Andrew Little and the EPMU union WAY out of touch on AirNZ’s stance


Today, through the NZ Herald, Andrew Little, secretary of the Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EPMU) (and president of the Labour Party) attacked AirNZ’s stance on drink driving of it’s staff, and so called”Grubby Deals” in obtaining info from the Police.

Let’s be clear here (black and white even?): I think if AirNZ has a zero tolerance for drink driving, and a person is caught drink driving then AirNZ not only has the right to, but SHOULD take action.  Health and safety is FAR more important that nanny state “privacy considerations”.  Get real Andrew Little!  The public would have VERY little sympathy for your stance.  In this case AirNZ are disputing the facts, so it’s not even clear what they do info-swap:

Mr Fyfe retorted to the police in a letter he made public that the claims were unsubstantiated.

I for one would even go so far to say that if police pull over a pilot and they are over the limit and they are on the way to work they MUST advise the airline, or else we end up with issues like this that happened in the UK, and again here. (Remember the threshold for pilots is ZERO, many airlines have a “no drinking 12 hours before flying rule).

UPDATE: Seams AirNZ are dammed if you do, and dammed if you don’t here.  This story in the Herald when staff are NOT fired (even when AirNZ can’t identify them) it’s somehow AirNZ’s fault.

Black and White Version: The EPMU is out of touch. Unions should stop defending ALL staff, and stick to those that deserve support.

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I quit

Govt Minister Resigns – shows integrity (esp in John Key).


Today Hosing Minster Phil Heatley announced his resignation, which was accepted by the PM John Key.

This is in sharp contrast to how the last PM acted when confronted with questionable behaviour from a Minister (which was later found out to be illegal, and meant that the first Government Minister in NZ’s history was convicted of a crime relating to their office.

I actually feel sorry for Phil, as it appears to be relatively light mistakes (and I call them mistakes as opposed to wilful lying).  But I also agree Minister need to be held to a higher accountability than the rest of us, so the right call ultimately.  I think John Key has shown excellent leadership here.  I just hope the media get the story right here.  I view the resignation as positive – showing integrity.  Yes, he was a bit naughty, but he accepted that and resigned.  In the past all we had was cover ups, even though the behaviour was MUCH worse.

Black and White Version: Good to see some integrity back into politics. 

Hat tip: Kiwiblog

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tax the rich

Tax cuts for the rich – it’s true, but it’s also rubbish.


Ever since the new tax plan was announced by John Key yesterday there has been a proliferation of the  the whole the rich are getting the tax cuts message. Even my own post got lots of rather negative comments about this.

It just shows how little journalists understand how tax works (or maybe they do but just want misleading headlines like this one).

Anyway.. I am continually reminded of this parable, which explains it oh so well, and it goes like this:


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Key’s tax changes


OK, let’s cut to the chase.  How well did he (our Prime Minister, John Key) do, and what do I think of each of the changes?

  • GST to 15% (a “we are seriously looking at” should be read “we are gonna do it, but want you to feel like it’s been eased in”):  GOOD1
  • No Capital Gains Tax: GOOD
  • No land tax: MISSED OPPORTUNITY (although also politically safe, and also better for me personally with no land tax).
  • Changes to property tax rules: GOOD (I think.  I will assume they mean removing deprecation etc).
  • Welfare Changes like reapplying for dole every year or so, encouraging part time work on DPB etc: GOOD (if not a tad weak – but politically more palatable).
  • Discussion document exploring minerals on crown conservation land of high wealth/low eco value: GOOD (the riskiest move of all politically, but still good).2
  • Adding in that any funds from the above form a “conservation fund”: EXCELLENT (win-win)
  • New “lets fix the tax system”: Rhetoric sounds fine so far, and I would like to say GOOD, but I just don’t know yet.  Will update in future posts after the budget.
  • Other minor changes (Holidays Act etc): All fine so GOOD I guess.


  1. I think consumption tax (GST) is one of the fairest taxes there is.  It encourages saving (a good thing), taxes even the black market/illegal activities (since when they spend the profits they pay GST), and wealthy spend more, so pay more.  I do understand as a percentage lower income spend more of their income (like almost all of it in many cases), but that’s not a reason not to raise it, that’s something to balance up with other tax changes.
  2. I have to say I am VERY pro sustainability, and believe over consumption is the biggest issues facing the world.  But, unlike this blog the world ISN’T actually black and white, and a blanket ban actually serves no one.  Having discussion around this issue is the right way to start.

Black and White Version: A definite pass here (not with merit though, not yet).

Hattip: Kiwiblog, for the best summary (better than the mainstream media) of the changes. I even agree with most of what he says! :-)

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The PM didnt say that! (about the NZ flag)


The NZ Herald today has the headline Let’s have the silver fern, PM saysUmmmm, no he didn’t!

Even the text (repeated below) in the article makes that clear.  Or even better watch the YouTube clip.

Not withstanding that I have said that I would keep the New Zealand flag [as it is] just simply because there are probably bigger issues to sort of deal with, my personal view is if you had an alternative … I would go with [the silver fern]

One of the better examples of the media making a headline to get attention about a story that isn’t there.  The PM actually thinks “Let’s keep the flag the same for now” – nothing to see here, no story!

On a side note, I happen to think the silver fern is an EXCELLENT idea for the next NZ flag.  I also think now IS the time to change it (or nowISH).  As has been pointed out, the silver fern predates both Pakeha and Maori, and is something both groups can related to, as well as being uniquely Kiwi.

Black and White Version: The silver fern would make an excellent flag (IMHO), but that’s NOT what John Key said.

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