The Labour Party has lost one of its moderate MPs with the resignation of David Shearer who delivered his valedictory speech yesterday.
His departure and her return speaks volumes about Labour’s state and direction.
The Labour Party has lost one of its moderate MPs with the resignation of David Shearer who delivered his valedictory speech yesterday.
His departure and her return speaks volumes about Labour’s state and direction.
If the title for TV3’s Newsworthy is supposed to be ironic, it succeeds.
The 10:30pm slot that used to be for news is now not. However, its interview with Conservative leader Colin Craig in the sauna has made news because its got his party all steamed up.
Colin Craig’s leadership of the Conservative Party is under serious threat.
The party’s board is meeting today to discuss his future but it is understood plans are in motion to oust him as leader.
Craig’s recent appearance on TV3’s Newsworthy programme where he was interviewed in a sauna is said to have been the final straw. . .
Colin Craig told Paul Henry this morning that if the board sack him as leader he’d still continue to fund the party.
That worked well for the Internet Party didn’t it?
The media went to its funder Kim Dotcom because he made better copy for what is deemed to be newsworthy these days.
The same would happen with the Conservatives.
Heads Craig stays on as leader and is in the news for all the wrong reasons, tails he’s not leader but still funder and the go-to guy for the media for all the wrong reasons.
Either way they lose.
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
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.)
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.
Was this the most expensive election loss for an individual in our history?
The big man has managed to win at least one Election 2014 race, spending a record amount of money for every vote gained by the party he founded.
In 2011, the stony-broke Mana received 24,168 party votes, or 1.08% of the total.
Last night, the expanded Internet Mana got 26,539 (1.26%) and Hone Harawira lost his seat.
Not much of a return for the $3.5 million Kim Dotcom “invested” (his word) in the Internet Party.
There are still 293,130 special votes (12.2% of total votes) to be counted.
Let’s assume Internet Mana wins 1.26% of those.
That would take its 2014 tally to 30,232 or 6064 more than 2014.
That means Dotcom paid $577 for each of those new votes. . .
No party could run a successful campaign without adequate funding but you need a lot more than lots of money to win an election.
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.
Kim Dotcom’s moment of truth turned into a moment of strewth, is that all there is?
Rather than sinking Prime Minister and the National Party as he had hoped, the Herald DigiPoll showed it did the opposite:
The Kim Dotcom-inspired event in Auckland’s Town Hall that was supposed to end John Key’s career gave the National Party an immediate bounce in support this week, according to polling for the last Herald DigiPoll survey.
With 60 per cent of the poll done by Monday night, when the event happened, National was polling at 47.8 per cent, down on last week, said DigiPoll general manager Nandan Modak. From Tuesday it jumped to 49.1 per cent.
A similar trend was seen in the preferred Prime Minister polling. Before Monday, Mr Key was polling at 63.4 per cent. From Tuesday it jumped to 66.4 per cent.
Mr Key who has led a minority National Government for six years is seeking a third term in tomorrow’s election against a Labour Party that has been led for only a year by David Cunliffe.
Mr Key told the Herald last night the results on Saturday “may well prove that a campaign led by Kim Dotcom based mostly on revenge will serve to only reduce the likelihood of a change of Government”.
While the moment of strewth helped National, it harmed Dotcom’s puppet party and might even be enough to sink it:
Today’s poll also has the internet-Mana strategic alliance funded by Mr Dotcom sinking. It would get no extra MPs into Parliament on the coat-tails of Mana leader Hone Harawira keeping his Te Tai Tokerau seat – and even that is looking shaky.
Mr Dotcom has spent $4 million on setting up the party and funding the campaign.
The poll has the Conservatives on 3.3 per cent, and would not be in Parliament. It has yet to register over the 5 per cent threshold on any major political poll this election.
Today’s poll has National on 48.2 per cent, down a little from last week when the seven-day polling is totalled.. .
This is only one poll and it shows the race is still tight.
Today’s Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll is almost a photo finish of the 2011 election result, which delivered a National government with a slender majority despite John Key’s near record popularity.
On today’s numbers, National is as popular as ever and would be back in business at the Beehive on Monday with a government that looks almost exactly like the last one.
But a turbulent few weeks on the campaign trail have made the result less certain and the electorate more volatile. The poll registers a big swing against National which, if carried through to tomorrow, could make the race much tighter.
So too could any stumble by John Key’s allies in the Maori seats or Ohariu, which would see the Maori Party and Peter Dunne out of Parliament.
The bad news for Labour is that the swing has mostly benefited NZ First and Colin Craig’s Conservatives, who have been jockeying for position in the Centre.
National blames that on strategic voting by its supporters wanting to get Conservatives over the line to give National coalition options. But NZ First may be just as likely picking up disaffected Labour voters. . .
This poll shows National on 47.7%; Labour on 26.1%; the Green Party on 12%; New Zealand First on 6.6%; Conservative party on 4.5% and Internet Mana on just .9%.
If this level of support carries through to the election we could still have a strong, stable National-led government.
But even a small swing away from National could leave us saddled with a weak Labour-led government cobbled together with the support of the Green and New Zealand First parties and whoever manages to get across the line with Internet Mana.
National has never taken the election result for granted and these polls will ensure that candidates and volunteers the length and breadth of the country will be continuing to work hard to ensure that when the polls close tomorrow they’ve done all they can to convince enough voters of the importance of keeping the government that’s working for New Zealand.
Whether that’s enough, won’t be known until the counting’s done.
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.
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:
“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.
“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)
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.
Labour announced its final policy yesterday and in doing so took the left to peak spending
The Labour Party have decided to go for broke and heap more spending commitments on the Left’s spending pile in a vain bid to turn around their flagging polling numbers five days out from the election, National Party Associate Finance spokesman Steven Joyce says.
“Their latest ‘idea’ today to create a new ‘investment fund’ from the dividends of state-owned enterprises is just another way of pre-committing money that has already been committed by Labour a few times over,” Mr Joyce says.
“Dividends received by the Government from state-owned enterprises are already being used to pay for public services like education and health and to pay down debt. They can’t just keep being spent again and again. On top of that, the so-called ‘strategic investment’ language is quite obviously code for spending money on experimental cleantech investments that have lost money the world over.
“When you strip it back, what Labour have come up with today is simply another $400 million in pre-committed spending – no more and no less. That takes their four year commitment to $19 billion, before you add on the Greens plan to spend at least another $12 billion, and Dotcom’s plan to spend tens of billions more.
“On top of that you have to add all the uncosted pledges of the Labour Party – to pay higher student support, to pay more to ACC claimants, to re-establish the ‘dole for artists’ scheme, and so on.
“This approach would push up interest rates for households and businesses and stall the economy – as we saw under the previous government six years ago when floating home mortgages were almost 11 per cent at the economy flat-lined.
“The Left’s appetite for looking like Father Christmas to the voting public has no limit.
“The only thing we can be absolutely sure of in regards to Labour, The Greens and Dotcom is that if they win next Saturday’s election we would very quickly become a much poorer New Zealand.”
Labour’s sovereign wealth fund is another of those policies which confirm the view it thinks governments are better spending other people’s money than they are.
The last six years have been harder than they would have been had the last Labour government not taxed and spent the country into recession before the global financial crisis.
We’re now on track to surplus and it’s National’s careful management that’s got us there.
The recovery and the social and economic dividends which depend on it would be short-lived should the government change.
The Prime Minister has admitted for the first time that New Zealand spies did look into a form of mass surveillance on Kiwis, but never actually went through with it.
John Key was responding to the arrival of journalist Glenn Greenwald, with thousands of documents taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that he says prove New Zealanders have been subjected to wholesale spying by the Government.
Mr Key has always said that he would resign if that was proven, but tonight he’s launched a counterattack.
Mr Greenwald claims he will produce evidence that could take down the Prime Minister, but just a short while ago Mr Key hit back and upped the ante big time, promising to get ahead of Mr Greenwald and declassify top-secret documents that will prove him wrong.
Mr Key has repeatedly denied spy agency the GCSB conducts mass surveillance of New Zealanders, even saying he would resign if it were prove, and he was standing by that today. . .
“Kim Dotcom is a man who is trying to gerrymander the election,” says Mr Key. “He’s paying a guy who’s coming to New Zealand to make claims.”
Mr Greenwald denies he’s being paid by Kim Dotcom to be here and says he’s donating his fee to charity.
But Mr Key had little charity for Snowden, describing him as a hacker, not a whistleblower.
“Unfortunately he may have hacked some information, but not all of it,” says Mr Key.
Mr Key says that bit they missed is what he’s about to release.
Mr Key has admitted for the first time that yes, New Zealand spies did look into what he calls a “mass protection” option that he concedes could have been seen as “mass surveillance” or “wholesale spying”, but that, and this is the important bit, he says it never actually went ahead.
Mr Key has revealed that after two major cyber-attacks on New Zealand companies, in late 2011 and early 2012, the GCSB stared to look at options with the help of partner agencies like the NSA.
But Mr Key says this idea never got past the business case stage because he deemed it too invasive.
This was before the Snowden leaks, and Mr Key says the fact he said no is why he has been able to be so resolute that there was no mass spying on Kiwis. . .
Who do we believe?
The answer to that probably depends on our political views.
Those of us who know and trust the PM will believe him.
Those on the left of the spectrum won’t. They’ll back the hacker with the half-truths.
Those who aren’t political tragics might well be asking whose election is it?
Ours or that of a foreigner with a very dodgy background who’s admitted:
“I hacked our German credit rating system and put our Prime Minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy,” said Dotcom. “You have all figured by now there’s another Prime Minister I don’t like.”
. . . A number of individuals, ranging from Colin Craig at one end of the socio-political spectrum to the mystery hacker Rawshark at the other, have set out to influence this election in ways and to degrees not previously seen in this country.
History may show the overwhelming focus was on the least significant and troubling of the various interventions and that Whaledump was exactly that: a cloud of waste matter floating through the (air)waves.
Within hours we had revelations from another foreigner paid by Kim Dotcom in an attempt to influence the election
Accusations of big money buying elections usually come from the left. How ironic that this time it is the puppets in Internet Mana who’ve allowed themselves to be bought.
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.
A re-elected National Government will return to surplus this financial year and stay there so we can reduce debt, reduce ACC levies on households and businesses and start modestly reducing income taxes, Finance Spokesman Bill English says.
“National’s clear economic plan is working for New Zealand by successfully supporting higher wages and more jobs, and ensuring government spending is invested wisely to deliver better results,” he said when issuing National’s Finance Policy today.
“National is working hard to ensure the economy grows sustainably into the future, supported by more savings, productive investment and exports. This will provide opportunities for Kiwi families to get ahead here in New Zealand.”
As set out in the Budget, a National-led Government will restrict average Budget allowances for discretionary new spending and revenue measures to $1.5 billion a year over the next three years. Within this allowance National will:
• Allow around $1 billion a year for new spending, including between $600 million and $700 million a year more for health and education. This total new spending is consistent with the level of new spending in our last two Budgets and it’s well below the $2 billion to $3 billion spending increases under the last Labour government, which had little to show for them.
• Reserve the remaining $500 million per Budget for modest tax reductions and further debt repayment, as economic and fiscal conditions permit. This portion of the allowance will be moved between Budgets and accumulated as necessary. Therefore, by the third year there will be around $1.5 billion available for tax cuts and debt repayment.
“It means that over the next four years, National will spend around $10 billion more in total, and most of that on health and education,” Mr English says.
“This is well below the $18 billion in extra spending Labour has already earmarked for the next four years, and that’s not counting the Greens and Dotcom.”
National’s five fiscal priorities for the next three years are:
1. Return to surplus this year and maintain surpluses over subsequent years. These growing surpluses will enable us to meet the Government’s capital requirements and reduce debt.
2. Reduce net government debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020, including starting to repay net debt in dollar terms in 2017/18. Reducing government debt puts New Zealand in a better position to cope with the next economic shock or natural disaster.
3. Further reduce ACC levies on households and businesses, starting on 1 April 2016. A National Government will cut levies on all ACC accounts by an average of around 30 per cent. Subject to public consultation, this will reduce levies by between $700 million and $900 million a year – the equivalent of a tax cut for households and businesses.
4. Begin to reduce income taxes from 1 April 2017, providing economic and fiscal conditions allow, and if the first three priorities have been achieved. Any tax reductions will be modest, given the fiscal headroom available, and they will focus on low and middle income earners.
“We will consider the details of a possible tax package closer to the time,” Mr English says. “As the Prime Minister and I have said, we won’t be setting out a specific tax package before this election.”
5. Use any further fiscal headroom – including from positive revenue surprises – to get net debt to 20 per cent of GDP sooner than 2020.
“Once debt gets to 20 per cent of GDP, we will begin to resume contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund,” Mr English says.
“In addition, we will help to keep interest rates lower for longer for New Zealand families by reducing core Crown spending to below 30 per cent of GDP by 2017/18 from 34.4 per cent in 2008/09 under the previous government. And our focus will remain relentlessly on targeting that spending where it delivers better results for New Zealanders.”
National will continue to improve management of the Government’s capital investment programme, which totals around $24 billion over the next four years.
“That includes using the remaining $1.7 billion of proceeds from the Government share offers to reinvest in new public assets like schools, hospitals and regional roads – without having to borrow this money.”
Mr English says New Zealanders have a stark choice this election.
“They can continue to support National and its clear economic plan that is working for New Zealand. It’s delivering a strong economy, it’s getting us back to surplus and it’s getting on top of debt. Under National, we will achieve sustained growth that delivers solid increases in household incomes and new jobs through the next term.
“Or they can put all that at risk by changing course to who knows what direction.
“Under Labour, the Greens and Dotcom, the economy would stall. They would introduce five new and unnecessary taxes and create a surge of wasteful government spending.
“And they would undermine the confidence necessary for businesses to invest now so we get stronger growth later.” . .
National has been criticised from the right for not offering bigger tax cuts and the left for offering the cuts at all.
The amount isn’t big but the contrast the plan provides with Labour and its potential coalition partners is significant.
National will allow low and middle income earners to keep a little more of their own money.
Labour and its partners would leave them with a lot less because of the five new taxes they’d impose on top of higher KiwiSaver contributions.
On top of that we’d be faced with higher interest rates, higher inflation and lower growth.
National’s plan is working.
It’s cushioned the most vulnerable from the worst effects of the recession and got the country back on track to surpluses and growth.
The policies Labour and its mis-matched mates would impose on the country would undo the good work and take us backwards again.
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.
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.
Kim Dotcom voted today – with cameras following:
It’s a secret ballot but there’s no secret that he’d be voting for what he’s paying for – a last-ditch attempt to avoid extradition.
The only way to stop the puppets whose strings he’s pulling having any say in government is a party vote for National.
Unless there’s a major change from recent polls, Labour and the Greens won’t have enough support to govern without the support of New Zealand First and the Internet and Mana parties – together or apart.
Dotcom can’t stand for parliament but he’s paying other people to do it for him and once there he’ll want to extract a price.
He would be the puppet master shadowing a Labour/Green/NZ First/ Internet/Mana coalition.
Only if there’s a National-led government will he be unable to pull any influential strings.
Only a party vote for National deliver that.
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.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce sums up Labour’s announcement it’s dropping some yet unannounced policies:
Finance Minister Bill English isn’t convinced either:
It’s too late for Labour to try to look responsible with taxpayers’ money when it has publicly committed to four years of new spending with almost a month to run before the election, National Party Finance Spokesman Bill English says.
“Labour is desperately trying to make its big spending commitments look smaller, and has decided to not even put costings on its big spending tertiary and transport commitments.
“Neither David Cunliffe nor David Parker could this morning actually list which of their expensive spending promises would be delayed in what was a failed attempt to appear fiscally prudent.
“Labour would return to their high spending ways, with at least an $18 billion list of new spending commitments,” Mr English says.
“That’s before you add the Greens’ promises to spend an additional $10 billion over the next four years. Then then there’s the wish list of support partner the Dotcom party, which wants to spend billions more on free tertiary education and community make-work schemes.
“Whatever Labour presents now would be up for negotiation in coalition talks where the Greens would have considerable sway – not to mention concessions demanded by Dotcom.
“On top of that, the Greens and Labour are arguing over their numbers. The Greens say they want Labour’s numbers independently audited – and for good reason. And as we saw from the weekend, they can’t even agree fairly basic stuff like where the two of them think the top personal tax rate should be.
“The last time we saw this sort of approach, New Zealand taxpayers and families were the losers, with high deficits, a stalling economy and mortgage interest rates at nearly 11 per cent. New Zealand simply can’t afford the Labour/Greens/Dotcom coalition,” Mr English says.
High tax, high spending policies under the last Labour-led government put the country into recession before the rest of the world and left us with a forecast for a decade of deficits.
If they couldn’t manage the books responsibly in good times, they’ll have no show of exercising the restraint needed to ensure we keep on the road to recovery from bad times.
The Green Party has confirmed the environment isn’t their priority, it’s their socialist economic and social agenda which matters most.
Green co-leaders Russel Norman and Metiria Turei want to be in a full coalition with Labour and have senior Cabinet positions that reflect their party’s priorities, social justice and the economy. . .
They’ve always denied the accusation of being a watermelon – green on the outside, red inside. But confirming the environment isn’t a priority proves they are.
The thought of Green MPs in senior cabinet positions, and sharing the position of Deputy Prime Minister will not be attractive to many Labour voters and will be even less so to Winston Peters.
Throw Internet Mana and their puppet master Kim Dotcom into the mix and a potential Labour-Green government becomes even more expensive and unstable.