Wednesday, February 25, 2009
In the meantime (via The Standard - I think, all I see is an empty post):
Shepard Fairey sues AP over rights to Obama image - a case which, the quoted experts say, he is unlikely to win. All to end in tears?
Essay: Editorial: “The Medium Is The Message: Shepard Fairey And The Art Of Appropriation”
Friday, February 20, 2009
National has cancelled another conference, with Prime Minister John Key describing it as "a waste of public money at a critical time".
During a line-by-line review of spending by the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Key discovered the so-called "Summit on Employment", which was to be held in Auckland on February 27.
The summit, which was organised by bureaucrats, was to gather business leaders together from around the country to have a bit of a chat about employment-related issues.
"Employers are the life blood of our economy," said My Key, "We don't want them swanning around at some fancy conference venue eating sausage rolls - they should be at work employing people!"
My Key emphasised the he supported the goal of gathering fresh ideas to retain and grow jobs. "But haven't they ever heard of email? Or telephones?"
"Unfortunately we won't be able to recoup the money spent on branding and publicity for the conference," Mr Key continued, "I shall be asking some very stern questions about why an publicly-funded event needs its own logo.
"Not that it's a bad logo. It's got lines making a sort of mountain. Summit, you see. Because it's a summit."
After an uncomfortable pause Mr Key suggested it might actually be a roof with retrofitted insulation.
My Key cited this action as proof the he and the Beehive political staff were right on the ball when it came to saving money.
"In these hard economic times we need to make sure every taxpayer dollar is well spent. How many manufacturing workers could be employed with that money? Or, to put the spending in more standard terms, how many hip operations could an osteopathic surgeon employed with that money perform?
"The number of blocks of cheese involved doesn't bear thinking about."
A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office later clarified that, while whether the summit was a waste of money was debatable, Mr Key did not want to be the last minister to cancel a conference or fire somebody.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The new Government's extensive use of urgency is once again under scrutiny. Senior Ministers have offered some justifications, but their reasons have been described as "constitutionally inadequate, and also subtly terrifying".
Parliament has resumed and is urgently considering hastily-drafted bills relating to policing, taxation and the repeal of the Electoral Finance Act 2007. Time permitting, the Government may also introduce legislation allowing emergency state requisitioning of lead sheets, religious artifacts and chainsaws.
Some have questioned whether these measures - and others passed late last year - are in fact urgent enough to override normal scrutiny.
Minister for Justice Simon Power defended the urgent introduction of the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill, which allows police to arrest anyone they want to take DNA samples from.
"DNA is the stuff of life on earth, common to all creatures that evolved on this planet," explained Mr Power, "It may be the only way we'll be able to tell."
Mr Power then declined to discuss another bill relating to organised crime, saying that he had "said too much already".
Bill English, the hollow-eyed and increasingly hunted-looking Minister of Finance, said the Taxation (Business Tax Measures) Bill concentrated on making things easier for small to medium enterprises. "Large enterprises were not so much of a focus," said Mr English, "What with one thing and another we expect people will soon be reluctant to gather in groups of larger than 30."
Prime Minister John Key laughed off suggestions that he would get through his entire legislative agenda in the first 100 days, chuckling hollowly for a full minute before saying, "When else am I going to do it?"
Asked to clarify the reason for his Government's haste, Mr Key said that the public "would find out soon enough".
"I wish I could tell the people of New Zealand what's so urgent about the Sentencing (Offender Levy) Amendment Bill, but are they ready to know?" said Mr Key.
"Are you?" he continued, turning directly toward his questioner, press gallery reporter Guyon Espiner.
It is understood that Key's eerie gaze bored straight through Espiner, as if staring into the heart of distant, frozen suns.
Parliament will sit for two weeks, before breaking to resume, "God willing", on March 3. Day 0 of the new Government's 100-day programme will occur on March 18.