Archive for July 22nd, 2008

Round the blogs

July 22, 2008

No pulling punches on Prog Blog when Idiot/Savant weighs in on a post about whether there is anything much about “the Winston/donations thing” to get excited about. The original post, “Discursive thoughts prompted by hypocritical plonkers” is a response to Farrar’s criticisms of certain left-wing blogs for ignoring the matter.

Idiot, whose take on things I generally agree with even though the admiration doesn’t seem to be mutual, responds that “the scandal is they didn’t declare it in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 1993.” Fair ’nuff. But then in high dudgeon, Idiot finishes, “…unless of course, you’re fine with corruption in politics, in which case you should really be calling yourself an ACT supporter, not a progressive.” Cue response from Prog Blog.

Meanwhile, at home Idiot posts on the report back of the Immigration Bill. Improved, he says, but far from acceptable. He lists the main defects. More detail at Scoop. Sign the petition and knobble your MP.

Over at The Inquiring Mind, Adam posts on the opportunities and threats presented by our apparently over-valued dollar. I’m not sure about basing one’s analysis on the Economist’s Big Mac Index, but it’s great that someone’s trying to raise a debate about these important issues.

And Scrubone at Something should go here, maybe later, finally stumbles across The Hairy Armpit (thanks to Russell Brown, one suspects). He compares Faye Frankenfurter to whale oil:

“Frankly, if you turned Cam into a woman, feminist, cut off a leg or something to make him really mad then removed his remaining inhibitions and decency via a combination of “P” (Ice for you foreign looking types P ) and acid then you’d get the Hairy Armpit.”

I won’t hat-tip DPF for this, because I’d seen it before he posted on it, but I agree that it is a great image. Oddly comforting. Not sure that the “left” needs its own genetically modified whale oil though.

Oh, and frogblog spells out Green Party policy on sandal wearing.

Nope, the axe is stayed

July 22, 2008

A fascinating Parliamentary Question Time today.

My summary of Helen Clark’s substantive response to questions about Peters’ continuation in his ministerial role, etc, etc, is that various allegations have been made; no evidence has so far substantiated any allegations of wrong-doing; there are avenues open to people to pursue these matters and determine whether there was any wrong-doing; otherwise she is compelled to accept Peters’ assurances as he is an “honourable member”.

And, strictly speaking, she is correct.

Whether this approach works in practice is another matter. The continuing allegations must, over time, have a corrosive effect. Public opinion is swayed as much by the feelings as by who is, strictly speaking, correct.

National may very well, as Clark pointed out, be the “main bagman for big corporations’ donations”, having received, as she pointed out, countless large donations from racing, insurance, alcohol and tobacco interests. They may have opposed all attempts to bring more transparency into these matters because of this. Nick Smith may well be guilty of the same failure to declare donations (and debts of $300,000!) relating to his legal actions. And John Key may have played a critical role in securing numerous fat, anonymous donations at the last election. But this will be lost on too many people, I fear.

The axe may be poised

July 22, 2008

More revelations about donations to NZ First, this time from one of NZ’s richest families. [Hat-tip: kiwiblog]. The Dompost reports that:

“… a series of donations from accounts linked to the Vela family – heavyweight operators in the racing and fishing industries – and totalling at least $150,000 were made to the party.”

Remind me, who has been the Minister for Racing since the last election? In the last couple of months, who has announced $368,800 and $425,000 in safety grants to racing clubs, along with $9 million over the next 3 years to boost prize stakes in NZ racing?

The Dompost also reports, “NZ First sources say nothing like that much Vela money was deposited in the party’s bank account.”

Well yes. How much is “nothing like that much” then? $100,000? And which of the various bank accounts are we talking about? That’s a very authentic looking copy of a cheque in the Dompost report, but it is for $9995.00 and not $10,000, so did not have to be declared. Hell, the Nats were doing more of that sort of stuff than all the other parties put together. Can we have a look at the Waitemata trust’s bank accounts please? Once again, we need to know more details before we can pin Peters’ ass to the wall.

We are talking about big issues this time. Not having an old mate drive you to the airport and putting him on the payroll. That’s small stuff.

The question now is at what point does Clark swing the axe. Note that last night she was saying that she had no option but to accept that an honourable members’ word is true. We know from past experience that that is how she positions herself before swinging the axe.

Maybe we’ve already reached that point with the Velas’ donations, and the axe is being readied. But once again, it’s a complicated matter, and it is not enough merely to say that it looks like corruption.

Any more revelations like this and I think Clark has no option. Despite what some have suggested, I’m not sure she’d get many votes for it though. Most people would just say, “‘Bout time too.” And they’d be right.