Word of the day

September 19, 2011

Progonoplexia – bragging about one’s forebears; obsession with aancestors or past glories.

National could govern alone: iPredict

September 19, 2011

Several polls have been showing National attracting at least 50% support. For the first time iPredict is also pointing to national being able to govern alone.

A media release from iPredict says:

Following last week’s World Cup wobble, John Key’s National Government has recovered with its forecast party vote reaching a record reported high of 49.0%, this week’s snapshot from New Zealand’s prediction market, iPredict, suggests. Maori Party Co-Leader Dr Pita Sharples is now expected to retain Tamaki-Makaurau, although the gap with Labour’s Shane Jones remains narrow. Labour’s Trevor Mallard is expected to improve his majority in Hutt South while Labour’s Clare Curran is expected to reduce hers in Dunedin South. In economics, forecasts for inflation, the current account deficit, unemployment, the OCR and future Fonterra payouts have all fallen . . .

All current leaders of parliamentary parties have at least a 92% probability of remaining in their positions until the election. The most vulnerable remains Labour Party leader Phil Goff, but with the market forecasting just a 8% probability he will be replaced prior to the election (down from 9% last week). There is a 39% probability (up from 35% last week) that there will be changes to the top ten of Labour’s party list, announced on 10 April 2011, when it is registered with the Electoral Commission. . .

On a seat-by-seat basis, National is expected to win 40 electorate seats, Labour 24 (down from 25 last week), the Maori Party 3 (up from 2 last week), and Act, United Future and the Mana Party 1 seat each.

Party Vote, and Election Results

Forecast party vote shares are now: National 49.0% (up from 46.5% last week) Labour 30.2% (down from 31.4% last week), the Greens 8.0% (up from 7.9% last week), Act 4.1% (down from 4.4% last week), New Zealand First 4.0% (down from 4.5% last week), UnitedFuture 1.6% (up from 1.5% last week), the Maori Party 1.5% (steady), the Mana Party 1.0% (up from 0.9% last week), the Conservative Party 0.9% (steady), and the New Citizen Party 0.5% (up from 0.4% last week).

Based on this data, and the electorate results above, Parliament would be as follows: National 62 MPs, Labour 38 MPs, the Greens 10 MPs, Act 5 MPs, the Maori Party 3 MPs, UnitedFuture 2 MPs, and the Mana Party with just 1 MP. There would be 121 MPs, requiring a government to have the support of 61 MPs on confidence and supply, meaning John Key’s National Party would be able to govern alone.

Overall the market indicates a 94% probability there will be a National Prime Minister after the election (up from 93% last week).

People like me on the blue team can dream and the live update on electionresults.co.nz  has a pretty picture.

But it’s still 2 1/2 months until election day.

The chances of National retaining  its leadership of the government are good but it is very unlikely the party will keep enough support to govern alone when people actually vote.

Even if National did manage to get an outright majority, which rarely happened under First Past the Post and has never happened since we’ve had MMP, John Key has said he would seek to include other parties in government.

Georgia in my heart

September 19, 2011

When I wrote yesterday’s post on the Rugby World Cup I said I was going to back England.

But when I got to Otago Stadium last evening I had a change of heart and swapped my allegiance to Georgia.

The team played really well and I think the 41-10 score flattered the English. They deserved to win but not by that margin.

Georgia spent a lot of time in England’s half and though they weren’t able to turn territory into points they kept up the pressure until the final whistle.

They didn’t win the game but they did win hearts, including mine.

It’s good for the tournament and for rugby that the minnows are giving the bigger fish more than a run for their money.

Canada started well and scoring 19 points to France’s 46 would have given Les Bleus cause for concern.

 I didn’t see or hear the game between Wales and Samoa but reports suggest the 17-10 victory to the Welsh didn’t come easily.

Our decision to go to the game in Dunedin last evening was a last minute won but booking online secured us seats in the front row at half way which gave us a very good view.

Among the people sitting near us were several Argentineans. They are following the Pumas all around New Zealand and attending other random games which fit their travels.

My Spanish is a bit rusty but the gist of what one of them told me was that he had travelled all over the world but never thought of coming to New Zealand before. However, he and his travelling companions were having a wonderful time, the country is beautiful, the people friendly and they’re enjoying the food and wine.

That is exactly the sort of off-field benefits to New Zealand the organisers are hoping for.

People poo pollutes too

September 19, 2011

Dairying gets a lot of criticism for polluting waterways.

Some of that is justified but cow pooh isn’t the only cause of water pollution.

People pooh pollutes too and that’s part of the problems in the Manawatu.

Palmerston North City Council looks set to be given more time to sort out its sewage treatment plant as city leaders grapple with revelations it has been consistently failing to meet resource consent conditions. . .

There have been 12 reported non-compliances by the city council in discharging treated waste water into the Manawatu River since 2003. . .

The Horizons report says the amount of periphyton growth doubles downstream from the discharge point, proving that the discharge is having an adverse effect on the river and aquatic life.

Cyanobacteria have also been found downstream from the treatment plant. They can be dangerous to dogs if ingested. . .

Acting city manager Ray Swadel had said that all was well with the plant – until the latest report. He revised his comments yesterday. “There were issues immediately after the upgrade work when we had a few teething problems, but in more recent times we have been compliant in three out of five assessments.”

Dairy companies, Federated Farmers, regional councils and individual farmers are all working hard to ensure that farming practices comply with the law and do not contribute to waterway pollution.

Similar urgency must be applied to the treatment and disposal of human waste.

Sweet service from honey boss

September 19, 2011

My farmer has a cold and I’ve been dosing him with manuka lozenges.

They’re 100% manuka honey and I swear by them for treating sore throats, but they’re not widely stocked.

The last packet I bought came from a pharmacy in Wellington and we’ve got only two lozenges so I went to the internet in search of more. That led me to Everwell Living which specialises in ManukaMeds.

When I explained my mission to the man who answered the phone he said, “You’ll have to talk to the honey boss.”

I’m not sure if that means she’s a honey of a boss but she’s couriering me some fresh supplies which is sweet service.

How would Kate have voted?

September 19, 2011

The Campaign for MMP reckons Kate Sheppard would be backing MMP in November’s referendum.

They give several reasons for that including that MMP has brought more women into parliament.

There is no doubt there are more women in parliament now than there was prior to 1996 when we had a First Past the Post electoral system. But there are also more women in other positions more commonly held by men in the past so some of the change is due to changes in society rather than the electoral system.

Some of the increase is is due to parties deliberately putting women in winnable places on their lists which are a feature of MMP. Some, perhaps even most are their on merit. But there is also an element of tokenism and some are there not because of their skills and abilities but because of their gender.

However, a lack of skill hasn’t always stopped some men getting into parliament so maybe that’s another sign of closing the gender gap – that women no longer have to be better than men to get a job.

The question then is, how many of the women who are in parliament would be there under another system?

Other systems with smaller or no list would provide more opportunities for women to seek selection in electorates.

Anthony Hubbard looked at the number of women in parliament and concluded it has plateaued.

The reasons for that are no doubt complex. Kiwiblog says research into it should consider:

    1. How many men and women indicate their interest in being candidates to a party
    2. How many go on to contest a selection
    3. How many win a selection
    4. How many then get elected to Parliament

Another point to consider is women’s participation in other occupations, if there are barriers there and whether there are other  barriers which are peculiar to politics.

Research would also have to look at not just how many men and women seeking to be MPs drop out at each stage but why.

Kate Sheppard was campaigning for women to get the vote not to be MPs, that hurdle came later and which electoral system she would support is a moot point.

However, one aspect of MMP which puts women off seeking selection which she might have considered if voting in the referendum is the larges size of electorates.

I know of only one man but several women who were seriously considering standing for National in large rural electorates. They decided servicing huge geographical areas would put too much strain on their families and pulled out.

One said to me, it was hard enough combining life as an MP with her role as a mother in a small electorate she wouldn’t even consider it in a bigger one.

If Kate was voting in the referendum she might be just as likely to opt for a system with smaller electorates which make it easier to combine work as an MP with family life.

At least some of the women who are in parliament on the list might also be there as electorate MPs under a system with more and smaller electorates.

Notice to Epicene Women

September 19, 2011





Are Requested Not To Call Here

They are recommended to go home, to look after their children, cook their husband’s dinners, empty the slops, and generally attend to the domestic affairs for which Nature designed them.

By taking this advice they will gain the respect of all right-minded people – an end not to be attained by unsexing themselves and meddling in masculine concerns of which they are profoundly ignorant.


103 Mein Street,


 This notice was used to counter the persistent demands for petition signatures prior to the signing into law of the Electoral Act granting votes to women on September 19, 1893.

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