Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hide saved by Key; Snap Election considered

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide survived a debate over his leadership last month, according to NZ Herald political reporter Audrey Young.

The challenge to Hide's leadership of ACT was apparently led by deputy leader Heather Roy, and party founder Sir Roger Douglas.

The debate came to a head in late November, following the controversy over Hide's use of his parliamentary overseas travel allowance for his partner Louise Crome. The trip wasn't seen as a good for prolific perk-buster Rodney Hide, although Sir Roger Douglas has also been a heavy user of the overseas travel entitlement, including personal family visits in England.

ACT's only electorate MP, Epsom-based Hide formally apologised to the party's board and MPs after the media controversy, and confirmed he would pay back all the travel costs.

However while the leadership issue was discussed, any considerations of a challenge were dropped, after Prime Minister John Key indicated dumping Hide as ACT leader could end the party's coalition support agreement with the National Party.
Key told Heather Roy that her own Consumer Affairs ministerial portfolio would be in danger if ACT chose a new leader. Audrey Young says the squabbling within the Government's two support parties - ACT and the Maori Party - had John Key considering the idea of a snap election.

If true, that just indicates the National Party still fails to understand the MMP system, and is blinded by polling. Key's snap election idea was to try and give the National Party an outright majority in Parliament, rather than relying on minor parties for support to put through legislation.

However, despite the apparent continuing honeymoon in the polls for National, it is highly unlikely that voting under NZ's MMP system would actually have resulted in the National Party winning over 50% of the vote.

Minor parties traditionally fare much better at election time than polling would suggest in the rest of the parliamentary cycle.
National has also alienated many of its traditional supporters recently, pushing through an unpopular (and totally unnecessary) Emissions Trading Scheme (to "keep pace with Australia"??!), along with a failure to roll back any of Labour's excessive welfare regimes.

Key also rejected the 87.4% vote in a citizens-initiated referendum about Sue Bradford's "anti-smacking" bill, essentially dismissing the views of 1,470,755 voters. Key and English were also lightening quick to dismiss suggestions from a taskforce led by Don Brash, looking at how to bridge the income gap with Australia by 2025.
The Nats are lucky that many supporters just could not stomach voting Labour, but they would be arrogant to think that jilted members wouldn't protest by finding another party to support in a snap election.

However, Key's strong support of Hide is somewhat interesting, given the media storm over the ACT leader's comments at a fundraiser in Christchurch. Hide told a table of guests that John Key "doesn't do anything", which was entirely correct but a comment obviously not welcomed by the Nats.

Hide (perhaps unfortunately) publicly apologised for those comments, despite being 100% on the money. The National-led Government has done very little to move New Zealand away from social engineering and socialist path engaged by Hillin Cluck's Labour Party over the previous 9 years.

It is certain that a Labour Government in the same position would not have moved so slowly, or been so cowardly in winding back decisions and programmes put in place by the previous administration.

Back in 2005, a slightly less wishy-washy John Key correctly slammed Labour's expansion of the Working for Families scheme as "communism by stealth", but he and English have since refused to scale back state spending even to "mid-Cullen" levels.

* NZ Herald - Key steps in to save Hide's Act job

* Stuff - Brash economic recommendations unheeded

* NZ Herald - Don Brash to Garth George: You're wrong

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Hanukkah Menorah lit in Dunedin's Octagon

Dunedin's small Jewish community marked the second last day of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) celebrations in New Zealand, by lighting a giant Menorah (candle) in the city's Octagon area.

Local Jewish people took turns lighting the nine-branched candelabrum of the Hanukkah Menorah, which commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Known as 'the festival of lights', Hanukkah (חנוכה) was this year celebrated from sunset December 11th until sunset tonight (December 19th).

It's the first time a Menorah has been lit in Dunedin's Octagon. Rabbi Shmuel Kopel moved to the southern city earlier this year with his family, giving the Jewish community its first leader in over 70 years. He also opened the Chabad of Otago, in Dunedin's main street.

* - Hanukkah - Chanukah 2009

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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Climate scepticism growing, despite media's best efforts

Is the tide starting to turn for the traditional news media, as more and more people turn to the internet and 'new media' to expand their information sources?

Newspapers, radio, and television can still choose whether or not to report a particular news story, but now the public have the ability to access that information themselves, turning to a wide range of sources to get a mix of opinions.

Earlier tonight, TV One's Close Up current affairs show ran a primetime television debate on global warming, between climate alarmist Gareth Morgan and climate skeptic Ian Wishart.

While the debate was relatively brief considering the topic, it was a rare chance for viewers to hear arguments as to why they should question the theory of man-made climate change, and why the common line "the science is settled" is so untrue.

Viewers were encouraged to register their vote as to whose views on climate change they believed... 77% supported Ian Wishart's view that climate change is not man made, while just 23% of voters believed Gareth Morgan's view that the IPCC party line is correct.

The arguments by the warmists have had a generous airing across all media outlets in recent weeks, but an overwhelming majority of viewers voting in this poll are clearly unmoved. And that's despite the heavily alarmist and emotional stories carried by both major tv networks earlier in the evening on the start of the Copenhagen talks.

Ian Wishart believes the credibility of the climate science community has been damaged by the Climategate leaked emails scandal, which revealed evidence of data tampering and the rejection of any alternate viewpoints.

The massive growth in blogs, along with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, is now putting real pressure on the increasingly mis-named "mainstream media".

The Climategate scandal was broken online by bloggers, it was spread quickly across the world by bloggers (plus Twitterers and Facebookers), until it was finally picked by major print and broadcast media outlets around the world.

The media do their absolute darndest to ensure the Green movement get only positive publicity, and as much as possible. The time honoured theory of media balance (as in canvassing the opinions of both sides) does not to be as important, if that story has anything to do with green or liberal issues.

The initial (albeit begrudging) coverage of "Climate-gate" by the msm has since grown into genuine commentary and investigative research, as some of the world's top reporters look into the scale of coverups by the climate change brigade.

Ian Wishart himself sums up the situation well... "The poll illustrates that with nearly 90% of the population wired online now, mainstream media can no longer assume that just because they refuse to cover a story, nobody will hear about it."

* - Bombshell Poll on Climate Change – 77% don’t believe!

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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Aussies dump ETS; CRU dumps Phil Jones

National's rush to force through their evil Emissions Trading Scheme seems pretty stupid now, with Australia's equivalent ETS flushed down the toilet, after Tony Abbott took over the leadership of the Liberal Party.

Under former leader Malcolm Turnball, the Liberals had been working with the Rush government to support a bi-partisan ETS.
However the Australian Senate has tonight voted down Rudd's Labour Party ETS bill by 41 to 33 (with 2 Liberal Senators crossing the floor). The defeat of the ETS is likely to lead to Kevin Rudd calling an early election in Australia.

Tony Abbott has called the ETS "a $120 billion tax on the Australian public... just for starters", and said he wasn't frightened of fighting an early election on the ETS issue.

A secret ballot of the Liberal Party's caucus after Abbott's leadership win confirmed his fellow MPs were opposed to the ETS, despite claims from opponents that "skeptics and extremists" had taken over the party.

Opposition MPs and senators said they were "inundated with emails from the public urging them to block the scheme". Abbot said he wasn't convinced about the urgent need to address the climate change issue in this way.
“If you look at Roman times, grapes grew up against Hadrian’s Wall. In the 1700s they had ice fairs on the Thames. So the world has been significantly hotter, significantly colder than it is now. We’ve coped.”
Here in New Zealand, even the National Party's own supporters are concerned about the long term implications of Nick Smith and John Key's ambitious and costly scheme. New Zealand looks like being one of the few countries (possibly the only one) to implement such a wide reaching climate change programme.

At least four countries are planning to jointly walk out of the Copenhagen conference if the richer nations try to force their terms on the developing world. Those rebels so far include China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, with other nations considering their options.

Whale Oil has called on National MPs to have the balls to front up to the country, admit they were wrong, and urgently repeal the ETS and "other climate change bullshit". He'd like to see a secret ballot on the MPs views on Climate Change, and even suggests firing National's resident warmist Nick Smith, who has led the charge towards bankruptcy.

His latest update sums up National's rush to the head perfectly...
"So we will go to Copenhagen as the ONLY country in the world to have implemented an ETS, the ONLY country in the world to have exposed our economy and industry to the vast Ponzi scheme ever invented, a scheme that is based on shonky science and downright lies.

We will be the laughing stock of the world now as the world realises that Al Gore and his almost conned the whole of humanity with the greatest fraud yet conceived since Ponzi first lent his name to that type of fraud."

Meanwhile, good news from the UK, with Climate change marketer Phil Jones forced to step down from his job as head of the Climate Research Unit, while an independent investigation is carried out.

Jones was one of the many scientists caught up in the Climategate saga, where thousands of emails were leaked online, revealing evidence of data tampering and bullying tactics against scientists who opposed the official line of man-made climate change. Jones wrote of using a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart of global temperatures.

America's Prof Michael Mann, creator of the infamous hockey stick diagram (popularised in Al Gore's dodgy film) is also under investigation. Penn State University say they will be investigating issues raised in the leaked emails, but will not discuss the matter publicly until they have reviewed the concerns that have been raised.

And here in New Zealand, ACT Party leader Rodney Hide has called on the Government to investigate the behaviour of NIWA ('National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research'), after questions were raised over the accuracy of data and graphs released by the state-funded agency.

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