Simon Bridges and climate change – maybe he’s not as green as it seems

It’s been a field day for  political  commentators, and  cartoonists,  as  Winston  Peters  fulfils a lifetime  dream  and steps  up to the  role of Prime Minister  (even if it  is only for  six  weeks).

And the country  awaits just which one of the  many  politicians who have inhabited  the frame of  Peters  over the best part of  40 years  will  emerge  into the spotlight.

Those who know him well — and there are not many in the media who do — reckon  he’ll be playing the   would-be statesman.

“Look  New Zealand, see what you’ve been  missing…” That’s  the  line  he  will want to  propagate. Forget the political bruiser, blur the memory of  the  past:  he  craves more than just a footnote in  political  history.

If he does  shine as  something of a statesman (a very  Kiwi one, it would be)  then there  might be  sudden  turnaround in the polls. Continue reading “Simon Bridges and climate change – maybe he’s not as green as it seems”

Fair wage plans are upsetting for some on the left, too

Some business people are uneasy about Government proposals to introduce fair pay agreements. Far-left commentators – as it happens – aren’t too chuffed about what’s going on, either.

Their concerns are encapsulated in the headline on a weekend post at Scoop which shrilly warns: Labour government to extend bans on strikes

Beneath the headline, John Braddock, from the Socialist Equality Group, complains that New Zealand’s Labour Party-led government has “defrauded” voters by preparing to further restrict the right to strike for broad sections of workers when it overhauls the country’s industrial laws.

If you read on, you will learn more about who are the goodies and baddies in the formulation of labour market policy, as viewed through a Socialist Equality Group prism, than about anything  the Government wants to hide from us.  Continue reading “Fair wage plans are upsetting for some on the left, too”

One objection halts UK upskirting bill – so how would NZ have handled it?

Conservatives are among the many people in Britain whose reactions range from disappointment to outrage after one MP, a bloke called Sir Christopher Chope, objected to a private member’s bill that would have made “upskirting” a criminal offence in England and Wales.

Sir Christopher’s lone voice blocked the bill’s progress through Parliament.

The bill has cross-party support.  If passed, anyone who secretly takes a photo under a victim’s skirt will be liable to up to two years in prison.

A disappointed PM Theresa May  said she wanted to see it pass soon “with government support“. The Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, said the government will allocate time for the bill in Parliament to ensure it does not get pushed down the list of private members’ bills, which would mean it could some time to return to the Commons.

Backbench colleagues have excoriated Sir Christopher. Tory MP Nick Boles tweeted he was a politician “whose knuckles dragged along the ground“. Outside of Parliament, there are demands for him to be stripped of his knighthood.

In this country, one MP’s objection could not have scuttled a member’s bill but its chances of being debated would depend on it being drawn in a legislative lottery.   Continue reading “One objection halts UK upskirting bill – so how would NZ have handled it?”

How Nash differs from Trump in discarding official advice

Advice?  I’ll tell you where to stick your advice…

Police Minister Stuart Nash is in good company when he ignores official advice. Correction.  He is in high-ranking company.  Whether it is good company is a matter of opinion.

The high-ranking company we speak of is that of  President Donald Trump, a bloke with a huge contempt for advice and a strong belief in his own omnipotence.

*  During the recent eclipse – and unlike millions of Americans – “he went against the much-repeated and often-emphasised advice of NASA, ophthalmologists and moms everywhere and looked at the sun without glasses”.  He perhaps believed it would be the sun that would be blinded by his gaze. Continue reading “How Nash differs from Trump in discarding official advice”

Corporate socialism – funding uplift for Air Chathams and a gondola

It has become hard to keep track of the corporate welfare troughs around the country into which companies dip their snouts.  One challenge in some cases is to find out how much swill has been poured into them.

The Business Dictionary defines corporate welfare as government financial support for big business, usually in the form of bounties, subsidies, or tax breaks.

The Taxpayers Union, which monitors this form of wealth redistribution, a year ago released a report, ‘Socialism for the Rich’, by Jim Rose.  This showed the annual cost of corporate welfare had become $1.6 billion – or $931 per New Zealand household.

Releasing the report, it said:  Continue reading “Corporate socialism – funding uplift for Air Chathams and a gondola”

Finding a job for Helen Clark – what about a posting to London?

The Ardern govt has invited a former PM, Jim Bolger, to head up the working group on fair pay agreements, as part of the Labour Party’s policy to reform workplace bargaining. No-one doubts the vast experience Bolger brings to the task: he was Minister of Labour in the Muldoon govt, and then PM when the National govt abolished the national awards system and banned compulsory unionism through the Employment Contracts Act.

Labour’s idea is to set up a new type of industry-wide employment agreement, to set minimum wages and conditions in particular occupations. It’s a very different concept from that implicit in the Bolger govt’s legislation, which some might think would require a degree of mental flexibility to accommodate.

But not all PMs are like Margaret Thatcher, who famously described herself as a “lady not for turning”. Continue reading “Finding a job for Helen Clark – what about a posting to London?”

Greens gag on water bottling consents – but has anyone talked with Murupara Maori?

Hard on the heels of a Chinese water bottling company being given approval to buy land to expand its operations in the eastern Bay of Plenty…

(a) It was granted the resource consents it needs; and

(b) Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson popped up on Maori Television to express sympathy with local iwi who had opposed the granting of the consents.

Maori Television reported that the Government had given approval for “the Chinese bottling giant” to purchase spring water near Whakatāne and export more than one billion litres of drinking water each year.

Actually, it was approval to buy land. Continue reading “Greens gag on water bottling consents – but has anyone talked with Murupara Maori?”

Assailing corporate leadership helps lift Jones up the political leadership ladder

Shane Jones tears strips off Fonterra and says the chairman should ‘catch the next cab out of town’”.    

It’s   another  headline to propel the NZ First Cabinet minister up the  political  leaderboard.   Maybe  he’s  learning from  Donald Trump.

Jones’  latest outburst  follows  an  earlier  broadside  against  another  iconic  NZ   company,  Air NZ,  suggesting its chairman step down and its CEO  stay out of politics.

Is there   some connection between  the two  onslaughts?  Could Jones have heard the speculation that Air NZ CEO Christopher Luxon may be  on the short list to replace  Fonterra’s Theo Spierings (who announced earlier this year he is   standing down  as  CEO   after seven years in the job)?

Jones  does not  shrink  from the role of   being  NZ  First’s attack dog.  What better  way  to  keep your party  (and yourself) in the news?

But this under-estimates Jones as a politician.  He is much smarter than that. Continue reading “Assailing corporate leadership helps lift Jones up the political leadership ladder”

State services: what’s  behind the “upheaval”?

State  Services  Commissioner  Peter Hughes, announcing five top appointments in the state sector,  said he  decided to deal with the vacancies as a package to remove uncertainty and maintain momentum in key roles and portfolios.

The Dominion-Post headlined the news as“Upheaval for public service”.  Richard Harman  in  Politik, labeling it  as the   most comprehensive  reshuffle of  top public service  management  “ever”, argued the govt is saying the move reflects its desire that a more unified old-style public service be further developed.  David Farrar, in Kiwiblog, noting the  appointments  were  made by transfer,  thought this is the first time this power has been used.

“It is very good to see these decisions made before most of the roles fall vacant. This means no need for an Acting CE, and gives good continuity and direction”.

Equal Employment Opportunities  Commisioner  Dr  Jackie  Blue has  a  different  take  on it.  She  blasted the process  as  unfair to  top  women in  the  public service,  and contended  the  vacant    positions  should have been contestable.      Continue reading “State services: what’s  behind the “upheaval”?”

Branding has its place – but it’s helpful to know a Govt agency’s purpose

The headline on a press statement from the Government refers to the launch of a “new forestry scholarship”. This no doubt recognises that most of those who read it prefer to communicate in English,

The first sentence of the statement similarly says a new forestry scholarship has been launched at National Fieldays today by Forestry Ministers Shane Jones and Meka Whaitiri.

The new scholarship aims to grow the capability of the forestry sector and increase the number of women and Māori in the industry.

Then the statement adopts a practice that has the effect of obscuring what a department or programme actually does in favour of “branding” by giving it a Maori name:

Continue reading “Branding has its place – but it’s helpful to know a Govt agency’s purpose”