Sunday, 30 December 2012

Eavesdropper from Hawaii 2nd episode

A free Lunch for unemployed

Hi Eavesdropper in NZ, this is Young Willey in Hawaii [one of your secret eavesdroppers] reporting as promised: Firstly you might have read this in Scoop the best news blog site: It’s from a story by Mark Williams and Alastair Thompson:

“Two unemployed men who claim Prime Minister John Key agreed to "spring for" their meal at the famed political watering hole The Green Parrot on Monday night, instead found them-selves arrested for theft, forcibly removed from the building and locked in jail.
The two men, Kent Boyd and Andre Jellema (who tell their story via a YouTube video), both unemployed, were enjoying what they describe as their one night out a year - for Christmas - when they encountered the PM and his Diplomatic Protection Squad officers in Wellington's Green Parrot café bar.

Mr Boyd and Mr Jellema say they decided that they would approach the DPS and ask if the PM would be willing to take a photo with them. Mr Boyd said he is a fan of John Key and voted for him at the last election.

The DPS declined (allegedly somewhat impolitely) but the men approached the PM directly and asked him instead.

He was much more obliging and they took [a] picture of. Boyd and Jellema with PM John Key and several other restaurant patrons then also asked for pictures with the PM and he very obligingly agreed to do so.
According to Kent Boyd after this was all over the PM - who was sitting around 10 feet away from them - asked them what they did for jobs. At which point they told him they were unemployed.

"I told him that this was my special night out and then asked him if he would be willing to spring for our meal," Mr Boyd told Scoop.

According to Boyd the PM replied, "Absolutely". [Scoop ends]

Well just last night, here in Hawaii, the PM [John] and Bronagh [His wife] were chatting about the event after a day on the beach and a wonderful dinner prepared by their super chef Hanna.
Since it involved members of the Diplomatic Protection Squad I should point out that they were not part of our team, they were in fact team B members, and have yet to fully comprehend the quirky ways of our PM and master.

“John dear, did you really offer to pay the bill for those two poor unemployed gentlemen in Wellington last week? asked Bronagh rather sweetly.

“Sorry dear what was that again”, said John

“You remember dear, the two unemployed chaps at the Green Parrot bar who asked you to shout them a meal, and you said you would, I think that was rather sweet of you”, she said kindly.

“Oh that, I’m sorry dear I can’t really remember because it was really crowded being Christmas and all that”, he replied as he sipped a wonderful glass of French red.

“Come on John you must remember because your protection squad arrested them and tossed them into the cells for the night, surely they told you about it”, she said sounding a little upset.

“No I’m sorry love, but I simply can not remember and I do have far more important matters to attend to, and to expect me to remember every little thing doesn’t make sense”, John uttered rather unconvincingly in my view, and I’m a secret agent and we are trained to recognise fibs…

“I’m starting to get really worried dear, in fact I’ve been worried about it for some time now”, she said with a note of seriousness.

“Worried about what darling”, replied John.

“Your memory, of late it just seems to have become awfully poor, almost non-existent, should you seek advice from our doctor, I can make an appointment if you want”, she said gently.

“Dear you are starting to sound like the leader of the Labour Party, what’s his name, David something…or other. There is nothing wrong with my memory at least not in my mind, so let’s just forget this discussion shall we, and relax, he said sounding very much like Margaret Thatcher.

“But, those two poor unemployed gentlemen have spent a night in jail, over a hundred dollar food bill that you promised to pay”, she said.

“It wasn’t a hundred dollars it was eighty two dollars” shouted John.

“Got you that time”, retorted Bronagh laughing loudly” adding “I thought you couldn’t remember”.

“S***“, said John, “You sound like Winston Peters”.

“Now dear there is no need to swear, remember I’m not Hekia Parata”, she said happily.
“Yes I know, sometimes I wish you were, we’d have a lot less trouble if you were”, muttered John meekly.

 But the outcome has been constructive for the PM has set as his 2013 New Years resolution,

‘I will always tell the truth and practice memory control’, I’ve been told John Banks John’s good buddy has the same resolution.

The following is from the Scoop story on the subject of how a meal for two unemployed gentlemen has turned into a court case:

“Asked whether the PM could confirm or deny that he had agreed to "spring for" the two men's meals a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said, "This is a matter for the police and we have no comment to make." (UPDATE 5.10pm 21/12/12: "The PM was never asked to pay, nor did he offer to pay for these meals.")

The Police inspector in charge of the Diplomatic Protection Squad was similarly unwilling to comment on the incident saying initially that it was before the court and that he could therefore not comment on it, but then later said that he didn't actually know whether the PM had agreed to "spring for " the meal or not.

But when they said to the manager that the PM was picking up the tab for the meal, the manager disputed this and spoke to the security officers. Moments later Boyd and Jellema were grabbed had their arms pushed behind their backs and were taken outside to separate locations. The DPS officers who grabbed them then called in a further six uniformed police officers who arrested them Boyd says that he offered to pay for the meal in the hope that he would then be let go but this was refused.
The two men then spent the night in the cells and when they appeared in court the following day found they had also been charged with theft for the $82 cost of their meal.
Mr Boyd's lawyer Wellington Barrister Keith Jeffries says the incident smacks of a Dad's Army comedy sketch.
"On the basis of their story it was a massive over-reaction by the security detail, all they needed to do was ask John Key if he had agreed to pay for the meal or not. Then after Mr Boyd offered to pay for the meal they wouldn't let him do so, that seems unfair.
"I would describe it as an absolute comedy with the tragedy being that someone had to be detained in a cell over night for it."

Have a great New Year and keep your resolutions down to ones that can be achieved.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Guns and police do they mix.

Crime + Police + Guns = More crime, more police and more guns.

Just a few days ago the NZ Police Association called yet again for the arming of police on the beat. It came about because a couple of police officers were attacked by drunken youth, one of whom it is claimed attempted to taser a police officer with her own taser gun. Imagine if that officer had a pistol rather than a taser. Before answering that question perhaps we should look at the larger picture in relation to guns, police and violence.  

It is a strange world we live in: In the United States where they consider that every thing they do is the best in the world. They naturally believe they know what’s best for the world; so they take over whole countries to introduce their form of perfection. Their form of democracy [and the policing of it] is in their view the finest version ever designed by mankind. It’s so good that less people in the USA vote in elections than in any other first world country. Their people are so happy that they have to arm their police with combat style weapons that are used in fully combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Americans are stunned by US behaviour, and the mass murder of innocents has become common-place. This from US documentary producer Michael Moore: [Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns ...a letter from Michael Moore Monday, December 24th, 2012]

“Who are we?
I'd like to try to answer that question.
We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries that didn't attack us. We're currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.
This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each other in a civil war. We "tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter," and we rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate: every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.
We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, and Iran). We think nothing of letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are uninsured and thus don't see a doctor until it's too late.
Why do we do this? One theory is simply "because we can." There is a level of arrogance in the otherwise friendly American spirit, conning ourselves into believing there's something exceptional about us that separates us from all those "other" countries (there are indeed many good things about us; the same could also be said of Belgium, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc.). We think we're #1 in everything when the truth is our students are 17th in science and 25th in math, and we're 35th in life expectancy. We believe we have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any western democracy. We're biggest and bestest at everything and we demand and take what we want.

Are the above comments by Michael Moore relevant to NZ, yes they are because we are going down the same path of failure as is the US.

How does this affect NZ? The answer is simple, because our police are following US style policing practice. And those practices are a well proven failure, but hey it’s American so it must be OK, yeah right.
It’s not a well known fact that NZ police members commit more crimes than do teachers, but they do. So maybe the police should use education to put their house in order.

The next question we could ask is. ‘What has led to the level of public disrespect for the police? The first thing needed in answering that question is honesty and in some respects bravery. Firstly we have to remember that all police are not angels as is proven by the crime stats for police. Some break the law and an awful lot seem to get away with breaking the law. That in itself simply proves that police men and women are simply human. What is important is that we don’t condone the law breaking. Arming every police officer with a weapon will simply make their crimes more serious both in intent and harm inflicted. So police behaviour as seen by the public is an important factor in how we respect or disrespect the role they play in a democratic society. Global Peace and Justice Auckland lodged a complaint against police recently. The last paragraph of that complaint was as follows:

“Anyone reading the police statement and the media reports based on it could be forgiven for believing the protest group had tried to break into the hotel, had lit multiple fires in the street requiring fire service attention and had attacked and injured police officers including “stomping” on one officer’s head.
This was a tissue of outrageous lies and dramatic overstatement. It appears to have been presented to the media from the police public relations team at least partly to disguise what was an appalling failure of policing at the protest.
The media and public have a right to expect the police will report accurately and fairly on any situation and not use the full public relations resources of the police to feed lies and misinformation into the public arena. To do so is to undermine the very rights people have to engage in protest which in turn is the oxygen on which our democracy depends.
We wish you to engage in a robust investigation of these complaints and we look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
John Minto
Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Now seeing the name John Minto automatically creates anger to a vast array of red neck types. Regardless of where you sit John Minto does represent thousands of like minded people who attempt to ease the situation of those in need. The law has processes that allows for legal process and the police are required to uphold those laws. Getting police to dress up as protesters and getting the police public relations team to put out reports that favour the police view is a dangerous approach and is heading right down US police style behaviour. I am in favour of arresting those who break the law, be they the public or the police. The law and justice should be both colour blind and occupation blind, but is it? Take for example the punishments dished out for shoplifting and those for financial crime. Recently I watched the arrest of a young woman outside of ‘Pack and Save’, she was shoved up against the boot of a police car by two police officers and handcuffed in front of about ten staff and a huge number of shoppers. Her crime, she stole three blocks of chocolate. Have you ever read about an accountant being handcuffed on a public street surrounded by the public? I haven’t.
If the police over use violence to counter violence then that excessive violence will as sure as hell create further violence.

The US has moved down this track for hundreds of years and the outcome are millions of weapons freely available. We must not continue down this path because if we do the outcomes will be the same, horrific.

The one common factor in most violent behaviour [other than humans] is booze and while MP’s like Peter Dunne and others continue to allow the easy supply of cheap liquor from supermarkets and booze barns violent behaviour will expand.

Control booze, control guns, control police. Reduce poverty by paying people a liveable wage and crime will decline, that is a fact that we have yet to learn. We should stop copying practices that have repeatedly failed and spend more time practicing what works. As for guns and America, this unnamed text to the Manawatu Standard on Friday the 28th of December sums it up:

“Americans aren’t gun crazy people, they are crazy people with guns”

A local example where the law was used as a weapon rather than a tool for justice happened in Levin where the Mayor of Levin [and others] misused and manipulated police authority to silence legal protest. They should have realised that using police officers to achieve ones own self interests is wrong…the High Court judge tossed out all charges and earlier convictions against a protester who was protesting against the illegal use of Lake Horowhenua and at the same time condemned the police officers behaviour, the question is will the police bosses follow up with some form of official public discipline, based on past performance the chances are slim.    

An onerous task starts.

Eavesdropper in Hawaii.

Being an old military type I keep in touch with other old military types, who have children who are now new military types. One is a part of the Prime Ministers security team. They travel far and wide and especially to Hawaii in their effort to protect our leading citizen from attack by terrorist or fan club members.

Most of the information gained is un-publishable because of its very personal nature, but other bits are permissible because as the media says they are of ‘public interest’ and could even be considered a ‘right to know’. I use the Minister of Social Development [Paula Bennett] measure of what ‘Right to know means so almost anything goes in the interest of transparency, openness and getting your own way.

The Key mansion in Hawaii is much less pretentious than Kim Dotcoms in the Prime Ministers electorate in Auckland but it is up there in the clouds for most Kiwis.

My Eavesdropper agent whom I will call Young Willey armed with secret recording devices supplied by the FBI was eager to relate the various happenings for public consumption. I’ve changed nothing except for some bad language that I thought might offend my older readers: This from a Young Willey dispatch:

“We took off from Auckland International Airport on Air New Zealand, flying first class. I was seated right behind the PM and Bronagh. After an in flight meal and three wines the hostess asked the PM if he would like to watch a movie or read a magazine. The PM asked if ‘Playboy’ was available, ‘only in tourist class’ she answered. Bronagh muttered but I couldn’t understand what she said exactly but it sounded like ‘he is only joking’…The hostess suggested the latest Hobbit movie and the PM replied that he had already seen it. Instead he asked for the latest ‘Women’s Weekly’ because it never has political comments.

“Its good to be on our way”, said Bronagh.
“Absolutely”, answered John.
“Just you and I”, she uttered with a sigh.
“I’m so looking forward to relaxing at the beach”, replied John, adding “It’s so tiresome being prime minister that I look forward to our monthly break at home in Hawaii”.
“Anything interesting in the Women’s Weekly dear”, she asked
“Nothing really, it’s full of ******* adds”, he answered
“No need to swear dear, your not talking to Hekia Parata now”, she said.
“Sorry, I thought I told you not to bring up her name during our holidays”, he said sounding rather grumpy.
“Oh I forgot, I was just reading in the granny Herald about no one seems to know where she is these days, but it is sad about all those teachers not being paid, what with Christmas and all”, she muttered.
“It’s only money, don’t worry they can always use their credit cards dear, if they worked for a private company they wouldn’t have all these money worries”. He said yawning.

While John slept Bronagh carried on with her knitting, the clicking of her needles not drowned out by the hum of the aircrafts engines. So I switched off my listening device and did something a security guard is not meant to do…I fell asleep. I’ll report on the rest of my onerous task in four days…cheers Young Willey.  


Friday, 21 December 2012

Hekia Parata the final chapter

Hekia Parata the final chapter…

Michael Sandel wrote [Prospect Magazine]

“If I ruled the world, I would rewrite the economics textbooks. This may seem a small ambition, unworthy of my sovereign office. But it would actually be a big step toward a better civic life. Today, we often confuse market reasoning for moral reasoning. We fall into thinking that economic efficiency—getting goods to those with the greatest willingness and ability to pay for them—defines the common good. But this is a mistake.
Consider the case for a free market in human organs—kidneys, for example. Textbook economic reasoning makes such proposals hard to resist. If a buyer and a seller can agree on a price for a kidney, the deal presumably makes both parties better off. The buyer gets a life-sustaining organ, and the seller gets enough money to make the sacrifice worthwhile. The deal is economically efficient in the sense that the kidney goes to the person who values it most highly.
But this logic is flawed, for two reasons. First, what looks like a free exchange might not be truly voluntary? In practice, the sellers of kidneys would likely consist of impoverished people desperate for money to feed their families or educate their children. Their choice to sell would not really be free, but coerced, in effect, by their desperate condition.

Hekia Parata has tried to introduce a new concept in education and the management of it. It was a market concept based on the economic approach of her leader John Key. One of matching up what she considers being a financial market type model where she is the banker, and the suppliers of education are the merchants, and the users are customers.

I believe she discussed this with John Key and this is what got her promoted to the education portfolio in the first place. After all she had powerful mentors, including Finance Minister Bill English and Prime Minister John Key,

Who saw in her an echo of his own rise to the top”.

Wira Gardiner

Wira Gardiner, Hekia Parata’s husband had also taken a pot-luck shot at becoming the National Party president so no doubt Key and English were at ease with him and making his wife education minister could ease his National Party presidential ambitions. He has been given some key government roles in recent days.

Not unlike Michael Sandel’s kidney transplant deal quoted in the first paragraph all she had to do was to match up a willing buyer [those wanting an education] to a willing seller [those supplying education, schools both private and state] by use of enterprising middle men [Education Department, Charter school boards and private School owners] for her scheme to fly.

But she and her backers [Key and English] failed to take account of the human factors involved. In other words she forgot the human element of the exercise. But she did have other qualities that could be harnessed:  

She had the all important X-factor - supreme self-assurance, an engaging personality and a guffawing laugh that could fill a room”.

While none of those skills related to education as such it was obviously that Key and English had great hopes that she could carry the day and introduce their agreed agenda or deal they had with ACT’s John Banks for introducing Charter Schools, larger class sizes, and controlling the teacher unions. They also made Banks an associate minister of education, which alone could have meant that Parata’s chance of success was almost impossible in reality.

For success Parata had to firstly sell the idea that education in the state sector was in need of a kidney transplant [because it was failing] and secondly that larger class sizes, closing down schools and introducing Charter schools with untrained teachers would act like a new or reconditioned Kidney in a largely unwilling patient. Alas she failed…not only in the management of her department but in other aspects too: This from: Tracy Watkins of the Dominion-Post: [Italics]  

As blunders mounted one on top of the other in the education portfolio, however, Ms Parata's poise deserted her. Hard questions were met with obfuscation and, when under stress, she reached for the bureaucrat's trick of papering over the cracks with jargon.

The pressure began to tell in other, more personal, ways. Beehive insiders talk about a tense and poisonous atmosphere within her ministerial office, brought on by an increasingly demanding minister, who was out of her depth and casting around for others to blame.

She churned through several private secretaries and lost a senior adviser just two months into a two-year secondment.

Her senior private secretary - effectively her chief executive within the office - was let go in mid-December. There have been rumblings of disquiet from staff outside Ms Parata's office at the timing, just before Christmas.

But her handling of Ministry of Education chief executive Lesley Longstone's resignation raises even more serious questions about Ms Parata's judgment.

Put simply Parata and Key want those with close connections to schools and the public education system to sell their kidney [soul] in pursuit of an imagined and unproven benefit. Without any clear evidence that the action would in reality make things better. The teachers and it would seem a majority of NZ citizens believe otherwise; in fact a transplant seems totally stupid.

After Mr Key was forced to step in and save the situation, the pressure grew. She was taking a hammering from the Opposition and teacher unions, and the mounting list of blunders over teacher pay roll problems and Christchurch school closures was painting a picture of incompetence. She is understood to have become increasingly hardline in her view that heads should roll.

The likes of Cabinet hard woman Judith Collins would have fronted immediately and carried it off. But it is a sign of her colleagues' increasing lack of confidence in Ms Parata that she was instead packed off on holiday and told to lay low.

Mr Key also refused to front, suggesting he is still weighing up his options for a Cabinet reshuffle in January and does not want to get backed too far into a corner over his support for Ms Parata retaining the education portfolio.

Let me finish by repeating the words of Michael Sandel:

 But this logic is flawed, for two reasons. First, what looks like a free exchange might not be truly voluntary? In practice, the sellers of kidneys would likely consist of impoverished people desperate for money to feed their families or educate their children. Their choice to sell would not really be free, but coerced, in effect, by their desperate condition.

Firstly Parata had to create a crisis where one did not exist, and then she had to sell her snake oil to remedy the self made crisis, she has failed on all counts. A cabinet reshuffle will take place in the New Year and I’ve little doubt that Parata will be moved, to what I don’t know, that will depend on John Key view of the political scene after he returns from his holiday in Hawaii. But let us all hope that John Banks is not the chosen one!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Parata takes the first life boat

Parata, I'm the captain but I'll not go down with my ship. 

Hekia Parata dumps Lesley Longstone

Now that Parliament has closed down for the year, bad news suddenly hits the scene. Of course every one [or at least those that can afford to] is busy getting ready for Christmas. The governments PR spin team are now flat-out pushing bad news stories like petrol tax rises, MP’s salary increases, Education boss being sacked, child poverty growth figures, etc.

Like a rat [Longstone] deserting a sinking ship [Parata] on the coastline of failure,
Education Secretary Lesley Longstone was pushed to resign by Hekia Parata who should also resign. Longstone’s resignation won’t solve educations major problems, but it was correct for her to resign. Not unlike the Italian Captain of a sinking cruse liner Parata was the first in the life boat as the ship floundered.

The experiment of bringing in so-called overseas outsiders to beat up the education sector was a total failure and the government has two black eyes as Longstone departs the scene.

Parata and John Key were of course the real drivers to beat the education unions into line, they failed big time. Parata should go! She should go now! She does not deserve a salary increase; in fact she should resign from Parliament as a list MP. Once again the PM dances on his Radio Works show wriggling his backside while his minister Parata hides away from the media, so much for a high standard of behaviour.

Longstone was imported from England less than a year ago and now is fleeing the scene after getting around $500.000 and no doubt a golden hand shake as well. TV 3 suggests that she could well receive up to a million dollars as a golden hand shake.

Parata should also flee the scene after a year of trying to implement stupid government policies in education. She has failed completely, the NovoPay fiasco was simply the last straw, larger class sizes, the Christchurch review of schools and the introduction of Charter Schools have all been nails in the coffin of the governments desire to restructure the education sector. And putting Steve Joyce in charge of university education has also been a huge step backwards.  

To make matters even worse the government gave itself a pay rise, while at the same time lifting fuel taxes.

Our part time PM proved once again that he tells porkies big time for he stated that ‘he didn’t want a wage increase’ but a government appointed body gave them one. I don’t suppose he bothered to read their report, of course he could have cancelled the increase, but have you ever heard of a money man turn down a bonus so it would be rare for a guy like Key to suddenly change his normal behaviour. No doubt he is by now relaxing at the beach in Hawaii surrounded by his police security team. But wait there is more…they told the public service sector union [PSA] that back pay was a no-no, but guess what Key gave himself six months back pay. This increase when added to the tax cut he gave himself [around a thousand dollars per week] means that he has received a massive boost in income. What for you may well ask, so that he can holiday even longer in Hawaii? He may as well take out US citizenship.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Chief Hobbit Crusher Collins bites deep.

Has his Tax Lawer has cost us millions? 

Have you ever heard such a blatant and hypocritical statement from a politician and so-called Minister of Justice? [Judith Crusher Collins] She said:

“I feel for Mr. Blain that he has suffered a further unfortunate delay and I wish to reassure him that ultimately these circumstances will not have an impact on his claim”.

I’ve no doubt she was smiling as she released the press release to the main stream media. The facts tell a different story and it’s a political story of a woman who wants to be Prime Minister. She was and still is a tax lawyer turned politician and this is obvious from her weird behaviour regarding David Bain. He has been found not guilty. She simply appears not able to accept that David Bain’s second trial, ordered by the Privy Council, found him not guilty. All she had to do was grant compensation or not. Justice Binnie was hired to recommend which of those options she should take. He recommended compensation. But sadly he offered advice that politically was not what she wanted. Her behaviour matches that of the PM over the Hobbit affair, the GCSB stuff up and the ignoring of the law or changing the law to suit political goals rather than upholding the law.  

A blogger [No Right Turn] said the following:

Justice Binnie gave us that independent, outside review. And the Minister rejected it and ordered a secret, one-sided hatchet-job because she disagreed with the conclusions and/or thought that accepting them might harm her political image with the politically valuable sadist bloc. Whatever you think of the Bain case: that's not justice. Instead, it’s a rejection of some of justice's basic principles: neutrality, independence, and hearing both sides of a dispute.

The reason the government went to an outside judge in the first place to assess David Bain's compensation claim is because we needed a fresh, independent look at the case. Everyone in New Zealand - lawyers included - either has an opinion on it, or like me finds it such a turnoff that they'd rather gouge their own eyes out than trawl through it. In the case of lawyers it’s also a problem because of the incestuous nature of our legal community - everyone knows everyone else, and it would be difficult to find someone of sufficient expertise who wasn't associated somehow with one party or another. So the only credible reviewer would be an outsider, someone with legal expertise who wasn't tainted by the New Zealand debate about the case.
Given our constitutional structure, the involvement of politicians in ultimately deciding compensation for miscarriages of justice is unavoidable. But I expect them to adhere to basic principles of justice in doing so. Collins hasn't. And that is simply disgraceful.

Tony Wallace a Wheelers Corner blog reader wrote:

“I have been reading the publicly released reports into the David Bain compensation application. Without going into the legal arguments, which I am not qualified to judge, I am left with the question of the police's duty of care.

Justice Binnie's report makes excellent reading, well worth the 6 hours it took. It becomes abundantly clear that the police failed to collect evidence from the crime scene that would have established David's factual innocence. This botched investigation removed his ability to defend himself, and now impedes his application to clear his name and seek compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

One aspect of safety is freedom from false and wrongful accusation. Perhaps combining the roles of investigator and prosecutor within the police is wrong and leads to a conflict of interests, where the interests of justice are set aside in the interests of obtaining a prosecution”.

After spending four hundred thousand on seeking a recommendation and then a further couple of hundred thousand more on reviewing that report and even another five hundred thousand on a new report not to prove if compensation should be paid…but one that Judith Collins agrees with.
This proves that giving a Tax lawyer and National part hack like Collins, a bottomless bag of tax payer money to enhance her intelligence level is a very dangerous and costly exercise. Our children and our justice system deserve better, and so does David Bain.  

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Police Collins vs Justice Ian Binnie

Crusher Collins remembered. 

Justice Ian Binnie answers Crusher Collins strange [legal?] behaviour:

I need make no comment for Justice Binnie’s PR says it all…It’s a long PR but is worthy of a read so as to understand the position Justice Binnie has been put it.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012, 9:27 am
Press Release: Justice Ian Binnie

I have just received a copy of the press release dated 11 December from the Minister's office plus numerous e-mail media inquiries. As I am presently in Geneva at a meeting of the International Commission of Jurists, the time difference between Switzerland and New Zealand, (as well as the logistics of responding to the number of different journalists who have made contact), make it more efficient to answer your inquiries collectively rather than individually. I have not discussed the Bain matter with the media since my appointment in November 2011 (apart from an early letter to a newspaper about a patently absurd reporter's comment) but the Minister's press release requires a response. This e-mail is copied to the Minister's office, as well as to the parties to the "compo inquiry"
1. No, I was not forewarned that the Minister intended to issue the press release and had no advance notice of its contents.

2. The press release refers to "robustness of reasoning" which seems to be code for "reasoning" that supports the Minister's preferred disposition of the Bain claim.

3. The language of the press release shows it to be a political document which, given that the Minister is engaged in a political exercise, is not surprising. David Bain is seeking a discretionary payment from Cabinet and Cabinet is a political body that makes political decisions. However I expected the Minister to follow a fair and even handed process leading up to that political decision. She is, after all, the Minister of Justice. The purpose of this email is to give people the facts to enable them to determine for themselves whether or not the process has been even-handed.

The real Crusher Collins Minister of Justice [?] 

4. The press release states that my Report was referred to the Solicitor General for "advice”. This makes it sound as though the Solicitor General is some sort of independent official whereas, in fact, his office attempted for almost 17 years to uphold a conviction of David Bain that New Zealand’s highest appeal Court decided in 2007 was a miscarriage of justice -- a conclusion reinforced by Mr Bain's acquittal by a Christchurch jury in 2009. The Solicitor General was and remains part of the prosecutorial team. The opposing parties in the compensation inquiry were David Bain and the Crown Law Office. At a January 2012 meeting held at the Ministry of Justice for me to obtain the views of the Crown Law Office as to how the inquiry should proceed (a similar meeting was held with the Bain people) I was introduced to the then Solicitor General, David Collins, who had unsuccessfully argued the case against David Bain before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He was not, and did not pretend to be, independent. For present purposes the Solicitor General is equivalent to the Crown Law Office.

5. It is a curious feature of this case that all of the "external" judges who have looked at the record of the case have rejected the arguments of the Solicitor General and the Crown Law Office regarding David Bain's guilt. By far the most prominent, of course, were the five judges of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which reversed the Court of Appeal's decision in 2003 that no miscarriage of justice had occurred. In that appeal, too, David Bain's arguments were dismissed by the Solicitor General as based on incorrect facts and a misapprehension of New Zealand law. The Privy Council judgment was authored by Lord Thomas Bingham, generally regarded as one of the brightest and best judges produced by the common law world since the Second World War. In a much more modest capacity, as a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, I too have expressed views on the respective merits of the case of Mr Bain and the Crown. People are free to disagree with my views (as they are free to disagree with the views of the Privy Council and the 2009 Christchurch jury), but it is no disrespect to the able Hon Robert Fisher QC to note that the Minister is keen to repatriate the Bain case to her home turf.

6. The press release does not state whether my Report has also been given to the police, but I gather that it was, and in any event the mandate of the Crown Law Office, as well as the Solicitor General, has been to speak up for the police in this case, and it is understood that they will continue to do so. This is all very well except that the only interested party who has so far been denied a look at my report is the party most directly affected, namely David Bain.

7. The Minister of course is free to seek advice wherever she wants but if she wanted input from the actual parties to the compensation inquiry (as distinguished from input from her colleagues or other persons with no axe to grind) she should surely have sought input from both sides. There may be much in my report that Mr Bain disagrees with. He doesn't know because he hasn't seen it. It is a bit like an appeal process where one side is invited to discuss the case with the REAL decision maker "on appeal" but the claimant is left outside in the dark -- not only not knowing what his opponent of 17 years is saying but not even knowing the content of the report that is under discussion. This seems to me unfair.

8. I appreciate that New Zealanders have strong views about the Bain case (which is why, as an outsider, I was mandated by a previous Minister of Justice to have a look at it) -- however I would think most New Zealanders, whatever their views of the merits of David Bain's claim, would want it dealt with in an even handed and fair process.

9. The press release states that the Minister raised "concerns" about "some aspects" of the Report at our meeting on September 13. The press release then says she subsequently received "unsolicited, two further versions of his Report". In the same paragraph of the press release she insists that my "Report must remain confidential". I am not at liberty, the Minister says, to identify the very minor changes in the Report made in response to her "concerns". Of course if she did not want a response to her "concerns" raised on September 13 she should have said so. My previous experience at the bar since 1967 is that when clients raise questions they want responses. The minor changes I made to the original document occupy no more than a couple of pages of a lengthy Report and are identified in the two accompanying letters to the Minister.

10. The Minister seems to have a curiously one sided view of "confidentiality”. She feels free to criticize my Report while claiming in the same press release that the Report is covered by solicitor client privilege and, therefore, I am not to disclose the obvious responses to her criticisms by releasing the Report. (My own view is that the privilege was waived but that is not an issue I care to pursue)

11. In particular, the press release quotes the Minister as claiming my Report contains certain unidentified " assumptions based on (unidentified) incorrect facts" demonstrating some (also unidentified ) "misunderstanding of New Zealand law" -- despite the fact that at all times I had the very able input from a distinguished and totally independent New Zealand lawyer (who is identified in my Report). Whatever else New Zealand law states, it is certainly well established that it is most improper for "a client" -- especially a legally trained client -- to attack publicly a lawyer's advice while simultaneously claiming privilege to protect from disclosure the advice that is being attacked. I would expect that the Minister, as a former Auckland tax lawyer, would be well aware of this principle.

12. If the Minister would release the Report New Zealanders would be in a position to judge for themselves the merits of the Minister's press release. The present orchestrations by the Minister would then become unnecessary. Mr Bain would know what is being said about him. The playing field would be at least partially rebalanced.

13. I met with the Minister on September 13. The press release says that even at that time the Minister had decided on a "peer review". I certainly have no objection to peer review. The press release states that the matter was then referred to Hon Robert Fisher QC for his opinion. When I was appointed the Minister was careful to disclose at the outset all of the documents and other material provided to me for my consideration. I would have expected the same level of disclosure to apply in the case of Mr Fisher, especially disclosure of material that has come into existence since delivery of my Report, including the comments of the Solicitor General.

14. The press release says that I will be given an opportunity to respond to Mr Fishers’ opinion. I certainly expect that my response will be published as well.


Monday, 10 December 2012

Telling it like it is Child Poverty

Report on Child Poverty released...
The group looking [yet again] into child poverty in NZ has now produced its final report. The National party has for four years suggested that they had no data on child poverty and that talk of two hundred and seventy thousand children living in poverty was simply a beat-up figure.

This latest report proves them wrong yet again and no doubt John Key will need to read this report while on holiday in his mansion in Hawaii or London or New York. While he sips on his wine and nibbles on a plate full of goodies he will need to consider the plight of those living in poverty in New Zealand.  

Russell Wills’ [Children’s Commissioner] final report into child poverty has thrown the ball back to the Government, recommending 78 changes, including enshrining child welfare in law.

He suggests that a $2 billion Government overhaul, including more state homes and universal child support, is needed to fight child poverty,

However, the Government has already poured cold water on the report, rejecting one big-ticket recommendation and emphasising tight finances. This is strange when you consider what the government paid to Warner Brothers and to Sky City along with the massive spending on roads to nowhere.

The report paints a bleak picture of the 270,000 children living in poverty, many of whom regularly go hungry, get sick and live in overcrowded homes.
It says the first step is to create a strategy to monitor child poverty and set ambitious targets for improvement.

Some recommendations are simple and cheap - with a few reflecting existing Government policy - but others could cost billions. They include:

  • Scrapping many benefits for parents and replacing them with a universal payment for every child under 5.
  • Building 2000 new state homes a year and requiring all rentals to pass a health and safety “warrant of fitness”.
  • Warrants of fitness for homes
  • Government to work with finance sector to provide zero-interest or cheap loans for struggling families:

  • An expanded food-in-schools programme for low-decile primary and immediate schools

  • Increased focus on keeping young parents in education

  • Create community hubs as a one-stop shop for support services.

Some recommendations would take longer, be harder and more expensive:

  • Review all child benefits and refocus them on child welfare.
  • Create a new universal child payment for all children under 5.
  • Support for older children would be targeted, based on income.
  • Increase the number of social houses by at least 2000 a year for the next eight years.
  • Extend free doctor visits over time to cover all children under 18.

The combined changes are estimated to cost the Government between $1.5b and $2b a year and reduce child poverty by up to 40 per cent. The report estimates the economic cost of child poverty to be between $6b and $8b a year.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett quickly rejected universal child payment, claiming it was too expensive.

“It is those on the lowest incomes who are in the greatest need, so any new spending needs to be tightly targeted,” she said. Warrants of fitness for homes, and community hubs, were ideas with “merit” and other suggestions were already being pursued by Government, she said.

Finance Minister Bill English said throwing more money at child poverty would not necessarily solve it.

 “Too often, governments have, for political reasons, persisted with programmes that have been ineffective and expensive.”

But others have a differing view, Professor Jonathan Boston, who co-chaired the group that wrote the report, said that, while the cheap options would help, costly and ambitious reform was required for deep and lasting change.

“Making a substantial dent in child poverty can’t be done on the smell of an oily rag.”

Some of the more costly projects could be shelved until the Government books were in better shape, he said. Others could be funded by diverting money from people who did not have dependent children.

“As resources become available, it is our most needy children that should have the first claim.”

Dr Wills said there had been a strong consensus about the best way forward.

Labour’s children’s spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern supported the report but was skeptical about how many of the changes would be adopted by the Government.

The report has also been endorsed by Every Child Counts, a coalition of child agencies including UNICEF, Plunket and Barnardos. Its manager, Deborah Morris-Travers, said the evidence was clear and the Government needed to act.

 This from Ian Ritchie:

Successive governments have indeed actively resisted addressing the issue of child poverty to the extent that different Prime Ministers have refused to say the noxious P word. As far back as Rob Muldoon who wanted to deregister CORSO for wanting to address poverty issues here.
In the UK, the Government several years ago adopted the goal of eliminating child poverty in a defined time frame.
Unless our government priorities change the downstream costs will continue to escalate for the whole of our society.
All power to the Commissioner’s Group of experts and their recommendations
Ian Ritchie

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dotcom strikes back...

DI Grant Wormald, should he be sacked. 

Dotcom Raid part two:

Will Grant Wormald be sacked? Did NZ carry out the raid on Dotcom’s residency on the instruction of the US? Did the Prime Minister approve the use of the GCSB and police on behalf of US agencies? Who runs NZ our government or a foreign power?  These questions need answering and we should stop hiding behind so called international security regulations.

The Dotcom affair has nothing to with National security but more to do with the ego of both the police and politicians. 
A very brave NZ Judge Helen Winkelmann who unlike some US judges can act without political interference has found that:

An affidavit from the senior officer in charge of the Kim Dotcom raid contradicts earlier evidence that he gave to the court, a judge has found.

Detective Inspector Grant Wormald already faces questions about testimony that he gave in which he said no other agency had spied on the internet entrepreneur.

She also stated that:
Police must also disclose what they know about stationary cameras placed around Dotcom's home.

In the unprecedented ruling from Justice Helen Winkelmann yesterday, government spies will be forced to reveal top-secret details of its illegal surveillance on the Megaupload millionaire.

Justice Winkelmann noted that an affidavit given by Mr Wormald, from the elite Organised & Financial Crime Agency, said "there was no live coverage of the operations going on at the Dotcom mansion".
But she said this contradicted earlier evidence he had given at a hearing. It was a "critical issue" whether there was live footage of events unfolding at the Dotcom mansion, she said.
It "would be relevant to assessing the nature of police actions on site at the Dotcom mansion".

It would seem that the Police like to boast a bit about their operational processes in assisting foreign governments. This TV style behaviour is strange to say the least:

In an in-house magazine in February, police liaison officer Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett said he had monitored activities connected to the Dotcom operation from an FBI command centre in the United States.

Justice Winkelmann wants him to swear an affidavit detailing if the broadcast was live, the source, when he viewed it and where.

Specifically, she wants to know "whether it was of the New Zealand Police raid on Mr Dotcom's property".

Last night, police said "it was not a live feed". However, they have declined to comment further while the case is before the courts.

Justice Winkelmann also wants more details about stationary cameras.

Mr Wormald and a Detective Inspector Jones are now required to file affidavits about the cameras and if third parties were involved.

Justice Winkelmann granted an application for the Government Communications Security Bureau to be added as a defendant in a continuing judicial review of the legality of the joint FBI-police raid.

This allows Dotcom to pursue police and GCSB for damages.

In September, the bureau admitted it had illegally spied on Dotcom, a New Zealand resident.

Prime Minister John Key would not comment yesterday.

Dotcom and his US lawyer, Ira Rothken, took to twitter to celebrate the ruling. "The truth will come out, in court," Dotcom wrote.

Mr Rothken said the decision proved GCSB was not above the law.

Justice Helen Winkelmann has ordered:

"Discovery" of documents related to the Dotcom operation - which is likely to bolster his fight against extradition to the United States on copyright infringement charges. "Plainly most of what is sought by the plaintiffs is relevant," she said. Senior lawyer Stuart Grieve, QC, has been given security clearance to look at the secret spy documents on behalf of Dotcom. He'll see:
Top-secret GCSB records on their activities in the Dotcom investigation.
Details of any information GCSB provided to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance which includes the US, Britain, Australia and Canada - or any other agencies.

Details of a briefing between Anne Toohey, of Crown Law, and other key players and a later video conference, at the OFCANZ office, in November last year.
If anyone else was caught up in GCSB's illegal spying.
An affidavit from Superintendent Mike Pannett a New Zealand police liaison officer based in Washington, about whether he viewed a live feed of the raid.
Detective Inspector Grant Wormald is also ordered to file an affidavit setting out all dealings involving stationary cameras.

So the answer to the very serious questions posed in the first paragraph need answering, will Grant Wormald be sacked, most likely not, more likely he will be promoted. We Kiwi hobbits just love doing what big brother tells us to do, when they ask us to jump we ask how high…