Why bother with voters?

August 2, 2015

This headline should cause disquiet in anyone who cares for democracy: Peters: NZ First will decide 2017 election.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he will be more powerful than ever by the next election and will decide the next government. . . .

Why bother with voters?

If he won’t give us the courtesy of explaining his intentions before the election and does what he’s done in the past, leaving us voting blind, why bother with an election?

He wants to be king maker but he’ still not willing or able to give a straight answer to a straight question.

. . .  You said you’d resign if you don’t get tens of thousands of new members? “Yeah, precisely. There’d be no sense going on.” That’s a commitment from you. Tens of thousands or you’re gone? “Yes”. Could we narrow that down – more than 10,000 or you’ll resign? “No, I said if we don’t increase our membership… Why don’t you ask a straight question?” But we did… “Well maybe I didn’t hear properly…stop your humbug.”

This old leopard won’t change his spots and he’s dreaming if he thinks he can increase his membership to that extent.

As a member of National, the only party in New Zealand which has tens of thousands of members, I know what it takes to attract and retain members.

If Labour with nation-wide electorate structures and unions helping can’t do it, Peters and his party which never stands in more than a handful of seats won’t have a chance.


So many shades of stupid

July 30, 2015

Andrew Little’s latest desperate ploy for publicity merely demonstrates so many shades of stupid.

. . . Labour leader Andrew Little has described God Defend New Zealand as “a dirge” and claims many Kiwis prefer to sing along to the Australian anthem. A dirge can mean a mournful song or a lament for the dead. . .

I will concede that the anthem is sometimes dirge-like and have blogged on that.

But that is only when it’s played that way.

If played at a decent tempo it is rousing as an anthem should be.

But to claim that many of us prefer to sing Advance Australia Fair?

As anthems go, it’s a good one but if many of the Kiwis he mixes with prefer to sing along to the Aussie anthem than our own it suggests he’s in touch with a sad subset of people and out of touch with the majority.

The stupidest thing about this outburst, though is the timing when he’s doing the best to sabotage the flag-change process in spite of being on record saying he not only favours a change he supports the referendum process for it.

Here’s Labour’s official policy from 2014:

Labour will: review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement.

We believe that the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public.

And in case that isn’t clear enough, here’s his personal views from last October:

Q: Should NZ change its flag: What’s your personal opinion? Should there be a referendum? If you want the flag changed, what’s your favourite design?

A: Yes, my personal opinion is we should have something more relevant to an independent, small Asia/Pacific nation. I think a referendum is a suitable way to deal with an issue that can be very polarising. . .

Had Labour, perish the thought, got into government then not gone ahead with the consultation and referendum it would stand accused of breaking an election promise.

Going back on the commitment to change for petty political purposes and thereby politicising the process when the government has done all it can to involve other parties is at least as bad.

Given Little’s precarious position, when he’s failed to gain traction for himself and his party and he’s now even less popular than Winston Peters, he should be very careful about making funereal references.

Ask not for whom the dirge plays, it could be playing for his political ambition.

And to those who say the flag issue is merely bread and circuses to distract the masses, you have a very low opinion of the ability most of us to care and do something about more than one thing at a time.

 


Quote of the day

April 20, 2015

. . . Tonight’s poll basically has no change in the party vote from February. The one area where there was significant change was Preferred PM. Andrew Little went down 1% to 11% and Winston went up 3% to 10%. So the main impact of the by-election has been Andrew Little coming close to ceding the title of opposition leader to Winston Peters.  Labour may want to reflect on the difference between a strategic decision and a tactical one.David Farrar


Quote of the day

April 2, 2015

To their credit, National has already identified that one of the key barriers to progress and development in many parts of the country is the Resource Management Act (RMA). This is certainly the case in Northland, which is rich in natural resources but poor in economic activity and jobs. But ironically for the people of Northland, by electing Winston Peters they may well have blocked the RMA reforms that are required to improve access to such resources.

The RMA is one of those Acts of Parliament that most people have little contact with. They are the lucky ones.

It’s the property owners and business people with initiatives that come into contact with the Act. Most come to dislike it intensely because they encounter first hand the extortionate demands of ‘affected parties’, the manipulation by activists, the huge costs extracted by the RMA industry, and the barriers put up by consenting authorities.

As a result, consents will often take years to go through the process – council hearings, the Environment Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, all costing applicants such vast sums of money, that in the end many are forced to abandon their project altogether. . .

While there are no doubt a multitude of ideas about how best to move resource planning forward to benefit the country – including the use of council case managers as advocates to guide applicants through the regulatory process and gain the cooperation of government agencies – at the heart of this matter is a realisation that holding back progress is not in the country’s best interest. Yes, we must be careful to minimise the impact of development on the environment, but we must also recognise that New Zealand families need economic growth and jobs if they are to thrive and prosper.

The irony is that as a result of the Northland by-election, the fate of the RMA is now in the hands of Mr Peters. Does he truly care about the long-term well-being of Northlanders, or is he too going to deliver more show than substance for his constituents – some new bridges and a bit of tar seal, when what they really need are jobs.  – Dr Muriel Newman,


Let’s get back on-message

March 31, 2015

One of the big disappointments of the Northland by-election was that National went off-message.

Until then the message was clear and consistent – a growing economy is the means for improved services and infrastructure, without compromising the environment, and National’s recipe for that is working.

We’ve had sustained growth, without inflationary pressure, in spite of the financial and natural crisis the government has faced.

That has been achieved by careful management of public finances while looking after the most vulnerable.

A big part of the plan, and its success, is addressing the causes of long-term problems and thereby reducing the costs which go with them.

This is why National has increased money for education and put more in to helping those most at risk from long term welfare dependence.

It is why it has made delivering Better Public Services one of its priorities.

To do this, we set 10 specific measurable targets in 2012 that we expected the public service to achieve over four to five years to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly the most vulnerable.

These 10 targets are in areas that have been challenging to governments, not just in New Zealand but all around the world – such as welfare dependency, crime, child abuse, and educational achievement.

This focus on results, and being accountable for achieving them, is changing the way the public service is thinking and operating.

Three years on, we are making progress on all 10 targets and it’s now starting to make a difference that improves the lives of New Zealanders.

In February 2015, we released our twice yearly update on the Better Public Service programme.

Key highlights of the latest update include:

  • Immunisation rates of young babies have reached an all-time high.
  • Rheumatic fever rates have dropped considerably.
  • Crime numbers continue to fall – the crime rate is now at a 35-year low.
  • Last year nearly 5,000 people came off long-term JobSeeker Support benefits and into work.
  • More 18-year olds are achieving NCEA Level 2.
  • More young people are achieving higher qualifications.
  • And the number of children who experienced substantiated physical abuse has decreased by almost 200, or 5.6 per cent, over the past year.

There’s still a lot of work to do and we will continue to focus on making strides on the things that matter to New Zealanders and their families.

These matter everywhere in New Zealand, including the provinces.

But there is no doubt Northland had an itch to which Winston Peters applied his usual prescription of charm without substance.

It is possible that no matter how good a campaign National ran it wouldn’t have been able to counter Peters’ persuasion.

But there would have been a better chance of success had it stuck to its message and it must get back on to it.

It has the right prescription and it must keep applying it everywhere including those parts of the country which, fairly or not, feel it isn’t yet addressing their ills.

 

 


One against too many

March 29, 2015

The Northland by-election delivered a 4,000 vote majority for Winston Peters which is being described as a hiding for National.

But how could our candidate, Mark Osborne, counter all of the left plus some of the centre and centre right who might, or might not, not have understood the consequences of their voting?

One against too many others united in opposition to him was too much.

Given what he was up against and how little time he had, he did well, but sadly not well enough.

I’m not pretending this is anything but bad for National. The party will be doing serious soul-searching and must learn from this.

But National isn’t the only loser.

After the knee-capping by Labour leader Andrew Little, that party’s candidate wasn’t expected to do well but just 1,315 votes must be galling for Willow-Jean Prime.

What does the result say for the left as a whole? The Green party didn’t stand and Mana scraped up only 55 votes.

This wasn’t a win for the left who have lost any moral high ground they might have had from which to criticise National for not campaigning to win electorates.

Previous Labour leaders struggled against Russel Norman who did a better job in Opposition and now Little will have to counter a stronger Peters.

What does this result do for Northlanders? They’ve now got an MP who doesn’t live in the electorate and who will be distracted by his party-leadership responsibilities.

They’ve got two and a half years to work out whether that’s what they need.

And New Zealand, after nearly getting a majority government on election night is back to where it was in the last term with National dependent on Act and the votes of at least one other party to pass legislation.

Ah well, that’s politics and today we’ve got sport to enjoy – Go the Black Caps.

 


Northland by-election

March 28, 2015

By-election  results are being posted at elections.govt.nz.

Update:

With all booths counted Peters has a majority of 4012:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 85
HOLLAND, Adam IND 14
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,347
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,359
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 55
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,315
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

With 99% counted Peters has a majority of 3995:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 84
HOLLAND, Adam IND 14
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,331
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,326
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 55
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,313
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22
Candidate Informals 43
TOTAL 28,416

UPDATE:

At 96% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17
CARR, Joe FNZ 107
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 66
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 84
HOLLAND, Adam IND 13
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,263
PAINTING, Rob CLI 38
PETERS, Winston NZF 15,149
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 52
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,304
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

At 89.9% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 15
CARR, Joe FNZ 96
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 62
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 74
HOLLAND, Adam IND 11
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 10,131
PAINTING, Rob CLI 33
PETERS, Winston NZF 13,760
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 52
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,183
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

With 82% counted

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 12
CARR, Joe FNZ 84
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 57
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 65
HOLLAND, Adam IND 11
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 9,347
PAINTING, Rob CLI 28
PETERS, Winston NZF 12,475
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 49
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,040
ROGAN, Bruce IND 22

UPDATE:

At 70.4% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 11
CARR, Joe FNZ 81
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 43
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 52
HOLLAND, Adam IND 9
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 8,416
PAINTING, Rob CLI 26
PETERS, Winston NZF 11,139
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 44
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 975
ROGAN, Bruce IND 17

UPDATE:

With 56% counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 10
CARR, Joe FNZ 65
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 42
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 40
HOLLAND, Adam IND 9
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 7,464
PAINTING, Rob CLI 23
PETERS, Winston NZF 9,696
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 38
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 849
ROGAN, Bruce IND 17

A little more than 15% of the vote has been counted and it’s very much a two-horse race:

 

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 8
CARR, Joe FNZ 39
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 25
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 26
HOLLAND, Adam IND 7
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 5,394
PAINTING, Rob CLI 16
PETERS, Winston NZF 6,875
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 32
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 634
ROGAN, Bruce IND 12
Candidate Informals 18
TOTAL 13,086

 

With a little more than 40% of the vote counted:

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 9
CARR, Joe FNZ 60
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 36
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 31
HOLLAND, Adam IND 8
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 6,394
PAINTING, Rob CLI 18
PETERS, Winston NZF 8,283
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 35
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 715
ROGAN, Bruce IND 16

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