Divided they lost

01/07/2013

Only around 12,000 of the nearly 35,000 people on the electoral roll in Ikaroa-Rawhiti bothered to do vote in the by-election.

Labour’s Meka Whaitiri won the seat with just 4,368 votes and a sorry 35.8% turnout.

Is that a record low?

The Mana Party will be delighted that its candidate  Te Hāmua Nikora came second with 2,607 votes.

The Maori Party will be very disappointed that its candidate Na Raihania, was third with 2,104.

The win might be enough for those in Labour’s caucus who were aiming their knives at their leader’s back to set them down, for now.

But something all three parties need to think about is that the combined total of Nikora’s and Raihania’s votes was greater than that of Whaitiri’s.

Pita Sharples says the Maori Party, rather than its candidate, is responsible for its result. He didn’t mention, but he ought to be thinking about, his unwillingness to loosen his hold on the leadership.

However, as Matthew Hooton points out:

Had Mr Harawira not split the Maori Party in 2011, it is almost certain it would have won last night’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election.  It would most probably have held on to Te Tai Tonga in 2011 so that it would now hold six of the seven Maori electorates and have much greater leverage over Mr Key and Labour. . .

There is no single Maori view but one party targeting the Maori seats would have had a very real chance of challenging Labour for them and being in a very strong position to go with a government led by either National or Labour.

But divided they lost the by-election and will almost certainly be too weak separately to do nearly as well as they could together.

Harawira put his personal feelings before political strategy, opening the way for Labour to retake most of the Maori seats and that could well bring about the demise of these electorates.

The idea of  New Zealand First in a governing coalition is the stuff of nightmares. But there would be one small consolation if that was the only way for National to stay in government, both parties favour culling the Maori seats.

National conceded that policy when it invited the Maori Party into coalition in 2008.

Should the Maori Party not be in a position to help National into government and, perish the thought, New Zealand First be a potential coalition partner, the Maori seats could go.

If Harawira had bothered to take a longer view beyond his personal agenda he would have been aware of that possibility and the risk he was taking in splintering from the Maori Party.


Regions grow by taking opportunities

29/06/2013

The first release of regional GDP data shows that regions which take their opportunities had better growth.

Taranaki, Southland, and the West Coast experienced the largest increases in gross domestic product (GDP) from 2007–10, while Auckland was responsible for over one-third of the country’s economic production, new research from Statistics NZ showed.

Statistics NZ released today GDP for 15 regions across New Zealand.

“This is the first official measure of New Zealand’s regional economies. It covers the 2007 to 2010 period and so provides a useful benchmark for future analysis,” regional statistics manager Peter Gardiner said.

“The increase in economic activity over the period was mainly centred in rural regions, reflecting a strong period for the primary industries. Manufacturing slowed in 2009, contributing less to GDP in urban regions.”

Taranaki’s economy increased 46.9 percent in size over the four years, the largest increase for any region, due to expansion in oil and gas production. Supporting industries such as construction and manufacturing also increased from 2007 to 2010.

The West Coast and Southland economies also increased in size substantially, 23.8 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively. This increase was driven by dairy farming, which lifted the South Island’s overall contribution to national GDP by 0.6 percentage points to 22.3 percent. . .

All the candidates in the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election have campaigned against  mineral  exploration.

On mining and balance between jobs and the environment
Meka Whaitiri: Until we have some sound research that says [mining] doesn’t have any environmental impact, I can’t support that.
Marama Davidson: Ban it! Risky off-shore drilling, mining and fracking are all industries we want to get away from. Today we are releasing a package of green jobs for Ikaroa-Rawhiti that don’t ruin our environment.
Na Raihania: I am absolutely opposed to mining and drilling our Mother Earth. And this idea it will provide jobs for everybody is stretching it.
Te Hamua Nikora: As far as mining goes, we say frack off. No thank you.

 

Their region desperately needs better growth and the jobs that come with it but it is the industry which has boosted Taranaki’s growth that they oppose.

Oil and gas production and dairying, which helped Southland and the West Coast, are industries which the Green Party would like to see less of.

But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the data shows the value of regions exploring all their economic opportunities.

“It shows regions who have taken their economic opportunities, such as Taranaki, Southland and the West Coast, have significantly increased their GDP – despite the effects of the recession and the global financial crisis.

“These are regions that have successfully balanced economic growth and jobs for families in their regions while looking after the environment.” . . .

Many regions have made further progress in the three years since the period covered by the regional GDP data, as New Zealand’s national economy has built momentum on the back of a number of more positive indicators and support from the Government’s economic programme.

“It is my expectation stakeholders will want to use the regional GDP data to compare and contrast the economic fortunes of different regions around the country, and ask themselves what lessons and opportunities there are for growth and jobs in their region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes for New Zealand families better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve to their potential.”

Opposition to growth opportunities is usually based on fear of environmental consequences and ignorance of what can be done to minimise potential problems.

If we want first world education, health, other services and infrastructure we need first world incomes.

That requires more growth and doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment.


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