Monday, 30 July 2012

Part Time Rider Falls at first jump.

Waitangi Tribunal interim finding...

Amongst the hustle of the Olympic Games the Waitangi Tribunal released its interim findings. It was announced around the time that Mark Todd had completed the dressage and was guiding his horse around the cross country course.
In the Tribunal Vs the PM, the horse is the New Zealand public, the rider is our Part Time PM but the event judge is our legal system.

The race to begin the controversial assets sales programme is in the hands of the PTPM and he has a problem, for while he can control the horse because he presently holds the reins that hold is tenuous, and grows more so by the day. 

Mai Chen, a lawyer for the Maori Council suggests that the Crown should be worried. The PTPM has changed horses a few times but is being driven down a path that he is not used to, he is a gambler his whole career has been based on taking a punt and if successful reaping the bonuses. But this case is different, for the processes must be followed and the payers are the people. Who will pay dearly for the selling off of their assets, of course it’s ironic that they are being asked to buy their own assets? In reality it is a tax on electricity that will be used to increase the incomes of those who can afford to buy into the PTPM’s concept of shares for his mates.

While the dressage, cross country and show jumping activities are separate medal events they make up the team event as well, and that is the problem for the PTPM he isn’t a team player. Mark Todd is a full time equestrian events practitioner and understands the need for strong connections between horse and rider.
The Maori Council too has strong connections to those they represent and are in it for the long haul. If John Key fails to take seriously their interim Waitangi Tribunal outcome then no doubt they will move into the courts for they are serious, very serious in fact.
The courts are not like talk back radio or the Sensible sentencing Trust, full of red necked nutters, no doubt there are some strange judges, but in the main they reach balanced outcomes. Mai Chen went on to say:   

"I'm not saying that it's easy, winning in the tribunal is not the same as winning in the courts, but . . . this opens it up, it doesn't shut it down,".
"If I was Maori I would argue that their vulnerable relationship with water has been because the Crown . . . allocates what are essentially property rights for water to others."

And she is correct; the interim report proves just that. For the fact is, that while our PTPM may say [for red-neck consumption] that no one owns the water, he is selling it, and that for him would be another feather in his salesman’s cap when he heads back to his old employers on Wall Street, which I believe is not too far off.   

Friday, 27 July 2012

Maggie Vs Jancinda

Maggie Vs Jancinda

Maggie Barry was sitting outside in her garden sipping a red wine and relaxing with her teenaged children when one of them asked.
“Yes dear”
“Who is Jancinda?
 “Where did you hear that unbearable name? Maggie said.
“At school” the daughter answered.
“They used her name at your school, well I never; private schools should know better, I hope it wasn’t a teacher”, she muttered.
“It was my best friend and she thinks that Jancinda is rather neat…you know with it”.
“What do you mean, neat, with it, what sort of language is that? Maggie snapped.
“Oh, come on Mum, you know, up to date, fashionable, you know up with the play”, said the daughter frowning.
Just at that moment Maggie’s son called out, “Mom can I have a break from trimming the edges of the lawn”.
“No not yet you’ve missed a bit and I want the lawn edges perfect, John K is coming around soon and I want him to see my garden at its best”, she shouted sounding rather stern.
“Mom, my best friend said that Jancinda is really slim and has a smile that just beams”, said the daughter.
“For heavens sake, that woman hasn’t had any children so she still has her shape, that’s all nothing else”, said Maggie and it was her turn to frown now.
“Are you saying Mom that 'having' me caused you to gain weight? She asked seriously.
“Well sort of, but I love you dearly”, she said realising she put her foot in it once again.
“I’m not going to have any children if it means I’ll lose my shape”, said the daughter looking rather glum.
Oh you have to, otherwise how can you later talk about matters like maternity leave and all that kind of stuff”, Maggie snapped back.
“Mom”, shouted her son, are the edges straight enough now”…
“Oh alright that will do”, anyway I’ve noticed that John may not be a straight as he makes out”, with his support for the Gay marriage bill, she thought.

Just then the daughter’s cell phone rang, “Hi, your Mom’s on Facebook, really and Jancinda too…sounds cool…they said what…really, truly, they did…
The daughter rushed inside to get on line; she was due to get her I pad next birthday.

The conversation ended so I carried on weeding the rose garden, no one notices me I’m just one of the gardeners…you shouldn’t believe that the 'Maggie' of the ‘Garden show' really does any gardening…

Go Jancinda.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

John Banks saved by the bell.

If I show you mine, will you show me yours...sure but not for six months. 

John Banks walks free…

So John Banks can come out of hiding. Not for him a trial by jury, or a mad screaming mob of lynching Sensible Sentencing Trust pleading for his execution or the PT [Part Time] PM demanding his resignation on the grounds of naughty behaviour unbefitting a cabinet Minister and ex-minister of Police. But he gets a simple rap over the nose with a wet bus ticket and a note to take home to his mother from the Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess acting as if the Commissioner was Head Master of an elite Auckland Boy’s School.

In fact the press release below lets John Banks once a Minister of the Crown, Mayor of Auckland and still leader of the sunken ship wreck known as the Act Party off the hook because his crime was not complained about earlier. He did know where the money came from but blamed his staff for not telling him. Strange that, he shakes the hand of the doner, thanks them and said he, "Couldn't remember"...yeah, yeah...

One could be forgiven for thinking that there is one law for the early caught and another for the later caught.

It’s almost impossible to consider that this character still helps write our laws, but he does and right now he is pushing for Charter Schools and pushing for privatising the education system. Putting women in their rightful place [where ever that might be], lowering the top tax rate, selling off our assets and selling off our health service. And Key made him a minister…I suppose now he will replace wee Bill English as Deputy PT PM…and shortly receive a knighthood for services to the police.

The police press release: Issued by the NZ Police Thursday 26th July 2012.

“Outcome of Police investigation into electoral returns of Hon John Banks
Statement from Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess:
Police investigating allegations that the Hon John Banks knowingly transmitted a false electoral return have decided there is insufficient evidence to consider a prosecution for an offence under section 134(1) of the Local Electoral Act 2001.
This follows complaints about returns filed relating to donations from Sky City Casino, Mr Kim Dotcom and a radio advertising donation to the 2010 Auckland Super City mayoralty campaign of Mr Banks.
The inquiry has established the return was compiled by a campaign volunteer who assured Mr Banks it was accurate before Mr Banks signed and transmitted the return.
In terms of Section 134 (2) of the Local Electoral Act relating to transmitting a false return there is a statutory limit of six months from the time of elections when complaints must be laid. Police first received the complaint for investigation on 27 April 2012, well after the expiry of six month period. Police are therefore unable to consider charges pursuant to Section 134 (2)”.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Maori water rights: Some facts

This item from the Herald will give all those who like to ring talk back radio and have a bitch about the NZ Maori Council going to the Waitangi Tribunal over the asset sales a little bit of information so as to understand the stance taken by Maori on behalf of all those New Zealanders who oppose asset sales: It also gives the lie to the various red-neck stance taken by John Key over the past week or so. I think he maybe a little bit upset that he can't act like a money trader over this issue.

Mai Chen: 

“Today, the Maori claimants will start to close their urgent claim into water and geothermal resources, which mean the next development, will be the Waitangi Tribunal's report and recommendations.

The tribunal will have to take account of past decisions, which include those recognising Maori rights to rivers and water.

In 1896, the
Maori Land Court
vested the Poroti Springs, in the Whangarei region, in six Maori owners. This was a significant recognition of Maori customary rights as it coincided with a period when lands were being alienated at a rapid rate through the
Maori Land Court

Then, in 1960, the Governor-General designated the springs and surrounding land as a Maori Reservation for the purpose of water supply for the common use and benefit of the local hapu.

In 1929, in a decision that the Waitangi Tribunal has revered as "one of the most perceptive judgments in the legal history of our country", Judge Acheson determined that Maori owned Lake Omapere and "that Maori custom and usage recognised full ownership of lakes themselves".

In 1998, the Waitangi Tribunal's Ika Whenua Report supported these precedents by finding that Maori ownership or property rights in rivers can be described as "being the right of full and unrestricted use and control of the waters".

In its 1999 Whanganui River report, the tribunal recommended the Maori claimant right of ownership in the river should be recognised in legislation without reference to the English legal conception of riverbed ownership. It reasoned that this was because the river, according to the Maori worldview, was a living taonga or treasure and an indivisible whole.

Comments of the Court of Appeal in the 2003 Ngati Apa case, which led to the Labour Government's controversial (and now repealed) foreshore and seabed legislation, support the findings that the law should recognise Maori customary rights in accordance with Maori custom.

Crown counsel's opening submissions last week were that Maori do have rights and interests in water; however this did not go so far as to extend to a property right or interest.

A Crown witness disclosed a 2009 letter where the Prime Minister had made an express promise to a small group of influential iwi leaders that the issue of "property" rights and interests in water would be on the agenda for discussions between iwi leaders and the Crown.

A further Crown witness from the Office of Treaty Settlements conceded that to sell down shares in the power companies, when Maori rights to water and geothermal resources had not yet been determined would be a breach of the Treaty.

The Crown has consulted directly with some, but not all, iwi and not with hapu. The interests of those Maori who already have balance sheets and those who do not start to diverge.

Yet the Paki case in the Supreme Court that I wrote about on July 9 found that the section of riverbed claimed by the hapu had not been vested in the Crown, leaving the door open for recognition of hapu rights and interests. This was a hapu and not an iwi. The crux of the issue is what is meant by "ownership" and how rights to fresh water are managed and allocated. In the tribunal, the Maori Council argues that the Crown has effectively assumed ownership of water by establishing and controlling the water use rights regime under the Resource Management Act 1991.

The Crown has assumed the right to grant resource consents for water permits. And now the Crown, as a non-owner, will commercially benefit from those control rights under the proposed partial sale of the state-owned power companies.

These energy SOEs hold various water consents relating to power generation. A 2005 High Court decision (Aoraki Water Trust v Meridian Energy) held in effect that water consents are akin to property rights in water because in many cases they grant exclusive rights to use that water resource. And these are consents that run for up to 35 years.

However the Crown decides to settle Maori claims to water, these existing consents will be difficult, if not impossible, to disturb.

Tribunal presiding officer Chief Judge Wilson Issac asked pointed questions of Crown witnesses about the reliance of the energy SOEs on these water rights. The fact is that energy SOEs, and their Government shareholder, derive significant commercial advantages from the consent regime. Yet the claimants argue that there is little quid pro quo for iwi and hapu that claim rights akin to ownership of these waterways.

You cannot challenge Parliament's right to enact laws such as the Resource Management Act in the courts but you can in the Waitangi Tribunal, as a breach of the Treaty.

The unenviable position for the Crown to navigate is that there have been acknowledgments by the Government, and a legal history that recognises various forms of property rights and interests held by Maori in water. Any recommendations the tribunal makes, even if non-binding, will likely force the Crown to deal with the existing legal precedent.

Mai Chen, author of Public Law Toolbox, is a partner in Chen Palmer which advises clients on Waitangi Tribunal claims.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

TPP secret deal for the rich?

What's good for the US is good for us...says Hawaii resident John Key. 

The following was written from a US perspective but equally applies to New Zealand. I’ve highlighted in bold those areas that prove that we should steer clear of this TPPA. We should not forget that the government won’t tell us what they have agreed until they have signed the agreement…we are simply meant to trust them.

The dangers of an “Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement” (TPP).

This may be one of the most important stories ever ignored by the so-called "lame-stream, liberal" media. It's unlikely you're losing sleep over US trade negotiations, but the unfolding business agreement among the US and eight Pacific nations -the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - should cause every US citizen, from the Sierra Club to the Tea Party to get their pitch forks and torches out of the closet and prepare to "storm the Bastille."

The TPP negotiations have been going on for two years under extreme secrecy, no information has been made available to either the press or Congress about the US position. But on June 12, a document was leaked to the watchdog group, Public Citizen, revealing the current US position and the reason for the secrecy. The contents are surreal, shocking and prima facial evidence for how corporations have become the master puppeteers of our government.

The leaked document reveals that the trade agreement would give unprecedented political authority and legal protection to foreign corporations. Specifically, TPP would (1) severely limit regulation of foreign corporations operating within US boundaries, giving them greater rights than domestic firms; (2) extend incentives for US firms to move investments and jobs to lower-wage countries; and (3) establish an alternative legal system that gives foreign corporations and investors new rights to circumvent US courts and laws, allowing them to sue the US government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for lost revenue due to US laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges or their investment "expectations."

Despite the North American Free Trade Agreement's (NAFTA) failures, corporations are arm-twisting the federal government to pursue trade agreements as inevitable and necessary for economic progress. But 26 of the 28 chapters of this agreement have nothing to do with trade. TPP was drafted with the oversight of 600 representatives of multinational corporations, who essentially gave themselves whatever they wanted; the environment, public health, worker safety, further domestic job losses be damned.

Residents of the West should be particularly alarmed. TPP would allow the plunder of our natural resources by foreign corporations allowed to bypass US law. Disputes over Western land contracts for mining and timber, for example, would be settled by international tribunals. Even if you are oblivious to environmental concerns, you should be outraged at the total circumvention of national sovereignty. Foreign investors could bypass our legal framework, take any dispute to an international tribunal and pursue compensation for being denied access to our resources at fire-sale prices - with much of the West on fire as we speak.

It gets worse. Those tribunals would be staffed by private-sector lawyers that rotate between acting as "judges" and as advocates for the corporations suing the governments. American taxpayers could be forced to pay those corporations virtually unlimited compensation for trying to protect our air, land and water from much looser standards than current US law allows.

This agreement could directly affect efforts in my home state of Utah to hold the international mining giant, Rio Tinto, accountable to the Clean Air Act. A consortium of public health and environmental groups including WildEarth Guardians, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Utah Moms for Clean Air and the Sierra Club have filed suit against Rio Tinto for mining more - and polluting more - than the amount allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency via provisions in the Clean Air Act. This agreement would allow disputes about their pollution to be settled by foreign "judges" who don't live in Utah, aren't personally affected by the outcome, aren't even US citizens and could be attorneys for mining companies. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the chickens.

The original TPP nations were the US, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. But Mexico, China, Japan and Canada are expected to be invited to join, so there is no comfort to be derived from the thought that only a few minor, foreign corporations will be given these extraordinary free passes to profit at our expense. Of course, American corporations will get the same opportunity to "invade" other countries, as if that makes this agreement any less grotesque.

TPP is much worse than NAFTA, which eviscerated middle-class jobs and wealth in the US. And this sellout to foreign corporations is not just a rogue brain cramp of President Obama. Mitt Romney demanded this agreement be signed months ago, and the notorious "climate change denying" US Chamber of Commerce can't get it signed fast enough. Romney has called Obama's the most hostile administration to business in recent history. If the TPP trade agreement is "hostile" to business, god help us if we have an administration, presumably Romney's, "friendly" to business.

If you thought that with Citizens United we had hit rock bottom in surrendering our democracy to the power of money, this TPP "trade agreement" would throw our democracy into free fall. Foreign corporations will be allowed to feast like termites upon America's natural resources, trash our environment and public health, violate our rights as American citizens and make us pay them if we try to protect ourselves.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Rain drops keep falling on my head, says Key

As was expected and planned Key is using the media to turn the eyes and ears of New Zealanders away from ‘Asset Sales’ and onto the discussion on water use. By doing this he thinks just maybe he can sell off our assets while red-necked radio talk back fans rave on about Maori claims before the Waitangi Tribunal.
Maori and most thinking New Zealanders don’t want their assets sold off, they never believed Keys crap about Mom’s and Dad’s buying the shares and they have been proven correct because Key now admits that stopping the bulk of the shares being sold overseas is impossible. So like any good money salesman he has switched tracks and now is attempting to convert the issue to one about who owns the water in the forlorn hope that this will take our mind off his real aim, of selling off assets.
Below is an interview with Hone Harawira broadcast on TV 3 this morning [11th July 2012]  

“The Mana Party is calling for the Maori Party to walk the talk if the Government ignores any recommendations made by the Waitangi Tribunal over water right.
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says if the Government were to ignore any recommendations that were favourable to iwi ownership, the Maori Party should walk away from their coalition with National.
However he told Firstline he doesn’t think they will.
“They have no intention of leaving,” he says. “They’re big on threatening to walk but they’re pretty weak when it comes to walking the talk.”
Mr Harawira says the sale of state assets is an issue that affects all New Zealanders.
“This is a claim about water and water is an essential element in the sale of state assets.”
He thinks Prime Minister John Key will get burnt by this water issue.
“When this gets to the high court and he finds out that the New Zealand Government does not have the ownership papers to a car they are trying to sell to private investors.” However Mr Key is standing firm on the Government's position around Maori rights to water - he says they don't own it.
He's also reiterated that the Waitangi Tribunal has no binding power over the Government, and that asset sales will go ahead.

For those who live in the Manawatu Region:
There is a lot going on this weekend for all you politicos and activists. We need to keep active in this cold weather!!!!
2pm     The Square      National Day of Action; Assets Sale Rally
8.30am          Railway Station         Capital Connection Rally
7pm             Community Centre        Manawatu Keep Our Assets Public Meeting

Monday, 9 July 2012

Shares already owned vs beers and chips.

Victor Billot NZ Alliance Party
 Advice to mum and dad investors
by Victor Billot

I was impressed and excited to read a local finance broker's advice to potential "mum and dad" investors in privatized public assets in the Otago Daily Times (Friday 6 July 2012). 
Mr Chris Timms of Craigs Investment Partners says any complaints about ordinary Kiwis not being able to get in on the sale of the 21st century are misplaced.
It comes down to lifestyle choices and priorities. 
Cut out the cigarettes and takeaways, and you can be in to win. 
As Mr Timms says, you can save money, be healthier and buy some shares.
I agree. 
It is a well known fact that the working classes of New Zealand expend their lives in a haze of cigarette smoke, while simultaneously pouring jugs of beer down their throats and stuffing their ample jaws with burgers and chips.
It's amazing they actually find time to work full time and raise families.
In some cases, they linger on well into their seventies on superannuation (another drain on the economy.)
We need to buy back the assets we already own because we needed to give tax cuts to high income people, like finance industry high flyers for example. 
These tax cuts encourage them to work harder at buying the assets, that they are kindly selling for us, back to us.
If ordinary Kiwis wish to own the assets they already own, they need to understand in order to own them, they need to buy them back.
Confused? Don't worry. The hard thinking has already been done for us. 
But this process will need sacrifice. It will need hard times. There will be no gain without pain.
Our Prime Minister leads by example. 
For many nights, he lay awake in bed all night long wondering if shoveling millions of dollars of tax cuts to millionaires like himself was the right thing to do.
In the end he did it. 
He made the tough call on our behalf and we all benefited from it.
Some benefited more than others, but as they say, life's not fair.
As a result we are now in a position where we are being permitted to buy the assets we already own. 
Some of us just need some cash. (The rest of us, not the millionaires, that is.)
I believe Mr Timms is being too soft when he gently suggests cutting down on the smokes or turning away from the siren call of the cheeseburger. 
Like many he has been seduced into easy solutions.
I have a number of "tough love" recommendations to assist the average Kiwi "mum and dad" to get involved.
Firstly, do you really need that house? 
A shift into a tent at a local camp site could free up useful capital which you can then use to invest in your assets. 
Tents are flexible and can be moved to a cheaper site if required. 
Freedom camping is another possibility for the serious investor.
Secondly, examine your food budget. 
Food is over rated. It is well known that food is a major outgoing expense for many families. 
In economic terms, food comes with an opportunity cost. 
Every mouthful is literally eating into your potential investment portfolio. 
It is scientifically proven that a low calorie diet will ensure good health. 
Bread and water never hurt anyone, as long as you have an occasional vitamin pill to counteract the effects of scurvy.
Don't get too healthy though, as then you will hang around on the superannuation benefit. 
Thirdly, winter heating. Lots of savings to be made here.
Firewood is out of course and electricity can be reduced to a bare minimum. 
Go to bed early to keep warm – around 5pm. You won't be missing much as TV, stereo and a reading lamp are out, and dinner is a cold tin of baked beans. 
This is known as extra fast food because all you have to do is open the tin.
Fourthly, entertainment expenses.
Sadly as a nation we have not yet weaned ourselves off sport, music, cultural pursuits and hobbies. 
But go they must if we are to invest in what we are about to divest. 
Keep an eye on other family members and look for signs of frivolous enjoyment. 
Remember the best kind of fun is free. 
Take the kids down to the library and check out how your $1000 of mum and dad shares are going in the free newspapers (of course you have cancelled your ODT subscription as well).
But hurry up about it. The library will probably have to be sold soon to pay for the stadium.
These are only suggestions and you should adjust them to fit your own circumstances. 
Finance industry leaders do not need to worry about reducing restaurant meals, wine cellars, private schools, holiday homes, golf club memberships, Elton John concerts, skiing passes, Pacific island winter getaways etc.
Thanks to John Key's tax cuts and corporate perks, this group should already have enough money to maintain a more than comfortable lifestyle, and invest in assets as well. 
Indeed you will be able to have more of the above very soon, as a "gold class" mum and dad with $100 000 plus to invest.
It's what the finance industry call a "win win" solution. 
There is another option, however. 
The people of New Zealand could rise up and say, actually, mate, these assets are already ours and they were built and maintained by us for the benefit of all future generations – not just to line the pockets of the greedy and already prosperous by ripping off everyone else.
But that is unlikely. 
Us Kiwi mums and dads are a trusting bunch, and we want to believe what men in quality suits with nice smiles – like Mr Key – tell us. 
After all, they have our best interests at heart.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Who set-up Clayton Cosgrove?

The Press release was issued by TV3...

'The Nation'
Clayton Cosgrove
Interviewed by RACHEL SMALLEY
Rachel Friday afternoon we got a statement from Mike Dormer at Independent Fisheries who was prepared to give us some answers despite his legal advice. First he pointed out that Independent Fisheries started discussing the issue of land near Christchurch Airport with Clayton Cosgrove in 2008 with a large number of other landowners. Second he said the Christchurch Airport Protection Bill was not initiated by Independent Fisheries, nor did it make any payments to Clayton Cosgrove in connection with that bill. Independent Fisheries also told us it has a long history of funding political parties and doesn’t put any preconditions on funding support, and no preconditions were placed on the support provided to Clayton Cosgrove's campaign. Clayton Cosgrove is with us this morning, thank you for coming in Mr Cosgrove.
Rachel Why did you accept a donation from Independent Fisheries after you drafted that bill, knowing that Independent Fisheries stood to financially benefit from it, if it went through.
Clayton Cosgrove – Labour MP
Well let's cut to the chase. What TV3 has just accused me of is that I accepted donations in return for proposing legislation that Independent Fisheries would have benefited from if that legislation had gone through. So Rachel my question to you is – is that the accusation that TV3 is making?
Rachel We've made no accusations at all. Did you though accept a campaign donation from Independent Fisheries knowing that they would ultimately financially benefit from this bill that you had drafted?
Clayton Yes I accepted campaign donations from Independent Fisheries and I've accepted campaign donations from a variety of people of all sorts of persuasions. My bill though, what your story doesn’t talk about would have benefited literally hundreds of people from Kaiapoi to right down northwest Christchurch, because what it would have done is got their property rights back for them, not just Independent Fisheries. I represented over a 100 people, constituents, as a Member of Parliament, collectively, not individually, to enable them to get their property rights back.
Rachel Did you have any discussions with Mike Dormer or Independent Fisheries about the issues that they were facing at the Airport, before you drafted that?
Clayton Mr Dormer told me that he'd bought some land, the company had bought some land I think in August 2008. He told me that when I held a public meeting in August 2008, which about a 100 landowners mostly from Christchurch, all had the same issue, and that’s why I was aware of it. But again Rachel you seem to be coming back to accusing me of taking a donation for proposing legislation for a company so they'd have a beneficial interest. This legislation would have benefited probably hundreds of land owners, mum and dads, B&Bs, entities and organisations, right through Kaiapoi and right down at the northwest side of Christchurch.
Rachel Mr Dormer said, the CEO of Independent Fisheries, he said – he told the press, and I'm just confirming the date here, on June 24th, that he thought the bill was quote "outstanding". He said that on June 24th 2009. In June you said you were drafting the bill.
Clayton I'll just check my chronology. I announced I'd prepared that bill in June 09, it went into the ballot in July 09, and it was announced publically, and I talked to a lot of landowners right across Christchurch. In fact when I announced that I was doing this I got people from all over Christchurch, even outside my electorate, who were in the same boat, and again I come back to it. Your question seems to be again Rachel accusing me of taking a donation in direct relation in return for legislation that a company would have benefited by. Is that true, because that legislation would have created a win for all those people, and by the way Christchurch International Airport. It was a unique moment in politics where everybody would have won by this.
Rachel The bill you were drafting as you said in June 2009, that’s the same month that Mike Dormer said he thought it was outstanding.
Clayton Well a lot of people said it was outstanding actually.
Rachel Why would he be familiar with it at that stage?
Clayton Because everybody was familiar with the proposal that I had. I talked to mayors of the then Mayor of Makariri, Councillors about it, the idea I had that we could say to landowners if you release your land, if we can release your land and noise is not an issue, the Airport gets total security, and landowners who had had their property rights taken away from them, would have had that land released.
Rachel Did you ask Independent Fisheries for a donation?
Clayton No.
Rachel Did Independent Fisheries in those discussions that you had about the bill, did they ever suggest that they would make a donation?
Clayton No and I've never accepted a donation with any preconditions and I have never been offered a donation with any preconditions. Independent Fisheries by the way, and Mike Dormer who is a hugely respected business person, philanthropist, donate to charities, many political parties, and by the way they donate heavily to the National Party.
Rachel Okay did they ever raise with you the issue that they may consider donating to your campaign?
Clayton No.
Rachel Okay, what contact did you have with Mr Dormer, or any executives for that matter from Independent Fisheries between June 2009 when you drafted the bill, and November of that same year?
Clayton Oh Mr Dormer and I are old friends, we go back about 12 years. He's a friend of my family, I know his family well. He's a respected person, I'm proud to say I'm a mate of his. I had discussion with all landowners. We set up a group of landowners across the board who had legal support, some who didn’t. I was leading negotiations on behalf of over a 100 constituents with the International Airport and others, for years on this.
Rachel So do you meet this man socially?
Clayton Yes. I'm proud to say I do.
Rachel And do you have discussions about the issues that he was facing at the Airport?
Clayton I've had discussions with all the landowners and Mr Dormer of course.
Rachel Because you drafted the bill in 2009.
Clayton I'll just say this Rachel. These questions are interesting because again you seem to be coming back to accusing me of taking a donation from a company to draft legislation. I said that is not true.
Rachel Okay and we take that, and that is on the record. You’ve said that you’ve had contact with them from June 2009 when you drafted the bill, and then November of that same year. On the 3rd of November that year, Independent Fisheries made a donation, how much was that donation on November 3rd.
Clayton On the 3rd of November, if I can check my chronology, 3rd November $2,500.
Rachel $2,500 okay. Were you surprised by receiving a donation?
Clayton No.
Rachel No surprise whatsoever, okay.
Clayton I received donations from all sorts of people throughout the parliamentary term.
Rachel Did you realise there was the potential though for a conflict of interest knowing that Independent Fisheries wanted that area of land, so they could develop it and get over the hurdles they were facing at the Airport? Did you recognise there was a conflict of interest then that somebody stood to financially benefit? Was donating to your campaign, when you were putting forward a bill…
Clayton And by the way, I have declared all those donations. That’s something that’s failed in your story. The reason we're talking about this now actually, and quite rightly you're questioning me and that is appropriate, is that I was transparent and open and declared every donation as the law required appropriately. In fact in my last electoral donation I declared donations I didn’t have to, I even declared the wood for my hoardings. So that is open.
Rachel Okay, let's come back to this scenario here. Did you recognise there was a conflict of interest though by this donation coming through.
Clayton There would have been a conflict of interest from any person, and I have people donate money to me in support from all political persuasions. There would be a conflict of interest if it came with preconditions, and by the way every MP receives donations. There would be a very bad look and a lack of judgement if those donations were hidden and not declared. There is transparency here, and the reason you can question me is because I declared them.
Rachel Sure, in 2011 you received another donation from Independent Fisheries, how much was that?
Clayton Fifteen thousand dollars.
Rachel Okay in total you received $17,500 from Independent Fisheries.
Clayton All declared.
Rachel Yes absolutely. That is the third largest donation from one company to any individual MP. It's a sizeable amount of money. Why do you think Independent Fisheries were so generous?
Clayton Well Independent Fisheries have had a history of donating to charities, and donating to political parties, they heavily fund the National Party. You'd have to ask them.
Rachel Why are they generous now though?
Clayton Well maybe, maybe, they’ve got a history of supporting me, maybe they think that I've worked my guts out for my constituents over 12 years, and maybe they think I'm a good MP, but again I ask you, your question leads me to believe that you are accusing me of taking money from a company in direct return for legislation. That is not true.
Rachel That’s not it at all. I'm trying to establish whether you think that there was a conflict of interest there?
Clayton No I don’t believe so because there was no preconditions. I've never accepted a donation in my life with preconditions, and one has never been offered to me in my life with preconditions, and of course Independent Fisheries as I say have funded the National Party heavily, they’ve already said to you that they don’t put preconditions on any of their donations.
Rachel You have said though it is a large donation as we've mentioned here. When it came in at that size, that last one 2011 of $15,000, so $17,500 did that not flag up to you though that there was a potential conflict of interest, because you came out and pushed ahead with that bill again.
Clayton No, actually that’s not true, that’s not true. The bill last went into the ballot on the 9th of September 2010. The donation as made on as you say in November. I wrote to Mr Brownlee on the 22nd of August on that year, because Mr Brownlee as your show shows, said he wanted land released, and I said here's an opportunity to do it. What this is about, the National Party have got their fingerprints all over this, they’ve been trying to shop this around for weeks. Can I just say this to you. Mr Brownlee a number of coincidences – in the court case he attaches a copy of my bill to his affidavit. Okay it's not about me or the Airport, your reporter just happens to be in the studio and Mr Brownlee just happens to be overseas ….
Rachel Front Page has had no contact with Jerry Brownlee.
Clayton Well the National Party have tried to shop this around and smear me and smear one of the most respected business people in the community, a person who has given money to the Salvation Army, supported youth groups. Mr Dormer does not deserve to be smeared and nor does Independent Fisheries. This is the old story. Mr Brownlee's backed into a corner in a court case where people are fighting for their property rights, and Mr Brownlee has decided he's going to lash out as has the National Party. It's a good old fashioned smear, and all these declarations, all these donations were declared openly, transparently and honestly as the law requires, and that’s why you can question me about them, as you should today.
Rachel And I appreciate you coming in and allowing us to do that. Clayton Cosgrove thank you for your time this morning.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New Political possiblities are growing.

LEN GALE A man of the people. 

A few thoughts from LEN GALE, aged 85, veteran of the 1951 Waterfront Lockout who turned up down at the Ports of Auckland picket line to help out earlier this year

On the Line
"You have to admire the men and women on the picket-line. Rain, hail, scorching sun and wind, they brave it all. A picket line is not just people standing on the curb waving flags and placards.
It is a mobile school room where past struggles are recalled and analyzed, strategy and tactics. Where friendships form across the trades and occupations. Where "outsiders" come to offer support and are welcomed with warm handshakes along the line.
Where overseas delegates come with money and pledges.
No scab loaded vessels at our ports! They offer up their union flags and Tee-shirts, symbols of international solidarity.
All day news comes from radios hooked into car batteries and from delegates returning from meetings and from the courts. One moment of relaxing the unions basic idea of justice and what we know in our culture as fair play and hard won conditions will evaporate.
Justice lies in the heart and soul of people everywhere and that is the port workers strength and trump card. What else motivates workers to hold out for so long?
The constant honking of horns and the occasional thrown kiss helps, it puts motorists on side and it sends a signal to the watchers on the port building balcony with their binoculars.
That we are here, on the line, and in good heart.".[Quote ends]
Today we are fighting the same battles, slowly but surely the government is removing the tools by which we can achieve common goals. Goals like Public Television, public ownership of vital services, a fair tax system, An ACC that does what we agreed when we gave away our right to sue. We know that collective action works, the Ports of Auckland is a example, the Talley's union bashing, and larger class sizes is yet another. The going will be tough the present government will pander to its donors, give soft loans {43 million dollars] to its friends along with huge tax reductions to its wealthy mates. More and more we are becoming like the USA where money can buy you anything, like pokie machines to rip money from the poor. Right at this moment the government is using the old fashioned but effective tool of finding scape goats to blame. People like solo mums and dads, the unemployed, the disabled have become their targets. New Zealanders want better, and they are proving by pouring out of the country at over a thousand a week.
New and progressive  political forces are assembling to refresh and revive the political landscape, The Mana Party is one of those who is giving representation to those who have lost their voice. The Labour party is slowly but surely repositioning itself closer to those it once stood tall with, its slow but it is happening.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Can Knights be un-knighted?

Can Roger Douglas be un-knighted? 

During the finial edition of the Backbenchers on TV 7 they showed a clip of Roger Douglas defending his mad policies of freeing up the banks and financial nutters of the day, he said, “That Wall Street failed because the US financial scene was too regulated”. I was totally stunned, and ashamed that such dribble could come from a guy who was knighted for service to NZ. And to think that he represented the NZ Labour Party made it doubly alarming but never the less that’s what he said. Today here in NZ those who leave college and attend University are lumbered with student loans that can be as high as sixty thousand dollars. Right at this very minute in time, students owe billions of dollars to the state, thanks to Roger Douglas. Most of our so-called blue chip investments in the deregulated finance market have gone down the drain, the housing bubble has burst and thousands are having great difficulty meeting their mortgage repayments especially if one of the house holders has lost their job and are trying to live on one wage. Why, because people have simply become too greedy, not needy but greedy. And now as was predicted we have needier and less wealthy but who have in fact become wealthier, beat that for stupidity. This government followed the mad Roger Douglas and gave massive tax cuts to millionaires and borrowed the money or taxed the needy to pay for it. That is a fact.
The mad financial dealers that took over Wall Street because of its deregulation are now the leaders of countries, the nutty Republican presidential candidate in the US is but one example of a billionaire who has great control over the media and may well buy his way into power using the money he has ripped off his fellow citizens. Money is power and power is money.
We here in NZ are led by a like model, and he is rich by NZ standards. [60 to 70 million], and what is his answer to our problems…sell off the family silver…exactly what Roger Douglas did. When will we ever learn? One thousand plus a week leaving for Australia or elsewhere says it all and they are not leaving because of what is happening in Greece, they are leaving because of what is happening here in New Zealand…and that is a fact.

The bankster world is much smaller than many realise and the same names keep appearing; names like Robert Rubin who was involved with trying to stop the Enron Bonds being down graded; Merrill Lynch [Key’s Bosses] were involved in an attempt by Enron to lie about the state of their company. A little while back John Key met with Timothy Geithner to discuss free trade, why? It makes me nervous when I see our PM so close to what are arguably the biggest Ponzi schemers of our time. We need to look carefully at the past behaviour of our leaders especially in the financial / banking or money trading area. We must stop repeating the same failed policies over and over again. Rod Oram says
“The developed world, including us, has at least another decade of wrenching adjustment to repair the damage done by the debt-fuelled boom during the 15 years or so to 2007” [Quote ends].
He is correct and we must not forget where John Key resided during those years and who his bosses were. They were his mentors, his guiding lights, they paid his bonuses and they didn’t pay him for nothing…sadly for all of us we are now paying for those massive Ponzi type scheme.