Optional hypocrisy

29/09/2016

The Green Party has announced it won’t be contesting the Mt Roskill by-election, should there be one.

Not wasting time and resources on a contest they can’t win isn’t stupid but it shows up both the Greens and Labour as hypocrites.

Both have been highly critical of National for not trying to win Epsom and Ohariu to help Act’s and United Future’s candidates.

The hypocrisy is particularly bad for Labour’s candidate who stood in Epsom at the last election.

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Labour and the Greens claimed the principled high ground in their criticism of what they called ‘dirty deals’.

Neither can claim to be so principled and both are guilty of making the wrong choice when faced with otional hypocrisy.


Act out-greening Greens

29/02/2016

Act leader and sole MP David Seymour’s first shot at the party’s conference this weekend was to pot the Greens for hypocrisy for having the highest expenditure on flights.

The figures come from the fourth quarter parliamentary expense reports.  It excludes ministers who have a much heavier workload, for example the Ministers of Health and Education must visit hospitals and schools, and are reported separately.

In October, November, and December the average Green MP spent $8,562 on air travel.  By comparison the average Labour MP spent $7,790, the average National MP $5,933 and the average New Zealand First MP $6713. . .

“These are the MPs who regularly tell us that climate change is the crisis of our time and we must reduce our emissions.

“It is also extraordinary that they do not even have to serve electorates, as the Greens are all list MPs and have not won an electorate since 1999.  As an Auckland electorate MP I have to see constituents on Monday and be in Parliament on Tuesday, and back in the electorate Friday, practically every week.

“As list MPs the Greens have far more potential to minimise their carbon footprint by flying less, but not only have they not done so, they are the most frequent flyers.

“Co-leader James Shaw loves to tell the story about how, as a consultant, he helped companies reduce their use of air travel.  The Green Party must be his toughest client.”

He then went on to out-green them with proposal to sell  Landcorp and put the proceeds into a Sanctuary Trust for applicants who wish to operate inland sanctuaries for native wildlife.

“Landcorp is a business the Government should never have owned and which is responsible for considerable dairy conversion and deforestation.  

“The new Trust’s grants would be conditional upon the applicant reaching targets for predator exclusion, biodiversity, and community participation.  

“The model is not so very different from what ACT has done with Partnership Schools.  Invite social entrepreneurship, measure performance according to agreed targets, and get out of the way.

“Over 100 years, Sanctuary Trust would radically transform the abundance of New Zealand’s most endangered species.” . . .

Utopia has a graph showing Landcorp’s dividends paid and cash injections received from government since 2007.

As cash cows go, Landcorp has had $2.25 million more in capital injections from taxpayers than it returned to them in dividends since 2007.

image

 Source: data released by the New Zealand Treasury under the Official Information Act.

The $1.5 billion asset is a very poor investment for the taxpayer.

Keeping some of the farms as a land bank for treaty settlements has merit.

But the rest could be sold, gradually so as not to flood the market.

Using some of the proceeds for environmental projects such as Seymour proposes and some for investing in agricultural training and infrastructure, for example irrigation development, would be much better use of the money.

Concern for the environment is not the preserve of the political left.

There is a significant constituency of people who are green but not Green.

They want sound environmental policies without the radical left social and economic agenda. Some of those support National’s Blue Greens but some let their green leanings blind them to the red social and economic policies of the Greens.

Seymour is targeting them and in doing so attempting to grow the centre right share of the vote.

That’s clever politics.

He’s out-greening the Greens with environmental policy that makes economic sense.


Green party poopers

12/08/2015

The Rugby  World Cup is taking place on the other side of the world and matches will be played when most New Zealanders would normally be in bed and pubs are closed.

When UK fans were faced with that scenario in 2011 the government brought in special legislation to allow pubs to open for fans.

Act MP David Seymour drafted a Bill to allow bars to open at extended hours for 2015 Rugby World Cup games but Green Party MPs torpedoed it.

“An internationally televised world cup featuring our own reigning champions should be an opportunity to bring communities together over coffee or beer and showcase our wonderful hospitality facilities,” said Mr Seymour.

“Shutting New Zealanders at home for this event seems like a mean-spirited affront to community freedoms.

“The Greens do themselves no favours by locking themselves in as the party opposed to fun. . .

 

I’ve no desire to go  to a pub in the wee small hours and if I did go I wouldn’t be drinking anything stronger than water.

I’ve stayed up all night four times in the last 12 years. That was for weddings in Argentina and I drank only one glass of wine at each because I knew any more alcohol would put me to sleep.

But I can see why some people might want to gather in a pub to watch the games, especially if the All Blacks make it to the final.

Green MP Kevin Hague accused Seymour of  using the issue as a publicity stunt.

But it is Hague who is grandstanding.

In being the party pooper  he’s  providing ammunition for those who accuse his party of being the fun police and all for nothing more than negative publicity because the government will probably pick up the Bill.

Too many people drink too much but that’s a problem which won’t be addressed by the party-pooping.

 


Do we have consensus on tax?

20/07/2015

Labour finally answered the calls to show us some policy last week with an announcement on proposed changes to provisional tax:

The bad news for Labour was that it wasn’t its own fresh policy it was reheated National Party policy:

Acting Minister of Finance Steven Joyce has congratulated Labour Party Leader Andrew Little on finally announcing his first “new” policy after eight months in the job, although unfortunately for Labour it’s a cut and paste of a previous Government announcement.

“Labour announced today it was launching a discussion document on changes to provisional tax for businesses. However it seems to have overlooked that the Government launched its own discussion document containing almost identical proposals back in March,” says Mr Joyce. “These in turn were based on National Party policy at the last election.”

The Government has already consulted on proposed changes to provisional tax including a business PAYE, changes to use-of-money interest and penalties, increased use of tax pooling and the use of tax accounts. A Green Paper was launched on 31 March this year and submissions closed on 29 May.

“Feedback on the Green Paper’s suggestions has generally been supportive, and provisional tax was the part most commented on. As we’ve said previously, the changes will require new technology to be implemented, which will be developed as part of the IRD’s Business Transformation project,” says Mr Joyce.

“Quite why Labour has started its own consultation is beyond me.

“Submissions are now closed but the Government would be happy to accept a late submission from the Labour Party in support of the proposal,” Mr Joyce says. “We also appreciate its implied endorsement of the Business Transformation process that will make these policy changes possible.”

A link to  the March announcement can be found HERE.

A link to the Government’s Green Paper, Making Tax Simpler, can be found HERE.

A link to the National Party’s 2014 election policy on this issue can be found HERE.

Act supports the ideas in the green paper which the government released in March, last week New Zealand First also mooted a similar strategy and the Green Party is also open to the proposed changes.

The good news for all of us is that this could mean there is consensus on provisional tax which is very unpopular with businesses for good reason.

They have to pay on expected income without the benefit of a crystal ball that can give them an accurate forecast of their futures costs and income.

A reasonably accurate estimate is difficult enough for any business, it is particularly taxing in farming where there are so many variables and a lot of income is lumpy.

Dairy farmers get monthly payments for their milk but last year the pay out was far higher than expected, this year it is much lower.

Cropping, sheep and beef farmers and many horticulturists get most of their income in a very few payments a very few times a year. Estimating what they are likely to produce, how much that will cost and what they’ll be paid for it months in advance with any deegree of accuracy is next to impossible.

The changes proposed by the IRD which now seem to have support across the political spectrum would simplify the tax system.

Simpler taxes are less expensive to comply with and administer. That reduces costs for businesses which is good for them and the people they employ, service and supply.


Peters standing to give Invercargill MP at Northland’s expense

27/02/2015

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is standing in the Northland by-election.

. . . He said today that standing in the by-election was not an easy decision, but he had a long held concern for “Northland’s forgotten people”.

National had forgotten Northland for years, and the region was stagnating, Peters said. . .

He will be hoping that Northland voters have forgotten, or never knew, about the vagaries of MMP.

Should he win the seat he will become an electorate MP and the next person on NZ First’s list will get into parliament. That’s Ria Bond from Invercargill.

Quite how Peters will persuade the good people of Northland they will be represented by voting him in as an electorate MP with his reputation for talking big and doing little and in the process losing an MP from their end of the country and gifting parliament one from the other will remain to be seen.

Labour has confirmed Willow-Jean Prime as its candidate, and the Act Party will stand Whangarei orchardist Robin Grieve.

The Green Party and the Maori Party are not standing candidates.

If Labour sabotage their candidate in an attempt to unite opposition votes behind Peters it could happen.

Voters often punish the governing party in a by-election and a new candidate usually doesn’t attract the same level of votes a sitting one did.

The 2014 election results show:

NZ First didn’t bother standing a candidate in Northland last year. Mike Sabin won the seat for National with 18,269 votes and a majority of 9,300 over Prime who got 8,969 votes.

National gained 17,412 party votes; Labour got 5,913 and NZ First 4,546. the Green Party managed to get 3,855 votes and its candidate gained 3,639 votes.

National members in the electorate will select their candidate tomorrow.

The five in contention are: Grant McCallum, Mita Harris, Matt King, Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston.

 

 

 

 

 


Slight right turn

23/09/2014

When National had its worst election result in 2002 parties to its left and right benefitted.

Act, New Zealand First and United Future all made substantial gains.

On Saturday Labour bled support and the major beneficiaries were National and NZ First.

The Green Party, which would have hoped to gain from Labour’s loss, lost too.

The Dotcom effect – a repudiation of the rort the Internet Mana Party hoped to inflict on us played a part in that, but New Zealand didn’t just vote against that, it voted for something better.

New Zealand made a slight right turn.

Act didn’t do well but National has enough seats, on the provisional results, to govern alone.

It won’t.

Prime Minister-elect John Key has already begun negotiations with United Future, Act and the Maori Party to include them in government.

That will give us a stable, centre-right government.

If Labour and the Green Party learn from this they will accept that their far left, backward, high taxing, high spending, government-knows best policies aren’t what voters want nor what New Zealand needs.


Election results

20/09/2014

It’s 7pm, polling booths have closed.

Counting of advance votes started at 2pm and should be announced by 8:30.

My predictions (%):

National 48ish

Labour 22ish

Green Party 12ish

NZ First 5ish

Conservative Party 4ish

Maori Party 2ish

Act 2ish

IMP 1ish

United Future .5ish

Official results can be found here.

Predicted results from the Election Data Consortium are here.


Whyte warns of Frankenstein monster

07/09/2014

Act leader Jamie Whyte warns the parties of the left, including New Zealand First, could still get enough votes to form a government:

A Frankenstein Labour-Green-Internet-Mana-New Zealand First government may be unthinkable, but it is not impossible.  . .

If ACT succeeds, New Zealand will have three more years of stable center-right government. If we fail, New Zealand faces the prospect of a chaotic left-wing Frankenstein government.

It’s not pretty, but we should look at that monster.

Part of the monster – the crazy tangled mess of hair stitched onto the scalp – is the Internet-Mana party.

This is a party of hard-left socialists – Hone Harawera, Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto – funded by a convicted fraudster wanted for copyright violation in America.

Their lunatic policies include shutting down all the prisons (perhaps on the suggestion of their fugitive sponsor).

In a televised debate, Hone explained that prisons are unnecessary because if boys are sent on Kapa Haka courses, they commit no crimes.

If only they had Kapa Haka in Germany, Kim Dotcom would not be a wanted man!

As I said to Hone at the time, it’s a very nice idea. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Why don’t you send all the boys for Haka training and then, after the crime rate falls to zero, we will close the prisons. In the meantime, let’s keep them open – just in case you are wrong about the transformative power of Kapa Haka.

It’s not just Internet and Mana together or separately that’s the worry, it’s the puppet master Kim Dotcom who is funding them and pulling their strings.

The Greens are the monster’s face, grinning inanely below its swivel-eyes.

In the nicest possible way, they intend to force everyone to live as the Greens prefer. They will tax the things they don’t like, such dairy farming, and subsidize the things they do like, such as solar panel manufacturers.

The Greens are not so much a political party as a religious movement, worshipping snails and ferns and all that makes up Gaia, except us humans of course.

For the Greens, humans fall into two categories: the helpless, who smart green politicians must save, and the wicked, who smart green politicians must stop.

In virtue, and intellect, Russel Norman and Meteria Turei are so vastly superior to everyone else that it is their moral duty to subjugate us.

The lovely, soft green – with a small g – concern for the environment that many people find appealing camouflages a lot of hard red policies.

The big flabby torso of the monster is the Labour Party.

It was briefly a thing of beauty and strength. We have the Labour government of Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble to thank for the fact that New Zealand is not now a basket-case like Argentina.

But the Labour Party has gone horribly to seed.

Nothing reveals this more clearly than its finance spokesman, David Parker – the man who now occupies the position once held by the great Roger Douglas.

Mr Parker fancies himself the smartest boy in the fourth-form. But he has not even the weakest grip on basic economics.

At the recent Queenstown Chamber of Commerce political debate Mr Parker explained his party’s desire to reduce immigration to New Zealand. He claimed that economic output requires increasingly little labour to produce. So immigrants cause unemployment.

This nonsense has been peddled by economic fools since the invention of the weaving loom. In fact, I imagine it got started when someone first thought of killing animals with a sharp stick instead of bare hands.

For the sake of Mr Parker’s education, here is what really happens when workers become more productive. People produce and consume more.

And not just more of the same, but entirely new things. Even Mr Parker has surely noticed that, over the past 30 years, as worker productivity and the population have both risen, unemployment has not increased.

Instead, we are consuming more than we ever have. And we are consuming better goods and services than ever before.

Everyone, please, get your cell phones out and wave them in the air so that Mr Parker might understand.

That Parker is regarded as one of the more reasonable voices in Labour merely reflects the dearth of talent in its caucus.

Finally, we come to Winton Peters and his New Zealand First, the stumpy little legs of the monster. Little legs that remain idle for 2 years and 10 months out of every three years and then spend two months running around furiously kicking everyone in sight – foreigners, journalists, bankers, you name it: everyone except pensioners.

After all, it’s common sense.

That’s Winston’s slogan: it’s common sense.

I am not sure what “it” refers to but that doesn’t really matter. Because, as my old PhD supervisor used to say, “sense isn’t common”.

And there is no better example of this fact than Winston himself.

Winston’s big economic policy for this election is removing GST from food. That would reduce government revenue by 3 billion dollars.

But Winston has no plan to cut government spending by 3 billion dollars. On the contrary, he plans to increase government spending massively.

Where will he get all the money?

Winston’s answer: by cracking down on tax evasion.

Honestly. He claims that he can raise 7 billion by cracking down on tax evasion.

That’s not sense, common or otherwise. That’s bollocks.

When a politician tells you that he is going to fund his spending promises by cracking down on tax evasion, you know he is either a fool or a charlatan. And Winston ain’t no fool. . .

Labour is also trying convince us it would fund some of its expensive promises by cracking down on tax evasion.

Some people aren’t yet convinced to vote for a National-led government but these are compelling reasons to vote against a Labour-led one.


Poll of polls

06/09/2014

Colin James’ poll of polls:

After this week’s stream of polls, including TV1’s poll published on the evening of September 5, National is back in the box seat with 50.2% on the latest four-poll average.

(Explainer: The POLL of POLLS is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls since mid-June from among: TV1 Colmar Brunton, TV3 Reid Research, Fairfax Media-Ipsos, NZ Herald DigiPoll, Roy Morgan New Zealand and UMR Research, which is not published.*)

Labour plunged to a new four-poll average of 25.0%, its lowest since at least 2008 and probably since the mid-1990s.

The Greens slipped to 12.0% as a high rating in a Morgan poll dropped out of the average.

cjpop

National’s lead over Labour and the Greens combined climbed to 13.2%.

The two winners from the dirty politics furore, New Zealand First and the Conservatives, were at 5.6% and 3.3% respectively. Internet Mana was 2.2% and the Maori party was 0.9%. ACT was 0.3% and United Future 0.2%, levels at which David Seymour’s and Peter Dunne’s seats, if they win them would be “overhangs” and push the number of seats in Parliament to 122.

cjpop1

National’s high rating is unlikely to translate into that level of support from voters and it will almost certainly need some coalition partners.

. . . National Party campaign chairman Steven Joyce said the party’s popularity following publication of the Dirty Politics book showed a disconnect between what the public and media focus on.

Mr Joyce told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme that despite strong polling, National was not assuming it would govern alone. National was not expecting the kind of result shown in the polls on election day, and having partnerships with several parties created a stronger more stable Government.

“If you just say you need a particular party to get over the line then obviously that particular party has a lot more leverage over the larger party.

“What we’ve shown in 2008 and 2011 if you have options then you can form good strong stable relationships and nobody gets too carried away.” . .

The stronger National’s vote is the more options it will have and the less it can be held hostage to minor players.

Labour is so weak it will be in a very poor bargaining position which would enable potential coalition partners to extract far more concessions in exchange for their support.

Its support could keep dropping if people decide it won’t be able to lead the next government or would have to give away too much to the wee players to enable it to govern .


Election outcome less certain

28/08/2014

It was inevitable that polls would tighten as the election gets closer and last night’s 3 News Reid Research poll shows that’s happening:

August 19-25, 1000 people polled, margin of error 3.1 percent

National 45 percent, down 2.5 percent
Labour 26.4 percent, down 2.6 percent
Greens 13.5 percent, up 0.5 percent
NZ First 6.3 percent, up 1.7 percent
Conservative 4.6 percent, up 2.1 percent
Internet Mana 2.1 percent, up 0.1 percent
Maori Party 0.7 percent, down 0.1 percent
United Future 0.4 percent, up 0.2 percent
ACT 0.3 percent, no change

Seats in the house:

National 57
ACT 1
United Future 1
Maori Party 2
Right total: 61

Labour 33
Greens 17
Internet Mana 3
Left total: 53

NZ First 8

The Maori Party could go left or right.

But while it has voted against National more times than with it, the choice of being in a stable National-led government supported by Act, United Future and possibly New Zealand First would almost certainly be preferable to it than supporting an unstable Labour, Green, NZ First, Internet Mana coalition.

The Conservative Party is now in spitting distance of the 5% threshold.

Kiwiblog shows that if it makes it into parliament, Labour won’t be able to govern:

Conservatives 4.6%

Centre-Right 59 seats (Nat 57, ACT 1, UF1)

Centre-Left 53 seats (Lab 33, Greens 17, Internet Mana 3)

Centre 11 seats (NZ First 8, Maori 3)

This means National would need the Maori Party to govern, and Labour would need both NZ First and the Maori Party (plus Greens, Mana)

Conservatives 5.0%

Centre-Right 62 seats (Nat 54,  Conservatives 6, ACT 1, UF1)

Centre-Left 51 seats (Lab 32, Greens 16, Internet Mana 3)

Centre 11 seats (NZ First 8, Maori 3)

This means National would still need the Maori Party (or NZ First) to govern, but Labour would be unable to govern under any combination.

As another example of MMP’s perversity, National would have more seats if the Conservative Party didn’t make it into parliament but could be

more likely to govern if the Conservatives do cross the line because Labour wouldn’t be able to cobble together a coalition.


Peters scared of Craig

27/08/2014

The Queenstown ASB debate between the finance spokespeople for five parties attracted a sell-out crowd last night.

debate

The photo shows, chair Duncan Garner, Finance Minister Bill English for National, Conservative leader Colin Craig, Labour’s David Parker, Act’s Jamie Whyte and Green Russel Norman.

Duncan Garner said that the Maori Party declined the invitation, Mana didn’t reply and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters refused to come if Craig was there.

The chair gave each speaker three minutes to give a pitch then gave them a few questions before taking questions from the floor.

Labour’s trying to campaign on being positive but its finance spokesman started by being negative about the economy and the outlook.

Jamie Whyte started by quoting Adam Smith:

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.

He also asked who’s going to make better decisions – someone putting their own money at risk in search of profit of someone using other people’s money in search of votes?

Duncan Garner asked him to name one Green policy he agreed with and he said he couldn’t think of one.

The question Duncan Garner put to Russel Norman at the end of his three minutes was whether he could say something good about the Finance Minister and he said he’d been very responsible.

Colin Craig rattled through his policy which includes tax cuts at the lower end.

The chair asked him to say whether he’d go with National or Labour if he had the choice after the election. He said National because the party would have the most votes.

Clutha Southland MP Bill English got the biggest welcome from his home crowd.

He started by giving people the credit for their resilience, responsible and work and how important that was because the economy doesn’t just exist in an office in Wellington, it’s what people do.

That, in partnership with National-led government’s careful management of public finances, had put New Zealand back on the right track.

He said we now have a platform built on our resilience the positive encouragement from government and the most positive Prime Minister New Zealand has had that will allow us to have sustainable growth.

“You have set that direction and we can keep it,” he said.

There’s a video of the debate here.


Poll of polls

23/08/2014

Colin James’ poll of poll :

The first poll taken after the Nicky Hager book launch, by DigiPoll for the New Zealand Herald from August 14 to 20, did not dent National’s polling average, which was 50.8% in the four polls up to mid-August. DigiPoll recorded a drop from its last poll in mid-July but gave a higher figure than the TV3 poll which dropped out of the latest four-poll average.

(Explainer: The POLL of POLLS is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls since mid-June ,from among the following: Fairfax Media-TV1 Colmar Brunton, TV3 Reid Research, Ipsos, NZ Herald DigiPoll, Roy Morgan New Zealand (up to June only one of its two-a-month was included) and UMR Research, which is not published.*)

DigiPoll’s 25.2% reading for Labour dragged Labour’s average down to 25.3%. That average included the Ipsos poll for Fairfax Media, which gave National much more and Labour much less than other recent polls. . . .

The Greens’ average is steady at 11.9%, within a range it has held since the last election. . .

New Zealand First has got close to the 5% hurdle, with a 4.9% average to mid-August, boosted by a high 6.5% in the Roy Morgan poll. Internet-Mana was 2.7%, the Conservatives 2.4%, the Maori party 0.9%, ACT 0.5% and United Future 0.3%. . .

There was a slight lift in the latest Roy Morgan reading (from August 4-17) of whether the country is heading in the right direction. This slight lift is more confirmation that the mood is topping out but it remains very positive. . .

The level of confidence the country is heading in the right direction is important and backs up National’s assertion that it and its policies are working for New Zealand.


A tale of three polls

18/08/2014

Colin James’ poll of polls on Saturday:

A new Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll published on August 15 again had Labour at a basement rating – 22.5% – and National cruising at 55.1%. But the poll-of-polls scarcely budged because that poll replaced a July Fairfax poll with closely similar readings.

Still, Labour’s average, at 27.1%, while off its mid-July lows, remained dire, though the interviews for the poll straddled Labour’s campaign launch on August 10. Labour will worry whether other polls due in coming days replicate the Fairfax.

National’s average did not change from its 50.3% in last Saturday’s averages. . .

poll17.8

TV3’s poll had National down a wee bit and Labour up slightly:

Party vote:

National: 47.5 percent, down 1.9 percent
Labour: 29 percent, up 2.3 percent
Greens: 13 percent, up 0.6 percent
New Zealand First: 4.6 percent, up 0.3 percent
Conservatives: 2.5 percent, down 0.2 percent
Internet Mana: 2.0 percent, down 0.2 percent
Maori Party: 0.8 percent, down 0.3 percent
ACT: 0.3 percent, up 0.2 percent
United Future: 0.2 percent, no change

Seats in Parliament:

National: 61
ACT: 1
United Future: 1
Maori Party: 2
Right total: 65

Labour: 38
Green: 17
Mana: 3
Left total: 58

Preferred Prime Minister:

John Key: 44.1 percent, up 0.3 percent
David Cunliffe: 9.9 percent, up 0.4 percent
Winston Peters: 6.7 percent, up 1.4 percent

1000 people polled, margin of error 3.1 percent

The ONE News Colmar Brunton poll showed both National and Labour dropping a couple of points:

. . . It shows National still in the box seat, with 50%, but down 2 points. Labour is also down 2 points to 26%. The Greens have moved up 1% to 11%, while New Zealand First has moved up 1% to hit the magical 5% mark.

But the big mover is the Internet Mana party which has doubled in support to 4%. The Conservatives are steady on 2%, while the Maori Party, and Act remain on 1%.

At 4%, and assuming Hone Harawira hold his seat, Internet Mana could bring in five MPs, including John Minto and Annette Sykes. . .

These aren’t big changes for the major parties and IMP’s rise could help National by scaring those wavering in the centre its way.

However, the message in both these polls is that in spite of the continued popularity of National and its leader, Prime Minister John Key who has almost five times the support of Labour’s David Cunliffe, the election outcome is far from certain.

If there’s a silver lining to the sideshow of the last few days and a softening of support in the polls it is that it is helping National get its message home to supporters that there is no room for complacency.

People who want a National-led government and/or don’t want the alternative of a weak Labour Party propped up the the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana Party must vote and vote for National.


One wrong more wrong than another?

11/08/2014

A couple of weeks ago Act leader Jamie Whyte stated the party’s long-held position that there should be no race-based privilege.

The substance of his argument was lost in loud cries of racism which followed.

Yesterday New Zealand First leader Winston Peters repeated a very old line – two wongs don’t make a white.

He thought it was funny.

In another time and another place it might have been.

In the context of the xenophobia around Asian immigration in general and the purchase of properties by Chinese companies in particular it wasn’t.

It was a deliberate dog whistle designed to attention and it worked.

He got attention and the small demographic of the disenchanted to whom he appeals probably liked it.

But how will New Zealanders of Chinese descent be feeling?

New Zealand shamefully imposed a poll tax on Chinese immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Their descendents are part of the rich cultural fabric of our country, so too are more recent migrants.

They are generally over represented in positive statistics for education, health, income and crime and under represented in negative ones.

They are New Zealanders and don’t deserve to be singled out for political advantage.

That the only way Peters can get attention is with this stale word-play shows how little he has to offer.

He was wrong but contrasting the relatively mild reaction to his childish attempt at humour with the heated response to Whyte’s speech shows some wrongs are more wrong than others.

If reasoned arguments are wrong they should be met with reasonable counter arguments, not empty cries of racism.

Childish attempts at humour should be treated with the disdain they deserve.

UPDATE:

Race relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says we’ve got a lot of work to do:

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says “politicians making fun of an entire race of people isn’t new but it’s disappointing and shameful New Zealand political leaders are still doing it in 2014.”

“We’re better than this and our political leaders need to realise that.”

“We have come a long way as a nation in terms of people treating each other with respect but sadly we have some people who just don’t get it and who don’t want to get it,” said Dame Susan.

“Winston Peters needs to know he’s not funny. His outdated rhetoric belongs in New Zealand’s past: it has no place in New Zealand’s future.”

Dame Susan supported the comments made this morning by Chinese New Zealander and former Chinese Association chair, Stephen Young who said Mr Peters words belonged in the past.

Every year the Human Rights Commission fields thousands of complaints from people all over the country: approximately a third are complaints about racial discrimination. Nine out of ten complaints are resolved by our team of mediators said Dame Susan.

“We still have a lot of work to do in New Zealand when it comes to treating one another with respect. There is still, quite clearly, a lot of work to do,” said Dame Susan.

“All New Zealanders – including and especially those charged with the responsibility and honour of representing us in our parliament – need to treat one another with dignity, and respect: the foundations upon which human rights are found. Human rights begin at home.”

We all need to remember that a variety of creeds and races call New Zealand home.


Gap just 4% in poll of polls

10/08/2014

Colin James is doing a poll of the four most recent polls each week until the election.

The first one shows that the gap between a National-led government and a Labour-led one is just 4%:

National’s polling average may have peaked during July at 52.5% in the four polls up to mid-July. By end-July it was at 50.3%. That is still a very healthy figure under MMP but if National sheds only 4% by election day, it cannot count on a third term, even with help from ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.

At the comparable time before the last election National was averaging around 56%. It dropped 9 percentage points from there to 47.3% at the election.

(The POLL of POLLS is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls, and will appear as a special series of election columns every Saturday on radionz.co.nz until after the election on September 20.)

james poll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t all bad news.

National’s continued high polling could have led to complacency from supporters who thought they didn’t need to vote or could afford to play with their party vote and from people who want National to win but not too well.

Another important election pointer also looks to have gone through a peak in July: Roy Morgan’s measure of whether people think the country is going in the right direction or the right direction. Those saying “right direction” were at 60% in late July, down from measures ranging from 63.5%-65.5% through the previous two months.

But that is still a very high reading. In a first-past-the-post election it would point to an easy re-election for an incumbent government. It is one reason why National continues to poll so highly.

 

This isn’t an FPP election and while the positive view of the direction the country is heading in is good for national it isn’t good enough for complacency.

The contrast between a stable government led by a strong National Party and an unstable government led by a weak Labour Party which gives lots of bargaining power to the ill-assorted parties they’d need to have on board is stark.

But there is still a lot of work to do to convince enough voters to do the right thing – in all senses of the word.

It might help if more people realise that David Cunliffe’s yeah-nahing over whether or not Internet Mana will be in a government he leads is just words which don’t speak nearly as loudly as the actions of his candidates:

 

mana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The marriage between Internet Mana and Labour which John Minto thinks is made in heaven  would be hell for New Zealand.


Conservatives on their own

28/07/2014

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out any electoral deal between National and the Conservative Party.

Prime Minister John Key today made clear National’s position on accommodating support parties in electorate contests at this year’s General Election.

The National Party and its partners have successfully provided stable MMP government over two terms of Parliament and through challenging times.

“We will be seeking a further mandate on September 20,” says Mr Key.

“In an MMP environment, the public determines the make-up of Parliament by voting in a combination of parties, and every election is a tight contest.”
“After the election, political parties must work constructively to form and maintain a stable Government and voters want to know what party combinations are possible.”

In January, the Prime Minister made it clear that if National were returned to Government this election, the preference is to continue working with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future as this has been a successful combination.

He also made it clear it would be possible to add the Conservative Party and New Zealand First to this group.

Today he outlined National’s position on electorate contests for the 2014 election campaign.
“We’re seeking to maximise the party vote for National across the country in all seats. It is only through delivering the strongest possible party vote that National voters will return National to Government.”

“For the electorate vote, we will encourage National party supporters to give their electorate vote to the ACT candidate in Epsom and the United Future candidate in Ohariu.”

“We will continue to seek to maximise our party votes in those electorates and that’s what National Party candidates will be working hard to do.

“In East Coast Bays, where the Conservatives have a candidate, the only option to accommodate that party would be to remove a sitting MP from the ballot paper and that, as I have said, is a bridge too far. So there will be no electorate accommodation with the Conservatives.”

“However, we are happy to consider working with the Conservative party post-election should the public vote that party in to Parliament.”

“As I have said previously we are also prepared to discuss working with New Zealand First if that party is returned to Parliament.”

“In Epsom and Ōhariu, both ACT and United Future share a history of working with National and those are proven relationships that have stood the test of time.”

“National doesn’t always agree with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future on every issue, but together our four parties have maintained a stable and successful Government since late 2008.”

“Under the National-led Government, New Zealand is heading in the right direction and if re-elected, National will continue to work hard for all New Zealanders.”

Conservative leader Colin Craig wanted sitting East Coast Bays MP Murray McCully to stand aside so he could have a better chance at winning the seat.

Had that happened in my electorate I would have found it very difficult to vote for him rather than my National MP.

This would have been very different from Ohariu and Epsom. Peter Dunne was the local MP before MMP and Rodney Hide won Epsom when then sitting-MP Richard Worth was trying to hold it.

The people in these electorates chose someone other than the National candidates first and they keep doing that.

This year they can choose to do that again, or not.

That is very different from taking a choice away by pulling a long-serving and popular MP.

If it had been done and Craig won, any votes that counted for the Conservatives which might have helped National form a government could well have been cancelled out by National voters turned off by that thought who’d then vote for another party.

 


Not good enough

28/07/2014

Last night’s  ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll  continued the trend of National doing much better than labour and its potential coalition partners:

Less than two months from polling day National has stretched its lead over the centre left parties of Labour and the Greens.

National has climbed to 52% in the latest ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll while Labour is down one point to 28%. . .

Labour on 28% is just above its 2011 election result and the Greens have also slipped, dropping two points to 10%.

New Zealand First is steady on 4% and Internet Mana is on 2% while the Conservatives are up one to 2%. Act stays on 1% and the Maori Party is down one to 1%.

When converted into seats in Parliament, National would easily govern alone with 66 seats. Labour would have 36, with the Greens mustering 13 and the Maori Party three. Internet Mana would bring in three MP, while Act and United Future would have one apiece. . .

Both Labour and the Green party have lost support.

It’s possible that hard-line left voters have gone to Internet Mana and soft centre voters have been put-off by the thought of a Labour Green, New Zealand First, Internet Mana Party and have moved right.

This is good news for National and those who want the party to continue leading a government that is working well for New Zealand.

However, it’s not good enough.

The party was polling at similar levels before the last election and slipped.

One reason for that was low voter turn-out.

Labour thinks most of those who didn’t vote were their supporters but there was a disappointing number of National voters who didn’t vote for a variety of reasons, including thinking that the polls were so good they didn’t need to.

There is a danger that could happen again which is why all National candidates and their teams are working hard to maximise the party vote which is the one that counts for forming a government.


Paying price for prevarication

21/07/2014

Last night’s 3 News-Reid Research poll gave Labour more bad news:

PARTY VOTE:

National: 49.4 percent (down 0.3 percent)
Labour: 26.7 percent (down 0.6 percent)
Green: 12.4 percent (down 0.3 percent)
NZ First: 4.3 percent  (up 0.7 percent)
Conservative: 2.7 percent (down 0.1 percent)
Internet Mana: 2.3 percent (up 0.5 percent)
Maori: 1.1 percent (down 0.4 percent)
United Future: 0.2 percent (up 0.2 percent)
ACT: 0.1 percent (down 0.3 percent)

The reason’s for Labour’s poor showing are many, but one of those is Cunliffe’s prevarication over whether or not he’d do a post-election deal with the Internet-mana Party:

SHOULD LABOUR WORK WITH INTERNET MANA IN FORMING A GOVERNMENT:

NO: 59 percent
YES: 29 percent
Don’t know: 12 percent

Labour voters:
NO: 47 percent
YES: 40 percent
Don’t know: 13 percent

Cunliffe’s following the Winston Peters’ line on this – he’ll play the cards the voters deal.

But by doing this both men are leaving voters without information they need to cast their votes with confidence.

John Key told everyone months ago which parties he would and would not work with.

People know  what they’d get if they give National their party votes.

In contrast, Cunliffe and Peters continue to prevaricate which leaves voters having to take a gamble.

If they give Labour their party votes they can’t be sure they wouldn’t be helping the Internet-Mana Party into government and if they vote for New Zealand First they have no idea if Peters would move right or left.

In spite of what he says about the possibility of staying on the cross-benches, the lure of some baubles would almost certainly persuade him to change his mind.

A vote for either Labour or New Zealand first is a vote for uncertainty and instability.


Act list

13/07/2014

Act has released it party list for the 2014 election:

. . . The top 20 list placings are:

  1. Dr Jamie Whyte
  2. Kenneth Wang
  3. Robin Grieve
  4. Beth Houlbrooke
  5. Don Nicolson
  6. Stephen Berry
  7. Dasha Kovalenko
  8. Gareth Veale
  9. Ian Cummings
  10. Sara Muti
  11. Toni Severin
  12. Max Whitehead
  13. Phelan Pirrie
  14. Stephen Fletcher
  15. David Olsen
  16. Nick Kearney
  17. Sean Fitzpatrick
  18. Richard Evans
  19. Michael Milne
  20. Dr Ron Smith . . .

Epsom candidate David Seymour is not on the list.


CTG very bad idea

10/07/2014

Act leader Jamie Whyte is not impressed by Labour’s proposal to introduce a Capital Gains Tax:

On TV1’s Q&A programme, David Cunliffe boasted that his proposed new capital gains tax would collect an extra $5 billion a year. That is the biggest tax hike in the history of New Zealand. Which is saying something.

This isn’t replacing other taxes, it’s in addition to them.

It is a dreadful boast. Taxes are always paid by people, whatever the taxes are levied on. Income taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, GST: they are all the same in this respect. They are all paid by people.

Nor are the people who bear the cost necessarily the people who write the cheques to the government. For example, if a capital gains tax means that landlords get a lower return on the capital appreciation of their properties, it will increase the rents they charge their tenants. Or landlords may sell their properties to owner-occupants. The supply of rental properties will then fall and, again, tenants will end up paying more.

Actions have consequences. If the cost of property rises or the return on investment falls, landlords will put up rents or sell and invest elsewhere.

This won’t just affect domestic rentals, it will affect commercial properties too which will add to the costs of businesses.

Where the cost of a capital gains tax will fall is a complex matter and extraordinarily difficult to predict. All Cunliffe knows is that the $5 billion will somehow be extracted from the people of New Zealand so that it can be spent in ways that he figures will buy him the most votes.

At least, that is what Cunliffe thinks he knows. In fact, he has almost certainly over-estimated the amount he will be able to squeeze out of tenants, consumers and entrepreneurs because taxes can be avoided.

Our observation of CGT in Argentina is that it prompts people to hold on to property, especially farms, rather than selling them.

This has led to a lot of absentee ownership, boosted the price of land and made it harder for people to get into farming.

When it comes to income tax, people can divert their activities from highly taxed activities, such as working in productive jobs, to low taxed activities, such as playing golf. When it comes to a capital gains tax, they can divert their investments from rental properties to bigger homes for themselves (which will not incur capital gains tax at sale). They can invest overseas rather than in New Zealand. They can delay selling assets to avoid realising a gain and paying the tax. And they can spend money on accountants and tax lawyers to devise all sorts of other ingenious schemes

Such avoidance activities will reduce the loot Cunliffe can get his hands on. That’s good. But they will also reduce the growth of the New Zealand economy. Resources will not flow to their most valuable uses. They will instead flow to the uses that are farthest from Cunliffe’s grasp.

A capital gains tax is a very bad idea.

I’m not opposed to a CGT per se.

There could be merit in it if it was comprehensive and replaced other taxes so it was cost-neutral.

Labour’s is neither of those and is, as Whyte says a very bad idea.


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