Saturday, 28 March 2009

Turn on the Lights already!

Don't believe the hype. And certainly don't believe the many biased media reports you'll hear about "Earth Hour", by reporters who have no clue what they are talking about.

If you have any common sense and self respect, do not take part in this Gaian celebration aimed at encouraging mass hysteria about the false religion of climate change.

Do your bit for sanity and keep your lights and appliances on during "Earth Hour"...

* Anti Earth Hour

* Cartoon hat tip: Whale Oil

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Friday, 27 March 2009

'Moustache-gate' the talk of Talkback

He's on the telly far too early for me, but luckily the best bits of Paul Henry and TV One's Breakfast show make it onto the interweb, for non-morning people like myself.

The highlight of the week has been the widely publicised "Moustache Gate", where Paul Henry allegedly insulted Greenpeace activist Stephanie Mills, by reading out some Viewer Feedback relating to Ms Mills' unsightly hairy upper lip, despite the pleas from co-host Alison Mau and "the people in [his] ear"...

"Seriously, I have no idea what Stephanie Mills was thinking, going on telly with that enormous moustache! Wax is cheap you know."

"Are moes for female Greenpeace members standard issue?"
Haha, TV Gold! Good on Paul Henry for having the non-PC balls to say out loud what everybody else watching was obviously thinking!
The interaction with co-presenter Ali Mau was brilliant as well, as Henry read out the viewer comments.
Paul: Actually, shall I read this out? They're a bit iffy...
Ali: Please don't... Please don't, I beg you.
Paul: They say Yes
Ali: Please don't
Paul: This one just says "Moustache"
Ali: Oh...
Paul: Um, everyone in my ear is saying "Don't read it out"?
Ali: Don't read it out. Don't... read it out

Despite Alison's best efforts, Paul just wouldn't let go of the issue... "There's nothing to worry about", he continued. "It's just a lady with a moustache".
Alison tried to balance the debate later in the show, by reading out a viewer comment chastising Henry for his controversial comments...
"Paul, Your tactless insensitivity has reached a new low. There are medical reasons why some women in New Zealand suffer from increased growth of facial hair, resulting in moustaches - and in some poor women - even beards."
Perhaps, but in this case I think it has more to do with trying to uphold the liberal lefty "burn your bras" hippy greenie feminist attitude. "Don't conform to the world. Don't wax your upper lip. Don't shave your armpits or legs." Sorry girls, but it's not nice, and it's not pretty.

The debate has already filled many entertaining hours on talkback radio, as well as at online forums.

Good on Paul. If I was up at that time of the morning, you'd have a new viewer ;-)

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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

You Lost... Get Over It Already

After the NZ Labour Party won the 1996 election, Michael Cullen (most recently Labour's deputy leader and Finance Minister) taunted the National Party in Parliament by saying, "We won, You lost, Eat that!"

New Zealand suffered through a Labour-led administration for the first 9 years of this decade, as the party rewarded its friends in the Unions with SOE posts, directorships, and committee jobs for the boys (and girls).

Now the shoe is on the other foot with National leading the government, and they are finally seeing sense and looking to dump as many Labour luvvies as possible. Great news, albeit a small surprise from the all-too wimpy National Party. All employers (including the Govt) should be free to select the employees of their choosing.

Labour leader Phil Goff is upset about this, accusing the Government of carrying out a "witch-hunt" against state board members who aren't National supporters. Um, if the shoe fits?!

According to the Dom Post, SOE minister Simon Power has written to "a number" of directors (who were all appointed during Labour's term in office), telling them their services will no longer be required once their current terms end next month.

We have already seen the welcome exit of "Children's Commissioner" Cindy Kiro, the dumping of former Union boss Ross Wilson from ACC (although he currently remains on the boards of ACC and KiwiRail), and the resignation of former Labour Party president Mike Williams from three SOE boards.

We can hopefully look forward to the swift removal of former Labour staffer Tony Timms (Quotable Value), former CTU president Ken Douglas (NZ Post, Air NZ), former Labour MP Dianne Yates (Food Standards), CTU secretary Peter Conway (Trade & Enterprise), and Labour lackie Graham Hill (Niwa)... amongst others.

* Stuff: Labour-leaning directors go
* NZ Herald: Non-Nat directors targeted – Goff

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Monday, 23 March 2009

Key trashes final remains of Queen Tizard

There was some good news today... PM John Key has finally buried the last remains ofthe MP formerly known as Minister for Auckland.

For a few months there it seemed like the influence of dumped Labour MP Judith Tizard would continue from beyond the political grave, as her dopey Copyright Amendment law came under serious consideration by the National-led Government.

Labour's stupid planned changes to Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act could have seen websites closed down (without any discussion or recourse) if anybody complained about a potential copyright infringement.

National had been resisting the growing calls to dump the controversial and badly drafted legislation, while calling on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to come up with a workable code of practice.

That was - of course - about as likely as asking McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's to agree on a common burger size and menu range.

After the industry failed to meet John Key's deadline last Friday, he has decided the law change will not go ahead, although Commerce and Justice minister Simon Power is being tasked with rewriting sections of the Act, after meeting with industry officials.

So a small win for common sense, but the battle certainly isn't over. This is National after all... they're not really a party renown for championing freedom or common sense.

* NBR: Section 92A to be scrapped
* Creative Freedom Foundation

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Saturday, 14 March 2009

A fake scandal in a teacup

Broadcaster TV3 and the Labour Party this week tried to manufacture a "secret scandal", misleading the public by making false claims about plans to allocate an extra staff member to MPs of large electorates.

The National Party has agreed to $400,000 in new funding to let MPs with large geographic electorates hire an extra "out of Parliament" staff member.

3 News tried to spin the policy as a "jobs for the boys" decision by National, noting the money will help "mainly its MPs and friends in the Maori Party".

The 3 News story wrongly claimed that "initially, John Key and Tariana Turia agreed the Maori electorates would be the only ones getting the extra funding because they are so big... Key has extended that to help four of his own MPs."

That is just sloppy (or deliberately misleading) journalism. The plan was listed in the "Confidence and Supply Agreement" between National and the Maori Party (signed on November 16th 2008). It was a document freely available to all media and members of the public (and linked to by news websites, including TV3).

The document highlighted the issue of 'Electorate Resources'...
The challenges of servicing the disproportionately large size of the Maori electorates will be addressed through immediate implementation of the recommendation from the March 2007 report of the Committee of the Third Triennial Review (Goulter report).

There is inequity in respect of the support that Parliament provides the very large electorates compared to the very small ones. One comparison is between Te Tai Tonga (147,000 sq km) and Epsom (22 sq km).

That recommendation reads:
That all Maori constituent Members of Parliament and each constituency Member of Parliament with an electorate in excess of 20,000 sq km in area be entitled to the services of an extra staff member to equate to three full-time equivalent out of Parliament support staff members”

Homepaddock has the response from National's Gerry Brownlee, where he takes aim at the attempted beat-up and false reporting...
“This funding increase was clearly spelled out in the post-election agreement the National Party reached with the Maori Party as long ago as November last year,” Mr Brownlee said.

It has been a freely available public document since then, even if some journalists haven’t read it. To state that we haven’t told anyone and have secretly extended it to National MPs is a shocker.”

“The increase is something that was recommended by an independent review”
TV3 tried to label the story as an "Exclusive", which is a bit of a stretch for something that has largely been in the public arena since last November.

As well as the section in the National-Maori Party agreement, many people including Homepaddock blogged in detail about this last year.

She listed the electorates which would qualify under that agreement, questioning the inclusion of the urban Maori seat of Tamaki Makaurau (held by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples), which covers just 730 sq km.

Tamaki Makaurau has been rightly been dropped from the final policy, although there are still two rural seats larger than the next lowest funded Maori seat (East Coast: 13,649 sq km, and Taranaki-King Country: 12,869 sq km... compared to the funded Labour-held Maori seat of Hauraki-Waikato: 12,580 sq km).

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