One against too many

March 29, 2015

The Northland by-election delivered a 4,000 vote majority for Winston Peters which is being described as a hiding for National.

But how could our candidate, Mark Osborne, counter all of the left plus some of the centre and centre right who might, or might not, not have understood the consequences of their voting?

One against too many others united in opposition to him was too much.

Given what he was up against and how little time he had, he did well, but sadly not well enough.

I’m not pretending this is anything but bad for National. The party will be doing serious soul-searching and must learn from this.

But National isn’t the only loser.

After the knee-capping by Labour leader Andrew Little, that party’s candidate wasn’t expected to do well but just 1,315 votes must be galling for Willow-Jean Prime.

What does the result say for the left as a whole? The Green party didn’t stand and Mana scraped up only 55 votes.

This wasn’t a win for the left who have lost any moral high ground they might have had from which to criticise National for not campaigning to win electorates.

Previous Labour leaders struggled against Russel Norman who did a better job in Opposition and now Little will have to counter a stronger Peters.

What does this result do for Northlanders? They’ve now got an MP who doesn’t live in the electorate and who will be distracted by his party-leadership responsibilities.

They’ve got two and a half years to work out whether that’s what they need.

And New Zealand, after nearly getting a majority government on election night is back to where it was in the last term with National dependent on Act and the votes of at least one other party to pass legislation.

Ah well, that’s politics and today we’ve got sport to enjoy – Go the Black Caps.

 


Northland by-election

March 28, 2015

By-election  results are being posted at elections.govt.nz.

Update:

With all booths counted Peters has a majority of 4012:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 85
HOLLAND, Adam IND 14
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,347
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,359
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 55
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,315
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

With 99% counted Peters has a majority of 3995:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 84
HOLLAND, Adam IND 14
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,331
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,326
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 55
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,313
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22
Candidate Informals 43
TOTAL 28,416

UPDATE:

At 96% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 84
HOLLAND, Adam IND 13
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,263
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,149
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 52
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,304
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

At 89.9% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 15
CARR, Joe FNZ 96
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 62
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 74
HOLLAND, Adam IND 11
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 10,131
PAINTING, Rob CLI 33
PETERS, Winston NZF 13,760
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 52
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,183
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

With 82% counted

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 12
CARR, Joe FNZ 84
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 57
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 65
HOLLAND, Adam IND 11
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 9,347
PAINTING, Rob CLI 28
PETERS, Winston NZF 12,475
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 49
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,040
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

At 70.4% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 11
CARR, Joe FNZ 81
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 43
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 52
HOLLAND, Adam IND 9
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 8,416
PAINTING, Rob CLI 26
PETERS, Winston NZF 11,139
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 44
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 975
ROGAN, Bruce IND 17

UPDATE:

With 56% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 10
CARR, Joe FNZ 65
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 42
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 40
HOLLAND, Adam IND 9
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 7,464
PAINTING, Rob CLI 23
PETERS, Winston NZF 9,696
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 38
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 849
ROGAN, Bruce IND 17

A little more than 15% of the vote has been counted and it’s very much a two-horse race:

 

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 8
CARR, Joe FNZ 39
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 25
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 26
HOLLAND, Adam IND 7
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 5,394
PAINTING, Rob CLI 16
PETERS, Winston NZF 6,875
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 32
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 634
ROGAN, Bruce IND 12
Candidate Informals 18
TOTAL 13,086

 

With a little more than 40% of the vote counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 9
CARR, Joe FNZ 60
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 36
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 31
HOLLAND, Adam IND 8
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 6,394
PAINTING, Rob CLI 18
PETERS, Winston NZF 8,283
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 35
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 715
ROGAN, Bruce IND 16

What makes a good local MP?

March 27, 2015

Trusty, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind . . .

These are the character traits a Scout or Guide is supposed to demonstrate. They are also essential character traits for a good MP.

Local MPs haven’t been so local anymore since that MMP has decreased the number of electorates and thereby increased their size but that makes availability and commitment to the electorate and its people even more important.

All of this makes me wonder what the people of Northland are thinking if the TV3 poll is right and 54% of them want Winston Peters as their MP when 48% don’t trust him and 9% don’t know if they trust him.

Why would people vote for someone they don’t trust, who doesn’t live in the electorate,  who will be at least as interested in courting the rest of New Zealand as party leader as he is in the people of Northland and who is coming to the end of a political career distinguished at least as much by controversy as accomplishment?

Contrast that with National’s candidate Mark Osborne who lives in the electorate, is in partnership with his wife in a business in the electorate, has children at school in the electorate and as a backbench MP at the start of a political career would have the time and commitment to serve the people of the electorate.

It is even more puzzling when getting Peters as a part-time electorate MP would give more power to both Peter Dunne and the Maori Party.

. . .Those who vote in Northland tomorrow will not remove National from power whatever happens, but they could shift the balance of power in Parliament from Epsom’s David Seymour, who is safely in National’s pocket, to Peter Dunne and the Maori Party. They will be the real winners if Northland elects Winston Peters. . .

And the losers will be all of New Zealand which needs a strong, stable government and the people of Northland who need a good local MP.


Quote of the day

March 27, 2015
Media populism means appealing to people directly through media. A politician who can master the media can shape political affairs outside of parliament and even eliminate the mediation of parliament.Umberto Eco

Korea FTA worth million$

March 24, 2015

The signing of the Free Trade deal with Korea, singed by Trade Minister Tim Groser yesterday  has the potential to add millions of dollars in extra export earnings.

“Improving access to international markets through free trade agreements is a key component of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. Supporting our exporters is crucial to creating new jobs and boosting incomes for New Zealanders,” says Mr Groser.

“This Agreement secures the long-term future of New Zealand exporters to Korea whose international competitors were benefiting from Korea’s other FTAs.

“It reduces barriers to trade and investment, provides greater certainty about the business environment and ensures our exporters remain competitive in each other’s market.”

On entry-into-force, tariffs on 48.3 percent or NZ$793.7 million of New Zealand’s current exports to Korea will be eliminated. The Agreement will progressively remove tariffs on 98 per cent of New Zealand’s exports to Korea.

“Particular success stories include the removal of wine tariffs of 15 percent on entry into force, and the removal of 45 percent tariffs on kiwifruit effectively five years after entry into force,” says Mr Groser.

“It will also make possible a new level of cooperation in areas like agriculture, the creative economy, the environment and education, and spur greater investment.”

The FTA will offer improved protections for New Zealand investors in the Korean market, and reinforce the attractiveness of New Zealand as a stable investment destination.

Prime Minister John Key and President Park Geun-hye of Korea witnessed the signing of the Agreement by Trade Ministers Tim Groser and Yoon Sang-jick in Seoul.

“The Agreement shows the strength of the relationship between New Zealand and Korea. It symbolises our countries’ commitment to economic openness and market integration in the Asia-Pacific region,” says Mr Key.

“Korea is one of New Zealand’s biggest and most important trading partners. This Agreement makes it easier for Koreans and Kiwis to do business with each other, and the removal of tariffs will benefit consumers in both countries.

“At the moment, New Zealand exports into Korea attract NZ$229 million a year in duties.  Tariff reductions in the first year of the FTA alone will save an estimated NZ$65 million.”

The Agreement now needs to be ratified by the New Zealand Parliament.

“We are keen for the Agreement to come into force this year,” says Mr Key.

“With a population of over 50 million and as the 13th largest economy in the world, Korea is an attractive market for New Zealand exporters.” . . .

Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest export destination for goods and services and our eighth largest import source, with total two-way goods trade of NZ$4 billion.

Once ratified by parliament, the FTA will open the door to better business for Koreans and New Zealanders.

It makes the eggs in other trading baskets than China more valuable, will give better returns for our exporters and more choice and lower prices for consumers in both countries.


Quote of the day

March 24, 2015

Real people live in places like the West Coast. At the moment we are doing it hard. We know that prices will recover, but we have to ask if there will be an opportunity to benefit. We want to be more than a picture post card on an Auckland coffee table. We want a reasonable future alongside a responsible mining industry that knows that it must look after the environment that we actually live in every day. We want a fair go. New Zealand prides itself on a concept of fairness. Sadly that seems to have gone out the window where mining is proposed.Paul Wylie, chief executive Buller District Council in the foreword to From Red Tape to Green Gold

 


Lee Kuan Yew 16.9.23 – 23.3.15

March 23, 2015

Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew has died.

Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman who transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub, has died at the age of 91.

Mr Lee served as the city-state’s prime minister for 31 years, and continued to work in government until 2011.

Highly respected as the architect of Singapore’s prosperity, Mr Lee was also criticised for his iron grip on power.

Under him freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts. . .

A charismatic and unapologetic figure, Mr Lee co-founded the People’s Action Party, which has governed Singapore since 1959, and was its first prime minister.

The Cambridge-educated lawyer led Singapore through merger with, and then separation from, Malaysia – something that he described as a “moment of anguish”.

Speaking at a press conference after the split in 1965, he pledged to build a meritocratic, multi-racial nation.

But tiny Singapore – with no natural resources – needed a new economic model.

“We knew that if we were just like our neighbours, we would die,” Mr Lee told the New York Times in 2007.

“Because we’ve got nothing to offer against what they have to offer. So we had to produce something which is different and better than what they have.”

Tight controls

Through investment in schooling, Mr Lee set about creating a highly-educated work force fluent in English.

He reached out to foreign investors to turn Singapore into a manufacturing hub, introducing incentives to attract foreign firms.

The city-state grew wealthy and later developed into a major financial centre. But building a nation came with tight controls – and one of Mr Lee’s legacies was a clampdown on the press.

These restrictions remain today. . .

The investment in education and welcome to foreign investment both paid big dividends.

His methods can be questioned but there is no doubt that he transformed Singapore, taking it from a poor island with few resources to an economic powerhouse.


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