Winston Peters slams ‘multiculturalism’, wants single NZ culture

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has slammed ‘multiculturalism’, saying he stands for “a New Zealand culture”.

What is ‘multiculturalism’? According to Oxford:

multiculturalism

The presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society.

‘our commitment to the values of multiculturalism’

‘the schools promote multiculturalism and inclusiveness’

So that would accept that Māori culture could thrive along side various Pākehā  cultures as well as accepting Pacific Island cultures, Chinese, Indian and other Asian cultures, and smatterings of Scottish in Dunedin (and elsewhere), retain a French flavour in Akaroa, some Englishness in Christchurch and Dalmatians in the north.

It would accept the overlaps and merging of various cultures but accept some distinctiveness would be seen as acceptable.

It would accept that Anglicans and Catholics and Methodists and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists could retain their religious cultures without prejudice or discrimination.

But Peters panders to populism: Winston Peters compares multiculturalism to ‘rising up mushrooms’

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters told talkback radio this morning that he stands for a “New Zealand culture”, not a “multitude of cultures”.

Speaking on whether multiculturalism has “failed”, Mr Peters appeared to argue it has.

“Well, let me tell you. There is one cultural thing we want developed in this country and that’s the New Zealand culture. That’s a unique culture that’s New Zealand,” Mr Peters said.

“It’s not a multitude of cultures and a plethora rising up like mushrooms in this country.

“No, we want a New Zealand culture. That’s what I’ve always stood for.”

It’s a similar message to one he shared on Q+A in 2016.

Back then, he said, “[Immigrants] can come from anywhere in the world. It’s not race-based. We want them to salute our flag, respect our laws, honour our institutions and don’t bring anti-women attitudes with them.”

How many Kiwis salute the archaic flag dominated by the flag of another country and often confused with Australia’s flag?

Of course every New Zealander should respect our laws in general (but have the right to criticise ass laws).

Obviously we shouldn’t want immigrants to bring anti-women attitudes with them, but we have plenty of sexual equality issues that linger in Māori culture and have immigrated long ago from the patriarchal England.

We must be able to choose our own cultural mix without being pigeon holed by populist pandering old politicians. I don’t identify with the legendary pissing up at the Parrot culture apparently favoured by some.

Mr Peters has long stood against so-called “mass immigration”, but has been much quieter on it since becoming Deputy Prime Minister.

That’s probably because he isn’t seeking ignorant votes since the election. New Zealand has nothing like ‘mass migration’, it is strictly controlled, made easy by our remoteness and our very large moat.

‘Mass migration’ seems to have become a deliberately misrepresented and exaggerated euphemism for ‘Muslim migration’, something we don’t have any disproportionate problem with in New Zealand.

Mass migration refers to the migration of large groups of people from one geographical area to another. Mass migration is distinguished from individual or small scale migration; and also from seasonal migration, which may occur on a regular basis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_migration

There is nothing like that here. Peters has repeatedly and deliberately falsely claimed we have mass migration in new Zealand – we haven’t had that since the influx of mostly Europeans in the 1800s.

New Zealand has long been a mix of many immigrant cultures.

There is one ‘New Zealand culture’ I would support – a culture of tolerance of different flavours of cultures, and an easy co-existence with people with different cultural practices and beliefs.

Claiming “a New Zealand culture” may pander to some who want their particular cultural mix to dominate, but it’s a nonsense.

I have never seen any definition of what “a New Zealand culture” would look like, especially from Peters.

China response to Defence Policy Statement criticisms

A Strategic Defence Policy Statement released on Friday by Minister of Defence Ron Mark stated the threat it believes China poses to the international community.China has responded.

Stuff: China fires back at NZ, calls remarks on South China Sea and Pacific politics wrong

Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have often been careful not to specifically call out the country when talking about international tensions in the South China Sea, or over development spending in the Pacific.

But the defence statement explicitly listed what the Government saw as potential threats posed by China.

Mark’s paper said “both domestically and as a basis for international engagement, China holds views on human rights and freedom of information that stand in contrast to those that prevail in New Zealand”.

It went on to say “not all major powers’ aspirations can be shaped in accordance with the rules-based order, in the way that had been hoped until recently”.

On Friday, Mark said the statement would come as no surprise to China.

But on Monday, Peters said the Chinese Government had made clear its concern over the paper, both through its ambassador in Wellington and New Zealand’s ambassador in Beijing, but played down the significance of this.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had “lodged stern representations with New Zealand on the wrong remarks it has made on China”.

“We urge New Zealand to view the relevant issue in an objective way, correct its wrong words and deeds and contribute more to the mutual trust and cooperation between our two countries,” she said.

The Global Times, one of the official newspapers of the Communist Party of China, says similar: Australia, New Zealand should avoid misrepresenting China’s role

While acknowledging China’s contributions to the international order, New Zealand accused China of having not “consistently adopted the governance and values championed by the order’s traditional leaders” in its Strategic Defense Policy Statement 2018. It also alleged that “China’s more confident assertion” of interests in Asia has “raised tensions” with neighboring countries.

The Washington-led international policy pattern has gradually turned out to be inadaptable to today’s development. Worse still, Washington, unwilling to accept China’s rise, has been working to drive a wedge between China and Asia-Pacific countries, further destabilizing the region. As a result, China has been seeking every opportunity to cooperate with regional countries for fairer orders.

It would be a strategic mistake if the security pact is clinched to target China. To begin with, China has risen to the second largest economy in the world. Its economic might is being gradually transformed into a locomotive for regional cooperation.

A hint of a warning in trade, which is always a factor in international relations. New Zealand has a growing reliance on trade with China.

More importantly, China’s role in the South Pacific is actually welcomed by a majority of countries there. China has emerged as a major donor in the South Pacific, including in Forum countries Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, instilling momentum to the region’s development. China provided $1.8 billion in aid and loans to South Pacific nations between 2006 and 2016, according to media reports.

That’s a lot of aid, far more than New Zealand (or Australia) could give.

How to share the developmental dividends of China’s rise is a subject that the international community should ponder on. China’s emergence is an irreversible trend, and any attempt to contain the country’s growth runs contrary to the trend of the times.

Instead of being overly cautious about China’s rise, Australia and New Zealand should avoid misleading the region on China’s role, and other regional countries should be clear about the consequences of being misled. The region will only suffer more losses from containing China.

Dealing with China is a tricky balance.

Ardern and peters have to deal with diplomacy and consider trade far more than Mark who is more removed from the overall realities of international relationships in his defence role.

Peters, Bridges support free speech

Both acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and national leader Simon Bridges have spoken in favour of free speech after Auckland mayor Phil Goff banned Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux from speaking at an Auckland City Council owned venue. Southern and Molyneux subsequently cancelled their New Zealand visit.

Concerns were initially raised by Auckland peace action – Auckland ‘alt-right’ event cancelled due to ‘health and safety’.

“Auckland Peace Action (APA) called on the Government to not allow the speakers entry to New Zealand.” The group also threatened to disrupt the event, saying: “If they come here, we will confront them on the streets. If they come, we will blockade entry to their speaking venue”.

Goff:

Views that divide rather than unite are repugnant and I have made my views on this very clear. Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux will not be speaking at any council venues.

1 News: Winston Peters would have let far-right commentators talk at venue on ‘basis of free speech’

During a press conference today, Peters said if it were up to him he would have let the Canadian pair talk, after Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he would not let any Auckland Council venue to be used by them.

The Acting Prime Minister said “despite the fact that what they might have to say is a very antithesis of what nearly all of us believe here, we still believe in their freedom and their right to express it in free speech.”

He said if it had been up to him, “we’d have allowed them to come on the basis of free speech”.

“We should be very careful who we expel on that cause because the downstream historically record on that has been just disastrous,” Mr Peters said.

Good to hear him saying this.

He also questioned whether the mayor had made the decision alone or with council approval.

Fair question…

Auckland Live, who run the Bruce Mason Centre where they were to speak, tweeted the cancellation was due to “security concerns around the health and safety of the presenters, staff and patrons”.

This came after Mr Goff tweeted the pair would not be speaking at Auckland Council venues last Friday.

…that will probably go unanswered by Goff.

Simon Bridges backs free speech for far-right writers banned from Auckland Council venues

National leader Simon Bridges says two Canadian far-right writers should be able to come to New Zealand and speak, even if people disagree with their views.

Bridges told TVNZ’s Breakfast show today he strongly disagreed with the pair’s views but freedom of speech was important.

“I disagree strongly with what these activists are saying but I think it’s a dangerous thing to say ‘because we don’t like what you’re saying we won’t let you in’.

“I can see how [Goff] made his decision but I wouldn’t have banned them from coming to New Zealand. We should allow people we strongly disagree with to come. We’re a mature, liberal democracy.”

With some of the comments made over the cancelled visit of Southern and Molyneux, and a lot political commentary and debate, I would question how mature our democracy is.

In contrast Green co-leader Marama Davidson backed Goff’s decision:

Good to use our freedom of speech to say your racist bigoted views aren’t going to be catered for here. Thanks Phil. These two can get out.

It wasn’t ‘freedom of speech’ that Goff used, it was abuse of mayoral power to suppress free speech at a council owned venue.

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman‏ also backed the Goff/Auckland Council ‘public safety’ excuse for not allowing the Canadians to use the North Shore venue.

I haven’t seen anything from Auckland Live or Ghahraman‏  that backs up their concerns about public safety.

Penny Bright responded to Ghahraman‏ on Twitter:

I have a proven track record in defence of freedom of expression (particularly under former Auckland City Council at Town Hall and the former Ak City Council Building). I don’t accept Mayor Phil Goff has the lawful right to decide who has access to Ak Council venues.

Rogan Mortimer has started a petition Protect Lauren Southern Event but it has just 145 ‘signatures’ in four days.

Juana Atkins also has a petition: Defend Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux’s right to freedom of speech in New Zealand.

This petition is to send a strong message that we will not allow people who are scared of criticism of their ideas to silence their critics and to prevent those who want to listen to them from attending the events of their choice.

When we book tickets we expect the venue to not be cowed by bullying groups who are NOT their customers into cancelling the event.

That includes a stupid photo of Southern holding two firearms – it has more signatures (currently 1204), presumably promoted on Whale Oil, but that won’t make many free speech waves.

It’s always funny to see people from Whale Oil promoting free speech when it suits them, given their history of banning many people trying to speak freely there.

Another petition, this one opposing free speech: Stop Lauren Southern from entering New Zealand

We, the undersigned concerned residents of New Zealand petition the Minister Of Immigration of New Zealand to stop Laurence Southern from entering New Zealand.

Laurence Southern is a Canadian born far right political activist. She has blasphemous views on Islam where she has used terms like “‘Allah is gay God”. She also has very strong anti-cultural / multi-racialism views. NZ is a very multi racial country with a rich mixed cultural heritage.  According to section 61 of NZ Humans Rights Act, this is hate speech. Her visit to NZ and public appearances are conducive for upheaval in the tolerant multiracial New Zealand.

By allowing Lauren into the country can easily stir religious and cultural sensitivities. This can manifest itself chaos and disharmony within our peaceful community and country.

UK have banned Lauren Southern and we request that the New Zealand Government do likewise.

Currently 2,696 signatures.

And yesterday a fund raising campaign was launched to force Auckland Council to respect free speech

A crowd funding campaign has been launched to raise money to bring judicial review proceedings against Phil Goff and Auckland Council for their banning of speakers Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern at Council-owned venues.

New Zealanders who value free speech can pledge money to this cause at http://www.freespeechcoalition.nz.

Supporters of the group include:
Dr. Michael Bassett – Former Labour Party Minister
Dr. Don Brash – Former leader of the National and Act Parties, and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
Ashley Church – Business Leader
Dr. David Cumin – Senior Lecturer University of Auckland
Melissa Derby – University of Canterbury Academic
Stephen Franks – Lawyer
Paul Moon – Historian and a Professor, Auckland University of Technology
Lindsay Perigo – Broadcaster
Rachel Poulain – Writer
Chris Trotter – Political Commentator
Jordan Williams – Lawyer

Mayor Phil Goff has opened Auckland Council up to judicial review, as it is likely breaching the Bill of Rights Act (freedom of speech), and potentially the Human Rights Act (freedom from discrimination on the basis of political opinion). The Council is subject to both Acts.

This is an all or nothing campaign. If the $50,000 is not raised by 5pm Friday, then all funds will be returned to donors, and the Coalition will not proceed with further action.

The Coalition’s intention is, firstly, to force Auckland Council to reopen the Bruce Mason Centre to these speakers by August 3, the date that had been scheduled for the event. Secondly, and most importantly, we aim to set a precedent demonstrating that government bodies will face firm legal consequences if they breach the rights to freedom of speech and freedom from political discrimination that are laid out in law.

The visit has already been cancelled – that happened quite quickly – so I think this is fairly futile.

However there does seem to be an important debate here – free speech versus ‘protecting’ people from hearing things they disagree with.

I note that attendance at the proposed event with Southern and Molyneux was not compulsory.

Futile Peters posturing on Māori seats

In May a member’s Bill was drawn that aims to improve protection the Māori seats in Parliament. Winston Peters says he wants the bill to include a referendum or two on whether the Māori seats should be retained at all.

Given that it is a Labour Māori MP’s bill, and there is no coalition agreement for NZ First’s policy to have a referendum on the Māori  seats, it must be futile posturing by Peters.

In July last year in his speech to the NZ First congress:

I am therefore announcing today that the next government we belong to will offer a binding referendum mid-term to do two things:

Retain or Abolish the Maori seats.

And there will be second referendum on the same day and that will be to Maintain or Reduce the size of Parliament to 100 MPs.

More in Peters wavers over Maori seat referendum

See also (RNZ): Peters promises referendum on Māori seats

However as we know, a campaign ‘promise’ is no more than policy posturing, wholly dependent on what is negotiated in setting up a Government after the election.

Just after last year’s election (RNZ): Peters appears to shift on Māori seat referendum

New Zealand First appears to have shifted its position on a referendum on the Māori seats, now the Māori Party has been voted out of Parliament.

Before the election campaign, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters pledged a binding referendum on whether to abolish the seven Māori electorate seats. He argued Māori electorates had failed to deliver what Māori really needed and were a form of “tokenism”.

During an interview yesterday on Australia’s Sky News, Mr Peters was asked how the referendum could affect coalition negotiations.

“The Māori Party itself – which was one of the driving things behind us saying it – the Māori Party itself, a race-based, origin-of-race party, got smashed in this election, and it’s gone.

“And so some of the things that, or elements to the environment on which a promise is made have since changed. That’s all I can say.”

That doesn’t say much. It is typically vague of Peters.

Labour, having just won all Māori seats, did not concede anything to Peters on the seats in their coalition agreement.

Then in May this year: Bill to protect Māori seats selected

A bill which will entrench Māori electorate seats in Parliament has been selected from the members’ bill ballot today.

The Electoral Entrenchment of Maori Seats Ammendment Bill introduced by Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene ensures Māori seats have the same protections as general electorates seats.

Mr Tirikatane said that under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates are entrenched, meaning only a 75 percent majority can overturn them.

However, only a majority of 51 per cent is needed to abolish Māori seats. Mr Tirikatene said the bill was about fixing the constitution.

“We should be able to have equal protection just like the general seats.”

Yesterday: Winston Peters wants ‘two-part referendum’ on Māori seats

Acting Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is calling for a two-pronged referendum on whether Māori seats should be entrenched, or should go altogether.

New Zealand First campaigned on holding a binding referendum on whether to abolish the seats.

At the time as Labour leader Jacinda Ardern ruled out a referendum, saying that would break faith with Māori voters.

Mr Peters said he still believed the matter should be put to the public.

“If you want to make changes to the electoral system, you should go to the country, not just do it unilaterally,” he said.

New Zealand First would not support the bill as it stands, Mr Peters said, but would reconsider if an amendment was made in the committee stages to include the referendum.

“If they put an SOP [Supplementary Order Paper] in for referendum, then it will be all on.

“That’s when we put all our cards on the table as to whether there should be Māori seats and, if so, should they be entrenched.

“There should be a two-part referendum,” he said.

‘They’ – Labour – are unlikely to put a SOP in the bill for referendums. Labour’s Māori MPs are not going to want a turkey vote for Christmas.

Peters and NZ First got nowhere near any mandate for this in the last election. They got nothing on it from their published coalition agreement.

If Peters pressures Labour and they roll over on this they risk getting slammed by Māori voters. They surely aren’t that silly.

This looks like futile posturing by Peters.

I presume he was speaking as NZ First leader and not as acting Prime Minister.

Beef-less burger bull

Two days ago it was reported that Air New Zealand was going to serve a beef-less burger on a couple of flights, and it has prompted some political bull.

Stuff: Air New Zealand to serve plant-based burger on Los Angeles-Auckland flights

Our national carrier is the first airline in the world to partner with Impossible Foods, a Californian start-up whose non-meaty meat is stocked by more than 2500 restaurants across the US, from renowned chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi restaurant in New York to White Castle and Umami burger outlets.

There’s usually a burger on the Business Premier menu but Chave believes the Impossible Burger will appeal to all palates.

“Whether you’re a vegetarian, flexitarian or a hard-core meat lover, you’ll enjoy the delicious taste of the Impossible Burger.”

The burger, which is prepared in Air New Zealand’s Los Angeles kitchen and assembled at altitude, comes with two plant-based patties, smoked Gouda cheese, caramelised onions and a smear of tomatillo cream. Because fries don’t hold up in the air, it’s served with a side of beetroot relish and pickle.

Sounds like it could be quite nice. I had a delicious meatless burger in a Curio Bay cafe (in the far south of the South Island) last month.

It isn’t the only food option, and won’t be compulsory. It is a choice for Air New Zealand customers, who are using a US product when stocking up when in the US.

But for some reason it has irked some politicians here.

NZ First MP Mark Patterson put out a press release: Air New Zealand needs to review its decision to promote synthetic proteins

Air New Zealand has dealt another blow to regional New Zealand by promoting the meat substitute ‘Impossible Burger” says New Zealand First Primary Industries spokesperson, Mark Patterson.

Mr Patterson described the decision as a “Slap in the face” for New Zealand’s Nine Billion dollar Red Meat Sector. “The National Carrier should be showcasing our premium quality grass fed New Zealand Red Meat not promoting a product that has the potential to pose an existential threat to New Zealand’s second biggest export earner”.

“There has been widespread concern in the regions at the loss of services from provincial airports and now we have Air New Zealand actively promoting synthetic proteins which have a genetic modification component to them. This is not a good example of New Zealand Inc working together for the greater good.”

I don’t think regional New Zealand could economically supply food to flights originating in the US.

“Promoting a product that has the potential to pose an existential threat to New Zealand’s second biggest export earner” is a bit over the top.

NZ First leader and acting Prime Minister was also critical – RNZ Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters hits out at fake meat burger

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said he would not eat a burger with lab-made meat, particularly if there’s one with the real thing available.

“I’m utterly opposed to fake beef,” he said.

That’s his choice. No one is making him eat it.

Mr Peters said the farming industry was made up of New Zealand taxpayers who wanted to ensure they get the top end of the product market offshore.

“Our airline should be its number one marketer.”

Generally Air NZ does a very good job of promoting New Zealand and New Zealand produce.

It isn’t just NZ First MPs complaining.

A different response from Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor:

“Customers will ultimately make the decision as to whether they like this burger. In fact it may be a really good positive thing for the meat industry if people taste it, don’t like it and eat real meat.”

He’s right that customers, and businesses like Air NZ, should be able to decide for themselves, but he’s being a bit lame suggesting a positive from a negative response.

I thought that the Greens might be opposed to a GE meat substitute but apparently not.

However, the Green Party said a move away from eating so much meat would ultimately be a huge plus for the planet as it would help cut emissions, lead to less intensive farming, and improve animal welfare.

Would the Greens be happy with GE meat substitutes being grown in New Zealand laboratories?

I have concerns about concocted food products myself, but simple meatless burgers can be delicious and healthy without needing to be manufactured.

But, why the sudden interest in trying to act as nanny to airline menus?

I think that our MPs should have better things to do than manufacturing outrage over a non-problem that really is no of their business.

Controversy over inquiry into controversial appointment of deputy police commissioner

The appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Commissioner of Police has become quite controversial, first sparked by strong criticism from victim supporter Louise Nicholas, and now through NZ First’s involvement in an inquiry into the appointment,

NZH: Louise Nicholas ‘hit the roof’ when Wally Haumaha appointed as deputy police commissioner

Louise Nicholas has worked for years to help change police culture but called for a crisis meeting when Wally Haumaha – friends of the men she accused of raping her -was appointed deputy commissioner.

New deputy police commissioner Wally Haumaha questioned why Louise Nicholas publicly accused his friends in the police of raping her in the 1980s and continued to support them after the scandal broke, according to interviews with fellow officers.

One officer told the 2004 Operation Austin investigation into the police sex allegations that Haumaha, who was appointed to the senior role by Police Minister Stuart Nash last month, described Nicholas’ allegations as “a nonsense” and that “nothing really happened and we have to stick together”.

Nicholas, who now works with the police advising new recruits and supporting victims of abuse, was so angry to hear of Haumaha’s appointment that she demanded a meeting with him and Commissioner Mike Bush to voice her opposition.

“I didn’t hold back. I said ‘I’ve read your statement, Wally, and I know what you said. You put it out there about how wonderful these men were’,” said Nicholas.

Police Minister Stuart Nash has been dumped inadvertently into a difficult situation. RNZ:

Police Minister Stuart Nash said while he was was unaware of Mr Haumaha’s comments, he did know Mr Haumaha had been interviewed during Operation Austin.

“The comments are deeply disappointing and are unacceptable. DC Haumaha has learned from that and has gone on to do substantial and worthwhile work to improve the safety of women and youth.”

On Friday Deputy Police Commissioner issues apology for comments made about Louise Nicholas rape case in 2004

Today the Deputy Commissioner apologised for comments he made in 2004. His full statement is below.

“I want to acknowledge the concerns expressed by Louise Nicholas and others around my comments from 2004 regarding Operation Austin.

“It is important to say outright that I take responsibility for those comments, I deeply regret them, and I unreservedly apologise for the hurt and concern they have caused.

“That does not reflect my view or the values I bring to the job every day.

“In the 14 years since those comments, and particularly through the changes following the 2007 Commission of Inquiry, I have reflected deeply and often on what it means to live the values that New Zealanders rightly expect from their police.

“I recently met with Louise to assure her of my commitment to the work the organisation has done as a result of the Commission of Inquiry to improve our culture, and our service to victims of sexual assault.

“My previous association with those individuals does not reflect who I am now nor what the NZ Police stands for today.

“The culture of NZ Police has changed for the better in recent years as a result of the Inquiry and an ongoing commitment to our values, but there is still more work to do.

“My focus is on working tirelessly in NZ Police to build the trust and confidence of our communities.”

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters followed up: Government to hold inquiry into appointment process of Deputy Commissioner of Police

“Cabinet will consider the matter on Monday to determine the specific details of the inquiry and its terms of reference,” Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said today.

But this has created further controversy. RNZ: National Party’s outcry over appointment of NZ First MP to inquiry role

National is crying foul after the Internal Affairs Minister and New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin was picked to oversee an inquiry into the appointment of the deputy police commissioner.

The party alleges it is a conflict of interest, given Deputy Commissioner of Police Wally Haumaha himself put his hand up as a New Zealand First candidate in 2005.

His appointment to the senior police job is being scrutinised following revelations he stood up for three of his colleagues accused of rape in 1993.

The inquiry:

“Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin will initiate a government inquiry into the process. The terms of reference will focus on the State Services Commission’s appointment process,” Mr Peters said.

The inquiry will investigate whether all the appropriate information was gathered by the State Services Commission during the appointment process and if not, why not.

It will also look into whether that information was provided to ministers – specifically the police minister – who officiated the appointment.

The criticism:

National’s police spokesperson Chris Bishop questioned Tracey Martin’s appointment to the inquiry role.

“Well hang on a minute, how can we have a New Zealand First minister overseeing a process that is looking into potential conflicts of interest around a possible New Zealand First candidate? I really don’t think that passes the sniff test.”

The New Zealand Herald has newspaper clippings from August 2005 that show Mr Haumaha was announced as the party’s candidate for Rotorua at a local event.

Just four days later the same paper reported the now-deputy leader of New Zealand First Fletcher Tabuteau would instead be running that year.

Peters has just been interviewed on RNZ about this and is in his usual combative attacking/defensive mode.

It would be better if NZ First were not involved in the inquiry, but Peters looks determined to do it his way.

 

“Without one shred of evidence”

This would have to be one of the funniest comments in Parliament today.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. A number of allegations have been made by that member without one shred of evidence, and surely a person coming to this House in a genuine inquiry making an allegation of that level should be required to produce the evidence.

Of course Peters has never done that. He’s made many allegations in Parliament over the years, but he generally makes assurances there is boxes of evidence.

Most of it is still in the post.

However the target of Winston’s double standard, Melissa Lee, had the evidence ready to go. See Minister embarrassed by Advisory Group failing to keep minutes

Nine years of neglect

When National were in Government they kept harking  back to the previous Government, blaming Helen Clark and her ministers for nine years of doing some things different to how National might have done them.

Now Labour and Winston Peters are laying the ‘last nine years’ on rather thick, with Simon Bridges reinforcing the past time frame.

From Question time in Parliament today – Question No. 2—Prime Minister:

Hon Simon Bridges: Does he accept that more than 32,000 people have either gone on strike or have signalled they will go on strike this year and that this figure exceeds the number of people that went on strike in the last nine years?

Hon Simon Bridges: Does he disagree, as he said this morning, with the statement that more than 32,000 people have either gone on strike or have signalled they’ll go on strike this year and that this figure exceeds the number of people that went on strike in the last nine years?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Can I say that there are a number of negotiations going on, because this Government does not have a tin ear. We understand the conditions under which they have suffered after nine years of neglect where the whole intent of the Government was to govern for the few against the interests of the mass and the many.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: The reality is that if, for example—to use an analogy—there is a so-called bus stop where no bus bothers to turn up, then it’s quite likely no one actually goes to the bus stop. But we run transport services and we listen. And so a whole lot of people out there say, “Maybe we should approach the new Government and get a fairer deal.”, and we are saying to them, “You will get a fair deal, but we can’t turn around nine years of neglect in the space of one Budget.”

Question No. 5—Finance:

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Actually, if we look at per-person growth since New Zealand exited the recession, it’s shrunk nearly a quarter of the time since the recession. So under the previous Government’s policies, it was actually going backwards. In this case, it’s not growing quite as fast as we would like, because it will take a little longer than one quarter of activity to correct the last nine years.

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Of course I agree with the Minister of Energy and Resources, who’s doing a fantastic job. From time to time in the economy, we have to deal with certain supply constraints. What I do know is that sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring issues like climate change isn’t going to deliver New Zealand a sustainable economy. We’re doing something about it after nine years of the previous Government doing nothing.

Question No. 6—Housing and Urban Development:

Hon PHIL TWYFORD (Minister of Housing and Urban Development): Yes. After nine years of neglect, we can’t go from zero homes to 10,000 overnight, but we are making solid progress in increasing the capacity of the construction industry.

Question No. 8—Health:

That is the result of nine years of underfunding.

I hope we don’t get nine years of talking about the last nine years. It’s already stale and lame.

At least the Green ministers just get on with trying to do their jobs in however man years they get to do it. And David Seymour gets to go dancing.

Electoral Commission ineffective again after advertising breach

The Electoral Commission as tut tutted a bit, nine months after the election, and not even slapped Patrick Hogan over the hand with a wet tote ticket after he claimed that he didn’t know the rules when advertising in support of NZ First during last year’s election campaign.

The rules are effectively a waste of time.

Stuff reported (in Officials warned against racing tax breaks):

Former Cambridge Stud owners Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan broke electoral rules by paying for a full-page advertisement in industry newspaper The Informant in September.

That earned them a slapdowns from the election watchdog this week.

A spokesperson for the Commission said: “It is the Electoral Commission’s view that the advertisement was a ‘party election advertisement’ as defined in the Electoral Act. The advertisement should have had the written authorisation of the party secretary from New Zealand First prior to the advertisement being published. In addition, the advertisement should have contained a promoter statement. ”

She said the Commission accepted that the breach was unintentional and the Hogans were unaware of the rules.

Hogan has been around long enough, and I think promoting NZ First long enough, to have known there were electoral advertising rules. It could have been some sort of deliberate ignorance, but I don’t see how he wouldn’t have known what he was able to do within the rules.

“Having considered all the circumstances including the modest expenditure involved and the circulation of the publication, the Commission will not be taking the matter any further.  The Commission has explained the rules to Sir Patrick and The Informant and recommended that they seek advice on election advertising in the future.”

So breaking the electoral rules isn’t a big deal as long as you say that you will check them out before doing it again.

In the meantime the race horse breading industry has been given tax breaks in this year’s budget despite IRD recommending against it again.

IRD advised against good looking racehorse tax break

IRD advised against giving tax breaks to the race horse breeding industry nine years ago, as they did recently, this time warning it could cost ten times what Winston Peters has suggested. But the Government went ahead with the only tax cut included in this year’s budget.

Stuff: Officials warned against racing tax breaks

Inland Revenue officials have warned against tax breaks for the racing industry, saying they could cost the Crown up to $40 million in lost revenue – but the Government is proceeding regardless

NZ First and its leader Winston Peters had been backed at the election by prominent racing industry figures, who demanded those bloodstock tax breaks, as well as an all-weather track and control of the NZ Racing Board.

Peters’ policy was a big win for the racing industry, because they had failed to convince the previous National Government to implement the tax relief. Inland Revenue documents seen by Stuff warn of the potential for race horse owners to game the system.

Officials saw no need for tax relief to the industry, but worked on tax rule changes with tighter restrictions. But that policy was dismissed by industry players just before the election.

Peters’ policy allows tax deductions for an investor who buys a race-horse and declares an “intention to breed for profit.” He said it would cost $4.8m.  He’d previously tried to introduce the deductions when racing minister in the previous Helen Clark government.

Details of Peters’ new policy are vague. But a strikingly similar proposal was advanced by the Racing Board last year. Officials cautioned against it because the deductions could be claimed even if a breeding business never eventuated.  The Racing Board believed the policy would cost around $5 million a year.

IRD didn’t accept that figure and put the cost at around $40 million a year because it had the potential to apply to an extra 7000 horses a year.

My mother loved horses and every one of them looked good to her. It wouldn’t be hard to find someone who has an eye for good looking horses – which could be any that apply for the tax break.

I don’t know where the ‘7,000 horse a year’ come from – NZ Racing: “In 2015-16, the industry produced 3500 foals and exported 1700 horses”.

Stuff;

Former Revenue Minister Judith Collins confirmed she couldn’t reach agreement with the Racing Board. She said a 2013 court case involving IRD and a racing syndicate, known as Drummond vs the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, made it difficult to implement the tax breaks that the industry was asking for.

“I wouldn’t have or couldn’t have opened up a complete change in policy without actually complying with the law. The law was pretty clearly stated in [that case] that just buying a horse and hoping you might breed from it one day was not actually a business.”

Collins said she would be “deeply surprised” if Peters wasn’t given the same advice. “It does smack of a lack of rigor when it comes to policy development.”

A similar claim from former revenue Minister Peter Dunne.

Peters said:  “The same arguments against bloodstock tax rules were raised during my previous tenure as Racing Minister, they were false then and they are false now.  The evidence comes from when the previous Finance Minister Michael Cullen agreed to a similar approach and the positive impact that generated for the industry.

What would the IRD and previous Revenue ministers know.

“There are legitimate reasons bloodstock tax investment helps create investment in horse racing which in turn will generate greater revenue for the taxpayer.  It will become fiscally positive.

“The National Party has been naïve and poorly managed the racing industry, nor did it maintain the previous rules on tax write downs.  The racing industry has become at best static and has not been achieving its genuine potential. The bloodstock tax write downs announced in Budget 2018  help attract new investors to the breeding industry.  And next year’s Yearling sales at Karaka will be one to watch.”

Peters’ party got vocal and financial support at the election from industry players. ​

With the tax breaks he has given them there could be more spare cash available for donations and campaign assistance.

See Bloodstock tax rules to change

Minister for Racing Winston Peters today announced changes to bloodstock tax rules for the New Zealand racing industry as part of Budget 2018.

“The Budget allows $4.8 million over the next four years for tax deductions that can be claimed for the costs of high-quality horses acquired with the intention to breed”.

“These changes mean that a new investor in the breeding industry will be able to claim tax deductions for the costs of a horse as if they had an existing breeding business. To qualify, the horse must be a standout yearling.”

Yearlings don’t race. I don’t know how it will be decided if a yearling is a stand out so it qualifies for the tax break. This hadn’t been decided by budget time a month ago.

Stuff: NZ First gets tax change for race horse investors through the gates

Each yearling would need to be assessed based on the “virtue of its bloodlines, looks and racing potential”.

“Further consultation with the industry will be undertaken to finalise policy settings, draft legislation and set up administrative processes,” a statement released by Peters said.

Will IRD get to determine “virtue of its bloodlines, looks and racing potential”, or will ‘the industry’ be allowed to decide this for themselves?