Archive for September 5th, 2008

Less Te Reo Maori badges. Better litracy.

September 5, 2008

The Greens have opened up a new front in the battle of the billboards, with some neatly effective offerings. Chris Trotter gives them high praise.

Meanwhile, the Nats’ efforts continue not to inspire.

For those who don’t see the Herald, this was, “snapped on Fanshawe St, Auckland, by Stephen Minhinnick.”

Better still, they show off their lack of literacy with their latest effort. They mean “fewer bureaucrats”…

The Nats’ next offering:

Less Te Reo Maori badges. Better litracy.

[Update: Improvements on the doctors/nurses billboard at 08 wire and The Standard.]


Morris Iemma resigns, Nathan Rees succeeds

September 5, 2008

Water Minister Nathan Rees is the new Premier of NSW. Carmel Tebbutt is his deputy, the first female Deputy Premier in NSW.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma stepped down this morning after the Right faction of the NSW Labor Party rejected his proposed frontbench reshuffle following the shock retirement this week of Deputy Premier John Watkins, and he was told he had lost the support of MPs as a result.

Iemma yesterday sacked his Treasurer after the State Government lost the support of the Liberal Party opposition for electricity privatisation in the NSW Upper House, where it does not hold a majority.

Real estate agents bill: a done deal?

September 5, 2008

Last night Parliament passed the Real Estate Agents Bill, sweeping away the old and seriously ineffective self-regulatory regime operated by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

When the new Act comes into force in 14 months or so, consumers who feel ripped off will be able to claim up to $100,000 in compensation against agents from an independent Disciplinary Tribunal. At little cost. At the moment, agents may be fined up to $750. Which the Institute can keep if they want.

As the Herald put it last year:,

“The institute, as much as agents on the ground, ought to wear much of the blame for the Government’s intervention. It has regarded its duty of self-regulation for the industry as about just one of those two words, self.”

Associate Justice Minister Clayton Cosgrove claimed that around $1 million was spent on a highly sophisticated lobbying campaign to stop the bill. The REINZ President:

“…refused to comment on Mr Cosgrove’s accusation that REINZ had spent $1 million lobbying against the law, engaging top Wellington advocate Mai Chen. But he said he was disillusioned with some MPs. “It’s disappointing that people who said they would support us didn’t.”

I wonder who he was talking about. The Nats voted against the Bill, saying property managers should be covered by its provisions. They also say, “at the end of the day the consumer will not have more protection than under existing legislation.” Bizzare.

What the Herald doesn’t mention in this morning’s report is that Cosgrove has also claimed that the REINZ president told a Palmerston North gathering that the bill would not pass until after the election and that the Institute expected the National Party to make changes in the industry’s favour.

So, a victory for the consumer — for the moment — and an end to a system of self-regulation so ineffective that it is widely mocked as it dies a well-deserved death.

The big lie

September 5, 2008

“Since the formation of NZ First, we have assiduously at all times complied with the electoral law of this country.” (Source.)

Some of us have been prepared, even in the face of growing incredulity, to let the processes of the law take their course before pronouncing judgement on Winston Peters. You know, innocent until proven guilty, a cornerstone of our legal system.

As a result we cannot be accused of incorrectly accusing him of lying when he said “NO”, the large donation to NZ First revealed by party president Dail Jones did not come from Owen Glenn. Nor of incorrectly accusing him of lying when he said that donations from Sir Robert Jones reached NZ First. Others can be.

However, NZ First’s repeated failure to declare donations from the Spencer Trust is difficult to fathom and impossible to excuse. A complaint having been made, the Police must expeditiously decide whether to lay charges; and this time, ignoring a blantant breach of the Electoral Act would be unforgiveable.

Further, Peters must have known that NZ First had not been complying with its legal requirements on disclosure when he howled time and again that it was “assiduously at all times” doing so. After all, it was the Party’s failure to comply that gave rise to these controversies. Peters must have known about the failure to comply. He must have been lying.

Despite the touching faith in provincial lawyers’ and accountants’ competence displayed by a kiwiblog commenter and retailed by right-wing blogs, it is possible that amateurism is at the root of Peters’ problems.  (Or, looked at another way, provided the ammunition to mount a campaign to eliminate him.)

Peters and NZ First stand condemned not of excepting large anonymous donations — theirs pale into insignificance compared to National’s — or of keeping these secret through shady trust funds — ditto — or even of making mistakes in declaring incomes or expenses in the recent past — eveybody is guilty of that. But of lying about it.

There is now more than enough proven to justify cutting Peters loose.