Faves | Porches + Frankie Cosmos + Bombino
10 months ago
"Anti-terror squad spies on protest groups"
Police teams set up to identify terrorism threats and risks to national security are spying on protest and community groups, including Greenpeace, animal rights and climate change campaigners, and Iraq war protesters.
Police officers from the Special Investigation Group (SIG) have carried out surveillance and used a paid informer to gather information not just about planned protests but the personal lives and sexual relationships of group members.
The police informer, Christchurch man Rob Gilchrist, whose activities are revealed in today's Sunday Star-Times, was a key member of various community groups during the past decade. He helped arrange protests and was close friends with leading campaigners, and advocated radical and illegal activities by the groups.
"National's decision to disregard Pharmac creates several problems. In the first instance, the Herceptin extension sets a difficult precedent. It suggests the Government is open to the sort of pressure that prompted the coining of the rule of rescue. Other small groups of sufferers may impose just as strong an emotional pull. Wisely, the previous government was content to leave such tough decisions to Pharmac, a body tasked with, and experienced in, making them.
... Ironically, a National government established Pharmac in part to prevent just this lobbying."
Legislation is being rammed through the House without going through the scrutiny of select committees. Five bills are to be put through all stages this week and next.
... It might be okay for National to push one bill through all stages under urgency but there is no excuse for so many to be - other than to give the perception that the Government has ''momentum''.
Pushing bills through all stages without such scrutiny should be reserved for exceptional circumstances.
... National argued strongly before the election that Labour's changes to the emissions trading scheme bill warranted a return to select committee scrutiny.
In the words of Steve Maharey, perhaps that was just one of those things you say in Opposition."
"ACT's new MP Sir Roger Douglas said it was 'a small step in the right direction' in marked contrast to anything Labour had done over the past nine years.
Sir Roger said core government expenditure increased by $18.2 billion above inflation during that time.
'This increased expenditure cost every New Zealander, on average, $1000 a month or $12,000 a year,' he said.
'And Labour spent that extra tax. . .on dubious programmes and failed social experiments that have not benefited New Zealand households by anywhere near the $1000 a month they took off them.'"