It’s election day and I’m not sure if the law applies to blogs but in case it does I won’t be posting anything that might be construed as campaigning until after 7pm.

Comment moderation is on until polling booths close too which means I’ll have to check comments before they’re published.

Your comments are welcome but they won’t be seen until I’ve okayed them.

A Blue Flower


We woke to a light touch of white on the lawns and paddocks this morning and over in Central Otago up to 500 helicoptors may be called on tonight to help orchardists and viticulturists protect young fruit from the forecast frost.

That unseasonal weather prompted the choice of this Friday’s poem – A Blue Flower by Ruth Dallas from her Collected Poems, published by University of Otago Press.

           A Blue Flower


In the early morning we noticed

Jack Frost had whitewashed the golf-course.


We know who is always out there,

Waiting on the dark side of planets,

The mossed side of trees,

And the green side of apples-

Does he think we were born yesterday?


We lay low, like Brer Rabbit

When Mr Fox is around, laughing, because

We could see, over his white fields,

The flank of a hill, like a lion’s haunch,

Lit be his enemy, the sun.


                                         Another day,

This day, snatched from the hoard of the old miser,

To unfold and stretch itself like a blue flower.


Let us think no more of tomorrow,

Or what is gone, but live to outwit J. Fox,

Plucking each day singly, like ripe fruit.


                 – Ruth Dallas –



I’ve spent the afternoon taking special votes to people.

When you do this, sometimes the person voting needs help with the ticks so you know how they vote.

I had one of those today and – I can hardly bring myself to type this – she didn’t do two blue ticks. She ticked National in the electorate but one of the red-block parties in the all important party vote.

The only comfort I can take from that is that somewhere maybe someone from the red block took a special vote from someone who ticked blue and that democracy is more important than political partisanship.

And while I’m confessing, I’ll admit I walked down the main street today with my Labour counterpart – that party’s electorate chair.

Waitaki Girls’ High has been studying democracy and were marching for women’s suffrage, so there we were – she in red & I in blue, chatting happily along the street because politics is a difference of opnion, not a war.

Two blue ticks


I am giving National two ticks tomorrow.


My Electorate vote goes to Jacqui Dean because she’s earned it.


I am in awe at her commitment and work ethic. A lesser woman (or man) would look at the 34,888 square kilometres the Waitaki Electorate covers and go for the party vote alone. But Jacqui has not only accepted the challenge of working for this huge area, she relishes it and keeps both her composure and sense of humour while doing it.


My party vote goes to National because it’s the party vote that counts and I want a National-led government.


National is the party whose philosophy and principles most closely match my own.


Its vision is for a safe, prosperous and successful country that creates opportunities for all New Zealanders to reach their personal goals and dreams.


Its values include national and personal security, equal citizenship and equal opportunity, individual freedom and choice, competitive enterprise and rewards for achievement and sustainable development.


That’s translated into policy which recognises that:


* Those who can look after themselves should be left alone to do so and we have a responsibility to help those who can’t.


* Education is the key to success.


* A growing economy is necessary for our individual and collective welfare. Wealth is important not as an end but the means for a happier, healthier, better educated, more secure society.


*Property rights are one of the foundations of democracy.


* Sustainable development balances economic, social and environmental needs.


My party vote also goes to National because I like and trust its leadership.


My admiration of John Key increases each time I meet him. I respect his achievements, I appreciate his humility, I enjoy his sense of humour, I’m moved by his obvious love and commitment to his family and I’m humbled by the sacrifices – financial and personal – he’s making because he believes he can make a positive difference to New Zealand.


I’ve known Bill English for several years and the more I see of him the more I like him. I admire his loyalty, his enthusiasm, his intelligence, his compassion, his commitment to his beliefs and his wit.


Regardless of what the voters decide, and whatever shape the new government takes there will be no miracles. But I trust these two people and the team they lead to do their best for New Zealand and New Zealanders.


So that’s why tomorrow I’ll go into the polling booth, recognising that the freedom to do so is one to be valued, and tick National twice.

Green ag policy off the planet


The wee parties complain that they’re not taken seriously. One look at the Green Party agriculture and rural affairs policy shows that sometimes that’s because they don’t deserve to be.

It’s not so much policy as an example of what happens when good intentions and political ideology aren’t tempered with reality.

I’ve had a request from a blog reader to analyse it but I’ve given up because there are too many feel-good statements which want to “encourage” or “promote” with no costings and no science to back them up.

There are some things I agree with among the candy floss but they are more than cancelled out by matters which go where no political party should,  on to private property and into private businesses.

One example of this is the desire to promote the target of half our production being certified organic by 2020.

This grand statement is made without taking any account of the impact reduced yields and higher costs would have when the world is already short of food and with no reference to whether there is a demand for that much organic produce.

But that’s beside the point because whether or not farms are organic isn’t a decision for politicians, it’s a decision for individual farmers, based on what they want to do on their land, and what the market wants.

That the Greens think they can impose their ideology on individual businesses in this way shows they’re not so much for the planet as off it.

As  Liberty Scott  says:

The Greens are, once again, proving their addiction to big Nanny State, addiction to telling people what to do and not do, banning, regulating and subsidising. It is socialism, but the agricultural policy is far more sinister. It has so much that is “anti-foreign” that the National Front would have little to disapprove of.

We say . .


Today is the last day the media can publish anything which might influence the election and some papers have used their editorials for a final political pontification.

The ODT  says voters aren’t facing an easy choice and has faith the electorate will look for a higher purpose:

The government to emerge from tomorrow’s poll must be capable of managing the nation’s affairs in hard times, principled enough to make unpopular but necessary decisions for the long-term future of the nation and not the short-term ambition of staying in power, and capable of converting our dependency economy into more productive purposes – without destroying the state’s safety-nets or driving overseas our human capital.

The Press says it’s the economy:

What must not be forgotten, however, is that a National-led government, with ACT New Zealand as a key partner, would be a distinctly different beast to another Labour-led administration with the Greens on board.

A government headed by Key would be the more likely to answer business concerns about the Resource Management Act and the Emissions Trading Scheme. It would also make employment legislation more flexible and, although it would retain the KiwiSaver scheme, it would trim the employer and the minimum employee contributions. National also has higher personal tax cuts on offer than Labour, despite Key being forced by the financial crunch to water down his party’s tax relief.

Many of the changes proposed by National are not dramatic. But, put together, they would foster an economic environment which is business-friendly. The question, then, is whether that would address New Zealand’s labour productivity, which remains stubbornly low, and reduce the number of our best and brightest who take their skills overseas.

 The NZ Herald  asks, do we repeat or refresh?

The economic context of this election could not be more challenging. New Zealanders need to deliver a decisive mandate, one way or the other, so that responses to the recession and credit crisis can be emphatic. Second-guessing MMP by flanking major parties with second-tier partners might not be the best answer now.

The “ask” is simple: Is there still benefit for the country in drinking one more time from the cup of Labour, or is another source, National, needed now for economic and political revival?

Update: The Dominion Post  says it’s a weighty decision:

Those thinking of voting for Labour must ask whether its experience in managing the economy outweighs the fumbles and arrogance of nine years in office. Those inclining toward National must judge whether Mr Key’s energy and promise of a new approach are matched by an ability to make tough decisions and say no when he is in government. Those wanting to support the minor parties need to consider whether the country can afford the cost of the boutique policies they insist upon as the price of coalition government.

It is up to voters how they answer those questions. The important thing is to ask them before they cast their ballots tomorrow.

Poetic plea for certainty


Jim Hopkins casts his eye over the election of Barack Obama  while the extinguished poet laureate, Mr Jam Hipkins pens a plea for electoral certainty here:

Just one more sleep for Helen And John to name but two
And one more sleep for all the rest
And one more sleep for you
Then shall people’s voice ring out
In tones both loud and clear
In polling booths and country halls
In hamlets far and near
It’s there we’ll shed those little ticks
That choose who next will be
The government err, maybe not
All thanks to MMP
We may not get a government
Full focused on its mission
We may just get 6 weeks of talks
And a creaky coalition
So, friends, electors, one and all
Think deep before you pick
Tick not some Harry or some Tom
Nor yet some frightful Dick
The list of candidates is long
There’s Dingbatt and Crackpott
There’s Dipstick, Dullard, Drongo, Floppe
There’s Loony and there’s Lott
Mark not such well-scrubbed hopefuls
Eschew their blandishments
Cast not your vote for those who stand
Bereft of any sense
Proceed then to your ballots
Full of MMPeacefulness
Determined to bring clarity
Not three long years of stress
Just remember my prediction
Made bold through thick and thin
My expert view has always been
Someone’s going to win.

Third poll favours blue


The Herald DigiPoll confirms the trend of the two television polls last night – if support translates into real votes tomorrow the blue block would win because National would be able to govern with Act and United Future.

Photo / Herald graphic

This assumes the Maori Party would win 5 seats and we’d have a 123 seat parliament.  National would have 61 seats, Act 2 and United Future 1. 

Three out of three polls is encouraging but its the fourth poll, and only real one, tomorrow which matters and there are still too many ifs and maybes to be sure about that.

The poll of polls, a rolling average of the last four surveys, also shows the blue block slightly ahead of the red one:

Photo / Herald graphic

Only one more sleep . .


. . . until election day and there is some policy to consider.

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