Facts, future vs emotion, half truths, past

October 28, 2011

Does anyone but political tragics watch party political broadcasts?

Would even a political tragic be interested in the opening statements?

National’s  showed John Key giving the facts on what has been achieved in the past three years and a plan for the future.

It looked ahead and was positive.

Labour’s started with a history lesson, high on emotion, low on facts with quite a few of what might be charitably described as half-truths.

They then went to Phil Goff’s father and Phil Goff himself interspersed with a few members of caucus also high on emotion and half-truths.

What was interesting was who was there and who wasn’t.

Damien O’Connor, the MP his party valued so lowly he jumped from the list with ill-grace rather than accept a low place, played a major part.

That made the absence of other senior MPs including deputy leader Annette King and David Parker, even more noticeable.

The broadcast looked to the past and was negative.

The Green Party’s by contrast was positive and scenic.

Was there a subliminal message in the co-leader’s clothes? Russel Norman in a light blue shirt with a green tie, Metiria Turei in a red blouse?

This one definitely looked good, pity the policies don’t match the appearance.

If I was a floating left voter, the Greens’ broadcast would have appealed more than the Reds which ought to concern Labour.

Word of the day

October 28, 2011

Girouettism – the practice of frequently altering one’s opinions or principles to follow popular trends.

Party broadcasts start tonight

October 28, 2011

Political party opening broadcasts start tonight on TV1 and National Radio with National’s at 7.30pm.


October 28, 2011

Just 5/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

The case for SM

October 28, 2011

Next month’s election will decide who governs for the next three years.

The referendum on the electoral system which is to be held the same day could determine how we’re governed for decades.

The anti-change movement has been more vocal until now but people encouraging a vote for change are beginning to speak out.

Jane Clifton has an MMP guide in this week’s Listener  (it included a an error which Graeme Edgler corrected). Sir Geoffrey Palmer put the case for MMP and Roger Kerr put the case for change.

The Maxim Institute which published Kicking The Tyres Choosing a Voting System for New Zealand last month has today issued two more papers.

The first is “A Better Mix: Why SM strikes the best balance and should be New Zealand’s voting system.”

The second is   “Enhancing MMP: How to improve New Zealand’s current voting system.”

They correctly point out all systems have their faults:

“There is no perfect voting system. Deciding which system is best for New Zealand involves making trade-offs among a whole range of criteria—local and interest group representation, legitimacy, accountability and stability of government being just a few of those criteria. After evaluating all the systems on offer at this year’s voting systems referendum, we believe the system that strikes the best balance is SM (Supplementary Member),” says Steve Thomas, Researcher at Maxim Institute. “We also believe that if MMP is kept it could be improved in several ways.”

“There are two broad types of voting systems: majoritarian systems and proportional systems. SM, like MMP, mixes elements of both majoritarian and proportional voting systems. But where MMP is designed to be more proportional, SM is the opposite—it generally produces majoritarian outcomes,” says Thomas.“Mixed systems are a good option for New Zealand, as they allow people to vote for both a candidate and a party to represent them, but we think that SM is the better option.”

“Majoritarian systems sometimes get a bad name, with a perception that proportional systems produce‘fairer’ outcomes. This argument sounds intuitively right, but it does not actually stack up. Majoritarian systems, like SM, can produce a ‘fair’ outcome because the result is representative of which parties most people voted for in their electorates—it all depends on what is meant by ‘fair.’”

“We also think that SM would be beneficial for representation. There would be 90 electorate MPs if SM were used in New Zealand, so it would be weighted more towards electorate representation than MMP is. We think that electorate representation is important for providing a direct relational connection between parliament and local communities. Parties and list MPs can only provide for this kind of representation indirectly. The 30 list MPs that there would be under SM would still enable various non-geographic communities, such as ethnic, minority and interest groups, to be represented in parliament.”

“Under SM, it would also be more likely that single-party majority governments would form. This would provide for stable government and bring clarity of focus to government policy, as the major parties would not have to make policy concessions to the minor parties in return for their support. The reduced influence of the minor parties would decrease the instances of interest group politics unduly influencing parliament and the government’s agenda. Obviously this has other negative trade-offs but we believe that, on balance, this is the best way to go.”

“Proportional representation is not the only factor that should be considered in choosing a voting system. When all factors, like legitimacy; effectiveness and stability of government; representation; accountability; and the need for opposition and oversight are taken into account, we believe that SM strikes the best balance.”

I voted against MMP and opted for FPP in previous referenda.

I don’t want a return to FPP but I do want change from MMP and agree with the points made above.

Electorates are far too big under MMP, reducing representation for people under a system which increases the power of parties.

SM gives, more and therefore smaller, electorates while still allowing for an element of proportionality and a better chance for the wee parties to be represented than FPP.

Friday’s answers

October 28, 2011

Thursday’s questiosn were:

1. Who said: “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.”?

2. It’s impôts in French,  tassa or imposta in Italian, impuesto in Spanish and tāke in Maori, what is it in English?

3. Name the three hydro dams on the Waitaki River.

4. Who wrote and performed You’re So Vain?

5. What is a balalaika?

Points for answers:

Andrei gets an electronic box of chocolates with five correct and a bonus for the music: http://nzconservative.blogspot.com/2011/10/virtuoso.html

Cadwallader got four.

Grqavedodger also gets an e-box of concolates for five right.

And PDM got three.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Labour pains National delivers

October 28, 2011

Yesterday’s announcements by Labour adds to the list of policies which increase or add new costs for businesses and make employing people more expensive.

That job-losing list includes: raising the minimum wage, Capital Gains Tax, more expensive ETS and imposing that on agriculture earlier, their 1970s industrial relations policies, bigger employer contributions to KiwiSaver and a charge on water.

Instead of policies to get the economy growing faster, they have policies which will require more borrowing which is what got us, and several other troubles  countries,  into recession.

Contrast that with National’s policies which promote export led growth and will make it easier to employ people.

Among these is the employment relations policy announced by Prime Minister John Key this morning which includes a starting-out wage for young, first-time workers:

“A flexible and fair labour market is critical for building a stronger and more competitive economy, and creating more real jobs,” says Mr Key.

“National’s employment relations policy brings better balance to labour market rules. It encourages growth, creates jobs and protects workers’ rights.

“The starting-out wage will give some of our youngest and most inexperienced workers a much-needed foot in the door. It will provide them with valuable work experience that may not have otherwise been available to them.”

The starting-out wage will be set at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage and three groups of people will be eligible:

  • 16- and 17-year-olds in their
    first six months of work with a new employer.
  • 18- and 19-year-olds entering
    the workforce after more than six months on a designated benefit.
  • 16- to 19-year-old workers
    training in a recognised industry course involving at least 40 credits a

Mr Key also announced an extension to flexible working arrangements, improvements to collective bargaining and a review of constructive dismissal.

“National wants to see more people benefiting from flexible working arrangements. We’ll extend the right to request such arrangements to all employees, and allow employers to reach agreements without having to go through a formal process – saving time and money,” says Mr Key.

“We’ll also make changes to reduce bureaucracy and costs associated with collective bargaining, including removing the requirement to conclude a collective agreement.”

Mr Key says National will also take a close look at how allegations of constructive dismissal can be better managed.

“Altogether, these initiatives are part of National’s plan to give businesses the confidence they need to invest, grow and create higher-paying jobs.

“This comes on top of the good progress we’ve made in our first term of government, including establishing the successful 90-day trial for new employees, raising the minimum wage, improving the Holidays Act, reforming the personal grievance system and keeping the Hobbit
movies inNew Zealand.”

National’s employment relations policy is here.

Labour’s policy increase the cost and risks of employing people, National’s make it easier.

The difference is clear – Labour pains, National delivers.

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