Archive for June 19th, 2008

The tell-tale tits of Parliament

June 19, 2008

Cautious bureaucrats try to avoid possible controversy!

Hell that ain’t news. Not even remotely newsworthy. But fear not, NZPA are on the job: “Inland Revenue canned a KiwiSaver brochure because of fears it would be used for electioneering, despite at the time saying it was pulled for commercial reasons.”

In today’s Parliamentary Questions, National’s Bill English fed off some presumably leaked emails by IRD officials about departmental promotional material. Officials had earlier told the Herald that they had dropped plans to produce a leaflet because it wasn’t needed. If there is any news story it’s that officials lied to the news media.

So it turns out that “the brochures were pulled because they were deemed to be too political.” At least that’s the spin the NZPA puts on it. The email said, “I remain concerned that in the current environment it (the KiwiSaver brochure) leans too far towards the promotional,” which is not the same thing.

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Sooden deported by Israel

June 19, 2008

Harmeet Sooden has been deported from Israel. Hey, who needs to worry about PR when you have the uncritical backing of the world’s superpower?

Yep, in the land of suicide bombers and “Israeli reprisals”, the authorities decided that peace activist Harmeet is a “threat to the security of the State of Israel” (Sooden says). They even kept him in jail for four days before deporting him at 1am on 18 June.

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New rules

June 19, 2008

As a concession to the right, who detest over-regulation and complication, the rules for posting comments on this blog are simple:

1. You must be civil.

2. I decide.

3. No arguments.

I define civility as treating people with respect even if they are misguided or cognitively challenged. Attack their ideas instead.

Update: and please don’t feed the trolls.

Winnie the poop

June 19, 2008

Winston Peters has hit back at the Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand for spurning his $10,000 donation. He’s released a letter from the Association’s CEO last year seeking a donation after the Starship Foundation¬† returned a donation of $157,934 — money that most think NZ First wrongly spent in the 2005 election. He also talks darkly of hidden forces. “The real issue is who got to them.”

According to the Association, it wasn’t National. It’s just that a lot of people think that the money really belonged to the taxpayer, and wasn’t NZ First’s to disburse.

Audrey Young blogs that Peters “dreamed up a stunt that he believed would inoculate himself from criticism” and by which he could avoid paying the money back to the taxpayer. The donations would remain anonymous. Instead, he’s just drawn attention to the failed stunt and brought another charity into the controversy.

The Auditor General’s opinion can’t be easily dismissed. Whatever one thinks of the morality of the original spending — and I know people who are adamant that it was proper and legal at the time — it is clear that there is some substance in the case that the spending was improper, and to that extent the money should be paid back.

How does Winston get away with his ridiculous antics?

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