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.

Want voters but not govt

June 2, 2015

New Green co-leader James Shaw wants to woo National Party voters:

“I think there is a huge number of people out there who are concerned about the environment and they are concerned about the economy,” says Mr Shaw, “and they have been holding their nose and voting for the National Party. . .

Concern for the economy and environment aren’t mutually exclusive and people vote for and against parties for a variety of reasons.

But environmental concerns and initiatives aren’t the preserve of left-wing politicians and Shaw has sabotaged his campaign to woo National voters by ruling out going into government with the party.

Like his predecessor, he’s moored his party on the left flank of Labour which means its doomed to be in opposition if National wins another term and has no guarantee of being in government if Labour wins.

If Labour has a choice of coalition partners it would more likely opt for New Zealand First, safe in the knowledge the Green Party has nowhere else to go.

May 13 in history

May 13, 2015

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

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 the Congress 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 Ganna was 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 at Silverstone.

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.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Checking out but not leaving

May 12, 2015

The weekend’s National Party Mainland conference was my last as Southern Regional chair.

It was the end of six years in the position and I chose not to seek re-election for several reasons.

I believe you should step down before you lose the enthusiasm and energy needed for what you’re doing.

The year after an election is the best one in the cycle for a change in chair, allowing the new one plenty of time to come to grips with the job before having to work on candidate selections and the election.

One important measure of success is the quality of your successor and I had one who was ready, willing and able to take over.

It’s been a privilege and pleasure to work with other volunteers, MPs and party staff over the last six years. In that time the party has increased its membership, strengthened its financial base and continued to earn the sort of support in polls few parties attain let alone maintain.

That is due to several factors which include the leadership of the parliamentary wing, the volunteers and staff.

It’s not just party faithful like me who admire our leader and the Prime Minister John Key. To be in a third term in government and still attracting similar levels of support in polls to that when first elected requires someone special at the head of a very good team.

Government and governance are never smooth sailing.

In spite of all that’s been thrown at them, the PM and his team have concentrated on what matters to voters – the economy,  education, health and law and order. They also continue to respect and value the voluntary wing.

I’ve been involved in the party for around three decades and have never known such cohesion between and performance by MPs, staff and volunteers.

Judy Kirk was president when I became regional chair. Her successor Peter Goodfellow has built on the foundation she laid.

I have had all the support and communication from the board I could have wished for. On the few occasions I had concerns I needed to talk to Peter, or other board members about, I was taken seriously and got action.

The strong financial position the party is  in is due to the work of the president, the board and strong membership.

One of the reasons membership has grown is the encouragement and support volunteers have had from the board and the service centre.

General manager Greg Hamilton changed the name of headquarters to the service centre and it wasn’t just window dressing. He and his staff provide amazing service to activists and work very hard to ensure members get value for their loyalty.

The importance of that can’t be overstated.

National is, sadly for democracy, the only party left in New Zealand that has a broad based membership of tens of thousands.

Leading those in the south has provided a few challenges, meant a lot of work but also been very rewarding.

I stepped down and have been succeeded by a woman who has the passion, personality and skills to do all that’s required and more.

I’m looking forward to working with her. My two immediate predecessors were women who provided good role models not only for the position but also for continuing to be involved after retiring from it.

Besides, the party is a bit like the Hotel California. I’ve checked out of the office but I won’t be leaving the building.

We’ve got an election to win in 2017 and earning the votes required to do that requires hard work and a team to do it.

Quote of the day

May 4, 2015

But if there is one thing we have learned about being in government, it is that the electorate is always looking forward and not back.

Yes, they want us to implement our election commitments. They want us and in fact expect us to keep our word, and we will.

But more than that, the voters expect a forward-looking agenda from the Government.

. . . They expect a programme that will keep pace with the times and the challenges that they and their families face every day.

That is why is there is no room for complacency.

There is no room for sitting back and thinking that because progress is good that the job is somehow done.

There is always more to do.

And part of that work is staying connected with the electorate – both cities and regions alike – to understand voters’ aspirations and their expectation of government.

Both the Caucus and the party organisation have important roles to play in staying connected. 

My expectation of MPs is that they will work closely with the party to ensure that our connections with local communities are as close as they possibly can be.

Party membership remains at the core of this, and I know that growing membership is a key priority of the Board.

Encouraging more members to become active in campaigns is also important as we head towards seeking a fourth successive election mandate.

So as a party we have a lot of work ahead of us. . . John Key


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