MPs’ families should be off-limits

April 24, 2018

Deborah Hill Cone’s column  asking why does Clarke Gayford bug me?, has not surprisingly caused an uproar.

Some media used to focus on former Prime Minister John Key’s son, Max, but that doesn’t make it right.

MPs’ families should be off-limits.

If, as in Gayford’s case, they have a public profile of their own, comment and criticism shouldn’t stray into the political and personal.

Rotary has a four-way test for thought, word and deed:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

I would add is it NECESSARY?

This would be a good guide for journalism and commentary. Had Hill Cone tested her column against those questions would she have written it?

It is her truth, but it’s questionable if it is fair, it definitely didn’t build goodwill and better friendships, it wasn’t beneficial to all concerned and it simply wasn’t necessary.

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Paying cost of lack of preparedness

March 23, 2018

Labour wasn’t prepared for opposition when John Key led the National Party to its election win in 2008.

Nor was it prepared for government when Winston Peters anointed it last year.

It wasted nine years in opposition, wracked by internal dissent, spending a lot more time on leadership wrangles than policy development.

It didn’t expect to win last year’s election and so made stupid promises, like the fees-free tertiary education, it didn’t think it would have to keep.

The price for Labour’s lack of preparedness is a policy vacuum  which Checkpoint points out it has filled with reviews, working groups, advisory groups and investigations.

Ministers have announced 39 of those in three months – one every four days.

A few might be acceptable, even wise, for a new government, 39 is not.

Instead of a government of action we’ve got one  of inaction and prevarication.

Instead of governing, it’s marking time while it marshalls the policies it ought to have been working on in opposition.

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First confidence test fail

October 24, 2017

Winston Peters used his speech announcing who he would anoint as Prime Minister to give a lament about how dismal the outlook is.

We in New Zealand First believe that an economic correction, or a slowdown, is looming, and that the first signs are already here:

– In the housing market slowdown
– In Reserve Bank and trading banks nervousness
– In the cessation of hot money into our economy
– In property ownership concerns
– In receding consumer optimism, and
– In ebbing retailer confidence

There were great risks in whatever decision we made and despite our having had no influence on these risks, some will attempt to heap the blame on us.

That those blame caricatures are both spurious and misplaced, won’t stop attempts to misdescribe the cause of events.

That’s why we are putting this scenario out front, right now, so that such attempts will fail.

No-one can blame Peters and his party for events beyond their control.  But now they’re in government we can hold them responsible for how they prepare for and react to them.

It won’t be ‘misdescribing’ at all to blame him and the government he’s part if they don’t take a prudent approach to preparing for a gathering storm.

National inherited a projected decade of deficits when it came to power in 2008.

New Zealand was already in recession and then the global financial crisis hit.

It then faced other natural and financial challenges including earthquakes, droughts and a dairy downturn.

No matter what was thrown at them, Prime Minister John Key and his deputy and Finance Minister Bill English projected calmness and confidence. They promised to protect the most vulnerable and were open about making tough decisions.

Thanks to their efforts, and of course all those of the individuals and businesses who contributed to economic growth,  the incoming government has inherited a far sounder financial base and outlook.

Peters by sorry contrast has failed his first confidence test with his gloom and doom but don’t-blame-us speech.

This is reflected in a reader survey by the NBR.

Asked if they expected their businesses to thrive, survive or nosedive, 50% opted for survival with 35% picking nosedive and only 15% picking thrive.

That’s not a scientific survey but businesses need confidence to take the risks to invest and Peters has given them none.


Let’s not get ADS

October 23, 2017

Whatever you think of her politics, Prime Minister designate Jacinda Ardern is an intelligent and articulate woman who appears to genuinely want to make New Zealand a better place.

You might disagree with at least some of what she wants to do and how she wants to do it – and I do – but that is no excuse for abusing her personally and buying into ADS – Ardern Derangement Syndrome.

The left was badly afflicted by Key Derangement Syndrome. This was because they couldn’t understand John Key’s popularity and wouldn’t let the facts on what he and his government achieved get in the way of their antipathy.

It’s too late for the anonymous scribe who asked did Jacinda Ardern curse the All Blacks?

But anyone else tempted towards ADS, needs to take a deep breath, swallow their bile and engage their brains.

Personal abuse of politicians is the lazy refuge of those who have neither the wit nor words for substantive debate on actions and policies.

There is already so much scope for criticism of plans and policies, there is absolutely no need for critics to lower themselves by getting personal.


Bill’s back up again

September 24, 2017

When Bill English was asked during a debate what was different about him in 2002 and now, he said, “I got back up again.”

There’s no better proof of that than National’s result in the election.

Whatever the outcome of coalition negotiations, he has proved himself and his leadership.

Those, including some in the media who ought to have known better, may well be surprised at how well he, and National, have done.

Those of us who know him aren’t.

He’s a good man, with a big heart and strong intellect.

He’s warm, witty and wise.

He has a clear vision for New Zealand and its people, plans on what to do to deliver for us all and the drive and determination essential to succeed in that.

Many thought John Key’s decision to retire would weaken National and reduce its chances of a fourth term.

Bill English and his team have proved them wrong.

The fourth term isn’t certain but he’s made it a possibility.

Bill rocks!


Election Sept 23

February 1, 2017

Prime Minister Bill English has announced that the general election will be held on September 23rd.

He’s following the example of his predecessor John Key who announced the date early.

This gives certainty for everyone about when the regulated period before election day starts, makes it easier for the people who administer the process and takes the politics out of setting the date.

September 23rd is the first day of school holidays but with the freedom for anyone to vote early that shouldn’t be a problem.

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He also spoke of which parties National could work with in the next term should it be in a position to lead a fourth government:

“Under MMP elections are always close so we will be taking nothing for granted as we campaign for the right to lead New Zealand for another term,” says Mr English.

“We will be fighting hard to win every party vote to ensure we are in the best possible position to form a strong and stable Government that continues to deliver for all New Zealanders.

“However, MMP means we will almost certainly have to work with other parties.  This will likely be in the form of confidence and supply agreements, which have worked well for us in the last three terms.”

Mr English said his preference is to continue working with current partners –  ACT, United Future and the Māori Party.

“Together our parties have provided a stable and successful government at a time of great uncertainty in many parts of the world,” says Mr English.

Mr English ruled out working with the Labour-Greens grouping. 

“They are an increasingly far left, inward looking grouping, with no new ideas who don’t back New Zealanders to succeed.

“New Zealand First is an unlikely partner, however I am prepared to have discussions with them post-election depending on the makeup of Parliament,” says Mr English. 

 


Consitutional matters for people not politicians

January 23, 2017

Prime Minister Bill English says constitutional changes should not be led by politicians.

“That is the lesson from the flag referendum. I oversaw the process for changing the flag, I voted for changing the flag. In the end, a lot of the voting became a bit of a political vehicle, probably because it was proposed by the Prime Minister.

“So I think in future that constitutional change needs to come from the will of the people.”

He’s right.

That referendum was defeated in part because Labour leader Andrew Little turned his back on his party’s policy to change the flag because he saw it as an opportunity to dent then-Prime Minister John Key’s popularity.

But it wasn’t a landslide defeat for change and if you add those who wanted change but didn’t like the design and those who wanted change but didn’t like the then-PM to those who wanted change and voted for it I think there would be a majority open to a new flag.

The seeds for a flag change have been planted but if they’re to grow and bloom the campaign must be non-partisan and led by the people not politicians.

People-driven campaigns for other constitutional matters would also have more chance of success than those led by politicians.

One of those matters is a move to a four-year electoral term but it’s probably only political tragics who have a strong view on that.


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