Where do social conservatives go?

September 29, 2014

Wesleyan minister writes:

Dear New Zealand Labour Party,

I’m not sure if this is the best time to be offering any thoughts to you as I’m sure it still hurts after Saturday night – especially since you have lost some good colleagues, but I wish to share some thoughts. I am not affiliated with any party so this is not coming from a winner who is gloating or a loser who wishes to play any sort of blame game. Please hear this with the generous heart it comes from and the desire to see the current opposition strengthened.

On Saturday New Zealand spoke. In so doing, our nation declared the National Party to be their preferred governing party by a clear margin while your party suffered one of the worst defeats ever. There will be much dissecting going on to work out what happened. The worst of it already involves some talking about vote rigging and vitriol about the nature of New Zealand voters such as not caring about the poor, being selfish and it goes on. There’s blame of the media happening and, inevitably, Kim Dotcom is being held up as the reason for the left’s poor showing. Some will dismiss the Labour defeat by pointing to the MMP system and the ‘left block’ but even that did not fare so well. Others will point to Labour’s recent revolving leadership and talk about factional fighting – political blood may well be spilled with this in mind. There will be those that point to a lack of working more closely with the Green Party and others will point to working too closely with them. In among it all I would like to offer my own humble thoughts – simply because I think that in the interest of our nation, it is important for you to be a strong party. New Zealand needs a functioning, cohesive opposition in order for our democracy to be healthy and to keep the government accountable to working in the interests of all New Zealanders, and the facts are that National won’t govern forever so you need to be a healthy party for that time when you are, again, the government.

I’m going to begin with a bold statement and then make my case from there. I believe New Zealand is more socially conservative than many in the political and media realm realise. I believe that was reflected in the vote. Putting aside economics, social conservatives could vote for National, New Zealand First, Conservatives, United Future and the Maori Party and not feel like they were acting contrary to their value system. Whether those places are truly socially conservative is a matter for discussion, but the perception is that if you are socially conservative, there is a place in those parties for you.

National has done a good job of creating a broad umbrella where social conservatives and social liberals can live side by side and both feel validated within the party. The same goes for their economic conservatives and liberals. Labour used to be able to do the same – that is no longer the case. Labour used to be a place where social conservatives and social liberals could co-exist around an agreed economic direction in terms of welfare and job creation. They also largely agreed on health and education direction. It was a party for the working class and the working class combines both social conservatives and liberals. But ask yourself, where does an economically center-left social conservative who agrees with things like free access to health and education now go to find a political home? The answer is that there is no such place. . .

Whether it is palatable or not to those within the party and whether it is accurate or not, Labour is seen to be the party who drove through prostitution law reform, civil unions, gay marriage, the so-called ‘anti smacking law’ and it is seen as the major party that has and would liberalise abortion policy. Accurate or not, it is also perceived as the party that would push other things such as euthenasia and gay adoption. Now, each of these represents contestable ideas and I’m not offering an opinion in any direction on any of them, but ask yourself, if you were a social conservative on any of those issues, how comfortable has it been to exist within Labour? None of those issues are the ‘core business’ of Labour but they are the very things that have driven away social conservatives. Labour MPs who have spoken out against those issues or expressed their unease over them have seemed to be the odd ones out and very often maligned even though those MPs completely align with Labour’s roots. . .

Reverend Francis Ritchie

I have deliberately stopped part way through in fairness to the author to encourage people to click on the link and read on.

The comments make interesting reading too.

When Labour got so little support in the election the Green Party would have expected to pick up quite a few of its votes.

But it too did worse than it had hoped.

Instead of migrating left, many voters disenchanted with Labour moved to the Conservative Party and New Zealand First which are socially conservative and National which is a broad church that accepts divergent views along the social spectrum.

Hat tip: CoNZervative


Helping to help selves

September 29, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has asked officials to come up with fresh ideas to tackle the issue of child poverty.

. . . Key’s genius is to sense developing problems, define what needs to be done and then act decisively to cauterise them. No better example is the call he has made this week for the DPMC, Treasury and other departments to delve into the issue of child poverty, and come up with fresh advice on how to wrap services into meeting the needs of those families who are struggling.

Left to its own, child poverty could lead to the evolution of a frustrated under-class and long-term a divided society. Key is going to make sure the issue is dealt to and doesn’t become a political headache. He doesn’t belong to the school which believes throwing more money at the problem is the solution. There’s a fundamental tension between ensuring sufficient welfare assistance is available and ensuring incentives to get into work are strong enough. Two out of five children said to be in poverty are in homes where one parent at least is in work.

Working for Families and other welfare measures are tactical measures: the overall strategy lies in more jobs, and, as Key sees it, in upskilling those who lack the skills for the opportunities opening up. Key argues the million NZers who voted for National on Saturday are caring people who will want to see the Govt understands the issue and is working its way through it. But he says those million people will also want to see those to whom assistance is targeted helping themselves. . .

Children shouldn’t be punished for poor decisions their parents make but nor should parents be paid, or compensated, for abrogating their responsibilities.

Only the hardest of hearts would begrudge assistance to the most vulnerable.

But most people work hard for their money and expect that those their taxes help, help themselves if and when they are able to.

Simply throwing money at the problem would entrench dependency and the social and economic issues that follow.


Step 1

September 29, 2014

Opinions expressed on social media across the political spectrum from party supporters, or those purporting to be,  are often not the official view of the parties.

If Labour is to address its problems its members should be hoping that  those blaming the election result on the media; other parties, including those with whom they may want to govern in future; and anything else but the party and its internal workings are not representative of those who the have influence to change.

The causes of its election loss are many and if Labour is to do better next time it first has to accept that the bulk of the problem lies within itself.

Zig Ziglar's photo.


Where does the money come from?

September 29, 2014

I came across this advertisement during the election campaign but didn’t use it because I believed people were better giving their party votes to National.
Photo: We say you cannot have economic growth or higher living standards by attacking farmers and locking out foreign investment.<br /><br />
If you share these values, vote for them. See our plan at www.act.org.nz.

However, the plea for the party vote, aside, the message about where the money for services comes from is right and reinforced by this story:

Research cash from milk industry could be put in same category as that from armament companies:

Research funding from the dairying and soft drink industries could be declined on ethical grounds under proposals being worked through by the University of Canterbury.

The university is in the midst of a wide-ranging debate about ethical research funding – who academics should and shouldn’t accept money from, and for what research purpose.

Currently, research funding from the tobacco and armaments industries could be declined.

Some academics have argued that should extend to certain industry-funded alcohol, gambling, dairying, mining and soft drink research.

Others believed there should be no prohibition and that the acceptance of funding should be left to individual moral judgements. . .

The issue appears to be water quality.

It’s not a good reflection on the scientific rigor that researchers would write off a whole industry on the strength of what some farmers used to do and take no notice of what’s being done to improve matters.

Dairying farming has been contributing to the deterioration of water quality but farmers and those who supply and support them are making good progress on cleaning up their practices.

There is still more work to do and it will need good science to help. Would researchers turn down money from the industry if it was investigating ways to improve its environmental impact?

This issue, lumping dairying with alcohol and arms, highlights the dark green anti-farming stance which counts the costs but not the benefits.

The dairy industry produces milk which is an important source of nutrients for people here and even more overseas.

The food we export earns a lot of the money which enables us to pay our way in the world and import goods and services from other countries.

The tax paid by farmers and those who service and supply them and process, distribute, market and sell what they produce is what funds universities and hospitals.

If they’re going to turn down money from dairy companies, will they also turn down the tax revenue from the industry which funds the institutions where they work?


September 29 in history

September 29, 2014

522 BC – Darius I of Persia killed the Magian usurper Gaumâta, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire.

480 BC  Battle of Salamis: The Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I.

61 BC  Pompey the Great celebrated his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday.

1227  Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

1364  Battle of Auray: English forces defeated the French in Brittany; end of the Breton War of Succession.

1547 Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes  Saavedra was born (d. 1616).

1650 Henry Robinson opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters – the first historically documented dating service – in Threadneedle Street, London.

1717  An earthquake struck Antigua Guatemala, destroying much of the city’s architecture and making authorities consider moving the capital to a different city.

1758 Horatio Nelson was born (d. 1805).

1810 English author Elizabeth Gaskell was born (d. 1865).

1829  The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded.

1848  Battle of Pákozd: Hungarian forces defeated Croats at Pákozd; the first battle of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

1850  The Roman Catholic hierarchy was re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX.

1862  The first professional opera performance in New Zealand was put on by members of ‘The English Opera Troupe’ and the Royal Princess Theatre Company.

NZ's first professional opera performance

1864  American Civil War: The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm.

1885 The first practical public electric tramway in the world opened in Blackpool.

1907 The cornerstone was laid at Washington National Cathedral.

1907 US singer Gene Autry was born (d. 1998).

1911 Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

1913 US film director Stanley Kramer was born (d. 2001).

1916 John D. Rockefeller became the first billionaire.

1918  World War I: The Hindenburg Line was broken by Allied forces. Bulgaria signed an armistice

1932  Chaco War: Last day of the Battle of Boquerón between Paraguay and Bolivia.

1935 US musician Jerry Lee Lewis was born.

1936 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was born.

1941  World War II: Holocaust in Kiev German Einsatzgruppe C began the Babi Yar massacre.

1943 Polish president Lech Walsea was born.

1943  World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice  aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson off Malta.

1951 Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, was born.

1954  The convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was signed.

1956 English athlete Sir Sebastian Coe was born.

1957 20 MCi (740 petabecquerels) of radioactive material was released in an explosion at the Soviet Mayak nuclear plant at Chelyabinsk.

1961 Julia Gillard, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1962  Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite, was launched.

1963 The second period of the Second Vatican Council opened.

1963  The University of East Anglia was established in Norwich.

1964  The Argentine comic strip Mafalda, by Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino, was published for the first time.

1966  The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, was introduced.

1975  WGPR in Detroit, Michigan, becomes the world’s first black-owned-and-operated television station.

1979  Pope John Paul II became the first pope to set foot on Irish soil.

1988 Space Shuttle: NASA launched STS-26, the return to flight mission.

1990  Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was completed.

1990 The YF-22, which later became the F-22 Raptor, flew for the first time.

1991  Military coup in Haiti.

1992  Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello resigned.

1995 The United States Navy disbanded Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84), nicknamed the “Jolly Rogers”.

2004 The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth.

2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize.

2006  Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 collided in mid-air with an Embraer Legacy business jet, killing 154 total people, and triggering a Brazilian aviation crisis.

2007  Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, was demolished in a controlled explosion.

2008  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell  777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.

2009 An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands caused a tsunami .

2013 – More than 42 people were killed by members of Boko Haram at the College of Agriculture in Gujba, Nigeria.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

September 28, 2014

Clepsydra – an ancient time-measuring device worked by a flow of water; an ancient device for measuring time by the flow of water or mercury through a small aperture; water clock.


Rural round-up

September 28, 2014

Building an educated workforce – Rick Powdrell:

How about that election result then! The most interesting result took place up in Te Tai Tokerau with Labour‘s Kelvin Davis being elected.  Can I give a big thumbs up to the average Kiwi voter who responded to electoral nastiness by sending one political movement packing.

New Zealanders have dodged a bullet and it restores your faith in democracy.  The party I am thinking about wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about what we farmers do on-farm either.

In this election, it was clear to me that some people do not understand that farming is the most international business we have.  A business you can’t up sticks and transfer with the click of a mouse.  It’s here because the people, climate, soils and temperature are all right here.  Industries collectively generating $35 billion a year; 73 percent of our merchandise exports.  . .

Nepalese adding value in Waimate – Sarah Rowland:

When Ikawai dairy farmer Lyle Green employed Nepalese Ashok Shrestha 11 years ago he was so impressed with his works ethic he looked for more.

Green’s uncle had told him of a hard-working Nepalese man who wasn’t being treated well in his job and to employ him if he could, but at the time Green had no vacancies.

However, when a position opened he tracked down Shrestha and employed him.

It turned out to be one of the best choices he had made for his business, he said.

When another employee left for another position Green asked Shrestha if he had a friend who wanted to come to work for him and he said he had two. . .

Loving it for the lifestyle – Gerard Hutching:

”I wouldn’t change it for anything – it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” says Landcorp dairy farm manager Letitia Hamill.

At the age of 22, Hamill is the second youngest Landcorp farm manager in the country. And as a woman, she is a relative rarity for the state-owned enterprise, which has just five female managers out of 137.

Hamill manages one of the nine Landcorp Moutoa dairy farms in the Foxton region. At 68 hectares and running 216 cows, hers is one of four smaller properties in the complex. . .

Boost for breeding as salmon return to river  – David Bruce:

About 1% of a first release of 2000 salmon raised in the Waitaki River returned in the past fishing season, boosting breeding in a stream whose water was used to raise them.

The Waitaki Riparian Enhancement Society started hatching salmon at a hatchery next to Welcome Stream and released its first 2000 tagged fish in 2012.

They were due to start returning in the past season, and the first was caught in February.

Society secretary Linn Koevoet said five of those fish were weighed in at a competition and another three were reported caught. . .

‘Shear for life’ fundraiser – Yvonne O’Hara:

Two farmers hope to raise $24,000 for the Cancer Society by shearing sheep during a 24-hour ”Shear for Life” marathon in Tarras in February.

Farmer James Hill, of Teviot Valley, and stock manager Cole Wells, of Tarras, want to raise money for the society in memory of family members who had died of cancer.

Mr Hill’s father Dick died of stomach cancer in 2012 and Mr Wells lost his grandfather to prostate cancer. . .

Dairy delegation heads to US – Narelle Henson:

A group of 30 large-scale New Zealand dairy farmers and industry representatives are heading to the United States of America tomorrow to see what lessons they can bring home. 

The country is increasingly being punted as New Zealand’s major competition in the Chinese market.

The USA’s milk supply is around four times that of New Zealand, according to DairyNZ statistics, 40 per cent of which comes from 800 ”mega-dairies”, with 2000 or more cows.

Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder is going on the nine-day trip, and said lessons in keeping costs down would be a major focus. . .

 

Tongariro triumphs at Otiwhiti -Jackie Harrigan:

Told you we should have left the shield in the van.”

That was the triumphant cry from one of the supporters of the agri-skills team from Tongariro School last week when they won the Land Based Training Otiwhiti Station Interschool Challenge Shield at the Rangitikei station for the second year in a row.

Tongariro team leader Chicago Albert was proud of his team and of the win, saying they had been training hard to retain the shield. 

“I reckon it’s really cool to come back and win for a second time.” . .


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