Could be a silly precedent

September 13, 2016

Labour is clearly rattled by the latest One News Colmar Brunton political poll which put the party down three to 26% since June.

Leader Andrew Little called it a bogus poll and now the party has released its internal poll results.

 

The Roy Morgan poll a couple of months ago which showed National on 53% was off-trend but the latest One News poll is far closer to others than Labour’s.

Kiwiblog has the four most recent poll results for National and Labour:

Individual polls are probably only of interest to political tragics but others might take more interest in the trends which have National in the mid 40s and suggest the UMR poll is an outlier.

Labour could have set a silly precedent and dug a hole for itself by releasing its own poll.

The media will want to know what the party’s internal polling shows next time one of the public ones doesn’t fit the party’s narrative.

If Labour doesn’t release it the obvious conclusion will be that it isn’t favourable either.

Had it not lost its spin doctors, one of them might have warned the party of that.


‘Woodn’t’ it be loverly

August 31, 2016

All I want is a seat somewhere/ I don’t care if it’s there or here/ Epsom, Roskill/I could if voters will/ ‘Woodn’t’ it be loverly?

Michael Wood stood for Labour in Epsom at the last election with no hope of winning the seat.

A lot of would-be MPs do that. It shows the party they’re committed and is good practice for if or when they’re given a chance in a seat they could win.

He’s now been selected as the Labour candidate for Mt Roskill to succeed Phil Goff  either if he wins the Auckland Mayoralty or when he retires at the next election.

It is expected to be a tight race. National won the party vote in the electorate at the last election and will have a strong candidate in list MP Parmjeet Parmar.

Enter the Green Party stage left.

The party could be prepared to do a deal with Labour and not stand a candidate.

That’s were it gets a bit whiffy because both those parties have lost no opportunity to criticise what they call ‘dirty deals’ in other seats, including Epsom about which Wood said in 2014:

“We are calling for a straight contest and an end to the dodgy deals.”

. . . In fact he went as far as bringing a bag of flour along to debates to replace National candidate Paul Goldsmith who stepped aside to make way for ACT’s David Seymour.

“Every time that Paul Goldsmith fails to front in this campaign, we’re going to remind people about the dirty deal with this bag of wholemeal flour,” Wood said on The Nation’s Epsom debate. . .

He told The Nation that voters were sick of dirty deals. . . .

It won’t be easy for Wood – he needs the “dirty deal” he once supposedly despised.

My question is who is bringing the bag of Quinoa to debates to stand in for the Greens?

The Green candidate got 1682 votes at the last election. Even some of those could make the difference in a tight race.

Wood could well find himself falling off his high horse on what he used to think were ‘dirty deals’ if it’s going to give him a leg-up to the seat.


A snap in time

July 22, 2016

This month’s Roy Morgan poll shows a big jump in support for National and a slump in support for Labour:

During July support for National jumped a large 10% to 53%, now well ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance 37% (down 5.5%). If a New Zealand Election was held now the latest NZ Roy Morgan Poll shows National, with their biggest lead since May 2015, would win easily.

However, support for the National partners was down slightly with the Maori Party down 1.5% to 0.5%, Act NZ was up 0.5% to 1% and United Future was 0% (unchanged).

Support fell for all three Parliamentary Opposition parties; Labour’s support was 25.5% (down 2.5%) – the lowest support for Labour since May 2015; Greens support was 11.5% (down 3%) and NZ First 7% (down 2%). Of parties outside Parliament the Conservative Party of NZ was 0.5% (down 0.5%), the Mana Party was 0.5% (unchanged) and support for Independent/ Other was 0.5% (down 0.5%).

rmp

The NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has increased to 127pts (up 6.5pts) in July with 57.5% (up 3%) of NZ electors saying NZ is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 30.5% (down 3.5%) that say NZ is ‘heading in the wrong direction’. . . 

Any poll is only a snap in time.

Last month’s snap showed a larger drop in support for the government, this month’s shows a larger increase.

This result indicates those snapped are more confident in the government and its direction in spite of the slew of negative headlines in the last few weeks.

It could indicate that people accept that problems a long time in the making will be a long time in the solving and aren’t looking to the government for miracles.

It could indicate that people looking at instability in so many other parts of the world are opting for stability here.

Whatever it indicates, it is only a snap in time and the next snap could be very different.


Surplus challenges

May 16, 2016

The government is facing challenges, Finance Minister Bill English told the National Party’s Mainland conference at the weekend.

The prospect of economic growth is good but brings with it the challenge of dealing with ongoing surpluses.

The government books scraped into surplus last year but few would have been surprised if they slipped back into deficit given low dairy prices and the various problems facing many of our trading partners.

However, the government is now looking ahead to multi-billion dollar surpluses in the short to medium term which provides the challenge of how best to use that money.

The opposition and the usual other suspects who think the quantity of spending matters more than quality have been calling for increased spending in all sorts of areas. Over at Kiwiblog, David Farrar has calculated that meeting the demands would require a top tax rate of 100%.

But this government has a much better focus than the quantity of spending.As the Finance Minister saidWe measure spending by results rather than the level of spending.

Some issues do require more money now in order to reduce future costs and that is why the government has taken an investment approach to social spending with a whole-of-government approach.

At the conference, Justice Minister Amy Adams spoke about this and explained that getting better results in her portfolio didn’t require more money for it. What was needed was spending that addressed the drivers of crime – welfare dependency and poor education and health.

Few would argue with that, but increased surpluses don’t only give the government the ability to spend more, it also has room to take less.

Last week’s announcement that there won’t be tax cuts in this year’s budget disappointed some, but I think most people accept Prime Minister John Key’s view hat there are other priorities this year.

National had looked at around $1 billion for tax cuts in the Budget the year but it was discarded because it would have delivered $7 or $8 a week to many households, Key told Newstalk ZB.

He said the choice they were faced with in the short term was either a billion dollars worth of tax cuts which would deliver a small amount of money to New Zealanders, or spend the money on other things such as cancer drugs.

Labour was, rightly, pilloried for its chewing gum tax cut and this government wouldn’t get any thanks for offering something similar.

However, people won’t be so patient when there’s a prospect of on-going billion dollar surpluses which give the potential for meaningful cuts and the PM gives room for hope:

“Philosophically we believe in lower taxes and smaller government, and government’s definitely getting smaller,” he said.

“The point is if we’re going to have a tax programme – we’re not ruling that out in for 2017 or campaigning on it for a fourth term. But having probably a bigger one, to be blunt.”

When asked how much was needed for meaningful tax cut, Key responded: “$3 billion I reckon.”

He wouldn’t reveal the budget surplus forecast for next year, but it was nowhere near enough for that.

He said it was realistic to forecast the tax cuts without voters considering it a ploy to be re-elected. 

Tax thresholds would probably change because of the increase in wages, he explained.

“The average income is going up and we think in a few years time the average income will be say $68,000, well the top rate cuts in at $70,000. If you don’t adjust thresholds over time you get to a point where the average income earner is paying the top personal rate of tax. That can’t be right.” . . 

Bracket creep erodes the value of wage rises and needs to be addressed.

Tax cuts  also help retirees. Superannuation is linked to after-tax wages. When taxes drop, after-tax wages increase and so do superannuation payments.

A party conference mid-way through a government’s third term could have been subdued. Confidence that the government will rise to the challenges of growth, continue to focus on the quality of its spending and results helped contribute to a buoyant mood.

It’s far better to be dealing with the challenges of growth than those of recession facing many other countries.


366 days of gratitude

May 15, 2016

This weekend’s National Party Mainland conference was the first for six years I wasn’t co-chairing it.

Knowing all the hard work which goes into the successful running of such events made me even more appreciative of it.

Today I’m grateful for the people, most of whom are volunteers, whose work makes conferences work well.


Which PM are you?

May 15, 2016

The National Party turned 80 on Friday.

It’s had seven Prime Ministers in that time and is running a quiz to let you find out which one you are.

I got Jenny Shipley.


May 13 in history

May 13, 2016

1373  Julian of Norwich had visions which were later transcribed in herRevelations.

1497 Pope Alexander VI excommunicated Girolamo Savonarola.

1515 Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk were officially married at Greenwich.

1568 Battle of Langside: the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, were defeated by a confederacy of Scottish Protestants under James Stewart, Earl of Moray, her half-brother.

1619 Dutch statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was executed in The Hague after being convicted of treason.

1648  Construction of the Red Fort at Delhi was completed.

1730  Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1782).

1779 War of Bavarian Succession: Russian and French mediators at theCongress of Teschen negotiated an end to the war.

1780  Cumberland Compact signed by leaders of the settlers in early Tennessee.

1787 Captain Arthur Phillip left Portsmouth with eleven ships full of convicts (First Fleet) to establish a penal colony in Australia.

1804 Forces sent by Yusuf Karamanli of Tripoli to retake Derne from the Americans attacked the city.

1830 Ecuador gained its independence from Gran Colombia.

1842 Arthur Sullivan, English composer, was born(d. 1900).

1846 – Mexican-American War: The United States declared war on Mexico.

1848  First performance of Finland’s national anthem.

186  American Civil War: Queen Victoria issueds a “proclamation of neutrality” which recognised the breakaway states as having belligerent rights.

1861 – The Great Comet of 1861 was discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales.

1864American Civil War: Battle of Resaca began with Union General Sherman fighting toward Atlanta, Georgia.

1865 American Civil War: Battle of Palmito Ranch – in far south Texas, more than a month after Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, the last land battle of the Civil War ended with a Confederate victory.

1880 Thomas Edison performed the first test of his electric railway.

1883 Georgios Papanikolaou, Greek doctor, inventor of the Pap smear, was born (d. 1962).

1888 With the passage of the Lei Áurea (“Golden Law”), Brazil abolished slavery.

1907  Dame Daphne du Maurier, English author, was born (d. 1989).

1909 The first Giro d’Italia took place in Milan. Italian cyclist Luigi Gannawas the winner.

1912 The Royal Flying Corps (now the Royal Air Force) was established in the United Kingdom.

1913 Igor Sikorsky became the first man to pilot a four-engine aircraft.

1917 Three children reported the first apparition of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal.

1922 Beatrice Arthur, American actress, was born (d. 2009).

1936 NZ National Party was formed.

New Zealand National Party logo.svg

1937 Trevor Baylis, English inventor (wind up radio) was born.

1939 The first commercial FM radio station in the United States was launched in Bloomfield, Connecticut – it later became WDRC-FM.

1940 Bruce Chatwin, British writer, was born (d. 1989).

1940 World War II: Germany’s conquest of France started as the German army crossed the Meuse River. Winston Churchill made his “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech to the House of Commons.

1940  Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands fled the Nazi invasion in the Netherlands to Great Britain. Princess Juliana took her children to Canada.

1941 World War II: Yugoslav royal colonel Dragoljub Mihailović started fighting with German occupation troops, beginning the Serbian resistance.

1943 World War II: German Afrika Korps and Italian troops in North Africa surrendered to Allied forces.

1947 Francis Hodgkins, the first New Zealand artist to exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts, died.

Death of Frances Hodgkins

1947 – Mabel Howard became New Zealand’s, and the Commonwealth’s,  first female Cabinet Minister.

1948 Arab-Israeli War: the Kfar Etzion massacre was committed by Arab irregulars.

1950 Danny Kirwan, British musician (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1950 Stevie Wonder, American singer and musician, was born.

1950 The first round of the Formula One World Championship was held atSilverstone.

1952 The Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, held its first sitting.

1954 Johnny Logan, Irish singer and songwriter, was born.

1954 Anti-National Service Riots, by Chinese Middle School students in Singapore.

1958  During a visit to Caracas, Vice President Richard Nixon‘s car was attacked by anti-American demonstrators.

1958 The trade mark Velcro was registered.

1958 – May 1958 crisis: a group of French military officers lead a coup in Algiers, demanding that a government of national unity be formed with Charles de Gaulle at its head in order to defend French control of Algeria.

1960  Hundreds of UC Berkeley students congregated for the first day of protest against a visit by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Thirty-one students were arrested, and the Free Speech Movement was born.

1967 Dr. Zakir Hussain became the third President of India – the first Muslim President of Indian Union.

1969  Race riots in Kuala Lumpur.

1972  Faulty electrical wiring ignited a fire underneath the Playtown Cabaret in Osaka, Japan. Blocked exits and non-functional elevators cause 118 fatalities, with many victims leaping to their deaths.

1972 – The Troubles: a car bombing outside a crowded pub in Belfast sparked a two-day gun battle involving the Provisional IRA, Ulster Volunteer Force and British Army. Seven people were killed and over 66 injured.

1980  An F3 tornado hit Kalamazoo County, Michigan.

1981  Mehmet Ali Ağca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

1985 Police stormed MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia to end a stand-off, killing 11 MOVE members and destroying the homes of 250 city residents.

1986 Alexander Rybak, Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest winner, was born.

1989 Large groups of students occupied Tiananmen Square and begin a hunger strike.

1992 Li Hongzhi gave the first public lecture on Falun Gong in Changchun, China.

1994 Johnny Carson made his last television appearance on Late Show with David Letterman.

1995 – New Zealand won the Americas Cup for the first time.
NZ wins the America's Cup for the first time

1996 Severe thunderstorms and a tornado in Bangladesh killed 600 people.

1998  Race riots break out in Jakarta,  shops owned by Indonesians of Chinese descent were looted and women raped.

1998 – India carried out two nuclear tests at Pokhran.

2000 In Enschede, the Netherlands, a fireworks factory exploded, killing 22 people, wounding 950, and resulting in approximately €450 million in damage.

2005 The Andijan Massacre in Uzbekistan.

2006 A major rebellion occurs in several prisons in Brazil.

2007 – Construction of the Calafat-Vidin Bridge between Romania and Bulgaria started.

2011 –  2011 Charsadda bombing: in the Charsadda District of Pakistan, two bombs exploded, resulting in 98 deaths 140 wounded.

2014 – An explosion at an underground coal mine in south-western Turkey killed 301 miners.

2014 – Major floods in Southeast Europe killed at least 47 people.

2015 – An industrial fire in Valenzuela, Philippines killed 72 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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