Politics Daily

June 3, 2014

New Zealand Politics Daily is taking  a break.

I don’t have the time or inclination to provide the same service of a reasonably comprehensive list of links to news stories and blog posts on issues of the day.

However, I’m willing to start with a few and invite anyone who has read anything I’ve missed to add a link to it in a comment.

I won’t pretend to be balanced – there will be more links to blogs of a bluer hue. Anyone who wants the red and green end of the spectrum better represented is welcome to leave links.

John Key in Samoa

BeehiveNZ to invest $1 million into Samoa’s tourism sector:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will invest $1 million to help boost Samoa’s tourism sector. . .

Tova O’Brien – Pacific voters warming to National:

With large sections of New Zealand’s Pacific Island community now gravitating towards National, the battle for the Pacific vote has gone offshore. . . .

Immigration

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – So what will Labour cut?

is claiming that it will cut migrant numbers by somewhere between 20,000 and 35,000 to get net migration from 40,000 to somewhere between 5,000 and 20,000. . .

Pete George @ Your NZ – Cunliffe still vague on immigration:

Cunliffe was interviewed about immigration on Q & A on Sunday. . .

Housing

Hannah McLeod @ Southland times – State house sales reap $4m:

Millions of dollars from state housing sales in the south could be going towards new homes in Auckland. . .

Catherine Harris @ Stuff – ‘Holistic’ plan for housing sought:

New Zealand needs a wider discussion about housing affordability and the issues that surround it such as migration, say senior figures in local government. . .

RadioNZ – Fast-track housing plan for Taruanga:

Tauranga City Council wants special rules to speed up housing developments.

 Labour Party

Andrea Vance @  Stuff – Labour MPs not happy with Mana Internet:

Senior Labour Party MPs have used social media to attack the alliance struck between Mana and the Internet Party. . .

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – White-anting in Labour? Surely not…:

Is David Cunliffe being white-anted again? You’d have to wonder after reading Andrea Vance’s story on Stuff: . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Things are falling apart in Labour:

When something happens that isn’t going the way a political party particularly wants, they need to get together, work out a strategy, and communicate that coherently. . . .

 Isaac Davison @ NZ Herald –   Labour looks at changing $10m-for-residency scheme:

Labour is looking “very closely” at changing the rules for foreign investors who can get residency in New Zealand by paying $10 million. . .

IMP

Chris Keall @ NBR – Laila Harre NBR interview part 2: Baboom offshoring jobs; getting paid; the UFB; how she rolls:

Chris Keall – Where’s all the Baboom development taking place? . . .

Cameron Slater @ whale Oil – Internet Mana Party “a joke from the far left” – Key:

Unlike our media, John Key is refusing to take the Internet Mana Party seriously. . .

Josie Pagani @ Pundit – Say no to the cup of Te:

No way should Labour do a ‘Cup of Te’ deal.

Labour should stand up for its own strong values. . .

Danyl Mclauchlan @ Dim Post – On the logic behind a strategic loss:

Rob Salmond makes fun of Bomber, which is something we can all enjoy. But I do think that Bomber’s theory that a faction within the Labour Party would prefer a National victory in 2014 if the alternative is a Labour/Greens/New Zeland First/Mana/Internet Party government is pretty plausible. . .

Q & A @ TVNZ –  Laila Harre   interviewed by Susan Wood:

SUSAN: Long time unionist and left wing politician Laila Harre is back, she’s been a member of Labour, New Labour, Alliance, and the Greens, and now she’s taking the helm of the Internet Party, she joins me now good morning. Most political parties are built on something positive, on a movement, on beliefs. How can the Internet Mana Party which is built on yes, wanting to change a government, but an almost pathological dislike of the Prime Minister work? How can it be a force for good? . . .

Carbon Tax

Andrew McMartin @ TV3 – Carbon tax means nothing without Labour – English:

The Green Party’s carbon tax policy “means nothing” without Labour support, Finance Minister Bill English says. . . .

Peter Cresswell @ Not PC – The Greens cutting taxes?

Let’s start with the good news. . .

Lindsay Mitchell – Support for the Greens carbon tax surprises:

The Taxpayer’s Union has come out in support of a carbon tax that is revenue neutral. On balance they find it preferable to the Emissions Trading Scheme.

I wonder why we need either. . . .

Mark Hubbard @ Life Behind the Iron Drape – Green Naivety: Carbon Tax:

Julie Anne Genter is a New Zealand Green MP, and promoting the NZ Green Party policy this election year of a carbon tax, including on agriculture – dairy, initially, with other livestock to follow presumably. . .

Election

Rob Hosking @ NBR – Election 2014 – The Minors’ Strike:

The Green party must be quite relieved its conference was this weekend . . .

Scoop – Northland Leader Backs Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau:

Northland Kaumatua Rudy Taylor says Labour MP Kelvin Davis has the heart and the mana along with total support to win the seat of Te Tai Tokerau in the upcoming general election. . .

Scott Yorke @ Imperator Fish – How to win an election:

It’s all about the party vote. Electorate contests can be distracting, because in most cases they will be irrelevant to the result. A few electorate results will be critical, but only where they would allow a minor party to enter Parliament. . .

Scoop – iPredict Ltd 2014 Election Update #19: 30 May 2014:

Key Points:
• Internet Mana forecast to win 3 seats
• National expected to sneak in with minor parties’ support . . .

Christchurch

Beehive – Vodafone to anchor Innovation Precinct:

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today released the spatial framework for the Christchurch Innovation Precinct and announced that Vodafone’s new South Island headquarters will anchor the precinct. . .

The Christchurch Innovation Precinct will bring together some of our most innovative people to help create an exciting and vibrant future for Christchurch. http://ntnl.org.nz/1oq447h

Education

Beehive – Budget 2014: $28.6m investment in ICT Grad Schools:

The Government will invest $28.6 million operating funding (including $11.8 million of contingencies) over the next four years in three Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Graduate Schools to help address significant high-level skills shortages in the rapidly growing ICT industry, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says. . . .

Beehive – $359m boost for student achievement moves forward:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed advice from sector leaders on the Government’s $359 million initiative to raise student achievement, saying it maintains momentum and strengthens the path forward. . .

Other

Trans Tasman – Trans Tasman Announces Government Department and Government Department CEO of The Year:

Trans Tasman’s 5th Annual Briefing Report – New Zealand Government Departments People and Policy, 2014 Edition , has announced its top performing Government Department of the Year and the best Government Department CEO. The pair is chosen by a 16 strong Independent Board of Advisers . .

Hamish Rutherford @ Reserve Bank governor named top chief executive:

A former top international banker, who stared down the Beehive with lending restrictions and official cash rates rises months from the election, is this year’s public sector chief executive of the year.  . .

Matthew Beveridge – Green Party AGM:

Queen’s Birthday Weekend was also the weekend the Green Party held their annual conference. As one would expect, there were a number of policy announcements, free doctors visits for up to 18 year olds and a change from the ETS to a Carbon Tax system. . .

Bob Jones @ NZ Herald – A message to screaming John Minto: Shut up:

If Parliament proposed a nationwide synchronisation of clocks and watches, then at a given date and time, invited everyone who’s had an absolute gutsful of the screaming skull, otherwise known as John Minto, to go outside and jump up and down for two minutes, imagine the reaction. . .

Lindsay Mitchell – More welfare changes on the way:

The government has announced a rewrite of the Social Security 1964 Act, which is a massive maze of dated legislation. . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Political porkies:

It seems the minor parties are able to get away with making stuff up, or flat out lying.

As a new service we will now start calling out these ratbags. . . .

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – The new blockbuster:

It’s a poster of Dr No, you’ll have to pop over to see it.

Adam Bennett @ NZ Herald – Peters rubbishes claim he paid Harawira’s protest fine:

Current and former MPs and “ordinary people” banded together to pay the $632 fine Hone Harawira received last year for defying police at a 2012 Auckland housing protest. . 

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Pay your own fine Hone:

Hone Harawira is in trouble over trouble he was in last year. If that sounds confusing, hopefully the Herald will explain: . . .

NBR – Labour might revisit MMP’s ‘coat-tail’ provisions if elected — Cunliffe:

David Cunliffe says Labour may revisit MMP’s “coat-tail” provisions if elected . . .


Word of the day

June 3, 2014

Waldo – a remote-controlled device for handling or manipulating objects.


Rural round-up

June 3, 2014

Excited about goat sector – Sally Rae:

Jackie Freeman reckons there is ”more to goats than meets the eye”.

Mrs Freeman and her husband Grant recently bought Mohair Pacific, a Canterbury-based business that is a buyer and broker of New Zealand mohair.

The couple, who were attending the recent inaugural NZGoats conference in Queenstown, were excited about the industry’s potential. . . .

When fashion ploughs into farming – Sonita Chandar:

Designers and artists across New Zealand and Australia have spent the past year unleashing the creative beast within to come up with a stunning array of garments for this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays Ag Art Wear Awards.

Fieldays Ag Art Wear is a prestigious nationwide competition which challenges designers and artists to create wearable art garments made from materials sourced from the farm, rural industries or the natural environment. . .

Young inventor opening gates to success – Anne Boswell:

A year of hard work hangs in the balance for 13-year-old Patrick Roskam who is launching his invention, the Gudgeon Pro 5 in 1, at the Fieldays Innovation Centre this month.

Patrick won the Best Pitch Award at the SODA Inc Innovation Den last year, wowing the judges with his unique fencing tool which is used to quickly and accurately hang gates.

Following feedback at Fieldays, Patrick improved the product, which was originally conceived as a science fair project, to make it adjustable with a spirit level on top and tape measure down the side. . .

Dairying family on fourth shift – Collette Devlin:

Jimmy and Keri Tatham sit in their kitchen among half-packed boxes, with newborn twins Aiden and Xavier snuggled in their arms.

As they box up the remainder of their belongings, their 23-month-old daughter Caitlyn points to a frame on the lounge wall. It is a memorial to their 20-month-old son Jack, who was killed in 2011 after getting into a holding pen of cows.

This prized possession will perhaps be one of the last packed away for the Gypsy Day move. . . .

 Elections, run-off and winter mud – Sally Brooker:

Richard Strowger is continuing to lead North Otago Federated Farmers.

He was re-elected for another year as president at the annual general meeting on May 15.

Dairy section chairman Lyndon Strang was also re-elected and has become the provincial vice-president.

Greg Ruddenklau is the meat and fibre chairman, with Hayden Williamson and Christopher O’Malley helming the sharemilkers’ section. . . .

Ngāti Kahungunu and Sealord announce fishing deal:

A deal allowing New Zealand’s third largest iwi to be more directly involved in the use of its fishing quota has been signed in Nelson.

The arrangement between Ngāti Kahungunu and Sealord will see the two organisations work together in the sustainable utilisation of fishing quota, employ and develop iwi members whilst at the same time maximising profitable returns to iwi. . . .

 


Terms of trade near record levels

June 3, 2014

New Zealand’s terms of trade are at the best level since the 1970s:

In the March 2014 quarter, the merchandise terms of trade rose 1.8 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. The latest increase was due to export prices rising and import prices falling.

Terms of trade is a measure of the purchasing power of New Zealand’s exports abroad. An increase means New Zealand can buy more imports for the same amount of exports.

“Five consecutive quarterly rises have lifted the terms of trade to its highest level since the September 1973 quarter,” prices manager Chris Pike said. The terms of trade is now 1.7 percent below its all-time high in the June 1973 quarter.

In the March 2014 quarter, the price of exported goods rose 0.8 percent, and seasonally adjusted export volumes rose 1.6 percent. The trend for export volumes has reached a new high, and is 4.2 percent higher than the previous high point in the December 2012 quarter.

Dairy prices (up 2.3 percent) were the top contributor to total export prices. Seasonally adjusted dairy volumes fell 4.3 percent, following a 24 percent rise in the previous quarter.

Meat prices rose 2.1 percent and meat volumes rose 6.6 percent, leading the rise in export values. The trend for meat volumes has reached a new high – it is now 5.3 percent higher than the previous high point in the September 2006 quarter.

Prices for imported goods fell 1.0 percent in the March 2014 quarter, following a 2.7 percent fall in the previous quarter. Petroleum and petroleum products (down 3.5 percent) contributed the most to the overall decrease in import prices due to lower prices for crude oil.

Import volumes rose 2.3 percent, following a flat December 2013 quarter. The trend for import volumes has been rising for six consecutive quarters – by a total of 14 percent. 

The price and volume indexes for exports and imports of goods are compiled mainly from overseas merchandise trade data. . . .

The opposition and many commentators keep saying the value of our dollar is too high.

That isn’t all bad and the near-record terms of trade is one of the positives from that.

Our purchasing power is higher, exports are still doing well – in spite of the value of the dollar – and imports are costing less.

The opposition want our dollar to be worth less.

That would immediately reduce the value of every dollar everyone earns in New Zealand, reducing the purchasing power of all of us.

 


GIMP but not LIMP?

June 3, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe has been dancing on the head of a pin when asked his view on the Internet Mana Party.

That suggests he’s testing the wind before he works out what he thinks.

Several other Labour MPs have already made up their minds they don’t like it.

Senior Labour Party MPs have used social media to attack the alliance struck between Mana and the Internet Party.

Former leaders Phil Goff and David Shearer, and Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins, are among those who have objected to the deal. It could see MPs from Kim Dotcom’s fledging political vehicle enter Parliament on the ‘‘coat-tails’’ of a victory for Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

The strong opposition from within Labour could make post-election coalition talks tricky.

Goff says he feel strongly about Dotcom’s ‘‘pure political opportunism’’, citing his previous donations to ACT MP John Banks, now the subject of a court case. ‘‘He wants to be able to influence and control politicians.’’

Goff says he was previously ‘‘very critical’’ of National for exploiting MMP and failing to implement recommendations from the Electoral Commission to abolish the provision.

‘‘I’m scarcely likely to endorse another rort …I’m being entirely consistent,’’ he said. . . .

Interesting no-one in Labour called it a rort when National voters in Ohariu kept Peter Dunne in the seat which made him a Minister in the Labour-led government.

Goff says he made his feelings clear to the Labour caucus. ‘‘It will be the decision of the party leadership…but I see problems in creating a coalition where the philosophies and principle of people that you are trying to enter into a coalition with is unclear because they seem to be coming from diametrically opposed positions.’’ . . .

Coalitions are by nature unstable even when they have something positive in common.

A coalition built on nothing more than a hatred of John Key and determination to oust National would be a recipe for instability.

Those  views were also reflected in a passionate Facebook post at the weekend. Shearer also used the social media site to write that although he wished the Internet-Mana ‘‘marriage’’ well, he knew ‘‘it’s going to end badly.’’

And on Twitter last week, Hipkins posted: ‘‘The good old days, when political parties formed from movements. Now all it takes is a couple of million and some unprincipled sellouts.’’

All three MPs were linked to the Anyone But Cunliffe [ABC] faction – who were opposed to David Cunliffe assuming leadership of the party. However, a Labour source played down talk of more division, saying all three were close to Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis.

Davis himself posted on Twitter: ‘‘Bro, I think of the people of Te Tai Tokerau, not Sergeant Shultz.’’  He was referring to Dotcom’s German origins. . . .

More than half the caucus is in the ABC faction which makes the party itself unstable.

On present polling a left-wing government would have to consist of Labour and the GIMPs – Green, and Internet Mana parties.

A concerted effort by Labour backing Kelvin Davis to win Te Tai Tokerau would seriously challenge Harawira’s hold on the seat.

If the ABC faction prevails it won’t be LIMP – Labour and the Internet Party and that would leave the GIMPs facing a huge battle for power and relevance.


What does Labour think?

June 3, 2014

On the face of it a tax to discourage something that isn’t wanted is okay.

It works for tobacco.

Perhaps that’s why the Taxpayers’ Union uncharacteristically is welcoming a new tax.

. . . “For us the key questions are whether the Green Party’s policy will result in a simpler, more transparent tax system and whether it will reduce New Zealand’s overall tax burden. From what we’ve seen to date, it appears the proposals could do both.” . . .

The Green part doesn’t want to reduce the overall tax burden.

It wants to add a capital gains tax without any compensating reduction in other taxes and it’s planning other taxes including charges on water.

But the most important question about this policy is what does Labour think?

. . . For the policy to be implemented it would have to be accepted by the Labour Party as part of a coalition deal, and there would have to be a change of government.

Labour isn’t commenting – which usually means it doesn’t agree with what the Greens want.

The tax would impose higher costs on households than any compensatory reduction in other taxes and that would hit the poorest people hardest.

A carbon tax was one of the big factors which sank Julia Gillard’s Labor government in Australia, Labour here will take that into account before it decides whether or not to support the policy here.

 


Oamaru steaming ahead

June 3, 2014

Just a few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine anyone saying this, let along Dame Kiri Te Kanawa:

. . . While in Dunedin, Dame Kiri said she hoped to visit Dunedin’s Royal Albatross Colony and take a trip to Oamaru.

”I’d like to drive over to Oamaru – it’s so beautiful. . .

I don’t know if her hopes were realised, if they were she would have found the town under full steam for the fifth annual Steam Punk festival:

From Auckland to Ashburton, Oamaru to Opunake and even Invercargill, they steamed into Oamaru for a weekend of Steampunk.

The annual festival, in its fifth year, is growing so rapidly – to 15 events over four days this year – that organisers have a tiger by the tail and will be looking for more help in the future to maintain the momentum. . .

ne of the Steampunk organisers, Helen Jensen, was amazed at how the event had grown from its inception in 2010, when it was a one-day affair – a fashion show with a gala dinner.

But, she admitted, it was getting to be a handful for two main organisers, albeit with a lot of volunteer help.

”If it wasn’t for people popping out of the woodwork, I don’t know where we would be,” she said, pointing to volunteers who had just turned up to offer help getting things ready for yesterday’s fashion show.

The number at the mess dinner with airship and teapot racing had trebled from last year, 110 being fed and entertained.

Yesterday’s fashion show had 130 tickets pre-sold, but attracted far more with casual sales.

The 200 tickets to last night’s dinner were sold out.

She estimated probably 80% to 90% of people at the main events were from out of town, but that had been one of the main aims – to get people to Oamaru as a boost for the town. . .

The weekend’s festivities included Oamaru On Fire which was also a raging success.

A funeral in Darfield on Friday and family and farm commitments had to take priority over most of the festivities.

But I did manage time for a wander around the historic precinct after a visit to the Farmers’ Market on Sunday and was entertained by a wonderful procession of people in Steam Punk attire.

Over at Oamaru Life there are photos and commentary on the Steampunk Festival and Oamaru on Fire  – the latter includes a video of the light show.

The rediscovery of the historic precinct and the introduction of steam punk are just two of the attractions that are putting Oamaru on the map.

It’s still a small town but it’s steaming ahead.


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