Jim Anderton 21.1.38 – 7.1.18

January 9, 2018

A junior reporter wouldn’t normally interview a senior political figure.

But when Jim Anderton came into the newsroom in the run-up to the 1981 election I was the only one there.

He was president of the Labour Party. I don’t remember what he said but I do remember that he was immaculately dressed and a relaxed interviewee.

I disagreed with many of his policies – so strongly was I opposed to Kiwibank, I didn’t go into a Post Office for at least two years after it was established.

But I admired his standing up and working for what he believed in.

And as another member of that club no-one chooses to join – bereaved parents – I had great sympathy for him after the death of his daughter. It is difficult enough dealing with bereavement privately, it must be so much harder when you’re a public figure.


Rural round-up

September 18, 2014

The most boring bankrupt economic argument–“we export raw logs when we could be adding value and making jobs” : Eye to the Long Run:

The rot set in in the late 1940s on this. Jim Anderton was maybe the first in the modern era to believe we wantonly refused to profit from the blindingly obvious money and jobs to be had from processing timber.

In recent times only Winston Peters has been bright enough to see what the entire business sector has apparently completely missed.

Now, joining him as a value add timber processing expert we have the lawyer from Herne Bay – Mr Cunliffe who has spotted the opportunity.

It is, you understand, not so profitable that any of them would give up their day job… it never is, is it? . . .

Future of red meat promotion under threat – Allan Barber:

Next year’s Commodity Levy Act referendum is one of the factors concentrating meat industry minds on the question of red meat promotional investment. B+LNZ is currently conducting a consultation round with individual meat companies to find out how this critically important, if contentious, topic should be agreed for the benefit of all industry participants.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Scott Champion told me it’s too early to make any predictions about the outcome, at least until after completion of the consultation round at the end of September. With the referendum about 12 months away, the process is geared to providing time to gather enough detail for promotional strategy development before taking this out to farmers to test it in advance of the vote. . . 

New Zealand’s Hake and Ling Join Top 8% of World’s Sustainable Fisheries:

Hake and ling from New Zealand are now among the top 8% of global sustainable fish species after being recognised by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Each of the three New Zealand hake trawl fisheries, five ling trawl fisheries and five ling long line fisheries have been certified as sustainable against the MSC standard – the ‘gold standard’ for sustainable seafood production.

Only 8% of the world’s wild-capture harvest is certified through the global MSC programme which sets high internationally-accepted standards for sustainable fishing and provides consumers with assurance that MSC certified seafood is sustainable, based on sound, independent science. . .

 

Rural New Zealand wants gigabit equality:

Federated Farmers and TUANZ believe it is essential the next Government delivers better connectivity to rural New Zealand, and is keen to work with them to make that happen.

“We are encouraged by the National Party’s further commitment of $150million, if they’re re-elected, and hope to see a similar commitment from our next Government announced this Saturday” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Telecommunications Spokesperson.

“Federated Farmers and TUANZ support a Gigabit Agenda for Rural New Zealand that doesn’t leave our productive sector behind. We need to talk about gigabit speeds, where farmers can eventually get their gigabytes as fast as the townies do. . . .

 The right people trained the right way –  Craig Littin:

Our recently released Manifesto talks about building a sustainable farm system giving us the collective means to go forward as a nation.  We can and we will be more than we are today, but to do that we need the right people trained the right way.

Firstly we need to look at what we are trying to achieve. We need to have the young people of New Zealand believing that farming is the attractive career option that it is. We also need to put our money where our mouth is in terms of investing in education, science, research and innovation.

There are some great stories out there of the highly skilled people in our industry who have worked through the agricultural industry to now run multimillion dollar businesses, on very attractive salaries. These opportunities are available to anyone with the enthusiasm, intellect and discipline required to make it in the dairy industry, but we need sound education systems to get the right people into the industry. To do this we need to align the requirements and standards to fulfil job roles with the qualifications offered within primary industry training/education institutes. . . .

Molkerei Ammerland Completes First Sweet Whey Powder Auction on Globaldairytrade:

Sweet whey powder has been sold for the first time on GlobalDairyTrade (GDT), the world’s leading online dairy auction platform, with Molkerei Ammerland selling the product they offered at their first trading event.

Molkerei Ammerland CEO Ralf Hinrichs said the company was pleased with the results from the first SWP online auction.

“Through GDT we have been able to extend our reach to a larger number of customers, and to transact with them much faster. We’re looking forward to using GDT to grow our export market,” he said. . .

Tasman Tanks Appoints Craig Hemmings as Dairy Effluent Sector Manager:

Leading New Zealand and Australian storage tank company Tasman Tanks, has appointed Craig Hemmings as dairy effluent sector manager.

Mr Hemmings brings to his position more than a decade of management experience with nationally and internationally recognised agricultural companies.

As dairy effluent sector manager for Tasman Tanks, Mr Hemmings will oversee the operational management of the company’s dairy effluent division in New Zealand.

“From small beginnings in 1996, Tasman Tanks has built its reputation on designing, manufacturing and installing fully engineered and certified tanks,” said Mr Hemmings. . .

 Central Otago Wine Industry no longer a “One Trick Pony”:

As we have come to expect, Central Otago wines dominated the medals for pinot noir at the 2014 New Zealand International Wine Show, taking out 10 of the 15 Gold Medals awarded. But what is more interesting about the results of this show is that Central Otago wines won medals in a total of 10 different wine categories – Methode Traditionelle, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Dessert Wine, Rose, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.

Now in its tenth year, The New Zealand International Wine Show is firmly established as the largest wine competition held in New Zealand each year. The 2014 New Zealand International Wine Show was judged from 8th to 10th September in Auckland and attracted a total of 2130 entries. Trophies will be awarded at the Awards Dinner on 27 September. . .


The importance of certainty

July 4, 2014

Trans-Tasman notes the appeal of certainty and stability:

National emerged neat and tidy from its election year conference. Delegates went home knowing what they have to do to ensure the party can re-form a governing coalition. It’s this disciplined approach which carries its own message to the electorate, contrasting with the inchoate array of parties lined up on the other side of the fence. Private polling shows within the electorate, opinion is beginning to harden on the parties of the left being so disparate, (even if they gained a majority of seats in the next Parliament), a coalition of those parties would be highly unstable and couldn’t last.

Certainty, along with stability, is the priority for most voters. The difficulty for the parties of the left is they project not just instability, but incoherence in the policies they are espousing. The realisation has grown Labour would have to share power with the Greens, NZ First and possibly the Mana/Internet alliance. How would it work? In the NZ Herald this week John Armstrong noted Labour seems to be increasingly paralysed by the division between MPs who put a priority on economic development and those who want environmental concerns to be very much part of that development.

The Opposition has forgotten what Helen Clark did in the run-up to the 1999 election, staging a reconciliation with Jim Anderton and his Alliance to project a united front and give electors an idea of what a Clark-led Govt would look like (even though it must have savaged her personal pride to cosy up to her old foe). . . 

 The more voters see of what a Cunliffe-led Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana/Internet Party might look like the less appeal it has.

There are enough uncertainties in most people’s lives without adding an uncertain coalition and the instability that would come with it especially when its contrast with the certainty and stability of a National-led government with John Key as Prime Minister.


H is for . . .

June 5, 2014

H is for hurry and that is what David Cunliffe appears to be in.

He wants to scarp the coat tail rule that enables parties which win seats to bring other MPs in even if they don’t get 5% of the vote, and he wants to do it within 100 days of getting into government.

Why the rush?

There will be nearly three years until the next election when the law change would apply. That’s plenty of time to draw up legislation, open it to public submission, let it go through the select committee process, report back to parliament and gain the cross-party support which any change to electoral law should have.

H is also for hypocrisy and that what Cunliffe is exhibiting.

He was part of successive governments which were supported by Jim Anderton against whom Labour didn’t try to compete to win the electorate and who, at least in the early days, brought other MPs in on his coat tails.

He was part of successive governments which benefited from Peter Dunne’s support and those of the MPs who came in on his coat tails – even though he won the seat through the votes of National Party supporters.

He was a senior member of the party which didn’t try too hard to win the Coromandel seat which enabled Jeanette Fitzsimons to win as insurance should the Green Party not reach the 5% threshold.

He didn’t worry about the coat-tailers then and is only making a fuss now because of the Internet Mana deal.

Yet he’s not sufficiently worried to take a stand and say he won’t enter a coalition with them which is an equally blatant example of hypocrisy.

While I agree the IMP deal is a perversion of MMP, democracies don’t change electoral law to get rid of potential rivals for power.

They leave it for the voters to exercise their discretion at the election.

I hope there will be more than enough who do that wisely and foil the IMP plan to gain power by manipulating MMP.

If they don’t, so be it.

Cunliffe can cobble together a coalition of GIMPs and try to introduce changes to the electoral law which would sabotage at least one of the parties on whose votes he’ll depend for a majority.

H is also for help and that’s what we’ll all need should that be the sort of government we get.


Anti-irrigation, anti farming, anti-provinces

May 20, 2014

Thursday’s Budget included $40m of new funding for irrigation and the environment:

The Budget’s $40 million of new funding for irrigation projects will deliver economic and environmental benefits for New Zealand, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“This will help unlock the potential that water storage and irrigation can deliver, giving a real boost to jobs and exports in regional economies,” he says.

“This new capital funding of $40 million comes from the Future Investment Fund and will be used to purchase shares in Crown Irrigation, enabling it to make further investments. It is in addition to $80 million allocated in last year’s Budget.

“If current proposals are advanced there could be a further 420,000 hectares of irrigated land available for a variety of uses over time. Research from NZIER suggests that exports could be boosted by around $4 billion a year by 2026.

“Irrigation often has real environmental benefits, with more consistent river flows in summer and reduced pressure on ground water sources.

“Only 2 per cent of rainfall in New Zealand is captured and used for irrigation. Clearly we need to do a better job of using this precious resource.

“After the extreme drought most of the country suffered last year, and the one earlier this year in Northland and Waikato, the need for better water storage is obvious,” Mr Guy says.

Crown Irrigation makes targeted bridging investments in irrigation schemes that would not be established with private finance alone. All decisions are made by an independent board.

Last month, Crown Irrigation announced its first investment, with $6.5 million going towards the Central Plains Water Scheme in Canterbury.

Bridging investment enables schemes to get off the ground and must be paid back.

The extra money shows the government recognises the importance of irrigation for both economic and environmental reasons.

That has always escaped the Green Party and now Labour too is turning its back on irrigation.

This has, not surprisingly, upset Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills:

. . .  A recent jaundiced attack upon irrigation has me questioning if the Party gets it.  This speech reads as an electoral game plan designed to demonise a minority of the population while amplifying prejudices and preconceptions about what we do.  Labour’s political calculus is cynical because ‘farming equals bad water’ is dog whistle politics.  Something, I honestly thought we’d moved beyond when Labour Leader David Cunliffe said, in more agricultural parlance, that farmers are good guys.

Labour’s anti-irrigation stance is a flip-flop from when Jim Anderton was Agriculture Minister.

Anderton talked a lot about irrigation but never delivered.

He used to come to North Otago, promise the earth, get positive media coverage for that but failed to do anything at all to support irrigation in the area.

It also contradicts Labour’s desire to enact the world’s most repressive Emissions Trading Scheme.   Winding up the Crown Irrigation Company not only flies in the face of regional economic development but regional climate adaption.  Are memories so short, we have forgotten adaption was a key criticism of the International Panel on Climate Change? 

According to the IPCC, the Hawke’s Bay can expect to double or even triple the time spent in drought by 2040.  Adaption means new pastures and technologies, but fundamentally, it means storing rainwater.  Residents in towns and cities do not wait for rain before taking a shower.

While water is vital to farming, without stored water, it means some of our rivers will increasingly run lower and warmer.  This is a consequence of less rainfall in a changing climate.  It will also impact farming and the environment equally.  The most distressing thing about dog whistle politics is that it denies that farmers live where we farm. It denies that we drink water and denies that our families swim and fish too.  It is a naked attempt to make farmers a breed apart.  It is unreconstructed class warfare.

One thing we agree with Mr Parker on is his speech title, because “you can have both.”  Farming and the environment are flipsides of the same coin so are we perfect?  Far from it.  Does intensive agriculture have an impact on the environment? Of course it does.  Do our growing cities impact the environment? Of course they do. 

Look, farming does need to do better and we are putting huge resource and effort into reducing the footprint of our most important export industry.  This takes money but it also takes time and yet we can point to marked improvements from Lake Rotorua to Otago’s Shag River.  Last year, the Ministry for the Environment’s river condition indicator, said that 90 percent of the sites tested were either stable or improving. You need a clean and healthy environment to farm successfully, so making innovations like water storage more difficult, simply isn’t going to help. 

A denial of water in concert with an ETS seems just the start.  If I can surmise Labour’s economic strategy from this speech, it seems to tax agriculture into the sunset hoping that something, anything, will take its place.   That’s an unprecedented gamble.

According to David Parker, we can also look forward to Resource Rentals targeting farms and a Capital Gains Tax too, which pretty much puts the Sword of Damocles over our head and the 138,000 jobs we support.  I have recently seen policies and politics akin to what’s being proposed.

Argentina may not have capital gains tax, but it does have taxes on property sales with stamp duty on rented accommodation.  It may not have resource rentals but it does have GST on utility leases like water of 27 percent.  It may not have a punitive emissions trading scheme, but it does have export taxes on primary exports of up to 35 percent.  Argentina has a tax for almost every occasion and it also has 30 percent inflation.

As some Argentinean farmers face 86 percent taxation, the only way to survive is to farm in wide but ever decreasing circles.  Its big export is soy where over 20 million hectares is in cultivation and that’s a lot more acreage in one crop than the entire South Island.  It is also overwhelmingly genetically modified and that I was told came at the behest of the Argentinean government.  All needed to fund a tax and spend Catch-22.

What is at stake here is a very large chunk of New Zealand’s $50 billion merchandise exports which pays for everyone’s daily bread. 

A calculated demonisation of farming is an attempt to drive a wedge between a farming minority and the urban majority. It plays on every cliché and every negative perception about farming and it was telling there was no mention of the Land and Water Forum’s success.  It is a worry when many positives seen in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the Dairy Industry Awards, QEII National Trust and the NZ Landcare Trust are blithely ignored.

While Labour certainly took one small step forward with its Monetary Policy, this tone represents one giant leap backwards, which is why Federated Farmers has the backs of farmers.

Labour’s not just anti-irrigation, its for more taxes and Feds’ Dairy chair Willy Leferink says Labour is gunning for farmers:

Let me put my cards on the table I am a swing voter so Labour’s recent economic policy release from Finance spokesperson, David Parker, pricked my interest.  If a week is a time in politics a few days must be like years, because another speech from him had me shaking my head in disbelief.

According to Parker, National is allowing “public rivers and estuaries to be spoiled by nutrient and faecal contaminants from agriculture.”  Funny I didn’t think we had private ones.  We also got this, “In the absence of effective environmental standards, this will also mean more dairy effluent and nutrient run-off into our rivers and lakes, and into our estuaries and inshore fisheries.”  It reads like something from Fish and Game’s head office.

Labour’s big idea is to tax farming.  I wonder what that will do to supermarket prices let alone our international competiveness.  Labour also keen to impose the world’s most extreme Emissions Trading Scheme incorporating all biological emissions.  That will see our costs explode and consumers will ultimately foot the bill.  That’s not all.  Instead of giving more money to DoC to save Kiwi, they’re going to save lawyers by toughening up the RMA and DoC’s advocacy role.

But wait there’s more.  In a bizarre contradiction, given the UN’s climate boffins say New Zealand isn’t doing enough to adapt to climate change, Labour is going to scrap all public support of irrigation. 

This gets even surreal since Labour will introduce a Resource Rental Tax on water but only that used by agriculture.  I can only surmise Mr Parker believes there is zero pollution whenever he enters the littlest room.  There’s got to be a Tui billboard in that.

When you put this together with a Capital Gains Tax (yep, targeting farms) you’ve the impression Labour doesn’t like us and wants to tax us into the sunset. 

The sting in the tale means the price of food will skyrocket but I bet Labour has a KiwiFarm policy up its sleeve.  It will have collectivised state farms producing cheap bountiful food for the masses to be sold in nationalised KiwiSupermarkets.  I think the Soviets once tried that.

Yet we shouldn’t worry because clean energy is apparently the new dairy.  Despite the fact you cannot export electricity, Parker says we have great opportunities in clean energy like hydro and geothermal yadda yadda yadda.  He talks about LanzaTech but misses the point they left New Zealand because of stultifying regulations and that’s under National!  Hydro must also be an in-joke given the last aborted attempt to build one failed and under Labour, the RMA will be tightened.  Meanwhile, any industry capable of using this bountiful energy won’t be able to emit a puff of greenhouse gas without being walloped by the ETS.

The most distressing thing to me is Labour’s clichéd view of farming.

It was a real shame the only MP at the recent New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards in Auckland was Nathan Guy.  The lack of an opposition MP surprised and disappointed me in equal measure.  One person volunteered, ‘because the tickets weren’t free’ and perhaps that is sadly true.  As a farming leader and as farmers, we get a few raspberries chucked at us but this makes you look in the mirror. 

While my farm gate is open to Mr Parker, can I suggest visiting the inspirational entrants of the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.  Being close to this competition, which Federated Farmers started 25 years ago, I know the winners are really first among equals.

Charlie and Jody McCaig have gone from being Taranaki farm management winners in 2011 to become 2014 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity farmer of the Year.  How about Ruth Hone, who was named Dairy Trainee of the Year and the first ever women to lift that title.  She is smart, capable and adaptable and those words sum up the dairy industry in 2014.  Then you’ve got a 27 year old Nick Bertram, who came into dairy with a background in accounting thanks to his teacher dad, but no farming experience.  He was named Farm Manager of the Year for 2014. 

These awards showcased others who’d joined dairying from fields as diverse as professional rugby, hospitality, engineering and the police.  As one in the eye for Kim DotCom’s party, it included an IT professional too.

Then again I suppose it shows why politicians are far less trusted than us farmers.  While they may subscribe to ‘don’t let the facts get in the way’ we don’t.

Labour has given up any pretence it’s supportive of farming and in doing so shows it has also given up on the provinces which depend so much on farming success.

The Waitaki District’s population has been going backwards for decades.

Last year’s census showed that it is beginning to grow again. The biggest influence on that must be irrigation.

There were four houses on our farm and the two nearest neighbours before irrigation, now there are 14.

We’re building a 15th and another neighbour is building two more.

That is happening everywhere that’s been irrigated bringing economic and social benefits to the district and it’s being done with due regard for the environment.

All shareholders in the North Otago Irrigation Company must have independently audited environmental farm plans which ensure that soil and water quality aren’t compromised.

Farmers used to have some faint hopes that Labour would counter the anti-irrigation, anti-farming policies of the Green Party.

Those hopes have been dashed and should they get into power, the provinces will be the first to pay the price.

 


McCarten in, Anderton out

February 27, 2014

One of new Labour chief of staff Matt McCarten’s biggest tasks is to unite the caucus and party.

But he’s already lost a big player:

Matt McCarten’s appointment as Labour leader David Cunliffe’s chief of staff has reawakened a longstanding rift – former Progressives leader Jim Anderton has withdrawn his help for Labour in this year’s election campaign. . .

Asked if he and Mr Anderton had reconciled since the then Deputy Prime Minister split from the Alliance in 2002, Mr McCarten said the differences at that time were “profound” but “we will work together on this campaign”.

Mr Cunliffe would not say if Mr Anderton had agreed with the choice of Mr McCarten, “but Jim is showing by his actions that he’s coming home to Labour”.

However, Mr Anderton made it clear he was not coming home, saying he helped Labour in the 2013 Christchurch East byelection and in his old electorate of Wigram in 2008 “but I will not be helping in the general election campaign. I don’t want there to be any confusion.”

He had not spoken about Mr McCarten publicly since the Alliance split “and I don’t intend to start now”. . .

Anderton didn’t just help with the by-election, he led Labour’s campaign and losing him will leave a huge hole in Labour’s organisational team in Christchurch.

Another of Labour’s problems is the dead wood in its caucus.

Only Ross Robertson has announced his retirement.

McCarten, and leader David Cunliffe will no doubt have a little list of others they’d like to follow Robertson’s example.

But if they’re pushed they’ll have nothing to lose and could do a lot of damage to Labour in the few months left before the election.


Labour lurches further left with McCarten as CoS

February 26, 2014

Matt McCarten is Labour’s new chief of staff.

Former New Labour and Alliance party founder Matt McCarten has been appointed chief of staff for Labour Party leader David Cunliffe.

In a move likely to please Cunliffe’s backers on the left of the party and place further strain on relationships with centrist, senior members of his caucus, Cunliffe said McCarten’s proven track record as a political organiser and strategist over more than 30 years qualified him for the role.

“He has spent his life fighting for social justice and workers’ rights. His values are the values of the Labour Party and the values of the government I want to lead,” said Cunliffe.

McCarten’s early professional life was in the trade union movement. He split with the Labour Party in 1989 to help form the New Labour Party with dissident Labour MP Jim Anderton, then split with Anderton in 2002 over the Alliance’s coalition with the Labour-led government of Helen Clark.

Anderton went on to form the Progressive Party and the Alliance lost all its parliamentary seats that year.

McCarten most recently stood for Parliament in the Mana by-election in 2010 as a candidate for the far left-wing Mana Party, led by Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, and has been an adviser to Mana.

That’s an interesting political journey -he started in the Labour Party, moved to New Labour, then Alliance,  Mana and now he’s back in Labour.

Do the values of the Labour Party Cunliffe says he shares, not paying tax?

Inland Revenue is chasing unionist Matt McCarten’s Unite Support Services Ltd. for $150,750 in unpaid taxes after the department forced the company into liquidation last month.

McCarten’s vehicle, which supplied administrative support services to the youth-orientated union Unite Inc., was put into liquidation by a High Court order last month after the tax department pursued it for “failure to provide for taxation,” according to the first liquidator’s report. . .

Whatever he’s done and wherever he’s been, there’s no question about where he wants to go and take Labour with him  – that’s to the far left.
From "Campaign Social Media". Please share original on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NZNATS/photos/a.527149817300618.137166.183355881680015/831655430183387/?type=1&theater And Twitter: https://twitter.com/NZNationalParty/status/438469653287804928/photo/1


Cunliffe chickens out, Norman steps in

November 6, 2013

Advertising on the Farming Show used to be the most expensive on the Radio Network.

It probably still is because it’s now broadcast nationwide. It’s listened to by a broad audience and not just beyond town boundaries.

I do an occasional spot on the show and often meet people from all around the country, urban and rural, who’ve heard me.

Host Jamie Mackay has a successful recipe with a blend of farming and wider rural issues mixed with sport, music and politics.

It’s the sort of show you’d think an aspiring Prime Minister would want to appear on but one has chickened out:

There’s a certain irony in the position I find myself in with Labour leader David Cunliffe.

You see, David C has red-carded me.

Meaning, for the first time since 2000, when then Prime Minister Helen Clark agreed to a weekly slot, I will not be interviewing the Labour leader on the Farming Show.

Rightly or wrongly, Cunliffe says he won’t get a fair hearing, that we will make fun of him. Heck, we make fun of everyone, including ourselves.

Jamie does make fun of some of his interviewees but the political segments are usually pretty straight. In fact with my ever so slightly blue bias I think he sometimes let Cunliffe’s predecessors and agricultural spokesmen away too lightly.

Had Cunliffe or his media team bothered to listen to the show archives, available here, they’d have known that he’d get a fair go.

I think he has unfairly pigeon-holed me. He needs to understand some of my political history before he consigns me to the National Party lackey file. . .

Brought up in a family where Norman Kirk was admired more than Keith Holyoake, Jamie voted for Social Credit in his first two elections, in 1984 he voted against Rob Muldoon and for Bob Jones, didn’t get round to voting in 1987 and had his first vote for National in 1990.

Even then it was a vote more for a candidate than a party because I liked the cut of a young buck the Nats had dragged down to his home province of Southland from The Treasury in Wellington.

His name was Bill English and he looked like he at least had a bit of spark in him.

However, 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. . . .

So here’s my message for PC David C, which unfortunately I can’t pass on personally. 

If you really want to be the next prime minister, get your teeth into some issues that affect middle and low-income NZ – jobs, education, health, and the minimum wage are traditional Labour strongholds.

Attack National where you have an inherent political advantage and where it might have dropped the ball.

On second thoughts, I might save that message for my new Farming Show correspondent, Dr Russel Norman.

I heard Jamie a couple of weeks ago saying Cunliffe wasn’t coming on the show and he said the same thing this week.

I thought he meant just those days, after all what politician would turn down the opportunity for nationwide publicity on the radio?

But no, it wasn’t just couple of instances that didn’t suit his diary, he’s given the show a flat no for the worst of all reasons, that he wouldn’t get a fair hearing and he’d be made fun of.

How precious is that?

A politician who can’t stand the very gentle heat of the Farming Show isn’t going to cope with the much hotter temperature in other media and parliament.

He wouldn’t have been made fun of unfairly on the show but he will be now.

Jamie’s column is in the current edition of the Farmers Weekly which is delivered free to every rural mail box in the country and sold in book stores and dairies. It’s in the FW’s digital edition and on the website (to which I’ve linked above).

It will be on the Farming Show website soon.

I’ve already heard Jamie mention Cunliffe’s no-show and he’ll keep doing it. he’ll probably mention it to his cousin, political journo Barry Soper, who has does a spot on the show each Friday.

Prime Minister John Key has a weekly interview on the show. He sometimes get a little borax poked at him by Jamie and handles it well. His customary good humour and ability to laugh at themselves will continue to provide a contrast with Cunliffe who was scared of a gentle ribbing.

Deputy PM and Finance Minister Bill English, Minister  for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and Deputy Speaker Eric Roy,  are also regulars on the show. So are Labour’s Primary Industries spokesman Damien O’Connor and former MP now Vice Chancellor of Massey Steve Maharey. In the past former PM Helen Clark, then-National party leader Don Brash, former Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton, former MPI Minister David Carter and Cunliffe’s former leader David Shearer were all on each week.

Since Cunliffe won’t front, Jamie has invited Russel Norman to replace him.

All of these people are or were willing to front Jamie regularly but Cunliffe isn’t.

But worse than this – one of his challenges was to assert himself as leader of the opposition, a position Norman had assumed while David Shearer led Labour.

Instead, he’s handed his rival a free pass to a slot that should have been his own on the Farming Show.

In doing so he’s shown himself a little too concerned with his own image and a little less confident of his own ability than he would like the world to think.

#gigatownoamaru doesn’t chicken out.


CCC needs unity

January 24, 2012

We can’t blame the water – Christchurch is reputed to have the purest supply of any city in the country.

But something’s rotten in the city. ECan turned into ECan’t and matters got so bad the government stepped in and replaced the regional council with commissioners.

Now the city council is exhibiting signs of major dysfunction.

Councillor Tim Carter has called for a commissioner to replace chief executive Tony Marryatt and Councillor Sue Wells wants the government to sack the whole council and appoint a commissioner.

The idea of a unitary authority combining the regional council commisioners, CERRA and the city council has its appeal. The city is facing an extraordinary situation and the ordinary democratic system is showing the strain. But the government isn’t considering that:

The Government will not “interfere” in the troubled Christchurch City Council, says Local Government Minister Nick Smith.

Smith, who visited Christchurch today, said the Government had no plans to appoint commissioners to run the council, despite calls to do so from two councillors.

Problems at the council were “not entirely surprising”, given the scale of the challenge facing the council, but needed to be dealt with without government intervention, he said.

If central government isn’t going to interfere the local one must get its act together.

Polling before the 2010 local body elections indicated that Jim Anderton would win his challenge against mayor Bob Parker which was far from a vote of confidence in the latter.

But the September earthquake turned the tide and Parker was re-elected.

There were rumbles of dis-satisfaction about the chief executive but he was re-appointed in a decision supported by a majority of councillors.

Whether either of these decisions was in the best interests of the city is irrelevant. That’s what democracy delivered.

If councillors aren’t happy with what’s happening they have to persuade a majority of their colleagues to agree with them to get change or accept they’re in the minority and either shut up or resign.

Christchurch people have had more than enough trouble from nature they don’t need more from their council. The people and their city need unity and action any councillors who can’t deliver both should not be in that role.

 

 


Why only a rort now?

November 12, 2011

Phil Goff reckons that Act going for the electorate vote in Epsom while National goes after only the party vote is rorting MMP.

If that’s rorting MMP why wasn’t not trying to win Wigram ever since Jim Anderton left Labour a rort?

And why wasn’t Peter Dunne sitting in three successive Labour cabinets after National voters elected him in the seat but ticked National for their party vote a rort?

Maybe acting within the rules of MMP to maximise the chances of governing is only a rort when it doesn’t help his party.


Campaigning not constituency work

November 9, 2011

It is difficult at times to distinguish between the political and non-political work of an MP, there is a grey area where one merges into the other.

But telling someone who to vote for is absolutely nothing to do with constituency work and everything to do with politics.

Earlier this year Jim Anderton did that in a letter to constituents, endorsing the Labour candidate in what is still his seat of Wigram.

He has now been referred to the police by the Electoral Commission, following a complaint from Cameron Slater.

Anderton’s reaction?

“Nonsense, rubbish, waste of time, waste of police resources, waste of space. It’s just as ridiculous as the referral I had to police at the last election.
They threw it in the bin then and they’ll do it again now.

“I’m authorised to send my constituents any message I damn well like. This is my electorate.

“And if the Commission wants to start stopping electorate MPs from communicating with their electorate, they’d better get prepared for a breach of privilege complaint, because that’s what it amounts to.

They are interfering with the regular work of an MP.”

It’s not the communication per se that is the problem but that he was endorsing a candidate without an authorisation statement.

While it’s not a matter for the police, if it was done under the parliamentary crest then it would also be falling foul of using taxpayers money for political communications.

Someone who’s been in parliament as long as he has ought to know and respect the rules. That he doesn’t is another sign he’s been there far too long.

A candidate and two other MPs have been referred to the police for minor breaches.

Anderton’s breach is major and could result in a $40,000 fine.

 

 


Thank goodness polls don’t always translate to election results

October 9, 2011

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

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

Thank goodness they don’t always.


Some old mayors some new in south

October 9, 2010

Two southern mayors lost their seats in the local body elections.

Central Otago District elected Tony Lepper, with sitting mayor Malcolm MacPherson coming in third place behind another challenger Jeff Hill.

Clutha District’s new mayor is Bryan Cadogan who beat the incumbent Juno Hayes who was seeking a fifth term.

Queenstown Lakes District has its first female mayor – Vanessa van Uden . Sitting mayor Clive Geddes didn’t seek re-election.

Waitaki District re-elected Alex Familton with a majority of 1183 over the only serious challenger and former Deputy mayor, Gary Kircher.

Invercargill people gave Tim Shadbolt a majority of more than 11,000 over challenger Suzanne Prentice.

Southland mayor Frano Cardno was returned for her seventh term.

Gore mayor Tracy Hicks was not challenged.

Timaru returned sitting mayor Janie Annear for a third term.

Mackenzie District elected Claire Barlow as its new mayor by only 30 votes.

Further north I’m delighted Christchurch voters returned Bob Parker as mayor – and not just because he defeated Jim Anderton.

Len Brown beat John Banks to be first mayor of the new Auckland council. Voters also delivered a left-leaning council which disproves accusations from the left that uniting Auckland was a right-wing plot.

I think this means Robert Guyton, a regular commenter here, won a seat on the Southland Regional Council. If so, congratulations.


Progressives won’t factor in next parliament

September 27, 2010

The report on the latest political poll says, as most do assumes that the Progressive Party will hold a seat in the next parliament.

Unless Jim Anderton loses his bid to be mayor of Christchurch and then reneges on his promise to resign from parliament at the end of this parliamentary term, there won’t be a Progressive Party after the next election.

It hasn’t been a real party for years, it’s just a one man vanity vehicle and when he goes it will go too.


Too busy to make decision, too busy to be mayor

September 10, 2010

It may be possible to do two jobs at once and do both well.

But it’s not possible to give the commitment needed to be mayor of the South Island’s biggest city while also serving as an MP.

The Christchurch earthquake proved that beyond doubt yet Jim Anderton is only saying he would consider quitting parliament and he might give up his seat if he was mayor.

Anderton said he was too busy helping people following the quake and would make the decision later.

I suspect he misses the irony in that statement.

If he’s too busy being the MP for Wigram to make a decision it proves that the job of MP is too big to combine with that of mayor.

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock


Bad vibrations

September 6, 2010

Yesterday I added an update to a post on the earthquake saying Jim Anderton had said in an interview on Friday it would take an earthquake for him to lose Christchurch’s mayoral election.

ImperatorFish links to the video which shows that’s not what he said at all.

The assertion was picked up by several blogs after it appeared in the Herald which said:

14.44pm
Christchurch mayoral aspirant Jim Anderton told CTV on Friday that it would take an earthquake for him to lose the election race against incumbent mayor Bob Parker.

The Wigram MP says is able to see the funny side of what has happened.

He says there has been an earthquake, now he will just have to see how the campaign goes. He says he will ask that contributions he expected at a now-cancelled campaign fundraiser be donated to the mayor’s fund

The video clearly shows he didn’t say it but the second and third paragraphs suggest he thinks he did.

Did he think he did say that about an earthquake and his election chances? Or is the reaction quoted above not really from Anderton either but whoever the initial incorrect quote came from?


Fonterra donates $1m to Canterbury

September 5, 2010

Fonterra has announced a $1 million donation towards recovery efforts in Christchurch and the wider Canterbury area which was struck by an earthquake yesterday. 

The donation will go to the Mayoral Relief Fund.

Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said:

“We are very concerned for people in the region, especially those coping with significant damage to their homes.  We know the donation will be put to good and immediate use as people try to cope with the very difficult conditions. We encourage other companies to do the same.

“There is a massive job to be done.  We are grateful that our local farmers and our sites have come through relatively unscathed as this means we can put our resources into the community where help is needed most.”

Fonterra would also continue to provide practical help through local staff and equipment.

Fonterra CEO Andrew Ferrier said four Fonterra tankers had been stationed at local emergency centres and were delivering water to the community.

In addition, Fonterra was working with the civil defence team to provide food and milk for the public via emergency centres.

Fonterra service centres and Area Managers were contacting all local dairy farmers.  An estimated 20 percent of farms in the area were still without power.

“We are helping to source generators for these farmers or arranging for them to milk at neighbours’ properties,” said Mr Ferrier.  “Fonterra is continuing to collect all milk from local farmers.”

On Q&A this morning Prime Minister John Key talked about the likely costs involved:

. . . a lot of homeowners will over time find damage that they’re not expecting at the moment. There’ll be problems that can’t present themselves visibly underground and there’s a major rebuild job here in Christchurch. . .

But when you go to that financial issue, an what we’re hearing from EQC is they expect claims from at least 100,000 homes, potentially more. They’re saying a bill of a billion dollars, maybe more. This is the single biggest claim on EQC since the scheme was established. So it is a major impact on both that scheme, but ultimately there’s all the other costs, those that are uninsured, costs on the central government, costs on local government, costs on businesses.

He said the total cost may amount to a couple of billion dollars.

He also mentioned the silver lining. There will be employment opportunities in Christchurch and the hinterland as people clean up and rebuild.

UPDATE: Kiwiblog reports another silver lining – Jim Anderton told CTV on Friday it would take an earthquake for him to lose the mayoral election.


Ignorant, arogant or both?

August 29, 2010

A poll commissioned by The Press shows Jim Anderton leads the Christchurch mayoralty with 50% support over sitting mayor Bob Parker on 31%.

Two thirds of those polled have yet to make up their minds but when the undecideds were prompted  74% named  Anderton, ahead of 61 per cent who picked Parker.

In spite of the odds favouring Anderton winning the race, he’s still adamant he’ll continue to collect his MP’s salary, allowances and the extras he gets as party leaderon top of the Mayoral pay and allowances until the next election.

The ODT added its editorial voice to the calls for his resignation:

. . . by choosing to contest the mayoralty he has surely concluded his career as a politician and “party leader” is without influence and is effectively over.

Why then should the voters of Wigram be deprived of making a new choice, rather than being stuck with a lame duck? Mr Anderton may have miraculous qualities, even at 72, but he cannot properly do both full-time jobs to the level ratepayers and constituents are entitled to expect.

Anderton took umbrage at that and penned a letter to the editor which was published in Friday’s paper:

Your editorial “By-election fever” (ODT 17.8.10) in arguing that I should step down as MP for Wigram because I am a mayoral candidate in Christchurch, serves only to demonstrate that its writer does not really understand what an electorate MP does.

If I took the advice and resigned the almost immediate result would be the closure of my offices in Wigram and Parliament because the funding to run them would terminate. That would leave the many hundreds of people who bring their problems and concerns to those offices, week in and week out, with nowhere to turn for many months. Is that what you editorial writer intends – or have they simply not thought it through?

When I was re-elected for Wigram in 2008, I undertook a commitment to the electors that I would serve them for the next three years and I intend to honour that.

You’d think a man who’d be involved in politics for so long would understand the system but his response shows a disturbing level of either ignorance or arrogance.

It’s not the ODT which hasn’t thought it through, it’s Anderton.

If he resigned the people of Wigram would be without an MP for only the few weeks between his resignation taking effect and the by-election. Then they’d have the services of a brand new fulltime MP not a tired old double-dipping  has-been trying to do two fulltime jobs.

If he doesn’t understand the demands of the jobs mean he can’t properly serve both Wigram electorate as an MP and Christchurch as mayor, he’s not suitable for either position let alone both.


Acceptable reasons for triggering a by-election

August 10, 2010

If you’ve been Prime Minister and you’ve just lost an election it’s almost certainly better for your party and you if you accept you’ve done your dash as an MP and chose to move on.

If you’ve left – or been kicked out of – your party and want a mandate from your electorate, resigning and standing in the by-election your resignation triggered could give you one.

If you’re ill and can’t represent the people in your electorate properly a resignation would be better for them and you.

If you’ve decided you’d rather be a mayor than an MP you’d be doing the taxpayers and your constituents a favour if you resigned from parliament.

Giving up because you’ve got a better job is not a good reason to trigger a by-election.

When you win a seat at an election you are elected for a three-year term and the unwritten contract with the people who put you there should be broken only for very good reasons.

MPs who leave early without good reason let down the people who voted for them, their party and the public who have to fit the bill for the by-election.

Winnie Laban is standing down, Chris Carter may and Jim Anderton should.

I wonder how the cost of three separate by-elections compares with the cost of a general election?


At last a Labour ag spokesman

July 22, 2010

It’s a sad reflection on Labour’s regard for agriculture that the party hasn’t had anyone in its caucus with responsibility for the portfolio for several years.

Jim Anderton might have been Labour in all but name but he wasn’t in the caucus when he was Minister of Agriculture in the Labour-led government. He talked lots and delivered little as minister and I can’t remember anything of note he’s said since he became the opposition spokesman after the 2008 election.

Now he’s giving up completely to campaign fulltime for the Christchurch mayoralty at our expense :

“In my time remaining as an MP, I have decided to prioritise workable models for affordable dental treatment and the reform of alcohol legislation.” .

Damien O’Connor will take over the role with two things going for him – he was (perhaps still is?) a dairy farmer and he is a member of the Labour caucus where he might have a chance of influencing policy.

Kiwiblog and Keeping Stock have similar views  on Anderton.


%d bloggers like this: