Saturday, March 26, 2005

Haloscan implemented.

After a request from Antartic Lemur, Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Spinning for a comeback

Lianne Dialziel appears in the Press this morning discussing the events that lead to her resignation in an article that is not online. She now claims that when she was asked by TVNZ whether she knew how TV3 had obtained a copy of a media strategy paper, she didn't reply as the NZPA reported:
No. They didn't discuss it with me.
but supposedly was (according to what Lianne said about the transcript:
No, they didn't discuss it with me.
The comma, according to Lianne, is supposed to transform her statement from an outright lie into something deliberately evasive, which Lianne thinks wouldn't have cost her her job.

There is a slight problem. Her original defence was that she couldn't remember saying "no" and had to resign when the report came out.
Ms Dalziel last night appeared to question PA's version. She told television: "At the end of the day there was a statement in the media that I can't verify one way or the other. I don't recall saying it in those terms.

"The critical word is the word 'no'. If the word 'no' isn't there then it isn't an outright lie. If the word 'no' is there, then it is and I have to accept that."

NZ Herald 21.02.2004
It gets worse. When the story broke out:
Helen Clark this afternoon phoned NZPA editor John Crowley to ask whether he could confirm that in the interview Ms Dalziel had used the word "no" in response to the question.

In discussions with Crowley, the prime minister said she accepted the veracity of the NZPA report, and his assurance that the story the agency had published was accurate.

NZ Herald 20.02.2004
Are we seriously supposed to believe that the comma defence never came up when the issue was investigated? Or is it more likely that Lianne is spinning to downplay the gravity of her initial wrongdoing? If so, she seems to have learned little from the entire episode and is not fit to return to Cabinet.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Hawkins gets the boot!

The Labour Party List has been released and the biggest surprise so far is that George Hawkins is not on the list. I'm somewhat stunned in seeing the Labour Party showing more bravery in pruning deadwood from its list than Helen Clark in pruning non-performers from her cabinet.

UPDATE: One News has reported that Hawkins was offered a list place of 25th (down from 15th at the last election) and withdrew from the list in a snit. Not quite the boot but still stronger than anything Helen has dished out to George in the past for being his usual self.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Sitting on the Speaker

Poor Margaret Wilson. A huge row with the media about the televizing of parliament becoming a monopoly (so that the nasty news media would no longer be able to show naughty stuff like pictures of David Benson-Pope sleeping in the house) is being damped down by the Ninth Floor (thanks to Rodney for both links). So Margaret looks inept for starting the fuss in the first place by treating a verbal assurance by her predecessor as not being worth the paper it was written on and she looks weak in being overridden by the Prime Minister. Although not unexpected, this is constitutionally improper as the Speaker is supposed to be the Presiding Officer of Parliament, not of a creature of Helen Clark. Until now, this was something that only Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen did when he was Premier of Queensland.

A silver lining in this fiasco might be that the Prime Minister is now ministerially responsible for the Speaker's Office and can be asked about the Speaker's decisions during Question Time. I live in hope anyhow...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Political update: John Tamihere

John Tamihere has been cleared of impropiety by the Serious Fraud Office concerning fraudulent invoices issued by the Waipareira Trust. Two other people have been charged, one being the Chief Financial Officer at the Trust. Although journalists are saying that John may return to cabinet after the election, the impending trial still carries grave risks of revealing further embarrassing material about him.

There's also the question of how effective John can be as a minister given the nature of his misdeed (taking a golden handshake after publicly saying that he wouldn't). Giving that another possible cabinet colleague, Lianne Dalziel, has a similar flaw (lying to the media), I'm concerned that, if returned to power, the Labour Cabinet will have a whiff of decay.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I'm depressed...

It's been remarked in the context of the Lebanese demonstrations that the popularity of a cause can be judged by the pretty women that flock to its banner. With local examples like this, it's clear that republicanism doesn't have a hope in hell.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Margaret Wilson drinks the Poisoned Chalice

Margaret Wilson was elected as Speaker today despite being unsuited for the job as she has little house experience and little experience in arbitration for that matter. One wonders whether she will attempt to apply her labour relations theories to House business such as making people ask questions "in good faith"? I strongly suspect that when her performance becomes a joke, Helen will use it as an excuse to call for a snap election as she did in 2002 when the Alliance was in meltdown.