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.)

 

 


Hone hasn’t learned

December 8, 2014

Those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them:

The Mana Movement is planning for the 2017 election and Kim Dotcom could be involved, leader Hone Harawira says.

Mr Harawira lost his Te Tai Tokerau seat to Labour’s Kelvin Davis and Mana’s alliance with the Dotcom backed Internet Party only gained 1.26 percent of the party vote in September’s election. . .

The election result gave me faith in democracy and one of the best illustrations of that was voters in Te Tai Tokerau who voted Davis in as their MP.

By doing so they saved us all from the electoral rort that Harawira, Dot Com, Laila Harre and their fellow travellers tried to inflict on us with their unholy and hypocritical alliance under the Internet Mana Party banner.

Harawira’s willingness to work with Dotcom again shows he doesn’t understand that.

He will find it much harder to campaign without the salary and allowances he had as an MP and party leader in parliament.

He’ll be further handicapping himself if he enlists Dotcom’s help again.


Principles matter

September 21, 2014

One of the best outcomes of last night’s results was the repudiation of Kim Dotcom and his puppets.

Voters showed that principles matter.

Hone Harawira, Laila Hare and their fellow travellers allowed theirs to be bought and New Zealanders rejected that and them, with the help of Kelvin Davis and the voters of Te Tai Tokerau.


Win for Cunliffe, win for Dotcom

September 17, 2014

Kim Dotcom threatened to bring down John Key and National.

His moment of truth turned into a moment of strewth, is that all there is?

The email on which he was depending to prove John Key a liar is a fake.

That ought to be the end of it, but it won’t be if Labour is in a position to form a government because in spite of Cunliffe’s yeah-nahing about working with Dotcom’s puppets in Internet Mana, he would if it meant he could be Prime Minister.

He has a chance to ensure IMP doesn’t get anywhere by firmly ruling out any post-election deal with it.

Instead of this he’s wishy-washy:

. . . Mr Cunliffe says he’s not particularly concerned if Mr Harawira loses and Labour is without a potential support partner.

Not particularly concerned? If he had the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders at heart he would be absolutely unequivocal that he’d be delighted if that happened.

“I want to see Kelvin Davis as the MP for Te Tai Tokerau,” he told reporters in Hamilton.

Mr Cunliffe has ruled Internet Mana out of a Labour-led government, but the door is still open for a confidence and supply agreement.

If he really wanted to see Davis as the MP for Te Tai Tokerau he’d make it quite clear that he was ruling IMP out completely.

He’s not prepared to do that which means a vote for Labour would also be a vote for Dotcom pulling the strings of MPs supporting it in government.

A win for Cunliffe would be a win for Dotcom.

The only way to rule out Dotcom is to rule out a Labour-led government.

The only way to do that is to give your party vote to National.

 


Dotbomb foiled by facts

September 16, 2014

Kim Dotcom who is awaiting extradition with a personal vendetta against the Prime Minister and who is doing his best to buy our election promised to drop a bombshell last night.

He failed.

There was no bomb and the email on which Dotcom based some of his claims is a fake.

The Kim Dotcom “big reveal” is out – and has almost immediately been dismissed as a fake.

The “reveal” is an email which purports to show Prime Minister John Key involved in a plan to get the internet entrepreneur into New Zealand so he could be extradited to the United States.

It is the evidence which Dotcom is planning on producing at the Moment of Truth event tonight. It is also contrary to every assurance the Prime Minister has ever given about his knowledge of Dotcom.

The source of the email is shrouded in mystery and there are likely to be arguments over its authenticity.

It is is dated October 27, 2010 and is purported to be from Warner Brothers chairman and chief executive Kevin Tsujihara to a senior executive at the Motion Picture Association of America – the lobby group for the Hollywood studios.

However, Warner Bros told the Herald the email was a fake. Paul McGuire, the movie studio’s senior vice president for worldwide communications, told the Herald: “Kevin Tsujihara did not write or send the alleged email, and he never had any such conversation with Prime Minister Key.”

Mr McGuire said: “The alleged email is a fabrication.” . . .

And the allegations about mass surveillance?

The dotbomb was foiled by facts:

Prime Minister John Key corrected misinformation that was put in the public domain concerning the operations of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

“Claims have been made tonight that are simply wrong and that is because they are based on incomplete information,” Mr Key says.

“There is not, and never has been, a cable access surveillance programme operating in New Zealand.

“There is not, and never has been, mass surveillance of New Zealanders undertaken by the GCSB.

“Regarding XKEYSCORE, we don’t discuss the specific programmes the GCSB may, or may not use, but the GCSB does not collect mass metadata on New Zealanders, therefore it is clearly not contributing such data to anything or anyone,” Mr Key says.

“I am setting the record straight tonight because I believe New Zealanders deserve better than getting half of a story, embellished for dramatic effect and political gain, and based on incomplete information.

“The GCSB undertakes cyber security operations to protect individual public and private sector entities from the increasing threat of cyber-attack and this is very important work.

“It does not, however, remotely resemble what has been claimed,” Mr Key says.

The GCSB’s cyber security operations occur within its legal framework and only when the following conditions are met:

Each entity must provide individual legal consent to be protected by the GCSB;

The independent Commissioner of Security Warrants must be satisfied each individual case is within the law, and a legal warrant must be co-signed by the Prime Minister and the Commissioner;

Warrants are subject to a two-step process, as outlined by the Prime Minister when legislation was passed last year. A warrant is required for high level cyber protection for an individual entity, and the content of a New Zealander’s communications cannot be looked at by a GCSB employee unless a specific cyber threat is identified which relates to that communication. If that is the case, the GCSB must return to the Prime Minister and the Commissioner to make the case for a second warrant in order to access that communication.“Our cyber security programme began operating this year after a lengthy process of assessing options for protection,” Mr Key says.“The Bureau assessed a variety of options for protection and presented an initial range to Cabinet for consideration in 2012.“The Cabinet initially expressed an interest in GCSB developing a future business case for the strongest form of protection for our public and private sectors, but it later revoked that decision and opted for what we have now – something known as Cortex.The Prime Minister tonight also released declassified material, including a Cabinet minute to show what occurred.“In stark contrast, the Bureau actually operates a sound, individually-based form of cyber protection only to entities which legally consent to it,” Mr Key says.3 April 2012 – Cabinet Minute (PDF3) shows Cabinet asks for business case on cyber security protection initiative.After this Rebecca Kitteridge is called in, problems with the legal framework and internal issues in the GCSB are identified through reviews.September 2013 – Cabinet Minute (PDF2) shows formal rescinding of request for business case and notice of new, narrower project. The business case had been known only as initiative 7418 through the Budget process because of its classification.Related Documents

July 2014 – Cabinet agrees to Cortex, a narrower cyber security programme. (Cab paper and minute PDF 1 and PDF4)

March 2013 – PM tells GCSB not to bring business case forward. Informs GCSB it is too broad. Budget contingency funding will be rolled over and used for something else in cyber security.

September 2012 – It becomes clear there are issues with the GCSB’s surveillance of Mr Dotcom.

Timeline

“I can assure New Zealanders that there is not, and never has been, mass surveillance by the GCSB.

“The business case for the highest form of protection was never completed or presented to Cabinet and never approved. Put simply, it never happened,” Mr Key says.

“These options ranged from the highest possible form of protection to a much weaker form of security, with some in between.

“The process began in late 2011 when the GCSB made it clear to me that cyber-attacks were a growing threat to our country’s data and intellectual property and the Government needed to invest in addressing that.

In addition to this, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security has substantially stronger powers to monitor the GCSB’s activities and ensure they are appropriate and within the law.

1 (pdf 174.11 KB)

2 (pdf 77.72 KB)

3 (pdf 166.9 KB)

4 (pdf 733.22 KB)

 

Glenn Greenwald’s claims that the Southern Cross undersea cables have been tapped into or accessed were described as total nonsense by CEO Anthony Briscoe:

The cables, which link New Zealand to Australia, the Pacific and the United States, are untouched, Mr Briscoe noted.

“I can tell you quite categorically there is no facility by the NSA, the GCSB or anyone else on the Southern Cross cable network.”

“Let’s be quite blunt. To do this, we would have to take the cable out of service and I can assure you there’s no way we are going to do that.

“It is a physical impossibility to do it without us knowing. There is just no way it can be done. I can give you absolute assurances from Southern Cross – and me as a Kiwi – that there are no sites anywhere on the Southern Cross network that have to do with interception or anything else the NSA or GCSB might want to do.”

He added, any breach of the cable would require temporarily shutting down its transmission for hours. Southern Cross has monitoring systems built into its computers watching for any such break and they would be triggered as soon as any attempt was made.

“There isn’t a technology in the world, as far as I am aware, that can splice into an undersea fibre optic cable without causing a serious outage and sending alarms back to our network operation centre, that something’s wrong.”

Southern Cross is obligated to comply with the well-established and public lawful surveillance requirements in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and related laws in the United States. However there is no equipment installed in the New Zealand or United States landing stations, or on the cable itself, which could result in mass interception of communications.

We are very disturbed that such unfounded allegations have been made and feel that it’s important for all New Zealanders to understand that this outrageous claim is totally untrue.

One good thing to come out of this is that the media is no longer Dotcom’s friend:

What was supposed to take John Key and National down might well do the opposite – and here’s a theory on that:

This won’t do the Internet Mana Party any good apropos of which:

A major upset could be ahead for Hone Harawira in the Māori electorate of Te Tai Tokerau, given the close battle between him and Kelvin Davis according to our Māori Television poll results.

Hone Harawira is still leading the electorate on 38%.  However Kelvin Davis is on 37%, so there is just 1% between them. . .

Internet Mana hasn’t got close to 5% in any polls.

Both parties need Harawira to win this seat to survive together or separately.

In other news, there are apparently other parties trying to campaign but they’ve been starved of oxygen while this circus has performed.


Foulers cry foul

September 14, 2014

Internet Mana  is complaining about Prime Minister John Key’s decision to declassify documents which will prove accusations against him are baseless.

. . .In a joint statement, Mr Harawira and Ms Harre say the reported intention of the Prime Minister “to arrange the selective declassification and release of documents for his own political purposes” represents an abuse of the Prime Minister’s authority in his capacity as the Minister in charge of the GCSB and the SIS. . .

If the PM didn’t release documents they’d accuse him of hiding something but when he says he will release documents they’re still complaining.

This is a case of the foulers crying foul.

They’re the ones who’ve allowed themselves to be bought by Kim Dotcom who is doing his best to interfere in the election.

The PM not only has the right to release this he has a duty.

This isn’t just about him. It’s about New Zealand, New Zealanders and our security.

Those who don’t understand that should read Charles Finny’s excellent guest post at Kiwiblog:

. . .  The Labour Government that saw us through World War II, and those from 1957-60, 1972-75, 1984-90 and 1999-2008 have not sought to change our position in “five eyes” because the leaders and senior Ministers of those Governments have realized how lucky we are to be part of this agreement and knew how fundamental the intelligence derived from it was to the security of New Zealand.  Ultimately the most important function of government is to protect the people.  “Five eyes” plays a very important role in our ongoing security.  There was a wobble under Lange which saw New Zealand denied access to some processed intelligence from the US, but access to the raw communications intercepted by the four allies continued throughout.  Under Helen Clark the full flow of processed intelligence resumed.

I cannot believe what I have just heard saying about today.  What we now call is as much a creation of Labour as it is the National Party.  It is crucial to our continuing security.  It protects us against the hostile actions of foreign governments, terrorist organizations, and international criminals.  Of course the same foreign governments, terrorist organizations and criminals hate the ‘’fives eyes agreement” and want it dismantled because it stands in their way.  I can’t believe that a Labour Leader would align himself with these forces and put this agreement and our position in it so much at risk.  If his senior colleagues do not call Cunliffe on this, shame on them too.  Our national security is too important to be put at risk by short term political opportunism.

Even when Helen Clark thought we lived in a benign strategic environment her government didn’t short-change  or subvert our security the way the left is now attempting to.

 

 


Feed not weed

September 9, 2014

Tempers are fraying within the Internet Mana Party:

Emails obtained by 3 News show Mana leader Hone Harawira lashing out over the Internet Party’s pro-cannabis policy with one of his trademark expletive-laden rants, blocking an advertising campaign and saying he is “sick of all this s**t about weed”.

The ad includes a pitch to decriminalise cannabis with the words “police no longer wasted on weed”.

Mr Harawira has said he does not support cannabis for personal use, however the Internet Party wants to see it decriminalised.

When it comes to marijuana the Mana and Internet Party leaders are diametrically opposed. Mr Harawira hates it, but for Internet Party leader Laila Harre, cannabis reform is a personal priority.

She said she has made a personal pledge to champion the issue if she is elected.

An email chain leaked to 3 News shows Mr Harawira’s irate response when the Internet Party sought permission from the leaders to use the cannabis ad.

One of his emails reads: “Why am I seeing all this shit about WEED and so f****n little about FEED as in FEED THE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Mr Harawira refused to talk to 3 News, and Ms Harre denied any division.

“We don’t always see eye-to-eye on every issue that’s not an Internet Mana issue; it is par for the course in a campaign,” she said.

In the emails, Mr Harawira has a crack at the Internet Party’s cashed-up campaigns: “Just because it’s keen on the WEED deal and got all the money to spend on all this flash advertising s**t.”

Then in bold letters he writes: “I will NOT be approving this WEED campaign.

“Pull it now or I’ll go public saying how disappointed I am our money’s being spent on WEED not FEED.”

He ends in bold, capitals and a bigger font size: “GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT FOLKS!”

It appears the marriage of convenience is starting to rupture. Mana candidate Georgina Beyer attacked Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom last week, saying he was pulling the strings and was in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge. . .

On the cannabis issue, Ms Harre said there really was “no difference of opinion between Hone and I”.

Internet Mana has been denying rifts over cannabis and continues to do so, but the emails show Mr Harawira is clearly furious.

The Internet Party’s stance has been publicly humiliating for him – the fact it wanted to go a step further and advertise just rubs his nose in it.

I wonder how the Internet Mana puppet master Kim Dotcom feels about this email leak?

It’s not just what it says but what the leak says about dissent in the ranks that is telling.

IMP has a self-destruct clause which can be actioned six weeks after the election. The email leaks suggest at least some of the parties to the agreement would be keen to push it sooner.


Harden up Hone

September 8, 2014

Patrick Gower says Hone Harawira needs to harden up:

Hone needs to stand up and stop the Internet Party from walking all over him on the cannabis issue.

Hone is staunchly anti-weed, but the Internet Party is pro-weed.

And even though Hone is the leader of the Internet Mana merger, he is being forced to adopt the pro-weed position.

As Hone himself would say: “This just ain’t right, folks”.

I actually feel sorry for Hone ending up in this position where he is being forced to buckle on his principles.

I know Hone Harawira well.

He is a man of principle. He stands up for what he believes in. He usually doesn’t back down.

But it seems the anti-weed Hone has been rolled. . .

Kim Dotcom managed to persuade Laila Harre to set aside many of her principles in agreeing to lead his party and now the puppet master is pulling Harawira’s strings over drug policy too.

The string pulling must have been painful because Harawira needed a break to get over it:

Hone Harawira denies any rift with Internet Mana co-leader Laila Harre.

Rather, he says he’s been taking a break at home during the election campaign.

Mr Harawira told The Nation programme today he’d been going “hard out” and had decided to take a break.

He was questioned about why he was the only politician to take a holiday during the election campaign.

“You don’t get a holiday even in the north – I stayed home,” Mr Harawira said. . .

How hard he’s working for his party is up to them and the puppet master who’s funding them.

But this man is also an MP, getting an MP’s salary to work for his constituents.

If he can’t cope with the work the taxpayer funds and campaigning it’s the campaigning that ought to stop, not the job he’s supposed to do to earn his salary.


Whyte warns of Frankenstein monster

September 7, 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.


Beyer sees the light

September 2, 2014

The rope between the Internet and Mana parties is beginning to fray:

Internet Mana candidate Georgina Beyer has gone rogue and come out swinging at her party’s so-called visionary, Kim Dotcom.

She says he’s pulling the strings and is in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge.

Internet Mana’s the party that’s big on going big – big names, big productions, big personalities. But now it seems it’s got big problems too.

“Who is pulling the strings? Well, the big man himself,” says Ms Beyer.

Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP and New Zealand’s first transgender MP, is Mana’s candidate in the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga.

She believes Dotcom is tearing her party apart.

“His reasons for becoming involved in New Zealand politics in the way he has is one of retribution against people who he feels have slighted him,” says Ms Beyer. . .

She has seen the light but her leader was still letting the puppet master pull his strings last week:

The Internet Mana Party has had another media blowout, with Hone Harawira stopping an interview and walking off after just one question.

Mr Harawira refused to talk about his party’s U-turn on cannabis and would only take questions on a Te Tai Tokerau candidates’ debate.

He was once one of Parliament’s toughest opponents to cannabis, but Mr Harawira has flip flopped. Mana now wants to see decriminalisation – fitting with the preferred position of Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party. . .

Dotcom is buying political power for two reasons – hatred of Prime Minister John Key and an attempt to stop his extradition to face charges in the USA.

The  IMP agreement need last no longer than six weeks after the election. If Beyer can persuade others in the party to return to their principles it could fall apart much sooner.


Older voters not buying Labour’s bribe

August 15, 2014

Labour support is at a new low:

The Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos Political Poll has National on 55.10 per cent, virtually unchanged from July, while Labour has sunk to 22.5, down 2.4 percentage points.

Click here to see full graphics

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The poll, of at least 1,000 New Zealand residents who are eligible to vote, is a kick in the guts to Labour, which has steadily bled support since this time last year.  On today’s numbers it would lose five MPs to just 29, putting even some senior front bench MPs at risk.  

National would comfortably govern alone with 72 seats. The Greens are on 11.3 per cent while Internet-Mana’s higher profile has lifted its support to 2.1 per cent. A surprise mover are the Conservatives, which have jumped to 3.4 per cent, level pegging with NZ First. . .

 

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The left block is down, even with Internet Mana. It is taking radical support from within the left and scaring more reasonable people away from it.

Kelvin Davis wouldn’t have a chance on the list at this low level of support for Labour which will intensify his efforts in Te Tai Tokerau.

Ironically it’s David Cunliffe’s yeah-nahing about working with Internet Mana which is damaging Labour. His failure to match his verbal support for Davis over Hone Harawira  is damaging not just the Labour candidate but the party.

The poll was taken from last Saturday until yesterday, so most people were contacted after Labour’s campaign launch and the announcement of free GP visits to people aged 65 and older.

Kiwiblog has the breakdown of respondents supporting Labour :

Labour’s support by demographic is:

  • Men 18%
  • Women 27%
  • Auckland 25%
  • Upper NI 16%
  • Wellington 23%
  • Lower NI 30%
  • Canterbury 14%
  • SI 27%
  • Under 30s 26%
  • 30 to 44 25%
  • 45 to 64 21%
  • 65+ 19%

It is reassuring to see that the older people that Labour is trying to woo have more sense than the party and aren’t buying its bribe.

P.S. I was phoned for the poll but they had already met their quote for my age and location.


Checkers or chess

August 7, 2014

Quote of the day:

We are witnessing yet more attempts at three dimensional chess by people far better suited to checkers Phil Quin

He was talking about the Labour Party and its mixed messages over Kelvin Davis and whether or not the party wants him to win the Te Tokerau electorate from Hone Harawira.

Labour’s current brains trust is far from nimble enough to carry off a complicated strategy built around doing one thing and saying another when it comes to Kelvin Davis and Kim Dotcom.  It is simply not possible to simultaneously support both men. It’s time for David Cunliffe to state once and for all where he stands, and make it clear to the voters of Te Tai Tokerau that Kelvin Davis must win, not in spite of its deleterious effect on the Internet Mana Party but, in part, because of them. 

A recent poll showed the majority of Labour voters don’t want a bar of Internet Mana.  It goes to show installing an entourage of Dotcom allies on the strength of Maori voters in the North represents a depth of cynicism to which they are unwilling to sink. Labour should never have put the option on the table, let alone allow it to linger there this long. 

But it is lingering and the longer it lingers and the more yeah-naaing there is over it the less likely voters are to trust Labour regardless of what it and its leader say.


Will he, won’t he?

August 6, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe has said several times that it would be highly unlikely that the Internet Mana Party would be part of a Labour-led government, but he wouldn’t rule anything out until after the election.

Yesterday he changed his tune and said on Breakfast:

“. . . We’ve ruled out working with Mana in government  as well. I’ve said yesterday, I’ve said before Mana will not be part of a government I lead fullstop.”

That seemed to shut the door but  the story on RadioNZ opened it again:

. . . On Tuesday he took that a step further, saying Internet-Mana would not be part of a Government that he leads. However, that still leaves the door open to a confidence and supply agreement. . .

That leaves the question of will he or won’t he do a deal with Hone Harawira and the rest of Kim Dotcom’s puppets without a definitive answer.

He could remove any doubt by showing he supports Labour’s candidate in Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis, in his quest to win the seat.

Until, and unless, he does that voters should take into account that the chances he will come to some sort of deal with Internet Mana – together or separately – are far greater than the chances he won’t.

He is desperate to become Prime Minister and with his own party polling so poorly he’ll need every other party he can get to cobble together a majority.

He’ll do anything he can to get what he wants, even if it means sacrificing his own candidate to ensure Harawira holds his seat.


Cunliffe yeah-nah on Mana

August 5, 2014

Last week David Cunliffe refused to rule out working with Internet Mana.

Last night TV3 reported the Labour Party had told Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis to shut down a website aimed at his rival for the seat, sitting MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

But this morning Cunliffe told TV1’s Breakfast: (@ 2:28)

“. . . We’ve ruled out working with Mana in government  as well. I’ve said yesterday, I’ve said before Mana will not be part of a government I lead fullstop.”

Has he or has he not ruled out Mana?

If he has why is Davis being told to pull his head in – and his website off-line – and why isn’t Labour supporting its candidate in Te Tai Tokerau?

A strong campaign there would unseat Harawira and Mana would go with him in spite of the millions of dollars Kim Dotcom is throwing at it.

While Labour is yeah-nahing about whether or not it will work with Mana and whether or not it wants to win the seat, Davis is in no doubt.

He posted on Facebook last night:

I was on 3 News tonight because my campaign team had a look at a proposed website designed to take down Kim Dotcom and stop him from buying the seat of Te Tai Tokerau with his $3million dollars.
We explored this concept, debated it, then along with the Labour Party hierarchy decided it wasn’t in line with our Vote Positive messages and ditched it.
It was all about Kim Dotcom.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who donated $50,000 to far-right wing disgraced politician John Banks.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who said the police turning up at his front door was as bad as the suffering Maori have endured for close to two centuries.
This is the same Kim Dotcom had nothing to do with Maori until he found a way to take advantage of some to try to keep himself out of an American jail.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who’s garage is bigger and flasher than 99% of homes in Te Tai Tokerau, and still cries ‘poor me’.
This is the same Kim Dotcom, who if he really cared about the people of Te Tai Tokerau, would have got out with all the Labour volunteers after the floods and storms and distributed food packages to those who needed them instead of staying tucked up in the mansion.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who turned up to hui up north in a limousine while kaumatua and kuia rode in a rattly bus.
This is the same Kim Dotcom whose interference in Te Tai Tokerau politics was described as a disgrace to over 300 people at the Ngati Hine hearings in Pipiwai yesterday.
I make no apologies about looking at a website that asked the public to donate $5, $10 or whatever they wish to koha, to bring down a fake.
I’m just an ordinary Maori living up north trying to stop the biggest con in New Zealand’s political history from being pulled against my whanau, my hapu, my iwi.
I make no apologies if there’s another Maori politician in the north feeling pretty sensitive about all the criticism he’s copping from hapu throughout Te Tai Tokerau because of the con job.
I’m prepared to cop the criticism from him because it’s just the price a person pays when he stands up for his people and his principles.

Davis is quite sure he wants to win the seat, and on current polling he’d have to if he wants a seat in parliament because his list placing isn’t good enough win a seat that way.

But it’s difficult to know whether his leader and his party are as keen.

The only thing we can be sure about  is that Labour is unsure.

It’s as confused and divided about this as it is about its campaign, its direction and its leader.


Mana wants two electorate deals from Labour

July 31, 2014

Internet Mana candidate Annette Sykes says Labour’s done a secret Epsom-style electorate deal with Hone Harawira.

She’s also calling on Labour to do a deal for her – in the Maori seat of Waiariki.

Labour is denying the claim however, saying all seat deals are off.

Internet Mana is an unusual political beast, but whether you think it’s a roadshow or sideshow – it’s Parliament-bound on Mr Harawira’s coattails.

His lieutenant, Ms Sykes, says Labour’s done a deal which will help ensure he wins Te Tai Tokerau.

“I think it’s already happening there,” says Ms Sykes.”It’s been informally signalled.”

The Veteran, at No Minister, says Labour’s conspicuous by its absence in Te Tai Tokerau, indicating it’s conceded the seat to sitting MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

David Cunliffe’s refusal to rule Internet-Mana out of a government he leads has  torpedoed Kelvin Davis’s chances of winning Te Tai Tokerau.

Whether or not there’s a formal deal, that is effectively an electoral accommodation Harawira.

Sykes can’t be blamed for asking for a deal in Waiariki too, if only because asking is getting her publicity she’d otherwise struggle for.

 

 

 


Who cares about the regions?

July 14, 2014

The regions are a foreign country to most opposition MPs.

They visit occasionally, grab a headline about how bad things are and pop back to the safety of a city.

While there they try to show they care, but their policies give the lie to that:

There would be a bleak future for New Zealand’s regions if a Labour/Greens/Internet/Mana Party coalition became Government after the next election, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“A number of election policies released in the last couple of days show that the regions would be in for a dramatic and long term slowdown if there was to be a change in Government after September 20,” Mr Joyce says.

“Cartoon-like policies from the Greens and the Internet Mana Party against fresh water usage and oil and gas exploration and in favour of big new carbon taxes show how little they understand what drives most jobs and incomes in regional New Zealand. Thirteen of our 16 regions have a big stake in industries based on our natural resources and there would be thousands and thousands of job losses if their policies came to pass.

“The Greens and Internet Mana want the regions to sacrifice most of their livelihoods for holier-than-thou policies that would achieve little except making New Zealanders a lot poorer. The worrying part is that these sort of attitudes would drive any post-election Labour coalition.

“On top of that, the Labour Party mounted a very lukewarm and half-hearted defence of the oil and gas industry on Saturday. Either David Shearer is being controlled by the left wing of the Labour Caucus or he knows it’s all a bit pointless because any left wing coalition energy policy would be run by the Greens with help from Laila Harre and Hone Harawira.”

Mr Joyce says regional New Zealand knows how to balance the environment and the economy to ensure sustainable economic growth.

“This government is working with the regions to lift economic growth and job opportunities while improving environmental outcomes,” Mr Joyce says. “The left talks about the regions but promotes policies that would do real damage to them.

“The stark reminder we have received this weekend is that regional New Zealand would be completely nailed by a Labour/Greens/Internet/Mana coalition.”

 Labour and the GIMPs would take New Zealand backwards.

All primary industries would face more regulation, more restrictions, higher costs and more and higher taxes.

That would result in less production, fewer jobs, lower profits and as a result of that the tax take from them would be lower even though the tax rates would be higher.

One of the reasons New Zealand has survived the global financial crisis and is beginning to prosper is the strength of primary industries.

Any progress would be reversed if Labour and the GIMPs were in government.

They only care about the regions for show.

National by contrast has MPs in all but a couple of provincial seats, knows the regions, understand their issues and governs for all New Zealand – not just the urban liberals to whom Labour and the GIMPs are targeting their policies.


What they’ll need to do

July 12, 2014

Vernon Small muses on one of MMP’s downsides – the need for coalition partners:

. . . In Cunliffe’s case, he can be relatively certain Internet-Mana will be there.

His bigger concern is the political Centre’s negative views of Harawira, his Left-wing allies and Internet founder Kim Dotcom – and more generally about the increasingly fractured Centre-Left vote.

Labour’s vote softened measurably after the Internet-Mana deal became known. It believes that was not because the new party took Labour votes but more because it was a bridge too far for floating voters to contemplate a four or five-way alternative government.

And Labour knows – because it has already started – that National will use that against it.

It is a difficult line for Cunliffe to walk. He needs to emphasise the stability of a three-way deal with the Greens and NZ First – both of which have the advantage of being parties that win in their own right and will, if in Parliament, have achieved more than 5 per cent support. He can contrast that with National’s vassal parties, there only at Key’s favour.

Voters could choose a weak Labour Party propped up by the Green and NZ First parties with the added frightener of Internet Mana or a strong National Party with two or three very small coalition partners.

That’s a choice between instability, uncertainty and backwards policies from the left or stability, certainty and forward momentum from the centre right.

But strategising at the party’s weekend Congress pointed up the problem. Labour was stacking up its potential pluses just to get over the line.

It could push up to about 30, with a good ground game and organisation, the Greens bring about 12 per cent, NZ First would add another 5-6 per cent and Internet-Mana would add the final cherry on top. Presto, 51 per cent.

Over at the National conference the previous week, the mirror-image argument was being played out by its strategists.

Achieve close to 50 per cent and we govern alone. Fall to the mid 40s, and Labour with its allies could get the numbers. Subtext? Deals with our minor allies may be crucial, so brace yourself for Key’s announcement of deals with the minnows.

Memo to Cunliffe and Key: if you are counting them into your thinking, so will the voters.

Memo to voters: look less at what they say they will do and more at what they may need to do to win power.

A weak Labour Party would have to do, and concede, a lot more than a strong National party would.

We're for stable government.


Winning team won’t necessarily be winner

June 29, 2014

A party enjoying poll ratings which show it could govern alone might be in danger of complacency.

There is absolutely none of that at the National Party conference where the very clear message was

Prime Minister John Key told Patrick Gower:

. . . I know the polls look strong for us. And I know on the 3 Reid Research poll we’ll be able to govern alone and I’m really personally desperately hope that’s what election night looks like. But you and I both know it’ll probably be tighter than that and there’s every chance that we don’t win.. .

Chris Finlayson and Steven Joyce gave a similar message to the conference:

. . . Attorney General Chris Finlayson talked about the “hydra” this morning that grows new heads when the old ones are chopped off.

“Cut off Phil Goff and up shoots David Shearer and Hone Harawira. Saw off David Shearer and up springs David Cunliffe and Laila Harre.

“The fragmentation on the left hasn’t made the hydra weaker,” said Mr Finlayson “only more unstable if it can force its way into power again.”

Campaign chairman Steven Joyce warned delegates that the campaign was “still a little puppy” and that anything at all could happen in the next 84 days before the election – the wackiest thing imaginable, he said.

“A retired Maori activist who has become an MP working with a hard left unionist and let’s just throw in a wealthy German millionaire right-winger, they could form a political party,” said.

“That’s the sort of wacky thing that could happen between now and September 20.

“If Laila Harre, Hone Harawira, Pam Corkery, Kim Dotcom, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, David Cunliffe, Matt McCarten, and John Minto are the answer, can we please have another look at the question?” . .

National’s got a winning team but it’s up to voters to decide whether to give the winning team the support it needs to  be the winner, or whether they’re going to trust government to the hydra on the left led by a weak Labour dominated by the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties.

With less than three months to go, there's no room for complacency. Join #TeamKey today.  http://mynational.org.nz/support


Labour’s yeah-nah on IMP & Te Tai Tokerau

June 25, 2014

In May David Cunliffe said Labour was going to be trying to win all seven Maori seats.

. . . Mr Cunliffe said he expects that Kelvin Davis, who was 1165 votes behind Mr Harawira at the 2011 election, to run a vigorous campaign. He said there would be no deals with other parties until after the election on 20 September once it is known what voters want. . .

Earlier this month he said he’d be open to a post-election deal with Internet Mana.

Labour leader David Cunliffe confirmed he would still be open to a post-election deal with Internet Mana despite making the abolition of “coat-tailing” under MMP a priority for a Labour-led Government. . . .

However, ranking its Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis at 18 on the list is sending mixed messages:

The list, released yesterday, had Mr Davis at number 18 – but if Labour wins the 27 electorates it expects to, it will need 29 per cent of the party vote for Mr Davis to return to Parliament, if he does not win the seat off incumbent MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

On current polling, that will be a challenge. . .

A better place on the list and it would be a clear signal that the party was protecting Davis and was prepared to sacrifice him in the electorate to help Mana leader Hone Harawira and give it a potential coalition partner.

A worse  place on the list would signal his only route to parliament was by winning the seat and that Labour was not wanting a post-election deal with Internet Mana.

As it is it’s sending  a yeah-nah, may be-maybe not message.


Helping vulnerable children

June 20, 2014

There is no excuse for giving children nothing but the love and care they need.

That doesn’t stop some people neglecting or abusing them which is why there’s a need for the Vulnerable Children Bill which was passed into law yesterday.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett explains:

. . . This Bill is a critical step in giving effect to changes in the Children’s Action Plan.

These include ensuring joint accountability across Justice, Health, Education, Police and Social Development, for the wellbeing of vulnerable children.

They also include the new requirements for the screening and vetting of Government workers and contractors who work with children.

All up these new requirements will cover around 182,000 New Zealanders.

There are also new workforce restrictions to prevent those with serious convictions, who pose a danger to children, from coming into contact with them.

The legislation will also switch the onus on parents who have killed, or severely abused or neglected a child, and they will now have to prove they are safe to parent subsequent children.

But let me be very clear, the legislation contained in this Bill is a small part of work already underway.

We can pass laws to improve screening and vetting.

We can pass laws that place restrictions on dangerous people where there currently are none.

But we cannot pass laws that stop children being beaten, neglected, or sexually and emotionally abused.

We cannot pass laws that stop children being killed, by those who should love and protect them.

We cannot expect that throwing more money at this problem – without changing how we work – will actually fix anything.

Accepting that this is as good as it gets will not cut it.

This is where the Children’s Action Plan, of which the Vulnerable Children Bill is just one part, will make a difference.

It is multi-dimensional, cross agency and community driven.

It has more than 30 interwoven initiatives and it will:

• bring the right people together in communities around our vulnerable kids.

• give us a whole lot more options to respond to the different needs of children.

Firstly, we want to support vulnerable children and work alongside their families to keep them safe so that they never reach the point where they need the involvement of Child, Youth and Family.

That’s where our new Children’s Teams come in, along with the Hub and the Vulnerable Kids Information System, or ViKI.

Children’s Teams bring together frontline professionals from health, education, welfare and other agencies to wrap services around children and their families.

They work with children and young people who are vulnerable, but are best helped outside Child, Youth and Family’s statutory service.

As well as doctors, teachers and social workers there is Plunket, Family Start, Whanau Ora, parenting services, and budgeting services to name a few.

But too often vulnerable children are at the back of the queue for these services.

They have parents or caregivers who don’t know enough, or simply don’t care enough, to prioritise and advocate for their needs.

These children need to be at the front and centre of the queue,

What I have had to consider is whether these vulnerable children should get to jump the queue, and get in front of other children whose needs may be as pressing, but who have parents or caregivers fighting in their corner.

I am unapologetic in saying that yes they should, because it is they who are most at risk.

Children’s Teams will understand the unique needs of each child they deal with, and pull together a team who can make the most difference to get alongside the child and family.

They will be able to fast track access to services, and carve a clear path for vulnerable children to the support they need.

Our two pilot teams in Rotorua and Whangarei have worked with over 110 children so far and we are hearing about:

• better attendance at health appointments

• better parenting

• re-enrolments at early childhood and school

• better access to welfare support

• happier children

• better behaviour

• and reduced offending.

There’s been a lot of learning, and some hurdles along the way, but it’s clear that the mix of services and the early support is making a difference to children’s lives.

And by the middle of next year we will have eight new Children’s Teams in action.

Alongside this we’re developing a Vulnerable Kids Information System where frontline professionals like doctors and teachers can go online to register concerns about a child.

ViKI will help us join those dots into a picture about what is going on for a child.

We’re also setting up a Hub where people can report their concerns about a child quickly and easily, or get help and advice.

Depending on what’s happening for each child, the Hub will triage them to the level of support they need.

The initiatives contained in the Children’s Action Plan are all connected to each other and firmly place vulnerable children at the front and centre.

These are the children who have no one to speak up for them.

If they are not the core work and priority for police, paediatricians, social workers and community workers, then who is?

I would like to thank the Social Services Committee and all the New Zealanders that made submissions for their valuable contribution to this bill.

This legislation goes beyond this House, and beyond politics.

It goes into the home of every New Zealander whether they have children or not, because the wellbeing of our vulnerable is the measure of the heart of this country.

As proud as I am of the opportunities and support available for most of us, there are too many left out and too many let down.

As I said, there are 23,000 cases of substantiated abuse each year.

There are eight children killed by the people who should hold them, love them, and care for them.

As Minister, I expect the results of our work with vulnerable children to be that by which I am judged, and I am investing everything I have into this.

It is crucial we get it right – not in a few years, or ‘in the future,’ but now.

This legislation is a crucial step underpinning a much wider piece of work that will fundamentally change the way we work with vulnerable children and their families in New Zealand.

It will make a difference.

The law can’t be in every home, nor should it be.

But it does need to be able to act to protect children who are let down by their families.

 

Children need our protection. National is doing everything possible to keep them safe.</p><br />
<p>Learn more: http://ntnl.org.nz/1uEHaLf

You’d think this would be something that would get cross-party support, but it didn’t:

The Vulnerable Children Bill passed its final stage by 105 – 10 votes in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon after only the Green Party and Mana Party’s Hone Harawira voted against it. . .

Green Party MP Jan Logie said Ms Bennett had failed to deal to the main problem of child poverty. . .

Poverty is a problem but it is not an excuse for the neglect and abuse of children.

The Minister said, the Bill is just one part of a much bigger programme – the relevant piece from the extract above explains:

. . . But let me be very clear, the legislation contained in this Bill is a small part of work already underway.

We can pass laws to improve screening and vetting.

We can pass laws that place restrictions on dangerous people where there currently are none.

But we cannot pass laws that stop children being beaten, neglected, or sexually and emotionally abused.

We cannot pass laws that stop children being killed, by those who should love and protect them.

We cannot expect that throwing more money at this problem – without changing how we work – will actually fix anything.

Accepting that this is as good as it gets will not cut it.

This is where the Children’s Action Plan, of which the Vulnerable Children Bill is just one part, will make a difference.

It is multi-dimensional, cross agency and community driven. . .

The Green Party and Harawira put their blinkers on and voted against a Bill which isn’t pretending to give all the answers but will address part of the problem.

Shame on them.


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