The Sludge Report #5
NZ Joins The Wrong Side In Sierra Leone - Sludge Discovers Terrorist Tendencies - Maori Spectrum - Is This Partnership? - Maori Fisheries - Collision Warning - Is Trevor Getting Paranoid? - West Coast Logging - Government Gets Worst Of All Worlds - On Small GE Victory A Softly Softly Approach Is Taken By Greens
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NZ Joins The Wrong Side In Sierra Leone
New Zealand has, according to the Minister of Defence, deployed two of its troops to the combat theatre in Sierra Leone under British Control. The UK unit operating in Sierra Leone are the special forces unit the Paras. It stands to reason that the NZ personnel are likely to be SAS though whether this is so will also certainly not be confirmed or denied. No doubt Sir Robin Cook would advise otherwise but sludge would have thought that if New Zealand was going to become involved militarily in Sierra Leone it would have been better to be doing so under the auspices of the United Nations than under the wing of a former African colonial power?
Sludge Discovers Terrorist Tendencies
Meanwhile, while we are on the subject of the UK's impenetrable security apparatus, PM Helen Clark is off to discover the meaning of the "Third Way" in Germany with Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. Back at home Deputy Labour leader Michael Cullen is very quick to dismiss Ken Livingstone - Blair's nemesis - as being recently "underground". Sludge reckons this would give Livingstone some affinity with Sludge and consequently is rapidly becoming a Livingstone fan. Livingstone's party New Labour - (the New Zealand party of the same name has recently resolved to extinguish itself) has an interesting web site at www.new-labour.com containing a test to discover whether you are a terrorist under the Blair Government's proposed new bill constraining political freedoms. Surprise, surprise. The test is worth doing. Maybe you are a terrorist so far as Tony Blair is concerned too!
Maori Spectrum - Is This Partnership?
Breasts were beaten loudly in Parliament yesterday decrying the preferential treatment granted Maori in the upcoming 2Ghz spectrum auction. Sludge would simply like to observe that the discount amounts to 5-10% of 25% that is between 1.2% and 2.5% of the total proceeds. If the total sale proceeds are $200 million this would mean $5 million more on top of the $5 million already granted to a trust to assist the "Pan Maori" (which is by the way an oxymoron - see next item) group is getting to establish the trust. Sludge is rather surprised that the Labour Caucus and Maori Lobby has been so easily pacified and is not of the view that this will do much to close the much decried gaps.
Maori Fisheries - Collision Warning
Meanwhile the Treaty Tribes are calling on the government to legislate an end to the long-running dispute over the distribution of Maori Fishing Settlement assets. The problem here is legislate what? The, at present ascendent, Fisheries Commissioner Shane Jones is keen on an aggregated commercial corporate model for a settlement with Iwi given shares in an organisation which would be run sort of like an SOE. This however is not what others want. The coastal Iwi after being denied their commercial rights for so long want to have control over the quota - for obvious reasons - not the least being a spiritual attachment to their waters. Just like the West Coast Logging dispute the government is caught firmly in the middle, and this time their inclinations are equally schizoid. On the one hand there are John Tamihere and Nanaia Mahuta who would appear to be natural allies of the Shane Jones mob. On the other there is Dover Samuels (Nga Puhi) and Mita Ririnui (Ngai Tahu) who might take a different view. Meanwhile whatever happens Ngai Tahu will almost certainly litigate anyway. Getting out of this pickle may prove just as difficult for the Labour/Alliance government as has the debacle of the Timberlands Rimu contracts.
Is Trevor Getting Paranoid?
Heard In Parliament during question time yesterday. The following is paraphrased.
Trevor Mallard - I object to the Leader of the Opposition describing the member as racist.
Jenny Shipley - I most certainly did not use those words. I was mouthing to Mr Mallard "You are just crazy".
Bill English - Mr Speaker - the member accused the leader of being a lying word beginning with b that is unparliamentary!
Speaker - did you?
Mallard - yes
Speaker - then stand withdraw and apologise.
Mallard - I withdraw and apologise.
West Coast Logging - Government Gets Worst Of All Worlds
Following its carefully crafted compromise on the Rimu contracts the Labour/Alliance government has now found itself in the worst possible position. The Green's and the NFA will continue to protest continued logging through to March 2002. Meanwhile Timberlands will remain in action and able to cause trouble for the same period of time. Then just as it all comes to an end - we are back in election year. And for the next two years the government are the bad guys on both side. As Gordon Campbell's article in the Listener observed, this has become an object lesson in how not to cancel a native logging contract.
GE Victory Softly Softly Approach Taken By Greens
Also in question time yesterday a question from ACT to Research and Science Minister Pete Hodgson received a surprising answer. Yes, Mr Hodgson agreed, it was true that he had instructed the science purchasing bodies to make their decisions consistent with the moratorium on genetic experiments. Whether the Greens are not crowing about this more loudly because they are skeptical about what it will mean in practice, or because they don't want to upset increasingly frazzled government allies is not clear. It does show however that Mr Hodgson and the Government are beginning to respond to the pressure on this highly charged issue.
Sludge Report # 5 - Compiled by - C.D. Sludge - Friday, May 12, 2000
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0005/S00057.htm Sludge Report #3 - The Linda And Helen Show
c Sludge 2000