Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Things worth knowing

123 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

  • Pete George,

    There's no doubt that dairy is big in New Zealand business, exports and politics. And connections with dairying that are seen to be too close could be damaging to some politicians and potentially parties.

    But suggesting we cut back on dairying for environmental reasons or stirring up the export business to China in particular for political reasons are not without major political risks either.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But the questions would be relevant no matter who asked them. When a government takes an extraordinary step like this one did over ECan – dismissing an elected council and appointing its own commissioners – which manifestly benefits a particular group of businesses, it must expect this kind of scrutiny.

    No, Russell, all politicians should expect exactly the kind of scrutiny and transparency they demand from everyone else in the public sector all the fucking time. And to entirely cynical, it’s not if politicians of all parties exactly hold themselves to terribly rigorous standards of disclosure, so I’ve got very little sympathy when that comes back to bite the likes of Collins and Cunliffe in the arse.

    I know this is blasphemy for pols and their enablers, but I think it's in politicians' own best interests to strengthen not undermine disclosure and genuine transparency around campaign financing, lobbying (I've long argued for a lobbyist register) and pecunary interests.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Its interesting to note that Green Valley Milk is based close to the Maramarua Golf Club by SH2. It is NOT in Judith Collins electorate. Just how she wrangles a visit for John Key to a business outside her electorate?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I’ve got very little sympathy when that comes back to bite the likes of Collins and Cunliffe in the arse.

    Just so long as we're not drawing an equivalence between the quite legal but politically very stupid use of a trust to channel four donations for an internal party election, and questions about potential conflicts related to government actions affecting multi-million dollar interests. Because they don't seem equivalent to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Cam Slater, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    Because Bruce Pulman is a stalwart of the Papakura environs, he even has a massive park named after him and his company Heb Contractors is based there.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2013 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    One only had to see the distainful arrogance of Collin’s initial reaction to media daring to question her on the appropriateness of her cosy relationship with Oravida to wonder if her political radar hasn’t been a bit skewed by spending to much time with Chinese business people/government officials and forgetting that things are *ahem*, *cough* done differently there to what we still expect here in NZ.

    Three of the five immigration/inappropriate ministerial behaviour scandals I can think of in the last few years involve China. The wider issue to me is our general complacency when it comes to the possibility that the corruption and cronyism that is routine in China isn’t already starting to rub off on our politicians and business class. Certainly, John Key’s style of governance – where democracy and principles of public sector consultation are firmly kept in box marked ‘do not open’ in favour of 'doing deals' – is of a style that is practically begging for corruption to become the norm.

    As we get increasingly dependent on a country that barely even pays lip-service to the of the rule of law and has zero interest in a free media or public accountability we need to start putting in place concrete measures, new laws and new institutions to deal with potential corruption. I mean, who doesn’t think Cameron Slater wouldn’t start running smears against anyone the Chinese government didn’t like as long as he got a free holiday to Hong Kong once a year and several large envelopes of cash accidentially left in his room if it was all strictly legal and he had the opportunity?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Cam Slater,

    Because Bruce Pulman is a stalwart of the Papakura environs, he even has a massive park named after him and his company Heb Contractors is based there.

    He also produces an excellent product that can be bought locally at a substantially lower price than the competing Fonterra products. Which isn't all that relevant, but, just saying.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Three of the five immigration/inappropriate ministerial behaviour scandals I can think of in the last few years involve China.

    Good point. The Bill Liu affair is just another reason for Shane Jones' colleagues to curse his name under their breaths.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Because they don’t seem equivalent to me.

    The political Alzheimers that miraculously lifted the instant it became clear the media weren't going to get bored and go away? Seems two faces of the same worthless coin to me, in that respect, and why we all need genuine transparency politicians can't game, and face meaningful consequences if they try.

    I'd also note, Russell, you're very generously drawing a distinction for Cunliffe's legal but unwise leadership campaign financing he and his own party weren't generous enough to extend to National when they were *cough* lightly rinsing donations through trusts. I guess we can agree to disagree on this Russell, but that "internal party election" was for someone who'd go on to present themselves to the nation as a potential Prime Minister. Perhaps I'm on old crank, but if parties want to have US-style leadership primaries I'd like then conducted without US-style backroom chequebook politics.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I’d also note, Russell, you’re very generously drawing a distinction for Cunliffe’s legal but unwise leadership campaign financing he and his own party weren’t generous enough to extend to National when they were *cough* lightly rinsing donations through trusts.

    I’m not, though. Labour’s long record of criticising the use of trusts (while using them) is precisely the reason that Cunliffe doing so was such political idiocy. You’ll note I didn’t go all Daily Blog about the Tony Astle dinner donation either. But the paragraph you quoted was about the Adams questions, which I think are of a wholly different nature.

    Perhaps I’m on old crank, but if parties want to have US-style leadership primaries I’d like then conducted without US-style backroom chequebook politics.

    It would require a law change to bind parties to electoral funding declaration laws when they elect party posts, but sure -- although it would presumably come as a bit of a shock to Act, which is the only other party that stages primaries. Otherwise it's a matter of political management, for better or worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Gaie Ellis,

    Something that bothers me about this issuer is: this Minister has a number of major responsibilities in New Zealand which relate to Justice, ACC and other matters. Why is she being 'sent' or 'paid' by our Government to go to a country whose civil rights and justice methods have been highly criticised over the years, from people on both side of the House, while we are still waiting for major, defining matters to be resolved under her watch here -e.g Bain case, Tina Pora (?), many issues before the Police Authority, human rights relating to NSA and Privacy, the delay of the courts re KDK - political interference in the judicial system?The Justice portfolio is a lynch pin to most action and direction developed by any government. So why would this Minister be gleaning anything on those responsibilities in China?

    Auckland • Since May 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But the paragraph you quoted was about the Adams questions, which I think are of a wholly different nature.

    It’s on some bizarro spectrum of cluelessness – I think what smacks people’s gobs about all three cases isn’t so much the events themselves, but the high levels of disingenuous cuteness when perfectly legitimate questions were asked. Perhaps I’m getting soft in my old age, but I don’t believe Cunliffe, Collins or Adams are Putin-esque monsters of sleaze and graft. But we shouldn’t have to take that on faith – we should know, and be able to make our own judgements. As far as I’m aware, there’s nothing preventing any politician or political party voluntarily over-sharing instead of trying to game already weak rules. It’s not only bad on principle, but as you say bad politics.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Three of the five immigration/inappropriate ministerial behaviour scandals I can think of in the last few years involve China. The wider issue to me is our general complacency when it comes to the possibility that the corruption and cronyism that is routine in China isn’t already starting to rub off on our politicians and business class

    Very good point Tom.
    Made me think of who else we are exporting to , this global corruption index has China at 62 nd place out of 148 countries. Interestingly , Philippines , Thailand, Argentina, Russia are far worse.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Richard Aston,

    They are, but isn't China a far bigger trading partner than any of those? They're starting to exert influence here that rivals the USA.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    You can see how riled up the right are that no less than three Tories are doing spin in the first hour this was up.

    I'm not sure how innovative or sustainable flogging $20 milk is (milk that won't be exactly farm-fresh by the time it's been airfreighted, cleared customs and delivered to the shop). It would seem to be predicated on their dodgy connections staying in power, on people in China continuing to be rich 'n dumb enough to buy $20 milk, and on nobody in China working out how to rear and milk a cow.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to BenWilson,

    They're starting to exert influence here that rivals the USA

    Good point Ben , shit they will be wanting their nuclear armed ships in our ports next.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Richard Aston,

    this global corruption index

    I would take that with a metric fucktonne of salt.

    Switzerland at #7?

    Singapore at #5?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    That $23 milk is very popular though

    The popularity is such that the company is even considering getting its own plane.

    One hopes that they will get that plane by totally above board means...

    In other big Business news...
    Fletchers, having seemingly given up sticking feathers onto arrow shafts are all set to Bring in the Big Boys to scoop up the gravy in Christchurch and any other profitable PPPs they can get their sticky little mitts on.

    New Zealand's largest construction company will bring some of the world's biggest builders here for the $4 billion-plus new public private partnership contracts it wants to win.

    "What about the Workers" I hear you cry, well no doubt there will be plenty of toilets for us Kiwis to clean and as the minimum wage has been raised by 25c you can now go out and buy that house.
    </Tui Ad>

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    how to rear and milk a cow.

    Damn that speed reading. I immediately thought "That ain't how you milk a cow"
    (and-end)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I do the occasional amount of business in China - remember that dinner and socialising with business partners is a cultural must - visiting with her husband's business partners while in the country is likely something that would give offense if avoided

    That doesn't mean she shouldn't have found some way to avoid the position she put herself in, just that it would have been difficult

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    As far as I’m aware, there’s nothing preventing any politician or political party voluntarily over-sharing instead of trying to game already weak rules. It’s not only bad on principle, but as you say bad politics.

    Yes. And I'm surprised that the Greens (who advocate change in this area) don't. What happened to being the change you want to see in the world?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    That doesn't mean she shouldn't have found some way to avoid the position she put herself in, just that it would have been difficult

    How about paying for her own friggin ticket?. She cancelled her husbands at the last minute but kept hers. I contributed toward that witches arse on a business class seat which I cannot afford for myself and no matter what, what was her arse as Justice Minister doing over there ? We have no idea.What is she actually responsible for that requires her dealing over in China? The border official is staying well out of being identified so its not border issues.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Katita,

    That $23 milk is very popular though
    The popularity is such that the company is even considering getting its own plane.

    Does that explain where flight MH370 went? Or is that just one conspiracry theory too far?

    ... when I hear about Judith Collins and her conflict of interest I just can't help wondering why Pansy Wong had to go but Judith doesn't? Are the circumstances really that different? Or is it just 'ministerial profile/ closeness to an election' that is driving it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Gaie Ellis,

    So why would this Minister be gleaning anything on those responsibilities in China?

    I wondered that, there may be an obvious reason but I've not looked for it. Perhaps others have?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Katita,

    … when I hear about Judith Collins and her conflict of interest I just can’t help wondering why Pansy Wong had to go but Judith doesn’t? Are the circumstances really that different? Or is it just ‘ministerial profile/ closeness to an election’ that is driving it?

    Wong actually paid for her husband's personal business trip on the taxpayer dollar, so it was definitely a level up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.