Stuff and nonsense about whether Morrison trumped Ardern in developing a relationship with US President

Stuff’s latest political editor, Luke Malpass, newly arrived from the Australian Financial Review, needs to do more homework before launching into NZ politics.   In a weekend piece he contrasted the treatment afforded Ausralia’s PM, Scott Morrison, and our Jacinda Ardern in the US this week.

“Last Tuesday, the Beehive announced that Prime Minister  Jacinda Ardern  had  scored a 20 minute bilateral with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of this week’s UN general assembly in New York.

“It was a big deal. Yet a short meet-and-greet with no media allowed pales in comparison with the lavish state dinner thrown for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the weekend.

“Why would Trump lavish such attention – only the second state banquet of his presidency – on our trans-Tasman neighbours? New Zealand last got one when Norman Kirk was prime minister in 1973. Continue reading “Stuff and nonsense about whether Morrison trumped Ardern in developing a relationship with US President”

Twyford’s chores include naming a new CAA chair – but the candidates have cause to be chary

Phil Twyford is one of the  more controversial  ministers  within  Jacinda  Ardern’s  coalition   government.  His  performance  with Labour’s  flagship  policy KiwiBuild   was so undistinguished he was removed from  the Housing  portfolio,  but  not before   the first  CEO of  KiwiBuild, Stephen Barclay,  stepped  away  from the job.

Now  Helen  O’Sullivan, who was selected  during  Twyford’s term as minister to succeed Barclay,  has  also  resigned.

Then  there’s  the  curious case of  Nigel Gould, who has been  chairman of  the Civil Aviation Administration.

Gould is a prominent Wellington accountant  who  had served  as  chairman of  Centreport  and  Chancellor of  Massey  University  (services  recognised with the  award of  the ONZM) before  taking  on  the role  at   the CAA  in  2011.  Now we learn he has   resigned  “at the  request”  of Twyford.

Yet  Gould, whose  term  was due to end in June, had been asked to stay on  for  12  months  back  in  May.

By whom?

By  none other than  Twyford. Continue reading “Twyford’s chores include naming a new CAA chair – but the candidates have cause to be chary”

NZ’s Defence assets are out of action or over-burdened – so sorry, we can’t help in the Gulf

Defence  Minister    Ron  Mark  was in  ebullient form, telling  Parliament  this  week  how  much he had   achieved  in defence  since he took over the portfolio  from  National’s  Mark  Mitchell.  And it  does  look  an impressive list.

There’s $5.2bn worth of procurement running right now. P-8s—done. Hercules—getting done. Network-enabled army—done. Protected mobility—done. The King Airs, four of them, now flying at Ōhākea—done. New simulator for the NH90s—done”.

So,  when a   request   comes   for   New Zealand  to help in the protection  of vital shipping lanes in the Middle East, one might   think  the Defence  Minister   would   relish the  opportunity  to   deploy  elements  of  the   NZ   Defence   Force.

But  what  was    Mark’s  response  when  asked to  link  with  Australia  in its decision to commit a ship, a surveillance aircraft and defence personnel in the multilateral effort to keep the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman open and safe for ships to pass through? Continue reading “NZ’s Defence assets are out of action or over-burdened – so sorry, we can’t help in the Gulf”

When it comes to carelessness in the law-and-order domain, there’s nothing quite like a new law – or is there?

We wonder if Police Minister Stuart Nash has consulted with Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis on what to do about egregious laxities in our law and order system.  They could discuss the merits of new legislation somehow preventing flawed decisions – or carelessness – by the people charged with catching criminals and with safeguarding the public when the baddies have been banged up.

One incident involved prison authorities allowing the man accused of killing 51 people in the Christchurch terrorist attack writing to members of a far-right message board from prison.

The second involved the theft of pistols from a police car in Southland, resulting in Southern police being ordered to stay armed during a hunt for a fellow who – police claim – rammed two police cars, then stole their guns.

Two police Glock pistols were taken but – hey, here’s the good news, folks – two spare magazines were left behind, police said. Continue reading “When it comes to carelessness in the law-and-order domain, there’s nothing quite like a new law – or is there?”

This Internal Affairs service dishes up a rich swill for the nation’s troughers

We thank Racing Minister Winston Peters for steering us to the Community Matters website.

He did this at the end of his announcement that 2019/20 applications for funding to improve racecourse safety are now open.

Further information (he advised) is available from http://www.communitymatters.govt.nz.

We went there and – wow.  We found enough troughs to keep Landcorp’s stock well nourished for the next year or so.

Community Matters, tucked inside the Internal Affairs Department, doesn’t seem to have much to do beyond giving money to the people it deems worthy.

Under “key dates“, we are advised the second 2019 Lottery Environment and Heritage funding round closes on Wednesday August 7; the second 2019 Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Fund funding round opens on Wednesday August 14; and the 2019 Ethnic Communities Development funding round opens on Wednesday August 14.

Some grants administered by Community Operations are open for requests all year round at any time.  These funds do not have opening or closing dates.

These are –  Continue reading “This Internal Affairs service dishes up a rich swill for the nation’s troughers”

Amidst howls of “racism”, protesters demand an agency boss’s resignation because – begorrah – she is Irish

The Hands Off Our Tamariki Network has an admirable ring to its name. Here’s hoping everybody gets the message because if whanau members kept their hands off their tamaraki … well, there would be no need for a state agency to intervene and get its hands on the victims of domestic violence.

The reasons why the Oranga Tamariki agency becomes involved in caring for children has been somewhat downplayed by speakers at protest meetings who demand the state leave their mokopuna alone and insist Māori be the ones caring for their children.

Yet while they call for the state to stay away when Maori children are involved, paradoxically they want the government to do something: Continue reading “Amidst howls of “racism”, protesters demand an agency boss’s resignation because – begorrah – she is Irish”

What’s up, doc? Oh, a sharp difference of opinion on legislation to help the terminally ill

Deep divisions in the medical community have become apparent as David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill is about to return to Parliament – on Wednesday next week – for what promises to be a tortuous clause-by-clause third reading debate.

A group of doctors who support the Bill – which would allow the terminally ill to get  medical assistance to end their suffering – this week accused the New Zealand Medical Association of ignoring international evidence on the issue in favour of “conservative cultural and personal beliefs”.

In a letter to NZMA chair Dr Kate Baddock, the group accused the six-member NZMA board, which opposed the Bill in submissions to the justice select committee, of ignoring international “disciplined, rational, evidence-based scientific medicine” on the issue.

“As such you and the board could be accused of being no more advanced than the ‘anti-vaxers’ or the ‘anti-1080 lobby’, whose beliefs cannot be impinged upon by science, fact or rational thinking,” the letter said.

It was signed by Dr Miles Williams, cardiologist, of Hastings, and 18 other practising and retired doctors. Continue reading “What’s up, doc? Oh, a sharp difference of opinion on legislation to help the terminally ill”