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The Whipping Post 18 March 2016

It's been a House sitting week, so without further ado...

The Good

Talking ‘bout my generation

There’s been some grumbling about Labour’s Annette King attending an Inter-Parly Union conference in Zambia this week. 

There’s no arguing Mrs King is way more energetic than many people half her age - being a devotee of both an extremely healthy diet and a regular early morning gym workout (take that you Gen-Yers). However we’d like to point out that reports she was attending a young parliamentarians gig were not correct.

She was asked to take on the role of acting President of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights at the 134th IPU Assembly (which follows the youth conference), deliver the opening general debate speech, and chair the debate on women's participation in politics. And she’s eminently qualified to do that.

 

Comedy Gold

Good sport Jo Goodhew graced these page a few weeks back with a sterling performance in the House after she found herself having to defend herself during questioning from Labour’s Damien O’Connor. She was back this week, again wearing her Associate Primary Industries Minister’s hat, with another exquisite bit of stand-up to answer more questions about the actual Minister ( Nathan Guy) having confidence in her. Here’s a taster:

Hon DAMIEN O’CONNOR (Labour—West Coast - Tasman) to the Minister for Primary Industries: Does he have confidence in his Associate Minister for Primary Industries?

Hon JO GOODHEW (Associate Minister for Primary Industries) on behalf of the Minister for Primary Industries: It is still yes.

Hon Damien O’Connor: Has the Associate Minister raised with the Minister any concerns about the 6,000 jobs lost across the forestry sector at the same time that the harvested volume of logs has increased by 50 percent?

Hon JO GOODHEW: As when the Minister was the Associate Minister, and also the Minister with responsibility for forestry, this is an ongoing issue for the forestry sector. So Minister Goodhew and the Minister have actually discussed this.

And here’s the video: 

Own zzzz goal

Members’ day took a strange turn on Wednesday during the committee stage of the Christian Churches New Zealand Property Trust Board Empowering Bill, one of the most obscure pieces of legislation to pass through Parliament for many a year.

National MPs are usually notable only by their silence during committee stages, leaving it to Labour MPs to exercise Parliament’s duty to scrutinise proposed laws. But National was so desperate to do anything that would prevent the House from reaching Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Amendment Bill (ensuring all rentals are warm and dry) that its MPs were instructed to throw themselves under the Churches Bill (bus) to slow the House down.

They weren’t very good at it. The key to keeping committee stages going is to be relevant and to avoid repetition. National MPs attempts at this goal ended up nearer the corner flag than the posts. Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, in particular, attracted the wrath of Assistant Speaker Lindsay Tisch, who twice threatened to cut short Mitchell’s speech for irrelevance.

 

The Bad

Nothing to write home about

You know how we all swell with pride when Lonely Plant or The Guardian or even Lewis Hamilton, sings NZ’s praises? Well, here’s a not so swell-some number that was shared by Justice Minister Amy Adams in her recent speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva – more than 100,000.

That’s the number of family violence incidents investigated by police in NZ in 2014. As Ms Adams pointed out, that’s one every five minutes, the vast majority committed against women and children. While that’s hardly a statistic any of us should be proud of, it’s made worse by the fact police routinely estimate that less than 20% of family violence is reported.

Another day, another fist full of dollars

More figures to get you worked up, this time courtesy of interest.co.nz, which notes while banks have been quick to cut term deposit and savings account rates on the back of the cut to the OCR they have not passed on all the rate cut to their floating rate borrowers.

The bottom line is that every day banks don't pass on the rate cut, they retain $327,000 of additional margin. That’s more than $2.2 million a week. Nice work if you can get it.

Andrew Little had more to say about it in his general debate speech on Wednesday.

 

Road show, rogue show, a circuitous route

The Government’s TPPA road show hit Wellington today, with a full programme of events due to kick off at 9.30am.

You might think that boldly going where no man, or woman, with an ounce of sanity would volunteer to go, would be punishment enough. But no, from all accounts these things do have entertainment value, as ex Herald ed Tim Murphy discovered when he attended one in Auckland earlier this month.

While punters in Auckland and Christchurch were welcome to take their own lunch, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium once again showed its oligopolistic* snobbery by banning home grown sammies, and providing a “café for your convenience”. Give it up for sanctions!

 

What the?

 OK, yes, we nicked that word*. The Hive’s Bernard Hickey tweeted that it was used by credit rating agency Standard and Poors to describe our banks’ ability to weather any impending financial storm.

*Oligopolistic: Relating to the market condition that exists when there are few sellers, as a result of which they can greatly influence price and other market factors

 

 

 

 

Towards a shared prosperity

LabourVoices on March 21, 2016

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