Election’s won?


I’m biased but I’m not over confident about the election outcome. However, others who don’t share my bias are sure that National will win.

The three commentators who followed the TV3 debate said John Key will be our next Prime Minister and Bill Ralston  is saying the same thing:

Helen Clark will go down fighting but go down she will. . .

. . . on Saturday night her government will fall. The public mood is that it is time for change and there is little she can do about that.

. . .  I think the maths is against her. I do not believe NZ First will trigger the 5 per cent MMP barrier and Peters hasn’t got a hope in hell of winning Tauranga. I know everyone always says, “You can’t write Winston off”. Well, this election I do.

That means there will be a sizeable wasted vote, possibly as much as 5 per cent if you include the votes wasted on the Kiwi Party.

At that point John Key and National just have to get half of 95 per cent of the vote and their task is much easier.

. . . When political scientists look back at the 2008 election I think there will be consensus Labour committed a huge blunder in targeting John Key personally. Labour’s hugely negative campaign of denigration is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many New Zealand voters.

. . . Labour has waged what is essentially an opposition election campaign, accentuating the negative, and it will lead them into opposition.

. . . Its attempts to portray Key as a duplicitous ogre fail when the electorate is increasingly coming to see the National Party leader is not evil incarnate.

If attacking your opposition is better campaign strategy than highlighting record you haven’t got much of a record.

Tonight is the TV3 Leaders debate and Wednesday is the final TVNZ marathon showdown between Clark and Key.

There is no doubt Helen will hit him hard and try to rattle him but, providing he keeps his cool, I doubt if either debate will display John Key as anything other than an affable, intelligent leader more than capable of being a Prime Minister we can actually trust.

At that point Labour’s entire campaign strategy collapses.

And that, my friends, is how Labour lost the 2008 election.

I’m still not that confident, but I am encouraged.

The TV3 debate


The first segment of the TV3 debate ended in a shouting match, the second opened with a request for better behaviour from John Campbell and he  got it.

It means that each of the leaders can talk uninterrupted – except by the chair.

I’m too biased to give a fair assessment of John Key’s and Helen Clark’s performances – of course John’s better 🙂

 But if the outcome of the election is influenced to any great degree by this then democracy is in trouble.

 Update: John Campbell asked what’s the difference between Bill English and Michael Cullen.

Point to Key for answering: “Bill’s got charm.”

Point off Clark for saying he didn’t in 2002.

Update # 2: Point to Key for: “If nine years isn’t enough to do that no amount of time is.”

Update # 3: Linda Clark, Jenni McManus and Jon Johansson have all agreed that Key will be our next PM; and Linda said she thinks it will be decisive enough that the Maori Party won’t hold the balance of power.

Why wait until December?


John Campbell just asked Helen Clark why we have to wait until December for a mini-budget.

She hasn’t given a reason.

Why should we trust them with a blank cheque?

Greens set lawyers on to Act


Act changed an advertisement  based on the Green Party “vote for me video” after the Greens sent a them legal letter.

The ACT ad used the Green Party image of the little girl but has a different voice-over saying: “If you really want to vote for me you’d give me opportunities not regulations, choices not controls, you wouldn’t tell me what lightbulbs to use, or showers or how many children I could have because if you do I probably will go overseas and all there will be is empty space.”

After a legal letter ACT pulled the ad.

Another version of the ad where the child’s face is different is on ACT’s website.

ACT Party president Garry Mallett said the image was changed enough so there was now no copyright breach. Mr Mallett was double checking legal issues before it screened on television.

He said the Greens should be happy ACT were recycling.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman was unimpressed.

There’s an entertaining exchange of views on the advertisement over at John Ansell.

SFF scraps PGW deal


Silver Fern Farms has formally put an end to the $220 million deal with PGG Wrightson after PGW defaulted on its agreement to take a 50% stake in SFF.

Although Silver Fern has axed the deal, the cooperative said it had not yet decided what compensation it will seek for Wrightson’s failure to pay the first instalment of $145 million.

It simply said that Silver Fern’s default on October 1 “has left Silver Fern Farms with no alternative but to terminate the agreement relating to the proposal”.

This followed “continuous discussions” and the inability by Wrightson to deliver any level of certainty as to a possible settlement date over an adequate period of time.

“Termination of the agreement was a necessary step to provide certainty to our shareholders and other stakeholders,” said Silver Fern chief executive Keith Cooper.

“We have not determined the amount or form of compensation we will seek to recover,” he said.

“If any alternative arrangement is agreed and implemented, then this issue will be addressed as part of those arrangements.”

SFF has the right to seek compensation but they will be mindful that if they do they may jeopardise their  relationship with PGW and they won’t want to do that if they want PGW stock agents to procure stock for them.

Greens won’t sit with Peters


Green party co-leader Russel Norman says his party won’t work with a Labour government if Winston Peters is in cabinet.

“I think that if we get to the position post-election where Winston Peters is being proposed as a minister, or if he gets back in, I think he can’t sit around the cabinet table until we clear this issue up,” he said.

“I think the latest allegations are actually the most serious yet because they are allegations of money for policy.”

At last they’ve found their principles and they’ve left Labour isolated.

The Maori Party and Jim Anderton haven’t gone this far but the former voted in favour of the privileges committee censure of Peters and Anderton abstained from the vote so Helen Clark and Labour are the only ones who are still supporting him unconditionally.

Unless there’s a huge reversal on the trend showing in the polls Labour will need the Greens to form a centre-left government but they’ll almost certainly need New Zealand First as well.

The Greens are also calling for a commission of inquiry into the funding scandals involving NZ First. That would be a very good idea regardless of whether or not the party returns to parliament.

Rugby bigs back blue


Former All Blacks Michael Jones and Inga Tuigamala are backing John Key and National.

Their reasons for the endorsement are based on their spiritual values, and their belief that the National Party could take Pacific people in a forward direction, the pair said today.

“We don’t want our people just working in factories”, said Tuigamala. “We want them starting to own those factories.”

It’s great to see men who have achieved so much themselves encouraging others to follow their example.

Encouraging people to be ambitious is far better socially and economically than the soft bigotry of low expectations that Labour’s redistributive socialism fosters.

Inquiring Mind  calls this a most interesting development.

Just one thing . . .


If I was asked to name some of the ills Labour has foisted on us I’d be spoilt for choice.

But if I had to name just one thing it is the way they have turned so many people into beneficiaries because of policies based on their view of “fairness” rather than need.

Doug Graham summed up the reasons for this in yesterday’s Star Times:

Labour seems to believe the more of our money it spends on us the better it is and the more thankful we should be. It seems to enjoy the sight of long queues of Oliver Twists with a begging bowl asking for more. Most of us would say that if increasing numbers of us have to rely on the government for our very survival, then we’re heading for disaster and it won’t be long before people who really need help will suddenly find the cupboard is bare.

It’s better socially and economically to leave those who can look after themselves to do so and restrict tax payer funded assistance to people in genuine need.

Governments give and governments take away and if they give away too much in good times they’re forced to take it from those who need it most in bad times.

I’m confused too


This letter to the editor of the Sunday Star Times was chosen for its Winning Words award:

I’m Confused, and I suspect a lot of other ordinary folk are too.

We have rules about the financing of political parties and we have an Electoral Commission to enforce them.

These rules include one requiring parties to discose donations.

But if a party scretary fails to disclose donations because of an honest mistake we are told that this is not an offence – just go back and ammend the return.

Talk about Alice in Wonderland. If ignoring the rule is not an offence, why have the rule at all?

But wait, there might be some good in this after all.

We also have rules about how fast you can drive your car and a police force to  enforce them.

If I ever am pulled up for speeding through a town I now have the precendent that will get me off! “Sorry, office, I just made an honest mistake, I’ll go back and driver through here again.”                      

                                                                                                      Allan Pollock, Thorndon, Wellington.

MMP emasculates


The Electoral Finance Act has rightly received much of the blame for a dull campaign but Muriel Newman also points the finger at MMP:

The MMP system itself is also responsible for emasculating the campaign. Parties have turned a blind eye to the radical policies being promoted by some, lest they offend those who may become bedfellows after the election. As a result, policies are not being exposed to public scrutiny and the radical agendas of some parties are largely unknown to voters.

MMP also threatens good government and the democratic process by allowing minor parties to exert influence far beyond their electoral support. This is particularly true of the Maori party which only attracts the support of mainly activist Maori (about 2 percent of the population) yet is likely to win around 5 percent of the seats in Parliament through the racially based Maori seats.

. . . Former Labour Prime Minister Mike Moore puts it this way: “No major party dare question the Maori party because they know they will have to do a deal, best save that until later. But what some Maori party leaders have said should be reason for some tough media questions. For example, when a leader says they want equal representation in a government because it’s not about numbers, it’s a partnership, what does that mean?  Sorry, democracy is about numbers.

One of the strengths of the adversarial nature of parliament is the scrutiny opposing parties subject each other to. However attacks are sometimes blunted under MMP because MPs know their party might need the support of other parties and therefore they pull their punches.

At best this means policies and actions don’t get the rigorous examination they ought to have. At worst it could allow corruption to go unchecked and we had an indication of how that might happen in Labour’s refusal to accept the Privileges Committee censure motion of Winston Peters.

Herald for sale


Sir Tony O’Reilly’s Australasian media interests are for sale.

This includes the New Zealand Herald and a half share in The Radio Network.

SFF PGW deal still alive?


Silver Fern Farms  says its deal with PGG Wrightson is still “alive” even though PGW has defaulted on its agreement to take a 50% stake in SFF.

“We’re still awaiting a response from Wrightson — any propositions they can put forward to settle the transaction,” Silver Fern chairman Eion Garden said today.

“The transaction is still alive, albeit they are in default of the originally-agreed payment date.”

If, and when, the agreement was terminated, the cooperative would have to look at the options open to it, possibly another deal “to salvage some of the ashes”, which would have to be approved by shareholders.

“Of course, there’s the other option of pursuing a settlement with them,” Mr Garden said.

Boots save farmer’s life


Thick soled boots  and the quick thinking of a near by doctor saved the life of a farmer after he touched a fence wire which had come into contact with overhead power lines.

Another ATV death


A North Otago farm worker died on Saturday when the four wheel motorcycle she was riding rolled and landed on top of her.

Bad taste pizza ads


Hell Pizza’s advertisements showing a skeletal animation of Sir Edmund Hillary dancing on a grave have riled his family.

TPF Group retail operations manager Glenn Corbett said the company, which owns the Hell Pizza chain, had not intended to offend the Hillary family or the general public.

Really? That sounds like a Tui truth to me.

The company has pushed the boundaries with its ads before and doing this just 10 months after Sir Ed’s death shows a complete lack of taste and sensitivity.

Shambles needs Royal Commission


Dunedin author and electoral commentator, Philip Temple, says our parliamentary system is a shambles but he doesn’t think a referendum on MMP is the answer.

What we need is not an ill-defined, ad hoc referendum but a new Royal Commission on the Electoral System, a generation after the last, to enable a considered examination of all aspects of the voting system, the electoral cycle, electoral financing, the Maori seats etc . . . so that all sectors of the community can have input and influence in bringing about much-needed reform.

He supports MMP and I don’t but I agree with him about the need for a Royal Commission.

We would be far better served by the measured and detailed consideration commissioners would bring to the many issues which need to be addressed in our electoral system than by the blunt instrument of a referendum.

Once the commission had concluded its deliberations a referendum could be held on its recommendations, but it shouldn’t be the starting point.

Down and dirty


Sth Auckland abandoning Labour


Dene Mackenzie reports that Maori and Polynesian voters in South Auckland appear to be abandoning Labour.

Confidential polling, conducted face to face through door-knocking, factory visits, and the use of cellphones – rather than the standard method of relying on landlines – shows that many voters on the Maori roll intend switching their party vote allegiance to the Maori Party this election instead of giving it to Labour as they did at the last.

The information obtained by the Otago Daily Times showed 40% of Maori roll voters giving their party vote to Labour and 30% to the Maori Party – a far cry from the last election, when Maori roll voters voted largely for the Maori Party in the electorate vote and Labour in the party vote.

This trend was given weight by numerous conversations held with voters across five Auckland markets over the weekend by the ODT.

In a ray of brighter news for Labour, the same polling showed the Maori Party confidently ahead in only four electorates, the four already held by the party.

They are behind for the first time in Te Tai Tonga, which includes all of the South Island, and still neck and neck in Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Hauraki-Waikato, which are held by Labour Cabinet ministers.

Earlier polling and a number of predictions indicated the Maori Party could be on course to win all seven Maori seats.

While there are good reasons to hold electorates, it’s the party vote that counts so keeping the Maori seats but losing party votes to the Maori Party will hurt Labour.

5 more sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and the man who was happy to be MP for Tauranga will be unhappy with the TV1 poll.

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