Keep the team that’s working

September 2, 2014

The choice for New Zealanders in this election is to keep the team that’s working or change it for one that won’t:

The National Party has launched a new phase in its election campaign with new television commercials and election billboards highlighting the clear choice facing New Zealand voters.

“On air now is a short 15 second television commercial highlighting the stark difference between the opposition’s spending promises and our own strong economic management,” says National’s Campaign Chair Steven Joyce.

“The simple truth is that to date Labour and the Greens have released reckless spending commitments that total up to $28 billion, and that’s before they add in Dotcom’s party.

“Labour alone has committed to a staggering $18.4 billion, a figure the Greens want independently audited.

“Even in opposition, Labour, the Greens and their mates can’t agree on basic policy, like what the top personal tax rate should be.”

“In contrast, our plan will keep growing the economy and delivering the benefits of that growth to all New Zealanders – like 150,000 more jobs by 2018, free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for children under 13, 18 weeks paid parental leave, Kiwisaver HomeStart grants for first home buyers and no new taxes,” says Steven Joyce. . .

The choice is clear – a strong and stable team with a proven record continuing to steer New Zealand in the right direction or the left at best taking us nowhere good and at worst taking us backwards.

 

 

 

 

 


Compare the chairs

September 2, 2014

Duncan Garner chaired last week’s debate between the finance spokespeople for five parties.

He began by saying each speaker had three minutes to give a pitch and he’d accept interjections if they were witty.

The speakers largely abided by his rules and on the few occasions any tried to speak over another Garner quelled him.

On Sunday  Corin Dann chaired a debate between Finance Minister Bill English and Labour’s spokesman David Parker.

He kept control throughout, only rarely did one of the MPs try to talk over the other and Dann kept good control when that happened.

In both debates the audience heard almost every word the speakers said.

Contrast that with the Leaders’ Debate between Prime Minister John Key  and Labour’s David Cunliffe on Thursday.

Mike Hosking rarely seemed to be in control and let Cunliffe away with constant interruptions.

The result was he looked like a boor and it was difficult to hear what either he of the PM was saying.

I wondered if Hosking was worried about the perception of bias, Kerre McIvor does too:

. . . Moderator Mike Hosking could have been more aggressive himself.

There had been criticism from Labour over the choice of Hosking to chair the debate. It felt he had pinned his colours to the mast by introducing Key at a business meeting and exhorting those there to vote for him.

Perhaps Hosking felt a little hamstrung – if he pulled up Cunliffe too often, the accusations of bias would appear to have some justification. . .

That a debate could have a strong influence on how people vote is concerning.

But whether or not it does, it should allow the speakers to speak and the audience to hear what they say and it’s the chair’s role to ensure they do.

Not PC has some advice on a proper debate.

Garner and Dann showed how to do it.

The chairs in the remaining debates should follow their example.


Beyer sees the light

September 2, 2014

The rope between the Internet and Mana parties is beginning to fray:

Internet Mana candidate Georgina Beyer has gone rogue and come out swinging at her party’s so-called visionary, Kim Dotcom.

She says he’s pulling the strings and is in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge.

Internet Mana’s the party that’s big on going big – big names, big productions, big personalities. But now it seems it’s got big problems too.

“Who is pulling the strings? Well, the big man himself,” says Ms Beyer.

Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP and New Zealand’s first transgender MP, is Mana’s candidate in the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga.

She believes Dotcom is tearing her party apart.

“His reasons for becoming involved in New Zealand politics in the way he has is one of retribution against people who he feels have slighted him,” says Ms Beyer. . .

She has seen the light but her leader was still letting the puppet master pull his strings last week:

The Internet Mana Party has had another media blowout, with Hone Harawira stopping an interview and walking off after just one question.

Mr Harawira refused to talk about his party’s U-turn on cannabis and would only take questions on a Te Tai Tokerau candidates’ debate.

He was once one of Parliament’s toughest opponents to cannabis, but Mr Harawira has flip flopped. Mana now wants to see decriminalisation – fitting with the preferred position of Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party. . .

Dotcom is buying political power for two reasons – hatred of Prime Minister John Key and an attempt to stop his extradition to face charges in the USA.

The  IMP agreement need last no longer than six weeks after the election. If Beyer can persuade others in the party to return to their principles it could fall apart much sooner.


$22.5m for forestry

August 31, 2014

National’s Forestry Spokesperson, Jo Goodhew announced plans to invest invest $22.5 million over five years to further encourage and support the planting of new forests if the party is back in government:

Mrs Goodhew made the announcement at Knapdale Eco Lodge in Gisborne with Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key, National’s Primary Industries spokesman, Nathan Guy, and local East Coast MP Anne Tolley.

The Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) is a grant to help landowners to establish new forests of between five and 300 hectares.

“The previous AGS wound up last year. Through National’s responsible economic management we are able to commit to extending this worthwhile scheme for a further five years,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Our commitment to afforestation is another example of National’s long-term economic investment in regional New Zealand.

“Other examples are our recently announced $150 million investment in the Rural Broadband Initiative, our $212 million investment in new regional roading projects, the investment of $120 million into new irrigation projects, and initiatives like the recovery of windblown timber on the West Coast.

“Contrast that with Labour and the Greens – they would stifle the regions by bringing in a big new carbon tax, imposing large water resource levies, and introducing a capital gains tax on 100 per cent of productive businesses,  including farms.

“National backs the country’s regions to succeed.

“The start-up costs for forests can be a huge barrier, as forestry is a long-term game. It can be 25 to 30 years before forests are ready to be harvested and generate value. That’s why National wants to lower those cost barriers for regional New Zealand and make planting new forests easier,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The scheme will build on the success of the earlier AGS, but will be improved and simplified to make participation easier.

“We have looked at how the scheme could be further enhanced, to make it more accessible and flexible for applicants,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The scheme is projected to result in around 15,000 hectares of new forest being established. Much of this is expected to be on low-quality land not ideal for farming.”

The criteria for the new scheme will include:

Individual parcels of land between 5 and 300 hectares per grant application

Planting must be on land that is not already forestry land

A flat grant rate of $1300 per hectare from one funding pool for all applicants.

In return for a grant, grantees will forfeit carbon credits to the Crown for up to a decade.

“We expect the majority of people taking up this scheme will be farmers and other landowners wanting to diversify and better use marginal land,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The grant will go some way to alleviating the start-up costs of new planting, but we expect grant recipients to meet the long-term costs associated with developing and sustaining a forest.”

Forests have a number of environmental benefits. New planting will help property owners address soil erosion, water quality and biodiversity.

“The removal of carbon by forests plays an important role in helping New Zealand meet its long-term climate change commitments. Planting new forests contributes positively to reducing New Zealand’s net emissions.”

The Afforestation Grants scheme complements work already undertaken in this area, including the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, the Erosion Control Funding Programme on the East Coast and the Hill Country Erosion Fund.

 

National backs our regions to succeed. This announcement is another example of our long-term investment in regional New Zealand. ntnl.org.nz/1vTC2oO #Working4NZ

 

 


Collins resigns from cabinet

August 30, 2014

Judith Collins has resigned from cabinet but will continue to campaign for re-election in the  Papakura electorate which she holds with a solid majority.

Ms Collins resignation from cabinet followed the emergence of an email from Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater to PR operative Carrick Graham and others.

The email implies that after (then) SFO boss Adam Feeley briefed Ms Collins, information was leake to Mr Slater then, via Mr Graham, was passed on to the subject of an SFO investigation.

Prime Minister John Key said he had accepted the resignation of Ms Collins followed the receipt of new information that raises allegations about Ms Collins’ conduct as a Minister.

“The relationship between a Minister and their Chief Executive is vital, and goes right to the heart of a trusted, effective government,” Mr Key said.

“This new information suggests Ms Collins may have been engaged in discussions with a blogger in 2011 aimed at undermining the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office. Ms Collins was the Minister responsible for the SFO at the time.

Mr Key released an email which had been recently been provided to his office (see below).

“I have spoken with Ms Collins about the matters in the email, and she strongly denies any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour on her part,” he said. . .

Ms Collins released a statement at midday saying, “A new allegation has come to light from an email conversation from 2011 between Cameron Slater and others suggesting I was undermining the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office,” she said in a statement.

“I was not party to this email or discussion and have only today been made aware of it.

“I strongly denied the claim and any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour.

“I am restrained in clearing my name while I am still a Minister inside Cabinet and I believe the right thing to do is to resign as a Minister so I am able to clear my name.

“I have asked the Prime Minister for an Inquiry into these serious allegations so that my name can be cleared. I will, of course, cooperate with any Inquiry.” . . .

What someone says about someone else, in an email or anywhere else, is only hearsay and not proof of wrong-doing by them.

But the allegations are serious enough to justify an inquiry and it is appropriate that she resigns from cabinet while it is carried out.

 

 


Key dominates leaders’ index

August 30, 2014

The first of  iSentia’s weekly Leaders’ Indexes shows that Prime Minister John Key dominated the news in the mainstream and social media.

leaders1

This shows how much coverage each party leader gets, it doesn’t differentiate between good and bad coverage.

But when one of his new candidates is more recognisable than he is, David Cunliffe might be thinking that any more publicity, even if it’s negative, might be better than almost none.

When it comes to social media the Internet Mana Party’s two leaders are getting fewer mentions than either Act leader Jamie Whyte or Conservative leader Colin Craig.

Is that irony or just proof that the name is as fake as the partnership?


And the winner . . .

August 28, 2014

. .  of the award for being rude and interrupting goes to David Cunliffe in tonight’s TV1 leaders’ debate.

I wonder if Mike Hosking was too scared of being accused of bias to tell him to shut up?

The winner of the policy discussion was John Key.

The text poll gave the debate to the Prime Minister with 61%.

 


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