The Insider
What they're whispering about in Parliament...

The Insider: Plane wrong

Boeing is probably wishing it had chosen another airline - any other airline - to profile in the July issue of its glossy magazine, Boeing Frontiers. The mag includes a full page on Korea's Asiana Airlines, extolling its safety record and its many "best airline" accolades. Accompanying the story is a shot of an Asiana Boeing 777-200ER - just like the one that crashed while landing at San Francisco airport last month, killing three people, and sparking investigations and legal action against Asiana and Boeing.

Staying afloat

Ministers and officials are confident they will be able to press on with the partial sale of Meridian Energy, despite uncertainty about the future of the SOE's deal to supply power to the Tiwai smelter. Ministers believe perceptions that the SOE is too big for the NZ market to handle are overblown, and the Government is sure many potential investors are waiting for the float. Of course the political imperative of local ownership means the Government will not be able to raise as much as if it concentrated on institutional and overseas investors.

Out of retirement

Some judges have been cracking down on people not doing their duty as jurors, and the Justice Ministry is trying to cast the net wider for more candidates.

But it might be taking things a bit too far - a 90-year-old woman in a Napier rest home has been sent a demand to attend.

Friend seeks friends

The Conservative Party is showing its friendly side, sending out invitations to journalists on its mailing list to a "special volunteers' morning tea in appreciation of everything you have done for the Conservative Party since its inception". Those at the August 7 event will include party leader Colin Craig and chief executive Christine Rankin. In their email, the optimistic Conservatives urge the journos and other recipients to do volunteer work during the Auckland City Council elections.

Royal spam

Phishers and spammers are quick to take advantage of the gullible and the curious. One, apparently in Panama, set up one such scam soon after the birth of Prince George, registering the domain name to push spam on unsuspecting visitors. The Queen would not be amused.

Shaky logic

The quakes rattling Marlborough and Wellington have created an opportunity for some people to push their own causes. Port Marlborough is telling officials that the quakes should scuttle the proposed new Cook Strait ferry terminal at Clifford Bay, because it is closer to the epicentre of many of the quakes than Picton. But Picton and Clifford Bay aren't that far apart, and a big quake would probably hit them both. There are also other fault lines near Picton, and if being near a fault or a volcano is a reason not to build something, we might as well all move to Australia.

Secrets to share

Emails promising to reveal the secrets of business success are nothing unusual, but the Insider was surprised to receive a series of such messages from Tane Rakau - the adopted name of convicted fraudster Shane Wenzel. In December, Wenzel was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud, but the discharged bankrupt had served 11 months by then and his lawyer says he has now been released. Wenzel formerly ran business seminars in Takanini and coached "recruits" on "wealth generation". One of the emails promotes the "" programme - described as "an unforgettable 3 day experience that can help you join an elite group of leaders and entrepreneurs who have achieved their dreams, and who are now eager to help you do the same".

Pass the parcel

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae is off to visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the first two weeks of this month. He will be the first GG to visit Cambodia and Laos, and only the second to go to Vietnam. Nothing unusual in this - it's part of his job to promote New Zealand's interests - but the timing could be interesting. It is likely the Government's GCSB legislation will pass while Sir Jerry - himself a former GCSB head - is overseas. If he is away when the legislation requires head-of-state assent, Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias will sign it, as Administrator of the Government. If she isn't available, the job falls to the next most senior judge and so on down the line.

Rich... and cross

On the topic of the GCSB legislation, internet multimillionaire Seeby Woodhouse has made his feelings clear. Woodhouse was spotted with a companion, marching and placard-waving in the big protest last week.

- NZ Herald

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