Eight new Queen’s Counsel are appointed – but must we pay a king’s ransom to pay for their services?

Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced this week.

The new criterion, he explained,

” … emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community lens.

“It is pleasing to see the profession is making a good contribution to access to justice.”

At Point of Order, we feel he should have done much more explaining.

What does he mean when he talks of improving access to justice and what have the new QCs done to facilitate this?

We ask because – according to our understanding – anybody can contact a lawyer and make an appointment for advice.

Whether they can afford to do this is a moot point. Continue reading “Eight new Queen’s Counsel are appointed – but must we pay a king’s ransom to pay for their services?”

If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood

Newspaper staff were among those to express dismay and fury during the frenzy of denunciations that followed publication of an ill-considered cartoon about Samoa and the measles epidemic.

The Spinoff recorded their reactions under the heading ODT cartoonist infuriates his colleagues with Sāmoa measles epidemic ‘joke’.

It also reproduced the highly controversial cartoon (just in case readers didn’t know what the fuss was about?) while reporting:

An Otago Daily Times cartoonist who saw humour in the deadly Samoan measles epidemic has found himself at odds with both colleagues and his editors.

As most if not all other media have done, it proceeded to repeat the joke:  a Garrick Tremain cartoon in the ODT depicted two women leaving a travel agency. One asked the other what the “least popular spots” to visit right now were, and the other responded with “the ones people are picking up in Samoa.” Continue reading “If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood”

Mt Erebus revisited – Chippendale’s findings, Mahon’s deductions and the overlooked Privy Council judgement

There’s nothing sadder than a nation immersed in remorse.

We have been constrained from entering into the endless debate about the Air NZ DC-10 crash into Mt Erebus 40 years ago. It is a circular and irreconcilable argument. Who was to blame? At this distance, does it matter?

Facts are elusive. The only hard ones are those disclosed in the report of the then Chief Inspector of Air Accidents, the late Ron Chippindale. It was he and his expert staff who conducted the forensic dissection of the flight, working from the only hard evidence: the cockpit voice recorder, the flight recorder data and grisly, heart-wrenching examination of the wreckage on the ice. It was he who consulted widely among veteran pilots and polar experts before submitting his report.

Even Justice Peter Mahon had to conclude that “in his opinion” the crew were not responsible. Chippindale found otherwise: the crew had deliberately deviated from the programmed flight plan which called for them to fly to the ice, descend over Mt Erebus at a height of 30,000 ft then descend into clear air beyond. Continue reading “Mt Erebus revisited – Chippendale’s findings, Mahon’s deductions and the overlooked Privy Council judgement”

Little wins award for Beehive bollocks after bragging of “ban” on foreign political donations

Andrew Little comfortably won the “bollocks” award when the Point of Order team sifted through puzzling or contentious headlines from the Beehive yesterday.

Among the contenders were –

This introduced a press statement which said the new independent Cancer Control Agency, formally opened yesterday, was ”delivering on the Government’s plan to improve cancer care in New Zealand”.

The statement included the names of the advisory council members who will be supporting the new agency and outlined key components of the Government’s plan to improve cancer care and control.

But why – we wonder – has it not been called the Cancer Care Agency or something similarly caring?  “Control” implies a dubious ambition to maintain the incidence of cancer at current levels, rather than to reduce it. It also implies a central government obsession with keeping a firm grip on whatever happens in the domain of cancer treatment and care.  Continue reading “Little wins award for Beehive bollocks after bragging of “ban” on foreign political donations”

Anti-1080 lobby issues a press statement – and then it shies away from media questioning

Dave Hansford, a science and environment writer, sensed the same whiff of rat that was niggling our olfactory senses at Point of Order the other day.  He proceeded to investigate and reporteds his findings in an item, Dead rats, a mystery lab, and the very curious antics of the anti-1080 lobby, which was published on The Spinoff.

The whiff followed the release by an anti-1080 lobby of “lab tests” which – the group contended – found poison in vermin that washed up in Westport last month.

This directly contradicted the findings of Landcare Research, which had tested carcasses for 1080 and found none. (In necropsies, Massey University was unable to establish a cause of death).

Hansford set out see if the lobby’s claims stand up to scrutiny.

He failed to flush out the identity of the laboratory which did the testing: Continue reading “Anti-1080 lobby issues a press statement – and then it shies away from media questioning”

The PGF pours more millions into the regions (and corporate welfare) – and Seymour is unlikely to stop the flow

Praising NZ First for pulling its support for next year’s tobacco tax hike, Act leader David Seymour suggests Winston Peters’ party should consider opposing a range of other Labour policies.

He also suggests Peters should veto “Shane Jones’ corporate welfare machine”.

“Governments have seldom spent money better than the people who earned it, especially when giving it to businesses. Add in a series of questionable conflicts of interests with Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund, and Peters would be smart to lance the boil before it engulfs him.”

Good luck with that.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor struggles to keep up with the outflow from the PGF, which was mentioned today in a statement from Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage to mark the official opening of the Paparoa Track in Blackball.

The 55km Great Walk is a dual mountain-biking and walking track. Work began under the former government.

It has been enabled by a $12 million government investment to build 41 km of new track to join up 14 km of existing track, two new 20 bunk huts (Moonlight Tops and Pororari) and four major suspension bridges.

The Paparoa Track has been built in conjunction with the Pike29 Memorial Track, which will be opened once the Pike River Recovery Agency has completed efforts to re-enter the Pike River Mine. The site then will be handed back to DOC and work will start to build a memorial to tell the story of mine safety in New Zealand and honour the miners who lost their lives in the 2010 Pike River Mine Disaster.

Sage’s press statement mentions two troughs:

“As well as work done by DOC, the Provincial Growth Fund has funded the Greymouth District Council $3.5m to undertake work to widen the Blackball Road, which leads to the track entrance west of Blackball. The road is being widened from single lane to enable the increase in traffic expected as a result of the new Great Walk.

“The Council has also received more than $600k from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund to develop new public toilets and a public carpark, alongside work to widen roads and improve drainage which the council have funded in the township.

Continue reading “The PGF pours more millions into the regions (and corporate welfare) – and Seymour is unlikely to stop the flow”

Humming Herb Farm business gets $216,000 of nurturing from taxpayers through the PGF

The Herb Farm, a family owned and operated business in the Manawatu, was established in 1993 and – according to its website –  “has grown into a humming business that works in harmony with the environment”.

A Stuff report quotes founder Lynn Kirkland’s daughter Sarah Cowan, who is now the  managing director, with her mother as research and development manager.

The industry might be highly competitive, but Cowan said the company was thriving.

This reiterated mention of the company’s robust corporate health earlier in the report:

A business built on a remedy for a bronchial chest is about to celebrate its 25th year.

When herbalist and founder of the Herb Farm in Ashhurst Lynn Kirkland was looking for natural remedies to keep her family healthy, little did she imagine that a quarter of a century later, the company would be expanding its New Zealand markets, exporting to countries in Asia and eyeing opportunities in Australia and Europe.

Nor (we are sure at Point of Order) would she have imagined being able to borrow money from taxpayers, rather than the bank, to expand her blooming business.

But as we learned this week from Shane Jones, NZ’s Minister of Munificence, the Provincial Growth Fund is giving The Herb Farm a $261,000 helping hand. Continue reading “Humming Herb Farm business gets $216,000 of nurturing from taxpayers through the PGF”