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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Judith Collins: guess who's coming to dinner?

Judith Collins, Justice Minister, is playing dumb in parliament at question time and avoiding media. Her patronising responses, or non-responses, to allegations of corrupt influence is not becoming of a Cabinet Minister.  Her abuse of the House by criticising questions as too long and then asking for them to be stated again for her amusement is out of order.  If she is too thick to comprehend the question, that is one thing, but to keep breaking up the questioning with this tactic just makes her look guilty as all fuck.  That flippancy is just as a bad look as her hysterical denial reaction - none of them convince anyone.  It is as if the nervous ranks of silent Nats behind her, and her senior colleagues beside, had detached themselves from whowever this woman was.  Completely off the Estate.

Herself and her husband and their mutual friends and shareholders in the Oravida company are involved in nothing more or less than crony capitalism at it's most glorious apex: the Chinese call it 'Scientific socialism with Chinese characteristics', the New Zealanders call it 'The China Free Trade Agreement'.  Kiwi meets Dragon.  It's the Chinese way, now it is the New Zealand way.  (Dragon win, obviously.  The Chinese nationals own and run Oravida, it is only nominally a NZ company, being registered here under a sequence of lawyer's trusts to disguise the origin.)  So when Tim Grosser as Trade Minister and John Key as the PM support Oravida as they have done, they are supporting a Chinese-owned company that is in a now quite open, exposed, relationship of deep personal and financial interest with their other Cabinet chum, Judith Collins.  

This is untenable for the Justice Minister.  It may be ridgy-didge in the PRC, but you are not in Beijing now, Minister - it's parliament and people want answers.  The impression is: this is how we do it in China and its all OK because, you know, it happened in Shanghai and the Cabinet Manual and the responsibilities of executive office only apply on a trip when I say it does and I can decide what is and isn't what sort of business, public or private, state or personal.  This is Collin's position when she knows full well it is all in Key's domain.

Collins stated - as I recall - that the dinner with the border official and the Oravida boss was originally scheduled to include the NZ Ambassador plus an official, but the Ambassador pulled out and so she went ahead with the dinner anyway as a private dinner.
Q.  Why did the Ambassador pull out, and why did the other official not attend, what reason was given?
Q.  What did the Ambassador advise about continuing with this dinner, and in respect to its status as official or private?
Q.  What agenda, points or issues were going to be raised at this official dinner and what notes or reports were going to be made afterwards?
Q.  Since this was an official dinner at which point did it become a private dinner, and was the Border  official informed of this change in status?
Q.  Who was Collins relying on for translation of the Border official's comments?
Q.  What undertakings or understandings were reached between Collins and the border official and the Oravida boss at that dinner or in a consequence of that dinner?
Q.  Was Collins introduced at that dinner as a NZ government Minister?

---
UPDATE: Video from parliamentary question time shows Grant Robertson getting into these points, with a separate supplementary for the last one.  She said she couldn't remember if she discussed it later with the Ambassador.

 Talk about Chinese walls!  Collins is doing a long march on the Great Wall of all Chinese walls over this Oravida scandal and she can't go the distance.  The PM is going to have to shut this little princess down before her Oravida taint spoils the whole batch.  They had to cut Pansy Wong for less.  Some say she must have something on Key to keep him from chopping her, but it is the unwillingness to sacrifice because it may show disunity and acknowledge corruption which stops a sacking, I don't think anyone possess anything nuclear here.  So, how long has Collins got realistically?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Remembering Rwanda: NZ's responsibility

Local reflections on the 20th anniversary of the genocide are academic.  Dr Graham does not mention New Zealand's part in the genocide.  New Zealand chaired the UN Security Council during the genocide.  When everyone says the UN should have done something and didn't they should be aware that NZ government representatives were part of that critical failure.

The NZ delegation may blame the US, UK and France for their intransigence and caution, but at best NZ's humanitarian intentions were ineffective because they had no influence.  At worst, it was ineffective because they were part of the white colonial club - the Anglo-American bloc - who didn't see a massacre in black Africa as a worthy problem for their attention.  

Given the colossal catastrophe that was Rwanda, I was amazed to hear PM John Key last week trying to talk up gaining a seat on the UNSC by mentioning the NZ presidency during the Rwanda crisis as if it were evidence of having done a good job.  Quite the contrary.  This is what John Key calls a good job: one of the top ten worst UNSC resolutions of all time according to Foreign Policy blog.  If overseeing the systematic slaughter of 800,000 Africans is Key's idea of a good job, I'd hate to see what a poor performance would look like.  

The FP blog quotes NZ's UN rep at the time, Colin Keating:
---
"This is part of the modus operandi: well, we got it wrong, too bad, let's move on," said Colin Keating, a former New Zealand ambassador to the U.N. who now runs the Security Council Report. "This is not an organ that sees itself as accountable to anybody, and certainly not to the principle of historical accuracy."
---
Keating was given a medal by the Rwandan government, but it was for doing precious little in the scheme of things.  When considering what should and could have been done by the NZ delegation as 
the president of the Security Council at the time the scant resume presented for the conferral speaks to how hopeless the situation was that so little is being so honoured.  The citation reads:
---
[...] The Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda coincided with the peak of your diplomatic career. As your country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 1993 and 1996, you served on the Security Council in 1993 and 1994; presiding over this Council during the genocide in 1994.
During this moment of crisis, you availed yourself and members of your mission to representatives of the Rwandese Patriotic Front and listened to their version of the situation, in the interest of gathering information from diverse sources of objective accounts of what was really unfolding in Rwanda.
You lent your voice to other lone and courageous voices that were indignant about the deafening silence of the then Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations. You were vocal in your disapproval of the French-led Operation Turquoise.
---
Doesn't sound that pro-active: we went to a meeting, we listened, we knew what was going on, and all we did was one of our bullshit speeches about our proud independent voice and concern - all delivered from underneath the petticoats of the UK and US.  Did NZ offer troops, or resources as part of a NZ solution?  Of course not, NZ does as it is told.  

And with regard to Keating’s comments about historical accuracy and the Security Council now being echoed by Key's revisionism - it absolutely must be noted that the regime giving the medal is Tutsi and that Keating supports them in denouncing a critical report of the regime's forces in the Congo.  So there are reasons why such a low threshold of support is being applied to someone who basically sat on their hands when they were being killed.  It is all so hideously cynical.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Smoking

Rongotai self-storage fire in Wellington at approx. 12:15am.
Onehunga car storage fire in Auckland at approx. 1am.
NZ Fire Service and insurers ever share notes?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cheeky Smalley

Rachel Smalley has contracted the same strain of bigotry as afflicted Paul Holmes and everyone else broadcasting from the ZB studios.  Is it something in the air conditioning or the water cooler that turns all those white people into uptight arseholes? or were they that already like that - indeed were they employed on that basis?  They are all like that.  It is a workplace that creates and supports hostile denigration of minorities - which is why Holmes could be indulged in repeating a racist epithet over and over again during the course of his show without fear.  They were clearly views compatible with, or endorsed by the other staff.

Smalley's on-air simpering (via NZ Herald) is nothing but pathetic.  Having been caught out displaying her true colours - as Holmes was - her response (apart from turning on the girly-tears) is the same as Holmes: I was just being silly, I don't really think that, that's not me.  This is a lie, of course, it is precisely what her real thoughts are on the matter.  Flippant opinion, cruel and unkind opinion, but honest opinion.  The need for all the cry-baby antics is because she knows it is her true feelings - the tears are of embarrassment and a deflection tactic.  She's sorry - sorry she looks like a dick because she made a rookie fuck up by yabbering her usual callous shit when the mic was still live - sorry her bubble of professionalism has popped.

She already damaged her precious reputation moving to that cesspit of talkhate radio.  Tears won't wash away peddling discrimination on a reactionary, conservative, racist radio network.  Why wake up every morning at 3:30am just to be part of a machine that preaches intolerance?  How is that supposed to be a career advancement?  Oh, and her denial in the Herald of any ego as motivation of leaving TV3 after not dislodging someone else for a top job there is as believable as this heifer/lardos apology.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Say the party party be cray cray

Kim Dotcom's money is sending our politicians fertive and frantic.  Kim will not hesitate to spend whatever it takes to remain in NZ and cut any deal - that's his predicament, his situation.  His rendition to America at Hollywood's behest for copyright infringement is a matter of time under a National government.  John Banks is in court soon, Kim has his case and counter-case after that, the Budget is on May 15, the Nats are selling off the last state power company so they can claim a surplus, the election is September 20... it's almost April... the tension is gathering.  

The Nats have no vision to offer except balancing the books and changing the flag - but at the cost of half the power companies sold off, crony pork for Africa (including Collins' milk to China and Carter's water to Canterbury) and more debt: on the Crown companies, on the Treasury, and private debts from unsustainable land speculation that is financed overseas mounts while interest rate rises have already begun.  Foreigners are still free to buy up whatever they want on a tax-free basis under National.  Yet for all of this most un-national behaviour there is no resulting crisis.  The government, like any other in an election year, is going to bluff and bluster and borrow and bribe to stave off any crisis.  The Christchurch insurance cheque should come in.  

Without a strong opposition figure to take it to Key he can continue to project a viable middle class bubble inside which much of the electorate prefers to see itself.  It is a false reality - or as Key terms it - aspirational.  That bubble needs lancing, but a whole group of little pricks hopping around on the hustings can't puncture Key's fairyland and pop the prevailing neo-liberal narrative without a strong Labour leader.  The second most important factor - as in all elections this century and some before - is Winston Peters.  The third factor in this election is a very wealthy, sort of dodgy, musically bereft,
 gigantic German übergeek who lives like a Bavarian prince in a mansion complex in Coatsville and is an international fugitive who was raided in conjunction with the FBI... Ja, you couldn't make this shit up, it's mad.

The cynical and mercenary German who defies American corporate world domination has met the cynical and mercenary John Key - who is part of it.  They deserve each other - Kim and Key - in many respects, living as capitalist peas together in a South Pacific pod.  Kim the libertarian radical side of the capitalist-materialist coin to Key's authoritarian conservative face.  Ideally they will all compromise to let Kim spend a couple of years in home detention at Key's Hawaiian mansion and call it even; but the NZ government reserves that sort of sovereign leniency only to French state terrorists.

Key's government colluded with the US authorities to keep Kim here in the first place it seems so as to extradite him on friendly turf in what they assumed would be a pro forma step to inevitable conviction in an American court.  Things aren't going according to plan.  The Nats haven't had to work hard to paint the oversized, black-wearing German as public enemy No.1 in a country where every village has a public monument listing the names of local men who died at the hands of Germans in Two World Wars - but when the right wing blogs go ballistic on a Nazi smear as they have this week it makes me think their plan is under threat and that Kim is cause for them to fear.  Snowden's revelations and a possible Dotcom bombshell contradicting Key's story all hover over the stage, meanwhile the Internet Party is already performing.

1000+ sign-ups from the app in 48 hours.  Super hot.  But the IP sits on a busted flush at this table and the other players know it.  They won't get to the brutal 5% threshold of the MMP system unless they have a slate of superstars people can vote for - and everyone is backing away, sensing danger and that the money won't help with their self-preservation in the aftermath of a potential electoral loss.  Lots of lucre, little confidence.  So the Mega boys think they can do a backdoor listing into the NZ parliament as easy as they can do a backdoor listing into the NZX to be players in this game?  Teaming up with an electorate MP and riding in on their coattails is easier said than done.

Hone isn't ruling anything out with the Internet Party as long as they will kick National to the curb. There will be more demands on policy and campaigning, but IP are making conciliatory alignments to keep the deal on. I hear Minto will be interviewed with Kumar on The Nation, TV3. Interesting.

There must be compelling and compatible policy and strategy for any shared platform. A real anti-establishment mob under one banner might also include the Libz and the ALCP. The commonalities being independence, freedom, justice, privacy. Altogether, knowing that every vote counts, and with youth engagement at maximum, it may even be possible to crack the 5%, which none of them could ever do alone. At this point everything seems unlikely, but anything seems possible.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MH370 scenarios

First, the pilot(s) could have just flown it up into the stratosphere and then straight down.  Hoping the black box would be recovered to show they took it higher than anyone else.
Second, possible, is it was landed somewhere in Aceh at an Al Qaeda base.  The passengers will have  been taken hostage and spirited into the forest.  Parts taken off the plane, perhaps some collateral passengers also, will be dropped into the Indian Ocean.  Once this wreckage is detected the conclusion will be a crash in the deep Ocean.  The search will commence over a large area for the body of the plane.  It may take months to not find it, but even if they give up, then they cannot conclude it did not crash or entertain another possibility.  When MH370 is recommissioned  as a flying bomb it has enough fuel - being only a short distance from KL, in Aceh - to strike into South East Asia or the subcontinent without warning.  Maybe target is other aircraft on ground, ship and not static target like a building.  Could take out leaders at a world gathering within the strike radius.  Danger already, but will relax guard as soon as wreckage is spotted.  As for how a hijacking was done? Maybe a few female members involved in this action.  Could have had two women in cabin with one pilot.  Would account for last voice transmission.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sentry - where is the toxicology report?

Dear NZ Police,

Got that report yet, killer?  Been more than a couple of weeks now.  Waiting for the afternoon media shit-drop to bury this one?  Like last time.  Like how you buried, you know, how you killed him?  You know.  Someone in a police uniform did something to Sentry Taitoko which killed him.  Killed by the NZ Police at a police station - all for the crime of disorderly conduct... in his own house.  

How is any of this possible?  It must be because you think you are above the law and not subject to it.  It must be because you investigate your own crimes.   Just like when one of your son's is caught being in a rape gang run under the cover of the Waitemata D's in west Auckland - nothing gets done.

Now, where is the toxicology report?  

So glad the wolf is on it.  Maybe you won't get away with it this time.

Yours, etc.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Untold corruption

These are just some of the more recent instances of corruption I can recall from both major parties involving foreign interests alone:


  •  Hon. Judith Collins re: husband's business in China 
  •  Hon. Maurice Williamson, Hon. Nathan Guy re: citizenship
  •  Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi MP re: immigration scam
  •  Hon. Shane Jones, Hon. Dover Samuels re: citizenship
  •  Daljit Singh (candidate) re: Labour Party voter scam (Auckland Council)
  •  Hon. Pansy Wong re: husband's business in China
  •  Hon. Richard Worth re: resignation
  •  Hon. Taito Phillip Field re: labour/immigration scam
  •  Stephen Ching (candidate) re: selling office of JP
  •  Mayor Len Brown re: Hong Kong trip


  • The instances of domestic corruption not involving any foreign interest is probably a far longer list, and I would start it with the pokies racket and the related nest of corruption that is the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

    The reality of systemic and accepted corruption at many levels in this country and the perception by the New Zealanders themselves that they are the least corrupt country don't leave many pleasant conclusions.  Either NZers are monumentally ignorant and they don't see or don't want to see the dodgy dealings for what they are, or every other country on Earth is a squalid, seething cesspit of rampant, unchecked corruption.  

    The claim that the NZ system - the state, the society - is free of corruption is not sustained by the evidence.  The system is riddled with it.  In a larger sense the Crown abrogation of the Treaty of Waitangi has resulted in a deeply entrenched and formalised corruption between central and local government in how those seized indigenous properties are exploited.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    False flag debate

    John Key's legacy punt, his small n nationalism distraction, is the flag referendum.  It could have been the anthem, the monarchy, whatever.  It just so happens the PM reckons there's good odds on him being able to lead and push for a flag change - it has a high success probability.  It is the safe thing to do.  He doesn't like to lose and he clearly thinks he is on to a winner.

    By focusing debate on the symbols of national identity - the cosmetics of colonialism - rather than the core of the question, the Treaty and sovereignty, Key represents the survival hopes of the Wellington ruling elite and Pakeha aspirations generally.   Their concept of national progress is a settler mentality that can only envisage a simple roll-over of the colonial institutions we have now into a republican system that will guarantee the status quo continues.  No messy questions about the Maoris wanting their land back, their language, their customs, their order.  That's all been magically solved with a token sum in a cheque from the Treaty Negotiations Minister and despite getting only a tiny fraction of land or compensation it is all supposedly a durable settlement.  Ignorance mistakes a tarnish for a glow.

    Only an occupying power as spectacularly smug as the NZ entity could fail to draw any link between the use by the NZ government of the Union Flag of the United Kingdom (which will be the centre of a raging debate for three years) and the use by NZ of all the other British stuff.  British stuff including the Treaty signed saying that Maori are British and they will protect them... and their lands, estates, forests and fisheries etc. etc.

    John Key is picking and choosing which aspects of Britain to withdraw from like he was Dad deciding which decorations go on the Xmas tree and where - when the tree is stolen from his Maori neighbour along with the land it stood on.

    John Key referred to New Zealand in practically every sentence of his flag speech, but didn't refer to Aotearoa.  Not even once.  David Shearer in his defining speech once elected leader wanted a 'new New Zealand' - not Aotearoa.  This is a very strong indication that Maori have a second class status in the future as well according to the Pakeha rulers.   Maori have no distinct interest or rights to the national debate that need acknowledging, they are assimilated into the Pakeha mass - this is how the politicians and Pakeha civil society speak when they exclude elements of the Maori identity from their concept of the nation.

    Any new and improved nation is supposed to involve Asia and economic wealth and multiculturalism and continued, unsustainable, waves of immigrants but in the minds of most Pakeha it will not involve anything more than a cursory token, a fig leaf - or fern frond - of Maori indigeniety to disguise the continuation of the colonial enterprise.

    Sunday, March 09, 2014

    Stephenson hash

    ---
    UPDATE 10/03/2014: Still no item of this on RNZ news.  So, to broadcasting bullshit, also add embarrassed silence.  When is RNZ going to report on their own story now it has been contradicted?
    ---

    Last Friday I posted on this blog that I had a hunch: RNZ's Afghanistan correspondent must be smoking some pretty potent hash because he was going in to advocate for an Afghan interpreter who claimed he had escaped the Taliban after three days of torture with only superficial injuries to show.  It sounded like the secret life of Hamid Mitty.  Falling into the hands of the softest Al Qaeda cell in the world - the Bamiyan Retired and Widowed Ladies Weaving Group branch of Al Qaeda - that then takes days of ironic and elaborate torture that leaves no trace.  All of this story being part of an immigration application appeal proceeded with in the usual NZ way - via the media.  Stevenson swallowed it whole.
    --
    TUMEKE 28/02/2014:
    John Ste[ph]enson over in Afghanistan for RNZ must be smoking some good shit.  He's relaying a story told by one of the interpreters who wants NZ entry that he was tortured by the Taliban.  The Taliban set him free after that?  I don't know I'm buying this.  And he's described as a 'loyal' NZer!?  The guy is a collaborator with the foreign enemy, no wonder he's a marked man, he has after all betrayed his own country that is why he is 'loyal' - to the foreign power.  These refugees the NZ forces have generated is one of the reasons NZ should never have got involved in the occupation.[...]
    --

    Stephenson got in too deep and personal with this case and checked his objectivity at the door.  RNZ audio:

    The RNZ story on their news site:
    --
    Members of the Defence Force are disgusted with how the Government is treating Afghan interpreters, a journalist who reports on Afghanistan says.
    An interpreter in Kabul who worked with New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan says Taliban insurgents tortured him by hanging him from a ceiling and beating him repeatedly for three days before he escaped in December last year.
    The man, known as Hamid, said he and his family continue to receive death threats. He wants his application to move to New Zealand to be processed more quickly by immigration officials.
    Radio New Zealand's correspondent Jon Stephenson told Checkpoint on Wednesday that past and present members of the Defence Force have echoed that call.
    "I think it's fair to say that they are concerned, if not disgusted, by the way in which some of these interpreters are treated. They feel that they have served New Zealand loyally and that that loyalty is not being reciprocated by the Government."
    Mr Stephenson claims that the 27-year-old escaped certain execution in December, shortly after applying to come to New Zealand. He says that given the known risk to such people, immigration officials should work urgently on their applications.
    --

    No, Mr Stephenson needs to work urgently on his journalism.  

    Now it turns out - not that I am surprised - it is a crock:
    --
    The 27-year-old, known only as Hamid, was reported to be fearing for his life after being abducted in December by insurgents and beaten and waterboarded for three days.
    Reports of his treatment prompted Labour and Greens to urge the Government to fast-track his asylum request.
    But his application has been declined after officials found that he had not worked as an interpreter for the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan but as a part-time contractor providing goods such as bed mattresses. Members of the military also questioned his character.
    --


    Thursday, March 06, 2014

    Oravida/Collins

    Justice Minister Judith Collins went to China last year and she did a promotional visit to the Shanghai offices of Oravida, a company directed by her husband.  She went with the NZ Ambassador and they sampled products etc.  Although the right commentariat - and Collins and the PM - are trying to dismiss this as normal practice,  it is precisely this sort of conflict of interest that clipped Richard Worth and pitched Pansy Wong out of the executive and out of parliament - and for good reason.  Collins - and the PM - seem intent on bluffing their way through, pretending it's kosher.  Far from.

    Having looked at Oravida and found that the directors are Chinese names and that the ownership structure is a long worm ending up in a law firm's nominee company, how does anyone know who owns this company?  It is being referred to as a NZ company, but maybe in registration only.  Ownership by Chinese donating their way into NZ residency doesn't make for much of a NZ company - no matter how many iconic Maori words they appropriate for the purpose when naming their opaque shelf companies.  It is clipping the ticket and controlling distribution channels of NZ products, but it is controlled by Chinese nationals as far as I can tell.

    If NZ nationals got residency in China and set up a company to get Chinese goods into NZ and distribute them in NZ we would call it a NZ company, so on that basis I would call Oravida a Chinese  company.  I note that Finlayson in answering a question today in parliament described it only as having NZ interests and stressed the products rather than calling it a NZ company, which made his claim that all Collins was doing was being 'a loyal New Zealander' a bit rich.  Creamy rich.   Frank Macskasy has posted in some detail on the connection with this company, the Crafar farms and the National Party.

    If the Chinese Minister of Justice visited a company in Auckland where his wife was a director and that company had donated 56,000 yuan to his party and the visit was designed to promote the company and it's products... that visit would be called an act of corruption.  That would be obvious to the average NZer.  But the same situation with Collins and her connections exists now as exists in that hypothetical situation and the average NZer, certainly the average National Party supporter, just doesn't want to believe that such a flagrant, obvious conflict of interest exists... when it so obviously exists.

    The PM is saying - at the moment - there was "no commercial value" in the visit... when we all know there is no purpose to a visit like that at all unless there is commercial value.  It's all about commerce.

    The invitation to attend was only extended because Collins' husband is on the board, and the only reason he's on the board is because she is a Cabinet Minister.  It's influence and political power. NZ, China, the world - everyone understands how crony capitalism works.

    If the NZ Cabinet Manual allows this to happen then what does that say about the NZ government?   If you are senior enough (Paula Bennett and her WINZ complainant privacy breaches, Bill English and his housing rort) then you are protected from the usual rules (which apply strictly to lower-ranked members of the Executive like: Richard Worth, Phil Heatley, Pansy Wong) and these senior Cabinet Ministers can flout them without censure.

    Two Cabinet Ministers so far under John Key have misused their Ministerial positions to advantage the business interests of their husbands in the People's Republic of China.  The deep links within government to China is such a 'third world' look.  It says we are for sale and that they, the Ministers, are for sale also.



    The exploitation mentality of the 21st century colonialist fits the weak constitutional situation in NZ.  It's so very easy to sell it all off.  The current crop of Pakeha rulers are selling the land and natural resources and infrastructure and pretty much everything, including citizenship, off to the Chinese.  They sold it off so cheaply because they have no national consciousness.  The land to them is potential money and a transferable security and the NZ government made it that way so it could be sold off to foreigners.  History  will say as much, but the future will never appreciate just how blithelyit occurred.

    What a dreadful place NZ is.  We shall be glad to be rid of it.