Trust the poll


Announcing the election date, Prime Minister Helen Clark said the campaign would be about trust. Who do you trust more?

Helen Clark (6329 votes, 14.9%)

John Key (36275 votes, 85.1%)


Stuff polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.
Scientific or not it was very silly to say the campaign would be about trust.

Fact Finder doesn’t show all the facts


Agenda has a new feature – Fact Finder  which is a joint venture with post-grad political science students from Auckland University.

Their mission is to check claims made by politicians and candidates for accuracy.

Today they had the results of three checks.

The first showed that Lockwood Smith was only half right in his claims about  the number of people leaving New Zealand because he didn’t take into account those who weren’t kiwis and those who returned.

The second found that David Parker was only paritally right in claiming they’d doubled compensation to forestry owners because they’d only increased it by 50%.

The third check was on Nick Smith’s claim that the first policy Labour released was National’s. The Fact Finders found this was 100% accurate and Labour has still released no policy.

The  Agenda website reports on the first finding and not the other two which show Labour in a bad light. I’d like to think that doesn’t show any political bias.

P.S. I’m on very dangerous ground here because I type faster than I spell which means I’m throwing stones from a glass house but: the headline says: AGENDA REVEALS THE REAL FACTS ABOUT IMMIGRATION FIGURES. Lockwood Smith was talking about immigration policy but the figures he used were referring to people leaving so shouldn’t that be emigration?

Hat Tip Kiwiblog

It’s only a poll but National’s 18 points ahead


Yes, yes, I know only one poll counts and that a lot can happen between here and the ballot box.

But I’m relieved that the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll shows that some of the mud in which Winston Peters has bogged himself is beginning to stick to Labour.

The poll of 1000 people which has a margin of error of 3.1% showed:

National 53%; Labour 35%; Green Party 5; Act 2%; Maori Party1.8% ;New Zealand First 1.8%.

John Key had 40% support as preferred Prime Minister, Helen Clark had 31% and defying all reason 3% of respondents would tick Winston Peters.

The report will be on line here soon.

75th anniversary of first female MP


Elizabeth McCombs  became New Zealand’s first female MP 75 years ago yesterday, almost 40 years after women first got the vote.

She won a by-election for the Labour Party in Lyttelton after the death of her husband, James, who had held the seat.

Some Labour leaders were not convinced about her candidacy as James had only won by a slender margin in 1931. In the end they had no cause for concern – Elizabeth was elected with an overwhelming majority.

In her time in Parliament Elizabeth tried to keep women’s issues at the forefront, advocating causes such as equal pay. But she had little opportunity to effect change. Labour was then in opposition and she died less than two years later, in June 1935.

Hat tip: No Right Turn

Update: The Hand Mirror has a fuller post here.

Pepper pots possum


If you are a sensitive soul like Poneke  who can’t/won’t kill flies or Fairfacts Media   who lets mice go after he’s caught them, you may be better not to read this.

Animal welfare is of paramount concern on our farms, as it is with all but a tiny minority who shouldn’t call themselves farmers. But although we treat animals well we don’t operate a catch and release policy for pests.

We kill them quickly and cleanly but we do kill them.

So does Pepper. His mother was a golden labrador, we suspect his father was a sheep dog and the result is a playing rather than working dog.

He’s not just ornamental though, he catches flies, rabbits and for the first time today he caught a possum.

Pepper accompanies me on my morning walk, and probably covers at least twice as much distance as I do because he’s always dashing off to investigate smells of interest en route.

This morning he disappeared down a bank and shortly afterwards I heard high pitched squeals. Moments later he appeared with a freshly killed possum in his mouth.

Possums compete with native birds for food, eat young growth of trees and sometimes birds eggs and chicks. They also carry TB which can infect farm animals.

They are pests so I was pleased Pepper killed one this morning, but just to show I’m not entirely heartless, I was also pleased he did it quickly.

Win $1380 worth of books


New Zealand Books Abroad is marking New Zealand book month by giving visitors to its website the opporutnity to win the 25 Montana Book Award 2008 finalists which are valued at $1380.

All you have to do to enter the draw to win is to pick the phoney titles from the genuine ones in their webshop.

While browsing the website I came across a new title:

Milking Shed Favourites: A South Island Miscellany (Book and CD)

Butt, Red

The jacket blurb of this best seller promises an increase in the quality and quantity of milk production and more relaxed animals. The lyrics in the book are supported by a waterproof CD; the inspiration of Red Butt, a cow cocky from the Catlins. Butt, furious at being kicked and stomped on, started whistling soothing sonatas to his herd. The change in their behaviour was hugely awesome — Red. But the real breakthrough came when he re-recorded New Zealand classics, retaining the original lyrics and changing their upbeat funky tunes to calmer renditions: If if Weren’t for Your Gum Boots translates into a memorable Gregorian chant; the melodious oboe in Down the Hall on a Saturday Night is guaranteed to increase lactation; Daisy, Daisy, Give Me An Answer Do echoes a Viennese waltz. However, the tour de force on the CD is the NZ Symphony Orchestra’s unique rendition of Taumarunui (on the Main Trunk Line). Butt is working on a companion book and CD for the Egg Marketing Board.

Even though the international price for dairy products is going down, I’m hoping there’s room in the farm budget for this. It sounds like just what we need to ensure the dairy shed’s humming.

Poll right about left


The poll Keeping Stock is running in the sidebar of his blog asks who will get your party vote.

The options are:

Labour/NZ First

As the billbaord above the poll shows there is no need to waste space separating Labour and New Zealand First because a vote for the former is a vote for Peters in government and a vote for the latter is a vote for the former.

Mutton uses lamb’s id


A 33 year old woman has been charged with identity theft for allegedly stealing her 15 year old daughter’s id.

Why? Because she wanted to get her high school diploma and be a cheerleader.

Mutton dressed as lamb is unattractive, mutton posing as lamb is taking the pursuit of eternal youth to a new low.

Unions start campaigning


Unionists will start handing out Council of Trade Unions election pamplets tomorrow.

The won’t contain words or images which could be seen to be persuading people to vote for or against any party or parties though because that would contravene the Electoral Finance Act wouldn’t it?

Update: No Minister  has a related post.

Ready, steady, shoot


This message from Tom Scott  is reinforced by Adam Smith’s observations on the differences in style and tone between Helen Clark and John Key.

Voters don’t know where they are


South Canterbury people intend to vote but a poll shows most don’t know which electorate they’re in or who the canddaites are.

With eight weeks to go until election day, a poll of 300 people has shown only 31 per cent can name the electorate they are in, and only 27 per cent can name the National and Labour candidates in their electorate.

The telephone poll was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday nights by Aoraki Polytechnic journalism students. Numbers were selected randomly from the Timaru telephone book. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus six per cent.

There are five things to blame for this.

The first is the Electoral Finance Act which has severely constrained campaigning.

This has been compounded by the second factor: the delay in announcing the election date because candidates and parties have held their fire until the campaing proper begins.

The third is massive boundary changes which have created huge electorates with many different communities which have little if anything in common.

The fourth is the lack of publicity about these changes.

The fifth is that too many people don’t have much interest in the political process so don’t notice what publicity there has been and/or lack the initiative to find out for themselves.

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