H is for

November 19, 2019

When Labour, NZ First and the Green Party were in opposition they were very critical of National’s Cabinet Clubs through which people paid to attend meals at which senior politicians spoke.

Their criticism has dried up now they’re in government and Labour is charging $1500 for a lunch with Jacinda Ardern who happens to be Prime Minister but will be acting as Labour leader.

Running a political party and election campaigns costs a lot of money. It can be easier to get a sum like this from a few people than it is to raise a similar amount from a lot more people in much smaller amounts.

Anyone who thinks a politician can be bought for $1500 (minus the GST that will have to be paid), or even a lot more, has a very jaundiced view of the world and politicians.

I don’t have any concerns about this method of fundraising. I do have concerns about those who suggest state funding of political parties as an alternative.

And I’m not impressed with the hypocrisy from those who criticised National for raising funds this way but are saying nothing now it’s their end of the political spectrum doing it.

On the subject of hypocrisy, the Veteran  has spotted another large dose of it in Northland:

It appears that Labour has disregarded my quite inspired and well meaning advice that if  ‘they’ want to see Winston First back in parliament then they should have Kevin Davis go List only giving the Jones boy a clear run at the Te Tai Tokerau seat which he would win at a canter …

the prodigal son returning and all of that. I can report that Labour’s well respected Willow Jean Prime has been told she’s going to have to take one for the team and confine her campaigning to anywhere but Northland … Chatham Islands perhaps. . .

Labour did that to allow Winston Peters to win the Northland by-election.

That he wasn’t able to hold it at the next election ought to be a lesson for Northland voters who think another NZ First MP would be any better for them than the party’s leader was.

They should also learn from Southland, the West Coast and Taranaki where this government’s policies are doing far more harm than can be mitigated by dollops of money from the provincial slush fund.


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.


Mana wants two electorate deals from Labour

July 31, 2014

Internet Mana candidate Annette Sykes says Labour’s done a secret Epsom-style electorate deal with Hone Harawira.

She’s also calling on Labour to do a deal for her – in the Maori seat of Waiariki.

Labour is denying the claim however, saying all seat deals are off.

Internet Mana is an unusual political beast, but whether you think it’s a roadshow or sideshow – it’s Parliament-bound on Mr Harawira’s coattails.

His lieutenant, Ms Sykes, says Labour’s done a deal which will help ensure he wins Te Tai Tokerau.

“I think it’s already happening there,” says Ms Sykes.”It’s been informally signalled.”

The Veteran, at No Minister, says Labour’s conspicuous by its absence in Te Tai Tokerau, indicating it’s conceded the seat to sitting MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

David Cunliffe’s refusal to rule Internet-Mana out of a government he leads has  torpedoed Kelvin Davis’s chances of winning Te Tai Tokerau.

Whether or not there’s a formal deal, that is effectively an electoral accommodation Harawira.

Sykes can’t be blamed for asking for a deal in Waiariki too, if only because asking is getting her publicity she’d otherwise struggle for.

 

 

 


Labour’s yeah-nah on IMP & Te Tai Tokerau

June 25, 2014

In May David Cunliffe said Labour was going to be trying to win all seven Maori seats.

. . . Mr Cunliffe said he expects that Kelvin Davis, who was 1165 votes behind Mr Harawira at the 2011 election, to run a vigorous campaign. He said there would be no deals with other parties until after the election on 20 September once it is known what voters want. . .

Earlier this month he said he’d be open to a post-election deal with Internet Mana.

Labour leader David Cunliffe confirmed he would still be open to a post-election deal with Internet Mana despite making the abolition of “coat-tailing” under MMP a priority for a Labour-led Government. . . .

However, ranking its Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis at 18 on the list is sending mixed messages:

The list, released yesterday, had Mr Davis at number 18 – but if Labour wins the 27 electorates it expects to, it will need 29 per cent of the party vote for Mr Davis to return to Parliament, if he does not win the seat off incumbent MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

On current polling, that will be a challenge. . .

A better place on the list and it would be a clear signal that the party was protecting Davis and was prepared to sacrifice him in the electorate to help Mana leader Hone Harawira and give it a potential coalition partner.

A worse  place on the list would signal his only route to parliament was by winning the seat and that Labour was not wanting a post-election deal with Internet Mana.

As it is it’s sending  a yeah-nah, may be-maybe not message.


Politics Daily

June 4, 2014

John Key

Vernon Small @ Dominion Post – PM plays symbolic immigration card:

It was a half-promise. Almost no promise at all. But Prime Minister John Key’s announcement yesterday his Government was looking at increasing the recognised seasonal employer scheme had all the symbolic force he wanted.  . .

Claire Trevett @ NZ Herald – PM returns to Samoan village which made him a chief:

Prime Minister John Key has returned to the Samoan village of Poutasi five years after it made him an ali’i [high chief] and was welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony. . .

National Party

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Grassroots democracy:

Was in Mount Maunganui last night for ’s selection of a candidate to replace Tony Ryall in the . Tony’s majority in 2011 was a staggering 17,760 votes. . .

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Alfred for Te Atatu:

We met National Party List MP Alfred Ngaro last year and were most impressed by him. We’ve previously posted his maiden speech to Parliament in 2011, which was widely acclaimed. . .

Employment

TV3 – Govt ponders bigger Pacific seasonal quota:

The Government is considering allowing more Pacific Island seasonal workers to come to New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key says. . .

Fracking

Environment Commissioner urges New Zealand to “get ahead of the game” on an expanding oil and gas industry:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has found regulation in New Zealand is not adequate for managing the environmental risks of oil and gas drilling, especially if the industry expands beyond Taranaki. . .

Pattrick Smellie @ Business Desk – Environmental watchdog gives fracking final tick, seeks national guidelines:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has given a guarded final clearance for hydraulic fracturing, confirming her 2012 report that there are sufficient environmental safeguards, while calling for a National Policy Statement as a guide for local authorities facing applications from oil and gas companies. . .

Ministers welcome final PCE report on oil and gas :

Ministers today welcomed a report released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on oil and gas drilling.

Environment Minister Amy Adams and Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges say the Commissioner’s report is a useful contribution to the discussion on how best to manage the environmental effects of onshore petroleum development, including hydraulic fracturing. . .

IMP

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Laila the waka jumper:

We came across this interesting gem hidden away on Stuff; check this out:

Laila Harre is on the spot changing trail
Meanwhile, Norman revealed that new Internet Party leader Laila Harre had wanted to be a Green Party MP before she quit her adviser role in December. . .

David Farrar @ Kwiblog – Harre was on Greens campaign committee until a fortnight ago:

. . .If this was Game of Thrones, Harre would be a sellsword or a mercenary. How can you be on the national campaign committee for one party a fortnight ago, while negotiating to be leader of a competing party? . . .

Pete George @ YourNZ – Harré and non-disclosure of political commentators:

Laila Harré’s political associations were well publicised late last month, but earlier in the month she was posing as a political commentator without disclosing her interests. . .

Tim Watkin @ Pundit – That’s the price I pay for hating Key the way that I do:

If you’ll excuse the paraphrasing of Billy Bragg, it seems appropriate as the left leave the moral high ground for a bit of electoral mud-wrestling and coat-tailing. But at what cost? . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whaleoil – The Internet Party and Postie Plus. No, really:

. . . Now we all know that the Internet Party is nothing but a scam, and the whole process of using MMP to score a hit on Key on behalf of Mr “I’ll destroy, anybody” Dotcom, but to have it so clearly illustrated mere days into her job is rather sooner than I expected. . . .

Pete George @ Grumpollie – How Internet/Mana will appear on the ballot:

I received this email from the very helpful folks at the Electoral Commission today: . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Irony: the Internet Party doesn’t understand the internet:

Regan Cunliffe reports

“Yesterday afternoon, the Internet Party posted the following tweet: . . .”

Brain Rudman @ NZ Herald: Real cost of Dotcom alliance remains to be seen:

When eccentric millionaires hijack the political landscape as their own private playground, mere mortals should be very afraid. Even veteran leftie Sue Bradford, who loudly denounced the latest game and refused to have any part in it, has been shamelessly used by conservative oddball Colin Craig. . . .

Beehive

NZ to invest $5 million to rebuild Tongan schools:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will contribute $5 million to rebuilding schools in Tonga’s Ha’apai islands following the devastating Cyclone Ian earlier this year. . .

NZ to contribute to the upgrade of Teufaiva Stadium:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will contribute around $2 million towards upgrading Tonga’s national stadium in Nuku’alofa ahead of the 2019 Pacific Games. . .

NZ to invest $1 million into Samoa’s tourism sector:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will invest $1 million to help boost Samoa’s tourism sector. . . .

$359m boost for student achievement moves forward:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed advice from sector leaders on the Government’s $359 million initiative to raise student achievement, saying it maintains momentum and strengthens the path forward.

Ms Parata has released a Working Group report that provides support and advice on the Investing in Educational Success initiative announced by the Prime Minister in January. . . .

Christchurch housing rebuild momentum grows:

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today visited the site of a new Housing New Zealand development in central Christchurch, saying the progress on the 12 new two-bedroom apartments illustrate the momentum underway to fix and replace the city’s damaged housing stock. . .

Minister opens new Police National Command Centre:

Police Minister Anne Tolley has officially opened a new National Command and Coordination Centre in Wellington, which will use the latest technology to tackle and prevent crime and to keep New Zealanders safe. . .

Four young New Zealanders chosen for Bastille Day commemorations:

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson announced today the four young French-speaking New Zealanders who have been selected to represent New Zealand at the Bastille Day military parade in Paris on 14 July. . . .

Coat Tail law:

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Why wait? Cunliffe says ending coat-tailing a priority for his first 100 days:

David Cunliffe is grandstanding over coat-tailing and brilliantly painting himself into a corner.

Instead he is now saying that ending coat-tailing is a priority for his first 100 days in office…but in order to get into office he may have to rely on coat-tailing parties. . .

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – :

In Firstline this morning David Cunliffe said that will amend the within 100 days of office, to remove the one seat electorate threshold in .

This is absolutely appalling. A Government that will ram through major electoral law changes under , probably with no select committee hearings, and without consensus, is dangerous. Labour have form for this. . . .

Inventory2 @ Keeping Stock – Has Labour learned nothing from the Electoral Finance Bill debacle? :

Those who have been hanging around Keeping Stock for a long time will know our history. The blog was started due to our anger at Labour’s insidious Electoral Finance Bill, rammed through Parliament in the last sitting days of 2007. It was bad legislation, and the process was even worse. . . .

 

Labour

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour now doing the “Have you stopped beating your wife” routine:

How pathethic. Select committee scrutiny of estimates is meant to be about spending and performance of government. Instead uses it for a smear disguised as a question. . .

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – New Ziland Labours Weekly:

It’s a photo you’ll have to click the link to see it.

Phil Quin –  Jump to left puts Labour on rocky road:

Some Labour Party cheerleaders have convinced themselves they can capture the Treasury benches without winning an election. They’re wrong. . .

TV3 – David Shearer – I’m sticking with Labour

Labour’s former leader has no ambition to follow Shane Jones into an ambassador role. . .

Labour candidate for Tamaki Makaurau electorate could threaten Treaty settlement:

The selection of Peeni Henare as Labour’s candidate for the Tamaki Makaurau seat could threaten the settlement of the country’s largest Treaty settlement, between the Crown and Ngapuhi. . . .

Adolf Fiinkensein @ No Minister – Nine years of noise with no performance:

Yessir, that’s what Kelvin Davis needs to be hammering home to the electors of Te Tai Tokerau. . . .

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Truth Or Dare: Why David Cunliffe Needs To Come Clean with the Labour left:

WERE YOU TELLING THE TRUTH, DAVID? When you told your party that the age of neoliberalism was over? That you, alone among all your colleagues, had grasped the meaning of the global financial crisis, and only you could lead Labour to an election victory that would restore New Zealand to itself? . . .

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Labour’s flight from reality:

STALLED AT 30 PERCENT in the polls, Labour is still pretending it can win the General Election without help. Bluntly speaking, the party is in a state of serious, collective denial. The most frightening aspect of which, from the perspective of those New Zealanders seeking a change of government in September, is that while the condition persists National cannot possibly be defeated. Heedless, the Labour Party continues to fly from the reality of its own poor performance. Even worse, it’s begun flying from the reality of its own history. . . .

Carbon Tax

Jamie White Russell’s Carbon Tax equivalent to 4.5% rise in company tax:

Last week, the Greens announced a plan to replace the emissions trading scheme (ETS) with a greenhouse gas tax.

Industrial firms that emit greenhouse gases will have to pay $25 per tonne. Farmers will have to pay $12.50 per tonne. This is a BIG new tax, the equivalent to lifting the corporate tax rate from today’s 28% to 32.5%. . . .

Stacey Kirk @ Stuff – Labour opposes Greens’ carbon tax plan:

Labour opposes the Green Party’s new carbon tax policy, saying the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was its preferred option.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said today his party would negotiate with the Greens on the policy, but did not favour it. . . .

Other

Lindsay Mitchell – The living wage effect and EMTRs:

Two parking wardens who will receive $4 an hour extra under the Wellington City Council’s adoption of a living wage each have a partner and a 4 month-old baby. Both say that they will be able to reduce their work hours due to the increase, and spend more time with their families. One from 75 hours down to 40 and the other from 50 down to 40.

Jörg Guido Hülsmann @ Not PC – How inflation helps keep the rich up and the poor down:

The production of money in a free society is a matter of free association. Everybody from the miners to the owners of the mines, to the minters, and up to the customers who buy the minted coins — all benefit from the production of money. None of them violates the property rights of anybody else, because everybody is free to enter the mining and minting business, and nobody is obliged to buy the product. . . .

Gabriel Makhlouf – The diversity advantage:

Thank you very much for inviting me to come and speak to you today. I’m going to focus on an important issue for New Zealand, for the public and private sectors and for the Treasury itself: our diversity advantage. . .

Matthew Beveridge – Twitter conversation 2 Jessica and Michael:

As David Slone said to me on Twitter this morning about the earlier Twitter Conversation of the day post

“proves pollies and journos can be human after all :-)” So here is another example. I have to say, I can’t wait to see why Jessica is looking up the numerology of tweeting MPs…….

 Matthew Beveridge – Social media and open debate:

One of the things we all seem to love about social media is the ability to actively engage with people. This is even more the case when it comes to politicians and parties. For many, social media is the only time and method they have for engaging directly with politicians or parties. Yet some of them are potentially sending the message that they don’t want to engage with people. . .

 Matthew Beveridge – Candidate social media details:

Ashley Murchison and I have been slowly compiling a spreadsheet of social media details for all of the candidates for the various electorates. It has take a while, but we are finally making some progress. The spreadsheet is available here as an XLS spread sheet. . . .


GIMP but not LIMP?

June 3, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe has been dancing on the head of a pin when asked his view on the Internet Mana Party.

That suggests he’s testing the wind before he works out what he thinks.

Several other Labour MPs have already made up their minds they don’t like it.

Senior Labour Party MPs have used social media to attack the alliance struck between Mana and the Internet Party.

Former leaders Phil Goff and David Shearer, and Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins, are among those who have objected to the deal. It could see MPs from Kim Dotcom’s fledging political vehicle enter Parliament on the ‘‘coat-tails’’ of a victory for Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

The strong opposition from within Labour could make post-election coalition talks tricky.

Goff says he feel strongly about Dotcom’s ‘‘pure political opportunism’’, citing his previous donations to ACT MP John Banks, now the subject of a court case. ‘‘He wants to be able to influence and control politicians.’’

Goff says he was previously ‘‘very critical’’ of National for exploiting MMP and failing to implement recommendations from the Electoral Commission to abolish the provision.

‘‘I’m scarcely likely to endorse another rort …I’m being entirely consistent,’’ he said. . . .

Interesting no-one in Labour called it a rort when National voters in Ohariu kept Peter Dunne in the seat which made him a Minister in the Labour-led government.

Goff says he made his feelings clear to the Labour caucus. ‘‘It will be the decision of the party leadership…but I see problems in creating a coalition where the philosophies and principle of people that you are trying to enter into a coalition with is unclear because they seem to be coming from diametrically opposed positions.’’ . . .

Coalitions are by nature unstable even when they have something positive in common.

A coalition built on nothing more than a hatred of John Key and determination to oust National would be a recipe for instability.

Those  views were also reflected in a passionate Facebook post at the weekend. Shearer also used the social media site to write that although he wished the Internet-Mana ‘‘marriage’’ well, he knew ‘‘it’s going to end badly.’’

And on Twitter last week, Hipkins posted: ‘‘The good old days, when political parties formed from movements. Now all it takes is a couple of million and some unprincipled sellouts.’’

All three MPs were linked to the Anyone But Cunliffe [ABC] faction – who were opposed to David Cunliffe assuming leadership of the party. However, a Labour source played down talk of more division, saying all three were close to Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis.

Davis himself posted on Twitter: ‘‘Bro, I think of the people of Te Tai Tokerau, not Sergeant Shultz.’’  He was referring to Dotcom’s German origins. . . .

More than half the caucus is in the ABC faction which makes the party itself unstable.

On present polling a left-wing government would have to consist of Labour and the GIMPs – Green, and Internet Mana parties.

A concerted effort by Labour backing Kelvin Davis to win Te Tai Tokerau would seriously challenge Harawira’s hold on the seat.

If the ABC faction prevails it won’t be LIMP – Labour and the Internet Party and that would leave the GIMPs facing a huge battle for power and relevance.


Internet Mana merger negates need for Maori seats

May 28, 2014

The Maori party says the Internet Mana Party merger threatens Maori seats:

The Maori Party believes the Mana Party has “sold out” and its merger with the Internet Party puts all Maori electorate seats at risk. . .

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the merger undermines the need and purpose of the seven Maori seats in Parliament.

“The seats were hard fought for and to allow a Maori candidate to stand to drag in someone else from another party who is not Maori and may not have any dreams and aspirations for Maori people in this land or the people of Te Tai Tokerau who believed in that candidate is seriously wrong,” he says.

“There have been attempts in the past for some parties to suggest the time for Maori seats is over and this doesn’t help in any shape or form.”

MP Pita Sharples also questioned the merger and thinks Mr Harawira’s party has sold out on Maori issues.

“It’s supposed to stand for things Maori and what’s Dotcom bringing to Maori?”

The answer to that question is trouble.

The Mana Party will get money from the deal.

That might help a very few of its members but it won’t help Maori.

I don’t think we need Maori seats and both Flavell  and Sharples are right that this deal could be used to argue that.


Jones jumps

April 22, 2014

Another three years in opposition or a job where you can make a difference?

Perhaps that was in the mind of Labour MP Shane Jones when he decided to resign from parliament to take up the position of Pacific Economic Ambassador.

Shane Jones is quitting Parliament and the Labour Party, and there is a job already lined up for him – a job offer from the National Government.

Nothing is signed and sealed, but the job is as ‘Pacific Economic Ambassador’ – a position created by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully. Prime Minister John Key is also aware of the job offer. . . .

This will be a blow for Labour.

Jones is one of very few of its caucus to get headlines for positive reasons in months.

But Mana leader Hone Harawira might also be less than overjoyed at the news:

Mr Jones consulted with elders over Easter. They want him to quit immediately so the next MP on the party list can be brought in – Kelvin Davis, who will stand against Hone Harawira in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. . .

It’s far easier to campaign as an MP than as a candidate outside parliament.

 


Maori Seats too big – Flavell

November 25, 2013

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is concerned about the size of Maori electorates:

The Representation Commission has proposed no changes to the boundaries of the seven Maori electorates, because they are within their population quota.

Mr Flavell says it does not address the ”ridiculous” situation that the Tai Tonga MP is expected to represent over half of the land area of Aotearoa, which spans 18 general electorates.

He says the size of the Maori electorates is a major problem it has discussed with the Electoral Commission and MPs, but says there is no political will to change it.

He’s right about  Te Tai Tonga which covers 161, 443 square kilometres – that’s the whole of the South and Stewart Islands and part of Wellington Region.

But the next biggest seats are general ones. Clutha Southland covers 38,247 sq kms and West Coast Tasman covers 38, 042 sq kms.

Then comes the Maori seat of Te Tai Hauauru at 35, 825 sq kms and  the general seat of  Waitaki  which covers 34,888 sq kms.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti, a Maori seat, covers 30,952 sq kms then another general seat Kaikoura is 23, 706 sq kms.

The next two Maori seats are Waiariki at 19,212 sq kms and Te Tai Tokerau at 16, 370 sq kms. Then comes three general seats – East Coast (13,649); Taranaki-King Country (12, 869) and Northland (12, 255) and the smallest Maori electorate Hauraki-Waikato (12,580).

Mr Flavell says electoral law guarantees there will be at least 16 general electorates in the South Island so each one won’t be too big, and that approach should apply to Maori electorates.

The law actually says there will be 16 South Island seats and two of  those – Clutha Southland and West-Coast Tasman are bigger than all but Te Tai Tonga, Waitaki is bigger than all but that and Te Tai Hauauru ; Kaikoura is bigger than Waiariki and Te Tai Tokerau and the three biggest North island seats East Coast, Taranaki-King Country and Northland are all bigger than Hauraki-Waikato.
Electorate sizes are determined by dividing the South Island population by 16 with a tolerance of 5% over or under that figure.I agree that most Maori seats are too big but so are some of the general ones. MMP gives better representation to parties but bigger electorates provides poorer representation for people.The simplest way to reduce the area electorates cover is to increase the number of seats but that would require more MPs or reduce the number of list seats and so reduce proportionality which is one of MMP’s strengths.Another way to reduce the area MPs have to service is to get rid of Maori electorates and keep the total number of seats we have now. That would add a seat in the South Island and make all electorates a bit smaller but I don’t think that will get any support from Flavell.


Maori seats don’t give representation

April 26, 2013

Maori are being canvassed to register on either the general or Maori roll.

If they’re in Te Tai Tokerau and want decent representation they should be opting for the general roll because their MP, Hone Harawira, is a rare sight in parliament.

Mana Party leader has been absent for 49 of the 120 sitting days since the 2011 election.

Mana leader Hone Harawira described himself as going “to battle for those without a voice in Parliament” at his party’s conference this month but he has been a rare sight in Parliament this year. . . .

Speaker David Carter said a formal attendance record for MPs was no longer kept, but Mr Harawira had been given 49 days of leave since the 2011 election, during which Parliament has sat for about 120 days. Party leaders have more responsibilities than other MPs, but most, including Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Shearer, attend on two of the three sitting days. . .

Most Maori seats are considerably bigger than the average general seat which means even a very good MP would struggle to service the electorate well.

However, Harawira has the second smallest Maori seat so can’t use electorate size as an excuse.

Te Tai Tokerau  at 16,370 square kilometres is less than half the size of the three biggest general seats, Clutha Southland, West Coast Tasman and Waitaki,  and a fraction the size of Te Tai Tonga which covers an area of 161, 433 square kilometres.

Te Tai Hauauru covers 35, 825 square kilometres, Ikaroa Rawhiti is  30,952 square kilometres in area, the general seat of Kaikoura covers 23,706 square kilometres, and Waiariki covers 19,212 square kilometres.

A party leader does have other duties but if the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition generally make it to two of the three sitting days each week, Harawira can’t use that as an excuse either.

Although he is costing us more than any other MP who isn’t a minister:

Despite the cutback in travel to Wellington, Mr Harawira’s travel expenses for the first three months of the year were still higher than any other non-ministerial MP, including Mr Shearer.

Tariana Turia said Maori seats didn’t give Maori a voice,   Harawira certainly isn’t giving his constituents a voice in parliament but he’s still racking up a very large travel bill.


Mana vs Maori

August 7, 2011

The announcement that the Mana Party will contest all seven Maori seats wasn’t surprising.

Attempts to repair the gulf that separates Mana from the Maori Party failed after the Te Tai Tokerau by-election making this decision inevitable.

The likely beneficiary of vote splitting between these two parties is Labour which might win back at least one of the Maori seats.

The party will also contest as many general seats as it can and no doubt there will be people who are wooed by this:

The party has outlined its key draft policies: abolishing GST, compulsory te reo in schools and establishing an independent Treaty of Waitangi commissioner to oversee historic claims . . .

However, it takes several thousand votes to win general seats.

Would it be too much to hope there wouldn’t be that many in each electorate who would be taken in by the economic lunacy of removing GST, especially when some who are might vote for New Zealand First instead?


Gamble paid off financially

June 26, 2011

Hone Harawira’s gamble of forcing a by-election has paid off financially.

Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the numbers:

  • A 10% pay rise to $148,500 as a “party leader”.  Shame there’s no-one to lead.
  • $100,000 for party leadership funding
  • $22,000 for research operations
  • $105,192 for his electorate support team

But politically?

He got 5,611 votes  which is almost half the total votes cast but a majority of just 867 over Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

But just 11,606 people of the  33,060 enrolled voted. That’s hardly a strong mandate, even given by-elections always have a lower turnout.

As for the people in Te Tai Tokerau?

For a couple of years from 2008 they were represented by a member of a government coalition partner. Now they’ve got the leader of a brand new party who’s shown he’s not very good at consensus or co-operation.


Mana not registered yet

June 22, 2011

The Electoral Commission’s list of registered political parties, dated yesterday, does not include the Mana Party.

 It’s difficult to know how much credence to give last week’s poll in Te Tai Tokerau when so  many people in the electorate don’t have land lines but it’s safe to say the by-election is a two horse race.

The Maori Party hasn’t looked like it’s been trying from the start which leaves Mana’s Hone Harawira and Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

 Labour’s ability to mobilise voters, especially in Auckland, might give Davis an edge but there isn’t much in it with only three days to go.

The race is going to the wire and so is Mana’s registration. If Harawira pulls it off, he might do so as the leader of an unregistered party.


What’s Hone living on?

June 20, 2011

Last month Hone Harawira said that campaigning would be tough because he’d be doing it on the dole.

It’s up to the people of Te Tai Tokerau to judge if someone who’d been receiving an MP’s salary for nearly six years without saving enough to live on for a month  has the nous to be an MP.

They might also ponder how someone who purports to represent the poor and downtrodden doesn’t know there’s a stand-down period for people who’ve resigned from a job before they can receive a benefit.

The rest of us can ponder what he’s living on since he said he had no savings and he’s ineligible for the dole.

Someone with a better understanding of electoral law than I have might know whether donations to a candidate for living expenses count as donations which have to be recorded in election returns.


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