3rd debate

November 5, 2008

A thought before the debate starts: why have it today which is towards the end of Tuesday November 4th – election day  – in the USA and Wednesday November 5th – Guy Fawkes day –  here?

Update # 1: Mark Sainsbury’s tie is purple which is what you get if you mix blue and red.

Both John Key and Helen Clark are diplomatic and positive about Obama’s success.

Update #2: Key gets a point for getting across the message Labour knew about the deficits long before the PREFU and still wants a blank cheque while National has known about the economic situation for a shorter time but all policies are costed.

Updtae # 3: Clark has the climate change rhetoric, Key is more realistic.

Update # 4:  Breaking for ads just as discussion is warming up is frustrating.

Update # 5: What’s normal for one isn’t necessarily normal for everyone. Clark, in answering a question about tobacco, said she’d had a puff as a teenager as everyone does. I didn’t several of my friends didn’t and Key said he didn’t either.

Update # 6: When the discussion got on to pot Clark repeated what she’d said to Paul Holmes,” I was a student in the 60s.” I take it that means yes. Auckland in the 60s was obviously different from Otago in the 70s where and when I was a student.

Update # 7: Have they ever broken the law? Key drove his car on a carless day. Clark admitted to a couple of speeding tickets. No mention of art fraud or pledge cards.

Update # 8: Clark really struggled to answer the question about changing her mind. Key explained it well and gave two examples – Kiwibank and Maori TV.

Update # 9: Key gets a point for explaining that it’s wealthy countries which do better with the environment.

Update # 10: Key got a laugh (I think the only one of the evening) for the story about the little boy who said he knew who he was – Helen Clark’s boyfriend.

Update # 11: Final comment: Clark has a plan – but no costs and still wants that blank cheque. It was all about the government. Key spoke from the heart and about you eg . . . it will show that you care about . . .

She had rehearsed lines.  He wasn’t quite word perfect but had passion and conviction . Should I point out in case you hadn’t noticed that I’m a wee bit biased? 🙂


Obama wins

November 5, 2008

Barack Obama is the 44th  president of the USA.

Won’t it be a great day when race, gender or any of the things which make us different aren’t an important part in the news of such achievements?


Pretty but unscientific

November 5, 2008

Jimungo has been running an weekly pulse of the nation poll.

Absolutely nothing can be read into the results which aren’t scientific:

 Visit Pulse of the Nation

Here we have it: the final Virtual Election of the Pulse of the Nation weekly series. This is the last Virtual Election before the real New Zealand General Election happens this Saturday 8 November.

The only election that counts is the one this Saturday at polling places across the country. The mood of the country between 9am when polls open and 7pm when they close will determine the make-up of our next parliament.

Here at Jimungo, here’s how we saw the mood swinging over the last week:

A

ACT

6.9%

UP 0.7

G

Green

6.1%

UP 1.1

L

Labour

23.2%

DOWN 1.4

M

Māori

4%

UP 0.8

N

National

50.8%

UP 0.2

NZ

NZ First

3.1%

DOWN 1.5

P

Progressive

0.9%

UP 0.3

U

United Future

1.7%

UP 0.4

O

Other

3.3%

UP 0.2


Spot the difference

November 5, 2008

National has costed policy and a 100 day action plan  which outlines its priorities.

Labour wants us to write them a blank cheque for them to spend on their December mini budget.


Dean leads ST poll of Waitaki

November 5, 2008

National’s Otago MP and Waitaki candidate  Jacqui Dean is ahead in a Southland Times poll of the Waitaki Electorate.

In the same poll conducted by The Southland Times leading up to the 2005 election, Mrs Dean led sitting Otago MP David Parker by 8 percentage points and went on to win the then Otago seat by 5.5 per cent, a margin of almost 2000 votes – righting a “blip” from the 2002 election when Mr Parker won the traditionally National electorate.

The Otago electorate no longer exists, with Central Otago and Wanaka now included in the Waitaki electorate.

It now covers 34,888 sqaure kilometres taking in all of Central Otago, Waitaki, Waimate and Mackenzie Districts with bits of the Timaru and Queenstown Lakes Districts.

Activity and publicity so far indicate Jacqui is the only candidate actively seeking both the electorate and party vote and that is reflected in the poll.

In this year’s poll, Mrs Dean leads by 14 percentage points, with 42 per cent of support, compared with 28 per cent support for Mr Parker. Third highest poller was Green Party candidate Oliver Briggs on 2.3 per cent support.

But with a quarter of voters polled still undecided Mr Parker could still take the seat if they swung his way.

Results were closer in the party vote, with 37.7 per cent of voters supporting National, and 31.7 per cent Labour. Act was on 2 per cent and New Zealand First on 1.3 per cent support.

In the 2005 election, National won the party vote in the Otago electorate by 5 per cent over Labour.

A popular MP will always win more support than his or her party because some people will split their votes, giving one to the MP but not giving the second tick to her/his party.

So while I’d expect Jacqui’s popularity to transcend party loyalty I think both she and National will get more support on Satruday than this poll indicates.

It is not a deep blue electorate but 37.7% is about 10 points below the average  support for National in nationwide polls and it would be unusual if Waitaki was that different from the rest of the country.


Who stole it?

November 5, 2008

A rural businessman has been driving round with a bumper sticker saying: Ditch the Bitch but someone’s stolen it.

Who was it?

a) An animal rights activist who was concerned about the welfare of a dog?

b) Someone who saw another meaning and objected to it?

c) Someone who saw another meaning and wanted to spread the word her/himself?

d) The Electoral Commission who saw another meaning and decided it was an unauthorised political statement?


Navigating the rapids

November 5, 2008

rapids


Is it all about dairying?

November 5, 2008

Is there a connection between Dutch dairy interests and the leaked tapes from the National Party conference?

The Hive  has joined some dots and reached that conclusion.

Whether or not she’s right about the links there is no doubt that European farmers will have a lot to gain when New Zealand dairying is severely constrained by the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Not only would that be bad for the New Zealand economy, the irony is it would be worse for the global environment because our pastoral dairy system is much greener than the European feed-lot one.


But isn’t it about trust?

November 5, 2008

A secret ballot is an important part of democracy which enables people to tick the candidate and party they want to with no pressure from anyone else.

Not everyone is able to get to a polling booth by themselves and political parties usually offer assistance with transport.

But the law is clear – if a voter needs assistance to vote it is the polling booth staff who provide it and no-one else.

However, The Herald reports that Labour is coercing elderly Chinese voters into voting early and pressuring them to vote for Labour.

Botany resident Harry Lu plans to lodge a complaint with the Electoral Commission today after his mother-in-law was asked to cast her vote, and told who to vote for.

On October 24 she was taken by Labour officials to an early voting station at Panmure Library following a talk by Labour’s Chinese candidate Raymond Huo.

Lu alleges elderly Chinese voters are being taken to early-voting stations by officials, coerced into casting their votes early – and being told where to put their two ticks.

Mr Lu said in Mandarin: “I feel that the Labour Party is taking advantage of the vulnerability of elderly Chinese voters.”

His mother-in-law, who wanted to be known as Mrs Chen, 72, said she felt “cheated” after casting her vote because she didn’t get the chance to listen to the policies of other parties.

“I don’t even know who I voted for. I just followed the instructions of the Labour Party man on how to fill in my form because my English is not very good. He was standing right beside me and telling me what to write and where to put my ticks,” she said in Mandarin.

If this is correct the Labour Party man has broken the law and the polling booth staff have been negligent by allowing him to do so.

 Keeping Stock  says:

. . . it is desperate stuff from a desperate Labour Party which will break the law with impunity, because it fears no-one. . .

It’s worse than desperate, it’s an abuse of trust and  it’s corruption of the democratic process.


Homepaddock visitor record

November 5, 2008

Yesterday Sitemeter recorded the most visitors to Homepaddock since I started blogging at the end of April.

A total of 1,160 unique visits was recorded – although to put that in to perspective Kiwiblog probably has more than that an hour.

The reason for the interest yesterday? A short post on the photo finish in the Melbourne Cup, written because I happened to be sitting at the computer when the news crossed live to the commentary.


Taking pulse at races

November 5, 2008

The ODT’s Dene Mackenzie was taking the pulse at Ellerslie yesterday:

Although it is too late to change campaign tactics, there was general agreement Miss Clark had misread the mood of the voters by continuing to personally attack National Party leader John Key.

Her campaign had been perceived as negative, while Mr Key was seen as providing a vision for the country.

His 100-day action plan, released yesterday, was welcomed as sign of decisiveness rather than the vague mini-budget promised before Christmas by Miss Clark if she leads the next government.

. . .  Prime Minister Helen Clark was in Upper Hutt yesterday talking about the leaked National Party tape.

National Party leader John Key was in Tauranga talking about a 100-day action plan.

Mr Key takes the point.

Isn’t it the opposition’s job to attack and the government’s to take action? 


Personality politics and leadership

November 5, 2008

Professor Marian Simms , University of Otago politics professor, has has received a two-year grant to research research how much New Zealand and Australia’s politics, and especially their election campaigns, focus on party leaders and the impact MMP has had on leadership.


Colour your map

November 5, 2008

The Washington Post has been running a competition to pick the president.

It’s too late to enter the contest but you can still create a map with your predictions, or to record results.

Hat Tip: Larvatusprodeo.


Inquiry essential

November 5, 2008

Fran O’Sullivan  is calling for a full inquiry into the allegations against Winston Peters, Peter Dunne and Ross Muerant.

Irrespective of whether Peters and NZ First are returned to Parliament this Saturday (frankly I think NZ First is toast), or, whether it is Helen Clark or John Key who is prime minister after the post-election talks, a full commission probe should take place. . .

. . . Key and Act leader Rodney Hide have benefited politically from the long campaign to unmask Peters’ secret donations from big business. Clark did nothing so as to keep her Government intact.

There is enough on the table to justify all three leaders calling for a proper inquiry. The cards should then lie where they fall.

She is right. Too many allegations have swirled round too many politicians for too long in the old government. The new one, whatever its make up,  needs to set a much higher standard of behaviour and accountability from the start.


Dairy prices at 18 month low

November 5, 2008

Commodity prices are at an 18 month low after a  record fall of 7.4% last month.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index had its largest decline last month since it was launched in 1986, and was down nearly 11 per cent on a year earlier.

Nine of the 13 commodities recorded lower world prices in October.

Beef had the largest fall, down 17.7 per cent from September, followed by skins (16.2 per cent), aluminium (down 16 per cent) and wool (down 12.6 per cent).

Dairy prices had a smaller decline – down 9.9 per cent – but dominated the index.

The fall in dairy prices reflected softer commodity prices in general as investors lost confidence amid world market and economic turmoil.

Also depressing dairy prices was increased production from “fringe” dairy exporting nations, such as the United States, which were starting to increase production, said ANZ economist Steve Edwards.


Bill & Ben could bring underhang

November 5, 2008

While many commentators are pointing out we could end up with an overhang after the election, Tim Donoghue has found a way to get an underhang.

Under MMP, people will actually be able to vote for a reduction in the size of Parliament, simply by voting for the Bill and Ben Party.

. . . There are only two people on their party list – Jamie “Bill” Lineham and Ben “Ben” Boyce.

Now here’s the rub. There’s been much talk about the Maori Party possibly causing a four seat over-hang if they win the seven Maori seats on Saturday night but poll poorly in the party vote. That would mean there could be up to 124 MPs in our next Parliament.

But wait – the Bill and Ben Party could actually be on the verge of reducing the number of seats in the Parliament.

Under the Sainte Lague formula, if by some miracle the Bill and Ben Party polls five per cent of the party vote the pair will be responsible for an underhang in Parliament.

The rules of MMP state if a party hasn’t nominated enough list candidates to fill all the seats to which it is entitled on the basis of its share of the party vote, the seats remain unfilled and the size of the Parliament is reduced by that number of seats till the next general election.

If disillusioned voters decide to vote en masse for the Bill and Ben Party as a protest vote and the party cracks the magic five per cent figure, Parliament could be cut to 116 or 117 seats. Bill and Ben would not be allowed to conjure up the names of four or five mates to help them fill the void.

Recent polls indicate National, Labour and the Greens are the only parties guaranteed to crack the five per cent threshold on Saturday. NZ First is the only other party with an outside chance.

So the message is simple – if you’ve decided you’re not going to vote because you don’t believe in encouraging politicians, think again: vote Bill and Ben Party and put three politicians out of a job.


3 more sleeps . . .

November 5, 2008

. . . until election day and the don’t-knows are still to be won over.


Election signpost

November 5, 2008

Millions of people in the USA will be casting votes for a new president as we sleep.

Some will find the decision on whether John McCain or Barak Obama will be better easy to make, some won’t:

[pete_northstar1.gif]

 

By Peter H. Reynolds at The Stellar Cafe.


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