Labour’s campaign slogan should be let’s tax this:
The illogic of the selective water tax is summed up by ComradeJacinda on Twitter:
Hat tip: Inquiring Mind
Patrick Gower at Newshub has just reported that Green MPs David Clendon and Kennedy Graham have resigned from the party list in protest over Meteria Turei’s failure to resign.
The problem isn’t what she did all those years ago, it is her refusal to accept responsibility, admit she was wrong and apologise.
Turei’s attempt to use her own wrong-doing to advance an impossibly-expensive welfare policy has highlighted the party’s socialist leanings.
Lloyd Burr was right, the Greens have lost their way:
. . . The party doesn’t look like the strong, unwavering voice for the environment anymore.
It is not focussed on forests and rivers, or climate change, or conservation underfunding, or waste and pollution reduction.
It is now a party focussed on fighting for the rights of beneficiaries. It is focussed on legitimising benefit fraud, boosting welfare payments, and removing welfare obligations. . .
If the Greens were moderate on social and economic policy they could sit in the middle of the political spectrum like the Maori Party, able to go left or right.
Instead their environmental concerns are overshadowed by far-left social policy.
The party’s refusal to censure Turei has added to its troubles with only Clendon and Graham showing any integrity over the issue.
TV3 political editor Patrick Gower has named Prime Minister John Key as politician of the year.
Trans Tasman named him politician of the year last week too.
There could simply be no other. John Key was out on his own this year for one simple reason – he won.
Yes, the Prime Minister’s performance ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.
In fact, Key went from the crème-de-la-crème to the crème-de-la-crap at times.
But Key won. He got National across the line. It was an incredible victory. It defied the political gravity of a third-term and was against the odds of the campaign. . .
I am not sure that anyone except political tragics were particularly interested in the campaign.
To get that was far from easy for Key. The Dirty Politics scandal could have destroyed other campaigns and finished off other leaders.
The election campaign was weird. It was dark too. And it was incredibly brutal for all those involved.
There is no doubt that Dirty Politics knocked Key over at first – National lost control of its campaign.
Yet Key survived. He stood his ground. In the words of son Max, he “manned up”.
It was like Key absorbed all of the negativity directed at him, and then, like some kind of comic book character, spewed it all out again as some kind of positive force.
There was unpredictability everywhere: Whaledump, Rawshark, Winston, Colin, rappers, hacker(s), Dotcom, Eminem, Cortex and don’t forget Speargun.
National and Key’s defence was simple – they had a plan, and they stuck to it.
“The plan” is a grinding, relentless strategy based on simple messaging and a self-belief that the Key juggernaut can eventually ride out almost anything.
It has been proven time and time again, and this time was proven on the biggest stage (an entire election campaign) facing the greatest degree of difficulty (an entire book of scandal).
Helped in no small part by a dismal and divided opposition which wasn’t looking like a government in waiting.
Key’s politics this year was a potent combination of on the “macro” level, stubbornly sticking to strategy, and on the “micro” level, being what’s called a “clutch hitter” or “big game player” who rises to the occasion.
Key made big moves at a strategic level and stuck to them, and he made big calls in day-to-politics that worked for him too.
On the macro level, one part of the plan that worked well this year was Key’s semi-upfront declaration of his potential coalition partners at the start of the year.
Looking back, it really was a masterstroke – it gave voters a clear picture of how a National Government would work.
Key also gave himself the space with the decision about giving Colin Craig a electorate seat deal and even more space when it came to working with Winston Peters.
In the end, he ruled out a seat deal for Craig because he looked too crazy and wanted him at arms-length. It was a big call but a good call – imagine if Key had been apologising for Craig on the campaign trail as well as dealing with Dirty Politics.
With Winston, Key kept him at arms’ length. But by not ruling Peters out, he always kept himself in the game, it always looked like National could form a Government no matter how bad the polls got.
The PM had the courage and sense to let voters know what they would and would not get with a National-led government.
That provided another stark contrast with then-Labour leader David Cunliffe who stupidly copied Winston Peters’ line that he’d let the voters choose without giving them all the information they’d need to choose wisely.
Key’s and National’s strategy included a bedrock of policies tailored for the centre voter, and conservative political management. They then turbo-charged this with an overload of “Brand Key” marketing.
Key used these to keep his vice-like grip on the centre-ground, and if he has that – National wins. . .
But there was nothing certain about that win.
Steven Joyce’s recent admission that National was polling at 44 percent in the final week and might have needed Winston to govern shows just how different it could have been. . .
Gower’s other awards:
Runner-up politician of the year: Andrew Little.
Back-bencher Kelvin Davis.
Runner-up political non-politician: Kim Dotcom, Whale Oil and Nicky Hager.
Radio Live’s Duncan Garner lists the year’s political winners and losers:
1. JOHN KEY
For all the obvious reasons. He is still the PM and he is still widely popular according to the polls. He had the kitchen sink thrown at him and he almost won the election outright. He’ll have to watch it doesn’t go to his head.
2. ANDREW LITTLE
Couldn’t win a fight in a kindergarten but ends the year on top. His caucus didn’t want him, his party didn’t want him, his electorate didn’t want him. Yet he ends the year looking strong and competent as Labour’s new leader.
3. KELVIN DAVIS
He beat Hone Harawira and therefore beat Kim Dotcom – do I have to say anymore?
4. SUE BRADFORD
She knew Dotcom and Harawira were in an unholy alliance and she put her principles before it all. She called it right – she has values and principles that are beyond reproach whether you agree with her politics or not.
5. CAM SLATER – WHALEOIL.
Yes he’s a dirt-bag, muck-raking, scum-bag attack blogger, but he likes it that way. He doesn’t play by any rule book yet he’s been judged a journalist by the courts. Despite having his dirty laundry aired for the world to see he remains talked about, his blog gets more hits than ever, he breaks stories and the PM returns his texts. Oh and he wins mainstream media awards.
(Close mention: Paula Bennett, now talked about as the next National Party Leader)
His losers are:
1. KIM DOTCOM
Threw millions at trying to rig an election, but the public weren’t fooled. He’s now fighting to stay out of jail. Rest my case.
2. HONE HARAWIRA
He picked the wrong rich friends. Should have stayed poor. At least he’d still be in Parliament. Woeful judgement.
3. LAILA HARRE
4. JUDITH COLLINS
Was on track to be the next National Party Leader – now she’s struggling to be heard from the backbenchers. Huge fall from grace. Career in tatters.
5. DAVID CUNLIFFE
Came across as a fake and then apologised for being a man. Do we have to say anything more? Awful defeat.
(Close mention: Grant Robertson, rejected twice as Labour’s future leader. That will hurt and in politics if winning if everything, Robertson has twice failed. Ouch. Still, he has huge chance to recover well.)
Patrick Gower calls Andrew Little’s win of Labour’s leadership the great union rip-off.
“It’s a backdoor takeover by the unions. Simply, Andrew Little would not be Labour leader without the unions,” Gower said on Firstline this morning.
“He is the unions’ man; Little is a union man, and the unions have got their man into Labour’s top job.”
Gower says it’s ironic after trying “almost too hard” to give men and women an equal say – the ultimately doomed ‘man ban’ – that a small group of “union blokes” have effectively chosen the party’s new leader.
“Most of those delegates, according to one of the most senior sources in the Labour Party, are men… It’s just six unions out of about 150-odd in New Zealand. Just six of them get to have their say over this, and five of them actually rely on delegates – the union bosses, the union chiefs, the union heavies. They say who they want.” . .
They will also say what they want in return for those votes and it will be some big policy wins.
Unions not only inflicted on Labour a leader not favoured by either MPs or the wider membership and they will be doing their best to inflict union-friendly policy on the rest of us.
From National’s Facebook page:
Over the last three days we’ve been overwhelmed by messages of goodwill from our supporters.
I want to thank all of you who voted for us, contributed to our campaign or have taken the time to send your best wishes. It’s not an exaggeration to say we couldn’t have done it without you.
The Prime Minister has already started work on forming a government so we can continue to implement National’s clear plan for a more prosperous New Zealand. It’s a big task, but our strong, fresh and united team is up to the challenge.
As always, we won’t be taking the support of New Zealanders for granted. National will continue to be a Government that is working for ALL New Zealanders.
Thank you for being the most dedicated, optimistic, and hard working party supporters.
Contrast that with:
John Armstrong on Labour’s morning of absolute mayhem:
An extraordinary morning in the Labour Party’s wing of Parliament Buildings. There were only two words to describe things – absolute mayhem.
And that was even before Labour MPs had even begun their crucial post-election caucus meeting, at which there was expected to be some very blunt language during a preliminary post-mortem on last Saturday s crushing defeat.
David Cunliffe is fighting tooth and nail to hang on as leader. His chances of doing so would seem to deteriorate further with every wrong tactic and mistaken ploy he uses to shore up his crumbling position. . .
Patrick Gower on Labour Party in civil war over leadership:
Labour is in crisis tonight with leader David Cunliffe apparently refusing to give up the leadership, despite the party’s humiliating election defeat.
MPs emerged from a seven-hour-long caucus meeting at Parliament early this evening, with no comment from Mr Cunliffe. The gathering began this morning with Mr Cunliffe calling on them to vote him down so he could take them on.
“I will have my hat in the ring,” says Mr Cunliffe.
So as for Labour’s devastating loss, he says he won’t apologise. . .
And Andrea Vance & Aimee Gulliver on Cunliffe emerges from crisis meeting still in charge:
Labour MPs have emerged from a seven-hour crisis meeting – and leader David Cunliffe is still refusing to go.
After presenting the party’s new chief whip Chris Hipkins and his junior Carmel Sepuloni, he gave a short statement, but refused to say what happened in the meeting.
His MPs have given him a bloody nose with their choices. Openly critical of Cunliffe in the past, Hipkins was a whip under former leader David Shearer. He was also demoted in a reshuffle earlier this year.
Cunliffe wants his MPs to hold a confidence vote in him, triggering a primary-style run-off before Christmas. But the caucus wants to hold off until they have reflected on the crushing defeat at the ballot box on Saturday. . .
This might be entertaining for political tragics but the longer the focus is on Labour’s internal dysfunction the further the party will have to go to restore voter confidence.
Patrick Gower says Hone Harawira needs to harden up:
Hone needs to stand up and stop the Internet Party from walking all over him on the cannabis issue.
Hone is staunchly anti-weed, but the Internet Party is pro-weed.
And even though Hone is the leader of the Internet Mana merger, he is being forced to adopt the pro-weed position.
As Hone himself would say: “This just ain’t right, folks”.
I actually feel sorry for Hone ending up in this position where he is being forced to buckle on his principles.
I know Hone Harawira well.
He is a man of principle. He stands up for what he believes in. He usually doesn’t back down.
But it seems the anti-weed Hone has been rolled. . .
Kim Dotcom managed to persuade Laila Harre to set aside many of her principles in agreeing to lead his party and now the puppet master is pulling Harawira’s strings over drug policy too.
The string pulling must have been painful because Harawira needed a break to get over it:
Hone Harawira denies any rift with Internet Mana co-leader Laila Harre.
Rather, he says he’s been taking a break at home during the election campaign.
Mr Harawira told The Nation programme today he’d been going “hard out” and had decided to take a break.
He was questioned about why he was the only politician to take a holiday during the election campaign.
“You don’t get a holiday even in the north – I stayed home,” Mr Harawira said. . .
How hard he’s working for his party is up to them and the puppet master who’s funding them.
But this man is also an MP, getting an MP’s salary to work for his constituents.
If he can’t cope with the work the taxpayer funds and campaigning it’s the campaigning that ought to stop, not the job he’s supposed to do to earn his salary.
A New Zealand farming leader says he’s frustrated that a range of political parties are targetting foreigners and saying they shouldn’t be allowed to buy farms.
Federated Farmers vice president Anders Crofoot bought Castlepoint Station in Wairarapa after moving to New Zealand from the United States in the 1990s and went through the Overseas Investment Commission to do so.
The Labour Party has said that if it wins the general election sales of rural land to most foreigners will be banned. . .
The purchase of a North Otago dairy farm by a company founded by a South Canterbury businessman will create more local jobs, the company says.
Craigmore Sustainables has received Overseas Investment Office approval to purchase a dairy farm in Tussocky Rd, months after buying three other farms in North Otago.
Craigmore is the brainchild of South Canterbury businessman and farmer Forbes Elworthy and is based in London. It also has offices around New Zealand.
“We have an extensive development programme in place for this property, including building a dairy shed, new effluent system, and native planting to assist with nutrient management,” the company’s director of commercial development, Hamish Blackman, said. . .
Lochinver owners want sale money for development – Patrick Gower:
The Kiwi seller of Lochinver Station is a century-old Kiwi business and wants to use the $70 million for a major property development that will help the expansion of Auckland.
Sir William Stevenson was the driving force behind his family’s business empire. He bought Lochinver Station 60 years ago, turning it from a vast wasteland into thriving farmland with 100,000 sheep.
Now, the family’s attempt to sell could be blocked by politics. Sir William’s friend Morrin Cooper says he wouldn’t like that.
“The Stevenson family deserve better than this: to be used as a chopping block just because there happens to be an election around the corner.” . . .
The Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Petersen, is warning that farmers are in danger of losing out in the lucrative South Korean markets if trade talks fail.
The latest round of negotiations have been taking place in Seoul this week.
Last week the Minister for Trade, Tim Groser said he had given his final offer to the Koreans to resolve issues such as easing tariffs for New Zealand’s farmers, which cost exporters $195 million a year. . .
In lean times, it’s still vital to look after your workers – Chris Lewis:
The buzz about town is the revised pay-outs announced by Fonterra and Westland, which have both dropped significantly. So the pressure will be mounting this spring as farmers try to keep their heads above water. In times like these it is important to run a tight ship, not only financially but with your staff.
Stress has a way of brushing off onto those near you so look after yourself and bear a thought for your staff and your family who will not be immune to the pressure. A farm has many different aspects to it and a well cared for and oiled machine will ride out the tough times a lot smoother than one that has been roughing it or neglecting it. . .
Farmers take over yarn mill – Alan Wood:
Wool farmers have an agreement in place to buy a Christchurch yarn mill, describing the deal as a “significant” industry event to supply the carpet manufacturing industry.
Christchurch Yarns NZ went into receivership in April with the high kiwi dollar one of the challenges the business was up against at that time.
The dollar has remained stubbornly high since then and yesterday was trading around US84 cents and A90 cents.
The business was originally Christchurch Carpet Yarns and has its production facility based at a leased Sheffield Cres, Harewood property near Canterbury Technology park. . .
$3m grant boosts agri chemical research – Sue O’Dowd:
Research funding will help a Taranaki chemical-manufacturing company develop products its customers want.
Zelam is one of 52 Taranaki businesses to have received government research grants in the past three years to help them take their ideas for products and services to market.
For the next five years 20 per cent of Zelam’s eligible research costs will be refunded by Callaghan Innovation, a government agency that provides money to businesses that invest in research and development. Each year Zelam invests up to $3 million in chemistry and field trials. . .
The future is in the country.