H is for

November 19, 2019

When Labour, NZ First and the Green Party were in opposition they were very critical of National’s Cabinet Clubs through which people paid to attend meals at which senior politicians spoke.

Their criticism has dried up now they’re in government and Labour is charging $1500 for a lunch with Jacinda Ardern who happens to be Prime Minister but will be acting as Labour leader.

Running a political party and election campaigns costs a lot of money. It can be easier to get a sum like this from a few people than it is to raise a similar amount from a lot more people in much smaller amounts.

Anyone who thinks a politician can be bought for $1500 (minus the GST that will have to be paid), or even a lot more, has a very jaundiced view of the world and politicians.

I don’t have any concerns about this method of fundraising. I do have concerns about those who suggest state funding of political parties as an alternative.

And I’m not impressed with the hypocrisy from those who criticised National for raising funds this way but are saying nothing now it’s their end of the political spectrum doing it.

On the subject of hypocrisy, the Veteran  has spotted another large dose of it in Northland:

It appears that Labour has disregarded my quite inspired and well meaning advice that if  ‘they’ want to see Winston First back in parliament then they should have Kevin Davis go List only giving the Jones boy a clear run at the Te Tai Tokerau seat which he would win at a canter …

the prodigal son returning and all of that. I can report that Labour’s well respected Willow Jean Prime has been told she’s going to have to take one for the team and confine her campaigning to anywhere but Northland … Chatham Islands perhaps. . .

Labour did that to allow Winston Peters to win the Northland by-election.

That he wasn’t able to hold it at the next election ought to be a lesson for Northland voters who think another NZ First MP would be any better for them than the party’s leader was.

They should also learn from Southland, the West Coast and Taranaki where this government’s policies are doing far more harm than can be mitigated by dollops of money from the provincial slush fund.


Electorate accommodation could backfire on both parties

October 18, 2017

Is an electorate accommodation on offer in an effort to woo Winston Peters?

Many commentators think this will be his last term. That has been said    before and while each time it’s said he’s a bit older, there’s no certainty he’ll be any keener on retirement in 2020 than he has been before.

Whether or not he stands again, the party is at risk of slipping below the 5% threshold and out of parliament unless it wins a seat.

But even if Peters wants to contest another election, it’s unlikely he’d risk standing and not winning an electorate. He’s won three but also lost them, he won’t want to lose another.

His repeated criticism of National for allowing electorate accommodations for Act and United Future, would open him to criticism should he ask for one to give him a better chance. But doing what he’s criticised others for doing isn’t usually a problem for him.

However, the people of Northland tired of him in less than a term and voted for Matt King instead. He will spend the next three years doing the hard work a good electorate MP does and winning the loyalty of voters by doing so.

They are unlikely to show enthusiasm for ignoring that and voting Peters back in, even if they’re given a very strong message from National to do so.

Other electorates that have been suggested where National might stand aside are Whangarei and Wairarapa.

Accommodations worked in Ohariu and Epsom. But Peter Dunne already held Ohariu when National’s then leader Jim Bolger gave the wink and nod to voters to give his party the party vote but vote for Dunne as the electorate MP.

Act’s Rodney Hide didn’t need an accommodation to win Epsom the first time. He won the seat from Richard Worth without any help from National.

In successive elections, National’s candidate campaigned only for the party vote making it easier for Hide and then David Seymour to win the electorate vote.

But that is very different from asking voters to drop support for a sitting MP to allow a New Zealand First candidate to win the electorate.

There will be no enthusiasm for that from National members and absolutely no guarantee that enough voters would be prepared to turn their backs on their MP in favour of the NZ First candidate.

It would be a very risky move which could backfire on both parties.

 


Rural round-up

October 7, 2017

Time to end cartoon days for meat industry – Pam Tipa:

Meat Industry veteran Sir Graeme Harrison reckons the sector was summed up by a 1994 cartoon captioned, ‘we can’t see, we don’t hear and we don’t talk’.

“I think that is pretty typical of a lot of New Zealand’s export sector to be frank,” the ANZCO Foods Ltd founder and chairman told the recent ExportNZ conference in Auckland.

“Really what we’ve got to do is join hands and collaborate. That is certainly what ANZCO has done in its business relationships around the world.” . . 

Commodities and cost savings drive Fonterra’s performance – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra’s 2017 financial performance was a solid result, despite profits dropping 11 percent to $745 million. The main cause of the drop was the higher farm-gate price of milk supplied by its farmers, which is a cost to corporate Fonterra.

This farm-gate price is based on commodity returns and is largely beyond the control of Fonterra. The decline in profit would have been much greater if it were not for a six percent reduction in operating costs.

It is these operating cost savings which have fuelled the more than $5 million bonus payments this year to CEO Theo Spierings. These savings can be directly attributed to the so-called V3 strategy which was Spierings’ baby. . . 

Fonterra’s payout may be at risk after global dairy prices undershoot – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Dairy prices undershot expectations in the overnight auction and some economists say it points to weaker demand and stronger supply, threatening Fonterra Cooperative Group’s forecast payout.

The NZX Dairy Derivatives market pointed to around a 5 percent lift but instead the GDT price index – which covers a variety of products and contract periods – fell 2.4 percent from the previous auction two weeks ago to US$3,223.

“The fall was a surprise and must be telling us something about demand that the market did not already know,” said Westpac Banking Corp chief economist Dominick Stephens. . . 

Meet the  new King of the North – Pam Tipa:

New National MP-elect for Northland Matt King, who took the seat off Winston Peters, is not taking anything for granted until the special votes are counted.

Although he is about 1300 votes ahead and has been told that is a safe margin, he will wait and see before making any big decisions.

They will include whether to lease out the 283ha beef farm at Okaihau that he bought only six months ago from his father, having leased it himself for the past 10 years. He has lived on the farm most of his life.

But he says there is no way he could give his best to his new role as an MP and continue to run the farm himself. . . 

Farm Plan focus in Central Hawke’s Bay:

Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s land advisors met with 34 Farm Plan providers in Waipawa on Wednesday to tackle the challenge of delivering 1,100 Central HB farm plans by 31 May 2018.

The regional council’s Tukituki Plan will lead to better water quality in the Tukituki catchment through land use practice improvements and landowner-led innovation. At this stage, the pressure is on individual landowners to commit to work with Farm Plan providers. The Farm Plans are not a solution in themselves, but spell out the adjustments to make to reduce individual farm impacts on the environment. . . 


Rural round-up

March 9, 2017

The big deluge: Fresh weather warnings as slips affect Coromandel homes, close roads, power off:

Fresh dire weather warnings have been issued as slips force people out of Coromandel properties and roads remain closed across sodden parts of the North Island.

As water recedes and slips are cleared off roads from yesterday’s massive one-in-a-100-year deluge, Northland is being told to be on watch for potentially damaging thunderstorms to hit mainly south of Kaitaia as the region comes in for a period of torrential rain. . .

Lange, manager get access awards – Guy Williams:

The men responsible for opening up public access to high country land between Arrowtown and Glendhu Bay have been recognised by the Walking Access Commission.

Switzerland-based record producer Robert ”Mutt” Lange and his Arrowtown-based manager, Russell Hamilton, received Walking Access Champion awards at a ceremony at Parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Hamilton, who accepted the famously publicity-shy Mr Lange’s award on his behalf, said it was ”very nice” to be recognised..

How I beat the black dog within myself –  Jon Morgan:

The latest person to come out and admit they have had problems with depression is a young Methven farmer, Sam Robinson.

Writing on NZ Farming’s Facebook page, he spoke movingly about how bleak it can be to feel so down that you want to kill yourself.

He acknowledged that it is difficult for those who have no experience of mental illness to recognise the signs and be supportive.

He had one suggestion for what they could do – just to say to their mate next time they are in a social situation something like, “I think you are a good sort and I bloody like you“. . .

Cattle lost in fire: it’s horrible out there, the things I saw – Michael Pearce:

Larry Konrade of Ashland likes hunting everything from doves to huge whitetail bucks.

But when he left his house Tuesday morning with a favored rifle, he was dreading the day. He felt even worse when it was over.

“It’s horrible, just horrible. I left the house with (60) shells and used them all,” Konrade said. He said he probably killed 40 cows, “and in a lot of places there weren’t even very many left alive to put down.” . .

Nuffield scholars identify challenges for NZ – Richard Rennie:

Last year’s Nuffield Scholars are uneasy at competing countries’ ability to match or outpace New Zealand agriculture.

In a summary of their experiences the unbalanced rhetoric around emerging technologies was also noted.

Wellington based government agricultural development manager Jessica Bensemann reported her concern over New Zealand agriculture’s level of disconnectedness from global trading trends and patterns after visiting Asia, United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Instead she warned New Zealand’s primary sector appeared to be transfixed within the farm gate. . .

Rugged rural fellas wanted:

The call has gone out for young, gallant rural gents to compete for this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays’ Rural Bachelor of the Year.

Eight finalists will be selected for the popular competition, which takes place during Fieldays at Mystery Creek Events Centre from June 14-17.

The competition is in its seventh year and entries close at the end of March. . .


Rural round-up

January 30, 2017

Farmers speak up for industry during a hostile year – Gerald Piddock:

Being named as one of Waikato’s top environmental farmers has given a platform for John Hayward and Susan O’Regan to show that agriculture is not the villain it is made out to be.

Nearly a year after being named supreme winners of the Waikato Farm Environment Awards, the couple’s farm has hosted countless individuals and groups, ranging from the former United States ambassador Mark Gilbert to cabinet ministers, MPs and school children.

O’Regan said they had tried to do their best to improve people’s understanding and perspective of dairying in what had been a pretty hostile year. . . 

Dairy strategy about more than just producing extra milk – Andrew Hoggard:

All manner of self-appointed experts have recently been making claims around the dairy industry’s strategy, and how we associate with others.

About the only thing they got right is that we actually do have a strategy. Its official title is The Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming. Its purpose is firstly to inform DairyNZ’s funding priorities, but also to co-ordinate industry action on the various strategy objectives.

The strategy is focused primarily around on-farm, but also covers domestic issues that will take into account the processors. So it’s not about telling the various processors which markets to operate in, and what products to sell. . . 

Shearing champs labour of love falling into place – Sally Rae:

“Imagine the biggest roller coaster in the world and being on it.”

That is how World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships organising committee chairman Tom Wilson describes preparing for the event in Invercargill next week.‘‘Some things have happened easily and the next minute you’ve got to really dig in with something a bit more challenging. ‘‘It is a bit of a labour of love but you work through it. Everything’s falling into place,’’ he said.

Mr Wilson, shearing great Sir David Fagan and Gavin Rowland, from Shearing Sports New Zealand, made the bid at the previous world championships in 2014 to hold the 2017 event in New Zealand. The bid was successful and planning began in earnest for the championships which will be held at the ILT Stadium Southland on February 8-11. The championships have a 40-year history, dating back to when they were first held at Bath and West in England in 1977.Mr Wilson’s involvement stretches nearly as far, contesting his first world championships in Masterton in 1980. . . 

Finalist looks forward to tough competition – Sally Rae:

Alan Harvey is looking forward to next month’s Otago-Southland regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

He is one of eight regional finalists who will compete in the event in Roxburgh on February 18. The winner will go on to the grand final in the Manawatu in July.

Organisers have touted it as shaping up to be the toughest competition of the seven regional finals nationwide. Mr Harvey (25) was fourth in the Tasman regional final last year. Brought up on a sheep and beef farm in North Otago, he joined the Five Forks Young Farmers Club when he was 15 and was involved in setting up a club at Waitaki Boys’ High School.

Summer heats up for Hawkes Bay farmers – Alexa Cook:

Farmers in Hawke’s Bay are selling stock because they don’t have enough food or water for them, livestock agent John Kingston says.

Mr Kingston, who works for Carrfields, said although the region had had a good spring, weeks of wind had dried out the land.

“We normally have a dry season here but it’s getting beyond a joke now.

“Stock water is the biggest issue. Some people have had to buy water for houses. The feed is absolutely swept around most of Hawkes Bay.”

Dry weather spells trouble for Northland farmers – Sarah Robson:

Extra blankets and raincoats haven’t been far from reach in many parts of the country this summer, but farmers in Northland are worried they’re in for another prolonged dry spell.

Federated Farmers Northland president John Blackwell said while there was a welcome burst of rain last week, strong winds have whisked most of the moisture away from the soil.

Dairy farmers were trying to source extra feed and looking at culling their herds. A lot of sheep and beef farmers had already de-stocked, while a wet October meant many crops had failed. . .

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Quote of the day

April 2, 2015

To their credit, National has already identified that one of the key barriers to progress and development in many parts of the country is the Resource Management Act (RMA). This is certainly the case in Northland, which is rich in natural resources but poor in economic activity and jobs. But ironically for the people of Northland, by electing Winston Peters they may well have blocked the RMA reforms that are required to improve access to such resources.

The RMA is one of those Acts of Parliament that most people have little contact with. They are the lucky ones.

It’s the property owners and business people with initiatives that come into contact with the Act. Most come to dislike it intensely because they encounter first hand the extortionate demands of ‘affected parties’, the manipulation by activists, the huge costs extracted by the RMA industry, and the barriers put up by consenting authorities.

As a result, consents will often take years to go through the process – council hearings, the Environment Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, all costing applicants such vast sums of money, that in the end many are forced to abandon their project altogether. . .

While there are no doubt a multitude of ideas about how best to move resource planning forward to benefit the country – including the use of council case managers as advocates to guide applicants through the regulatory process and gain the cooperation of government agencies – at the heart of this matter is a realisation that holding back progress is not in the country’s best interest. Yes, we must be careful to minimise the impact of development on the environment, but we must also recognise that New Zealand families need economic growth and jobs if they are to thrive and prosper.

The irony is that as a result of the Northland by-election, the fate of the RMA is now in the hands of Mr Peters. Does he truly care about the long-term well-being of Northlanders, or is he too going to deliver more show than substance for his constituents – some new bridges and a bit of tar seal, when what they really need are jobs.  – Dr Muriel Newman,


Let’s get back on-message

March 31, 2015

One of the big disappointments of the Northland by-election was that National went off-message.

Until then the message was clear and consistent – a growing economy is the means for improved services and infrastructure, without compromising the environment, and National’s recipe for that is working.

We’ve had sustained growth, without inflationary pressure, in spite of the financial and natural crisis the government has faced.

That has been achieved by careful management of public finances while looking after the most vulnerable.

A big part of the plan, and its success, is addressing the causes of long-term problems and thereby reducing the costs which go with them.

This is why National has increased money for education and put more in to helping those most at risk from long term welfare dependence.

It is why it has made delivering Better Public Services one of its priorities.

To do this, we set 10 specific measurable targets in 2012 that we expected the public service to achieve over four to five years to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly the most vulnerable.

These 10 targets are in areas that have been challenging to governments, not just in New Zealand but all around the world – such as welfare dependency, crime, child abuse, and educational achievement.

This focus on results, and being accountable for achieving them, is changing the way the public service is thinking and operating.

Three years on, we are making progress on all 10 targets and it’s now starting to make a difference that improves the lives of New Zealanders.

In February 2015, we released our twice yearly update on the Better Public Service programme.

Key highlights of the latest update include:

  • Immunisation rates of young babies have reached an all-time high.
  • Rheumatic fever rates have dropped considerably.
  • Crime numbers continue to fall – the crime rate is now at a 35-year low.
  • Last year nearly 5,000 people came off long-term JobSeeker Support benefits and into work.
  • More 18-year olds are achieving NCEA Level 2.
  • More young people are achieving higher qualifications.
  • And the number of children who experienced substantiated physical abuse has decreased by almost 200, or 5.6 per cent, over the past year.

There’s still a lot of work to do and we will continue to focus on making strides on the things that matter to New Zealanders and their families.

These matter everywhere in New Zealand, including the provinces.

But there is no doubt Northland had an itch to which Winston Peters applied his usual prescription of charm without substance.

It is possible that no matter how good a campaign National ran it wouldn’t have been able to counter Peters’ persuasion.

But there would have been a better chance of success had it stuck to its message and it must get back on to it.

It has the right prescription and it must keep applying it everywhere including those parts of the country which, fairly or not, feel it isn’t yet addressing their ills.

 

 


One against too many

March 29, 2015

The Northland by-election delivered a 4,000 vote majority for Winston Peters which is being described as a hiding for National.

But how could our candidate, Mark Osborne, counter all of the left plus some of the centre and centre right who might, or might not, not have understood the consequences of their voting?

One against too many others united in opposition to him was too much.

Given what he was up against and how little time he had, he did well, but sadly not well enough.

I’m not pretending this is anything but bad for National. The party will be doing serious soul-searching and must learn from this.

But National isn’t the only loser.

After the knee-capping by Labour leader Andrew Little, that party’s candidate wasn’t expected to do well but just 1,315 votes must be galling for Willow-Jean Prime.

What does the result say for the left as a whole? The Green party didn’t stand and Mana scraped up only 55 votes.

This wasn’t a win for the left who have lost any moral high ground they might have had from which to criticise National for not campaigning to win electorates.

Previous Labour leaders struggled against Russel Norman who did a better job in Opposition and now Little will have to counter a stronger Peters.

What does this result do for Northlanders? They’ve now got an MP who doesn’t live in the electorate and who will be distracted by his party-leadership responsibilities.

They’ve got two and a half years to work out whether that’s what they need.

And New Zealand, after nearly getting a majority government on election night is back to where it was in the last term with National dependent on Act and the votes of at least one other party to pass legislation.

Ah well, that’s politics and today we’ve got sport to enjoy – Go the Black Caps.

 


Northland by-election

March 28, 2015

By-election  results are being posted at elections.govt.nz.

Update:

With all booths counted Peters has a majority of 4012:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 85
HOLLAND, Adam IND 14
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,347
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,359
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 55
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,315
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

With 99% counted Peters has a majority of 3995:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 84
HOLLAND, Adam IND 14
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,331
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,326
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 55
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,313
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22
Candidate Informals 43
TOTAL 28,416

UPDATE:

At 96% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 84
HOLLAND, Adam IND 13
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,263
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,149
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 52
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,304
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

At 89.9% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 15
CARR, Joe FNZ 96
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 62
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 74
HOLLAND, Adam IND 11
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 10,131
PAINTING, Rob CLI 33
PETERS, Winston NZF 13,760
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 52
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,183
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

With 82% counted

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 12
CARR, Joe FNZ 84
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 57
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 65
HOLLAND, Adam IND 11
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 9,347
PAINTING, Rob CLI 28
PETERS, Winston NZF 12,475
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 49
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,040
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

At 70.4% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 11
CARR, Joe FNZ 81
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 43
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 52
HOLLAND, Adam IND 9
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 8,416
PAINTING, Rob CLI 26
PETERS, Winston NZF 11,139
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 44
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 975
ROGAN, Bruce IND 17

UPDATE:

With 56% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 10
CARR, Joe FNZ 65
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 42
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 40
HOLLAND, Adam IND 9
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 7,464
PAINTING, Rob CLI 23
PETERS, Winston NZF 9,696
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 38
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 849
ROGAN, Bruce IND 17

A little more than 15% of the vote has been counted and it’s very much a two-horse race:

 

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 8
CARR, Joe FNZ 39
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 25
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 26
HOLLAND, Adam IND 7
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 5,394
PAINTING, Rob CLI 16
PETERS, Winston NZF 6,875
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 32
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 634
ROGAN, Bruce IND 12
Candidate Informals 18
TOTAL 13,086

 

With a little more than 40% of the vote counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 9
CARR, Joe FNZ 60
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 36
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 31
HOLLAND, Adam IND 8
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 6,394
PAINTING, Rob CLI 18
PETERS, Winston NZF 8,283
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 35
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 715
ROGAN, Bruce IND 16

What did Hunua & Tauranga learn that Northland should know?

March 21, 2015

Winston Peters won the seat of Hunua in 1978 but lost it again in 1981.

He won Tauranga in 1984 and lost it again in 2008.

What did the people of Hunua and Tauranga learn that voters in Northland should know?
"Send him a message."


Little hints

March 9, 2015

Labour leader Andrew leader can’t quite bring himself to tell Northland voters not to vote for his party’s candidate Willow-Jean Prime but he’s dropping little – or should that be Little? – hints:

Mr Little told TVNZ One’s Q+A programme that Labour will not pull its candidate Willow-Jean Prime from the by-election contest, despite a Q+A Colmar Brunton poll showing Mr Peters would win if she was not in the running.

However, he called for left voters to be “realistic” with their candidate choice.

“They’ve got a vote they should use it. If they want to vote to send a message to the Government …

“They are intelligent enough to see how they can do that.” . .

Every election Labour has criticised National for electoral accommodations in Epsom and Ohariu but now he thinks it would be too his advantage, Little is indicating he’s willing to do just that.

He’s throwing his candidate under the wheels of Peters’ bus, not to help Labour or Northland but, as Rodney Hide points out, to get a New Zealand First list MP in Invercargill and give more power to Peter Dunne:

. . . A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

But it gets better.

Peters lives in Auckland. Parliament is in Wellington. That’s how he divides his time. Kerikeri is 250km north of Auckland. So Peters is asking the people of Northland to vote for an Aucklander to elect an MP from Invercargill and empower an MP from Wellington. . .

This would not bring down the government but it would make it more difficult for it to pass legislation and give Dunne and the two other government partners – Act and the Maori Party – a lot more bargaining power.

That won’t help Labour this term, nor will it make it any easier for it and its potential coalition partners to gain enough seats to govern next term.

In fact it might make it more difficult because the Little hints make him look downright shifty.

When National campaigns in Epsom and Ohariu it is open about campaigning only for the party vote and it ensures its candidates are high enough on its list to get into parliament.

Little isn’t being open, he’s trying to have a bob each way. He hasn’t clearly said voters should ditch Prime for Peters but nor has he said they shouldn’t. Yet he’s prevaricating enough to handicap his candidate and there’s no list seats up for grabs in a by-election to compensate her for her wasted efforts.

And what’s in this political playing for the people of Northland?

. . . Peters is 70 this year. It’s a long way from Auckland to Northland. It’s even further across the electorate. Peters will be bogged down and busy doing the bare minimum needed to be local MP. I doubt the region will be much troubled by him.

And he would lose in 2017. Northland will return a National candidate in a General Election.

It has been 40 years since Peters stood for Northern Maori. He’s late in rediscovering the north but his campaign is exciting.

I believe he prefers a close second. Winning would be altogether too much work.

Little is willing to sabotage his candidate to help Peters who will have neither the will nor the energy to service the large Northland electorate and its many communities while also attending to the demands of party leadership.

We can but hope the people of Northland will have learned from Tauranga voters who saw through him and send both him and Labour a message: they need an MP who lives in the electorate who will be in government and who will represent them well and work hard for them.

There’s only one of those standing – National’s Mark Osborne.

 

 


Little can’t afford to stand back in Northland

March 5, 2015

Should Labour noble its Northland candidate, Willow-Jean Prime, in the hope it’s supporters vote for Winston Peters?

Not if its leader Andrew Little wants a look-in in the news for the next three and a half weeks.

The campaign will be short and sharp but Little can’t afford to have Peters hogging the headlines for the best part of a month while Prime hides in the shadows and he looks irrelevant.

National’s Mark Osborne will be taking nothing for granted even though he is the most likely to win.

With or without Peters in the race, Labour won’t win the seat.

But Little can’t afford to stand back in Northland.

He and the party won’t want their candidate to come a distant third if they’re to look like they have a chance of leading a government in 2017.


Mark Osborne Nat candidate for Northland

February 28, 2015

National Party members in the Northland electorate have selected Matthew Osborne as their candidate for next month’s by-election.

. . . Mr Osborne was selected at a large meeting of party members in Kerikeri today, pledging to work to maintain a strong voice for Northland in John Key’s National Government.

National is working hard and delivering for the north,” said Mr Osborne.

“National’s focus on investment and growth helped to create 7500 more jobs in Northland last year and Northland is currently one of the fastest growing regions in the country.”

Mr Osborne highlighted eight ways National’s plan is lifting Northland’s growth rate and helping more Northlanders into work:

• Building the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance to link Northland to Auckland
• Investing $255 million over three years in local roads and highways across Northland
• Backing Northland’s primary industries through the $750m Primary Growth Partnership.
• Attracting more investment and job growth in Northland through the Northland Regional Growth Study.
• Reforming the RMA to address the costs, delays, and frustrations that are holding our regions back.
• Rolling out much faster broadband services for Northland.
• Introducing the Maori and Pasifika Trades training initiative across Northland
• Supporting Northland families with free doctors’ visits for under-13s and investing over $134 million to improve and expand Northland’s school network since 2008.

“These are vital initiatives for Northland’s future. I’ll work hard to see them delivered and build on that momentum by keeping Northland’s strong local voice in the John Key Government.”

Based in Taipa, Mark Osborne is an Asset Manager for Far North District Council. Through his work as a Northland public servant, former General Manager of Te Ahu Charitable Trust, Trustee of Mangonui School, and experience running family-owned local business Doubtless Beauty, Mr Osborne has strong ties to Northland. Married to Jodi, he is also a father of two.

Northland covers a large geographical area with several diverse communities.

It is regarded as a safe Nationals eat but and neither Mark nor the party will be taking anything for granted.


Peters standing to give Invercargill MP at Northland’s expense

February 27, 2015

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is standing in the Northland by-election.

. . . He said today that standing in the by-election was not an easy decision, but he had a long held concern for “Northland’s forgotten people”.

National had forgotten Northland for years, and the region was stagnating, Peters said. . .

He will be hoping that Northland voters have forgotten, or never knew, about the vagaries of MMP.

Should he win the seat he will become an electorate MP and the next person on NZ First’s list will get into parliament. That’s Ria Bond from Invercargill.

Quite how Peters will persuade the good people of Northland they will be represented by voting him in as an electorate MP with his reputation for talking big and doing little and in the process losing an MP from their end of the country and gifting parliament one from the other will remain to be seen.

Labour has confirmed Willow-Jean Prime as its candidate, and the Act Party will stand Whangarei orchardist Robin Grieve.

The Green Party and the Maori Party are not standing candidates.

If Labour sabotage their candidate in an attempt to unite opposition votes behind Peters it could happen.

Voters often punish the governing party in a by-election and a new candidate usually doesn’t attract the same level of votes a sitting one did.

The 2014 election results show:

NZ First didn’t bother standing a candidate in Northland last year. Mike Sabin won the seat for National with 18,269 votes and a majority of 9,300 over Prime who got 8,969 votes.

National gained 17,412 party votes; Labour got 5,913 and NZ First 4,546. the Green Party managed to get 3,855 votes and its candidate gained 3,639 votes.

National members in the electorate will select their candidate tomorrow.

The five in contention are: Grant McCallum, Mita Harris, Matt King, Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston.

 

 

 

 

 


McCallum seeks Northland selection

February 10, 2015

Dairy farmer and party board member Grant McCallum is seeking selection as National candidate for Northland.

The party’s rules give the right to select a candidate to members in the electorate. Voting delegates  must have been members for at least six months.

They take that very seriously and would take a very dim view on interference from anywhere else, in or outside the party.

Grant is the first candidate for selection to announce his intentions.

He and his family have a long history of active membership in the party which means he will be known to many of the delegates who will vote in the selection.

That will give him a head-start but every candidate has to earn the support of the delegates and nothing can be taken for granted.

Northland is the seventh biggest general electorate, stretching from the top of the North Island, skirting Whangarei, to Wellsford and covers an area of 12,255 square kilometres.

It has no single big centre of population and many diverse and far-flung small ones.


Mike Sabin resigns as MP

January 30, 2015

Northland MP Mike Sabin has announced his resignation from parliament.

. . . There have been reports Mr Sabin was being investigated by police over assault-related allegations, although neither Mr Sabin, the police or Prime Minister John Key would confirm that.

Mr Sabin announced in a short statement that he had decided to resign “due to personal issues that were best dealt with outside Parliament.”

He succeeded long-serving National MP John Carter in 2011. He had been a police officer then worked campaigning against drug abuse.

A resignation under these circumstances is unfortunate but it is the right thing to do.

The resignation will trigger a by-election.

 


Rural round-up

July 15, 2014

Medium scale adverse event declared in Northland:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has declared a medium-scale adverse event for the primary sector in storm-hit Northland.

“This will provide the overarching framework for any Government support as assessments continue to be made.

“The first stage of this is to provide funding for Northland Rural Support Trust (NRST) to deliver help, support, and management advice to farmers and growers. The Trust have been working closely with MPI and local authorities to determine what’s required in the clean-up phase after severe flooding and wind damage.

“The storm has impacted around 80% of the primary sector in Northland with very high winds and heavy rainfall over a solid four day period. I’ve seen for myself the damage today at an avocado orchard severely damaged by wind and dairy farms near Whangarei under water. . .

Grower quits after $100,000 avo thefts – Kristin Edge:

Northland avocado growers are being warned to be on high alert for fruit thieves with one Whangarei grower estimating $100,000 worth of fruit has been stolen over the past five years.

The Whangarei grower, who did not want to be identified because she feared for her safety, said her orchard had been continually targeted by thieves and she was selling up due to the financial losses and emotional stress.

The latest theft comes only days after an industry-wide warning was issued to growers to be extra vigilant to protect the new season’s crop. . .

Farmers focus on debt – Jeremy Tauri:

We spend a lot of time worrying about the residential property market, if prices are out of control and how young people will get their first homes.

But although we have focused on the price of a house and section in the suburbs, many people have ignored what’s been happening out of town.

The rural sector is the biggest driver of this country’s economy and in the regions we feel the impact of farmers’ fortunes even more acutely. But although we’ve been bemoaning that, nationwide, house prices have increased two-and-a-half times since 2000, rural land prices have trebled. Real Estate Institute statistics show the median price a hectare for farms sold in the three months to May 2014 was $25,017. . . .

Shepherd makes tracks to France – Sally Rae:

Come September it will be ”au revoir Waihaorunga” and ”bonjour France” for young South Canterbury shepherd Alex Reekers.

Mr Reekers (23), a member of the Glenavy Young Farmers Club, and Mitchel Hoare (19), of Te Kuiti Young Farmers Club, will represent New Zealand at the final of the World Young Shepherds Challenge in Auvergne, France, in September.

The pair earned the top scores in the preliminary round of the challenge, held alongside the ANZ Young Farmer Contest grand final at Lincoln. . . .

Trust works more at top of the cliff – Sally Rae:

The Otago Rural Support Trust’s emphasis is changing.

Traditionally, the work of the trust had been ”the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff”, mostly during adverse weather events like floods, snow storms and droughts.

But increasingly, the trust was ”doing more work at the top of the cliff”, assisting rural families who were under stress, chairman Gavan Herlihy, of Wanaka, said. . . .

New agri-chemicals safety campaign:

A new rural safety campaign is underway, and this one aims to encourage farmers and growers to wear the right safety gear when using agricultural chemicals.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has teamed up with agri-chemical industry body Agcarm and WorkSafe New Zealand for the campaign. Rural retailers are also participating by displaying posters and other information in more than 260 stores.

EPA chief executive Rob Forlong said the main point was to eliminate the “she’ll be right” attitude towards farm chemical and safety gear. . .


Northland must embrace job opportunities

February 5, 2014

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is urging Northland iwi and community leaders to endorse and encourage resource opportunities that will create jobs and boost economic growth in the region.

It follows comments from a spokesperson for one Ngapuhi hapu on Radio New Zealand and in Mining Australia magazine that Ngapuhi miners working in Australia wouldn’t be welcome home if they return to work in mining exploration in Northland.

“While regions across New Zealand are leading New Zealand’s economic recovery, Northland has been struggling with high unemployment. The only way to change that is to encourage new investment in the region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Northland iwi and community leaders have been working well together to develop a number of economic opportunities. It’s important that Northland embraces all opportunities to grow jobs in the region while carefully managing the environmental impacts.

“There are many opportunities for investment and growth here. Accelerating treaty settlements, improving the development of Maori land, and exploration of mineral opportunities are all part of the story.

“We have to get past the point where people react with a black and white no to resource opportunities. We need to manage the process so that we can both have the jobs and protect our environment.

“It’s time to unambiguously endorse measures that will really lift the North and bring jobs, incomes, and above all a stronger future here in Northland for the young people of the region.”

Northland is one of the poorest regions.

Taranaki is booming with higher employment and higher wages because it has embraced resource extraction.

In doing so it’s got the economic benefits without any of the environmental problems those opposed to drilling and mining use to defend their position.


Maori Seats too big – Flavell

November 25, 2013

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is concerned about the size of Maori electorates:

The Representation Commission has proposed no changes to the boundaries of the seven Maori electorates, because they are within their population quota.

Mr Flavell says it does not address the ”ridiculous” situation that the Tai Tonga MP is expected to represent over half of the land area of Aotearoa, which spans 18 general electorates.

He says the size of the Maori electorates is a major problem it has discussed with the Electoral Commission and MPs, but says there is no political will to change it.

He’s right about  Te Tai Tonga which covers 161, 443 square kilometres – that’s the whole of the South and Stewart Islands and part of Wellington Region.

But the next biggest seats are general ones. Clutha Southland covers 38,247 sq kms and West Coast Tasman covers 38, 042 sq kms.

Then comes the Maori seat of Te Tai Hauauru at 35, 825 sq kms and  the general seat of  Waitaki  which covers 34,888 sq kms.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti, a Maori seat, covers 30,952 sq kms then another general seat Kaikoura is 23, 706 sq kms.

The next two Maori seats are Waiariki at 19,212 sq kms and Te Tai Tokerau at 16, 370 sq kms. Then comes three general seats – East Coast (13,649); Taranaki-King Country (12, 869) and Northland (12, 255) and the smallest Maori electorate Hauraki-Waikato (12,580).

Mr Flavell says electoral law guarantees there will be at least 16 general electorates in the South Island so each one won’t be too big, and that approach should apply to Maori electorates.

The law actually says there will be 16 South Island seats and two of  those – Clutha Southland and West-Coast Tasman are bigger than all but Te Tai Tonga, Waitaki is bigger than all but that and Te Tai Hauauru ; Kaikoura is bigger than Waiariki and Te Tai Tokerau and the three biggest North island seats East Coast, Taranaki-King Country and Northland are all bigger than Hauraki-Waikato.
Electorate sizes are determined by dividing the South Island population by 16 with a tolerance of 5% over or under that figure.I agree that most Maori seats are too big but so are some of the general ones. MMP gives better representation to parties but bigger electorates provides poorer representation for people.The simplest way to reduce the area electorates cover is to increase the number of seats but that would require more MPs or reduce the number of list seats and so reduce proportionality which is one of MMP’s strengths.Another way to reduce the area MPs have to service is to get rid of Maori electorates and keep the total number of seats we have now. That would add a seat in the South Island and make all electorates a bit smaller but I don’t think that will get any support from Flavell.


Who’s best at getting votes?

September 3, 2013

On Q & A on Sunday Richard Prebble pointed out that none of Labour’s three leadership contenders had a good record for getting votes. (Transcript here).

In 2008 they were:

David Cunliffe, New Lynn, a dark red electorate: electorate vote 17,331, majority 4,025, party vote 14,165.

Grant Robertson, Wellington Central, a swinging electorate, electorate vote 17,046, majority 1,904, party vote 14,244.

Shane Jones, Northland, a National electorate, electorate vote 9,835, loss by 10,054, party vote 8,573.

In 2011 they were:

David Cunliffe, New Lynn – 16,999, majority 5,190, party vote 12,462.

Grant Robertson, Wellington Central: electorate vote 18,836, majority 6,376, party vote 10,459.

Shane Jones, Tamaki Makarau, a former Labour seat now held by the Maori Party: electorate vote  6,184,  a loss by 936, party vote 7,739.

In 2008 and 2011 Cunliffe’s electorate votes was higher than the party one but both were lower in 2011.

Robertson’s vote was higher than the party vote in both elections, his personal vote went up in 2011, the party vote went down.

In 2008 Jones’s electorate vote was higher than Labour’s party vote, in 2011 it was lower.

Looking at the colour of the seats, Robertson in the marginal Wellington Central did best but none of them was particularly good at getting votes.

Compare them with the National leader and deputy.

John Key got 26,771 electorate votes, won with a majority of 20,547  and attracted 23,559 party votes in 2008 and in 2011 got 26,011 electorate votes, a majority of 21,066 and 23,558 party votes.

In 2008, Bill English won Clutha Southland with   22,631 electorate votes, a majority of 15,475 and 20,235 party votes. In 2011 he won with 21,375 electorate votes, a majority of 16,168 and a party vote of 20,020.

These are very blue electorates, but New Lynn ought to be a red one.

The question those voting for Labour new leader should be asking Cunliffe, Jones and Robertson is, what are there chances of getting the sort of voter support Key and English do and how will they do it?


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