John Pagani - Left leaning
The prospect of the Maori Party walking out of government over asset sales is all nicely timed for seasonal Waitangi Day fury over the role of the Treaty.
Here's what they're up to: National's plan to sell down our power companies runs into awkwardness over a clause in the State Owned Enterprises Act that says, "Nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi."
National wants to remove that section so that the privatised companies can do whatever any other private company can do.
It was inserted when the first SOEs were being set up in 1987. Wellington legend has it that the Government of the day thought the words were nearly meaningless, and the awful drafting was intended to make it a sop (why couldn't it just say "The Crown must act consistently with the Treaty"?)
No one even knew what the "principles" of the Treaty were. Then Maori went to court and argued that a lot of New Zealand land was stolen, in the most monstrous and indefensible way. Eventually, and it took many lifetimes, we came to recognise that we had to put things right. A Treaty settlement process was set up.
People hang on his every word. Even the prepositions. When in Rome, they do as he does. He has won a lifetime achievement award - twice.
He is a city council CEO.
And this is why he needs a pay rise worth more than most of his staff are paid in total: if we paid council chief executives peanuts, we would get monkeys. Oh. Hang on a minute...
These pay increases for council chiefs in the double digit percentages are taking the mickey. People are angry about the increases not because they are envious, but because we're concerned about value for money.
As Joe Bennett has pointed out, we used to call the people who ran our councils "Town Clerk" because they do an administrative job. No one would think of paying a clerk half a million dollars a year.
If you don't mind the Crafar farms being sold overseas, how will you feel when the last square inch of New Zealand farmland goes?
Once the farms are sold to Chinese buyers there will be virtually nothing to stop all the rest of our farmland being sold overseas as well.
We keep selling valuable pieces of New Zealand because every year we spend overseas more than we earn and we have to pay for it.
As a country we haven't earned more than we spent since 1973. This isn't the government - this is you and me.
We can only keep spending more than we earn by selling assets. Mostly we sell debt - that is, we borrow and now we owe $148 billion overseas, which is about three-quarters of everything we produce in a year.
When you give politicians and their cronies a bit of a say over broadcasts, it's surprising how often their perception of fair and balanced coincides with their grasp of how the content makes them look.
Or to put it another way, politicians like to get what you pay for.
Back in the early days of broadcasting, the Government of the day took over ownership of the radio stations and the prime minister used to personally edit the single daily evening news bulletin. Naturally, the headlines delighted in his fabulous achievements.
When TV news started up it had a bit more distance, but I still recall one early evening TV news story where Prime Minister Rob Muldoon grumped at a reporter for bringing too many cameras to an interview. TV was virtually a government department, with its bosses responsible to ministers. What could possibly go wrong?
The rules were changed about the time TV3 started up and broadcasters began to proliferate.
Here's a beautiful video video a Facebook friend shared about our home and how we live.
We live in one of the world's best playgrounds, and it's never more obvious than in summer when we're out catching fish, enjoying the rivers and exploring the wilderness.
What puts it at risk are really big trends: climate change, loss of habitat, the spread of invasive species, pressure on endangered species, the poison we pump into the air and leave in the ground and the relentless depletion of finite resources.
Last year in our house we set the goal of cutting our power bills by a third. The year before we cut our water use by a third. This year I want to cut our rubbish disposal by a third.
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