According to Politco.eu, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said the border would be closed to Russians traveling to Finland for tourism or for transit purposes “until further notice.” The border closed at midnight on Thursday [midday Friday NZ time].
Entry to Russians for family visits, as well as for work and studies, will still be permitted, as will the transporting of essential materials.
The government said the decision was taken following talks with Ukraine, fears that Russians were circumventing the EU’s flight restrictions, and because of Finland’s relations with the Baltic states and Poland.
The inflow of Russians could endanger Finland’s international relations, Haavisto said, according to public broadcaster Yle.
Finland cut the number of tourist visas issued to Russians by 90 percent in early September.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have already startedto implement entry restrictions for Russian citizens travelling solely for the purpose of tourism or leisure.
Discriminating against people because of their national origin is illegal under NZ law, but clearly that’s not the case in EU countries.
Public Service Commission to probe Government contracts issued to Nanaia Mahuta’s husband
For months, we’ve been highlighting the complex web of family and commercial interests the current Government’s cabinet ministers seem to have with companies and individuals winning (without tender!) contracts with various government agencies.
So it is great news to see that, finally, Nanaia Mahuta will face scrutiny over her husband’s government contracts.
Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes has announced an investigation into the many Government contracts obtained by Minister Mahuta’s husband, William Gannin Ormsby.
We are under no illusions that this is the end of the matter, but as the leftwing campaigner Max Rashbrooke, with whom we seldom agree, wrote last week, “by and large, we shouldn’t manage conflicts of interest, we should avoid them.”
I can also tell you that there is more to come on questionable and undisclosed connections between another Minister and government contracts that our research team has dug up. Watch this space…
Your taxes paid for hospitals and schools *anime videos*
The Ministry for Youth Development must not have much to do. Even our student interns were at a loss to explain the purpose of spending $299,500 on three “Gotcha Girl” youth anime videos telling kids not to use Google, and to hang out with friends.
Two of the three videos have been released and have totally flopped. With barely one hundred views between them, your humble Taxpayers’ Union have republished the videos – but with a cost to taxpayers clock…
I’m sure someone will forward this newsletter to the Ministry of Youth Development and/or Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan and ask for an explanation. You might have better luck than us figuring it out.
Something more useful for the Ministry to do
Surely a focus on the current issues would be a better use of the Ministry’s time and (our) money?
If the Ministry wasn’t too busy making creepy videos, it would be focused at tackling the spikes in youth crime and ram raids. The latter are up 500% since 2018 (with the vast majority being committed by kids).
In May this year, the Government announced what is called a “Crime Prevention Package” costing $6 million and aimed at preventing ram-raids and other forms of retail crime. But other than the press release almost nothing has happened. No one bothered to roll out the fund.
But since then, it’s got a lot worse. Since 2017, there has been explosion in the number of highly paid public servants – with Stuff reporting that the number of public servants earning, sorry, being paid, more than $100,000 is 28%.
[National MP, Simeon Brown] said some agencies had “substantial growth” in the proportion of workers earning $100,000 and more, such as the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, that increased from 29.3% to 65%.
Those who defend government spending often say that the government needs to pay a lot to attract doctors, nurses, and those who provide public services. But the figures above are only for the “core public sector agencies” – that doesn’t include Police, teachers, doctors, or nurses, rather just those in the Ministries (which is basically administration and policy wonks in Wellington).
Of course we should strive for a high-wage economy, but that should be driven by demand for expertise and skills. When taxpayer-funded public servants’ wages are inflated beyond comparable incomes in the private sector, our economy suffers.
This week on Taxpayer Talk with Peter Williams 🎙️🎧
Peter Williams is joined by Eric Crampton, Chief Economist at the New Zealand Initiative, to discuss the Government’s Three Waters reforms and his alternative proposal for how local councils can finance long-term infrastructure investment more effectively. Peter and Eric also discuss the Emissions Trading Scheme and outline why additional emissions reduction measures beyond the ETS are costly regulations that will not reduce emissions any faster.
Most of the evidence points to the U.S., which may leave a lot of Europeans wondering this winter what the hell they’re getting out of the alliance. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org: For decades the U.S. opposed European projects to receive energy from Russia. It wants Europe to buy more expensive U.S. oil and […]
This was carved on Otāraua Hapu w’enua up Maungakotukutuku River, Reikiorangi, Tai Kapiti from the many Rimu trees in our ngahere [forest]. Our Otāraua Hapu: Rangatira Ta Henare Te Marau was a loyal Ngātiawa soldier.
Kapakapanui Waka was recorded by Governor Grey’s constabulary as “Chief Witi Rangitaake waka five passengers.” I have a copy of this document which names all of the waka and who was in them.
This is a photograph from Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth. “Description: Carved wooden tauihu (canoe figurehead) resting on rocks at the beach. This is thought to be from ‘Kapakapauni’, the waka Wiremu Kīngi te Rangitaake used to lead Te Ātiawa home to Waitara from Waikanae in 1848”. Note that whoever wrote this, erased the Ta Whiti original tribal title.
Last week, most of the submitters to the Gateway /Te Uruhi project requested an adjournment of the Independent Panel, largely due to the probability of the political support for the project being withdrawn in the next triennium.
But on 27 September 2022, Gary Simpson, the acting CEO of the Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) wrote to all the Councillors informing them that Council had e-mailed the Independent Hearing Panel (Panel) for the Gateway, opposing any adjournment of the hearings.
This was in response to the 7 Councillors who had written to Mr Simpson requesting an adjournment.
Mr Simpson indicated the Council’s position was not only to decline the request for an adjournment, but also declined to raise the Councillor’s concerns with the Panel.
This Council as an applicant does have the power to request or agree to an adjournment – but instead lodged a memorandum from lawyers Buddle Findlay [that would have cost Ratepayers $1000+ –Eds] supporting Council’s position to oppose the adjournment.
As a result of the Council’s opposition, Minute #2 was issued by the Independent Hearing Panel denying Clare Holden and Michael Wilson’s request for an adjournment. Ms Mary O’Callahan, the Independent Commissioner Chairperson stated: “We find that there are no special circumstances present to justify an adjournment” – the concerns raised about costs and political will to cancel the project was not in her view relevant to the Panel’s role.
As a result, submitters will be forced to participate in a hearing next week for a project that is very likely to be withdrawn.
Six of you have asked me to seek an adjournment of the resource consent hearing for Te Uruhi scheduled to begin on Monday 3rd October. This morning following the workshop in the Council Chambers I spoke to the councillors present — Crs Halliday, Handford and Compton — to outline my response to your email and the reasons behind it. The application for resource consent is consistent with the current council position reached by resolution. The request to adjourn the hearing by independent commissioners comes after most candidates in the election and a large amount of social media comment makes it clear that the project does not have their support and is likely to not be proceeded with by an incoming council. Therefore adjourning it now will save further expenditure both for the council and submitters.
The commissioners have issued a minute inviting comment from submitters and KCDC as applicant to the request for the adjournment. Our submission which was emailed to the commissioners yesterday opposed the adjournment. The grounds for doing so were as outlined above in that the council position was clear, that candidate positions and predicting election outcomes couldn’t be used to override a resolution, the RMA has timelines built into it which limit the commissioners power to adjourn/postpone hearings without the applicants consent unless other factors are present and that the substantial part of the resource consent expense has already been incurred. An additional factor of a late delivery of material to one submitter who doesn’t have email and who made a case of disadvantage as a result has also been dealt with in our submission. It is now up to the commissioners to determine whether the hearing proceeds as scheduled after they have considered the submissions received. That decision should be available tomorrow and I will let elected members know once it is received.
One final point, the email below asked that it be conveyed to the commissioners. I have considered whether this was appropriate as, you will appreciate as individuals none of you have any standing in the matter because you had not made a submission on the application and an existing resolution had set out the position of the council. I have asked Tim Power to consider whether my position is the correct one which he has confirmed to be the case. Accordingly the letter has not been forwarded to the commissioners.
Gary Simpson Acting Chief Executive
Kāpiti Coast District Council Tel 04 296 4894 Mobile 027 5778 707
The west has blamed Russia for bad presidents, for western racism, for western political divisions, for inflation, for pretty much every bad thing western power structures are responsible for, but blaming Russia for attacks on Russian pipelines is probably going to take the cake.
The Wolfowitz Doctrine, penned after the fall of the USSR, describes the US policy of ensuring that no other power develops which could challenge US supremacy. It’s important to understand that this wouldn’t just apply to nations like Russia and China, but to the EU as well.
Does it still count as a conspiracy theory when they’re just coming right out and saying it?
Being an American liberal means wearing a “Punch Nazis” t-shirt while cheering Biden as he arms Nazi paramilitaries in Ukraine and Hillary Clinton as she praises Italy’s election of a fascist prime minister.
Looking forward to when things heat up with China so we can find out whether Australia is going to be Washington’s next Europe or its next Ukraine.
Both sides of the Ukraine proxy war are threatening to use nukes. Both Russia and NATO 100 percent understand that nukes may be used by either side and their use is never off the table. The mutual nuclear threat is always there, regardless of what mouth noises either side is making about them. It’s weird how many people I’m running into who don’t get this.
This conflict doesn’t magically get dangerous because of what some Russian official happens to be saying on a given day. It would be just as dangerous if nobody was saying anything about nukes. The threat is there regardless of what anyone says, and it’s rapidly escalating.
It sure was nice of governments to assign themselves the responsibility of regulating how we talk to each other online. I don’t remember anyone asking them to do this, and it sure sounds like a lot of work, but by golly they’ve volunteered for the job anyway:
“How do you successfully end a war if people are led to believe the reason for its existence is not only legal but noble?”
I keep tripping on this part. She’s saying people should be forbidden to say certain things about a war, on the absurd grounds that free speech can prevent peace. Even if you ignore the tyrannical mentality from which this claim arises, it also just makes zero logical sense. People saying online that a war is justified prevents that war from being ended? What? How? How could that possibly even happen? What the fuck are you talking about?
If someone criticizing nuclear fucking brinkmanship looks like adoration for Putin or Russian propaganda to you, it’s because you’ve been so brainwashed by western propaganda that the most normal thing imaginable looks freakish and sinister in your eyes. Criticizing your government is normal. Criticizing agendas of unparalleled existential importance is normal. Criticizing the most powerful government in the world is normal. Only by tremendous amounts of propaganda are these extremely normal things made to look abnormal.
Online discourse is crawling with people who really, truly, sincerely believe that if someone doesn’t fully support their government’s foreign policy with Russia and believe 100 percent of what their government says about it, it means they love Vladimir Putin and support everything he does. You either believe Putin invaded Ukraine solely because he is evil and hates freedom and support your government’s actions against Russia no matter how much it costs or how much it risks, or you love the Kremlin and think Putin is a saint. Those are the only two possibilities.
If you can propagandize someone into believing their government is pure and virtuous, they will necessarily see any opposition to that government as evil and malicious. That’s why anyone questioning official narratives about Russia can only be an evil tankie who hates democracy.
Someone who tells you that you love Putin and believe he’s perfect is really telling you that they love their own government and think it’s perfect. They see their government as pure and virtuous and worthy of blind obedience, so failure to do so is indicative of nefariousness.
Effectively the council now thinks this not insignificant sum is highly likely to be a write-off — it is in the KCDC’s official Annual Report for 2021–2022 to be issued very shortly.
We first learned about this loan 2 years ago during one of our coffee catch-ups with Karl Webber. Our immediate reaction was ‘what’?? Two years previous, the highly controversial decision to subsidise Air Chathams to the tune of $50,000 a year was publicly announced in 2018 at the time that Air Chathams began its regular flights to replace Air NZ which had decided to pull out in 2017 (and who the outgoing present mayor told to Stuff off.)
So, two years ago we learned that in a Maxwell/Power-ordered secret session the councilors agreed to loan them in addition to the subsidy a hefty $500,000. We sent Mr Power an official information request for copies of all correspondence between the council and Air Chathams. He ignored that request, so a complaint about it went as usual to the Ombudsman. That is one of the complaints to the Ombudsman about Mr Power still outstanding.
But why did councilors agree to this? Not all of them are half-wits — were they presented with dishonest information? Determining that needs Auditor General involvement, and that is where we are sending the matter.
I’m working on a broader article on the whole issue of the Airport and hope to complete that by the end of the weekend.