Left brain, right brain.


No, it’s nothing to do with politics – just a visual test to work out which side of your brain you use most.

Neutron bomb or damp squib?


Labour must be worried that the fallout from Winston Peters’ lobbying to appoint  Owen Glenn as honorary counsul to Monaco is reflecting badly on Helen Clark and endangering Labour’s chances of re-election.

Bill Ralston  said:

Over the past couple of weeks the polls showed an increasing trickle of voters dribbling back to NZ First as their memories of Peters’ embarrassments of the last few months began to fade in the glare of the election campaign. Their doubts will now be reawakened.

It is a bitter blow for Labour and Helen Clark. They had been counting on NZ First just cresting the 5% MMP barrier and effectively slamming the door on Key’s chances of forming a government.

The depth of their concern is evidenced by the release of their “neutron bomb”.

It’s an attempt to link John Key to the H-fee white collar crime.

But the Herald story is linked to one which quotes former Serious Fraud Office head Charles Sturt saying Key had nothing to do with the matter.

That suggests it’s a damp squib.

John’s right to say ‘no’


Should National leader John Key reconsider his decision not to work with Winston Peters or NZ First?


Yes, National might need NZ First (167 votes, 9.5%)

No, jettisoning Peters was a principled decision (1342 votes, 76.6%)

Not yet … but maybe after the election (242 votes, 13.8%)

 Stuff polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.

Inquiring Mind writes on this issue here.

NZ’s eco footprint 6th biggest


WWF reckons New Zealand has the 6th biggest ecological footprint  in the world.

The WWF calculations include carbon emissions from the production of imported goods and services and shows that Kiwis’ use of natural resources is excessive.

Do most of those carbon emissions come from animals?

And do these natural resources include the water and grass for the animals which produce the milk and meat to feed to people in countries which aren’t able to produce their own as efficiently – in environmental and economic terms – as we do?

And if so, how do we go about reducing our ecological footprint without ruining our economy; increasing ecological footprints in other countries who increase their production to compensate for the reduction in ours; and adding to the world wide shortage of food?

They bought it we have to use it


Labour spent far more than it was worth to buy the railways and now they’re going to make us use them whether or not we want to.

Michael Cullen wants to jointly fund rail access to Fonterra’s Clandeboye milk processing plant even though the company doesn’t want it.

Dr Cullen said the Government is committed to jointly funding rail access to Clandeboye and wants to see the plan brought forward.

“There’s a lot to be said for taking it there.”

Both the economy and the environment would benefit.

Last month Fonterra Clandeboye hub manager Alan Bennett said the site was not looking at rail at all.

Fonterra would have made an informed decision on the best way to transport its produce. If it costs more or is less efficient to do it by rail will Cullen compensate us?

Roarprawn and No Minister  aren’t impressed either.

National on the attack


The National Party has started screening ads attacking Labour.

They’re aimed at the party and its record, unlike Labour’s attack ads whcih are aimed at John Key.

Who do you trust?


Which of these three can we trust?

WInston Peters who says he didn’t lobby for Owen Glenn to be appointed as honorary consul for Monaco even though:

. . . email correspondence between officials in the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry shows Mr Peters pushed the case hard and gave his department a hurry-up for not moving fast enough on the appointment, asking New Zealand’s Ambassador in France to meet urgently with Mr Glenn in Monaco about the role.

The correspondence, during 2007, came a year after Mr Glenn had donated $100,000 towards Mr Peters’ legal expenses in the Tauranga electoral petition, which Peters denied knowing about until July this year.

Helen Clark who says:

“For my part, once I had heard there had been a donation I didn’t think it would be appropriate,” she said.

She said there was no issue because no appointment had been made.

Even though she spent a lot of this year saying she believed Peters when he told her no donation had been made.

or John Key  who said:

“The majority agree with the position I’ve taken. That’s because they see Winston Peters as a walking soap opera,” he said.

“I want to lead a government that’s focused on the issues that matter and those are resolving the economy, law and order, health and education.

“I don’t want to be distracted by having Winston Peters in a cabinet that is just going to be bumbling from one saga to another.”

If it’s about trust, there’s no contest.

Are they trying?


When it’s the party vote that counts those of us in the provinces tend to get overlooked by politicians in pursuit of power who find a much greater concentration of potential voters in a much smaller area in the cities.

Because of this I haven’t been surprised that only National’s Jacqui Dean is seeking both electorate and party votes in my electorate, Waitaki.

However, I do find it strange that the other parties are almost invisible. I’ve seen a few Labour and Act hoardings – and I do mean a few, maybe half a dozen – and I’ve covered a fair bit of the electorate’s 34,888 square kilometres in the last couple of weeks.

I’ve had a brochure with John Key’s commitments in the mail but nothing at all from any of the other parties.

I thought it was just because it was too hard to campaign in such a big electorate, but others are reporting a similar lack of action in smaller electorates.

Stranded in Reality  in Hunua has a hoarding with Paul Hutchison and John Key outside her house:

 And the only other signs I have seen in Hunua are promoting Roger Douglas and Jim Anderton. They haven’t been defaced. I have not seen one Labour Party or  other party billboard. No  pamphlets apart from National Party ones have been delivered.  How lazy can you get? You deserve to lose.

And Linley Boniface who lives in Wellington Central says she’s being wooed by National’s Stephen Franks but:

Grant Robertson, current Labour candidate for Wellington Central, has kept such a low profile in my area that I assume he’s the first person ever to run for Parliament while being in a witness protection programme.

If there’s little sign of other parties campaigning in what is probably the most politically aware electorate in the country you have to ask what’s going on?

I can think of four possibilities:

1) The Electoral Finance Act is stifling activity.

2) The other parties are saving their onslaught for the very end.

3) The other parties don’t have enough members and money to run campaigns.

4) The other parties don’t want to win.

Most-feared in media award


The NBR reports that Checkpoint’s Mary Wilson  is the interviewer PR firms and media trainers advise clients to avoid.

The PR flacks and media skills trainers are telling their clients that Wilson turns anything and everything into a massive verbal brawl in which the interviewee will be hung, drawn and quartered.

Would that happen if you answered her questions fully and had nothing to hide?

400 people 6 politicians


I started my journalism career in an election year – 1981 when politicians still faced the public at meetings and the public still turned up in good numbers – several hundred people – to hear them.

After attending two meet the candidates forums in the past fortnight with fewer than 25 people in each audience I’d begun to wonder if this form of democratic interaction was dying.

However, a report on a meeting  in Queenstown gives me hope.

The ODT reports that 400 people turned out to hear six politicians: National deputy leader Bill English, his Labour counterpart Michael Cullen, Progressive MP Jim Anderton, Act candidate Roger Douglas, Greens co-leader Russel Norman and NZ First leader Winston Peters.

All parliamentary parties had been invited to send a representative and while I understand that wee parties’ MPs can’t be everywhere, it’s a poor reflection on both United Future and the Maori Party that they couldn’t find a candidate to represent them at the forum.

The ODt says that Queenstown Lakes Mayor Clive Geddis received sustained applause from the audience when he told the politicians:

“. . . if you can run the economy of New Zealand for the next decade as these people out here have run the economy of the Lakes District for the past decade, the GDP will be 30% greater . . . than it is today.

“Close to 400 people here this evening have paid to come and hear politicians. It’s a sobering thought and what is behind that is a genuine interest.”

Mr Geddes said those who had turned out felt they had ownership of their community, had a say in the way it was managed and felt they were in charge of their own economy.

“People who are prepared to front on a cold, rainy night, pay 30 bucks to hear you . . . but more importantly that you take away from them the message that this town has got something you can learn from them.”

The paper also noted the best one-liners:

Bill English on the anti-smacking legislation: It’s going to be the nanny state on P.

Russel Norman reacting after being criticised for being an Australian representing a New Zealand party in an election: Hey, I’m a citizen, mate. There are a lot of migrants in this country. Get used to it.

Michael Cullen after being asked about the proposed location of the new Frankton school: I don’t have a briefing on that, I assume they’re planning for future growth.

MC Jim Hopkins reacting to Dr Cullen’s comment: Hold the press . . . a politician has just admitted he doesn’t know something.

Winston Peters after being asked to confirm a rumour a deal had been done between New Zealand First and Labour that if NZ First did not get in, Mr Peters would be appointed Right Honourable Consul of Monaco: You came all the way tonight and that’s your best shot? Sit down and be a good lad.

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it, but if that’s the best Peters can do the standard of his repartee is down with his standard of accountability.

Comprehension test needed


Dene Mackenzie uncovered this at a pub in Martinborough:

While most farmers were voting National on the electorate vote, some of those spoken to whispered in hushed tones that some of their “friends” actually voted Labour on the party vote.

Here is why.

Many of the long-time mortgage-free farming families had their assets in a trust.

They paid themselves a low salary, say $35,000, while still getting the benefits of living on the land.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen had generously topped up their salary through working for families.

Of course, none of those spoken to had ever received working for families, but their friends had and they were probably voting Labour on the party vote.

These people need a comprehension test before they vote.

First because National is going to keep WFF.

Second because policies which promote economic growth will enable more people to make more themselves than they’ll ever get from welfare and we’ll only get those policies with a National led government.

Wairapapa farmers have had some bad years and it didn’t help that last summer’s drought coincided with depressed sheep prices. But this is a sign of how pernicious welfare dependency is because if you’re in business and depending on WFF then whether or not you’ve got a trust, you’re going backwards and the country is too.

10 more sleeps . . .


. . . until the election and when John says no he means no.

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