Does Auckland deserve this?

August 3, 2015

Colin Craig could run for Auckland mayor:

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has not ruled out running for Auckland mayor next year, despite another week where his personal life has been dragged through the media.

Craig said he had been asked on more than one occasion to run for mayor and said he sees a strong constituency for a conservative, particularly a fiscally conservative, candidate to run in Auckland. . . .

The rest of New Zealand likes to not like Auckland, but does the city deserve Len Brown and then Craig?


Quote of the day

June 29, 2015

. . . It’s not Craig’s inappropriate behaviour, whatever it was, that’s the problem.

It’s everything else.

A man that desperate to have a party that will have him, and give him power, is a man who should never have it.

It’s news all right. And we should care.Rodney Hide


He said she said

June 23, 2015

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig issued a media statement yesterday morning saying:

As many of you are aware speculation broke yesterday that the conservative party board meeting planned for this evening would see a leadership vote taken. There have been many and varied rumors about this ranging from the intriguing to the ridiculous. The meeting tonight has been postponed.

The board have been in extensive communication over the last 24 hours.

There are some board members that think it is timely to have a leadership discussion. The board does review leadership as a minimum annually but have the power to review the leadership at any time.

I am fully supportive of the call for a review. The party is now over 3 years old, campaigned hard with a strong showing in 2014 and has a membership and supporter base heading toward 10,000. This stage in the election cycle is the appropriate time to consider the future direction and to implement key personnel and structural changes if any.

With this in mind Brian and I have been in extensive discussion today and I have offered to facilitate the process by taking the following steps.

1. I have offered to stand down as leader to enable the board to consider the leadership role

2. I will be working with the party secretary and will ensure that the balance of any outstanding loan is forgiven so that there are no financial liabilities between myself and the party

The nature and scope of the review is a matter for the board to determine. I have full confidence in the board to manage the process and achieve the best outcomes for the party.

I now hand you over the our Party Chairman Brian Dobbs

 

The chair’s statement said:

. . . As Colin has advised there is a desire to engage in a discussion around leadership and the board will be undertaking that process over the coming weeks.

I am grateful to Colin that he stood down to allow the board to explore all possible leadership options going forward.

I do want to acknowledge and publically thank Colin for the tremendous contribution that he has made in helping found the party, and his leadership of it through the first 3 years. He has showing outstanding commitment in advancing the cause of conservatism in New Zealand.

Colin has also advised that regardless of any board decision he will remain an active member and supporter of the party. This demonstrates to me the co-operative and committed approach that is so often found within our party.

There will inevitably be questions about what process or direction the board will take. In response I advise that the board has yet to determine that. What I can confirm is that we will be fully engaging with the various regional committees, members and supporters prior to making any further announcements.

Then Rachel McGregor , a former party staff member, issued a media statement saying:

Colin Craig’s statement today, along with other public statements in recent days, breach a confidentially agreement that Mr Craig and I reached during a Human Rights Commission mediation.

Despite Mr Craig’s pubic comments I have been advised by my lawyers that I am still bound by the confidentiality agreement.

I am therefore unable to correct the clear factual inaccuracies contained in the statement Mr Craig made today without jeopardising my legal position. I am willing to correct those inaccuracies if Mr Craig confirms that he will not take legal action under the confidentiality agreement when I do so.

I am also willing to fully brief the Conservative Party Board on Mr Craig’s conduct but, again, this would require Mr Craig’s consent.

Until Mr Craig lifts confidentiality, I can make no further comments.

 In an earlier tweet, she had accused Craig of trying to frame her as a mistress.

This is a mess which will seriously damage the party but that’s only politics.

My sympathy is with the people hurt by this, especially , McGregor and Helen Craig.

 


Conservatives all steamed up

June 19, 2015

If the title for TV3’s Newsworthy is supposed to be ironic, it succeeds.

The 10:30pm slot that used to be for news is now not. However, its interview with Conservative leader Colin Craig in the sauna has made news because its got his party all steamed up.

Colin Craig’s leadership of the Conservative Party is under serious threat.

The party’s board is meeting today to discuss his future but it is understood plans are in motion to oust him as leader.

Craig’s recent appearance on TV3’s Newsworthy programme where he was interviewed in a sauna is said to have been the final straw. . .

Colin Craig told Paul Henry this morning that if the board sack him as leader he’d still continue to fund the party.

That worked well for the Internet Party didn’t it?

The media went to its funder Kim Dotcom because he made better copy for what is deemed to be newsworthy these days.

The same would happen with the Conservatives.

Heads Craig stays on as leader and is in the news for all the wrong reasons, tails he’s not leader but still funder and the go-to guy for the media for all the wrong reasons.

Either way they lose.

 

 

 


Key # 1 again

December 11, 2014

TV3 political editor Patrick Gower has named Prime Minister John Key as politician of the year.

Trans Tasman named him politician of the year last week too.

There could simply be no other. John Key was out on his own this year for one simple reason – he won.

Yes, the Prime Minister’s performance ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.

In fact, Key went from the crème-de-la-crème to the crème-de-la-crap at times.

But Key won. He got National across the line. It was an incredible victory. It defied the political gravity of a third-term and was against the odds of the campaign. . .

I am not sure that anyone except political tragics were particularly interested in the campaign.

To get that was far from easy for Key. The Dirty Politics scandal could have destroyed other campaigns and finished off other leaders.

The election campaign was weird. It was dark too. And it was incredibly brutal for all those involved.

There is no doubt that Dirty Politics knocked Key over at first – National lost control of its campaign.

Yet Key survived. He stood his ground.  In the words of son Max, he “manned up”.

It was like Key absorbed all of the negativity directed at him, and then, like some kind of comic book character, spewed it all out again as some kind of positive force.

There was unpredictability everywhere: Whaledump, Rawshark, Winston, Colin, rappers, hacker(s), Dotcom, Eminem, Cortex and don’t forget Speargun.

National and Key’s defence was simple – they had a plan, and they stuck to it.

“The plan” is a grinding, relentless strategy based on simple messaging and a self-belief that the Key juggernaut can eventually ride out almost anything.

It has been proven time and time again, and this time was proven on the biggest stage (an entire election campaign) facing the greatest degree of difficulty (an entire book of scandal).

Helped in no small part by a dismal and divided opposition which wasn’t looking like a government in waiting.

Key’s politics this year was a potent combination of on the “macro” level, stubbornly sticking to strategy, and on the “micro” level, being what’s called a “clutch hitter” or “big game player” who rises to the occasion.

Key made big moves at a strategic level and stuck to them, and he made big calls in day-to-politics that worked for him too.

On the macro level, one part of the plan that worked well this year was Key’s semi-upfront declaration of his potential coalition partners at the start of the year.

Looking back, it really was a masterstroke – it gave voters a clear picture of how a National Government would work.

Key also gave himself the space with the decision about giving Colin Craig a electorate seat deal and even more space when it came to working with Winston Peters.

In the end, he ruled out a seat deal for Craig because he looked too crazy and wanted him at arms-length. It was a big call but a good call – imagine if Key had been apologising for Craig on the campaign trail as well as dealing with Dirty Politics.

With Winston, Key kept him at arms’ length. But by not ruling Peters out, he always kept himself in the game, it always looked like National could form a Government no matter how bad the polls got.

The PM had the courage and sense to let voters know what they would and would not get with a National-led government.

That provided another stark contrast with then-Labour leader David Cunliffe who stupidly copied Winston Peters’ line that he’d let the voters choose without giving them all the information they’d need to choose wisely.

Key’s and National’s strategy included a bedrock of policies tailored for the centre voter, and conservative political management. They then turbo-charged this with an overload of “Brand Key” marketing.

Key used these to keep his vice-like grip on the centre-ground, and if he has that – National wins. . .

But there was nothing certain about that win.

Steven Joyce’s recent admission that National was polling at 44 percent in the final week and might have needed Winston to govern shows just how different it could have been. . .

Gower’s other awards:

Runner-up politician of the year: Andrew Little.

Back-bencher Kelvin Davis.

Runner-up political non-politician: Kim Dotcom, Whale Oil and Nicky Hager.

Radio Live’s Duncan Garner lists the year’s political winners and losers:

1. JOHN KEY

For all the obvious reasons. He is still the PM and he is still widely popular according to the polls. He had the kitchen sink thrown at him and he almost won the election outright. He’ll have to watch it doesn’t go to his head.

2. ANDREW LITTLE

Couldn’t win a fight in a kindergarten but ends the year on top. His caucus didn’t want him, his party didn’t want him, his electorate didn’t want him. Yet he ends the year looking strong and competent as Labour’s new leader.

3. KELVIN DAVIS

He beat Hone Harawira and therefore beat Kim Dotcom – do I have to say anymore?

4. SUE BRADFORD

She knew Dotcom and Harawira were in an unholy alliance and she put her principles before it all. She called it right – she has values and principles that are beyond reproach whether you agree with her politics or not.

5. CAM SLATER – WHALEOIL.

Yes he’s a dirt-bag, muck-raking, scum-bag attack blogger, but he likes it that way. He doesn’t play by any rule book yet he’s been judged a journalist by the courts. Despite having his dirty laundry aired for the world to see he remains talked about, his blog gets more hits than ever, he breaks stories and the PM returns his texts. Oh and he wins mainstream media awards.

(Close mention: Paula Bennett, now talked about as the next National Party Leader)

His losers are:

1. KIM DOTCOM

Threw millions at trying to rig an election, but the public weren’t fooled. He’s now fighting to stay out of jail. Rest my case.

2. HONE HARAWIRA

He picked the wrong rich friends. Should have stayed poor. At least he’d still be in Parliament. Woeful judgement.

3. LAILA HARRE

See above.

4. JUDITH COLLINS

Was on track to be the next National Party Leader – now she’s struggling to be heard from the backbenchers. Huge fall from grace. Career in tatters.

5. DAVID CUNLIFFE

Came across as a fake and then apologised for being a man. Do we have to say anything more? Awful defeat.

(Close mention: Grant Robertson, rejected twice as Labour’s future leader. That will hurt and in politics if winning if everything, Robertson has twice failed. Ouch. Still, he has huge chance to recover well.)

 

 


Craig’s press secretary leaves in tears

September 18, 2014

Conservative leader Colin Craig has just lost his press secretary of two years:

Rachel MacGregor has told Newstalk ZB she’s left the party as of this morning.

Our political editor Barry Soper says she is very upset and has taken public relations advice.

“Colin Craig does campaign on being this wholesome, out there sort of a bloke, that’s all encompassing, that really is the sort of person we should be looking up to.

“Now if he can’t get his own house in order in terms of staff in the Conservative Party then you’ve got to ask questions.”

Barry Soper says this will damage the Conservative Party brand.

Soper just told Leighton Smith he’d talked to her and she was in tears.

Whatever the truth of this is, it will do the party no good.

It is on 4% in Colin James’ poll of polls.

If  it doesn’t make the 5% threshold those votes will be distributed to parties which do.

A friend was talking to a woman about this yesterday. When she realised her vote for the Conservatives might end up helping Labour and the Green Party get an extra MP she was horrified.


Key dominates leaders’ index

August 30, 2014

The first of  iSentia’s weekly Leaders’ Indexes shows that Prime Minister John Key dominated the news in the mainstream and social media.

leaders1

This shows how much coverage each party leader gets, it doesn’t differentiate between good and bad coverage.

But when one of his new candidates is more recognisable than he is, David Cunliffe might be thinking that any more publicity, even if it’s negative, might be better than almost none.

When it comes to social media the Internet Mana Party’s two leaders are getting fewer mentions than either Act leader Jamie Whyte or Conservative leader Colin Craig.

Is that irony or just proof that the name is as fake as the partnership?


Peters scared of Craig

August 27, 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.


Conservatives announce first five

August 23, 2014

The Conservative Party has announced the first places on its party list:

 1. Colin Craig
   2. Christine Rankin
   3. Garth McVicar
   4. Melissa Perkin
   5. Dr Edward Saafi

Why it’s stopped at five isn’t explained but the one person likely to make a difference to its vote is McVicar who has nationwide name recognition for his work with victim support and the Sensible Sentencing Trust.


Craig’s injunction blocks debate

August 8, 2014

Colin Craig has won an interim injunction against TV3 after it refused to include him in a debate between leaders of the minor parties:

. . . Leaders from ACT, United Future, the Greens, the Maori Party, NZ First and Mana are scheduled to appear in the 34-minute debate. 

“The debate this weekend is part of a series of more targeted debates running on The Nation, and involves minor parties who have seats in Parliament and have been in Government or Opposition during the past three years,” a TV3 spokesperson said this morning. 

Mr Craig’s lawyer, John McKay, said his client had been excluded from a “vital part of democracy”.  

“It’s about voters,” Mr McKay told the court.

He said it was “extraordinary that TV3 had chosen leaders to appear on the debate based on their place in Parliament from the last election, rather than current polls”. 

Part of the issue was the show’s studio could only accommodate six lecterns for leaders, not seven, meaning there wouldn’t be enough space for Mr Craig. A wide shot can also only accommodate six people, as can the studio’s lighting. 

“There must be a trade-off between comfort and the importance of the occasion,” Mr McKay argued. 

TV3 lawyer Daniel McLellan acknowledged Mr Craig had a right to be included in televised debates in the heat of the election campaign, but tomorrow’s minor debate was not that important. 

Mr McLellan said it was “not likely to have a significant impact on the 2014 general election”, and media have a right to decided what is newsworthy without having it “dictated” to them. . .

I don’t like the idea of politicians dictating what media does and how it does.

But when TV3’s lawyer admitted Craig had a right to be included he weakened his case for his exclusions considerably.

It might only be political tragics who are fully engaged in the election campaign.

But it is only six weeks to polling day.


Craig rules Conservatives out of govt

July 20, 2014

Conservative leader Colin Craig is planning to contest the East Coast Bays seat.

He hasn’t made a formal approach but he’s keen for sitting MP Murray McCully to stand aside in the hope that people who voted for the National MP would back Craig instead.

There are several flaws with this, not least being there is absolutely no guarantee the people of East Coast Bays would vote for him in sufficient numbers.

The outcome is even less certain now that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is talking about throwing his hat in that ring too.

Craig’s case hasn’t been helped by his party’s chief executive Christine Rankin saying the Conservatives could go right or left and work with National or Labour in government.

Voting for Craig would be difficult enough for National supporters in East Coast Bays if his party was committed to supporting a National government,. Few, if any, would countenance it if they thought there was any chance they’d be helping Labour cobble together a coalition.

The Conservative’s case for an electoral accommodation is even weaker now that Craig has said binding referenda would be a bottom line in coalition negotiations.

At the Conservative Party conference today, leader Colin Craig had a clear message to Prime Minister John Key.

He won’t do any type of deal with National unless it agrees to binding referenda. . .

There is absolutely no way a major party would agree to that policy and even if they did, Andrew Geddis points out that a cconstitutional  change of such magnitude should not be passed by a bare majority.

It’s constitutionally improper to even suggest that this happen – it would be like the Maori Party saying that their price for supporting a Government would be for that Government to legislate via a bare parliamentary majority to make the Treaty of Waitangi a “higher law” constitutional document that could be used to strike down other laws. I don’t care whether you think that would be a good outcome; it would be a bad way to bring it about. . .

But even if it did it wouldn’t work under our system which gives parliament sovereignty:

. . . How in a system of parliamentary sovereignty can Parliament (in the shape of a National/Conservative majority) pass a law that says that the general public is able to, by referendum, bind future Parliaments in their lawmaking decisions?

Even if a National/Conservative Government were to use their majority in Parliament to pass a referendum law that says that if the public vote in the future for or against some measure Parliament “must” follow that vote, exactly how would this law be “binding”? If a future Parliament were to just ignore the result of such a referendum – as is the case with current Citizens’ Initiated Referendums, for which no apparent political price gets paid – then what could be done about it? How, given our system of parliamentary sovereignty, could a court order today’s Parliament to do what a past Parliament said it must do? And what could a court even order in such a circumstance? What odds a judge saying to Parliament “because an Act was passed a few years ago saying that you had to make a law if the public voted for it, you now have to draft, debate and enact this particular Bill on this particular issue.”? . . .

Craig is demonstrating his ignorance of constitutional niceties and his own political naivety by making binding referenda it a bottom line and in doing so has ruled his party out of government.

It’s the sort of policy which might gain votes from the disgruntled.

But the party is a long way from the 5% support needed to get into parliament without the safety net of an electorate seat. Thankfully the chances of him being gifted one were already low and this bottom line will ought to have killed the idea completely.


Voters led they weren’t led

June 16, 2014

Discussions on whether National could or should come to an accommodation with the Conservative Party over an electorate seat have missed big differences between what its leader Colin Craig  wants and what’s happened with other parties and seats.

Existing accommodation were led by voters.

Peter Dunne already held his seat before it was suggested National voters would be better to give him their electorate votes.

Rodney Hide won his seat when then-Epsom MP Richard Worth was trying to hold it.

Both were already MPs.

That is very different from trying to lead people away from MPs like Maggie Barry, Murray McCully or Mark Mitchell who hold their seats with good majorities or Paula Bennett who is expected to win the new one she’s contesting and expect them to vote for a candidate who’s not an MP.

Voters leading as they did with Dunne and Hide, then Banks, is democracy in action. Voters had options and they chose to use them.

Trying to lead them as Craig hopes to do is something else and there’s a danger that attempting it could lose National more votes than the Conservatives gained.

The Conservatives have a constituency but it’s not a large one and just as the idea of a government with the Green, Internet and Mana parties put some voters off Labour, any whiff of an accommodation with the Conservatives could put people off National.


Politics Daily

June 15, 2014

This is an attempt to replace Dr Bryce Edwards’ daily political round-up while he’s taking a break.

I’m not pretending to be balanced.

While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end.

You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

Election

Torben Akel @ TV3 – The new breed of career MPs

TV3 – National too hard to beat – Craig

TV3 – Patrick Gower interviews Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig

Danyl  Mclauchlan @ Dim Post – The awful choice

Vernon Small & Josh Fagan  @ – No easy ride on the Shore for Craig

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Why Colin Craig is a political fool

Scott Palmer @ Interest.Co.NZ – Election 2014 – Party Policies – Party Philosophies

Craig Simpson @ Interest.Co.NZ – Budget 2014 – Spending plan

Scott Palmer @ Interest.Co.NZ – Election 2014 – Party Policies – Immigration

Tim Watkin @ Pundit – Dirty deal dancing – when Colin finally meets Key

Peter Dunne – UnitedFuture candidates announced

Beehive

Paula Bennett – Are you that someone – let’s stop sexual violence campaign

Paula Bennett – Work and Income support pays off

Gerry Brownlee – New start for Re:START mall

Nikki Kaye – 500 schools connected to Network for Learning

Jo Goodhew – Inclusive communities help prevent elder abuse

IMP

Rodney Hide @ NZ Herald –  Hilarious Dotcom drama is riveting

Trade

TVNZ – Groser – Government may not seek bipartisan support for TPP

Education

TV3 – Patrick Gower interviews Education Minister Hekia Parata

Social Media

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Another SMOG from guess who?

Matthew Beveridge – 2014 Election Campaign Social Media Awards

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Whatever happened to Tamati’s tweet?

Matthew Beveridge – It isn’t the crime, it is the cover up: Tamati Coffey

Matthew Beveridge – Twitter Stats: 13 June

Matthew Beveridge – Twitter Stats 13 June

Team NZ

NZ Taxpayers’ Union – Government Should Say No to More America’s Cup Money

Kerre McIvor @ NZ Herald – Eyeing cup again? Go fund yourselves

Alf Grumble – Grant Dalton should forget about taxpayers puffing more wind into Team NZ’s sails

Winston Peters

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Winston’s $158,000 and the Susan Couch trust

Brendan Horan

David Fisher @ NZ Herald – Horan’s half-brother instigated changes to mother’s will

David Fisher @ NZ Herald – Horan: our side of the story

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Horan’s side

Labour

The Veteran @ No Minister – Blood sports – better than the ABs (or Cs) even

Crime

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog –

Forestry

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Another crisis averted

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Looks like Labour’s forestry crisis is over

Other

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – If you are an MP, the small laws are really just suggestions

The Veteran @ No Minister – On The EU and the Common Agriculture Policy madness

TV3 – Lisa Owen interviews Professor Jonathan Boston and Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills


Politics Daily

June 14, 2014

This is an attempt to replace Dr Bryce Edwards’ daily political round-up while he’s taking a break. I’m not pretending to be balanced. While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end. You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

Election

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog –

Brook Sabin @ TV3 – Paul Goldsmith ‘concentrating on party votes’

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – What the 2014 General Election is all about…

Hamish Rutherford @ Stuff – Bays may be Craig’s best hope of a seat

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – With friends like the Conservative Party, who needs enemies?

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – No cup of tea needed – ACT gifted Epsom

Pete George @ YourNZ – Key on possible election alliances

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – So, the whole police force will vote National, that much is clear

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – In business? Hate provisional tax? Vote National

Pete George @ YourNZ – Three MPs for Te Tai Tokerau?

Lindsay Mitchell – Red Alert not so alert

John Armstrong @ NZ Herald – Key’s big treble gamble

Fran O’Sullivan @ NZ Herald – PM must think on what really matters

Trade

Wayne Mapp @ Pundit – Free Trade – the end of the cosy arrangement?

Beehive

Nikki Kay – Support for young environmental leaders

Jo Good hew – Protecting your future made easier

Team NZ

Dana Johannsen @ NZ Herald – Team NZ sailing close to wind: Joyce

David FaRRAR @ Kiwiblog – The Government should say no to more money for Team NZ

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – “Sail for the Dole” scheme running out of money

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Enough is enough

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Dalton’s audition for a Tui ad

Labour

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Gut Reactions

Waikato Times – Hipkins misses the mark

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – The Waikato Times on Hipkins’ “epic fail”

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – A rare letter from the Chief District Court Judge

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – No by-election for Epsom

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Cunliffe on Iraq

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Another David Cunliffe “on the hoof” policy revealed

Valedictories

NZ Herald – Keep farewell speeches for deserving MPs only

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – A silly editorial

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – One of the, erm, dumber Herald editorials?

Local Government

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Adams muscles up, rips up Len’s unitary plan

Other

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Wally of the Week – 13 June 2014

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Quote of the Day – 13 June 2014

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Maybe Lyons should stand for Labour?

 

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – If the PM is tainted then so is the Queen

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – The nasty left, always rewriting history

 


Greens thin-skinned?

March 12, 2014

Shane Jones is unrepentant about insulting  a potential coalition partner and one of its MPs.

Labour MP Shane Jones says Greens are too thin-skinned after the party laid a complaint about his attack on one its MPs.

Greens’ head of staff Ken Spagnolo said he had raised Mr Jones’ comments with Labour head of staff Matt McCarten.

Mr Spagnolo said it was not a formal complaint, but he had told Labour that Mr Jones’ comments about Greens’ fitness to govern were “unhelpful”.

Mr Jones, Labour’s economic development spokesman, had criticised Green MP Gareth Hughes on Radio Waatea for “carrying on like a mollyhawk” in his opposition to offshore mining.

The comments earned him a telling off from leader David Cunliffe, who said that the comments about a potential coalition partner were inappropriate.

Mr Jones was unrepentant this afternoon.

“Is this the same Green Party that complains of Colin Craig being too thin-skinned?” he said.

“I’m from Kaitaia. I know it’s mollyhawk in the north. Further down the line it’s mollymawk. Now I could’ve got my names wrong but people should just loosen up.

“The thought that it’s led to a complaint, I’ll just leave the public to judge that for what it is.” . . .

Th Greens are often likened to watermelons – green on the outside and red inside but melons have thick skins.

Insulting potential coalition partners might not be helpful it you’re trying to appear like a government in waiting, but this does look more than a little thin-skinned when Russel Norman is refusing to retract his comments about Conservative leader Colin Craig.

It’s also a distraction.

Heads of staff are supposed to keep their heads down and stay out of the headlines.

If Spagnolo felt the need to raise the issue with McCarten there was no need to go public about it.

Jones was also in trouble for comments about Asian students.

Meanwhile Cunliffe confirmed he had spoken to Jones about straying outside his portfolio areas and using strong language to attack the Green Party.

But he had not been disciplined

“I’ve spoken to him. The message to caucus is …that all of us are consulting with our colleagues if we are crossing portfolio and manage our comments in a proper way.”

He said Jones was a much-valued colleague but occasionally his rhetoric crossed the line. There was a clear understanding not to attack potential coalition partners.

At the weekend Jones criticised the number of foreign university students – a responsibility that crossed the roles of Grant Robertson and Raymond Huo. Cunliffe said it was a heat of the moment debate comment and fully understandable. . .

This is straying into New Zealand First’s xenophobic territory. It also highlights tensions in Labour between its factions,  once more gives Jones more attention than the rest of his colleagues put together, albeit for the wrong reasons.


How to lose friends and votes

March 5, 2014

Is the Green Party being accused of defamation by Colin Craig or is it one of  its co-leaders?

This media release  says:

The Green Party has launched an appeal to cover the costs of defamation action being taken against the party by Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. . .

“The Green Party will defend the defamation action being brought by Colin Craig because we believe in the freedom of political speech and we believe in an inclusive and tolerant society,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman. . .

That’s very clearly stating the action is being taken against the party.

But the NZ Herald thinks it’s Norman against whom action is being taken:

Mr Craig confirmed this morning that he would start defamation proceedings against Greens co-leader Russel Norman, but with a narrower scope than originally planned.

Mr Craig would first seek a retraction from Dr Norman regarding his statements about the place of women in New Zealand. A claim against Dr Norman’s comments on gays would be delayed. . .

The party has been advised that defending the case was likely to cost around $70,000.

It will launch a campaign today to raise money for Dr Norman’s legal fees. . .

That is clear that it is Norman, not the party, against whom the action is being taken but the party is soliciting donations to help fund the defence.

They might think the co-leader and the party are so intertwined it makes no difference, but members and supporters might feel differently.

When Labour asked its members to help repay the money the party had illegally misspent on its pledge card they were less than impressed.

Many were on low to modest incomes but still happy to raise funds for the party to help it win elections. They were not at all happy about being asked for money to make amends for the consequence of a decision made by senior MPs and party officers.

The action against Norman isn’t in the same league and I think Craig is wrong to pursue it. I agree with the many commentators who’ve said he should harden up.

But Norman could stop the waste of time and money by apologising.

He says it’s about freedom of speech, I think it’s more about his pride and he, and the party, are asking supporters to pay for that.

They are free to do so, and maybe some will.

But others will feel, as Labour supporters did, that their precious spare time, energy and money would be better spent on the cause they believe in, not on an expensive sideshow.

Burning off the goodwill of supporters is never a good idea but the danger doesn’t stop there.

There’s only so much space for news and any attention Norman and his party get for this nonsense is attention not given to matter voters will regard as far more important.

Allowing the action to continue could well lose him and his party friends and votes.


Who are we talking about?

January 14, 2014

From a few days before Christmas until at least the second week in January, most politicians and the people who report their words and deeds take a break.

There might be the odd media release from a duty minister or even odder – in whatever sense you like of that word -one from an opposition MP desperately hoping to be noticed, but they are lucky to make even very small headlines.

John Key’s golf-game with Barrack Obama got attention here and abroad, but there hasn’t much else newsworthy to prompt discussion around the barbecues.

But this week, look who’s popped up – Colin Craig telling the world he smacks his children and that repealing the anti-smacking legislation will be a bottom line for his Conservative Party in coalition negotiations.

This will do nothing for the minority who supported the legislation and the much bigger number of people who didn’t but don’t think it’s a major issue.

But it doesn’t need to.

All it needs to do is keep Craig in the headlines and keep people talking about him because he doesn’t need majority support.

All he needs is 5% of voters, or an electorate seat, and he and his party will be in parliament at the next election.

He’s getting noticed and it doesn’t matter that most would consider that’s for the wrong reasons. He’s not aiming at most of us.

He’s aiming at the disaffected and discontented and those who feel they’re not being represented at the moment.

They don’t need to feel strongly about the  particular issues he picks, or even agree with his stance on all of them.

They just need to believe he’s someone who’s different from the rest and who could represent them.

The fact he’s managed to do what no minor party leader out of parliament has managed, when he’s not in parliament – keep being noticed and have people talking about him while the political world is on holiday – will help.


Quotes of the year

December 31, 2013

“It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince. . . “ Prince Harry.

. . . Whether it is in sport, business, agriculture, the arts, science and the creative industries, or in international fora such as peacekeeping, New Zealanders have repeatedly shown their talent, tenacity, flair and commitment.

That legacy of the new way of doing things was well put by New Zealander and Saatchi and Saatchi worldwide chief executive Kevin Roberts a few years ago when he said: “We were the last to be discovered and the first to see the light. This makes us one of the great experimental cultures. We try things first. Whether it’s votes for women, the welfare state or the market economy, powered flight, nuclear physics, anti-nuclearism, biculturalism. First-isms. The New in New Zealand is our reason to exist.” Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae.

”I like to cook meat, except for chicken. To me chicken’s like a ladies’ meat, so it’s more of a vegetable.” Jonny Trevathan, Master Chef entrant.

By 1984 the economy was in a mess, and I hope history will record more positively the decisive actions of both the Lange-Douglas Labour Government and the Bolger-Richardson National Government that followed. The resilience of the New Zealand economy during the recent global downturn owes much to the courage of those Cabinets, at least in their early years, putting New Zealand’s very real needs ahead of political considerations in pursuing necessary reform. – Lockwood Smith

As a former Commonwealth Scholar in Science, I have often regretted that I never got involved in that area during my time here. Science and technology have been so crucial to the advancement of human well-being, yet scientists are a rare breed in politics. Internationally, there is something of a disconnect between the two. In politics, for example, green is the claimed colour of sustainability. Yet in science, the very reason we perceive plants to be green is that they reflect green light. They cannot use it. It is red and blue light that sustain most of our living world. Lockwood Smith

Some commentators assess members on how successfully they play the political game. But to me what sets a member of Parliament apart is how much they care about the impact of the State on an ordinary person, and how far they are prepared to go in representing people whose lives can be so knocked around by the actions of the State. Lockwood Smith

This House, in so many ways, has become a place of political parties rather than a House of Representatives. I am not for one moment trying to make a case for the old system, but I do believe there will come a time when we will need to re-examine that balance of accountabilities. Representation is enhanced when members have to help ordinary people in their local communities, many of whom may never have voted for them. Lockwood Smith.

We aren’t scientists we are farmers, we choose not to debate the science but work hard to deal with changing weather patterns. Bruce Wills.

Anyway, credit where credit is due. The Labour Party has finally adopted one of the very sensible policies of the National Government, and that is the mixed-ownership model. That is right. These days, the Labour Party is 51 percent owned by Labour and 49 percent owned by the Greens. Yes, these two parties have come together in this happy little place, where fruit meets loop. John Key.

. . . Kids who read stay out of jail (unless they grow up to be financial investment directors). Reading gives them words. Words give them the ability to express and clarify themselves to others. How many young guys end up in strife because they don’t have the vocab to explain what they’re doing, and so they move from incoherence to frustration to violence?

Reading helps young people come to terms with themselves and their issues. . .  David Hill

“Oh my god, another cross to bear,” Tim Shadbolt on being told  he was the most trusted mayor in the country in a Readers Digest poll.

. . . The response that students gave to Christchurch is phenomenal, and it only was thanks to a really strong team of people who all were able to bring their individual skills to something.  . . .  just like young people right around New Zealand – all specialising in different areas, focusing on what they’re good at, being willing to be wrong, being willing to ask for help and fundamentally believing that change is possible, that you can look at things in a different way, no matter what level of society you’re on.  It’s our philosophy – the skill of the unskilled.  I sit at a lot of conferences, and I’m the only one without a PhD, but we say, ‘What about this idea?  What about this idea?  Where are we going?  Are we fundamentally doing things that are right and taking our country and world in a good direction?’ . . .Sam Johnson

. . . You know, Christchurch is still in a position that it’s hard there for a lot of people, but it’s also— the group of people that I am with every day through Volunteer Army Foundation, the Ministry of Awesome, we are— we love Christchurch, and you couldn’t pay us to move anywhere else, because of the innovation, the excitement.  You know, population numbers are up in Christchurch, and we are going to be a— it’s a strong place to be. . .  Sam Johnson

. . . I focus on doing things that I love.  I focus on surrounding myself with people much more intelligent than myself and people who can really make things happen, building strong teams.  I think that’s the philosophy we take in Christchurch.  We specialise in different areas with what we’re good at and focus on that. Sam Johnson

One witness was asked to identify an accused by describing the man’s tattoos. I applauded his response. “I can’t really describe his tattoos. They were a load of rubbish. They looked like the graffiti on a public dunny wall.” District Court Judge Russell Callander

“You’ve got to have a reason for getting up in the morning and I firmly believe retirement has killed more farmers than farming.” – Ted Ford

A Government should not be relied upon to create jobs. To bolster our economy and growth, we need the private sector to be creating jobs in the tradeables sector.

Whether they are high-earning export roles, or an entry level company, it is the job of entrepreneurs. Government’s role is to put in place the right conditions for economic growth, so companies can feel comfortable about expanding, growing, or just starting out in the business world.

Local government also has a role, through having plans for economic growth and development that encourage businesses and don’t stifle their creativity. Eric Roy

Politics is a two-stage process: first you’re sworn in, then, inevitably, eventually, you’re sworn at. Denis Welch.

There is rarely any danger of overestimating Labour Party stupidity. Having described myself recently as ‘a sentimental socialist’, I’m inclined to think that sentiment may be the main, and possibly the only reason for my ongoing belief in an organism genetically predisposed to push the self-destruct button when faced with the slightest glimmer of electoral success. . .   Brian Edwards.

. . . within 48 hours it looks very much to us as if it is just another David, another day, and another step to the left, as we see the disloyalty in the Labour caucus slowly beginning to foment. Gerry Brownlee.

But now, of course, under the new leader of the Labour Party, the pledge card, like his CV, will be a living document—kind of like the Treaty but without the principles.Bill English

“We were given opportunities in Mangere. Education unlocks opportunities you would not otherwise have.” – Sam Lotu-Iiga MP

The big, bad thing is that large parts of the Left have never faced up to the failure of socialism. The nicer Leftists, often very belatedly, deplored Stalin and Mao – the purges, the Gulags, the famines, the invasions. The more intelligent ones detected certain (let us put it gently) problems with state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Yet when, in 1989, the Berlin Wall was knocked down by the citizens in whose name it had been erected, few could admit that this was a defeat for socialism as fundamental as that of Nazism in 1945. . . Charles Moore

Arts degrees are awesome. And they help you find meaning where there is none. And let me assure you, there is none. Don’t go looking for it. Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyme scheme in a cookbook: you won’t find it and you’ll bugger up your soufflé. Tim Minchin

We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat.
Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.

Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies, then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts. Tim Minchin

Parliament applauded Eleanor Catton winning the Man Booker Prize for her book ‘The Luminaries’ when it resumed today.

Prime Minister John Key said the success should be celebrated by New Zealanders as much as they did sporting victories. Catton’s feat in becoming the youngest winner of the prize at 28, came as 16 year old Lorde topped the US charts with her music showing New Zealand was blessed with strong, creative young women. Parliament Today

“You guys have spent your careers trying to analyse what he says and you’ve got more sense out of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. He talks in riddles, he doesn’t stick to what he says, it’s a waste of time having discussions that are about a bottom line.

“There are no bottom lines with Winston Peters. He will do a deal with who he feels like doing a deal with.” John Key

Not so much a political honeymoon as a naughty weekend with the floating voters. – Vernon Small on David Cunliffe.

. . . Girls dress for other girls. They dress to fit in. They dress to be part of a group. They want to be respected and they want to be liked. They want to be beautiful. They dress to impress. They copy their celebrity idols. These might well be fashion crimes, but short skirts and cleavage don’t signal a willingness to be victimised.

New Zealand is internationally rated as one of the best countries to be a woman. This year, we celebrated 120 years of women winning the right to vote.

With that goes the right to not be abused. Judith Collins

. . . considering I’m probably in the 10% of New Zealanders who pay 70% of the tax, considering I’m a self-employed business owner with farming interests and considering I still bear the farming scars from some incredibly short-sighted, militant union behaviour in the 1970s and 80s, why would I vote Labour now?

There’s nothing for me in their policies of higher tax, greater environmental and economic handbrakes for farming and re-unionising the workforce. Farming Show host Jamie Mackay on Labour after its leader refused to appear on the show in case he was laughed at.

. . . For the farmer, the business person, the property owner, and the financial investor it’s all pretty straightforward. What’s in it for National’s electoral base is economic growth, low inflation, reduced taxation and a reasonable rate-of-return. What they’re not looking for is more economic regulation, higher taxes, rising prices or inflationary wage demands.

Getting the attention of those who feel that their stake in New Zealand society is much too meagre to matter is a considerably more daunting task. Chris Trotter

There is a saying that you do not beat New Zealand – you just get more points than them at the final whistle. – Sir Ian McGeechan

“I don’t really believe in Great — insert a country — Novels,” she said. “I don’t see how you can reconcile that with diversity, and I think the diversity is the most important thing in any national literature.” Eleanor Catton

I knew it would never be about zeroes. I’m not a spreadsheet with hair; will never be. I am an artist, an author, with a hunger for showing people what I can do and a talent for making people turn my name into a call while they’re waiting front row. It’s me. I’m here. – Lorde

Imagine if Nelson Mandela was as angry as John Minto when he got out of prison” – Josie Pagani on ‘The Huddle

Beyond the All Blacks being unbeaten for a whole season, and Emirates Team New Zealand coming second in a two-boat race, what put New Zealand on the world’s front pages in 2013 was a novel, a song and a film. – Hamish Keith

It’s one of the oldest cliches in politics – that perception is reality. In other words, if enough of us are convinced that what we think we see is real, then it may as well be real. Even if it’s not. Tim Watkins

I find it fascinating that if you dig a hole and plant a tree in it, you are a greenie; if you dig a big hole, take the gold out of the ground and plant a forest, suddenly you’re an eco-terrorist. There’s no consistency in that. – Colin Craig

“Tasmanian Devils are renowned for their big mouths, bad behaviour and noisiness, so they will fit in well with the nation’s politicians in the capital,” Nick Smith

I totally disagree with it. If you’re going to earn money, you earn it. You’re given it by your productivity.” – Sir John Walker on the living wage.

Science is not a bunch of facts. Scientists are not people trying to be prescriptive or authoritative. Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organising our curiosity. It’s easier, at a dinner party, to say ”science” than to say ”the incremental acquisition of understanding through observation, humbled by an acute awareness of our tendency towards bias”. Douglas Adams said: ”I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.”

Science is not the opposite of art, nor the opposite of spirituality – whatever that is – and you don’t have to deny scientific knowledge in order to make beautiful things. On the contrary, great science writing is the art of communicating that ”awe of understanding”, so that we readers can revel in the beauty of a deeper knowledge of our world. Tim Minchin

. . . Remember the Government’s $30 million cash injection to secure the immediate future of Tiwai Point?  That helped to protect 3,200 jobs and the smelter’s $1.6 billion annual contribution to the Southland economy. Dairying doesn’t need such support, but in 2009, it injected over $700 million into the Southland economy and employed over 2,300 people.  Dairying may not be number one here but we’re a pretty important second that’s become more important over the past four years. . . Russell MacPherson

All of us pay for some of us to indulge romantic dreams about trains or to feed fanciful beliefs that the government owns these “assets which are valuable”

This stuff is not silver its rust… the best performers can’t perform without laws which force revenue into their pockets, the worst performers are a receivers dream.

Genuine concern for the poor would not see government owning commercial assets. Eye to the Long Run

. . . If from the time their children could read, parents had introduced them to newspapers, as certainly happened when I was young, rather than addiction to idiotic texting, they would, instead, be addicted to the world in all of its wide-ranging fascination and zaniness (the human factor), as delivered to us daily in the newspaper.

It’s a shame as nothing matches the daily newspaper for sheer stimulation, education, and entertainment value for money. Take a recent Dominion Post. First the pleasure of its crosswords and tussling over the wordgame, this after quickly scanning the front page for later reading. Each news item induced a full spectrum of emotions, from rage to delight, in the latter case from the splendid heading, “Mr Whippy frozen with fear by chainsaw wielding cross-dresser”. That alone was worth the price of the paper and was promptly dispatched to friends abroad. These texting obsessives don’t know what they’re missing. . .  –  Bob Jones

. . .  Seemingly the first duty on rising every morning for Remuerites is to go outside and rake up the $100 notes that have fallen like confetti on them overnight. It must be very tiresome.  . . Bob Jones

. . . But as you go through life when you run into a brick wall, you’ve just got to knock the bastard over. – Sir Peter Leitch.

 


NZ First needs a headline

November 29, 2013

Colin Craig is a younger, fresher option for people who might have been attracted to Winston Peters.

Craig’s Conservative Party has been getting headlines and that’s bestirred a New Zealand First MP to go in search of one too.

He found it in NZ First will stop farm sales to foreigners:

. . . New Zealand First is calling for a complete halt to sales of farmland to non resident foreign buyers, its primary industries spokesman Richard Prosser says.

“Under a New Zealand First-influenced government there will be no more sales of farmland to non resident foreigners, full stop.

“This road leads to peasantry and New Zealanders being tenants in our own country,” Prosser said.

Not surprisingly the rhetoric isn’t supported by the facts:

Though there is no formal record of how much land is owned by offshore investors Overseas Investment Office land information manager Annelies McClure said “Current best estimates are that between 1% and 2% of New Zealand farmland is held by overseas interests.”

That figure excludes forestry and land, such as areas of native bush, not in productive use. . .

Prosser’s rant has been prompted by plans for Synlait Milk to sell to the Pengxin Group.

He doesn’t factor in the foreign exchange this will bring into the country and what those who sell their shares might do with the money they’ll get for them.

But then that wouldn’t get the attention-grabbing negative headline he wanted.

It might not do him and his party any good though because the Conservatives are not keen on foreign ownership either.


Reality of MMP

November 25, 2013

One of the faults of MMP is that it can give disproportionate power to wee parties and their leaders.

New Zealand First with Winston Peters is a classic example of this.

The Conservative Party and its leader Colin Craig could be another and they are both appealing to a similar constituency.

. . . And Craig, at 45, sees himself as a fresh-faced alternative to political warhorse Winston Peters, 68.

He claims to be eating solidly into Peters’ core constituency of the older, socially conservative voter.

Members have switched allegiance, particularly after NZ First’s annual conference in October, he says. “We are enjoying seeing Grey Power no longer invite Winston, but invite me instead . . . there is a sort of transition. We are slowly taking over that space.”

Craig says one of the reasons Peters is in decline is that “he’s lost the mojo”.

“He’s not the Winston he was . . . and I know he thinks he is going to be here till whenever, but there is a point at which you start to lose credibility . . . my impression is that he was, last time, the protest vote. Now we have offered that opportunity in a similar policy space.”

Senior citizens appear to like Craig’s morally conservative views combined with an anti-asset sales stance. “A lot of them think I’m a lovely young fellow, and I get told I’m a good boy! I don’t mind, if they want to think of me as some sort of adopted son.”

Other parties are obviously worrying about Craig too.

His party is more likely to support a National-led government than a Labour one and a new wee party on the rise is likely to take votes from one in decline.

Craig’s opponents clearly now see him as a rival: David Cunliffe repeatedly refers to him as Crazy Colin. UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne launched an astonishing attack yesterday on some of his former MPs, now with the Conservatives.

Craig shrugs this off. Perhaps Labour is worried that he is gaining ground among Pacific Islanders in South Auckland, he wonders.

“I noticed that he has adopted a slightly anti-Colin Craig rhetoric which I find interesting given that I’ve never met him . . . maybe it’s just because I am going to support National and it has just become politically the thing to say.”

He’s also not upset by Dunne’s insults, saying it is unfounded criticism from a “struggling” politician.

“He is talking out of a lot of disappointment. I mean it can’t be easy when at one stage you had eight MPs and he was really in the middle of it then. A lot has transpired, self-inflicted by and large, and now he struggles to get an annual conference together. As one person said to me: it’s not an annual conference, its a support group.”

The Conservatives need to get 5% of the party vote or win an electorate to get into parliament, neither of which is a given.

But if the party’s there, what does it and its leader want to achieve?

1. Spending beyond their means: Leader Colin Craig says he’d like to match Australia’s defence spending at a “percentage level”. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s figures, Australia’s defence budget is US$26.1 billion. Ours is $1.358 billion. If Craig’s sums are based on GDP, it means an extra $1.55 billion; if it’s on population, it means another $4.87 billion. Either way, it’s a lot of guns.

2. If it wasn’t immediately obvious, more guns: Craig would consider introducing national service in return for free tertiary education. And let everyone else have a gun too: the right to bear arms, and the “Castle Doctrine” (basically, the right to shoot burglars).

3. Freedom of choice: a powhiri or a cup of tea (no confirmation on presence or otherwise of gingernuts): Craig, after the outcry when a visiting Danish MP felt intimidated by a powhiri: “Not all visitors to New Zealand are impressed by a bare-bottomed native making threatening gestures . . . if guests choose not to be welcomed in this way, I’m sure a handshake and a cup of tea would go a long way.”

4. Keep on burnin’: Climate change isn’t our fault. Instead, says Craig, volcanoes and sun flares are to blame. “Globally, our influence on temperature is very, very small. New Zealand’s influence is infinitesimally small.” Therefore, as night follows day, they would scrap the emissions trading scheme.

5. Freedom to rot your teeth: Fluoride, says Craig, is “a poison put in the water supply supposedly to improve dental health. No medical treatment should ever be given to a person without their explicit permission.” Here, he notes the vital impression on medical science made by the good councillors of Hamilton, who voted to remove this poison from municipal water (it was overturned in a recent referendum).

6. Grow yer own, toddlers: “I am 100 per cent behind schools teaching children how to raise/tend a garden.”

7. Investment in paper shredders: “Governments are prone to making unnecessary and sometimes quite ludicrous laws. I have a personal goal to scrap more legislation than I approve.”

8. Close yer legs. It’s cheaper: Craig, in April 2012: “We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world. This does nothing to help us at all.” This may go hand in hand with dumping the “frankly terrible” Working for Families.

9. Binding citizens-initiated referendums and a 100-day delay on initiating legislation to allow it to be overturned by the public: A deal-breaker in any coalition. “Although other parties might not like the idea much, if it is a choice between government or not, I expect them to be receptive to the idea,” Craig said. This appears to be a not-so-sneaky way to make gay marriage illegal again.

10. And a few other things too: Closing the Waitangi Tribunal; work for the dole; a lot less tax: a tax-free threshold of $25,000 and a flat rate of $20,000; cutting the education department budget by 50 per cent and giving half the saving direct to schools.

It’s difficult to find a coherent philosophy behind this list, some are more dog whistles than policies.

But each will appeal to a few people and some of those will vote for them.

That may or may not be enough to get the party into parliament.

If it does, Craig would be wise to accept there’s a big difference between many ideas which might appeal to some voters and policies which make a positive difference to the country.

If he doesn’t we’ll be faced with another of MMP’s faults – the ability of the tail to wag the dog.


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