Basics beat side shows

April 11, 2016

National’s three-point rise to 50% in the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll has come as a surprise to some commentators.

Labour’s four-point fall to 28% was probably not.

It is only one poll and anything could happen between now and the election but Kiwiblog shows where the two parties were at the same time in the last election cycle:

In April 2013 National was at 43% and Labour 36% – a 7% gap.

In April 2016 National is at 50% and Labour 28% – a 22% gap.

He points out that Labour leader Andrew Little is on only 7%, three points behind Winston Peters.

This isn’t a strong position from which to launch a winning election campaign.

In another post, Kiwiblog looks at party favourability:

. . . National is viewed favourably by 58% of NZers. That helps explain why 47% voted for them.

Labour is viewed favourably by just 35% of NZers. . . 

National has the least unfavourable – only 28% of NZers dislike National. This will come as a surprise to hard left activists who live in a bubble where 100% of their friends dislike National. . . 

Labour is on 41% for unfavourability.

National at +30% is the only party to have net favourability:

PartyNetFav

National’s continual popularity confounds its critics and many commentators.

There are several reasons for it and one of the biggest is that the government focuses on the basics while Labour gets distracted by sideshows.

That doesn’t mean everything the government does works well. I am tribal National and there are some things the government does I don’t like and some it doesn’t do I’d like it to, but those things don’t matter as much as the basics – the economy, education, health, welfare, and security.

And of course, one big reason National is doing so well is that Labour isn’t.

National can’t rely on that if it wants to win a fourth term, a viable government needs to be there for better reasons than a hopeless opponent but Labour’s continuing focus on side-shows and showing its incompetence in opposition keeps demonstrating it is not a viable government-in-waiting.

 

 

 

 


Act out-greening Greens

February 29, 2016

Act leader and sole MP David Seymour’s first shot at the party’s conference this weekend was to pot the Greens for hypocrisy for having the highest expenditure on flights.

The figures come from the fourth quarter parliamentary expense reports.  It excludes ministers who have a much heavier workload, for example the Ministers of Health and Education must visit hospitals and schools, and are reported separately.

In October, November, and December the average Green MP spent $8,562 on air travel.  By comparison the average Labour MP spent $7,790, the average National MP $5,933 and the average New Zealand First MP $6713. . .

“These are the MPs who regularly tell us that climate change is the crisis of our time and we must reduce our emissions.

“It is also extraordinary that they do not even have to serve electorates, as the Greens are all list MPs and have not won an electorate since 1999.  As an Auckland electorate MP I have to see constituents on Monday and be in Parliament on Tuesday, and back in the electorate Friday, practically every week.

“As list MPs the Greens have far more potential to minimise their carbon footprint by flying less, but not only have they not done so, they are the most frequent flyers.

“Co-leader James Shaw loves to tell the story about how, as a consultant, he helped companies reduce their use of air travel.  The Green Party must be his toughest client.”

He then went on to out-green them with proposal to sell  Landcorp and put the proceeds into a Sanctuary Trust for applicants who wish to operate inland sanctuaries for native wildlife.

“Landcorp is a business the Government should never have owned and which is responsible for considerable dairy conversion and deforestation.  

“The new Trust’s grants would be conditional upon the applicant reaching targets for predator exclusion, biodiversity, and community participation.  

“The model is not so very different from what ACT has done with Partnership Schools.  Invite social entrepreneurship, measure performance according to agreed targets, and get out of the way.

“Over 100 years, Sanctuary Trust would radically transform the abundance of New Zealand’s most endangered species.” . . .

Utopia has a graph showing Landcorp’s dividends paid and cash injections received from government since 2007.

As cash cows go, Landcorp has had $2.25 million more in capital injections from taxpayers than it returned to them in dividends since 2007.

image

 Source: data released by the New Zealand Treasury under the Official Information Act.

The $1.5 billion asset is a very poor investment for the taxpayer.

Keeping some of the farms as a land bank for treaty settlements has merit.

But the rest could be sold, gradually so as not to flood the market.

Using some of the proceeds for environmental projects such as Seymour proposes and some for investing in agricultural training and infrastructure, for example irrigation development, would be much better use of the money.

Concern for the environment is not the preserve of the political left.

There is a significant constituency of people who are green but not Green.

They want sound environmental policies without the radical left social and economic agenda. Some of those support National’s Blue Greens but some let their green leanings blind them to the red social and economic policies of the Greens.

Seymour is targeting them and in doing so attempting to grow the centre right share of the vote.

That’s clever politics.

He’s out-greening the Greens with environmental policy that makes economic sense.


McCully not contesting East Coast Bays

February 23, 2016

Foreign Affairs Minister and National Party Member for East Coast Bays Murray McCully has announced that he will not contest the electorate seat in next year’s general election.

Mr McCully said his decision was not related to his medical leave late last year.

“It is a real privilege to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs. But it is an office that does not always sit easily with the role of a constituency MP.

“When my role as Foreign Minister comes to an end it is my intention to retire from Parliament. Quite when that will be, and whether I seek election as a List Member of Parliament in 2017, are decisions for the Prime Minister in the first instance.

“At the end of this term I will have served as the local Member of Parliament for 30 years. This is the right time for me to announce my intentions and clear the way for an orderly succession process,” said Mr McCully.

His Ministerial duties take him overseas and the party joke is that his majority increases the more he’s out of the electorate.

That is only a joke. He has a punishing ministerial work load but still manages to service and retain the support of his constituents.

However, he has been an MP for 30 years and it is good for party refreshment that he stands aside for a successor.

It is up to the National board to decide if he could have one of the up to five list-only seats and the Prime Minister to decide if he should retain his ministerial post.

The latter would also require National to still be leading the government after the next election.


What do the 17% want?

January 14, 2016

A Federated Farmers poll shows 83% satisfaction with the performance of the National-led government among the country’s farmers.

Over 1,100 members were surveyed in the run up to Christmas, with only 17% dissatisfied with the performance of the Key government in 2015.

“Farmers generally look for governments to manage the economy well, drive positive change on international trade and make pragmatic decisions in other areas, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen this year from Prime Minister Key and his government,” says Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston. 

“83% satisfaction looks spot on when you look at the level of interest rates and key international wins such as TPP, the Paris Climate Change Talks and the WTO’s recent abolition of export tariffs. These are all good outcomes for farmers and stand to enhance New Zealand’s export earnings for many years to come.”

This begs the question – what do the 17% who aren’t satisfied want?

Some will think the government hasn’t done enough and some won’t like what it has done.

Contrary to popular criticism, Federated Farmers and the National Party are two separate organisations. Members of both share similar views on several issues including the benefits of free trade and the importance of property rights.

But Feds is not politically aligned. It has no more influence on the government than any other lobby group and not all farmers are members of either or both Feds and the party.

While the new emissions reduction targets and weight of developing country support grabbed the headlines around the Paris Agreement, the signing of COP21 was also a significant outcome for farming with recognition that emissions reductions must be weighed up against the food supply required to feed a rapidly growing global population.

“This is recognition we and farming organisations around the world have worked long and hard to achieve, and one the government also put its weight behind.  Farmers are appreciative of those efforts – and also the $20 million the government has invested to fund research into scientific solutions for reducing agricultural emissions,” says Dr Rolleston.

“Federated Farmers believes this is absolutely the right approach and our own team of science experts will look to assist the government to help ensure this investment leads to the breakthrough we are all looking for.” . . .

Science not politics must drive policy if it is to be effective.


Quote of the day

September 21, 2015

Even with recent challenging economic news, New Zealand’s economy is diverse and resilient. – NZ National Party

New Zealand National Party's photo.


Why bother with voters?

August 2, 2015

This headline should cause disquiet in anyone who cares for democracy: Peters: NZ First will decide 2017 election.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he will be more powerful than ever by the next election and will decide the next government. . . .

Why bother with voters?

If he won’t give us the courtesy of explaining his intentions before the election and does what he’s done in the past, leaving us voting blind, why bother with an election?

He wants to be king maker but he’ still not willing or able to give a straight answer to a straight question.

. . .  You said you’d resign if you don’t get tens of thousands of new members? “Yeah, precisely. There’d be no sense going on.” That’s a commitment from you. Tens of thousands or you’re gone? “Yes”. Could we narrow that down – more than 10,000 or you’ll resign? “No, I said if we don’t increase our membership… Why don’t you ask a straight question?” But we did… “Well maybe I didn’t hear properly…stop your humbug.”

This old leopard won’t change his spots and he’s dreaming if he thinks he can increase his membership to that extent.

As a member of National, the only party in New Zealand which has tens of thousands of members, I know what it takes to attract and retain members.

If Labour with nation-wide electorate structures and unions helping can’t do it, Peters and his party which never stands in more than a handful of seats won’t have a chance.


What about the party workers?

June 4, 2015

Labour’s campaign review has been leaked:

This review was into what went wrong and reveals Labour is totally broke.

The review also warns that if Labour does not find some cash quickly “it will continue experience electoral failure and place the status of the party as a political institution of influence at risk”.

It says Labour’s campaign was “undoubtedly hindered by a lack of financial resources”. . .

The review found plenty of other problems, too.

Among them, it says the party’s campaign preparation was “inadequate”, “tension around the leadership and disunity within caucus seriously undermined Labour’s credibility” and there was also a “general lack of message discipline”.

The review, by 76-year-old former British labour MP, has taken over 8 months to find “the policies put forward at the election were often complex, difficult to understand”.

And as for proposed solutions?

Well, “Labour must commit to a vision of a united New Zealand, founded on the Treaty of Waitangi”.

And Labour will set up some more committees – an executive and a campaign committee. . .

The full review is here.

It states the obvious – the party is broke, disunited, has an undemocratic candidate selection process, had an unpopular leader and an abysmal campaign . . .

But what struck me is what isn’t there – there’s no emphasis on the importance of broad-based, engaged membership – the party workers..

The review talks about how National spent much more on its campaign but doesn’t draw the dots between National’s many members and its ability to raise money and gain votes.

National still has tens of thousands of members. It is they who mobilise to provide the people-power which still counts in winning party votes and electorates; it is they who have significant input into policy development and it’s they who provide the solid financial base on which supplementary fundraising builds.

Eight months after its shattering defeat at the polls and into its second term in opposition, the review fails to acknowledge the importance of members and leaves Labour no better equipped to win the next election than it was to fight the last one.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,855 other followers

%d bloggers like this: