Health system’s sick


I was a director of a hospital board in 1999 and because of that was talking to people involved in almost every aspect of the health system.

They had a single message for politicians in the lead up to the election: leave the system alone and improve the services.

Labour won the election and put their efforts into expensively changing the system instead of extensively improving services.

Close Up  showed a consequence of that tonight – an 83 year-old  man who needs an urgent operation for skin cancer, was all ready for it when it was cancelled because Auckland Hopsital is short of beds. That was the third time his operation was cancelled.

Longer life spans combined with new and expensive developments in health care are putting pressure on health budgets everywhere.

There are no easy answers to the problem, but Macdoctor shows how better use of private hopsitals for public patients could be part of the solution.

He has also done a comparison of National’s and Labour’s health policy.

Child, Disability, Mental, Rural and Men’s Health



Elderly Health





And his conclusion is:

If you are a health worker and you are not ticking National/ACT for your party vote, my punishment for you is to read through the entire Labour Health policy tonight – so that you can think about what you are supporting.

I like waffles for breakfast, it’s waffles for policy that give me the pip.

TV3 poll better for blue


The TV3 poll is slightly better for the blue block than the TV1 (two posts back).

National is up almost one percent to 46.

Labour’s vote collapses to just over 33. It is being punished for president Mike Williams’ failed trip to Melbourne to dig up dirt on John Key.

The Greens are coasting at 9 percent – the highest ever result in a 3 News poll.

New Zealand First is on 3.4 percent – and facing oblivion on Saturday.

ACT has received a last minute boost – 2.8 – that would see Roger Douglas in parliament.

The Maori Party is on 2.7 – and is expected to win at least four seats – most likely five.

That would give National 59 seats, Act 4 plus 1 seat for United Future –  a total of 64 in a 122 seat parliament.

Labour would be down to 42 seats, the Greens 12, Progressive 1. Even if you add the Maroir Party’s 4 or 5 they’ll only get to 59 or 60.

If NZ First does get 5% it would disadvantage National and help Labour.

John Key leads the preferred Prime Minister rankings, up 2.8 to 36.4 and Helen Clark is up slightly to 34.2.

The trend is going the right – in whatever sense you care to choose – way. But it is only a poll so while it’s encouraging it’s still too close for complacency.

Update: Curiablog has the average of polls:

Picking pockets



Hat Tip: Anti Dismal

Blue block just – TV1 poll


TV1’s final pre-election poll puts National at 47% support and Labour at 35%.

The Green Party has 9%, Act 2.5, New Zealand First 2.4% and Maori Party 1.3%.

It would be a 122 seat party so National, (58 seats) Act (3) and United (1) would just get a majority with 62 seats.

Labour, (43 seats), Greens (12 seats) and Progressive (1)  would get 56 seats.

The Maori Party would have 4 seats so even if they went with Labour the left block would be two seats short of a majority.

New Zealand First wouldn’t be in parliament.

However, a change within the margin of error could make a difference to any of those conclusions.

Trust us


“Trust us,” they say, “we know what to do,

There’s no need to think we’ll do it for you.

We know what’s best, so we make the rules

Who cares if we treat you as if you’re all fools?”


“Trust us,” they say, “We’re desperate to win.

Turn off your brain and believe all our spin.

We’ll do what we must to extend the length of our power

Though it will cost you the strength of your shower.”


“Trust us” they say, “we’ve plenty of friends,

Don’t look at the means, their justified by the ends.

We’re not troubled by what’s right and what’s not

Nor that we’re in charge and it’s all going to pot.”


“Trust us they say, “give us three more years,

Although if you do you’ll end it in tears.

We overspent when the country was booming

So have nothing left now depression is looming.”


“Trust us” they say, “give us a blank cheque

Ignore the economy, we’ve left it a wreck.

We squandered the good times, but what does it matter

If the front line is thin and the back room is fatter?”


“Trust us,” they say, “We don’t know what to do

And the PREFU has said that we’re in the pooh.

Don’t worry your heads about our mini budget,

As for the details – we’ll continue to fudge it.”


“Trust us,” they say, “we’re in charge, remember

And we’ll come up with a plan in December.

Exactly what’s in it we’re too scared to tell you

So a secret agenda we’re trying to sell you.”


“Trust us,” they say, “and ignore what we’ve done,

Attacking John Key is much better fun.

While your eyes are on him you can forgive all our ills

And ignore that we’re facing a decade of bills.”


“Trust us,” they say, “and trust our mates too,

We’ll cook you up an MMP stew.

Five parties, seven heads, a ghastly goulash

And the result will be a  monster mash.”

Peters MIA


Morning Report  interviewed the leaders of all the wee parties this morning – well all but that of New Zealand First because Winston Peters didn’t turn up.

He didn’t turn up for the RadioNZ  foreign policy debate either.

Does he have a problem with radio or is today’s no-show related to a RadioNZ news story that he’s given up on Tauranga?

Morning Report discussed that in more detail.

And what does Helen Clark’s comment yesterday that he was a victim of a malicious campaign mean?

“It’s one thing to try to take people out of politics on the basis of their policies, it’s another to mount a campaign based on smears and we’ve now had three inquiries which have fallen completely flat on their face.

“Wouldn’t I look a chump today if I had sacked Mr Peters because of those inquiries.”

No, she’d have been seen to treat him as she’d treated other errant ministers and she does look a chump for backing him in the face of the privileges committee censure.

But what happens now?  Will she tell the Labour candidate in Rimutaka to pull back to give Ron Mark a better chance?  

That’s the only electorate where NZ First has a chance and if they don’t win it they’ll need 5% of the party vote which is possible but not probable.

Bill wants party vote too


A Southland Times poll of the Clutha Southland electorate shows 57.3% support for sitting MP Bill English with his nearest rival, Labour candidate Don Pryde on just 16.3%.

The difference wasn’t so great with the party vote:

National also leads the party vote in the latest poll, on 56.3 per cent, but the race was closer, with Labour on 23.7 per cent, indicating vote splitting was taking place.

Of other parties, the Green Party and Act New Zealand each attracted 2.7 per cent followed by New Zealand First on 1.3 per cent.

Only 7 per cent of those polled were undecided.

And while Bill obviously wants to win the seat, he knows it’s the party vote that counts and he’s seeking that too:

Mr English said regardless of the positive response it was not enough. “For National to get into government it needs as many votes in the stronger seats as possible.”

There would be other seats where Labour would have a strong showing, he said.

“Things can change in the last few days, people should not always rely on polls,” he said.

Polls are indicative but not certain, it’s only Saturday’s that will count. And while electorates are important it’s the party vote which will determine the make-up of parliament and who gets to govern.

Human face of financial meltdown


The ODT  puts the human face on the international financial crisis with a story of a couple who have lost $2 million because they had to default on unconditional agreements to purchase two Middlemarch farms.

It’s the economy


A dinner party conversation turned to politics because one of our number had been polled on the election. One of the questions she’d been asked was, what was the most important issue? 

She said, that’s really hard to answer because so many issues are important. Health, education . . .  how can you say one’s more important than the other?

She’s right but I opt for the economy when asked what’s most important. That’s because if it’s not doing well we can’t afford the high standard of health care, education and everything else we expect the public purse to pay for; and if it’s going well then more of us are better able to look after ourselves and fewer need the help of the tax payer.

That’s one of the reasons I opt for the bluer section of the political spectrum and because of that I’m encouraged by the latest Herald Digipoll survey which found most people reckon National is the best party to steer us through an economic downturn.

When asked whether a Labour-led government or a National-led one would better handle the New Zealand economy as the world faces a downturn, 49.6 per cent of respondents gave John Key’s party their support.

Helen Clark’s Labour was behind on 40.7 per cent – an 8.9-point gap that is not enormous but is larger than what has been seen in some earlier polls that have asked the same or a similar question. The rest – 9.7 per cent – either didn’t know or refused to answer the question.

With just two days to go until New Zealanders cast their ballots, the poll results suggest National is winning the battle to convince voters who would be the best economic manager.

Underlining this is the strong support National also enjoys when it comes to which party voters think will lead the next government.

National rated 49.5 per cent, and Labour was trailing on 36.8 per cent.

National leadership has a combination of experience in international finance, domestic business and government. Labour has academics who’ve failed to make the most of the good times and left the cupboard bare when we most need it well stocked.

And the winner was?


The TVNZ poll  on the final leaders’ debate declared John Key the winner with 66% of the votes and 34% opting for Helen Clark.

That’s similar to the reaction to the first debate although this time (shock horror, I’m sort of going to attempt a bit of balance) I don’t think that was a fair reflection of the performance which was pretty even.

However, the ODT  also gave it to Key and said the best lines were:

Miss Clark: “We do have core basic differences, but that doesn’t mean you can’t like people.”

Mr Key: “Outside of politics, we see the good in each other.”

It is important to see the people behind the politics and this debate did show a little more of the human side of both Clark and Key.

I think he’s performed well in all the debates and that she was much better in this one – but the change in her from the first to the last is so great (remember the temper tantrum?) I’ve got to ask, is this change we can believe in?

Last night reminded me of the billboard photos, summed up by this letter writer to the ODT:

For whom shall I cast my vote? Well, that young girls on the Labour Party posters and hoardings looks good, but for the life of me, I have been unable to get any coherent information about who she may be.

                                                               Trevor Norton – Hampden.

Only 2 more sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and the USA has voted for change.

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