The elected politicians say no, the unions say yes…. and the unions win

English: David Cunliffe, Charles Chauve (polit...

English: David Cunliffe, Charles Chauve (politician), Annette King and Grant Robertson at a post-budget public meeting in April 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Labour Party has elected through an entirely undemocratic voting system their new leader


David Cunliffe has emerged as the new Leader of the Opposition after winning the clear backing of the public and unions, but not of his Labour Party caucus.

Labour’s general secretary Tim Barnett said Cunliffe was elected by a majority in the first round of the three-way electoral college and said this gave the race clarity.

Cunliffe had received 51.15 per cent of the vote, followed Robertson on 32.97 per cent and Shane Jones on 15.88.

As expected, Robertson pulled the majority of caucus support with 47.06 per cent followed by Cunliffe on 32.35 per cent. Jones had 20.59 per cent support.

Cunliffe drew the most support from the wider party, at just over 60 per cent followed by Robertson at just under 27 per cent and Jones on 13 per cent.

Cunliffe was the overwhelming union favourite, taking almost 71 per cent of their vote.

The election process had been an “outstanding success” in terms of revitalising the party, Barnett said from Fraser House in Wellington where the announcement was made at 2.50pm.

“With this leadership election the Labour Party he embarked on and delivered a new and exciting and democratic process,” he said.

”In terms of party and public and party engagement it has been an outstanding success, it has unified the Labour Party and energised our grass routes.”

Barnett said there had been a high turnout from Labour members throughout and “Labour is stronger as a result”.

At David Cunliffe’s electorate office a huge cheer erupted as it was announced the MP had won the Labour leadership race.

Cunliffe had just arrived with wife Karen Price to address the crowd after the news was announced.

MPs Iain Lees-Galloway, Rajen Prasad, Sue Moroney, Carol Beaumont and Moana Mackey were at Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate office to hear the announcement, along with dozens of supporters.

Party President Moira Coatsworth told the crowd Cunliffe had won with a clear majority to more cheers.

“David has been elected by a robust and democratic process and won on the first round with a clear majority. This gives him a strong mandate as leader and he has the full support of the Labour Party.”

Cunliffe had the leadership skills and vision “to win the trust of New Zealanders and take Labour to victori in 2014,” she said.

She introduced Cunliffe to his supporters as the next prime minister of New Zealand.

“I have no doubt he will go on to become a great Labour prime minister who builds a stronger, fairer and more sustainable New Zealand.”

Cunliffe told the crowd his election represented a new beginning for Labour and for New Zealand.  

“This contest has been a win for Labour and all those New Zealanders who currently don’t have a voice.”

He paid tribute to Grant Robertson and Shane Jones.

Robertson was a clear favourite of the caucus, getting 47 per cent support compared to Cunliffe’s 32 per cent on the first count.

Cunliffe said he believed every member of the Labour team would put the cause first.

“When we do we will win and when we win we will change this country. Our people have spoken. They have entrusted to all of us to join together and fight for a better future for all New Zealanders.

”Tomorrow morning would be the start of Labour’s campaign against the Key government,” Cunliffe said.

There was no indication yet of who would be deputy leader.


Labour’s public show of new-found unity could be just skin deep with some fearing blood on the floor within days of the new leader taking office.

Cunliffe could have an uphill battle winning over a hostile caucus after Robertson was confirmed as having the most support there.

One MP earlier warned that Cunliffe’s first days in the job would be crucial: “I reckon we will know in the first week or so how it’s going to go. If he can’t bring the group together then he’s shot.”

Camp Cunliffe insiders expected he would extend an immediate olive branch to rivals, retaining Robertson in the crucial deputy’s position if he wanted it. A source within Cunliffe’s team also expected there to be a number of Robertson supporters retained in senior portfolios.

This suggested Cunliffe would adopt a similar strategy to Prime Minister John Key when he was appointed leader of the Opposition. In a day-long strategy session at his Parnell home with leadership rival Bill English, Key divvied up front-bench positions and caucus rankings in a deal that secured unity.

This was also the successful strategy used by former Labour leader Helen Clark to unite warring factions after she promoted the leaders of an uprising against her.

But any attempt at brokering unity could come unstuck if Cunliffe attempts to appoint a whip over the incumbent Chris Hipkins, who publicly tore strips off Cunliffe after Labour’s divisive annual conference last year. The whip’s position is usually only held by someone who has the full trust and confidence of the leader and there are rumours Cunliffe has promised the position to Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway.

But the position can only be changed by the caucus, leading to a potentially bloody battle between Robertson supporters and Cunliffe if Hipkins refuses to stand down.

There could also be acrimony if Cunliffe demotes the so-called “old guard” – Annette King, Trevor Mallard, Phil Goff and Ruth Dyson – whom Camp Cunliffe accused of running the campaign against him during the last leadership spill.




Labor and Labour, the leader selection is flawed!

Firstly my opinion: We the people elect our members of parliament, both in New Zealand and in Australia. We the people choose those who should run the country. But we the people do not elect our Prime Minister, nor should we the people elect the party leaders, this should be done from the caucus. John Key and Tony Abbott were chosen by their caucus, as they should be. Now we have the two main opposition parties of the two most important democracies in Pacific without a leader while these labor/labour teams try to implement new and floored leadership decider processes. All we see is the incredibly huge tails (the all powerful and all corrupt unions) wagging the dog. These are failed systems trying in vain to improve the appearance of democracy but in truth are being used for two dying parties to try and drum up media time and in-turn membership and support. Meanwhile the two parties in power carry on without any real opposition, absolutely nuts.

I am not the only one who thinks this, even the past-past-leader of the labor party is not happy, according to an article

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has hit out at a new rule about how the Labor Party can remove a leader, describing it as “a clumsy attempt” for bad leaders to hold onto power.

Under reforms introduced by Kevin Rudd, the only way to remove the leader is for 60 per cent of Caucus members to sign a petition requesting a new election.

The new rules also govern how the leader is selected, with a ballot of both the parliamentary Labor Party and rank-and-file members taking place.

The first contest governed by these rules is underway, with Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese beginning a month-long campaign to win the job of opposition leader.

The ABC understands Ms Gillard supports the decision to give party members a say, but does not agree with the rules surrounding the removal of a leader.

Ms Gillard has used an essay in The Guardian to say that represents “exactly the wrong approach”, protecting poorly performing incumbents instead of the best candidate.

“These rules literally mean that a person could hang on as Labor leader and as prime minister even if every member of cabinet, the body that should be the most powerful and collegiate in the country, has decided that person was no longer capable of functioning as prime minister,” she writes.

“A person could hang on even if well over half of their parliamentary colleagues thought the same.

“Ironically, I argue against these rules, even though under them I would have unseated Kevin Rudd in 2010, given colleagues would have signed up in sufficient numbers to have him gone, but he could never have defeated me in 2013.”

Ms Gillard says Labor should move on from determining its leader “on the basis of opinion polls, or the number of positive media profiles, or the amount of time spent schmoozing media owners and editors, or the frippery of selfies and content-less social media.”

She also says the party needs to “think deeply” on cultural factors that allow leaking and destabilising to be “so richly rewarded”.

Despite her criticism of the rules, Ms Gillard describes Mr Shorten and Mr Albanese as “two worthy candidates”.

“I hope whoever is the victor in the current leadership contest serves as Labor leader for a long time, and the next time Labor needs to choose a new leader is after the next period of Labor government,” she said

Party members will have their ballot first, followed by the Caucus. Both ballots will have an equal weighting.

Newly-elected Labor senator Sam Dastyari says Mr Albanese would be a fantastic leader but he thinks Mr Shorten is the better candidate.

“He’ll be able to articulate a strong case for the future of the Labor Party and I think he’s a greater break from the past than Anthony is,” Mr Dastyari said.

“But look, this has got really exciting. It’s really exciting that tens of thousands of Labor Party members across the country are going to have a say in a ballot process.”

I laugh at Senator Dastyari’s words of ignorance (or lies, not sure which), Bill Shorten has been the faceless man that has brought down two Prime Ministers, hardly a break from the bloody past!

Without reading fully into the rules, at least the process for the labor team is more representative than for the labour leader. In the Labour party the unions get a vote! How can an entity vote in an election, as many have commented in the past, imagine if the Business Council or big companies or warner brothers got a vote for the National Party Leader, there would be a huge outcry!

So good on you labor and labour for trying to improve the transparency of your parties. But Labour, involving the unions is disgusting and opens you up for incredible concessions to the hacks who care only about funding their vested interests, and labor everyone knows this was thrown together in a hurry by the mad hatter (Mr K Rudd), so perhaps you should go back to the drawing board?

Disturbing trends….

Reading this article today on I was quite surprised to see that in New Zealand men over the age of 80 are most likely to commit suicide of all age groups


Baby boomers risk pushing our already high suicide rate to new levels as the rate of elderly people committing suicide skyrockets.

The baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1965) was a large group that had carried with it higher rates of suicide at all ages, a world expert on older adult suicide, Professor Yeates Conwell from New York, said at a conference in Auckland last week.

“So as [baby boomers] move into later life, a period of increased risk, the number of suicides may rise higher,” he said.

Conwell said there was no conclusive evidence as to why the suicide rate among the baby boomer generation was higher, but our statistics back the disturbing trend.

Statistics released by chief coroner Neil MacLean showed men aged 80 and over have higher rates of suicide than any other age group in New Zealand.

In the year to June, nine men aged 85 or older committed suicide at a rate of 31 per 100,000. Three women of the same age committed suicide at a rate of six per 100,000.

The total number of suicides for any age group over the 2012/2013 June year was 541, a decrease of six from last year, and two less than the average number of suicides over the past six years.

Conwell, a geriatric psychiatrist, said common contributing factors to older people committing suicide included clinical depression or other mental illness, physical illness and functional impairment, and social disconnection.

Marie Hull-Brown, a mental health promoter at the Mental Health Foundation, said the figures were distressing but “not surprising”.

“Seeing friends die, family moving away and one’s home becoming increasingly hard to maintain are losses that are hard to bear, and older people may become depressed about their ability to manage alone, yet not want to see their GP about the black dog that sits on their shoulder.”

Conwell said there needed to be improved detection and treatment of depression in older adults, social programmes to reach out to isolated seniors, and access to good health care that allowed them to remain as independent as possible.

If you or someone you know is feeling depressed contact the following services, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.

Lifeline, 0800 543 354; Depression Helpline, 8am to midnight, 0800 111 757; Kidsline, for children up to 14, 4-6pm weekdays, 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline); Suicide Crisis Helpline, noon to midnight, 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO); Youthline, 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email; or email or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between noon and midnight).

I had always assumed young men (16-25ish) would be our worst statistical area. I had an interesting conversation with my wife about over medicating the elderly with anti-depressants the other day (she is a physio in a rest-home), maybe she was wrong……

Also bring the euthanasia conversation backs into the limelight


Coalition wins by 9pm

Well with plenty of counting to go the coalition has walked in with a resounding defeat. Sorry to see Rudd win his seat, though this may be great for the coalition! Abbot has run a tight and positive campaign, Kevin should hang his head in shame


On-line voting trial for 2016 elections

Readers from New Zealand may not that know that it is illegal not to vote in Australia. If you are unable or unwilling to vote you will be fined. How great would this trial be in Australia where you are not only democratically eligible to vote but intact forced to ( the democratic lawfulness of which should be subject of much investigation in itself)?


Local Government Minister Chris Tremain has announced that  online voting will be trialled  in the 2016 local authority elections.

“Online transactions are the way of the future and the Government is committed to rolling out digital services for New Zealanders,” says Mr Tremain.

“I have asked the Department of Internal Affairs to put together a working party from across government and local authorities and with information technology experts. They will consider the options, costs and security issues involved in online voting.

“Voter turnout in local body elections is traditionally low and we need to look at other ways to encourage people to become involved in the democratic process.

“Online voting will be more convenient and appeal to young voters. It will also make it easier for people with disabilities to vote. “

“There is a high level of interest from the sector in online voting with organisations like the…

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Pike River

Huge news for the families of the Pike River tragedy and a huge president for future Governments from a liability point of view…..


The Government will fund a plan to re-enter and explore the main tunnel leading up to the rock fall in the Pike River Coal Mine.

Families of the 29 men killed in the mine nearly three years ago were briefed this morning.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges made the announcement this afternoon, putting the estimated cost of the plan at $7.2 million and said the chance of finding bodily remains in the tunnel was “slim”.

The decision follows approval in principle of the re-entry plan risk assessment by the Solid Energy Board.

“Our criteria are that any re-entry into the tunnel up to the rock fall is safe, technically feasible and financially credible. Safety is paramount, and the high hazards unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has reviewed the plan and is comfortable with it,” Bridges said in a statement.

“This is a highly complex and technical operation and it will be carefully managed in stages, with a risk assessment undertaken at each stage. Ensuring the safety of workers is an absolute bottom line for the Government and Solid Energy.”

The plan announced today does not cover entry into the main mine workings which is blocked by the rock fall.

“The Government cannot comment or speculate about re-entering the main mine until the tunnel re-entry has been successfully achieved,” Bridges said.

He said the process was “methodical” with Cabinet needing to be satisfied that the plan was safe, credible and financially viable.

Bridges emphasised that the funding was “in principle” and would be staged, so every step would be reassessed to check progress was being made.

All of the technology which would be used was not novel by international standards, he told reporters.

On entering the mine proper, Bridges said he was personally sceptical.

There had been fires, explosions and floods, so it was likely the environment would probably be highly unstable.

The reason the plan had taken so long was because it was a long time
to be satisfied that the plan was safe.

The plan would start in November. It was “overly optimistic” to think that it would be completed this year.

The $7.2 million figure was “more than credible” and was perhaps conservative Bridges said.

Weather could hold up the plan, with hundreds of helicopter flights required to drop materials into the mine.


I hope this can finally bring some closure for families who do not yet seem to have been able to find it


The families were frustrated by how long it had taken to this point.

”It has been a long time, it’s been an agonising wait. I don’t think they’ve been unrealistic at any point with their expectations.”

Some families believed a few bodies of those who died while fleeing the blast on November 19, 2010 might be retrieved from an unexplored 700-metre section of the tunnel.

The ‘Rage’ of the deputies!

There is not a lot I watch on the ABC here in Australia, though I am a big fan of The Gruen Transfer

But I think I am going to have to book in watching this!

For the record, (scroll to the bottom to see choice) I am the biggest fan of Julie Bishops’ choices, a big crowded house fan too!

On Saturday, for the first time ever, three members of Parliament will host the ABC’s revered music video program, rage.

For a 2013 election special, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop and Deputy Leader of the Greens Adam Bandt will take to Aunty’s tatty couch to share their 20 favourite songs with the nation.

Adam Bandt, Anthony Albanese and Julie Bishop on the rage couch. Adam Bandt, Anthony Albanese and Julie Bishop on the rage couch.

Her party may enjoy playing coy when it comes to certain things like policy costings, and judging from Bishop’s favourite ditties by the likes of Beyonce, Whitney Houston and U2, so too does she.

The 57-year-old with the stare as cool as Siberia is a closet sappy idealist according to Curtin University’s Professor of Cultural Studies Jon Stratton.

“There’s a certain romanticism about her choices. I have always thought of Julie Bishop as a hard woman but here we have Crowded House’s song Better Be Home Soon about yearning for a lover.

Barnaby Joyce tickles Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after a State of Origin touch rugby match at Parliament House.Barnaby Joyce tickles Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after a State of Origin touch rugby match at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Meares

“It’s the same with Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You. Although in Whitney’s case, it is the woman that is leaving and the strength of that song is found also in Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It). There’s an overwhelming sense here of women having to make decisions and move on with their lives.

Mr Albanese’s playlist, featuring The Smiths, The Pixies, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, is an homage to vintage alternative rock with a smattering of political undertones.

The inclusion of Midnight Oil’s Lucky Country is sure to raise a few eyebrows, given that Peter Garratt has now essentially left the ALP band.

Greens deputy leader and member for Melbourne Adam Bandt.Greens deputy leader and member for Melbourne Adam Bandt. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

“We’re all working on an easy way / Even when the debts are gone,” the former Federal MP sang in the early 80s anthem, which is an ode to being trapped by the working day and wanting a better life.

Albo’s despair and hope are the two themes which stand out in his playlist according to Professor Stratton.

“Anthony Albanese’s songs are very much about male anguish. The Go Between’s Lee Remick is about impossible love – of one being in love with a film star.

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop.Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop.

“Wide Open Road by The Triffids is the classic male Australian song of despair, with lyrics like, ‘How do you think it feels / Sleeping by yourself / When the one you love/ Is with someone else’,’’ he notes.

While their ideologies may be poles apart, Bishop and Albanese’s playlists both feature tracks by Hunters & Collectors.

Albo is a fan of the underground hit The Slab while Bishop enjoys swaying her arms along to the classic ballad Throw Your Arms Around Me.

“They are very different songs. The Slab is an expression of tortured masculinity. Whether it refers to cunnilingus can be debated, as we need to remember the track’s full title isBetty’s Worry Or The Slab. But it is most definitely a song of male anxiety; just listen to the lyrics, ‘Out here in the street / naked in front of God and everyone’,” Professor Stratton said.

“Julie Bishop’s song is another yearning lover song. What a romantic that woman must be under her hard exterior!”

If things don’t work out politically for Christine Milne’s right-hand-man, Adam Bandt should consider a career in radio programming.

His list of relatively unknown, indie and local tunes has a certain Triple J cool mentality about it.

“Adam has listed one of the great songs about living in Australia, which is The Go Betweens’ Cattle and Cane. He also has R.E.M.’s Fall On Me, which, like so many of their songs, has a certain drama about it,” Professor Stratton said.

R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe claimed the song is about human oppression. It’s also thought to be concerned with acid rain.

“It’s a good song for someone with concerns about workers’ rights and the environment,” Professor Stratton added.

He notes 41-year-old Mr Bandt is a “good time guy who is clearly of the rave generation” with electro rave and “white funk” songs such as The Chemical Brothers Star Guitar andGirlfriend Is Better by Talking Heads.

“O-U-T but no hard feelings / What do you know? / Take you away / We’re being taken for a ride again,” David Byrne, dressed in an ill-fitting gray suit, sang in the 1984 hit.

With lyrics like that Professor Stratton suggests this track may be Bandt’s theme song for the upcoming election.

What to expect from the politician’s rage playlists…

Julie Bishop:

Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce

Throw Your Arms Around Me – Hunters & Collectors

Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Better Be Home Soon – Crowded House

Anthony Albanese:

Lee Remick – The Go Betweens

Here Comes Your Man – The Pixies

The Slab – Hunters & Collectors

Lucky Country – Midnight Oil

Wide Open Road – The Triffids

Adam Bandt:

Fall On Me – R.E.M.

Girlfriend Is Better – Talking Heads

Soon – My Bloody Valentine

Cattle and Cane – The Go Betweens

No Cars Go – Arcade Fire

rage Election 2013 Special, ABC 1, from 10.30am and repeated again at 11.20pm on Saturday, August 31.

Read more:

Australia Sucks!

Well here is the scientific proof that Australia does suck! (at more than just the rugby anyway)

The world’s sea levels fell in 2011 and it’s all Australia’s fault.

New US research shows Australia’s dry soil and mountainous coastline soaked up heavy rainfall in 2010 and 2011 and stopped it from flowing back into the ocean.

That effectively halted a long-term trend of rising sea levels which have been caused by higher temperatures and melting ice sheets.

“No other continent has this combination of atmospheric set-up and topography,” scientist John Fasullo, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

“Only in Australia could the atmosphere carry such heavy tropical rains to such a large area, only to have those rains fail to make their way to the ocean.”

The world’s oceans have been rising in recent decades by around three millimetres every year.

This is partly because heat has caused water to expand, and partly because run-off from retreating glaciers and ice sheets has made its way into the oceans.

But for an 18-month period beginning in 2010, the oceans mysteriously dropped by about seven millimetres, more than offsetting the annual rise, the study says.

The US scientists say this was mainly caused by Australia’s uniquely dry soil and land surface.

While some of the water evaporated in the desert sun, much of it sank into the dry, granular soil of the Western Plateau or filled the Lake Eyre basin in the east.

Since 2011, sea levels have been rising at a faster pace of about ten millimetres per year.


Hardly puts an end to the climate change debate but does add to the thoughts that I have always had that there is some sort of balance in world climatic change. (I am not a ‘sceptic’ but I do like to see the science from all sides of the debate).

Penn and Teller show those who ignore science the truth about vaccinating


This is a great way of trying to convince those who ignore science the truth about vaccinations, of course chances are they will ignore this and keep relying on others to lower the incidence rates by vaccinating their kids. Makes me very angry!