News to bemuse from the last week in politics…
WTF – Week of April 21
- So National environment spokesperson Nick Smith has once again been attacking the Government’s credibility on climate change : “Every one of its policies, from the negotiated greenhouse gas agreements, and the projects to reduce emissions, to the animal emissions levy, the carbon tax, and its solar water heating grant scheme, have failed….” Right. Isn’t that at least partly due to National being sunk in climate change denial for the past decade, including fiercely opposing both the carbon tax and animal emissions levy….and what has that done for National’s credibility on climate change ?
- The ANZ feels upbeat about its decision to shift 800 New Zealand jobs to its call centre in Bangalore, in what it calls “ the next step in its wider business transformation.” A step that will allegedly benefit ANZ customers by increasing the “work window” – while being good for ANZ National’s bottom line as well. So much so the bank plans on shifting 1 % of its entire Kiwi work force to ANZ Bangalore this year, and 5 % next year. And what about the workers ? Well, the ANZ plans to re-deploy them elsewhere within its ANZ”s New Zealand operations over the next 18 months and let natural attrition do the rest : “[So] none of our staff need to lose their job.” Interesting distinction. The ANZ isn’t saying the affected staff will not lose their job, but that they “need not.” Depending on whose needs come first.
- Back into the fire. During the fallout from the Iranian revolution in 1979, the New Zealand consulate in Teheran – and Chris Beeby, its envoy on the spot – became a crucial diplomatic lifeline for several countries. History may be about to repeat. Part of Winston Peters’ major $621 Budget boost for MFAT over the next five years includes plans to strengthen our consular outpost in Teheran : “to allow a greater level of engagement with Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Lets hope the enhanced presence is dedicated to being independent and fostering better relations with Iran – the emerging power in the region, largely thanks to the US bungling in Iraq – and not to serving as a better listening post for our very, very good friends in Washington.
- Despite the voting frauds of 2000 and 2004, the Republicans still seem intent on skewing the election process this year as well. A House bill aimed at funding those states seeking to switch away from the problem-plagued electronic voting machines back to paper balloting got defeated after the White House sent out a press release on the eve of the vote, opposing the measure. The bill, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, went down to defeat in the House 239-178, with 223 Democrats in favor and 176 Republican opposed. According to the Bill’s Democrat sponsor, Rep. Rush Holt, the White House intervention turned the bill into a partisan issue.
- Winston Peters made his usual positive contribution last Thursday to Question Time, dropping this pearl into the midst of Maori MPs who were seeking to convince Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton that Maori really didn’t need any advice from Pakeha about how to practice sustainable fishing : Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Minister agree that perhaps one of the best examples of traditional and universal adherence to sustainability practices has not always been followed, given the unknown whereabouts of the moa?
Madam SPEAKER: I am not sure that is entirely relevant to ministerial responsibility.
Hon JIM ANDERTON: I will bow to the superior knowledge of the Minister on that matter.