Reds not Greens


The Green Party has dropped 11 points to 4.3% in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton  poll.

Their votes have gone to Labour as a result of a leadership change and because the Meteria Turei saga has shown that the Greens are really Reds.

It wasn’t that Turei committed benefit fraud all those years ago that did the damage. It was her total lack of contrition and that the remaining leader of the party, James Shaw, and all but two of her party supported her stance.

In his valedictory statement Kennedy Graham said:

What I should say, however, is this. There are two dimensions to the task of political representation. The first is political judgment. That is empirical, relative, contestable, and open to negotiation. It is 99 percent of our daily job. The second is when an issue of personal conscience arises. That is ethical, absolute, non-contestable, and not open to negotiation. If politics transgresses conscience, politics must cede. This is the decision we took. Simple as that.

Yet decisions taken on conscience can, of course, have political consequences.

Graham and David Clendon who also acted on principle lost their place on the party list and Graham’s request to return after Turei’s resignation was denied.

The party is paying the price of backing the wrong person and the wrong policy.

The fate of any political party will wax and wane. That is the nature of politics. But a party is simply an institution. An institution is a vehicle for the pursuit of ideals and principles. Like any vehicle, it requires ongoing maintenance.

Sometimes the way ahead is difficult to discern. Parties can lose their way. But they can also recover. I believe the Green Party will do so, on behalf of the green movement around the world. Individuals come and go, but the institutions remain, to serve the ideals they cherish. . .

The Green Party lost its way by taking the red path. Strong recovery will only happen if it stops being red and starts being green.

A party with a strong environmental ethos that was moderate on social and economic issues would sit in the middle of the political spectrum, able to govern with National and Labour.

Marooning itself on the far left of Labour gives the Greens no bargaining power.

Now that most of their support has gone back to the bigger party they are in risk of following the Alliance Party of which they were once a part, into political oblivion.

The Greens might get over the 5% threshold they’ll need to stay in parliament but if they want to have any influence they will have to shed the red and concentrate on the green.

Mana’s principles for sale?


The Mana Party is discussing an Alliance-like deal with the yet-to-be-formed Internet Party:

The Mana Party says a merger with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party is not an option, but an arrangement involving a joint list and sharing the party vote, could be.

Mana leader Hone Harawira says he met with Mr Dotcom last month and had what he says was a general political discussion.

Mana’s secretary Gerard Hehir says a formal merger is not an option but there may be scope for an arrangement where they campaign together under an umbrella party, to take advantage of the combined party vote. . .

The several parties which held hands under the Alliance umbrella had left-wing principles in common.

Mana’s principles are pro-Maori and solidly left-wing.

It isn’t clear what, if any, principles the Internet Party has.

Many of  Kim Dotcom’s, its would-be founder, are questionable and have little if anything in common with Mana.

This is clear to one of Mana’s founding members and a former candidate, Sue Bradford, who said Dotcom would be a deal-breaker for her:

Ms Bradford, a former Green Party MP who has been with Mana since its inception in 2011, told RadioLIVE there aren’t many similarities between the two parties.

“I find it incredible that a party with the kaupapa Mana has should be considering going into an alliance with Kim Dotcom – a man who tried to buy off the right and failed and now he seems to have turned to the left to buy the left off,” she says. 

“This is so far from the kaupapa I’ve dedicated my life to and I find it quite extraordinary.”

She says it “wouldn’t be possible” for her to stay with the party if it did do a deal with Dotcom.

“I don’t think doing deals with right-wing internet billionaires who are facing a number of legal challenges is the way forward for any party that adheres to the principles of social, and economic and treaty justice that I believe in,” she says.

“We should really be thinking twice about this.”

Ms Bradford says there are others in the party who think the same way she does, and has expressed her views to the party leadership.

It could be a “short-sighted conversation” and a “bubble in a tea cup”, and nothing could come of it in the end, she says.

She also had questions about how Dotcom treats his own staff, who have complained about poor wages and not being paid. . .

Bradford has principles and is sticking to them.

Harawira is showing that any principles he has are for sale.

How left can they go?


Labour’s three aspiring leaders came out with even more outrageous promises yesterday.

Higher taxes, higher spending, more regulation, a “living wage” for all government employees and contractors, a repeal of all National’s employment reforms, regulating food prices . . .

All three are espousing polices to the loony left of the Alliance Party which raises several questions:

Are these policies or merely proposals which need to be agreed to by the caucus and wider party?

How left can they go?

Have they any idea what these policies will cost and how they’ll pay for them?

Do they really believe in what they’re saying or are they just playing to their audience?

And, if this is how to appeal to Labour members, how representative are they of the general public?

Thank goodness polls don’t always translate to election results


In a farewell interview on The Nation this morning, Jim Anderton said at one time the Alliance party was the most popular in New Zealand and he was leading the polls as most preferred candidate for Prime Minister.

Imagine the mess the country would be in had those polls translated into election results.

Thank goodness they don’t always.

It’s only one poll


The latest Roy Morgan poll  shows a significant narrowing of the gap between National and Labour.

National is now at 44% support (down 3.5) and Labour is up 4 to 38%.

There is some comfort in the knowledge that New Zealand First has only 2.5% support, down 4 points to the lowest they’e been for a year.

The Green Party got 8%  support (up 0.5), Maori Party 3.5% (up 1.5), ACT NZ 1.5%  (unchanged), United Future 1% (up 1) and others 1% (up 0.5).

It’s only one poll and the gap was going to tighten. But why it has when John Key showed he had both gumption and principles when he ruled Peters out of a National-led government; and while Helen Clark is bound tight to Peters; Labour is bulldozing through the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation; the economy is in recession and the party has still to announce any policy defies logic.

Like Fairfacts Media over at No Minister I’m gobsmacked.

[Update: Maybe we can take some hope from No Right Turn who reports on a poll which shows the Christian Heritage party which disbanded in 2006 got more support (.4%) than the Alliance and United.]

Still no decision on logos


The Electoral Commission has decided that The Alliance  had a reasonable excuse for filing its return late; and that the National Party  policy document isn’t an election advertisement.  

But it has determined that the Northern EMA advertisement is an election advertisement and will refer it to the police because it breaches the Electoral Finance Act.

It has also ruled that a New Zealand First flyer and National Party leaflet about meetings with their leaders aren’t election advertisements.

The Commission also decided that a Labour Party  caravan breached the EFA because it didn’t have an authorisation statement but won’t be referring the matter to police.

And it ruled that an item in the Chinese Express Weekly including photos of Labour MPs and candidates wasn’t an election advertsiement.

When the EMA will be referred to the the police but the Labour Party won’t – again – the law of common sense has become even more confusing.

And with less than three months to the election we still don’t know if political party logos are election advertisements.

Curefew Polls


The ODT recalls that in 1999 National slumped to 28% in an opinion poll. But the party led by Jenny Shipley slowly regained support while Labour lost it and was just able to form a minority coalition government on election night with the Alliance Party.

At times during the previous months, Labour’s polled support had led to speculation it would be able to govern alone; often, New Zealand First was cited as the crucial factor in the formation of any government.

The point of these reflections is that whatever opinion polls may indicate before an election, gaps between parties tend to close before the real poll – and the real poll is a long way off yet – and the coalition deal-making afterwards can have the major influence on the final determination.

The trend since 2002 has shown steadily increasing support for National and a similar decline for Labour, but what happens to support for the wee parties may determine the shape of the next Government.

Long-term trends in opinion polls of more recent vintage show that having enjoyed an average lead over National of 10 percentage points early in 2005, Labour is now 25 percentage points behind.

It is also seemingly out of favour in the community generally, at a time when economic conditions are biting some voters and their families quite hard.

This means Labour will go into the election with little to offer but its record of management, whereas a majority of people, indifferent to the record, may simply want to bid for a new manager as a form of punishment or an expression of their anger.

It won’t be the first time that voters have been motivated by anger.

Economic forecasts for the immediate future do not look likely to help Labour and its allies. The economy has contracted for the first time since 2005, led by the housing market. Interest rates are higher, as is inflation.

The outlook for our exports is also problematical in the short term, with rapidly rising fuel prices somewhat counteracting higher food prices. But this year’s drought has not helped export production in the agricultural sector.

In the first three months of the year, primary-sector output contracted by 4.1%, the worst result since the Clark Government was elected. The construction and manufacturing sectors have also declined, by 5.2% and 1.2% quarter on quarter respectively, reducing growth by half a percentage point between them.

Private consumption has fallen by 0.4%, for the first time since 2004, and the labour market is deteriorating, experiencing its steepest decline in the first three months of 2008 since the late 1980s. Investment is weak and so is the sharemarket, and to judge by the failures of numerous investment companies, confidence is not likely to improve in a hurry.

The appreciation of the New Zealand dollar in the past two years has added to the general woes and has not been helpful to our tourism sector. The opinion of the Reserve Bank that consumer price inflation will peak at 4.7% in the September quarter (from 3.4% in the quarter to March) means the Government has little prospect of directly improving the situation it faces, despite holding out the prospect of tax cuts which, in most households, will have long since been swallowed up in extra costs.

Then there’s the power crisis concern over the power supply, steep increases in the price of necessities and the many signs of third termitis plaguing Labour.

In medieval villages, the ringing of a bell prompted the curfew requiring people to extinguish fires and lights as night fell and, if we judge the country’s present mood and the pathetically juvenile conduct of its members in Parliament this week to represent one and the same thing, then the opinion polls are tolling a curfew of some kind.

It is increasingly hard to detect that this is a country with confident, optimistic people forging ahead. It is rather beginning to resemble a kindergarten where everyone is throwing a tantrum, including the supervisors.

If Parliament this week was a portent of the election campaign, then people in their present frame of mind will want nothing of it. And that will serve nothing for the betterment of our way of life and nation.

Surely, our politicians have noticed that in the United States election campaign, running parallel with ours, truth-telling politics that stands above party political bickering has been identified as the chief desire of the electorate and principal ambition of both Mr Obama and Mr McCain.

Negative politics at a time of considerable anxiety and strain on families is profoundly frustrating for voters, and debilitating for the country. It is time it ceased.

Mud sticks to the hand that throws it. If Labour continues with its personal attacks on John Key it will be the one that ends up covered in dirt.

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