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Molesworth & Featherston In The Loop

Molesworth & Featherston In The Loop

Lobby Edition March 3 2005

The Lobby Edition of Molesworth & Featherston is a condensed and complimentary edition of the Governor’s Edition, published on Tuesday. This week’s Lobby Edition includes excerpts from our exclusive rolling average poll of polls, the sour Beehive reaction to a union campaign for pay rises, Peachey over-eggs pudding, Air NZ slackens its drug testing rules, the world diplomatic community erases New Zealand from its maps, the Herald gets a special award in our big bundle of media gossip and the newest edition of our satirical peek into a certain leader’s diary…all that plus many, many reminders about how to send us money.

Labour Lead Holding Up

Our exclusive poll of poll shows no significant erosion of Labour’s lead since the year started.

With Friends Like This

It was echoes of the Hurricane Brash TV documentary all over again when National leader Don Brash’s new approved biography hit the shops this week. Penned by loyal National party candidate and former John Banks and Phil Goff press secretary Paul Goldsmith, it was hoped it would provide a fillip for the party leader but instead the planned hagiography seems to have backfired, much as the fly-on-the-wall doco did. It has caused some close to him to say it paints the picture of an obsessive compulsive rather than a man of the people. Perhaps inadvertently Paul Goldsmith has done him no favours.

Mentioned In This Week's Governor's Edition

This week’s list of people who would never expect to be mentioned in the same sentence, and most likely never will be again: Jim Anderton, Helen Clark, Don Brash, John Banks, Phil Goff, Paul Goldsmith, Margaret Wilson, Russell Fairbrother, Michael Cullen, Lianne Dalziel, Dame Silvia Cartwright, Jim Sutton, Trevor Mallard, Prince Charles, Camilla

Economics and Political Intelligence

Parker-Bowle, Andrew Little, Paul Tolich, Mike Smith, Lynne Pillay, Sue Bradford, Ian Ewen-Street, Catherine Delahunty, Allan Peachey, Jane Phare, Peter van Schardenburg, Brendan Hopkins, Alistair Bone, Mark Revington, Robyn Langwell, Barry Colman, Nicola Young, Sue Elliott, Nicola Barnes. There are full details of our updated rolling average poll of polls. We pick over the Cabinet agenda and a busy week outside the House. A union campaign for five percent pay rises gets no backing from the PM, and Air NZ gets set to soften its drug-testing stance. Eyebrows are raised over claims in books about the National party’s leader and one of its star recruits. Bankers get in a knot over trans-Tasman regulation, the Crown cashflow accounts show the finance minister is swimming in readies. There’s plenty of media tattle, New Zealand gets wiped off the world map and the newest edition of our satirical look into a leader’s diary… You can only get all this in the Governor’s Edition of Molesworth & Featherston. If you want to read it all every week, you need to upgrade to the Governor’s Edition.

Let The Eat Welfare!

Prime Minister Helen Clark’s dismissive reaction to possible strikes over the union movement’s five percent pay push, led by the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, is odd given the EPMU is one of the Labour Party’s staunchest supporters. (Did she really think this was a one union band that was playing?) It clearly got up the union leadership’s nose, too, that she sent a clear signal the Working for Families package should be seen as an offsetting payment – she said she hoped it would be taken into account - to any pay rise. The union’s view is that pay setting is independent of any state welfare policy or (National party?) tax cut plans. Admittedly, the prime minister’s view is a strange logic to grasp. Are we being told the Government will tax everyone and give targeted assistance to some – especially the low paid with families – and that should be taken into account during pay talks, presumably through lower settlements than would otherwise be the case? Surely with a higher wage settlement the Government would get more tax, pay less in family assistance as workers earned more, would see pay rates that were more attractive on the international marketplace and could then afford to take less revenue from taxpayers, including companies?

However, it is a bit rich for the EPMU to bleat too loudly. Last time we looked its secretary Andrew Little chaired Labour’s affiliates council, staffer Paul Tolich was a Wellington regional Labour rep and occasionally sits in on Labour caucus meetings, and Labour secretary Mike Smith is not unknown to the EPMU either … not to mention that Lynne Pillay, a former organiser, is a Labour MP. If between them they can’t get a favourable hearing at the top table, they must be doing something wrong.

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Peachy Keen

All is not Peachey at Rangitoto College, it seems. Whispers from the staff room of the nation’s largest secondary school say that never-bashful Allan Peachey (National’s candidate in the Tamaki seat) may have gilded the lily a little in his about-to-be-released book, What’s Up With Our Schools in order to make a point... Staff say that while it is true that members of the faculty have sat outside tinny houses to prevent students from entering, they can’t actually remember Mr Peachey himself ever doing it. Never mind Allan – the naysayers are probably members of the teachers’ unions that are holding the Labour Government to ransom.

P'raps He Should Be Sitting Outside The Airport

Air New Zealand is expected today to reveal a softening of its position on workplace drugs testing. Last year the national carrier became embroiled in a court case with unions over whether it had the right to require workers to submit to urine-based drugs test. A full bench of the Employment Court ruled that random drugs testing was unlawful, but said that the company could use drugs testing in some safety-sensitive areas. Those tests would have to be done under strict conditions developed in consultation with the unions, the court said. The case was the first test of the legality of workplace drugs testing, and set the parameters under which drug and alcohol tests could be carried out.

Media Tattle

Spin of the Week Award goes to the New Zealand Herald for the enterprising way in which it managed to turn a readership loss of 13,000 (as we reported last week) into a positive story. Last Thursday, under the heading “Herald stays ahead of the pack” it said that it had “strengthened its lead in readership among the country’s metropolitan newspapers.”

The Herald’s argument was that while metropolitan newspaper readership was falling, the Herald had retained a greater share of that readership than had any other paper. At least that’s what we think it was saying. The paper did acknowledge in the sixth par that its average daily readership in Auckland had “a fall of just 4000 year-on-year”, but recovered by saying that its 399,000 readers in the City of Sails were “unmatched by any other print, television or radio news outlet.” News that Christchurch’s daily newspaper, the Fairfax-owned Press, had actually recorded a growth in readership was buried near the bottom of the story, after the usual plugs for APN’s The Aucklander and Herald on Sunday. Speaking of which, our prediction that the HOS’s two weekend magazines would not reemerge from their silly-season slumber appears to be coming true. Sunday Life and View continue to run as one magazine with two mastheads at the end of February, and a peek inside shows the fragrant Jane Phare as sole editor. Whatever can have happened to Peter van Schardenburg, enticed from the Sunday Star-Times to edit View? Meanwhile, APN is predicting continued earnings growth, with net profits in the year to December growing from $A103 million to $A128 million. Such profits can only be enhanced by the recent announcement that branch office staff are no longer entitled to put lunch on out-of-town jobs down as expenses. ACP Media has bought free weekly magazine The Car Dealer and its associated website, adding to its purchase of Autobuy and Car websites earlier this year. PR firm Porter Novelli’s Wellington office of Nicola Young, Sue Elliott and Nicola Barnes have set up a new practice sharing offices as Communications Chambers. Well respected in Wellington for her lobbying skills, Ms Young is hunting the National party nomination for Rongotai.

Don's Diary

We note that this recent satirical addition to our coverage has been criticised elsewhere for not being funny and not being original. Whether it is funny or not is really a matter of taste. But we would point out that it is definitely original because it is written by the same people who wrote the original, which our critics think this is a copy off. If that makes sense. 4.15AM 24 Feb

Woke sweating from nightmare. Launch of my biography gatecrashed by Cullen. Every time I began to speak, he got in first with exactly what I was going to say. Unable to sleep so got up and vacuumed garage floor. Then polished “the beast”, as Je Lan calls our tidy Toyota Camry. 9.05AM 25 Feb Another nightmare. Vacuumed lounge and sucked pattern out of the carpet. Je Lan very quiet over dinner, didn’t eat all her peas. Carpet was her choice but I never liked the speckled pattern because you couldn’t tell the dirt from the dots. 10.30PM 26 Feb Home all day, waiting for courier with first copies of biography. Worrying call from Goldsmith after lunch. Wanted to check quote about me agreeing to lead party to defeat in 2005 to make way for Bill’s second coming in 2008. Confirmed that’s what I said, but only as a joke. 11.00AM 27 Feb Still no sign of book but Jonathan Milne in Herald on Sunday says it portrays me as “a man prone to mood extremes and behaviour verging on the compulsive”. Rubbish. Vacuumed garage floor, polished Beast, sliced and Gladwrapped cornbeef, counted out peas ready for dinner. 7.30PM 27 Feb Distinctly recalled counting out 80 peas (20 per corned beef slice x 2). But at dinner there were 57 peas on my plate alone - 28.5pps (peas per slice), well outside the tolerable variance of plus/minus 0.75%. Je Lan said she is sick of corned beef and peas every night. It’s not that we can’t afford potatoes. She doesn’t understand that corned beef and peas was the working model for the MCI (Monetary Conditions Index) — my revolutionary method of automating the cash rate setting. With corned beef as interest rates and peas representing the currency, potatoes would have added to inflation, which is what we were trying to avoid.

8.00PM 28 Feb Je Lan out for dinner. Bored so, for a change, polished the garage and vacuumed the beast.

Fine Print

The Lobby Edition of Molesworth & Featherston is a complimentary, condensed version of the Governor’s Edition, published on Tuesday. You can subscribe to the Lobby Edition and find back issues on our website: You may forward this copy, but if you wish to forward it for commercial gain, you must make an agreement with us first. Copyright remains with the publishers. Molesworth & Featherston is published jointly by Inhouse Media Limited and Sugar Media Limited.

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