Q+A – environment debate

All of Q+A this morning will be a debate on the environment.

The way we care for our environment has emerged as a key election issue – especially the state of some of our polluted waterways. Q+A has an hour long environment debate with 7 candidates on Sunday. Which party wins your environment vote?

Scheduled to take part:

  • David Parker (Labour Party) – Spokesperson for Environment, Water
  • Scott Simpson (National Party) – Minister for the Environment
  • James Shaw (Green Party) – Spokesperson for Climate Change
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party)
  • David Seymour (ACT Party)
  • Damian Light (United Future Party)
  • Winston Peters (NZ First Party) – Spokesperson for everything

Denis O’Rourke is the NZ First spokesperson for climate change and also for the Environment but has been shunted down to 13 on their party list. Peters has chosen to take part in a debate for a change.

An Ashburton farmer on vitriol and inconsistency in the water debate

David Clark, an Ashburton farmer, on hatred, vitriol, water tax, and farming’s contribution to the rural based economy:


It really saddens me to hear and read to the hatred and vitriol that been brought into this election campaign and I am very concerned at the rift between urban and rural and the disconnection between food production and our population.

We live in a nation of low unemployment, a world standard low cost health system, a no-fault accident compensation scheme, social welfare and pension provisions. We have an extraordinary high degree of food security in this country.

I live in a district whose main town has virtually the lowest unemployment in New Zealand. We have a vibrant, multi-cultural community that offers a wide range of employment opportunities and a very high level of community facilities. This is much transformed town that come out of the ‘80’s with its tail firmly between its legs.

Ashburton is a town that has been transformed in the last 25 years; this is a town that has been transformed by the development of irrigation, both in arable and dairying land uses. This district grows over half of the world’s carrot and radish seeds along with a wide variety of other crops exported worldwide. We produce 8% of the National Dairy production.

I am an arable farmer using irrigation to grow seed crops that are exported worldwide and grain and vegetable crops for domestic food consumption as well as finishing lambs for NZ butchers and export.

We first put irrigation on in ’98 and then in 2011 installed pivots to achieve more efficient water use and lower leaching than the older irrigators we had originally operated, at a cost of well over $1 million. We did that voluntarily because it increased our production, reduced our water use and significantly reduced our environmental footprint, however we could only justify that expenditure because our business was bankable.

Our business proudly supports local firms for the provision of goods and services and like our fellow farmers, most of the gross income is spent in the local community and profit, if any is largely reinvested in our business via local firms.

We operate our tractors on GPS guidance, running at 20mm accuracy to reduce overlap, our fertiliser spreader is GPS controlled and records all applications to a geo-spacial map, our combine weighs every kg of crop and overlays that data onto a map so we can track inputs and outputs accurately here as a result of investment in technology. It is investment in this technology that is achieving improvements in our environmental footprint.

On Friday night I attended a public meeting to hear Labour Water Spokesperson David Parker present his proposal for a tax on irrigation water. His presentation was headed by “How did we get to this?” and showed a series of photos from around New Zealand of environmental degradation caused by agriculture. The photos showed practices that are unacceptable for sure, no argument about that, but a selective portrayal of the worst of the worst in my view.

At not one point did I hear any positive comment of the actions of the farming community in NZ. But interestingly none of the photos depicted anything in Mid Canterbury, had nothing to do with arable agriculture and only one shot of Coe’s Ford after three years of drought had any connection to irrigation. There was only one photo of a degraded urban waterway and that was one that Federated Farmers had provided to Mr Parker earlier in the day and challenged him to display.

The purpose of the meeting and continuation of his presentation was to explain the Labour Party’s intention to impose a tax on irrigation in NZ with the intent of using the money raised to repair environmental damage.

The missing part of this logic was that his slide show did not depict irrigation as the cause of the degradation and this is confirmed by a report by Irrigation NZ that shows there is no correlation between areas of high irrigation development and regions with poor water quality in NZ.

So why tax irrigation? And Irrigation predominately in Canterbury and Otago that are regions with good water quality?

I listened to the proposal and wondered why, if using a public resource for private profit was so villainous, why would a food producer using irrigation be taxed, but a soft drink company abstracting water from the Auckland Municipal supply be exempt? I heard the argument popular in Ashburton about export water bottlers, but if the bottling company pumped from their own well, they would be captured by this tax, however if the plant connected onto the local Council reticulated supply, their export activity would be water-tax free.

I sat in the meeting heard a whole lot of vitriol and bitterness extended towards the agricultural community and I reflected on the fact that it was August 18th and that night our monthly bills would be paid and a not insignificant sum would be transferred to local businesses, local businesses that the attendees relied on for either direct or indirect employment or for taxation to fund their social payments. The receipts from our production re-cycle many times through our local community, and I’m pleased about that.

I reflected on the reality that in the last ten years a qualified tradesman in Ashburton could pretty much name their charge out rate or hourly wage on the back of rapid development, both urban and rural, largely, virtually entirely, whether direct or indirect, on the back of the productivity achieved irrigation in the Ashburton District.

This is a town where professionals view their income earning potential as better than in large cities, a town that offers an unemployment rate equal to the lowest in the country. A town with a man-made lake providing a housing location and leisure facility for all; a lake that is packed on any summer’s afternoon.

We have a town with a new art gallery; and a new aquatic centre costing $35m. A fantastic complex on which the paint was hardly dry and some around the town were grizzling that it needed the addition of a Hydro Slide for the children.

I listened to the anti-farming vitriol, and heard how they believed that we were stealing water and the town folk saw no benefit. Every dollar we earn is re-cycled into our local community, the employment generated by our business, direct or indirectly is significantly higher than it was in 1994 when we moved to a dryland sheep farm running 2,000 ewes.

A theme, which seems to be propagated at present by the Left is that Water Quality is a Rural problem, and therefore of Agricultural origin.

I accept that farming has an environmental footprint; no doubt, I also accept that practices need to and will change. In my view, technology and regulation will go hand in hand to solve those problems. Interestingly the three key policies that David Parker said he would implement are already in place by way of the Canterbury Land and Water Plan and he congratulated the National Government appointed Commissioners at ECan on introducing a robust water management framework.

But I don’t think that is the end of the debate. We regularly swim with our children in the river that bounds our farm; in fact I would happily drink it. I, along with thousands of others enjoy recreation in Lake Hood which is fed by the Ashburton River.
But the media and the Left would portray our rivers as dangerously polluted and degraded.

In comparison, I cannot swim in the Avon or Heathcote, nor the Christchurch Estuary which are subjected to storm water flows, overflows from the sewer network, seepage from broken sewers and heavy metals and petroleum contamination, which at times are several hundred times safe levels. Sure Christchurch has been devastated by the earthquakes, but the pollution of these urban waterways long pre-date the earthquake.

I would look forward to the day we can safely swim in the Avon adjacent to Oxford Terrace.

We hear much of the risks of the Ruataniwha Dam, but overlook the reality that the Hawke’s Bay’s two cities pump their sewerage out in the bay. Invercargill City is currently arguing in the Courts to renew its consent to discharge sewerage into four waterways including a lagoon.

In the Hutt Valley the sewerage system has contaminated an aquifer and will likely require the long term chlorination of the local water supply.

I grew up in South Auckland and enjoyed swimming at their most magnificent beaches during summer. The situation now is that one million cubic metres of sewerage and wastewater pours into the harbour every year regularly requiring the beaches to be closed to swimmers.

Two summers ago we stopped for lunch at a public picnic table looking out to Lion Rock at Piha. As our children walked across the mown grass their shoes turned green from the septic tank leachate oozing from the ground. Their shoes and the whole area stank; it sure didn’t do much for our appetite.

Yet the Left are silent on urban water quality issues, best not scare the voters with any suggestion they may need to fund the upgrade of their own effluent disposal system. It is far more politically expedient to poke the borax at farmers. We all have a footprint on this planet, and poor water quality has many causes and we are all responsible for the many solutions. Taxing only one group is not that solution.

Across New Zealand we are covering much of our elite food producing soils with the ongoing march of urban sprawl, permanently removing this land from production. Surely mankind cannot have more of a footprint that covering food producing soil with concrete.

In our world, we are challenged to produce food at the lowest price in the world. We do so by employing world leading technology to be some of the most efficient producers on the planet. Why would I say the cheapest in the world? Well, if we are not, the manufacturers and supermarkets will turn and import the ingredients quickity-split.

You see, as much as we talk about providence of supply and country of origin, animal welfare and environmental footprint, the brutal reality it that the vast bulk of consumers purchase the grocery item that the supermarket has a “special” tag attached to and couldn’t give two-toots as to where it came from or what standards it conformed to.

Our family has proudly farmed continuously in various parts of NZ for 140 years; I am but a caretaker and would hope that at least one of my children might take our family forward as food producers. It is in our very best interests to ensure that this property is in better condition for the next generation than when I began my stewardship.

I have listened to the hatred, I have read the posts on social media riping into farmers and it saddens me. This is a very nasty election campaign and I hope it is not a reflection on society as a whole.

It is a wet Sunday afternoon and I have stock to check on, best get my wet weather gear back on and get cracking.

David Clark.

As posted on Facebook

Water debate continues

PDATE

Labour left themselves open when they announced their water tax policy when they didn’t say how much would be charged. They said that would be decided at a later date (after the election) by an ‘expert group’.

As a result many claims and assertions and concerns have been made.

Stuff: Grapegrower blasts Labour water policy

Water royalties could put the $1.6 billion industry at risk, says Marlborough grower.

Some claims have been ridiculous.David Parker was interviewed on Q+A yesterday for clarification.

Michelle Boag made some claims on the Q+A panel that seemed to be serious miscalculations

The great water debate with our panelists Michelle Boag and Matt McCarten.

“Each apple would cost $2.80” says Michelle Boag.

That would mean you’d have a million litres to do a cabbage says Matt McCarten.

1 News: ‘They’d have to be the thirstiest cabbages on the planet’ – David Parker hits back at Horticulture NZ over water tax

Mr Parker said on TVNZ’s Q+A this morning that Labour’s new water tax would likely be 1 or 2 cents per thousand litres of water meaning the cost to the consumer “would be less than a quarter of a cent”.

It comes after Horticulture New Zealand claimed Labour “hadn’t done their homework on the issue of water tax” and it would be “like a speed camera on healthy food.”

Mr Parker said the statement was a “level of scaremongering that would make Donald Trump blush” and said Labour’s new water tax would raise “about $100 million across the whole of the country each year.”

When asked why he wouldn’t raise the tax on large foreign corporations like Coca-cola Mr Parker said they already pay “a dollar per thousand litres” and “we’re not going to charge them twice.”

Labour have a history of half baked policy announcements and leave themselves open to exaggerated criticisms.

UPDATE: Stats Chat looks at actual costs in Meters and litres

So a 1c or 2c per cubic metre water charge would come out to less than a cent per litre of milk.

I found an estimate that, it takes 237L of water to produce 1kg of cabbage, ie, less than a quarter of a cubic metre, so less than 1 cent.

Sounds a lot more believable.

Labour’s water policy

Jacinda Ardern announced Labour’s water policy yesterday, but many details have been left undecided, in particular who will be charged how much for water.

Clean rivers for future generations

Labour will lead a nationwide effort to restore our rivers and lakes to a clean, swimmable state, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

“Clean water is the birth-right of all of us. I want future generations to be able to swim in the local river, just like I did. All our children deserve to inherit swimmable lakes and rivers – and they can, if we commit ourselves as a country to cleaning up our water.

“We can do this. We can restore our rivers and lakes to a truly swimmable standard. If we choose it, and if we all work together. It will mean using our water more carefully, and being smarter about how we manage our pollution.

“Labour will help with the task of protecting our waterways from agricultural pollution. Our Ready for Work programme will employ young people off the dole and give them work improving the environment – including fencing waterways, riparian planting, and other work to improve water quality.

“A royalty on the commercial consumption of water will assist with the cost of keeping our water clean. The royalty will be flexible to reflect the scarcity or abundance of water in different regions, the different quality of water, and its use. Royalty levels will be set following consultation and the revenue will largely be returned to regional councils.

“To help set the royalty, in my first hundred days, I’ll host a roundtable on water at Parliament, with all affected sectors. I will not set a rate until I have met with those who will be affected; this is an issue that we must tackle together.

“Labour believes when water is exported for profit, private companies should also pay a royalty.

“Labour will work with iwi to resolve Treaty water claims in a manner that respects iwi’s mana, and restores the mauri of our rivers and lakes.

“Our river and lakes are a taonga of huge significance to Māori, a favourite place of recreation for New Zealanders. It’s time to restore them for future generations. Let’s do this,” says Jacinda Ardern.

David Parker said all large users of water given permits through councils would pay for water, but wouldn’t define ‘large’.

Parker wouldn’t ‘pluck a figure out of the air’, so will go into the election promising water charges but deferring to an expert panel to decide how much, after the election of course.

 

Controversial RMA reforms passed into law

Yesterday the third reading vote passed the controversial RMA reforms into law but 1 vote.

National have been determined to get the RMA through this term. When David Seymour (ACT) and Peter Dunne (UF) had objections to some parts of the bill National turned to the Maori Party to get it over the line.

But RMA reforms causing tensions over race relations

Tensions over race relations have been to the fore as the Government’s managed to pass its RMA reforms into law thanks to backing from the Maori Party.

ACT leader David Seymour said the reforms won’t do nothing for housing affordability, nor will it do nothing for land supply and the building of new dwellings, but it will be close enough to nothing.

“It will be close enough to nothing that he has wasted two and a half years of his ministerial time and much of this houses time bringing a bill that is two steps backward for each one step forward.”

Labour MP David Parker’s slammed the Government for using the housing crisis to drive its RMA reforms, calling it dishonest.

“Blaming the RMA and planners for the tax biases and the inequality that’s driven home ownership in New Zealand to the lowest level since the 1950s for over 60 years is just wrong.”

I thought it is widely understood  that the housing shortage is in large part due to RMA restrictions on new subdivisions and building. It has become too easy for people to oppose building, and getting resource consent can be time consuming and expensive – and at risk of failing.

Most parties supported RMA reform, including Labour, but didn’t support the full package that National wanted.

New Zealand First’s maintained a vocal opposition to new iwi participation measures in RMA rules with party deputy leader Ron Mark arguing one law for all should apply.

“We are all created equal in God’s eyes and nothing in legislation will ever change that no how many flip flops Mr Nick Smith makes.”

An odd comment from Mark that was smacked down by Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox:

“I find that last contribution quite ironic from the man who was the chief treaty negotiator for Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.”

National have defended the result of their collusion with the Maori Party by slanging back.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has accused those of opposing the Bill of doing the country a disservice.

“They quibbled at the edges, they tried to manufacture myths, but they’ve been unable to amount any credible argument against the substantive reforms in this bill, in fact they barely mentioned them.”

But, although reform was widely supported, others had serious concerns about some of the quibbly edge bits.

Smith would have to be one of the worst Government negotiators ever.

While the RMA reforms may or may not bother most voters (more likely not) the deal making done by National is likely to be used to slam the Maori Party in the election campaign,

Water charges possible post election

Bill English seems to have reacted to public pressure over water exports.

NZ Herald: Government asks for advice on charging for freshwater following public campaign

The Government is asking for advice on whether it should be charging companies to export bottled freshwater in response to rising public pressure on the issue.

Prime Minister Bill English said today that ministers were writing to a technical advisory group today to investigate a price on water allocation, but only in relation to the relatively small bottled water industry.

That is despite Environment Minister Nick Smith emphatically saying last week that it was not worth looking at because bottled water made up a fraction of the freshwater used in New Zealand.

Speaking at his weekly press conference this afternoon, English said he sought more advice because of “growing public concerns” about the issue.

He reiterated that the issue was complicated and that any charge would mark a fundamental shift in policy in New Zealand.

Until now it has not been possible to charge for water, only for it’s distribution and supply (usually through rates or water charges), or the cost of installing and maintaining irrigation systems, or the cost of extracting, bottling and distributing commerically sold water.

“We’re not saying it’s too hard, we’re just saying it’s hard.

“Because it’s a big shift for New Zealand, to say we’re actually going to put a price on water.

“Water has been free, it hasn’t been owned by anybody.”

RNZ: Labour acccuses PM of putting off water tax question

The government is being accused of passing the buck by asking a specialist group to look into the idea of taxing water.

Opposition parties say a similar government group has already looked at the matter and come up empty – and it won’t be any different this time.

But the Labour Party said Mr English was deliberately delaying the question until after the election.

The party’s water spokesperson, David Parker, said the advisory group would make no difference and the plan was “another flip flop from the Prime Minister”.

“Three days ago he was saying nothing could be done, and then he was saying something’s to be done and now he’s saying something’s to be done on the never-never. Flip-flopping like a fish out of water.”

English has left himself open to attacks like this.

However it would be ludicrous to respond to public pressure, which has only been applied in the last week or so, with a hurried law change, even if it was practical to fit it in to the legislative schedule.

Water is a victim of electioneering here.

Just slapping sudden charges on something that has never been charged for before would be nuts – especially given the likelihood there would be Waitangi Tribunal complications.

McCully, sheep and Saudi Arabia

Murray McCully, sheep and Saudi Arabia are back in media focus.

The Nation covered it in the weekend. It featured Labour MP David Parker.

Inside the Saudi sheep deal

It was the deal that cost New Zealand taxpayers $11.5 million and is now being looked at by the Auditor General.

So what really happened in the Saudi sheep deal?

Video

In that it is claimed that McCully may have misled Cabinet twice.

Newshub also had an item on it on Friday:

Camera confiscated in Saudi sheep investigation

A freelance camera crew sent by Newshub to film the controversial farm at the centre of the Saudi sheep deal was arrested and had his memory cards confiscated.

Newshub sent the cameraman to the Al-Khalaf Agrihub to film for an investigation into the Government’s role in the Saudi sheep deal.

“They surprised me actually, they said, ‘What are you doing, it is not allowed to be here’, and they are starting to be intense with me,” the cameraman says.

“I tell them there is no need to be intense or to scream on my face.”

The next day the police visited him, detained him for three hours, and confiscated all his memory cards.

The Agrihub is meant to promote New Zealand tech in the region and Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully has said it’s open and managed by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and local parties.

The Auditor-General is investigating the deal and Mr McCully won’t comment until her report is out.

Also:

On The Nation: Patrick Gower interviews John Key

Headlines: Prime Minister confirms Cabinet told there was a legal “risk” from Saudi billionaire

And at 7 pm tonight Waatea 5th Estate is also covering it:

The Saudi Sheep Bribe – how is Murray McCully still a Minister?

Joining us tonight to discuss the latest allegations in the Saudi Sheep Bribe Scandal…

In studio,

Labour Party Shadow Attorney General – David Parker

Political Commentator, author and blogger – Chris Trotter

Former Green Party MP and human rights activist – Keith Locke

And on the phone – Executive Director of Animal Rights group SAFE – Hans Kriek

That will be live streamed here at the Daily Blog and available later on demand.

Tidal wave of housing reform

Labour are promising a tidal wave of housing reform, but that will be subject to ‘winning’ the next election – being able to form a coalition and getting probably Greens and NZ First to agree to their policies.

Labour MPs Phil Twyford, Nanaia Mahurta and David Parker were in Tauranga discussing housing.

Bay of Plenty Times reports Labour promises to deliver “tidal wave” of housing reforms

After hearing comments and questions from the crowd of 70-80 people at the Wesley Centre, Mr Twyford responded by saying Labour was committed to embarking on a massive state-backed housing programme as part of its solution.

Mr Twyford said the market was not delivering enough affordable homes, and under Labour’s Kiwi Build scheme 100,000 homes would be built for first home buyers.

Labour would also crack down on non-resident foreigners buying existing housing stock and also review the Residential Tenancies Act to deliver more security of tenure for tenants, he said.

If they make rental investment too unattractive they may have to invest in even more housing.

Mr Twyford said these were just some of the solutions Labour believes will help ease the housing shortage in Tauranga and elsewhere.

Labour was promising to deliver a ” tidal wave” of big housing reforms the country had not seen since [former Labour Prime Minister] Michael Joseph Savage time, he said.

They might need a tidal wave of new revenue to pay for all of their policies.

 

IPCA to investigate Hager house search

The Independent Police Complaints Authority has propmtly confirmed to the Green Party that it will investigate a complaint about the police actions in searching Nicky Hager’s house.

Metiria Turei has advised by press release:

IPCA to investigate Green’s complaint over Hager search

The Green Party received a letter this afternoon from the IPCA confirming that it will investigate, after the party wrote to the authority on Monday. A High Court judge last week found that the police warrant and search on Mr Hager’s home, which followed the publication of his book Dirty Politics, were unlawful.

“We welcome the IPCA’s prompt decision to investigate the decisions that led to the police warrant and unlawful search of Mr Hager’s home,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“There are many unanswered questions from the Dirty Politics scandal, and why the police made the decision to search Mr Hager’s home is one them.

“Given that the warrant and search on Mr Hager’s house has been ruled unlawful, I asked IPCA to investigate the decisions of senior-ranked police officials involved in applying for the warrant.

“It’s important to remember that Nicky Hager’s work uncovering the dirty politics regime run out of the Prime Minister’s office was the reason for the search.

“The Prime Minister has never properly addressed those allegations, other than to attack Mr Hager’s integrity.

“However the Inspector General of Intelligence did investigate one of Hager’s claims and confirmed the Prime Minister’s staff had handed confidential information provided by the Security intelligence Service to the attack blogger Cameron Slater,” Mrs Turei said.

I think this investigation will be useful in determining whether there was political involvement in police decisions to search Hager’s house.

Labour MPs including Annette King and David Parker have also suggested political ‘pressure’ – see Labour accusations of political pressure on police.

Turei’s emphasis here on ‘Dirty Politics’ suggests a wider agenda as her motive but the IPCA should focus on what influenced police decisions to search Hager’s house.

If there was interference from politicians it’s important that comes out.

And it is as important to know if there was not political pressure in this case, to counter the political accusations and insinuations.

Labour accusations of political pressure on police

Labour MPs have suggested that the police may have acted under political pressure in raiding Nicky Hager’s house. The police deny this.

Acting leader Annette King and Labour’s shadow Attorney-General David Parker have both speculated on Government interference.

Stuff reported Nicky Hager case ‘raises questions’ about political pressure on police – MPs

The illegal police search of journalist Nicky Hager’s home has raised questions about whether police were under pressure from the Government to act, opposition politicians say.

Acting Labour leader Annette King said she was concerned about whether the police’s illegal search was the result of Prime Minister John Key criticising Dirty Politics in the media after the book’s release.

It was very much a political hothouse…the police don’t have cloth ears: they hear what’s being said and they hear what’s happening in the community.

“My concern is that huge political pressure comes on them to do something about it when they hear the Government making derogatory comments and the Government saying it’s all a jack-up…it puts huge pressure on the police for action.”

King said another example was the “teapot tapes” case, in which freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose was investigated but not charged by police after he claimed to have accidentally recorded a conversation between Key and ACT MP John Banks on the campaign trail in 2011.

Because it involved the Prime Minister, the speed at which the police reacted, when you get reports on a regular basis at your electorate office that serious issues like having your house burgled or your car stolen can hardly raise a response…it’s in that environment that I’m concerned.”

Police needed to be “totally even-handed” when looking at all cases regardless of political pressure, while Key also needed to refrain from putting pressure on the police.

“I think it’s up to a Prime Minister to act in a prime ministerial way as well – at that time, he acted more like a gutter politician.”

Serious speculation and accusations.

However, police have rebuffed the claims, saying they are “without foundation”.

In a press release Parker goes further, claiming “unlawful action by police during two elections in a row”.

That’s an even more serious accusation. Except that the police actions were not during elections.

Landmark ruling finds Police acted illegally – Parker

Today’s landmark ruling from Justice Clifford that a raid on the home of journalist Nicky Hager was illegal means there was unlawful action by police during two elections in a row, Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker says.

“For the past two elections complaints in the media from the Prime Minister have led to inappropriate and excessive action by the police against journalists.

“In 2011 it was the tea tapes following a media stunt gone wrong between John Key and John Banks.

“Last year the disreputable antics of the National Party involving Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Jason Ede in the Prime Minister’s office, Judith Collins, and the Prime Minister himself were outed in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics.

“He was painted as a villain by the Government after the release of his book and today’s finding vindicates him.

“Instead of the police attention being on the perpetrators, John Key kept asserting Nicky Hager based his book on hacked emails. The police in turn reacted on the public complaints by the Prime Minister and the formal complaint by Cameron Slater, and again turned on the media.

“We should be grateful that in New Zealand we have a brave and independent judiciary that can make today’s ruling.

“Now the police and the Prime Minister need to publicly accept the politicisation of the police was serious and wrong,” David Parker says.

Or are Parker’s politicisation and accusations of the police here serious and wrong?

The police are damned when they do and damned when the don’t take any action on politically related issues.

There are risks that police actions could influence political outcomes.

But there is a greater risk that by avoiding doing anything with possible political connotations important and potentially serious acts are not properly examined by our judiciary. And to put things before our judiciary the police have to first investigate.