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News Worthy, 19 May 2006 - No. 73

News Worthy

19 May 2006 - No. 73


The leakage of highly sensitive commercial information by a Messenger in the Prime Minister’s Office to his friend in Telecom has been dismissed by the Prime Minister as the work of a “low-level employee”.

That completely misses the point. Those of a military background will know that the cardinal principles of document security are captured in the phrases “need to hold” and “need to know”.

Here we have a circumstance where a Messenger should never have had access to such significant material.

Throwing open the prison doors – Isaiah Chapter 42:7

Labour has a plan to release a third of prisoners. This is to be done against the background of a significant increase in crime.

Last year, violent crime went up by 7%. Within that figure, grievous assaults were up 13%, homicides up 27%, intimidation and threats up 11%, robberies up 12% and serious assaults up 7%. Overall, violent crime has increased 16% since 2000. That is not a record to be proud of.

The reparation system has collapsed.

In 2004/05, 97% of reparations owed were overdue or being drip-fed to the victim. The victims are hit twice - once at the hands of the criminals and then again when the legal reparation is not paid.

The Budget

The ideological differences between National and Labour are stark as the Budget has demonstrated.

The World Competitiveness Scoreboard for 2006 (released on 11 May 2006) has New Zealand falling from 16th to 22nd. Meanwhile Australia has risen from 9th to 6th place.

The scoreboard ranks the competitiveness of 61 national and regional economies based on 312 criteria.

The section on New Zealand lists the challenges facing the country as improving broadband, encouraging skilled migrants, ensuring secure and affordable energy and water, improving workplace productivity, management and business capability, and reducing compliance costs.

National believes that the strong fiscal surpluses provide the basis for significant tax cuts and that the ideology of the Labour Government is enabling Australia (our biggest competitor for skills and capital) to charge further ahead.

There are two key points:
- Each week 600 New Zealanders leave this country for Australia.
- The gap between New Zealand incomes and Australian incomes widens inexorably

Layer hens to have a better way of life

The Regulations Review Committee which is a committee of Parliament reviews all delegated legislation which has the character of regulations. It is often described as the “poor mans court of appeal” because anyone who is aggrieved by a regulation can complain to the Committee and will be heard if they can bring their complaint within the jurisdiction of the Committee.

That jurisdiction is set out in the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Recently the Committee reported to Parliament that the circumstances in which approximately 3 million hens live in cages that don’t allow them to walk, stretch their wings, peck or scratch required review.

The Committee wants the Government to revise the relevant animal welfare code to specify dates to phase out the continued use of cages that do not fully comply with animal welfare laws.

Criticism of the judges

The criticism of the appointment of the former Solicitor General, Terence Arnold to the judiciary has prompted a protective response from Law Society interests.

The present Government is not prepared to consult on judicial appointments so it is inevitable that there will be criticism. For the record however, it has been a common pathway in the last 50 years for Solicitors General to become judges.

What is more unusual is for judges to be appointed direct to the Court of Appeal rather than serving time as trial judges to gain relevant experience before advancement to the appellate court. That has only happened four times in New Zealand.

It is a legitimate question why this has happened on this occasion.

Political Quote of the Week

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." - John Adams, 2nd US President

Richard Worth


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