Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Supplementary Question of the Day

Asked in the House during Question 8 (about Avian Flu):
Dr Jonathan Coleman: Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a Minister outside Cabinet, fail to qualify for the special reserve of the antiviral drug Tamiflu because, by the Ministry of Health’s criteria, he would be regarded as neither a key decision maker nor an essential service?
Unfortunately the Minister of Health, Pete Hodgson, did his best to avoid giving a candid answer.

At least he's out of Cabinet

George Hawkins has hit the news again with a private members bill to criminalize street prostitution on the streets of South Auckland Manukau City. What really amazes me is that despite having being a Mayor for nine years is that he does not realize that the South Auckland. Manukau City Council has the authority to control street prostitution through the by-laws. If George has shown himself to be so pig-ignorant about the powers of local government despite his lengthy experience in local government, what other obvious things didn't he know when he was in Cabinet?

Benson-Pope won't be prosecuted.

The Police will not be prosecuting David Benson-Pope won't be prosecuted for the allegations of mistreating students on the grounds that a prosecution is not in the Public Interest. As far as I can parse their reasoning, their argument seems to be that the assualt is not serious enough to warrant prosecution.

However David is yet not out of trouble. The Police have stated that there is a prima facie case that the tennis ball incident occurred as well as another assault on the student. Given that David has "refuted" those charges in Parliament, he remains vulnerable to a breach of privilege charge.

Monday, November 21, 2005

That didn't take long...

After the traumatic APEC conference, WInston has taken to lashing out. Has he attacked any of his governmental partners, namely Phil Goff, for leaking the information that the Australians asked for an explanation about his ministerial status? No. Instead he has attacked the NZ Herald as "treasonous newspaper" for criticizing his performance.

This is so funny quite sad. With just over a month in the job, WInston has already gone back to his dark ways and plumbed a new low in baseless accusations. To make things more interesting, according to the NZ Herald:
Prime Minister Helen Clark, also interviewed this morning on National Radio, said she was not going to get involved in a row between the Herald and Mr Peters.
So what is Helen going to say at Question Time tomorrow about the allegations of Treason?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Australian confusion about Winston

Apparently the Australian Government is having problems understanding Winston Peter's role in the government
The Australian Government has asked for an explanation of Foreign Minister Winston Peters' role in government.

His predecessor Phil Goff, as the new Trade Minister, met with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer at the Apec meeting in Pusan, South Korea.

Today Mr Goff said: "Alexander Downer was very keen to now what the new government arrangement meant."
When the Australian government does find out, could they put what they've learned on a website to inform the rest of us?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Winston at APEC

Winston is at APEC for his first assignment as the Opposition Minister of Foreign Affairs. The related video on the TVNZ page has interviews with both Phil Goff and Jim Sutton saying they have confidence in Winston Peters (although Jim actually resorted to team solidarity rather than explicitly express confidence in Winston). Somehow the reporter forgot to ask the followup questions, "If you have confidence in Winston, why are you in Korea to look after him?" and "Why is Winston not giving any interviews, but you are?"

And on a related note:
However he has not yet managed to secure a meeting with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
He's slipping. I remember when he was pretending that he had a one-on-one meeting with Ronald Reagan. Now he's setting his sights lower and even worse, he's let it be known publicly that he wants a meeting without having secured the meeting.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Filling Rod's boots.

The NZ Herald has an article in which the Greens say they want Nandor Tanczos back in. It's likely but not absolutely certain that Nandor will want to get back in but this scotches earlier stories that the Greens were wanting Catherine Delahunty or Russell Norman.

The real problem for the Greens is the last paragraph:
Under the Greens co-leadership rules on gender equality, Mr Donald has to be replaced by a male, with Keith Locke the only qualifier in Parliament.
What genius thought up that rule?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Greens lose their number 2.

Rod Donald has died of a heart attack. As well as being a huge shock for all (especially his family), his death will be devastating for the Greens because he had the rare combination of being respected outside the party for his affability and sensiblity.

His parliamentary vacancy will be filled by Nandor Tanczos, if he wants it and if not then Mike Ward. The real question is who will fill his position as Number 2? Sue Bradford seems the obvious choice and has some reputation in the House as being reasonable. However she does have a well-known history as being an agitator (She resigned from New Labour because she stood up for the Trotskyite Permanent Revolution Group when Jim Anderton was trying to oust them) in which she would have to work hard to overcome if the Greens are to appeal electorally. The next two choices are Sue Kedgley and Keith Locke, neither of whom inspire much confidence (Sue K. is a Ditz and Keith is a Loon).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Connell Crashes and Burns

That didn't take long. Before Parliament even had a chance to meet after the election, Brian Connell has been demoted for repeatedly criticizing Don Brash. Apparently the buffoon was annoyed at being ranked last of the second-term National MPs as first termers are generally unranked. He hasn't ruled out leaving the Nats which probably indicates that he fancies himself as another Winston Peters. If anything, he's more like Gilbert Myles.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Deal over the Speakers?

It's been reported by NewstalkZB, TVNZ and RadioNZ today that Labour will support Clem Simich, National MP for Tamaki, as Deputy Speaker. But the situation is slightly funny. Michael Cullen is making a public announcement with no corresponding announcement from National. Furthermore when he says that:
He hopes National will in turn support Ms Wilson and that the elections for the two top positions will be uncontested.
The suspicion arises that no deal has been made and that Michael is trying to get a positive response from National to avoid humiliation.

Of the minor parties, the Greens are in favour while Peter Dunne might also be (which is inferred from Cullen's statement that there's support among the minor parties for his move). So what do Winston Peters and the Maori Party think? They could unite with National and ACT to depose Margaret Wilson. Winston Peters will probably so inclined but I'm less certain about the Maori Party.