My submission on the marriage equality bill


A private members bill put up by Louise Wall and recently chosen out of the ballet (the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill).

It passed it’s first reading 80 to 40, and as a result has been passed on to the Government Administration Select Committee (yeah, who knew there was one!) public submissions were invited, which closed yesterday.

My submission is below.


I believe we should live in a society were all law abiding citizens are all treated equally under the law. It is the (rightful) role of Government to set laws in such as way as this principle is upheld.

Marriage of two people, who choose  to commit to one another, should have no barriers based on sexual orientation. This is both fair, and right. Equally as important, as already stated above, it is the role of the Government to ensure this happens.

Human rights, such as the right to marry the person one chooses, regardless of gender or sexuality, should not come down to popular vote, even though the majority of New Zealanders support this. It comes down to doing the right thing.

Religious beliefs should have no bearing on a person’s support for this bill. I support people holding beliefs that differ to mine, and moreover would fight for their right to hold such views and express them. However, I do not expect them to follow my moral code, nor do I expect to be forced to follow theirs. I do however expect everyone to have the same freedoms and obligations as a citizen.

If some individuals find it offensive that two men or two women wish to marry, that is not a valid reason to stop this bill. There will always be persons that hold views that are discriminatory, divisive, or wish to provide one part of society with less rights than others. But regardless of why a person holds such views, they should not be allowed to override the principles of justice, where we are all treated equally.

We also need to consider the message sends to the future generations of New Zealanders, and in particular what message the current law sends to a young LGBT person. Already New Zealand has atrocious youth suicide rates, and being LGBT is a significant determinant factor. Research is clear that direct discrimination is one of the leading factors influencing a person’s decision to end their own life – one only needs to look at all the various groups that have high suicide rates to know how significant this is. As such, MPs have a unique opportunity to end one of the last pieces of legislation in New Zealand that is discriminatory of LGBT persons, and in doing so, not only provide equality for LGBT couples, but also send a clear signal to LGBT youth that New Zealand lawmakers do not support discrimination in any way. MPs have an obligation to protect citizens. Passing this legislation will do this.

In summary, I urge all MPs to make the right choice to end discrimination; make the choice to allow people who love each other full rights ability to choose under the law; and make the decision to send a signal to New Zealanders, and indeed the world, that New Zealand is a tolerant and open society that treats all its citizens equally.



I intend to personally present to the select committee considering the bill, and will be making the same statements to them, just more firmly.  The more I think about this, the more I am of the view that MPs have an obligation to pass this bill, for all the reasons outlined above, but mostly because it is the right thing to do in ending legislative discrimination in New Zealand.

Black and White Version: I support the bill.  I trust MPs in NZ do the right thing and continue to support it until it is law.

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Predictions – for 2011 and beyond


OK, here are some big (and no so big) predictions for the next 12 months and beyond:

  1. Apple will release its 5th generation phone (iPhone 5, or 4s) in September.  Potentially more significant, it will also do is push the 3Gs as an entry level phone (or less likely, introduce an iPhone lite), with a far lower price point, and sell it outright (no contract).  This will be the nail in the coffin for Nokia et al, and mark the move of Apple into more ‘mainstream’ mobile phone market.
  2. Google+ WILL eventually be the major social networking platform.  It will be significantly large to be one of two (FaceBook being other other) by the end of 2011.  FaceBook will survive though.
  3. National will win the next election in New Zealand.  I actually predicted this in 2009, but wanted to restate it here.  Labour will get caned, but not as much as current polls say.  Even if National can govern alone (which will be close), they will invite others into a coalition.  Key is clever like that.
  4. Obama will (re)win the US Presidency in 2011.  It will get nasty.
  5. The NZ dollar will stay high (around 80c against the US $) for most of this year.  But drop back to 70-75c by late 2011/early 2012
  6. The US economy will crap itself in 2013.  Finally.  China will help.

The above predictions were written on 27th July 2011.

Update 4 August 2011: The 2011 Rugby World Cup final will be between Australia and NZ.  If NZ make it to the final, they will win it.  South Africa will bomb out early.

Black and White Version: My predictions for 2011 and beyond.  Who knows if I am right or not.  Time will tell!

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Labour and National – Recent Economic Policy Announcements


Both Labour and National have announced various economic policies for New Zealand over the least few days. (although the media seam more interested in Goff’s hair dye, maybe coz that’s more interesting?)

The mainstream media, and plenty of blogs give plenty of views and in depth commentary, so here’s my back and white take on them both.  Before I start the context needs to be set:

  • NZ (and most of the world) just out of a global recession
  • NZ borrowing $300m a week just to fund current activities
  • Govt expenditure as a % of GDP extremely high (ver 40%) due to massive growth in last 10 years (almost 50%)
  • NZ close to a downgrade from credit rating agencies due to high dept and future borrowing – something needs to be done (downgrade means higher interest rates in NZ – hits everyone).

Richard’s Black and White Summary

The summary Labour: Up to 1st $5,00 tax free Partial sale of selected Govt assets floated, as part of 2011 election policy
Good, bad, other? Stupid.  Aimed at vote catching. Interesting.  Novel.  Courageous even
The good Everyone gets some cash.

Frees up capital for other projects.

Being on selected assets ony , we know what we are voting for.

Means (ultimately) less borrowing.

The bad Not feasible.  It will cost 1.1billion, and even a new top tax will only collect in 30% of that.  The rest is made up with reducing tax evasion, but in fact introducing a new top tax bracket will only make tax avoidance happen more through income shifting.  remember Labour also has a policy of no GST on fruit and veges – costing a further 250 million in lost revenue.  We have to BORROW this!

Some wont like “selling stuff”.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t sell anything some would say, but I think AirNZ is a perfect example of how it can (and does) work well.

Feasibility? It isnt. Very.

Overall rating

(our of 5 stars)

Two stars (only coz some uninformed people will vote for it) Four stars

Black and White Version: Labour still has no vision.  National shows that you can put options to the people to vote on.

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Close Up

Don’t vote for Jim, and here’s why (he breaks the law)


True to form, this post is VERY Black and White.

I now have proof that Jim Anderton, Christchurch Mayoral Candidate, is breaking the election rules, and all over the place.  And while some may think the rules around advertising and signage and advertising are trivial, Jim has been playing the political game for over 40 years now – he knows the rules and is knowingly breaking them.  (As an aside, he was one of those that supported the draconian measures introduced by the Labour Government – the Electoral Finance Act 2007).   I even found (quite easily) that Jim’s party has broken the rules on this before.

Anyway, here’s the details:


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Mayor Christchurch

Christchurch Mayor Candidates – Bob vs Jim – lesser of the two evils


In Christchurch we have two main contenders for Mayor in the upcoming local body elections. Jim Anderton (current MP for Wigram, and leader of the Progressive Party), and the incumbent, Bob Parker.

Now it’s VERY fair to say that Bob has not been a popular Mayor with many.  Some of the major financial decisions of the council (that Bob, as Mayor supported) have been very unpopular such as:

I don’t intend to go into the details of each decision, but suffice it to say for many the decisions appeared highly questionable, and at worst a complete waste of millions of (rate payers) dollars.  I will comment on the last one and say buying an event that has the name of an Auckland Suburb and then moving it seams, well,  STUPID to me.  You could just offer to pay the people that set Ellerslie up to set one up for you – you still get all the IP without the name (which you don’t want anyway), but for a fraction of the cost.  But yeah, lets move on.

At the end of July 2010 it was pretty clear Jim would win, with Stuff reporting on the Christchurch Mayoral race:

A UMR research poll conducted in Christchurch last month showed long-serving MP Jim Anderton comfortably leading the race for the mayoralty against incumbent Bob Parker. Some 61% of those polled said that in a head-to-head race they would vote for the Wigram MP, while only 30% said they would vote for Parker.

Politics aside, my biggest concerns with Jim Anderton has been:

  1. His arrogance that he can be a part time Mayor and Part time MP, and the cost to the rate payer and tax payer if he does this
  2. He’s out of touch.  He’s 72, and has views so tainted by personal experience that IMHO, he’s not fit for ANY public office where he gets to make decisions about controlling the behavior of others (his archaic views on drug control are just one of these)

My biggest concerns with Bob is that:

  • Bob wastes ratepayers money on big projects, and does what so many in local government do, and does stuff and builds things that’s more about leaving a legacy than actually helping the ratepayers and local community.

I do want to expand on my first concern about Jim, that he thinks he can be both Mayor NZ’s second biggest city AND an MP/leader of a political party at the same time (and be paid for both). (more…)

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Mobile Termination Rates Will be Regulated in New Zealand


YES!  Finally. WOOWHOO!

After all the attempts by the big two (Vodafone and Telecom) to stop this, it’s gonna now happen.  And this is GOOD for any mobile user in NZ.  It will also help 2Degrees to grow and be a more effective 3rd player.  The reason this is so important to 2Degrees is that 95%+ of mobile users are on Voda or Telecom connections they can’t drop their rates too much because of the high Mobile Termination Rate (the amount Telcos pay each other to interconnect). Anyway .. this will help this big time and enable 2Degrees to lower its rates further and further drive down prices!

The Telecommunications Minister, Stephen Joyce, has announced Mobile Termination Rates will be regulated:

Mr Joyce says he considers that accepting the Commission’s recommendation meets this test and in this case will lead to lower mobile termination rates and more competitive mobile pricing plans for consumers.

“Following today’s decision I look forward to New Zealand mobile users enjoying more competition between operators and better prices.”

The next step is to add mobile termination access services to schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act by regulation. The Commerce Commission will then go through a process to set prices and other terms which mobile carriers must offer. This process will likely take a few months.

And who do we have to thank?  Well the boys at droptherate for an excellent campaign AND of course a big thanks to Vodafone, for their own goal (yep they sure screwed up).   Sucks to be you eh Vodafone? <grin>

Black and White Version: Well done on regulating mobile termination rates Mr Joyce!

HatTip: Kiwiblog

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Telecom Split (just like Brad and Ange)


Great news (and about time).

While I am a big fan of XT, I am not a fan of the way Telecom have acted in general over the last 10 years.  IMHO, they have squeezed every last bit out of their monopoly on landlines (the network part), and duopoly on mobile, for years.  They have danced around the whole split thing, and teased us promising reform that never happened.

Finally it’s been announced that Telecom will split. Well kinda, the have announced the shareholders will vote on it.  Anyway about time, well done (if not a bit forced), but Telecom will likely split (as pointed out by KiwiBlog).  And this is ALL about Telecom being able to participate in the Government’s ultrafast broadband (UFB) investment initiative. While I don’t think it was every the intention of the Government to have this effect on Telecom (their policy was all about speeding up the building of UFB infrastructure in NZ), Telecom finally realised that if they don’t take part, the new UFB backbone will actually be a direct competitor to Telecom’s monopoly on land-line infrastructure in NZ.  Yep, the UFB infrastructure could allow Telecom competitors to simply use Voice over IP (VOIP) technology (and other tech) to directly compete with Telecom.  If they don’t play in the new UFB game, they could be just another me-too offering, bye-bye Telecom as we know it.


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Tui Chris Carter

Chris Carter Fired


Yep, Chris has done it this time.

For those that missed it, Chris Carter sent hand written letters to the media spreading the rumour that Phil Goff didnt have the support of the Labour caucus and wasn’t gonna win the election.  Labour are not happy and have even set their pit-bull Trevor onto him Carter’s own web page is rather quiet on the matter though, but he says he wanted to get caught (yeah right!).

My comments (the white and black abbreviated version):

  1. Epic fail by Chris
  2. Chris was right (Labour won’t win with Goff)
  3. Ironically he has helped secure Goff as leader now

I previously blogged about Chris and his whole Gay Victim thing that pissed me off (remember the credit card scandal?).  I guess that won’t be an issue anymore.  He’s gone now (well at the next election for sure).

For others view on this, check out Kiwiblog on Chris Carter, I like his list :-)

Black and White Version: Chris: Message was right, but major fail for delivery method, and even bigger backfire for objective (Goff is safe for sure now!).

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Credit Card Scandal for Labour’s Ministers


Well the mainstream media and blogs are awash with news on this one since it broke two days ago. (the best humorous post by far is this at one at the Dim-Post).  Even AirNZ got in on the act with another relevant parody ad (on the right).  For those interested there is further in depth editorial here and and a useful round up by Kiwiblog here.

Anyway .. here’s my take (the black and white version):


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AirNZ – Rob Fyfe has style


Yesterday I was on of my regular domestic flights within New Zealand, and of course flew AirNZ.

A wee surprise was that Rob Fyfe, AirNZ’s CEO was on the flight, no big deal I hear you say, well maybe not, except he pitched in and helped serve the tea/coffe and snacks (yes AirNZ still does this).

A couple of things to comment on here:

  1. He’s VERY down to earth for a CE of a major company.  He clearly was an “extra” (as they had enuf crew) but just did the job of a normal crew member and was very personable.
  2. He has EXCELLENT dress sense, and this wasn’t just coz he was wearing the same brand of jeans as me (True Religion).  He also had a D&G jacket that suited him to a t, and very snazzy shoes :-)
  3. He’s actually a fully trained crew (legitimately). This is done for lots of reasons, but one is that in case of a strike, management can crew aircraft legitimately.  It’s also a very nice touch.

His approachability actuality reminds me of John Key (that’s NZ’s Prime Minister in case any non Kiwis are reading) in a way.  Clearly successful (both personally and financially), has a good sense of humour, and down to earth and approachable.  Speaking of which I am really impressed how John key goes out of his way to say hi to those around him when he gets on a plane.  Very real, very genuine, and very kiwi (this is John Key’s web site here)

Its awesome I live in a country where the PM (and for that matter the CE of our national airline) chat with us common folk, in fact one that goes out of his way to do it (and not just in front of cameras).   I regularly accost, chat to John (I call him John, coz if I called him “J-man” he might look at me funny), at the airport when I see him, I this so he remembers me when I write him letters :-) .  Try getting withing 50m of the President of the US at an airport and I think you might get arrested.  In fact try BEING at the same airport – they normally close the whole city!

Black and White version: New Zealand is an awesome place to live.  AirNZ and NZ also have very approachable and very kiwi CE’s (the PM is kinda the CE of NZ right?)

PS: If you like NZ as much as I do, you can of course join the NZ is the best country in the world FaceBook group – everything has a FaceBook group :-)

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