Hell hath no fury

November 10, 2008

A woman is selling an engagement ring on Trademe.

She’s a wee bit angry with the bloke who gave it to her:

After being with my boyfriend of 8 Years (who shall now be referred to as moron) proposed to me while we were on holiday together. The moron did his best to be romantic and to his credit didnt do a half bad job of it and I agreed to marry the moron.

You can read the rest of the saga here.

Hat Tip: Bitsontheside.


Know when to go

November 10, 2008

You’ve got to know when to hold up, know when to fold up, know when to walk away . . . “

The Gambler  was right as are Helen Clark and Michael Cullen.

By announcing they are standing down from the leadership they’ve circumvented the rumours, the inevitable questions from the media and the just as inevitable plotting from the Labour caucus.

Cullen is a list MP so he could walk away from parliament altogether at any time with minimal disruption. Clark, as an electorate MP, has a duty to her constituents and the expense of a by-election to consider before she resigns but I wouldn’t expect her to complete the full term.

Two of her soon to be former minsiters should follow her example.

Jim Anderton has had more than his day.

His majority  is a still respectable 4,566 and he got 14,174 votes. But Marc Alexander, the National candidate got 9608 electorate votes and 11954 party votes.

The Labour candidate Erin Ebborn-Gillespie won only 4,581 electorate votes but Labour recevied 12,583 party votes. While Progressive, the vanity vehicle Anderton calls a party, got only 1,878 votes.

He should make this his last term.

Peter Dunne should also take a hard look at the numbers in Ohariu.

He received 11,250 electorate votes, the Labour candidate Charles Chauvel was 1170 behind on 10, 080.

National’s Katrina Shanks was 3rd with 8,822 electorate votes but National won the party vote with 15,750. Labour received 11,182 votes and United Future just 787. This suggests that had Dunne not announced he would go with National which prompted a nod and a wink from John Key for a party-vote campaign in the electorate, then Shanks may have won the seat.

Something else to consider – the Green candidate, Gareth Huges got 2,229 votes – so if those people had voted tactictly for Chauvel,  Dunne would have lost the seat to Labour.

United Future is now Ununited Past and Dunne should step down at the end of the term.

Some National MPs need to consider this and also remember that one of the reasons Labour lost was that the electorate thought the caucus was getting a bit stale.

I’m not going to name names, suffice it to say there are some MPs who should accept that in the best interests of the party they should make this their last term and step down with their dignity intact or become victims of another dead-wood purge.


Failed policies of the noughties

November 10, 2008

Labour blamed almost everything that went against them in the last nine years on the “failed” polices of the 80s and 90s and the previous National led government.

Will the new government be able to get away with blaming the failed polices of the noughties and the three Labour led governments since 1999?


Blue wash bad for democracy?

November 10, 2008

The day after the 2005 election a journalist rang to ask me why the provinces went blue.

The question was a response to the gains by National of seats like Invercargill, Aoraki, East Coast, Napier, Tukituki, Tauranga, Wairarapa, and Whanganui which blue washed provincial New Zealand, leaving just West Coast Tasman, Dunedin, most Christchurch seats, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington and most Auckland seats red.

He wondered if it was socially liberal legislation such as legalising prostitution and civil unions. I replied that I didn’t think these’d had a significantly greater impact in the provinces than they’d had in cities.

The change was more a reflection on the calibre of National’s candidates and the commitment they’d made to winning combined with disenchantment with Labour MPs who’d not been effective in their electorates.

But it was also a growing concern over the negative impact of Labour’s policy and in this the provinces led the country because this time, as a map from Wikipedia  shows the country is even even bluer – National gained West Coast Tasman , Otaki and New Plymouth, leaving Palmerston North   as the only general seat outside Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin held by Labour and they now hold only two of the Maori seats too.

 

It wasn’t just the provinces which went blue. National also picked up Auckland Central , Maungakiekie and Waitakere as well as the new seat of Botany.

This is great for National and I also think it’s great for New Zealand.

But is it good for democracy?

Electorate MPs face the people who put them in parliament, they work for them as individuals, they see the impact of government policies on them and if they’re effective, they feed that back to Wellington.

It’s the party vote that counts in the make-up of parliament and government. But electorate MPs play a very big role in attracting the party vote.

Good local MPs contribute a great deal to the image of their party, they are a walking talking advertisement for it and its most accessible representative. They build up personal support that can transcend party affiliation – people who can’t bring themselves to vote for a party will give a popular MP their candidate vote. This increases their majority when their party is in favour and may help them retain their seats when the tide turns against their party.

Electorate MPs also play another important role in a democratic country, they also help motivate and encourage volunteers.

Parties on the left often complain that it’s easier for National because our supporters are wealthier and so we have more money. That’s not necessarily so, we have members across the income spectrum and you only have to go back to 2002 to see that Labour can get more money than National.

National’s real strength is not the incomes of our supporters, it’s the number and commitment of its grassroots members and ironically the Electoral Finance Act constrained spending so tightly, it gave national an advantage because campaigns depended on volunteers more than ever.

And that’s why I ask if the bluewash is good for democracy, because one of the things it shows is that other parties don’t have good grassroots support throughout New Zealand.

That’s a concern for them but it’s also a concern for the country because political parties have a great deal of power under MMP and if they don’t have strong memberships that power is based on an unstable foundation of ideology rather than the stable one of broad based and committed supporters.

Hat tip: Kiwiblog.


Who does it for the money?

November 10, 2008

National’s new Dunedin based MP is not doing the job for the money.

Why would someone want to swap a well-paid career where he is highly regarded for a job which pays less, eats into family time and where perhaps half the population may disagree with his views?

. . . He did not expect people to have any sympathy about his drop in income, but said it was reasonably significant.

Becoming an MP was not something you did for money.

That reminds me of a friend who became an MP in a year when there were several new MPs from both Naitonal and Labour. All but one of the National MPs faced a drop in income, all but one from Labour got an increase.

I’m not suggesting that the thought of a pay rise motivates anyone to enter parliament because there are many ways to earn much more. But few of us appreciate the personal and financial sacrifcies MPs make when they swap successful private careers for public life.


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