Posts by James Liddell

  • Hard News: Piss-poor on PEDA,

    2. The Herald did have OIA requests in with the offices of English and Te heuheu, but have been stalled for weeks

    It's also interesting to note that te Heu Heu hasn't answered any of the parliamentary written questions about this issue:

    The answers are way overdue and she's in breach of standing orders by not answering them.

    I read into this that a) there is more to this than meets the eye and b) te Heu Heu and English haven't figured out what their strategy for dealing with it is.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: Costly indeed,

    You know, I'm starting to think the Herald might actually have a politically-motivated double standard here.

    That editorial really annoyed me. Especially this part:

    Quite simply, that was the level of gratuity expected in Peru. Equally, the same minister, as part of his official duties, is expected to entertain dignitaries on his many trips overseas.

    There should be no surprise that his spending on liquor and food is reasonably substantial.

    So this excuses $1400 on alcohol from the minibar? Is Groser now entertaining foreign dignitaries in his hotel rooms? Talk about International Affairs...

    Or how about noting that some of the "wide of the mark" criticism came from them reporting perfectly normal expenses such as Cunliffe's hotel room bills?

    But i guess that wouldn't fit the Labour Troughers narrative.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: Costly indeed,


    I haven't checked ... but if it were true that the Australian Government requires foreign ministers in their country to hire limousines, why has no-one else ever done this? Because it seems like the type of thing that would get onto Stuff's rolling update. Is Chris Carter the only minister we've sent to Australia over whatever the period this OIA covers is? Perhaps that's the real story that's being missed ... the New Zealand government is completely ignoring Australia :-)

    Carter's making shit up. I traveled to Australia with a Minister during this period (not Chris Carter). We caught taxis when we were there. The other option was to have the Australian equivalent of VIP Transport drive us around, but that would've been batshit crazily expensive compared with catching cabs.


    Also, most public sector places (and I'm not making this up) will advance you folding cash in the foreign currency required so you can just walk in and put it on the counter. Getting a receipt of course.

    In fact, I've found it is easier to get real cash than get a credit card expense claim signed off.

    Same with Ministerial Services. When you go overseas they give you (the staffer) a reasonable wad of cash for incidentals and read you the riot act about getting receipts for everything you spend it on.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: Chicken soup,

    It will take a few days to shake out all the nasty little surprises

    Like the additional $40 million loan the Auckland Transition Agency got through Vote Local Government. That's a total of c.$74 million that Auckland ratepayers have to repay the gummint.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Auckland Council as leaky…,

    I'm not blaming the previous Government for anything. I'm stating they were the ones who started this process. And observing that if they hadn't started the process, it wouldn't be so advanced now. This is basically a truism.

    My apologies, I must've read more into your comment than was intended :)

    And you're right, it is a truism, but only because every process has to have a beginning somewhere. It also wouldn't be so "advanced" if the government had taken more than the month it did to carefully consider its response to the RC report, nor if it had heeded the Commission's advice that amalgamating over 18 months just wasn't going to work well.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Auckland Council as leaky…,

    ...I just don't think the amalgamation would be happening this quickly (i.e. this term) without it. When we're talking about who began this "in the first place", it's nice to remember

    Graeme, the Royal Commission recommended the amalgamation take place over 4 years (i.e. for the 2013 elections) if I recall correctly, not the 18 months that Key's government decided. You can't blame the previous government, who established the Commission, for the rushed timeframe of amalgamation that this government has put in place.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Somebody Had To Say This....,

    Anyone want to join my sweepstake on when Bishop Brainless is going to predict the end of the world?

    Heh. The old Bish hasn't been too accurate with his predictions (thankfully!). He thought Destiny would be ruling New Zealand after the 2008 election.

    Shouldn't he be sacked if he isn't meeting his KPIs?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: Auckland: where only one man votes,

    report emblazoned with "Draft". Apparently that makes the document outside the sphere of the requests.

    Can't the OIA/LGOIMA request include the phrase "and any drafts" or suchlike?

    You're right, Sacha; drafts are covered by the OIA/LGOIMA. You just have to ask for them. Getting drafts can be uesful sometimes, especially when you suspect a major position has suddenly changed in the middle of the policy development process.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: Truth to Power, etc,

    I thought all the left were for freedom of speech and defended a fearless fourth estate.. These days its the fifth estate, the blogs who are riding the white chargers of truth.

    I'm going to take this opportunity to remind you of your role last year of using your blog to hype allegations of serious criminal offending by a certain (then) Government Minister. (Allegations which were, of course, totally ridiculous and fallacious.) I'd hardly call your actions there as being commensurate with the "white chargers of truth".

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

  • Hard News: Home, straight,

    The show opens with a pretty frank exchange of views between me and Keith Slater, producer of the TV3 documentary Let Us Spray.

    This just confirmed my suspicions of the extent to which TV3 have been hoodwinked by Andrew Gibbs. The guy's a paranoid conspiracy theorist of Wishartian proportions who will find cover ups and conspiracy in any bland MoH report. For an investigative journalist to give his disproven and unqualified ravings prominence over those of scientists is disgraceful.

    And my heart bleeds for poor Keith Slater and TV3 over the awarding of costs. Perhaps they could have saved themselves a bit of money by not fighting the order to hand over their field tape.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report

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