Hansard facts

For Parliamentary junkies – 5 ‘favourite facts’ about the Hansard record of Parliament.

This year New Zealand Parliament’s Hansard is celebrating it’s 150th birthday!

Unsure about what exactly Hansard is? See if you can piece together the clues scattered throughout this video as the team at Parliament share their five favourite facts about our official record. Check out more about #NZHansard150 celebrations here: http://bit.ly/2sYYh5p

(And if you’re still stuck and can’t quite figure out what Hansard is, head over to our website here: http://bit.ly/2rl9yw7)

Another ‘dirty protester’ attack

There was another incident today of something been thrown at an MP, this time some brown substance at Gerry Brownlee.

At least this time media made the point that it was highly inappropriate at an anniversary commemoration of the Christchurch earthquakes. It was very disrespectful of the occasion.

But this is becoming a bigger problem, where protesters or nutters think that anything goes when it comes to attacking politicians.

I think the police need to start taking strong action or some serious shit is going to eventuate.

And media need to have a serious think about how they deal with incidents.

It’s simply not acceptable that politicians or anyone in public should be physically attacked, whatever the justification.

This ‘dirty protesting’ has already gone too far and there’s a risk of something far more serious occurring.



Five years on and quakes continue

There was an awful reminder for Cantabrians last week that although a very damaging quake was five years ago it wasn’t a one off event and the after effects still dominate Christchurch.

There have been about 14,000 earthquakes in the area over that time, most centred in or close to Christchurch.

We felt the big ones in Dunedin and they were disconcerting enough but it’s easy to forget the impact on Canterbury from a distance.

Earthquakes and their aftermath are still a big deal. In many many cases nerves and finances are as frayed as the Earth’s crust seems to be.

The Press has a feature to mark this anniversary:

Five years, 14,000 quakes, and a new South Island

While Christchurch and Canterbury has been changed markedly, and a lot of renewal has been necessary, the rest of the South Island has only been affected in relatively minor ways.

The reality is that while I feel for those who have been impacted by the earthquakes, I really can’t know what it feels like for our close neighbours.

It’s easy to forget about the quakes from a distance, apart from occasional reminders like the bigger aftershocks and anniversaries.

The big two from Geonet:

  • M 6.3, Christchurch, 22 February 2011The city of Christchurch experienced a major earthquake centred south of the city; severe damage and casualties occurred.
  • M 7.1, Darfield (Canterbury), 4 September 2010The Darfield earthquake caused severe building damage in mid-Canterbury, particularly to the city of Christchurch. It revealed the existence of a hidden west-east fault under the gravels of the Canterbury Plains.

Five years ago, wow.

How should we remember him?

Seventy years ago today Adolf Hitler killed himself.

Steve Braunias recounts the last days of Hitler and asks: Ghosts of the Fuhrer: 70 years after Hitler’s death, how should we remember him?

The only thing worth celebrating about Hitler’s life is his death. It was all so furtive, so becoming of that trembling neurotic when he killed himself deep beneath the ground, at about 3.30pm on April 30, 1945. It was a Monday, 70 years ago today. He was on honeymoon. Eva, his bride of two days, slumped beside him on a sofa, dead of cyanide poisoning; the side of her blue dress was wet. Hitler had knocked over a vase of flowers when he put a bullet in his head, and the water spilled on Eva’s dress.

What to do with Hitler on the 70th anniversary of his exit? Picture him as the doomed and raving tyrant in the film Downfall, now the meme for all crazed occasions, played as someone so completely insane that it’s impossible to think of him as human? Mad dog, demonic.

Or bring him down to size, see him as shabby and pathetic, a little man shambling his lugubrious way towards death in that dark bunker, stinking it up with his flatulence and his halitosis?

Hitler’s last days are detailed, up until his last.

Hitler was served his usual lunch at the usual time on April 30: two fried eggs, with mashed potato. Eva Braun wore his favourite dress, black with pink roses at either side of a low, square neckline. They retired to his room. Hitler told his adjutant, Otto Graunsche, to wait 10 minutes after the shot.

Junge found some fruit and ham for the six Goebbels children and made them sandwiches. A single shot was heard. Helmut Goebbels, 9, hooted: “Right on target!”

Graunsche obeyed his final order, and opened the door after 10 minutes. He writes in Last Witnesses, “Hitler’s body was crumpled up, his head hanging towards the door. Blood was running from his right temple onto the carpet.”

Braunias concludes:

On May 1, the day after Hitler’s suicide, Magda Goebbels poisoned her children. She sat down afterwards and played patience. Her husband shot her and then himself. Bormann fled the bunker, and was killed. Most of the domestic staff survived; Junge records that when she came up for air, the first thing she saw were dozens of starved and hysterical Berliners cutting up a dead horse.

The end of the Thousand Year Reich, the end of a short, ghostly 56-year-old man from Linz. Stripped away bit by bit, piece by piece in those last days beneath the ground, sans his coloured pencils and his buttons, left with his enemas and his gas, Hitler finally emerged as identifiably human, no longer beyond understanding. He learned what it was like for everyone else touched by Nazi Germany. He felt afraid.

Winston Peters on NZ First’s 20th anniversary

Winston Peters has written a RadioLive column commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the New Zealand First Party.

Twenty years of New Zealand First.

Twenty years ago, at Alexandra Park in Auckland, the New Zealand First Party was launched.

The party was formed by former members of the then National and Labour parties, after Winston Peters had left National for reneging on its 1990 General Election pledge to end the disastrous social and economic policies of the 1984-90 Labour Government.

It’s a massive effort. Peters has founded the party, steered it through difficult coalitions, survived after losing his Tauranga electorate, and survived and come back strong in 2011 after missing the threshold in 2008. Peters is a wily old campaigner who hasn’t yet given up.

Two months earlier on April 17th 1993 Mr Peters having resigned from Parliament fought and won a by-election in the Tauranga Electorate having resigned from Parliament seven weeks earlier.

That’s a bit confused but probably due to something missed in proofing.

Peters lists achievements of the party. I’ll split them into actual policy achievements

• Free medical care for under sixes
• Abolition of the unfair Superannuation surcharge under which pensioners were heavily taxed on their savings
• Pay parity for primary school teachers
• Removing Superannuation cuts and raising Super to 66 per cent of the net average wage
• 1,000 extra frontline police
• Increased funding for residential care of the elderly
• SuperGold Card with transport concessions and retail discounts
• Revived Maori wardens organisation to help ease social and behavioural problems
• Funding and empowering the Maori Women’s Welfare League to address social and family problems

And more general aims.

• Defence of an economic prescription for responsible capitalism
• Opposition to State Assets Sales
• Advocacy of one law for all New Zealanders
• A sane voice for controlled, focused immigration
• Championing teenage mothers getting second chance education
• And much more

Peters has never shied from confronting policies, parties and politicians he disagrees with or sees as opposition to his goals.

New Zealand First has constantly held Governments to account and provided strong opposition to unacceptable policies.

He’s been a bit like a bamboozled blunderbuss at times, sometimes hitting targets but often missing the mark.

The main focus of the party now is to correct New Zealand’s failed economy which has resulted in so much of New Zealand’s growth and GDP ending up in the hands of so few, and appalling levels of poverty and unfairness in economic and social policies.

If he sorts all that out in the next eighteen months he’ll have done very well.

It’s far too soon to say what his party’s chances are in next year’s election. We may not know until just before or after the election. Peters is not as sharp or as active as he used to be, and it will be hard work sustaining himself through the term. He then has to lift himself to  fight a fresh campaign.

Peters won’t give up easily. We’ll have to see if the electorate gives up on him or not.

But he should at least be able to celebrate NZ First’s twenty first.

Colin Craig comments criticised

At an event celebrating Taiwan’s anniversary tghere were representatives from political parties. Conservative Colin Craig has been criticised for his speech. Peter Dunne:

The comments were fanatical, inappropriate for the occasion, and simply appalling. The zeal with which they were delivered was also of concern.

Darien Fenton has posted criticallay on Red Alert:

But one person got it wrong. Colin Craig, Conservative Leader was also an invited guest.

He chose to use his speech to try to draw links between the Conservative party’s “family values” and Taiwan. For example,  (he said) Taiwan has lower divorce rates than New Zealand.  And then he launched into a political speech about the marriage equality bill.

Maybe he thought he was onto a vote winner. But he caused embarrassment to his hosts and other guests.

And he showed appalling judgement.

Fenton’s full post:

Respectful politics – time and place

Posted by  on October 6th, 2012

Last night I attended the 101st anniversary of the Republic of China (Taiwan) anniversary, along with other parliamentary colleagues, Rajen Prasad, Hon Peter Dunne and National MP Jami-lee Ross. Peter Goodfellow, National Party President was there, and Paul Hutchinson attended, but had to leave early.

This was one of those occasions when we were there as invited guests to help celebrate the community’s pride in their country’s history and their place in New Zealand. When MPs attend these kind of events, we are welcomed as an important part of the celebration. As guests, our job is to respond appropriately and join in with the spirit of the occasion.

Speakers from all sides of the political spectrum spoke respectfully. There were no party politics, just an acknowledgement of the friendship and links between our countries, the contribution of the Taiwanese community in New Zealand and the celebration of their 101st special birthday.

But one person got it wrong. Colin Craig, Conservative Leader was also an invited guest.

He chose to use his speech to try to draw links between the Conservative party’s “family values” and Taiwan. For example,  (he said)  Taiwan has lower divorce rates than New Zealand.  And then he launched into a political speech about the marriage equality bill.

Maybe he thought he was onto a vote winner. But he caused embarrassment to his hosts and other guests.

And he showed appalling judgement.