Thursday, August 28, 2008

News From New Zealand

Have look at a bit of what's happening in the People's Socialist State of New Zealand.

Greens Vote To Support Labour's Carbon Trading Scheme

On Tuesday, the Greens decided to throw-in their support for Labour's bill they hope to pass before the elections coming up soon; a bill that will tie Kiwis to the ridiculous, asinine Kyoto Treaty. New Zealand contributes 0.02-0.03% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, yet Prime Minister Helen Clark and her apparatchiks want New Zealand to lead the world by example. This is a prime minister who signs on to a UN or just about any other international agreement that binds and obligates Kiwis to foreign whim (like accepting, for example, a UN quota for taking in refugees from third world countries). Collectivist asshats like Prime Minister Queen Helen see themselves as citizens of the world community, and she often justifies herself by saying that New Zealand is obligated to do such and such because of this or that international law or agreement. One Australian foreign ministry assessment recently referred (and then redacted the statement as being "outdated") to her as a "left-wing control feak". I don't disagree with that at all. But I digress.

Helen Clark and Labour still need support from her other main coalition partner, the New Zealand First party. They have it. So much for New Zealand First standing up for Kiwis. But, hey, with NZ First's party leader, former National MP, Winston Peters, being the Foreign Minister, I guess that it was bound to happen. Isn't coalition government grand? The average Kiwi is now fucked, and the farmers - dairy farmers in particular - are really fucked.

Here's some more background on the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Labor Union Stands Down Member Because of Party Affiliation

The short story.
ACT list candidate Shawn Tan will not know if he will keep his job with the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union until Thursday.

The EPMU has suspended Mr Tan, who works in support services for the union, for failing to get permission to stand for the political party.
Apparently, this union, like many others, is a big supporter of the Labour Party, and there are very strict rules here about campaign finance and disclosure. One way around it is to register as a party and you can spend more money than you could otherwise by donating money to a party or a candidate (or even spending money on fliers or DVDs promoting a party or candidate without directly donating the money). That is what this union wants to do, and presumably the money they would spend would go towards helping Labour retain power.
National wants the High Court to overturn a decision allowing the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union to register as a third party.

A judicial review has come to a close in Wellington today, following a decision by the Electoral Commission to approve the EPMU's plan to spend up to $120,000 during the election campaign.

National's lawyer Peter Kiely says the commission has misinterpreted the law, and has not asked itself the right questions. He claims it did not take into account the EPMU's involvement in the Labour Party, and its involvement in the administration of the affairs of the party.
So when Mr. Tan wanted to run for office as a member of a party other than Labour, like all good and tolerant liberals, they basically threw him under the bus.

This Kiwi blogger nails it perfectly (and read the comments, too - they're a hoot!)
New ACT candidate Shawn Tan is finding out today what it means to turn class traitor. You get ostracised.

The EPMU has suspended Shawn. For stealing? No. For sexual misconduct? No. For violence? No.

He has been suspended for daring to stand for a political party other than Labour.

The EPMU stands guilty of rank hypocrisy. It is ok for Andrew Little to contemplate standing for Labour, it is OK for the President Don Pryde to seek nominations for Labour but Shawn Tan seeks to stand for parliament for the ACT party and that is NOT OK.

Suspended for his political affliations. Disgusting.


Judge Orders Name Suppression Only For Online Media in Hapeta Murder Case

It is a strange concept they have here in NZ, even though it is sometimes used in the US. I am still trying to get my head around this name suppression thing. Sometimes it's a famous person; sometimes it's an average citizen; but it is used quite a bit. It's done, of course, in the name of getting a fair trial. To me it smacks of secrecy, and it just doesn't sit well with me. I have no lost love for the media, but these suppression orders and black-outs and bans that prevent even discussing certain things in a public forum like talk radio just smacks of censorship and tactics of fascists and totalitarianism. Maybe I'm wrong here, but my gut tells me different; and my gut is usually right. What really surprises me is how many people see nothing wrong with justice being done behind closed doors.

The short story.
A judge has today taken the unprecedented step of banning news websites from naming two men charged with murder while allowing newspapers, radio stations and TV networks to reveal who they are.

Judge David Harvey said online media could not use the names, or publish images of the accused, to prevent the public searching for the information when the case comes to trial.

He said he was "concerned about someone Googling someone's name and being able to access it later".

He was also "concerned about the viral effect of digital publication".

Judge Harvey ruled in Manukau District Court that it was OK to report the names and publish the images in print tomorrow or on tonight's 6pm television news but not on news websites.

To find out who the men are you can buy tomorrow's New Zealand Herald.
Now, this is just stupid, and overseas bloggers are already scoffing at the ruling because it is not binding to those outside New Zealand. One such blogger is in the US.
One blog has today boasted it is written by an American, hosted in the United States, and subject only to the jurisdiction and laws of the United States of America so is publishing the names of the two.

The blog says:"In protest Im asking bloggers around the world to join me in posting these names - bypassing the New Zealand court order and showing the Judge the true power of the internet! "The post shows a photograph of the two men and dubs Judge Harvey's decision an "oppressive ban".

"You may ask why Im posting their names, why Im trying to break a New Zealand court order, why Im making a bit of a fool of myself.

Well, the answer is simple: I am a staunch supporter of free speech and cannot stand the prevalence of pointless and suppressive limitations on speech, especially on the internet."
- (snip) -
Another website initially published the names but has since blanked over them. It now refers to the two by nicknames.

"His (Judge Harvey's) demonstrable idiocy is the new media equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition," the second blog says.
This is a good op/ed analysis of the issue.



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