Principles matter

September 21, 2014

One of the best outcomes of last night’s results was the repudiation of Kim Dotcom and his puppets.

Voters showed that principles matter.

Hone Harawira, Laila Hare and their fellow travellers allowed theirs to be bought and New Zealanders rejected that and them, with the help of Kelvin Davis and the voters of Te Tai Tokerau.


Moment of strewth sinks IMP?

September 19, 2014

Kim Dotcom’s moment of truth turned into a moment of strewth, is that all there is?

Rather than sinking Prime Minister and the National Party as he had hoped, the Herald DigiPoll showed it did the opposite:

The Kim Dotcom-inspired event in Auckland’s Town Hall that was supposed to end John Key’s career gave the National Party an immediate bounce in support this week, according to polling for the last Herald DigiPoll survey.

With 60 per cent of the poll done by Monday night, when the event happened, National was polling at 47.8 per cent, down on last week, said DigiPoll general manager Nandan Modak. From Tuesday it jumped to 49.1 per cent.

A similar trend was seen in the preferred Prime Minister polling. Before Monday, Mr Key was polling at 63.4 per cent. From Tuesday it jumped to 66.4 per cent.

Mr Key who has led a minority National Government for six years is seeking a third term in tomorrow’s election against a Labour Party that has been led for only a year by David Cunliffe.

Mr Key told the Herald last night the results on Saturday “may well prove that a campaign led by Kim Dotcom based mostly on revenge will serve to only reduce the likelihood of a change of Government”.

While the moment of strewth helped National, it harmed Dotcom’s puppet party and might even be enough to sink it:

Today’s poll also has the internet-Mana strategic alliance funded by Mr Dotcom sinking. It would get no extra MPs into Parliament on the coat-tails of Mana leader Hone Harawira keeping his Te Tai Tokerau seat – and even that is looking shaky.

Mr Dotcom has spent $4 million on setting up the party and funding the campaign.

The poll has the Conservatives on 3.3 per cent, and would not be in Parliament. It has yet to register over the 5 per cent threshold on any major political poll this election.

Today’s poll has National on 48.2 per cent, down a little from last week when the seven-day polling is totalled.. .

This is only one poll and it shows the race is still tight.

The Stuff/Ipsos shows an even tighter race:

Today’s Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll is almost a photo finish of the 2011 election result, which delivered a National government with a slender majority despite John Key’s near record popularity.

Click here to see full results

On today’s numbers, National is as popular as ever and would be back in business at the Beehive on Monday with a government that looks almost exactly like the last one.

But a turbulent few weeks on the campaign trail have made the result less certain and the electorate more volatile. The poll registers a big swing against National which, if carried through to tomorrow, could make the race much tighter.

So too could any stumble by John Key’s allies in the Maori seats or Ohariu, which would see the Maori Party and Peter Dunne out of Parliament.

The bad news for Labour is that the swing has mostly benefited NZ First and Colin Craig’s Conservatives, who have been jockeying for position in the Centre.

National blames that on strategic voting by its supporters wanting to get Conservatives over the line to give National coalition options. But NZ First may be just as likely picking up disaffected Labour voters. . .

This poll shows National on 47.7%; Labour on 26.1%; the Green Party on 12%; New Zealand First on 6.6%; Conservative party on 4.5% and Internet Mana on just .9%.

If this level of support carries through to the election we could still have a strong, stable National-led government.

But even a small swing away from National could leave us saddled with a weak Labour-led government cobbled together with the support of the Green and New Zealand First parties and whoever manages to get across the line with Internet Mana.

National has never taken the election result for granted and these polls will ensure that candidates and volunteers the length and breadth of the country will be continuing to work hard to ensure that when the polls close tomorrow they’ve done all they can to convince enough voters of the importance of keeping the government that’s working for New Zealand.

Whether that’s enough, won’t be known until the counting’s done.


Win for Cunliffe, win for Dotcom

September 17, 2014

Kim Dotcom threatened to bring down John Key and National.

His moment of truth turned into a moment of strewth, is that all there is?

The email on which he was depending to prove John Key a liar is a fake.

That ought to be the end of it, but it won’t be if Labour is in a position to form a government because in spite of Cunliffe’s yeah-nahing about working with Dotcom’s puppets in Internet Mana, he would if it meant he could be Prime Minister.

He has a chance to ensure IMP doesn’t get anywhere by firmly ruling out any post-election deal with it.

Instead of this he’s wishy-washy:

. . . Mr Cunliffe says he’s not particularly concerned if Mr Harawira loses and Labour is without a potential support partner.

Not particularly concerned? If he had the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders at heart he would be absolutely unequivocal that he’d be delighted if that happened.

“I want to see Kelvin Davis as the MP for Te Tai Tokerau,” he told reporters in Hamilton.

Mr Cunliffe has ruled Internet Mana out of a Labour-led government, but the door is still open for a confidence and supply agreement.

If he really wanted to see Davis as the MP for Te Tai Tokerau he’d make it quite clear that he was ruling IMP out completely.

He’s not prepared to do that which means a vote for Labour would also be a vote for Dotcom pulling the strings of MPs supporting it in government.

A win for Cunliffe would be a win for Dotcom.

The only way to rule out Dotcom is to rule out a Labour-led government.

The only way to do that is to give your party vote to National.

 


Dotbomb foiled by facts

September 16, 2014

Kim Dotcom who is awaiting extradition with a personal vendetta against the Prime Minister and who is doing his best to buy our election promised to drop a bombshell last night.

He failed.

There was no bomb and the email on which Dotcom based some of his claims is a fake.

The Kim Dotcom “big reveal” is out – and has almost immediately been dismissed as a fake.

The “reveal” is an email which purports to show Prime Minister John Key involved in a plan to get the internet entrepreneur into New Zealand so he could be extradited to the United States.

It is the evidence which Dotcom is planning on producing at the Moment of Truth event tonight. It is also contrary to every assurance the Prime Minister has ever given about his knowledge of Dotcom.

The source of the email is shrouded in mystery and there are likely to be arguments over its authenticity.

It is is dated October 27, 2010 and is purported to be from Warner Brothers chairman and chief executive Kevin Tsujihara to a senior executive at the Motion Picture Association of America – the lobby group for the Hollywood studios.

However, Warner Bros told the Herald the email was a fake. Paul McGuire, the movie studio’s senior vice president for worldwide communications, told the Herald: “Kevin Tsujihara did not write or send the alleged email, and he never had any such conversation with Prime Minister Key.”

Mr McGuire said: “The alleged email is a fabrication.” . . .

And the allegations about mass surveillance?

The dotbomb was foiled by facts:

Prime Minister John Key corrected misinformation that was put in the public domain concerning the operations of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

“Claims have been made tonight that are simply wrong and that is because they are based on incomplete information,” Mr Key says.

“There is not, and never has been, a cable access surveillance programme operating in New Zealand.

“There is not, and never has been, mass surveillance of New Zealanders undertaken by the GCSB.

“Regarding XKEYSCORE, we don’t discuss the specific programmes the GCSB may, or may not use, but the GCSB does not collect mass metadata on New Zealanders, therefore it is clearly not contributing such data to anything or anyone,” Mr Key says.

“I am setting the record straight tonight because I believe New Zealanders deserve better than getting half of a story, embellished for dramatic effect and political gain, and based on incomplete information.

“The GCSB undertakes cyber security operations to protect individual public and private sector entities from the increasing threat of cyber-attack and this is very important work.

“It does not, however, remotely resemble what has been claimed,” Mr Key says.

The GCSB’s cyber security operations occur within its legal framework and only when the following conditions are met:

Each entity must provide individual legal consent to be protected by the GCSB;

The independent Commissioner of Security Warrants must be satisfied each individual case is within the law, and a legal warrant must be co-signed by the Prime Minister and the Commissioner;

Warrants are subject to a two-step process, as outlined by the Prime Minister when legislation was passed last year. A warrant is required for high level cyber protection for an individual entity, and the content of a New Zealander’s communications cannot be looked at by a GCSB employee unless a specific cyber threat is identified which relates to that communication. If that is the case, the GCSB must return to the Prime Minister and the Commissioner to make the case for a second warrant in order to access that communication.“Our cyber security programme began operating this year after a lengthy process of assessing options for protection,” Mr Key says.“The Bureau assessed a variety of options for protection and presented an initial range to Cabinet for consideration in 2012.“The Cabinet initially expressed an interest in GCSB developing a future business case for the strongest form of protection for our public and private sectors, but it later revoked that decision and opted for what we have now – something known as Cortex.The Prime Minister tonight also released declassified material, including a Cabinet minute to show what occurred.“In stark contrast, the Bureau actually operates a sound, individually-based form of cyber protection only to entities which legally consent to it,” Mr Key says.3 April 2012 – Cabinet Minute (PDF3) shows Cabinet asks for business case on cyber security protection initiative.After this Rebecca Kitteridge is called in, problems with the legal framework and internal issues in the GCSB are identified through reviews.September 2013 – Cabinet Minute (PDF2) shows formal rescinding of request for business case and notice of new, narrower project. The business case had been known only as initiative 7418 through the Budget process because of its classification.Related Documents

July 2014 – Cabinet agrees to Cortex, a narrower cyber security programme. (Cab paper and minute PDF 1 and PDF4)

March 2013 – PM tells GCSB not to bring business case forward. Informs GCSB it is too broad. Budget contingency funding will be rolled over and used for something else in cyber security.

September 2012 – It becomes clear there are issues with the GCSB’s surveillance of Mr Dotcom.

Timeline

“I can assure New Zealanders that there is not, and never has been, mass surveillance by the GCSB.

“The business case for the highest form of protection was never completed or presented to Cabinet and never approved. Put simply, it never happened,” Mr Key says.

“These options ranged from the highest possible form of protection to a much weaker form of security, with some in between.

“The process began in late 2011 when the GCSB made it clear to me that cyber-attacks were a growing threat to our country’s data and intellectual property and the Government needed to invest in addressing that.

In addition to this, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security has substantially stronger powers to monitor the GCSB’s activities and ensure they are appropriate and within the law.

1 (pdf 174.11 KB)

2 (pdf 77.72 KB)

3 (pdf 166.9 KB)

4 (pdf 733.22 KB)

 

Glenn Greenwald’s claims that the Southern Cross undersea cables have been tapped into or accessed were described as total nonsense by CEO Anthony Briscoe:

The cables, which link New Zealand to Australia, the Pacific and the United States, are untouched, Mr Briscoe noted.

“I can tell you quite categorically there is no facility by the NSA, the GCSB or anyone else on the Southern Cross cable network.”

“Let’s be quite blunt. To do this, we would have to take the cable out of service and I can assure you there’s no way we are going to do that.

“It is a physical impossibility to do it without us knowing. There is just no way it can be done. I can give you absolute assurances from Southern Cross – and me as a Kiwi – that there are no sites anywhere on the Southern Cross network that have to do with interception or anything else the NSA or GCSB might want to do.”

He added, any breach of the cable would require temporarily shutting down its transmission for hours. Southern Cross has monitoring systems built into its computers watching for any such break and they would be triggered as soon as any attempt was made.

“There isn’t a technology in the world, as far as I am aware, that can splice into an undersea fibre optic cable without causing a serious outage and sending alarms back to our network operation centre, that something’s wrong.”

Southern Cross is obligated to comply with the well-established and public lawful surveillance requirements in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and related laws in the United States. However there is no equipment installed in the New Zealand or United States landing stations, or on the cable itself, which could result in mass interception of communications.

We are very disturbed that such unfounded allegations have been made and feel that it’s important for all New Zealanders to understand that this outrageous claim is totally untrue.

One good thing to come out of this is that the media is no longer Dotcom’s friend:

What was supposed to take John Key and National down might well do the opposite – and here’s a theory on that:

This won’t do the Internet Mana Party any good apropos of which:

A major upset could be ahead for Hone Harawira in the Māori electorate of Te Tai Tokerau, given the close battle between him and Kelvin Davis according to our Māori Television poll results.

Hone Harawira is still leading the electorate on 38%.  However Kelvin Davis is on 37%, so there is just 1% between them. . .

Internet Mana hasn’t got close to 5% in any polls.

Both parties need Harawira to win this seat to survive together or separately.

In other news, there are apparently other parties trying to campaign but they’ve been starved of oxygen while this circus has performed.


Right not always popular

August 13, 2014

The Maori Party has the endorsement of New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O’Sullivan:

. . . O’Sullivan has thrown his celebrity behind the Maori Party saying he believed compromise was the best way to advance Maori interests, and the Maori Party was best placed to do that.

O’Sullivan’s face is plastered over party billboards across the country.

He said that despite warnings it was “reckless and risky” to publicly endorse a party he felt it was necessary.

“I hope that my small – and I do think it’s small – contribution to this campaign could help to bring a positive light to what the Maori Party has achieved and has the potential to achieve,” he said.

O’Sullivan, who also spoke at the party’s campaign launch, cited its willingness to straddle the political divide and its focus on issues such as rheumatic fever and healthy homes as being behind his decision.

“I don’t think a party that’s on the extreme edges one way or another is going to be beneficial for Maori,” he said.

While reluctant to comment specifically on the Internet Mana Party, he said he preferred a positive message over one focused on “pulling down the Government”.

He had been forced to make unpopular but necessary decisions in his own career and the Maori Party was willing to do the same, he said.

“I think we as Maori also need to realise that compromise is a part of political involvement in New Zealand politics,” he said.

“Like I say, sometimes the decisions are not popular . . . it’s hard to be popular and do the right thing at the same time.” . . .

No party can expect to get all the policies it wants enacted.

MMP is supposed to promote consensus but that is rarely possible without at least some compromise.

Small parties tend to get punished for their part in a coalition but the Maori Party has won more than it could have had it chosen to stay in opposition.

One of those gains was the continuation of the Maori seats which would almost certainly have gone had Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples not argued for them in their coalition deal.

Another was Whanau Ora which is making a positive difference to people’s lives.

But perhaps the most significant achievement was proving that the party could work with National and Maori had much to gain by it doing so.

Had it chosen to stay outside the coalition it would be marooned on the left of politics like the Green and Mana Parties.

It’s leaders realised the gains they could make by being in a National-led government, even though it meant accepting compromises.

In doing so they have made real gains.

Tai Tokerau Maori Party candidate Te Hira Paenga has made it clear at a political debate that its relationship with National is to ensure government policies will improve the lives of tangata whenua. . .

In the time allocated to Te Hira Paenga, he said the party made no apologies for striking a relationship with the Government.

He said more tangata whenua needed to work with government agencies in order to provide a better education system, real jobs and living wage.

Mr Paenga also made a subtle dig at his fellow candidates by saying it was time to get rid of the ‘old nets’ referring to the proverb – ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.

That translates as: As a old net withers another is remade, meaning when an elder is no longer fit to lead, a healthier leader will stand in his place.

The Maori Party’s two older leaders are retiring.  Paenga’s speech shows he is willing to follow their example and accept that compromise is necessary in government.

So too is accepting that the right decisions won’t always be popular.

O’Sullivan understands that.

It is a message he and the party must get across to voters if it is to survive this election in a state to continue making a positive difference.

 

 


Checkers or chess

August 7, 2014

Quote of the day:

We are witnessing yet more attempts at three dimensional chess by people far better suited to checkers Phil Quin

He was talking about the Labour Party and its mixed messages over Kelvin Davis and whether or not the party wants him to win the Te Tokerau electorate from Hone Harawira.

Labour’s current brains trust is far from nimble enough to carry off a complicated strategy built around doing one thing and saying another when it comes to Kelvin Davis and Kim Dotcom.  It is simply not possible to simultaneously support both men. It’s time for David Cunliffe to state once and for all where he stands, and make it clear to the voters of Te Tai Tokerau that Kelvin Davis must win, not in spite of its deleterious effect on the Internet Mana Party but, in part, because of them. 

A recent poll showed the majority of Labour voters don’t want a bar of Internet Mana.  It goes to show installing an entourage of Dotcom allies on the strength of Maori voters in the North represents a depth of cynicism to which they are unwilling to sink. Labour should never have put the option on the table, let alone allow it to linger there this long. 

But it is lingering and the longer it lingers and the more yeah-naaing there is over it the less likely voters are to trust Labour regardless of what it and its leader say.


Will he, won’t he?

August 6, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe has said several times that it would be highly unlikely that the Internet Mana Party would be part of a Labour-led government, but he wouldn’t rule anything out until after the election.

Yesterday he changed his tune and said on Breakfast:

“. . . We’ve ruled out working with Mana in government  as well. I’ve said yesterday, I’ve said before Mana will not be part of a government I lead fullstop.”

That seemed to shut the door but  the story on RadioNZ opened it again:

. . . On Tuesday he took that a step further, saying Internet-Mana would not be part of a Government that he leads. However, that still leaves the door open to a confidence and supply agreement. . .

That leaves the question of will he or won’t he do a deal with Hone Harawira and the rest of Kim Dotcom’s puppets without a definitive answer.

He could remove any doubt by showing he supports Labour’s candidate in Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis, in his quest to win the seat.

Until, and unless, he does that voters should take into account that the chances he will come to some sort of deal with Internet Mana – together or separately – are far greater than the chances he won’t.

He is desperate to become Prime Minister and with his own party polling so poorly he’ll need every other party he can get to cobble together a majority.

He’ll do anything he can to get what he wants, even if it means sacrificing his own candidate to ensure Harawira holds his seat.


%d bloggers like this: