hi, i'm back. i had a very hectic but rewarding few days at the labour party congress in wellington. the place was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm. anyone who thinks this party is tired must have blinkers on!
one bit of good news: i had a quick chat with hon annette king re women in the police force. she told me that she's requiring the police to report to her on a quarterly basis, so that she can keep an eye on progress. as always, i'm totally impressed with her quiet but extremely efficient way of getting things done.
another quietly competent and pioneering woman has passed away. dame augusta wallace was nz's first female district court judge back in 1976, and i can only imagine how difficult it must have been at the time. certainly not made any easier by a machete attack in court, but it showed the strength of the woman that she simply used this episode to strengthen security systems in our courts.
john key says national will not sell state assets in its first term. that's a strange thing to say. if he's not interested in selling state assets, then why not just say so? why "the first term" thing? to me that says "we still believe in selling the assets, we just don't want it to hamper our chances of getting elected". mr key says that he will seek a mandate to do so in the second term (ie the 2011 election). however, it's much easier to seek a mandate to sell when you've spent 3 years preparing the asset for sale by hampering their ability to achieve effectively.
in other news, the herald is complaining about the blocking of the sale of auckland airport shares by messrs cosgrove and parker. they just don't seem to get the basic point. the airport is a monopoly asset. if a foreign company gets control, they are in a position to abuse the monopoly. in other words, there is nothing to stop them from increasing the departure charge to, say, $50 or $100. what are you going to do? there aren't any other realistic options - it's not like you could go to another, cheaper airport in the same city.
nz ownership is more likely to ensure nz interests are taken into account. having that ownership with the councils also means that there is political pressure that will be brought to bear if the charges go up. if the airport is controlled by foreign owners, they won't be subject to that pressure. if they didn't see a way of taking control of the airport at some point, there would be no point in the investment.
and finally, yes finally, it's raining here in hamilton. i mean really raining hard for hours. grey skies have never looked so good. it reminds me of india, where the monsoon season is considered to be very romantic. i'm falling in love with puddles.