Facts, future vs emotion, half truths, past


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


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

Party broadcasts start tonight


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



Just 5/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

The case for SM


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


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


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.

Can you trust Labour to fill $9b hole? UPDATE: $16b hole


National has spent the last three years attempting to turn the country away from borrowing and spending.

The need for this is grasped by most New Zealanders who after years of spending more than they earn are beginning to save.

But Labour hasn’t got the message. Its promises will still require a massive increase in borrowing.

The Labour Party is so far promising to borrow at least $9 billion more over the next four years than is laid out in the PREFU statements, according to conservative estimates released by National’s Campaign Chair Steven Joyce today.

“Too much spending, borrowing and taxing is the recipe that got New Zealand into trouble in the first place.  Reheating this approach is not going to deliver the brighter future that Kiwi families deserve.”

These figures don’t include the extra costs from yesterday’s announcement of its savigns policies.

“The spending Labour has announced in the past weeks, when put alongside their proposed tax policy, adds up to about $9 billion in extra borrowing over the next four years and that means that Labour would not get back in to surplus until 2015/16 – a year later than National. 

“New Zealand simply can’t afford Labour’s borrow, spend, and tax agenda in 2011.  Around the world everyone understands that too much debt is toxic.  The Opposition is writing cheques with their election commitments that Kiwi families can’t afford to cash.

“Labour has made a lot of promises since the Party announced its tax policy in July.  They’ve never said how they can pay for them all.”

Mr Joyce says National’s figures have been calculated using the publicly-available Treasury models and take an optimistic view of the new tax collection proposals that Labour’s been promoting.

“Our estimates do not include a large number of ‘off the cuff’ smaller promises that Labour MPs have made over the past three years.
“We’ll be updating this list as further promises are made.”

The calculations are here.

A $9 billion hole will take a lot of filling and the people who guided New Zealand into recession long before the rest of the world are hardly the ones we can trust to fill it.

UPDATE – Adding in yesterday’s annoucement turns that into a $16b hole with the extra they’ll have to borrow by 2016.

Labour raising age lowering eligibility to super


Has Phil Goff been channelling Roger Douglas and Don Brash?

What other explanation can there be for Labour’s plan to raise the age of superannuation and introduce asset and means testing?

They call it a transition payment and say it’s only for workers from 65-67, but who would trust them to stop at that?

In a few decades when they find people have their own sizable nest eggs from KiwiSaver to provide for their own retirements, would you trust them not to say they have to wait longer before receiving national superannuation or don’t need it at all?

There is a case for both raising the age of eligibility and means and asset testing national superannuation.

But that needs to be discussed openly, as Act does, not disguised as a “transition payment” as it is in Labour’s not so super superannuation policy.

October 28 in history


306  Maxentius was proclaimed Roman Emperor.

312  Battle of Milvian Bridge: Constantine I defeated Maxentius, becoming the sole Roman Emperor.

1466 Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch humanist and theologian, was born (d. 1536).

1510  Francis Borgia, Spanish duke and Jesuit priest, was born (d. 1572).

1516  Battle of Yaunis Khan: Turkish forces under the Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha defeated the Mameluks near Gaza.

1531  Battle of Amba Sel: Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi again defeated the army of Lebna Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia.

1538  The first university in the New World, the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, was established.

1628  The 14-month Siege of La Rochelle  ended with the surrender of the Huguenots.

1636  A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established the first college in what became the United States, today known as Harvard University.

1664  The Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, later to be known as the Royal Marines, was established.

1707  The 1707 Hōei earthquake caused more than 5,000 deaths in Honshu, Shikoku and Kyūshū.

1776  American Revolutionary War: Battle of White Plains – British Army forces arrived at White Plains, attacked and captured Chatterton Hill from the Americans.

1834  The Battle of Pinjarra  in the Swan River Colony – between 14 and 40 Aborigines were killed by British colonists.

1848  The first railway in Spain – between Barcelona and Mataró – was opened.

1885 Thomas Twyford built the first porcelain toilet.

1886  President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty.

1890 – New Zealand’s first Labour Day celebrations were held.

First Labour Day celebrations


1891  The Mino-Owari Earthquake, the largest earthquake in Japan’s history, struck Gifu Prefecture.

1893 Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique, received its première performance in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer’s death.

1903  Evelyn Waugh, English writer (d. 1966)

1918 Czechoslovakia was granted independence from Austria-Hungary marking the beginning of independent Czechoslovak state, after 300 years.

1918 – New Polish government in Western Galicia was established.

1919  The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.

1922  March on Rome: Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini marched on Rome and take over the Italian government.

1927 Dame Cleo Laine, British singer, was born.

1929  Black Monday, major stock market upheaval during the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

1936 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt rededicated the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary.

1940  World War II: Greece rejected Italy’s ultimatum. Italy invaded Greece through Albania, marking Greece’s entry into World War II.

1941 Hank Marvin, English guitarist (The Shadows) was born.

1942  The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks.

1948  Swiss chemist Paul Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the insecticidal properties of DDT.

1954  The modern Kingdom of the Netherlands is re-founded as a federal monarchy.

1955   Bill Gates, American software executive, was born.

1960  Landon Curt Noll, Astronomer, Cryptographer and Mathematician: youngest to hold the world record for the largest known prime 3 times, was born.

1962  Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announced he had ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

1965 Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions” of the Second Vatican Council, was promulgated by Pope Paul VI; it absolved the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, reversing Innocent III’s 760 year-old declaration.

1965 – Construction on the St. Louis Arch was completed.

1967  Julia Roberts, American actress, was born.

1970   Gary Gabelich set a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.

1971  Britain launched its first satellite, Prospero, into low Earth orbit atop a Black Arrow carrier rocket.

1982 Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party won elections, leading to first Socialist government in Spain after death of Franco. Felipe Gonzalez became Prime Minister-elect.

1985  Sandinista Daniel Ortega became president of Nicaragua.

1995  289 people were killed and 265 injured in Baku Metro fire.

1998  An Air China jetliner was hijacked by disgruntled pilot Yuan Bin and flown to Taiwan.

2006  Funeral service  for those executed at Bykivnia forest, outside Kiev, Ukraine. 817 Ukrainian civilians (out of some 100,000) executed by Bolsheviks at Bykivnia in 1930s – early 1940s were reburied.

2007  Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the first woman elected President of Argentina.

2009 The 28 October 2009 Peshawar bombing killed 117 and wounds 213.

2009 – NASA successfully launched the Ares I-X mission, the only rocket launch for its later-cancelled Constellation programme.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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