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Questions Labour Needs to Ask

October 13, 2009
  • What do we really want to get out of parliament?

  • What are the first four things we would do in government?

  • How do we distinguish ourselves from John Key?

  • What groups/causes should we align ourselves with?

  • How do we convince New Zealanders to become Labour voters, how do we get voters to become members, how do we convince members to become activists?

  • Where does our money come from? How do we get more? What are the consequences of each type of fundraising (political consequences)

  • What the hell should our activists be doing?

  • What is important right now? What is important in one year? What is important in five years?



New Auditor-General

August 11, 2009

Lyn Provost has been named today as the new Controller and Auditor General, according to Speaker Lockwood Smith all political parties had agreed to the appointment of Ms Provost”

 A Press Release from the Officers of Parliament Committee is here.

Lyn Provost is currently a Deputy Police Commissioner – Resource Management.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad says“Police congratulate Lyn Provost on the recommendation and wish her well as Controller and Auditor-General”

The following is from the Office of the Controller and Auditor General website…….


Role and functions of the Auditor-General

The Controller and Auditor-General (the Auditor-General) is an Officer of Parliament. His mandate and responsibilities are set out in the Public Audit Act 2001.

The Auditor-General is independent of executive government and Parliament in discharging the functions of the statutory office, but is answerable to Parliament for his stewardship of the public resources entrusted to him.

Parliament seeks independent assurance that public sector organisations are operating, and accounting for their performance, in accordance with Parliament’s intentions. There is also a need for independent assurance of local government. Local authorities are accountable to the public for the activities they fund through locally raised revenue. As an Officer of Parliament, the Auditor-General provides this independent assurance to both Parliament and the public.

This independent assurance is provided through the reporting requirements set out under the Public Audit Act 2001 and other statutory requirements:

  • annual audits and other audits of public entities;
  • exercise of the Controller function including the appropriation audit;
  • performance audits and other studies;
  • responding to enquiries from ratepayers, taxpayers, and members of Parliament; and
  • approvals under the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968.

Annual audits, other audits of public entities, and the exercise of the Controller function are statutory requirements. The remainder are discretionary. To help us to perform this statutory reporting effectively, we also carry out a range of other services including:

  • advice to Parliament;
  • advice to and liaison with public entities;
  • working with the accounting and auditing profession;
  • international liaison and involvement.


The position of the Auditor General is an important role that provides reports on the financial situation of government organisations. It provides a strong independent voice and exists as one of the checks and balances in our government.

Ms. Provost replaces Kevin Brady in the position.

Sotomayer Confirmed as US Supreme Court Justice

August 7, 2009

Detroit Free Press reports Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up speaking Spanish in a public housing project, is headed for a seat on the Supreme Court following an overwhelming Senate vote today to make her the first Hispanic member of the court.

The vote was 68-31, with only the ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., missing the roll call. Nine Republicans joined 57 Democrats and two independents in confirming President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee.
An excellent vote for Sotomayer, grabbing nine republican votes was a coup. A great success for Obama as well, who needs some wins at the moment to prop up his polling numbers and aid his current policy campaigns.

She will be the 111th justice to serve on , and the third woman. She will replace retired Justice David Souter.

Roger Douglas and Spending – Whoops

July 30, 2009

Details of MP’s and Minister’s expenses have been released to the public today. One interesting note that has emerged is that Roger Douglas, infamous Act MP, is one of the higher spenders. I have no problem with MP spending and believe our representatives should be supported as much as possible. However I have a huge problem with hypocrisy.

Act’s Sir Roger Douglas racked up $44,000 in travel and admits he flew to Britain with his wife to see his grandchildren on a 90% discounted rate. “I’m entitled to claim back 90% of my overseas travel and I did that for a trip to the UK which I took with my wife,” he says. Legally he is allowed to do that, but questions are now being asked if that is morally acceptable in the current economic climate. In just six months Douglas has clocked up a bill of about $62,000 including the $44,000 on airfares. Long service is the justification Douglas uses for the public paying for his private trip. “This is a right that Helen Clark has, Jim Bolger has, it is something that I would have been able to do whether I was an MP or not,” he says.

This from a man who attacks government and parliamentary spending at every opportunity like here or here or here or here. Also from a party which has attacked parliamentary spending on dozens of occasions and led by Rodney Hide who claims to be some sort of Perk Buster‘ What does this man stand for? What do ACT voters expect from their MPs. Do not attack others for something you are doing yourself or you look like a hypocritical idiot – any self-respecting adult understands that simple point. Come on Roge, what are you gonna say to your supporters and will you stop attacking parliamentary spending in the future? Plus I love the fact that DPF has held him up in the past as someone who will crack down on spending. There is a shocking degree of arrogance in the attitude of people who would run such hypocritical politics.

There is nothing wrong with supporting our representatives, there is something wrong with a party which campaigns on one thing while doing the opposite, a party which personally attacks others for doing something they do themselves.

Bennett Should Resign

July 29, 2009

Resignation and a public apology should be the next steps taken by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. The arrogance and bullying she has shown in her treatment of the two mothers who sought to protest the governemnt axing the TIA is unbelievable.

If someone wishes to speak up against a government policy, do they then have to live in fear of reprisals from the government, a government with resources that go far beyond the means of two solo mothers on benefits.

The issue has been an excuse for welfare bashers to get stuck in and practically call for the two mothers heads. On Colin Espiner’s blog and on Kiwiblog, the disgusting treatment of these women is shocking.

The issue for me is that a minister in a position of great power and great responsibility, holding swathes of information about New Zealanders has lashed out in a petty and vengeful manner. Bennett should be reigned in and asked to resign or be sacked. The information held in trust by the government should not be used for petty political revenge because Bennett’s nose has been put out of joint.

People should not have to live in fear of their government, especially in a country that prides itself on democratic ideals. Resign now Paula Bennett.

Edit: Privacy Commission has released some further advice, though they have kept it quite vague, though they admit there have been numerous complaints on this issue.

Sian Elias – Link to the full speech

July 20, 2009

Go here for the full speech.

Some really excellent stuff that was ignored in mainstream media coverage

Thinking Outside The Box

July 16, 2009

Chief Justice Sian Elias has made some controversial points in a speech made public last night. The NZ Herald has a story here

“Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias has floated the prospect of prisoners being ordered free by the Government to help solve the problem of overcrowding behind bars. In a speech she admitted would be controversial, Dame Sian said that the booming prison population had to be managed to prevent overcrowding…….”

Elias makes some good points about the costs of locking up more and more of our citizens, how long can we afford to carry on being ‘tough on crime’, meaning how long can we use prison as the first point of call for numerous offences which could be dealt with alternatively. What I like about this speech is that is is an example of thinking outside the box, exploring new ideas, getting stuck in. This is the sort of stuff the Ministry of Justice should be looking at, but they are too worried about the politics. Fresh ideas are needed, while an amnesty might not be perfect, and would need strict guidelines, it is the type of thinking Elias is engaged in that must be encouraged.

Dame Sian used the speech, made public last night, to signal several changes were needed to be considered in criminal justice.

They included reducing the prison population as well as intervention, community education, probation and improvements in mental health care. She said optimism had given way to pessimism and there had been a “rise of popular anxiety about crime”. – Brilliant and spot on!

I have not the biggest fan of Chief Justice Elias in the past but she has impressed me greatly with this speech. Congratulations your Honour!