Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Curtains for Dalziel?

Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel yesterday announced the appointment of Donal Curtin as Deputy Chair of the Commerce Commission for a five-year term.

Watching Brief wonders if this is the same Donal Curtin who until last week was the chairman of troubled financial advisory group Vestar's investment committee.

News reports (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/3/index.cfm?c_id=3) say that forty-five Vestar clients are preparing a case against their former financial advisers, the directors of Vestar and its investment committee for giving them poor advice and ploughing millions into finance companies which have since hit trouble. Many were put into the same six finance companies - Bridgecorp, Capital + Merchant, OPI Pacific Finance, MFS Boston, St Laurence and Property Finance. OPI Pacific Finance and MFS Boston were owned by the same company that owned Vestar. The case is likely to include alleged breaches of the Fair Trading Act, which is monitored by the Commerce 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The appointment of Donal Curtin yet again demonstrates how out of touch the Labour Government is with the electorate. Why Dalziel would make this appointment when the appointee has exposure to litigation in the very area where the Commerce Commission is also taking a keen interest baffles Watching Brief, or is it that Dalziel is just stupid?

Monday, 28 July 2008

We like Condoleezza we do not like Petersleeza

I refer readers to Condoleezza Rice's very good speech in Auckland (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10523751) It does seem a pity however that our left wing cabal are not able to be as explicit when it comes to other countries ( I refer you to her very perceptive remarks about China) and forgive one for going off on a bit of a tangent however have you ever noticed the number of dictatorships that preface their official title with the words "the Peoples Democratic Country of Whatever?"

In any event I welcome the positive engagement with the US and even more, I look forward to NZ having a far more constructive engagement with the US as both of our countries look forward to the new leadership provided by John Key and John McCain and given Condoleezza's undoubted talents, Mr. McCain should indeed make her his running mate.

Insofar as our Foreign Minister is concerned the sooner the electorate vote NO the better.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Sue Piper or Pied Piper?

Hon Judith Tizard, Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, yesterday announced the appointment of Sue Piper to the Board of Te Papa for a three year term, from 1 August 2008.
Judith Tizard said she was delighted to welcome Ms Piper to the Te Papa Board. “This appointment will bring useful governance skills developed in the local government sector.

Hmmmmm Watching Brief has concerns about Judith Tizard knowing anything about governance or any other issue, including Auckland Issues.

"Sue Piper is Executive Director of the Wellington Community Foundation and a former Wellington City Councillor. Sue is also Chair of the Local Government Commission. Her other governance roles include membership of Sport Wellington Region, Quotable Value New Zealand and the New Zealand Law Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal."

Watching Brief wonders why Judith Tizard did not say that Sue Piper was elected to the Southern Ward of the Wellington City Council as a LABOUR candidate. She also failed to win re-election however a failed Labour candidate is obviously an ideal background for “jobs for the girls”

Lets have a look at who appointed her to some of her other gravy train(s)
When he was Minister of Local Government Mark Burton appointed her to the Chair of the Local Government Commission and Steve Maharey appointed her to the Prostitution Law Review Committee.

Do we see a picture here? Dianne Yates, Sue Piper the list of failed labour lackeys feeding on the tax payer just keeps on growing.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A Pecuniary Interest

In a statement yesterday the Office of RT Hon Winston Peters said that yesterday’s Dominion Post article is a smear campaign of unsubstantiated allegations.

Watching Brief would suggest to Winston that rather than talk about “smear campaigns” he talks about why after receiving the benefit of a $100,000 payment for his legal fees he did not declare this gift in Parliament’s Register of Pecuniary Interests for MPs and furthermore seek the permission of Prime Minister Clark to keep a gift worth more than $500.00

It is inconceivable that he did not know that his legal fees were reduced by $100,000 even though he may not have known the details of the donor. However Winston was required to name the donor if the donor’s name is reasonably ascertainable by the member. Watching Brief would suggest that asking your lawyer “who made the donation?” is a reasonable step to take in satisfying this requirement. Refer to the explanatory notes to The Register (see below)

The only other possibility is that Winston’s lawyer never billed Winston for legal services, in that case Winston would need to make a separate disclosure to Parliament’s Register of Pecuniary Interests for MPs (http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/DF02BF69-8E21-46F3-B399-DAB5EB6CA5BF/53301/registernotes2009.pdf) under the heading gifts as the explanatory notes to The Register state;

Gifts (Form 11)
7(1)(b) a description of each gift (including hospitality and donations in cash or kind
but excluding any donation made to cover expenses in an electoral campaign) received by the member that has an estimated market value in New Zealand of more than $500 and the name of the donor of each of those gifts (if known or reasonably ascertainable by the member) This also includes services provided at no charge, such as work on your home.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Botany and Kawa

Watching Brief has noted that labour have selected (yet another ) academic Toro Kawa to be their candidate for the electorate of Botany.

Mr Kawa seems very well qualified (http://www.business.auckland.ac.nz/comwebContent/index.cfm?fs=pgv&pageid=19107&me=pb) and will be a useful addition to Labour’s ranks (providing he has a high list place as he will not win the seat)

Mr. Kawa’s undoubted IT skills will be welcomed by the Labour back room people in the ongoing development of Labour’s blog sites such as The Standard and No. 8 Wire.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Justification or not for Owen Glenn?

Winston said in a statement on 19 July that Owen Glenn “did not make a donation to the NZ First Party but I am now aware he made a donation to a legal action he thought justified.”

Watching Brief is quite amused by the word “justified”

When Mr Glenn made the donation was he entitled to believe that it “justified” his claim to be appointed New Zealand’s honorary Consul General in Monaco?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

An alternative view to Trotter's

On reading Chris Trotter’s opinion piece in the Sunday Star Times (http://www.stuff.co.nz/4624713a1861.html) today Watching Brief decided to paraphrase the article.

The Beneficiaries

Backbone of the left, these are the spenders of our tax dollars, with an indefatigable sense of entitlement. These are the people that when asked to act responsibly when they receive welfare payments laugh at the suggestion and justify their actions by placing any blame for their plight on those who fund their largesse. From their ranks comes the majority of criminal behaviour that befouls our society.

The Bureaucrats

The foot soldiers of the left, who take delight in writing reports, gaining funding for studies and reviews of any and all perceived problems and then when there is a failure in policy or performance take an extravagant amount of time and money to conduct an inquiry which of course never mentions the words “who exactly was at fault” and naturally never concludes with what action was taken against the faceless individuals who were at fault.

The Academics

The High Priests and Priestesses of the Nanny State. These are the defenders of an ivory tower view of the world, they are convinced of their own superiority and have as their mantra “do as I say not as I do”. They do all in their power to destroy traditional values; they have a penchant to rewrite history so as to entrench their viewpoints. These are the people to whom “Climate Change” is a religion, criminality is the victims fault and government expenditure is automatically inviolate just because “we know best”

Yes, these are the people you will be supporting by voting for the left. The people who are opposed to any attempt to deal with issues of the moment by using logic, rather they are blinded by their ideology and use the politics of personal denigration and mud slinging to achieve their objectives, whilst at the same time setting limits on the rights of their opponents to publish any criticism.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Tizard being creative

Associate Arts Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard says (in a media statement issued 16 July) “that it's utterly astonishing that the National Party's arts policy released today failed to have one original or creative idea”

Watching Brief finds it utterly astonishing that Judith Tizard believes that arts policy should consist of “original or creative ideas” when surely any arts policy should provide a platform for artists to have “original or creative ideas” or is the PM’s handbag suggesting that the Ministry for Arts Culture and Heritage change its role to directly employing all artists in order to ensure that the Ministry does have “original or creative ideas”

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Does Winston have any wine boxes?

Tim Murphy the editor of the NZ Herald stood by the Peters/Glenn story ( http://www.stuff.co.nz/4618383a6160.html) saying; "The issue here is simple: Owen Glenn says he donated to New Zealand First. Winston Peters has said, and continues to say, that Glenn didn't. The story, based on explicit emails, highlights that gap,"

Watching Brief is very concerned about the "gap' and suggests that the Serious Fraud Office need to commence an investigation, into what has happened to Mr. Glenn's donation? If it did not go to NZ First where did it go? The SFO could make a start by seizing all the wine boxes in Winston's possession or control.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Progressive food prices

Rising food prices are a challenge for many struggling families and New Zealand needs to care about them, Agriculture Minister and Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton said in a press release dated 15 July. He went on to say higher food prices, caused by high global prices, are a two-way street for New Zealand.

Watching Brief would suggest that Mr. Anderton would be better employed caring for families by using his position in Cabinet to press for lower government spending thus allowing more substantial tax cuts for “challenged” New Zealand families rather than wasting his time and our money releasing vacuous press statements. Or is it that Mr. Anderton does not really care given he is on a one way street out of government later this year?

Bit of a botch up

In a media release dated 14 July, Winston Peters says the Crown Agency handling the sale of the former Napier Hospital site has some serious questions to answer about why the deal was botched up.

Watching Brief understands that Mr. Owen Glenn has some serious questions for Winston Peters, one in particular being why the appointment process of Mr. Glenn becoming New Zealand's honorary consul general in Monaco was botched up.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Payouts are concerning

According to the NZPA (http://www.stuff.co.nz/4617176a10.html) Trevor Mallard said yes he would be concerned if the process under way (in regard to the Veitch affair) ended with a pay out.

Watching Brief is concerned about the multiple payouts to ex Labour MP Dianne Yates. Or is it a case of the lady from the "food bowl" having her very own taxpayer funded "rice bowl"?

A moral crisis

Miss Clark today said on Newstalk ZB that if senior TVNZ managers knew of the details of the Veitch affair, but failed to act, then there was a "moral crisis in the heart of the organisation,"

Watching Brief says if Miss Clark knew and or colluded with others to break the promise Labour made to the Electoral Commission before the last election, to include the pledge card spending in its cap, and then renege on that undertaking after taking office, then there was a "moral crisis in the heart of the organisation"