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Larry's Memo: March 23

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| Friday, March 23, 2012 5:12 PM

Larry's Memo: March 23



NICK SMITH dominated the week.

He released the local government reforms which effectively puts the brakes on council spending. Rates have soared out of control since 2002. Debt with some councils will send them to bankruptcy if they don't rein in their spending. Councils have been spending too much on social initiatives.

The reforms are designed to get councils to focus on core spending like infrastructure, water, rubbish etc.

The reforms look to make sense but he won't be around to implement the changes.

His blunder in writing a letter of support on ACC letterhead for Bronwyn Pullar was terminal.

He eventually saw that his position was untenable or more to the point the PM could see trouble ahead and it was all over for Dr Smith.

Smith was being pestered by Pullar and he looks to have had brain fade and just given in to get her off his back.

I think the PM is wrong not to order an independent inquiry.

There are so many issues running around this I'm not sure the police and privacy investigations will get to the bottom of it.

On Ms Pullar, I don't think she helped her case by releasing a statement yesterday.

Her statement revealed that she kept the private data files for various reasons which would help her case - she makes this clear.

You be the judge on that one.



THE PORTS dispute has ratcheted up a gear.

The talks collapsed this morning as it was destined to do.

The Port says there has been significant disruption to shipping schedules as a result of ongoing strike action, and the shift and roster system has also changed.


It says wharfies can't yet return to work, as rosters are allocated in advance.

But I think there is also the attitude of some of the workers.

There has been widespread intimidation and threats. Serious threats. Some of these workers were stupid enough to place threats in the social media. The cops should actually be looking into this stuff.

Helen Kelly says there's no evidence of threats. That is patently absurd.

So you can't have the wharfies going back in there with these threats against non-union staff. The Ports have an obligation to protect all their workers. The Ports is correct to lock these workers out.

The union has the opportunity to go into mediation and strike a deal. The deal will not be what they want. That's their call. Like it’s the Ports call to get the best working practices for its business.

Let me tell you this: the Ports future is not with union workforce. You only have to look at how they have acted to understand this.



THE UREWERA FOUR went down on serious firearms charges but the jury was divided over whether they took part in a criminal organisation.

None of them took the stand to give evidence.

I'm struggling to see how they could explain away firing guns in guerrilla-style training camps. Talk of people being taken into custody and kidnappings by masked armed offenders. Evidence of guns and Molotov cocktails.

If it wasn't designed for some illegal purpose, what was it all about then?



THE TREASURY SECRETARY spoke out on education.

Gabriel Maklouf said the quality of teaching was the key to lifting student achievement which in turn would lift GDP.

He suggested a number of ways to assess teacher quality to differentiate between developing teachers and master teachers. The master teachers should be rewarded appropriately.

Predictably the NZEI rubbished the man.

What a tragedy for this country when we have a union representing teachers so negative about advancing teacher and educational achievement.

You can see why there is so much interest in charter schools.


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