Telecom kiwishare gone by lunchtime

The Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband, and Other Matters) Amendment Bill – that’s the one that is supposed to give us ultra-fast broadband – is being debated in Parliament today.  It has been to Select Committee, and submissions heard and considered.  But now IT and Communications Minister Steven Joyce has dumped a twelve page Supplementary Order Paper [PDF] to the Bill on Parliament.

The SOP won’t go anywhere near a Select Committee, and there will be no opportunity for public scrutiny or submissions.  One of the main impacts of the SOP will be to abolish the kiwishare.  This was a statutory obligation imposed upon the original privatisation of Telecom 20 years ago.  It restricted foreign ownership, and ensured free local calling.

Under the SOP, the restriction on foreign ownership will be gone.  The free local calling provision is supposedly protected.  But there will be a new and far less robust mechanism than the previous statutory requirements. The mechanism to do this will not be a special rights share, but according to the Ministry of Economic Development [PDF] will be:

…a combination of constitutional requirements on the company, a small parcel of ordinary shares held by the Government, and a Deed between the company and the Government.

So there will be no protection of free local calling in statute law.  The constitutional requirements and the Deed will be able to be reviewed by any future Government  without any reference to Parliament.  And if Don Brash and his Actoids are part of a future Government, you can bet the farm on free local calling being gone by lunchtime.

This is a disgraceful abrogation of democratic process.  If Steven Joyce wants to make changes as significant as this to a Bill that has already been reported back from a Select Committee, he should refer it back there for a further round of public submissions.

And wouldn’t the whole process of getting a decent broadband service across the country have been so much easier if we had never privatised Telecom in the first place?

Goff – Down with Don in the sewer

Don Brash, 27 January 2004:

Is it to be a modern democratic society, embodying the essential notion of one rule for all in a single nation state?

Or is it the racially divided nation, with two sets of laws, and two standards of citizenship, that the present Labour Government is moving us steadily towards?

Phil Goff, 26 November 2009:

We can choose our future based on principle and with the interests of all New Zealanders at heart.

Or we can have a country where one New Zealander is turned against another, Maori against Pakeha, in a way that Labour strongly rejects.

And both speeches were entitled “Nationhood”.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m as angry as anyone about the Maori Party’s sellout in supporting watering down the ETS to something that will be completely ineffective.

Goff was right to attack them on that (even though Labour’s ETS would itself have been been only minimally effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions).

But he didn’t stop there – he’s crawled down into the sewer with Brash by dog-whistling the racist underbelly of society. Disgusting!

Things to do in Dipton when you’re dead

Well, I suppose you could resurect yourself.

As Sir Roger Douglas has done, claiming $44,000 in expenses for an overseas holiday as his “entitlement”.

Oh, and as Don Brash and Christine Rankin have resurrected themselves.

And, yes, when Sir Double Dipton finally “retires” (and it might be sooner rather than later, given his accommodation expenses rort) he too will be eligible for 90% of his overseas travel costs being met by the taxpayer. Forever!

Sir Double Dipton says:

But the minister says Dipton remains his home and he intends to return there when he leaves Parliament.

Better get the house in order, then Bill. Including evicting the current tenants, which you need only 42 days to do under the appalling lack of residential tenure provided by the Residential Tenancies Act.

It might be sooner, rather than later, so better get moving on it Bill.

Cancel my subscription to the resurrection

rankin_dancing brash_burns

Roger Douglas back in Parliament!

Christine Rankin appointed to the Families Commission!

Don Brash to head the Productivity Commission!

How many more of the 1990s failed has-beens can they dredge up and resurrect? Maybe Jenny Shipley, to head a taskforce on welfare reform. Or Max Bradford, to shape our energy policy?

These are the people who stuffed it up in the first place because they were driven by an unsustainable ideology that is reliant on the flawed concept of unlimited economic growth and/or because they were in the pockets of the wealthy and didn’t care about the poor. Anyone for the “trickle down” effect?

Don, et al, can’t you understand that we live in a finite world determined by finite natural resources, and if we pretend to do otherwise, we are just loading debt onto the generations that follow us.

Marty G at The Standard gave us this wonderful graph this morning:


It was under the neo-liberal policies of the Labour and National led Governments in the late 80’s and early 90’s that we fell so far behind Australia economically. 17% behind in 1985, but up to 32% behind in 1993.

From which we have never recovered. And now they have the cheek to try to persuade us to go for Rogernomics/Ruthenasia Round 2.

Cancel my subscription to the neoliberal resurrection. I had a gutsful (as Norman Kirk famously said) last time round.

Don Brash – back in the saddle

Well, good on you Don, a great appointment by your mates, even though your idea of productivity is to lay off workers, cut wages, and privatise public assets.

Never mind Don. It doesn’t matter how immoral you are in the public eye. Because you’re not a politician any more, so it doesn’t matter to you – nothing to lose.

And, Don, guess you’re calling all the shots – like a loaded gun:

Oh dear, Don Brash has been appointed to head the Productivity Commission! Shit happens.

[Apologies to Steve Tyler (Liv Tyler’s dad, for younger readers) and Joe Perry who wrote this song. They would not have wanted it to be interpreted the brash way I have].

Thar he blows!

Just when we seemed to be working towards a political consensus on the foreshore and seabed, out crawls Winston Peters from his self-imposed political exile:

They are arguing about title. Make no mistake about it they are arguing something separatist. And if that’s the way that New Zealand is to go then our future towards the Third World is certain.

How do you construct a different world view when the mass majority of Maori activists I know have less than a quarter Maori in them and when I know so many Europeans who value the beach for, its shellfish, for its contact with nature and for their love of New Zealand being the way it is.

Of course “they” are arguing about title. That is because title to the foreshore and seabed, or at least the right of hapū to go to Court to establish whether they have title to the foreshore and seabed, is what was extinguished by the Foreshore and Seabed Act. This is about property rights – pure and simple.

Peters’ comments are nothing short of nasty old-fashioned colonial racism of the sort that categorised people of mixed race as sambos, mulattos and quadroons.

Even the National Party appears to have moved on from the days when Don Brash espoused that type of bigotry.

So I guess Winston just couldn’t resist the chance to exploit the vile racist underbelly that still exists in New Zealand society.

Let’s hope New Zealand has grown up somewhat over the last few years, and that the vast majority of New Zealanders want to see him rapidly slither back under the rock from which he’s emerged.

Who leaked Dr Dunny Brush’s emails?

Here’s an interesting coincidence.

Who was National’s campaign manager for the 2005 election, so would have had access to everything?

Who was elevated in an almost unprecedented manner to a senior position in John Key’s Cabinet after the 2008 election, despite having never before been in Parliament?

From memory, that has only ever happened twice before in recent political history – with Tuariki Delamere, as a result of the coalition deal between National and NZFirst in 1996, and with Margaret Wilson, who had previously had the experience of being both a Professor of Law and a Labour Party President, in 1999.

A reward for a job well done by Mr Eightyfour Percent, perhaps? (And I don’t mean the 2005 election campaign).