Liz Truss Resigns

Uk Prime minister, Liz Truss said she will stay on as Prime Minister until a successor is chosen via a leadership election to be held within the next week.

In the wake of her resignation there were immediate calls for a general election.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader said: “The Conservative Party has shown it no longer has a mandate to govern.

In addition, Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey also called for a general election following the Prime Minister’s resignation.

“We don’t need another Conservative Prime Minister lurching from crisis to crisis,” he tweeted.

Truss was already in trouble as reported in this previous post

After just 39 days in the top job UK Prime minister, Liz Truss sacked her Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng and made her second major reversal of controversial policy.

Truss delivered a brief but composed statement from outside number 10, appearing somewhat unapologetic for the obvious turmoil her brief leadership had brought the UK and to the stability of global markets.

NZ News – Day from Hell for Jacinda


Shame On Mallard

A New Zealand court has today found that former Speaker, Trevor Mallard’s issuing of a trespass notice to New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters was “unreasonable and irrational”.

The court ruling was delivered hours before Mallard was due to deliver his valedictory speech to Parliament this afternoon.

Parliamentary Services made a polite mention of Mallard’s impending departure but didn’t provide any links to this afternoon’s proceedings.

It was noted that in the NZ Herald article published earlier today that although …

“Mallard quickly withdrew the trespass orders, which included not only Peters, but former ACT leader Rodney Hide, former Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox and NZ First List MP Darroch Ball” …

The Herald failed to include former National MP and leader of the newly formed DemocracyNZ Party, Matt King who was first to raise the issue publicly when he received his trespass notice.

Peters later said, he initially thought it was a prank, following his visit to the Parliamentary Protest in February, however was today quoted as saying …

“Mr Mallard has never demonstrated any understanding of the most fundamental elements of diplomacy itself, and it’s important.”

Mr Peters, a former Foreign Affairs Minister was obviously drawing attention to the contentious circumstances of Trevor Mallard’s appointment as the next Ambassador to Ireland following Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern’s, “Titanic Reshuffle” earlier this year.

In the High Court ruling released today, Justice Cheryl Gwyn says, “Mallard accepts that the warning was an unjustified limitation on Peters’ right to freedom of movement.”

Adrian Rurawhe

While Adrian Rurawhe, as the newly appointed Speaker had been harsh in his criticism having been forced to issue an apology from parliament for Mallard’s latest transgression, Deputy Prime minister Grant Robertson was somewhat nonchalant about his colleagues position, saying

“It was generally accepted Mallard went outside his powers to trespass Peters. The general view I think around here [parliament] was that, that was a step too far,”

The timing of today’s court decision added to what was already a day from Hell, for Prime minister Jacinda Ardern, with a nationalwide tractor protest and her Labour Party expelling rogue MP Gustav Sharma whose resignation has triggered a by-election in the Hamilton West electorate.

With the utter contempt that Ardern has shown towards the High Court she could not have expected any less than what was obviously deliberate timing by the court in the delivery of today’s judgment.

FENZ Negotiations go up in flames again

On the same day Groundswell NZ held their latest “We’re Not Going to Take It nationwide protest the NZPFU (Professional Firefighters Union) has issued four notices of 1-hour stoppages for next month.

The first to be held on Friday 4th November 2022.

The notified strikes are for one-hour full stoppages of work from 11am to 12 noon on:

  • Friday 4 November
  • Monday 7 November
  • Friday 11 November a
  • Monday 14 November

Wattie Watson

The NZPFU and FENZ have been in bargaining for 16 months and FENZ, “are yet to put up a reasonable offer for settlement” said National Secretary, Wattie Watson in a statement issued late this afternoon.

Recently the parties have been in a mediated facilitation process with former Employment Court Judge, Graeme Colgan.  Mr Colgan’s report with recommendations for the settlement of the collective agreement negotiations is embargoed until 5pm tomorrow (Friday 21 October 2022). 

The NZPFU has previously said, they believe there is a solid foundation of principles in the report to reach a fair and reasonable settlement. 

Despite attempts pre-the release of the report to organise a meeting to discuss the party’s respective views of the embargoed report, FENZ has refused to meet with the NZPFU before the 27th October, 2022.

“FENZ needs to front up to that meeting with a proposal for settlement that embraces the principles in Colgan’s report.” Said, Watson

According to the NZPFU, the report provides for a fair and reasonable settlement that also addressed claims, that were not canvassed in the report.

NZPFU members will not tolerate any further delaying tactics or any inadequate response from FENZ. 

“As the first strike does not occur until after the 27th October 2022 meeting, the ball is firmly in FENZ’s court to act on the report and get the deal done.” Said, Watson

Groundswell Protest

The New Zealand Groundswell protests began in July 2021, following in the style of European protests – something not previously seen in New Zealand.

Shane Ardern Protesting “Fart Tax” 2003

Former MP farmers had however driven tractors up the steps of parliament to draw attention to farming issues – a tradition dating back to last century.

The Howl of a Protest campaign involved a series of protests throughout the country that occurred on the 16 July 2021.

Groundswell Kerikeri Protest

Organised by the farming advocacy group in opposition to the Government’s new and proposed freshwater regulations, winter grazing rules, indigenous biodiversity regulations, and vehicle emissions feebate scheme.

(Now former) Opposition Leader (at the time) Judith Collins

Labelled the “Ute tax” the feebate scheme was particularly contentious among farmers, tradepersons and the agricultural sector since it proposed adding a fee up to $5,000 to motor vehicles with high emissions in order to fund electric vehicle subsidies.

No Farms – No Food/Support our Farmers, were common protest signs in the cities where locals rallied behind the visiting spectacle.

The Mother of All Protests involved a series of nationwide protests led by Groundswell throughout the country on 21 November 2021, in some 70 cities and towns but didn’t muster the turnout of the previous protest.

  • The protest occurred during the contentious lockdown instituted by the Ardern Government while their administration rolled out its pandemic response.
  • Controversy had arisen around the nature of some of the signage from the previous protest.
  • internal divisions had arisen with animosity to some subgroups with additional protest agendas not supported by the Groundswell leadership.
  • Tensions caused disruption to the Wairarapa protest and apart from Dargaville, the cancellation of the Northland protests, some of whom joined the Whangārei protest.
Outside Labour’s Whangārei Office

One inventive Northland couple took their protest to the Kelvin Davis’ Northland Electorate Office and setup a footpath farm.

Today’s We’re Not Going To Take It protest is the first protest since, although Groundswell has been active in its continuing opposition to government policies.

Hostages to Hypocrisy

As New Zealand looks at some form of post pandemic inquiry (the prospect of which is raised again and this time by the country’s compromised and conflicted prime minister) there is little to suggest that it would be anything more substantial than a self-serving institution for our “Queen of Denial” … and her imploding administration.

Temerity by the truckload, though – you have to give them that, as they are not about to admit to any errors of judgment or procedure that would jeopardise Ardern’s post prime ministersterial prospects or acknowledge at the ‘very least’ anyone else’s human falibility.

That’s a donkey in this developing global complexity that is frustrating other administrations, not only our domestic governance.

While New Zealand, along with most of our Pacific neighbours are endeavouring to find the pathway back to normality and a functional global world, our Dependency of Tokelau struggles from crisis to crisis with its resistance to their invisible plague.

The Tokelau story is canvassed in some detail here, mainly due to the expired house arrests imposed on residents who refused mandatory covid jabs.

These Pacific atolls have supposedly remained covid free to date through their isolation and strict border control but not without the numerous consequences seen in New Zealand such as a depleted health system, employment disputes, and compromised human rights.

The particular circumstances around one family, the Patelesio family on Nukunono Atoll have highlighted the necessity for everyone to be vigilant about the defence of human rights. Although their house arrests were recently resolved, access to medical care, education, and legal representation resemble circumstances more along the lines of what is currently occurring in Iran but without the obvious bloodshed.

Don Higgins

This is where it gets interesting … with our NZ Administrator to Tokelau, Don Higgins, pictured above onboard the freight boat Kalopaga, headed to Tokelau from Apia in Samoa to attend the General Fono (Tokelau’s collective government above the Atoll Taupalenga or individual village councils).

A special someone who is coming from the tainted outside world, bypassing the strict quarantine station guarded by police (similar to the NZ experience) to attend a government meeting.

It’s not the only such circumstance that’s been relayed to me recently and I’ve been hesitant to aggrevate these ongoing issues while the fledgling nation ‘supposedly’ works its way through reintergration.

But … there are residents in Tokelau still subject to what you might call antivaxer prejudice, who have been subjected to “serious long term abuse” … who want to abandon their developing nation or at least get their children out of that hostile environment, if not themselves.

They can’t. They are prisoners to their own legal emergency.

Tokelau descendants (more of whom reside in New Zealand than the 1500 or so who occupy the atolls) are after all still NZ citizens outside of Tokelau, even if their administration is working towards a greater independence similar to the free association of the Cook Islands.

This piece of hypocrisy as you can well imagine is likely to raise the ire of the most patient among them.

To be fair, they should be able to look to our example and replicate our standards of good governance. The opposite is happening. They are failing to a greater extent as their population are prisoner’s to their Pacific isolation and do not have the ability to protest their freedom.

That on the other hand, is the example we in New Zealand should look to, and realise it is a situation, we do not want to be a bigger version of.

Gustav Sharma

Updated 20 October: Expulsion and By-election details.

This morning Labour’s NZ Council has met and expelled, Gaurav Sharma from the NZ Labour Party.

His expulsion is effective immediately.

The Electoral Commission has announced details of the by-election resulting from Dr Sharma’s resignation from Parliament.

Original Post:

As per Dr Sharma’s Facebook Page

A Labour Party panel last week recommended to the party’s governing body (the New Zealand Council) that I be expelled from the Party as a member. I have also been advised that the Prime Minister and the Party plan to invoke the Waka Jumping rule 6 months before the next General Election to remove me from Parliament which will ensure there is no need for a by-election. I have sincere concerns that this underhanded move will mean people of Hamilton West will have no voice in Parliament for 6 months preceding the next General Election.

As such I have decided to resign from Parliament pre-empting Labour’s next step. This will trigger a by-election, giving the people of Hamilton an opportunity to not lose their democratic rights of having a voice in Parliament by underhanded tactics of the government and the Labour Party.

As all of you know 2 months ago I raised some serious concerns re the behaviour of Parliamentary Service and Labour Whips in not only bullying me but many other MPs. Instead of investigating my claims, the Labour Caucus threw me under the bus and tried to spin a story that I was the one bullying my staff (which I continue to say is not true) to discredit me.

The Labour Party told me to stop talking to the media, advised me to say that I had a mental health breakdown which would give me a passage to return back to their camp. Despite having written to Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff in December 2021 with my concerns, providing screenshots of many MPs who had also been bullied, the Labour Party and the Prime Minister completely side-lined the issue.

As I continued to ask for an independent investigation against both the bullying against me, and the fabricated claims by Labour that I bullied my staff, the Prime Minister organised a secret predetermined meeting on 15th August to suspend me from the Labour Caucus. In a 55 minute tape a senior Labour MP repeatedly mentioned the pre determination of this meeting and said that Jacinda Ardern does not want an investigation as it will uncover other things that she doesn’t want in the spotlight.

A few days after this meeting I was expelled from the Labour Caucus as the party realised I was not going to back down from asking for an independent and fair investigation. I was advised by Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood that not only will Labour destroy my political career they will discredit me and ruin my medical career too. Since then Minister Michael Wood and other Ministers have been calling event organisers advising them to cancel invitations extended to me.

Following my expulsion from the Labour Caucus, the New Zealand Labour Party appointed a three person panel to decide whether I had brought the party into disrepute. Right from the beginning I raised concerns about this panel as 2 out of 3 of its members (the General Secretary and the Vice President) were party of my expulsion meeting from Caucus, meaning they were already tainted in their views. It’s like having a jury at a trial which has already been part of another trial you were in. Labour Party’s own ‘Procedure for Investigating Cases of Alleged Misconduct’ guideline specifically states in section 7.1 that “The Committee members must be selected to avoid both actual bias and the appearance of bias, either for or against the respondent.” There are 24 people on Labour Party’s governing body (the New Zealand Council) but for its three member panel they still chose two people who had already been part of my Caucus expulsion meeting.

In addition to this the terms of reference deliberately limited the panel from looking into any of the allegations I had made. Instead the panel in its report concluded that by releasing screenshots (of anonymous MPs) I had brought the party into disrepute. Instead of appreciating that the content of the screenshots show multiple other MPs felt bullied, the sole focus of the panel was to blame me for unveiling these issues. They also concluded that it was ok for the PM to make statements against me but not ok for me to defend myself. In addition to this they tried to use the spin that I have allegedly bullied my staff as another point against me, despite no investigation being done by the Parliamentary Service or the Labour Caucus re this – I have repeatedly asked for an independent investigation into this.

The panel of three people wrote to the Labour Party’s governing body last week recommending that I be removed as a member of the party. I had met up with this panel a few weeks ago. I also met with the rest of the NZ Council on Saturday 15th October (last Saturday).

Just how MPs of the Labour Caucus have been talking to me in private often leaking information, the members of Labour’s governing council have also been in touch with me re the course of action Labour is going to take. I was advised that because I have become a thorn in Labour’s backside by continually raising issues in the House, Labour plans to take a step by step approach to sideline me. After suspending me and then expelling me from Caucus, and soon removing from the Party as a member, the next step will be the invoking of Waka Jumping rule to remove me from Parliament.

But given the current state of affairs, Labour and the PM were going to wait until the next year to invoke this rule 6 months before the General Election so that a by-election does not have to take place in Hamilton West. This is another way of silencing me but also stifling democracy by taking away the voice of people of Hamilton West.

Based on this information and after spending time in the electorate talking to my constituents since I wrote my Op-Ed in August, I have decided to resign. This will unfortunately trigger a by-election but it means that instead of being without an MP for 6 months as Labour wants, the people of Hamilton will be able to elect an MP to continue to represent them.

The reason I have had to resign is to prevent Labour from taking away the voice of Hamilton West by invoking Waka Jumping 6 months before the General Election. Labour will now try to spin my decision by talking about the cost of the by-election.

But before they do that here are a few things to ask the Labour Party:

  1. Labour’s own MP Paul Eagle has been getting paid from taxpayers purse while running as a Mayoral candidate. He also used the MP funding to send a letter to 20,000 houses in Rongotai asking for what local issues mattered the most to people – this was within days of announcing his bid for Mayoralty. Not only this, if Paul had won, a by-election would have been triggered in the Rongotai electorate for MP.
  2. Over the years many Labour MPs have triggered by-elections for one reason or another – in fact Labour MP David Shearer resigning and triggering a by-election is how Jacinda Ardern won the Mt Albert electorate seat in 2017.
  3. Since stepping down as the Speaker Trevor Mallard has been sitting in the House with no Select Committee duties, no Bills to speak on, no constituent work. In the last 2 months he has been paid well over $25,000 to just enjoy his retirement. Soon he will be on the gravy train to be the Ambassador of NZ to Ireland. And don’t forget he is on the old Parliament contract which means he gets free business class flights for life.
  4. Also a quick remind of government’s failed recent spending
  • $51m spent on axed Auckland harbour cycling bridge project
    $500k in office rent paid after Auckland cycle crossing canned
  • $66 million on Dominion Rd Light Rail report – $44million out of this is on external consultants
  • $350 million on TVNZ/RNZ merger
  • $200 million on Te Pukenga botched polytech reform

I will be running as a candidate in the by-election because I do want to send a message to the government that you can’t silence the voice of the common man – you have tried to shut me up at every avenue but I will continue to fight and stand up – for myself, for my constituents and for people of this country.

Concurrently with the by-election, my intention is to launch a new centrist party with focus on outcomes and action rather than on ideologies. In my dealings with the Labour Whips and the Party at large the one thing that has constantly stayed with me are the words of Labour Whip Duncan Webb who repeatedly said that “the party comes before the country.” I beg to differ on this, as these echo chambers are why we are struggling with progress in many sectors. In order for New Zealand to forge ahead it is important that we place our country before the party.

These are not easy decisions but given the numerous areas where government has failed us it is important that we hold our government (of any colour) accountable. I will publish more details about the new party in due course.

Watch this space.

NZ First Conference

Notable events of the weekend included the NZ First Conference in Christchurch.

With attendance said to be around 80 people, it is questionable as to whether Winston is on the comeback, as he says.

Social media hasn’t been charitable towards the suggestion that NZ First might form part of the next government.

The only party to rule out working with Winston is the newly registered DemocracyNZ.

In his usual flamboyant style Peters gave the media something to swing on, with predictions that NZ First would be kingmaker once again after a snap election.

“The third… most successful party in this country is a party called New Zealand First and next election we’re going to prove it,” he said. “Now, next election – when I say that, I don’t mean next November – it’s whenever they fly a yellow flag… when they give up.”

An obvious dig at the ACT Party and the Green Party, after NZ First was punished at the polls in 2020 (losing their place in Parliament) when they descended below the 5% threshold, receiving only 2.6% voter support.

“We can easily be depicted as an irrelevant party, but there’s great virtue in being a party of contrarians.” Said Shane Jones, in the closing address at the conference, no doubt aware that Sunday’s social media was not going to be his friend either.

In the irony that politics often is Peters is reported by his favorite political editor, Jo Moir, as saying:

[Winston Peters] He isn’t reading too much into the centre-right swing at a local government level, but says “political parties preparing for next year’s election need to start listening to voters”.

It has to be acknowledged that Peters is the come back king after NZ First was voted out of parliament in 2008 and back in again in 2011

While the chances of NZ First re-entering parliament are far less likely this time a campaign against co-governance is beneficial to the political audience.

Much Fuss about Truss

After just 39 days in the top job UK Prime minister, Liz Truss has sacked her Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng and made her second major reversal of controversial policy.

Following market panic and growing disquiet in her own government, Truss issued a statement reversing planned cuts to business tax supossedly aimed at boosting growth, claiming they had moved “further and faster” than markets were expecting.

“I’m absolutely determined to see through what I promised – to deliver higher growth, and a more prosperous United Kingdom, to see us though the storm we face.”

Lizz Truss October 14, 2022

Truss has attracted criticism from many quarters with Opposition parties calling for a general election and shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves saying, a new government led by Labour is “what this country needs”.

Following her statement, Truss took questions from journalists, all of whom asked her why she had not departed with her Chancellor.

Journalists were left with unanswered questions, however.

“I want to be honest, this is difficult.” Truss said, before leaving abruptly.

Tory MPs raised calls for the prime minister’s resignation following her news conference with one senior backbencher labelling the fuss “a mega disaster”.

Support from the Prime minister’s supporters so far has been sluggish with a Scottish MP saying the statement from Truss made former PM Theresa May’s “worst speech look like the Gettysburg Address”.

Truss has appointed former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (who had backed Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest) as her new chancellor saying, Sunak shared her vision for the country and would “deliver a statement on her economic plan at the end of this month.”

That may have bought Truss some much needed breathing space and avoided both the calls for her resignation and the embarrassment of Tory MPs ousting another prime minister in record time … for the moment.

Fire Strike Continues

The NZPFU (Professional Firefighters Union) will resume industrial action from 0800 hours tomorrow morning. [Sat 15th October]

“The resumption of the strike action does not affect emergency response in any way.” Wattie Watson, National Secretary for the NZPFU said, in a statement issued late today.

The type of bans on work and policies do not impact on the public.  The NZPFU believes it is necessary to keep pressure on FENZ to get back around the table to get a collective agreement settled.

The NZPFU and FENZ received, Graeme Colgan’s  final Report with recommendations for the way forward in collective agreement negotiations this afternoon. (Fri Oct 14)  The report was the result of a mediated facilitation process agreed with the Minister, Jan Tinetti.

The NZPFU believes there is a solid foundation of principles in the report to reach a fair and reasonable settlement.  The NZPFU National Committee is to meet tomorrow morning to discuss the report in detail and to finalise the union’s position on the way forward and will hold NZPFU membership meetings virtually on Sunday to update its members.

The NZPFU has tried to pre-organise a meeting with FENZ for this coming week to discuss the parties’ respective positions on The Report. FENZ says it can not meet before 27 October, 2022. 

“We are very disappointed that FENZ is still not making bargaining a priority.” Said, Watson.

Public release of the report is embargoed until Friday 21 October 2022.

War in Ukraine

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday (12 Oct) overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s “attempted annexation” of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine and called on all countries not to recognize the move, strengthening a diplomatic international isolation of Moscow since it invaded its neighbour.

A close up of the voting readout shown on the bh screen in the General Assembly shows each member countries position.

5 voting against the resolution and 35 abstaining.

I can understand those countries directly involved with Russia in some way electing not to take sides and abstain from the vote but South Africa has me puzzled.

In other curly questions we ask ourselves today, does the proposed bug Industry have legs?