not sure where I am staying in Barrie - they are putting me up somewhere local. I have said my only requirement is an Internet connection!

Oh yeah it is very cold. And I mean very cold. I am the person who generally does not get cold and it is bloody freezing.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:56 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)