Watching Pita Sharples interviewed on TV3’s ‘The Nation’ on 5 July, two things occurred to me.
There is every likelihood that, come election day, the Maori Party is doomed. If they are really, really, really lucky, they might win one seat. Perhaps.
As much as I dislike National’s coalition lap-dogs, We may yet need the Maori Party.
Up till now, I have wished for their hurried departure from Parliament. As a much-needed coalition ally to National, they have propped up this government and allowed various policies to be enacted that further the neo-liberal agenda at the expense of the majority of New Zealanders.
But this, in turn, has meant that National and ACT have toned down much of the anti-Treaty rhetoric that Brash engaged in when he was leader of the Nats. When Brash gave his infamous Orewa speech in January 2004, the more conservative, reactionary element in New Zealand society rewarded him and his party with a huge (if short-lived) 17% ‘bounce’ in the polls.
National’s strategists understand they cannot afford to alienate that support. Not when every vote and every seat in Parliament counts. And not when this year’s election promises to be the narrowest-run race in decades.
Keeping the Maori Party on-side has also meant losing a strategic tactic from the Right – playing the racist “Treaty Card”. National can no longer play that “card”. Not if it expects to keep the Maori Party as a coalition ally.
This is an added ‘bonus’ for the Left. By removing anti-Treaty messages from National’s “arsenal” of available campaign strategies, racist rednecks no longer have a “natural political home” to vote for, en masse.
As someone who has no love for National and it’s coalition allies, I have to grudgingly admit to a new-found use for the Maori Party – as a useful brake on National’s racist tendencies.
Perhaps Labour and Mana should consider the strategy of “gifting” one of the seven Maori Electorates to the Maori Party?
Fairfax media: Brash takes aim at Key in race speech
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 12 July 2014.
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- Politics on Nine To Noon -
- Monday 9 December 2013 -
- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -
Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,
Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams ( 25′ 53″ )
- The political ramifications of Nelson Mandela’s death and the NZ delegation travelling to South Africa,
- the Green Party’s new policy for the Meridian share float,
- and leadership changes within New Zealand’s smaller political parties.
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- Politics on Nine To Noon -
- Monday 8 July 2013 -
- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -
Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,
Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (23′ 26″ )
- Labour’s so-called “man ban”
- What does Maori/Mana/Labour all add up to?
- The latest on Christchurch
- And Kim Dotcom vs John Key
Acknowledgement: Radio NZ
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In case anyone has missed it, Dear Leader and his Ministers have been consistantly spreading the message, warning us about the potential perils of a Labour-Green-Mana(-NZ First?) coalition government.
“ Only National can provide a strong stable Government that keeps debt down and delivers on jobs. The alternative is big spending, big borrowing, and huge uncertainty. Any way you look at it – a Labour-led Government would owe our future.” – Steven Joyce, 22 November 2011
“If anyone thinks Labour and the Greens are going to deliver stable government, they’d better think again.” – John Key, 19 July 2012
“ The sharemarket value of Contact Energy, Trust Power and Infratil shares alone fell by more than NZ$300 million yesterday afternoon. That value was taken out of the pockets of hard-working KiwiSavers, the New Zealand Super Fund and small shareholders across New Zealand. If Labour and the Greens could do that in just a few hours, imagine what they would do if they ever got near being in government.” – Steven Joyce, 19 April 2013
“There is not going to be a difference between centre left and centre right; it’s going to be a Labour government dominated by the Greens.
This would be the issue of 2014 and voters needed to be aware of the differences.
All of those differences between Labour and the Greens will need to be reconciled by Election Day.
If there is to be no Transmission Gully if a Labour/Green’s Government gets in then we need to understand that; they won’t be able to fudge that.” – John Key, May, 2013
“ Normally, elections are fought between the centre left and the centre right. That is not what’s going to take place next year. David Shearer has cut his cloth and it is wrapped around Russel Norman … that now becomes an election between the centre right and the far left.” – John Key, 28 May 2013
Well, we’ve seen “unstability” since November 2011.
One of National’s coalition Ministers was investigated by the Police for electoral fraud, and is now before the courts facing a private prosecution, charged with filing a false electoral return.
Another coalition Minister has just resigned his portfolios after allegations that he leaked document(s) to a journalist.
And National’s other coalition partner, the Maori Party, seems unsure how many co-leaders it has;
I think from now on, Key and his ministerial cronies may lie low a bit and keep comments of “unstable government” to themselves.
Instability? We’re seeing it now, in spades.
This blogger is picking an early general election – this year.
After that, this country can settle down to a coalition government of stability. One that doesn’t include Key, Banks, Dunne, et al.
About bloody time.
National.co.nz: Labour plus Greens equals billions more debt (22 November 2011 )
Dominion Post: Key’s game is ripping into Greens (19 July 2012)
Interest.co.nz: National’s Steven Joyce dismisses Labour-Greens power policy as ‘bumper sticker politics at its most destructive’ (19 April 2013)
FW: Key fires warning shot over ‘green-dominated’ labour (May, 2013)
ODT: And so it begins (28 May 2013)
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- Citizen A -
- 24 January 2013 -
- David Slack & Dr Wayne Hoper -
- National Party cabinet reshuffle – First Political Poll of 2013 – Ratana & the Maori Party -
Issue 1: National Party cabinet reshuffle – rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic or the boldest political move of the 21st Century?
Issue 2: First Political Poll of 2013 – National up and Labour down – what does David Shearer need to do?
and Issue 3: Ratana this weekend – has Maori political influence peaked – what is happening in the Maori Party?
Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)
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- 1 November 2012 -
- Claudette Hauiti & Chris Trotter -
Issue 1: How do we get affordable housing in Auckland – is the Government on the right track and should the Super City open up more land?
Issue 2: Can the Maori Party convince Pakeha to vote for them?
Issue 3: What does the latest roy morgan poll mean for David Shearer at this months Labour Party conference in Auckland?
Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV
Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)
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- 14 June 2012 -
- Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning -
Issue 1: In light of the Bronwyn Pullar fiasco, is ACC out of control and does a culture of bullying exist to keep NZers needing compensation from accessing it?
Issue 2: As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, the backlash to larger class room sizes was just bad marketing. Should public education be worried?
Issue 3: The Maori Party this week voted for Paula Bennett’s welfare reforms and their leadership are reconsidering retirement – is there a future for the Maori Party?
Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)
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- End of the Week Bouquets, Brickbats, & Epic Fails -
TV3’s current affairs “chat” show, “Think Tank” is hosted by John Tamihere, on Sunday mornings. This half hour programme discusses critical issues confronting our nation, but in a low-key, constructive manner. There are no flashy graphics; no distracting backgrounds; and the guests are encouraged to offer their views without being talked over by other guests or the host.
The only slight criticism? that this excellent show is “ghettoised” on Sunday mornings (alongside TVs’s “The Nation” and TVNZ’s “Q+A”).
It would be a radical moment in our media history if “Think Tank” (as well as “Q+A” and “The Nation”) were re-scheduled for prime-time evening viewing. The public might actually be exposed to intelligent viewing for a change.
Shayne Currie (Editor, New Zealand Herald)
Who tweeted (@ShayneCurrieNZH), ‘We wouldn’t want to be populist now would we Mr Key‘, after Dear Leader whinged on Newstalk ZB that “the media are in a more aggressive and hostile mood towards us” . Key singled out the Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald for special criticism.
Nice one, Shayne. Sometimes it takes a gentle reminder for politicians to understand that the Herald is not Pravda, nor is Sunday Star Times New Zealand’s own Izveztia.
Locked out by their employers, the Talley Brothers – millionaire businessmen – who are hell-bent on driving down staff’s wages and destroying the Meatworkers Union.
The AFFCO meatworkers are ordinary New Zealanders – they could be any one of us – who have been harrassed and persecuted by the Talleys.
In a display of sheer courage that our ANZAC forebears would be proud of, the workers have faced up to the bullies who are their employers.
These brave men and women should be hailed as true Kiwi battlers.
An incoming Labour-led government should not forget the AFFCO workers when they next review employment legislation.
Paula Bennett (National MP
For planning to force welfare recipients to immunise their children for no other reason than they are receiving welfare assistance from the State. This has to be the worst case of State coercion since military conscription.
If National wants everyone immunised, by law, then make it compulsory for everyone. Yeah, right! There would be rioting in the streets, and this rotten government would fall within a week.
But it’s fairly obvious that Key, Bennett, and their misguided mates are exploiting the vulnerability of New Zealanders who happen to be on welfare, for their own political ends.
This country’s economy is in dire straits; we are stagnating; unemployment is on the up; and kids are starving and going through pig-slop buckets to get a feed. Plus on top of that numerous scandals and dodgy deals, and National is desperate to focus public attention elsewhere.
In the 1930s, the nazi government used gypsies and jews as scapegoats. We can’t use jews – Israel would kick Key’s sorry arse to the curb. And we don’t have gypsies.
But we do have welfare beneficiaries, and the public doesn’t mind if they’re ‘bashed’ around a bit.They are the 1930s “jews” of our society.
This is shameful. For a New Zealand government to demonise a sector of the population in such a cynical manner is unforgivable.
Pita Sharples (Maori Party)
For citing that there had been a number of gains for Maori the upcoming budget, such as “funding for treatment of cancer, funding for tackling rheumatic fever…”
Yes, Mr Sharples – but at the expense of raising prescription charges from $3 to $5, which will hurt welfare beneficiaries, superannuitants, and low income earners the hardest. Many of whom already have to make hard choices whether to pay the rent and electricity bill, or cut back on food, medicines, etc.
Many of those low-income earners are the Maori Party’s constituents.
By any definition, that is not a “gain”, Mr Sharples. This is robbing Pita to pay Paul.
For not distancing itself from racist bigot, Louis Crimp, and returning his $125,520 donation. Is ACT so desperate for funds that it willingly accepts money from a person who believes,
“I don’t give a stuff what I’m called. You have to look at the facts and figures. This is the problem with New Zealanders. Most of them dislike the Maoris intensely – I won’t say hate – but they don’t like to say so.”
At what point does a Party draw a line and refuse to accept financial support because the donor is just so repugnant?
Act’s president, Chris Simmons, said he disagreed with Mr Crimp but respected his right to have a view,
“One of the beauties of the Act Party is we believe everyone should have their say.”
That may be, Mr Simmons. But by accepting a racist’s money, you are giving tacit approval to their abhorrent prejudice.
It’s called tarred by association.
Think about it.
And for the final category, the Epic Fail of the Week,
Businessman and bigot. Unfortunately, he may not be alone is holding such racist views.
We have a long way to go, in this country.
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Searching for details on a previous blogpost, this blogger came across this interesting poll result on stuff.co.nz,
Making my vote, the Poll showed me the following results,
Interestingly, the poll results for Labour, Greens, National, Mana, Maori Party, and United Future more or less mirror the 2011 election results.
2011 Election Results
Maori Party: 1.43%
United Future: 0.60%
No surprises with those figures.
NZ First polled higher than their Election Result of 6.59%.
The figures for NZ First may be easily understand as a nationalistic response to the current government’s policies on partial asset sales and the sale of farmland to offshore investors. (Though whether the Stuff poll translates into success at the Ballot box is another matter entirely.)
The real surprise is ACT’s result on the Stuff poll; 6.4%.
No, I don’t think, so, my fellow Kiwis.
ACT’s election result was a meagre 1.07%. Recent polls by Roy Morgan and News Reid has ACT barely registering,
Roy Morgan: 0.3%
News Reid: 0.2%
Which indicates to this blogger that some naughty ACT apparatchiks have been “stuffing Stuff’s electronic ballot box”, by voting multiple times. Naughty boys. Off to the naughty mat with you – and don’t come out until Election Day!
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Electoral Commission official results;
At 61 seats out of 121, the National+Dunne+Banks Government has a bare one seat majority. My money is on this majority disappearing when the first by-election takes place. (Last term, there were four by-elections.)
The Maori Party, more than ever, finds itself in a position of considerable strength – and precarious vulnerability.
Odds are that this National Government will be far more right wing than the previous Administration, if policies announced thus far are any indication. Does the Maori Party wish to be tarred with the same right-wing brush?
If so, it will suffer total electoral annihilation in 2014.
Because with a one seat majority, National can still push through asset sales; welfare “reforms”; semi-privatisation of schools; etc. The Maori Party will not be able to stop these policies from being implemented, even if they vote against it.
So being a part of said National government, as a coalition partner will put them on a path for a hiding to nowhere.
Electoral annihilation. 2014. Guaranteed.
But by sitting on the cross-benches, a-la Greens and NZ First, the Maori Party will still be able to vote for policies they support and against policies they oppose – for precisely the same gain – but none of the side-effect of tarred-with-the-same-brush.
Then, when National loses it’s first seat in a by-election (or defection of an MP) – thereby reducing it’s numbers from 61 to 60 – the Maori Party will be well-placed to support a Labour-led Coalition. It may then regain some of the electoral support it lost in November.
If the Maori Party is getting anything resembling decent political advice, it should arrive at precisely the same conclusions I have.
If not… Hāere ra, Maori Party, 2014.
+++ Updates +++
Prime Minister John Key says that “National does not need the Maori Party’s support but its three votes will be a big help“.
Oh, I’m sure it will be, Dear Leader.
As for the Maori Party, I guess they will be consigned to History’s rubbish bin, following Mauri Pacific and Mana Motuhake.
It beggers belief, that the Maori Party’s constituency is happy with this unholy alliance.
“Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the party only agreed to the deal after consulting its members.
He says it conducted over 40 meetings which were attended by more than 1000 people.
“It was unanimous that we should continue to be at the table in the capacity that we were last time and that’s not just confidence and supply, it’s really a relationship accord with confidence and supply.” “
“Unanimous“?! More than 1,000 people were “unanimous” in supporting a coalition arrangement with National???
I find that somewhat hard to believe.
“The Maori Party has agreed to support the National Party on confidence and supply votes but is free to oppose it on all other matters, including partial asset sales.”
If Sharples and Turia think that they will not be tainted with the same brush of scorn that with be liberally applied to National (as well as Peter Dunne), then they are truly more naive than I thought possible. Just because Sharples and Pita are ” free to oppose it on all other matters, including partial asset sales ” will not absolve the Maori Party from the same oppobrium that will grow over the following three years, as it becomes apparent that this government implements right wing policies.
When John Key says that the Maori Party “will not make any difference to the passage of the legislation because the 61 votes it has without the party’s support is still a majority” – he is showing his usual optimistic facade . He knows full well that his “majority” is one by-election or defection away from being utterly dependent to the Maori Party.
A “Committee on Poverty” will be led by Deputy PM, Bill English, “and will issue progress reports on poverty twice a year”.
Well, excuse my scepticism, by I can really see a committee achieving a lot.
At the very least, I guess a committee will give jobs to those sitting on said committee.
This is a sop. Like committees and reports before it, this committee will achieve very little – if anything.
There have been countless reports, committees, Commissions, etc, in the past. Here is a list of some of them.
They have all come and gone and been forgotten. Meanwhile, joblessness; lack of good, affordable housing; the growing gap between poor and rich; etc, remain as indictments of a society that has gone seriously off the rails since the rogernomic-“reforms” of the late 1980s.
The “trickle down” theory not only has not worked, but the “trickle” has been a tsunami upwards.
If the Maori Party think that National has policies that will address growing poverty in this country, then then are more gullible than I thought.
National is a right wing party, and as such right wing governments are not concerned with poverty. Their focus is purely on implementing “free market” policies; minimal government; reducing social policies; selling state assets into private ownership; “business-friendly”; and lower taxes – especially for higher income earners.
This government will be a re-run of the last three years of the Bolger/Shipley administration in the late 1990s. That National government cut taxes; reduced social services; and csaw a widening disparity in incomes.
We are witnessing a reliving of recent history, which most folk seem to have forgotten.
The next three years will not be happy ones.
The flow of New Zealanders to Australia will become a flood.
And 1,058,638 voters may be sorry for voting for John Key.
“What’s past is prologue“
“Class war” – not a piece of left-wing jargon I normally employ, as it has connotations that are seemingly out-of-date in the 21st Century. It is a term I normally associate with 1960s-style, cloth-cap marxist-leninist or maoist cadres, addressing factory workers as they’re about to “Down Tools and All Out, Bruvvers“!
However, “class war” seems to pretty well describe what this ‘new’ hard-right wing government is planning.
Since the Election on November 26, it is apparent that this government has moved well away from the centre-right position it occupied from 2008-11. There is a definite undertone of cold harshness about this ‘new’ government. The old “smile and wave” has been replaced with a grim tension as the National-Dunne-ACT Coalition begins to announce policies that were never announced during the election campaign.
It is as if the facade of the cheerful “vacant optimism” of John Key has been allowed to fall away – to be replaced with something cold and quite alien. I think New Zealanders are waking up to a Prime Minister that they never voted for.
It appears that the first term of National was to “bed in” this government and lay fertile ground for their real policies – policies that are intended to transform this country as Rogernomic did in the late 1980s. National has declared war on our social services, remnants of our egalitarian past when most or all New Zealanders had a fair go.
Since Rogernomics, we were promised that increased wealth creation would “trickle down” to middle and low income earners, and as a result incomes would rise. This has not happened. in fact, quite the reverse.
The OECD (not exactly a left-wing organisation) has warned “about the rise of the high earners in rich societies and the falling share of income going to those at the bottom, saying governments must move quickly to tackle inequality ,”
Warren Buffett – one of the richest men on this planet – has said pretty much the same thing,
Buffett has stated,
“My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice. “
The same could be said of high income earners and wealthy throughout the world, including here in New Zealand.
Since 1986, there have been seven tax cuts in New Zealand. Gst was introduced at 10% in the same year, and increased to 15% this year (despite assurance by John Key that he would not raise gst).
GST impacts disproportionately on low-income earners as they spend all their income on necessities, whilst higher-income earners/wealthy invest, speculate, or “park” their money. “Parking” wealth does not lead to increased spending in the economy and businesses suffer accordingly. Investment does not always lead to more jobs or higher wages either – simply an increased return to the investor.
The growing disparity between rich, middle-classes, and low income/poor began in earnest in the late 1970s,
It is noteworthy that right-wing governments in the UK (“Thatcherism”) and USA (“Reagonomics”) implemented neo-liberal government policies such as tax cuts for the rich; reduced social services and government spending; and stagnant wage-growth, at the same time – the late 1970s.
Could there be a link? Of course there is. Only a fool would deny the causal factors of neo-liberal governments and growing wealth disparity.
In New Zealand, right wing neo-liberal policies were introduced a little later, in the mid-1980s.
The result has been predictable, and follows overseas trends,
Income disparity has been a growing problem and despite endless promises that “trickle down” theory works – wages have stayed static and those earning minimum wage barely have sufficient to surevive. When questioned by Q+A’s Guyon Espiner on this issue, Bill English agreed,
“GUYON: Okay, can we move backwards in people’s working lives from retirement to work and to wages? Mr English, is $13 an hour enough to live on?
BILL: People can live on that for a short time, and that’s why it’s important that they have a sense of opportunity. It’s like being on a benefit.
GUYON: What do you mean for a short time?
BILL: Well, a long time on the minimum wage is pretty damn tough, although our families get Working for Families and guaranteed family income, so families are in a reasonable position.” Source
The tax cut last year exacerbated that growing gap between the rich/high income earners and those on middle/low incomes,
Only the most politically partisan – blinded by misplaced quasi-religious beliefs in neo-liberal ideology – can ignore the ample evidence that so-called “free market” policies serve to make only the rich, richer. Meanwhile those at the bottom are mired in poverty. The middle-classes become debt-laden, as they have to borrow more and more to keep afloat financially.
We have created a recipe for disaster and in 2008 the fiscal chickens came home to roost.
In November 2011, 957,769 voters cast their ballot for a charismatic Prime Minister who seemed to be fairly centrist and common sense.
957,769 voters were duped.
This was not the same John Key nor National government they elected in November 2008.
The Right Strikes Back
Charter Schools is nothing less than gradual privatisation by stealth. Instead of announcing to New Zealanders that schools will be put on Trademe and sold to highest bidders, the “Charter Schools” policy is far more subtle; and done piece by piece; step by step.
99% of New Zealanders would never countenance our schools being put on the chopping block and flogged of to Heinz Watties, Church of Scientology, Toyota, the Mormons, Uncle Tom Cobbly, etc. But that is precisely what “Charter Schools” is about. Under “Charter Schools”, a religious group or corporation can fund and take control of your local school.
A Radio NZ report states,
“Christian school leaders say the Government’s plan to trial so-called charter schools could give them a way to reach the most needy families.
Charter schools are part of a movement in the United States and Britain to get business and non-profit organisations to run government-funded schools free from many of the rules that govern regular state schools.
The schools are not allowed to charge fees, but can set teacher pay and their own school day and year.
A trial for such schools in South Auckland and central and eastern Christchurch was part of the confidence and supply agreement reached between the National and ACT parties on Monday.
Christian school leaders say the proposed schools might give Christian schools a way round current restrictions on their enrolments.
Most are integrated schools and must focus their enrolments on Christians. Charter schools would get the same funding, without those restrictions.
Christian school leaders say that will interest schools that want to help poor communities.
They say the schools would be fulfilling a Christian mission and would not try to convert people to Christianity. ” – Source
So if a christian fundamentalist group like “Exclusive Brethren” took over my local primary school, they would not be replacing the science curriculum with Creationism? Or teaching girls to be “silent and obedient to men”? Or canning sex-education?
A NZ Herald article had this to say about “Chart Schools”,
“The National party yesterday agreed to incorporate charter schooling as part of its government support deal with the Act Party, allowing private entities such as businesses, church groups and iwi organisations to take over management of schools but retain state funding under the scheme.
The charter school scheme will be trialled in South Auckland and Christchurch within the next three years.
Groups representing teachers and principals are outraged at the proposal.
Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) president Robin Duff labelled the charter school trial nothing but a “social experiment” on already vulnerable students.
“Why are they not putting a school like this in Epsom? I think some honest answers are needed.”
He said models overseas were ineffective; Stanford University research showed students at only 17 per cent of charter schools did better than at traditional schools.” – Source
When John Key was interviewed about the new “Charter Schools” policy that ACT and National had jointly announced, he replied on Radio NZ,
“‘That’s MMP for you, isn’t it? That you agree to different proposals.”
Once again, Key is spinning a lie to cover his backside.
The facts are simple, and a visit to National and ACT’s website yields some interesting information.
There is no mention made whatsoever of “Charter Schools” in National’s policy, “Education in Schools“. Nothing even remotely close.
National makes policy on employing unqualified people off the street to teach our children,
“We will make it easier for schools to employ people with specialist skills who may not be a registered teacher, but who can undergo basic teacher training. That training may be on-the-job training.“
They even hint at League Tables,
“They also have clear targets they can measure their own achievements, and the achievements of their school, against.”
“National will make secondary school performance information available to parents, so they are informed about their child’s learning environment.”
“Improve reporting of system-level performance, including investigating school level reporting.”
National wants to psyco-analyse people to gauge their “disposition to teach”, in a quasi-Nanny State/Big Brotherish kind of way,
“Improve the quality of initial teacher education, including a move to a post graduate qualification and minimum undergrad entry requirements, as well as a formal assessment of a ‘disposition to teach’.”
And National isn’t “quasi” in some of it’s Big Brotherish surveillance of ordinary New Zealanders,
“Track students who leave school before 18 and make sure they are in some form of education or training.
Schools will be asked to report students who are leaving school and not going onto further training or employment, so we can support them and ensure they don’t end up on welfare.“
So, if you’re 17 and about to leave school, for whatever reason, expect the eyes of The State to be watching you.
National also makes some very grand, heart-warming, claims stating their supporting for schools in Christchurch in their “Education in Schools” policy,
“Double-funded students who moved out of Christchurch for 2011. That is, we funded the Christchurch school they no longer attended and also funded the school outside of Christchurch they did attend.”
However, they make no reference to the fact that, in September, Education Minister Anne Tolley announced cutting 167 full-time equivalent-positions from Christchurch schools, effective next year. This lapse in painting a full picture of National’s policy and track record in Christchurch is another unpleasant example of dishonesty from this government.
But a big Nothing/Nada/No Way reference to “School Charters”.
Quite predictably, ACT, and it’s website, is a right-winger’s Onanistic delight.
Again, there is no mention of “Schools Chart” in ACT’s education policy. Though they do rabbit on about “the benefits of making education more market-like and entrepreneurial. “
In fact, this is ACT’s full education policy,
It’s interesting that ACT (and to a lesser degree, National) both make out that our education system is in dire straits. Their inference is that only their policies will achieve grand outcomes – no one elses.
And yet, things are not as bad as they would have us believe,
Ok, so we’re not ‘perfect’, and obviously we “Can Do Better” on our OECD Report Card. But matters are not so desperate that National has to implement a policy that neither they nor ACT campaigned on. National, specifically, has no reference coming even remotely close to “Charter Schools” in it’s education policy.
Quite simply, National has ‘sprung’ this on the public. They have no mandate for such a radical re-shaping of our education system.
Trying to blame it on MMP and suggesting that it is ACT policy is duplicitous. They have deceived the elecorate – and as such parents, teachers, students, and the rest of the community have a legitimate right to resist implementation of this policy.
I suspect that “Chart Schools” is merely the tip of the iceberg. National and ACT have other surprises in store for us, and New Zealand will be in for a rude shock.
The Right Wing are in ascendancy in Parliament and they will run rampant with their “reforms”, mandate or not.
Yet more evidence (if we ever really needed it) that this National-led coalition has taken off the kid-gloves and has adopted an agressive, uncompromising, right-wing posture. As well as ramming through policy that was never presented to the electorate, expect National to be more open and brazen in breaking promises.
National’s intention to mine the ecologically-sensitive Denniston Plateau was made public by “Conservation” Minister Kate Wilkinson, a mere one-working day day after the election. She could barely wait for the ballot papers to be counted before issuing a public statement that broke a promise to make future applications to mine on the conservation land publicly notifiable.
On 20 July 201o, after mass protests throughout the country opposing mining on Schedule 4 Conservation land, Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson issued this statement,
After carefully considering the feedback received on the Maximising Our Mineral Potential: Stocktake of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act and Beyond discussion paper, the Government has agreed that:
- i. No areas will be removed from Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act.
- ii. All of the 14 areas proposed for addition to Schedule 4 will be added to the schedule.
- iii. A technical investigation will be undertaken of Northland (in strategic alliance with Northland Regional Council, the Far North District Council, and Enterprise Northland), the West Coast of the South Island and various other highly prospective areas in the South Island – excluding any Schedule 4 areas. This will identify mineral deposits and assist with hazard identification (for example, faults and slips), road maintenance and conservation planning.
- iv. Areas given classifications equivalent to current Schedule 4 areas (for example, national parks and marine reserves) will in the future be automatically added to Schedule 4. Such classifications will be agreed by Cabinet.
- v. Significant applications to mine on public conservation land will be publicly notified.
- Gerry Brownlee, Kate Wilkinson – 20 July, 2010
Australian mining company, Bathurst Resources, wants to mine an additional 50-80 million tonnes from the area over a 35 year period. Forest & Bird state,
“The adjacent Stockton Plateau has been half destroyed by opencast mining in the past few decades. The Denniston Plateau has a history of underground mining, but has been spared – until now – this fate.
A new opencast coal mine proposed for the Denniston Plateau would destroy 200 hectares and increase New Zealand’s coal exports by up to 63% per year. But that would only be the beginning. The Australian company holds mining permits across the Plateau, which would generate an estimated 50 million tonnes of coal.” – Source
In effect, this,
Would become this,
National’s open contempt for the democratic process; honouring election committments; and public consultation – should now be apparent to everyone. Worse still is their contempt for the people of this country.
How else does one explain a government that has so blatantly gone back on so many of it’s promises?
Wilkinson’s readiness to go back on her word is something that she – and her colleagues – should be deeply ashamed of.
National’s previous term saw the highest use of “Urgency” to ram through legislation, in decades.
Expect more of the same, as they implement their right wing agenda at breakneck speed, before 2014. This is the method used by Douglas and Prebble in the 1980s.
Indeed, Douglas boasted at the speed at which he and his cronies introduced their “reforms”. The result was that public opposition to their agenda was difficult to mount.
The right wing have little time for the democratic process and public consultation. That should be readily apparent to us all by now.
I’ve no doubt that whilst ACC will not be privatised – that workplace accident compensation will be opened up to “marketplace competition”. This will be a rehash of National’s earlier experiment in accident insurance competition in the late ’90s.
Neo-libs. They love to recycle old policies, whether or not they were ever successful.
The Maori Party has not yet gone into formal coalition with National. They are currently conducting consultation with their constituents, by holding Hui around the country.
I have no doubt in my mind that Maori Party members will bitterly denounce any suggestion that they coalesce with National. To many, the last week has already been a fore taste of the right wing whirlwind that is about to hit this country.
For the Maori Party to be associated in any way, shape, or form with the impending storm will be a colossal misjudgement on the part of Maori Party leadership – and will guarantee their political demise in 2014.
Wise heads will try to warn Pita Sharples, Tariana Turia, and Te Ururoa Flavell, that entering into coalition with National and it’s coat-tailing little mini-Nats (Dunne and Banks) will be the death knell for the Maori Party.
The question remains; will they heed that warning? Or will they suffer the same fate as Tau Henare’s Mauri Pacific Party in 1999?
Things To Come
Let no one be under any illusion that this National Coalition v.2 is nothing like it’s predecessor from 2008-11. This is a fully-fledged, ideologically-driven, determined Right Wing Government.
And it has nothing to do with ACT. ACT is a political corpse, and John Banks is carrying on in name only.
Despite MMP being designed to reign in the executive power of large parties, and prevent FPP-style single-party rule – National has managed to rort the system by creating proxies – Peter Dunne and John Banks – who are essentially National Party ministers-by-default.
National did not fail in their fight to win an outright majority in the House. They succeeded.
I hope that the voters of Epsom and Ohariu knew what they were doing when they voted for Banks and Dunne (and Green and Labour voters when they failed to vote tactically). Because they have helped achieved the near impossible under MMP: a single-party government.
And we know what happens when a single-party government rules Parliament. What does a single-party government do?
Whatever it wants.
The election may have ended at 7pm last Saturday – but political “aftershocks” may yet change the Parliamentary landscape,
As the Dominion Post story states, “National could theoretically lose up to two seats on special votes and its majority could be affected“.
After the 2008 general election, Cam Calder (number 58 on the National Party List), became an MP based on election night provisional results.
However, a subsequent seat re-allocation due to counting of special votes reduced National’s entitlement (by one seat) in the final count, preventing Calder from entering Parliament.
Instead, the counting of specal votes gave the Greens an extra seat, and Kennedy Graham became an MP.
Fast-forward to the 2011 general election: If Te Ururoa Flavell’s coup succeeds, and the Maori Party chooses not to give Supply and Confidence to the National-Dunne-ACT coalition – then matters could get very interesting, very quickly.
It would be bleak irony if National lost it’s election night wafer-thin majority; the Maori Party chose not to support a second John Key administration; and a Labour-led coalition became a new reality. In which case, Phil Goff’s resignation was somewhat “premature”.
Irony indeed if, having stepped down, one of the two Davids became the new Prime Minister – on the back of Phil Goff’s hard work and victory.
Politics – reality TV at it’s finest.
Current National and Maori Party coalition negotiations raise two interesting issues. One is fairly self-evident. The other is something I’ve just noticed in the above image of Pita Sharples anf John Key…
“Mr Key said there was no reason why partial asset sales would need to be treated as a matter of confidence and supply.” Source
The sale of state assets is usually a budgetary matter. As I’ve written previously, past asset sales were generally included as part of bugetary legislation and passed by the government-of-the-day using it’s majority in the House.
The Opposition – whether one party as under FPP, or several parties under MMP – would automatically vote against the government’s budget. If the budget passed, the government had Supply (money to pay for ongoing state activities, such as paying salaries; building infra-structure; making purchases; paying for borrowings; etc).
If the budget was voted down – the government fell.
At present, John Key’s coalition-government consists of 62 seats out of 121 (there is an “over-hang of one seat),
Those 62 seats comprise,
John Banks/ACT: 1
Peter Dunne/United Future: 1
62 out of 121 is a majority – just barely. Lose one seat – in a by-election or a defection – and the majority is cut down to one. Lose two seats, and Key’s majority is lost, and becomes a minority government.
No wonder John Key spat the dummy a couple of days ago and called MMP a “weird system”.
Which is why the Maori Party’s the seats becomes vital to the longer-term survival of this new, National-led coalition government. Last term there were four by-elections. There is no guarantee that there won’t be one or two or more this time around.
Key needs the Maori Party as political “insurance”.
The only way that the Maori Party can be placated regarding asset sales is that the issue is removed from the main body of the upcoming Budget, and presented to the House as separate legislation. The Maori Party may then vote with the National-led coalition to ensure Supply, and the business of government carries on.
When the issue of asset sales is presented to the House as separate legislation, the Maori Party will no doubt vote with the Opposition, as Sharples and Turia promised their constituents during the election campaign, and try to vote down the Bill.
No doubt the Bill will proceed through the House, as John Key utilises his two seat majority early on, to guarantee it’s passage.
Once the Bill is enacted and becomes law, the asset sale can proceed unhindered.
At the same time, the National-ACT-Dunne-Maori Party coalition is embedded. There is face-saving all around.
When I looked at the image above, of John Key and Pita Sharples meeting and greeting each other as equals, the scene reminded me of a photo taken in the early 1970s, of then-Prime Minister, Norman Kirk. I found the image using trusty Google.
Let’s compare the two,
My, how we’ve matured as a society since the early 1970s.
The symbolism of those two images shows – to me – how the New Zealand social and political meme has been re-defined in only 40 years.
When Norman Kirk led the young Maori boy across the grounds of Waitangi, the image was one of the Pakeha culture as the dominanant patron of this country, leading the “maori child” walking together, hand in hand. It was the archetypal British Colonial “father-figure”, taking in-hand the “childlike” indigenous people.
In the right hand image, the Maori male is an adult Pita Sharples, meeting John Key on a level playing-field. They are meeting as true Treaty partners.
Despite what one may think of National; their policies; and the Maori Party supporting this government – I find something positive in the right-hand image. I think it bodes well for our future and demonstrates that pakeha fears over the Treaty is without foundation.
We’ve come a long way. The journey is yet to end, if ever.
This is when politicians really break out in sweat,
“The Maori Party leadership has met in Auckland today but is yet to decide on a future relationship with National.
Co-leader Tariana Turia said the party would discuss the issue with supporters after meeting with Prime Minister John Key tomorrow.
A reduced Maori Party caucus gathered in Auckland this morning to discuss possible coalition deals.
The party suffered a serious dent in its support last night. It lost Rahui Katene’s Te Tai Tonga seat and saw reduced margins in its remaining three electorates.
Co-leader Pita Sharples was visibly deflated last night and admitted to being disappointed with his own result and that of the whole party.
He said the party’s poor performance showed supporters did not like the party siding with National over the past three years.”
Co-leader Pita Sharples said “the party’s poor performance showed supporters did not like the party siding with National over the past three years“.
Well now, that’s an understatement if I ever heard one.
It may seem like a Big Ask, but maori appear to want contradictory things for the Maori Party; independent representation with their own political movement – and a voice in government. But not in coalition – Maori Party voters seem overtly hostile to coalescing with National.
Anything else? Would you like fries with that?!
I don’t envy Pita Sharples or Tariana Turia one jot. They have conflicting messages from their constituents, and have already been punished with the loss of one of their number, and reduced votes. This is critical support that no small Party can afford. The next step would be a one-man band Party (a-la Peter Dunne, John Banks, and Jim Anderton) followed by political extinction.
On top of expectations from their constituents is a new thorn in their sides; state asset sales. The proposed sales are deeply unpopular with the majority of the public (or so they tell the pollsters) and no less so with maori.
Sharples has consistently stated that the Maori Party are opposed to asset sales – though with the caveat that if the sales do proceed, they want Iwi Inc. to have first options to buy.
National, of course, would never have a bar of such a proposal.
On top of all this is the convention of providing Confidence and Supply to the government.
Budgets are presented to the House for voting by all MPs. If the Budget passes, then government is assured of Supply – at least until the next Budget. In all likelihood, National will make asset sales a central pillar of their first Budget.
If the Budget is voted down – the government falls. If the Opposition cannot form a new government, then a snap election is called.
Is essence, if Sharples goes ahead with his promise to oppose asset sales, he is effectively voting down the government’s Budget.
With National’s majority only a slim margin, the Maori Party would be playing a risky game of high-stakes, political poker. Excluding Maori Party support, National will have only a one seat majority in the House once the Speaker’s role is taken into account,
With Labour a couple of seats short of being able to form a Labour-Greens-NZF-Mana-Maori Party Coalition – a fresh election is inevitable.
At best, the Maori Party could only abstain from voting for Supply for the government. That would mean National relying on Peter Dunne and John Banks to make up the numbers. Just barely.
Not exactly voting for asset sales – and not exactly opposing it, either. And all the while having to satisfy their constituents – or face an even greater voter back-lash in 2014.
At this stage, joining Winston Peters on the cross-benches; voting on legislation issue-by-issue; and hoping that Tariana Turia’s “pet-project” Whanau Ora is not canned – seems their likely option.
This may work. Until the first by-election happens – and last year there were four such by-elections.
To coalesce or not to coalesce – that is the question. Classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t, for a small party in Parliament.
Election Eleven – Saturday
National has won the election, and, seemingly increased it’s Party vote from 44% to 48%.
Despite running a policy-based campaign based on important issues, Labour has suffered a major setback.
The Greens, meanwhile, have done stunningly well.
And Winston Peters was the sole beneficiary of the “cuppa tea” meeting in Epsom.
Some initial observations…
The “cuppa tea” meeting between the Two Johns has proven to be a futile exercise. The sole gain for ACT was to return John Banks (a former National MP) to Parliament – but with no extra MPs “riding on his coat-tails”.
In effect, there was no profit for National to support ACT. National might as well not bothered and simply supported Paul Goldsmith.
ACT’s continuing existence is now at the pleasure of Dear Leader, John Key.
By 2014, ACT will most likely disappear.
Green Party Voters – Ohariu
Green Party members in the Ohariu electorate – you people need to learn to count and to understand the concept of tactical voting.
By giving your electorate vote to the local Green candidate, Gareth Hughes, instead of Charles Chauvel, you have allowed Peter Dunne to return to Parliament and give National an extra coalition partner.
National wishes to thank you for your assistance in returning a centre-right government to power.
Similar results have occurred in other electorates, where Green supporters voted for their Electorate candidate, instead of voting strategically, with a Labour/Green split.
For example; Waitakere:
Paula Bennett (N): 12,310
Carmel Sepulone (L): 11,961
Steve Tollestrup (G): 1,582
1,582 wasted electorate votes for the Green candidate could have helped the Labour cadidate defeat Paula Bennett. Instead, Carmel Sepulone – a very talented Labour candidate – has lost her seat in Parliament.
Similar instances abound in other electorates.
Next time, Green Voters, ease up on the wacky-bakky before you vote.
By voting National, New Zealanders have given National the mandate to sell state assets. That’s our assets. Or rather, they used to be our assets. Pretty shortly, they will belong to Americans, Germans, Chinese, Australians.
Congratulations, fellow New Zealanders, you’ve succeeded in giving away our best performing; most profitable publicly-owned; assets.
After our electricity companies are sold off, wait till you get you next power bills. When power prices begin to rise, as overseas owners demand higher and higher returns on their investments, you will be reminded that we did this to ourselves. No one forced us to sell.
Aren’t we a clever bunch?
Pita Sharples has stated that the Maori Party will oppose asset sales as National’s coalition partner.
Oh dear lord…
Sharples needs to look at the rules of Supply & Confidence. Specifically, if National makes asset sales a part of their budget; and the Maori Party votes down that budget; they will have denied the National-led government Supply, which in turn will force a snap election.
Does the Maori Party want to force a snap election and suffer the wrath of the voting public?
Do they want to risk electoral annihilation at the hands of annoyed voters? I doubt it.
The biggest loser of the night, few will take Horizon Polling seriously after tonight’s election results.
The BIG winner of the night; New Zealanders have voted to retain MMP. This was due in part to “Vote for Change” mounting the most pathetic, incompetant, and and mostly invisible campaign in this country’s history.
And Jordan Williams had the cheek to blame the media for “not having a debate” on the issue?
Jordan Williams needs to take responsibility for his Claytons-campaign. Blaming the media may work for Winston Peters – but coming from others, it is not a good look.
MMP won because,
- It is relatively simple to understand,
- The alternatives were unfair; unworkable; or hellishly complex to understand,
- New Zealanders simply didn’t feel inclined to change.
Was this a defeat for Labour?
No. I see it as a postponement of a victory.
In the next three years, as National’s policies really start to bite low and middle income earners, and those at the top increase their wealth, Labour’s time will come in 2014 (if not earlier – see Maori Party above).
I am picking a snap election in a years’ time, or mid-term.
And this time, National will lose.
As for Phil Goff – I hope he doesn’t step down. I think he’s actually grown in stature over the last few weeks. He won two of the three Leader’s Debates handsomely, and is able to pin down John Key on issues.
With the media/Key honeymoon well and truly over, Goff now has a chance to show up National’s weaknesses to the public.
The campaign for the next election starts on Monday.
Election Eleven – Friday
Not much blogging today. Busily removing ‘Vote MMP” signs before the midnight deadline tonight.
A few observations though…
An open letter to the Maori Party…
A point to make about Pita Sharples stating that if National gets back into power, that the Maori Party will vote against asset sales.
I’m glad to hear that, Mr Sharples.
But it ain’t that simple.
If National get back into power, with the Maori Party as their sole coalition partner, then National will assume it has Supply & Confidence.
National will then ‘tack’ asset sales onto their first budget.
If the Maori Party votes against asset sales, it will be ipso facto be voting against the government’s budget. This means that a National-led government no longer has Supply – one half of the Supply & Confidence equation required to govern.
Once a government loses a Confidence vote, or, cannot pass Supply legislation – that usually results in a snap election.
Think very carefully who you want to go into Coalition with, Mr Sharples and Ms Turia.
Kind of sez it all, really…
The latest Horizon Poll has been released today, with results on,
- the electoral system referendum
- political party ratings
- Maori voting intentions
Electoral system referendum
MMP is still the preferred option, with FPP coming in second place. This will no doubt annoy the heck out of the “Vote for Change” lobby group, who chose the FPP-variant, Supplementary Member (SM) as their preferred option.
Big mistake, boys. I know why you did it – you believed that FPP was tainted by past political abuses of power (which is correct) and that Supplementary Member would be a welcome alternative. “Vote for Change” even touted SM as a “compromise between FPP and MMP – which it isn’t, of course. But you relied on low-information voters not knowing this and following your lead.
Unfortunately for “Vote for Change”, their non-existant campaign achieved very little. In fact, it was distinctly amateurish, to put it mildly.
Political party ratings
As usual, Horizon Polling results differ markedly from Roy Morgan, Herald-Digipoll, et al, because Horizon prompts Undecided respondants to state a preference. Other pollsters also often do not include Undecideds when calculating their percentages.
The poll results,
It’s interesting to note that the poll results for ACT, Labour, and the Greens match very closely other political opinion polls – only the result for National is markedly different.
For example, a Fairfax Media-Research International poll released yesterday had the following results;
- Labour – 26%
- Greens – 12%
- ACT – 0.7%
Very similar results to the Horizon Poll, with two important exceptions – Fairfax had the following results for National and NZ First;
- National – 54%
- NZ First – 4%
Significantly different to the Horizon Poll.
As the poll above stands, a Labour-led government is possible, with NZ First support. (And woe betide Winston Peters if he plays silly-buggers with Supply & Confidence.)
The election results will point to which company has gauged voter preferences the most accurately.
Maori voting intentions
As Maori politics follows Pakeha political movement and fragmentation along classic Left/Right lines, Mana and Maori Parties are becoming critical potentional partners for National and Labour. (Phil Goff may say he won’t go into Coalition with the Mana Party – but I believe he will need Hone Harawira’s Supply & Confidence to govern. He is hardly likely to turn down Mana Party support – critical if the left are to win on Saturday.)
Party Vote Results:
- Labour is attracting 27.6% of Maori nationwide
- Mana 14.9%
- Maori Party 14.9%
- NZ First 11.3%
- Green 11% and
- National 9.5%.
It is interesting to note that, generally speaking, Maori still favour Labour-led government;
- 20% of Maori want the Maori Party to enter a post-election coalition agreement with National.
- 53.5% would prefer it enter a Labour coalition.
- 45.8% of Maori would prefer Mana to enter a coalition agreement with Labour, 9.2% National.
If Horizon Polling is accurate – and I believe that their results are more realistic than the 50%, 53%, 56%, results that other polling companies have been coming up with – then National is on-course to being a one-term government.
And if John Key follows comments he made earlier this year, he will resign from Parliament.
Interesting times, indeed…
I’ve been thinking…
On the issue of state asset sales, Maori Party opposition appears to be luke-warm,
“Maori Party not keen on asset sales
Tuesday 11th October, 2011
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is trying to create some electioneering difference from her coalition partner by coming out against state asset sales.
National is campaigning on selling off stakes in the state-owned power generators and Air New Zealand if it’s reelected next month.
Mrs Turia says pressure to support the plan is coming on the Maori Party from iwi who want to invest in assets.
“We’re not going to stand in the way of iwi but at a personal level, a political level, we don’t support asset sales because what we’re fearful of is that overseas big buyers will come in and in the end our assets will be owned by them,” she says.
Tariana Turia says there are already protests against Chinese companies buying up farmland although Maori are always conscious that more than 94 percent of land in Aotearoa is now owned by non-Maori.” Source
Three weeks later, the Maori Party position on asset sales to Iwi became clearer, if only fractionally,
“Maori Party give iwi exemption on asset sales
Tuesday 1st November, 2011
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says her party doesn’t support state asset sales, but it won’t stand in the way of iwi who want to buy in.
The party’s manifesto released at the weekend said any privatisation must be managed in a manner that is consistent with Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Mrs Turia says the party is aware that many iwi want a chance to buy shares in companies like Solid Energy and Mighty River Power.
“We’re not saying that we support asset sales. What we are saying is we’re not going to stand in the way of those iwi who believe that if they can buy in to those assets, to hold them in New Zealand, we support them,” she says.
The party is also pushing for a Treaty clause into the overseas investment legislation so iwi are given first right of refusal on any land being considered for sale to foreigners.” Source
I would suggest to the Maori Party that a more hardline rejection of asset sales would put additional pressure on National to reconsider their deeply unpopular policy. Key has already stated today (7 November) that SOE sales could be postponed – supposedly because of the deteriorating state of the global economy. But I suspect it more to do with public opposition to asset sales, and that focus-group testing has shown that Labour’s campaigning on this contentious issue is gaining traction out in Voter Land.
With the likely demise of ACT, and Peter Dunne probably losing Ohariu to Charles Chauvel, National would have only one potential ally remaining. As such, the Maori Party could easily “flex” it’s collective-muscle and put the brakes on this unpopular policy.
With 68% of voters opposed to asset sales, according to one recent poll, the Maori Party could be tapping into popular public sentiment on this issue by adopting a “me too!” oppositional stance to National.
Once the election is over, and the dust settles, the Maori Party may be the only force in Parliament able to stop the sale process.
The irony of this should not be lost on us; Maori preventing the alienation of state assets; promoted by a minority; against the wishes of the majority. Oh, the karma.
Colin Craig’s Conservative Party appears to be gaining some traction with voters, and is actually beginning to register in the polls. Not bad for a new party, led by a relative “unknown”, that was registered only on 11 October this year. (Unknown perhaps outside of Auckland. Colin Craig stood as a mayoral candidate for Auckland in 2010, and finished a credible third-placing.)
Amongst their policies is a mixture of 1950s-style social conservatism; appeal to nationalist sentiment; and economic liberalism. In some ways, they are a more user-friendly version of ACT. Conservatism/economic liberalism with a human face, to borrow a phrase from the 1968 “Prague Spring” uprising. Or, as TV3 put it,
“The Conservative Party opposes selling state assets – in direct opposition to National – and has traditionalist views on marriage, abortion and child discipline – putting them at odds with Labour. ” – TV3
A recent Herald-Digipoll has the Conservative Party at 1.1% – higher than ACT, United Future and the Mana Party, in some polls. The Conservative Party could conceivably replace ACT as a credible alternative. Indeed, their Party List appears more diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity, than ACT’s Middle Aged White Men’s Circle-Jerk.
Analysis by Guest Commentator,
Historically Christian parties in New Zealand have struggled to achieve mainstream credibility because the appeal of underlying Christian values has been overshadowed by fears that they will go rabid on abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality. Colin Craig appears to understand this, as his recent comments that the state should not make moral judgements on behalf of individuals would indicate an intention to avoid positioning the Conservative party as a traditional Christian party in order to have a chance of eventually rising to MMP’s 5% challenge.
- Alastair, “Political Antagonist”
Curiously, Larry Baldock (List #3, Tauranga Candidate) and Gordon Copeland (electorate candidate only, Hutt South) appear to be “re-cycled” from Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, under whose banner they were elected as MPs in 2002.
If the Conservative Party attracts votes, it will most likely be from practically all centre-right parties; National, NZ First, and ACT, as well as centre-left Labour. The Conservatives appear to offer a bit of everything to everyone, and in some ways are not dissimilar to United Future in 2002, with a bit of NZ First thrown into the mix.
The real danger with this approach is that Craig runs the risk of making the party appear watered down, with questions about moral issues on his Facebook page often met with conservative personal views qualified by reassurances that the Conservative party are not jumping over themselves to enforce abortion laws or turn back the clock on homosexual law reform. That sort of response works well on social media as it has Craig coming across as a nice bloke who has firm social values and respects the views of others, but it simply won’t work in traditional media. If the Conservative party really does start to strengthen their profile then eventually a confident interviewer such as Duncan Garner will pin Craig down to aggressively and repeatedly ask the question “will you or won’t you” while Craig awkwardly dances around his weak and ambiguous policy position. The involvement of hard line Christian politicians such as Larry Baldock and Gordon Copeland look likely to further jeopardise Craig’s “too controversial, keep mouth shut” approach to formal party policy.
- Alastair, “Political Antagonist”
As the Conservative Party matures, and it’s policies become more embedded, electoral support will settle and it will attract mostly… well… conservatives. With a hint of raw nationalism in the form of opposing state asset sales. It will be the ideal home for disaffected “soft” National Party and disillusioned NZ First supporters.
After ACT’s demise, it’s supporters will most likely migrate to National, which they see as a potential home for colonisation and eventual “conversion” of the Party to orthodox neo-liberalism. An invisible ACT faction/ginger group will want to do to National what they accomplished in Labour in 1984-1989.
Will the Conservative Party win seats in Parliament? Perhaps, more importantly, the question should be: would the Conservative Party survive Parliament?
A part of me believes that the Conservatives have the potential to do well and chip away support from various parts of the political spectrum, particularly given the backlash towards the anti-smacking legislation, but another part of me worries that they may be spreading themselves too thin.
- Alastair, “Political Antagonist”
I’ve been thinking…
That National is higher in the opinion polls than Labour is undeniable. Even the Horizon Poll – which has supposedly more accurate methodology than the other polling companies – has National at 36.8% and Labour at 25.7%. (Source)
Other polls have National at an unfeasibly high 56% – unheard of in an MMP environment, where up till now the highest Party Vote was National’s 44.9% in 2008.
If National is anywhere near 50%-51% of the Party Vote – enabling it to barely form a government – then it will have made history in MMP elections.
Assuming that National’s vote on 26 November will be somewhere in the high 40s – it will not have sufficient seats in the House to govern alone. It will need a coalition partner.
Which is where things start to get interesting…
It is apparent to all but the but die-hard fan of ACT that Don Brash’s coup d’état in April has not achieved a single desired outcome for that Party. Brash’s toppling of Rogney Hide was done on the premise that Brash would re-focus ACT on economic matters and change it’s “brand” from a “chapter” of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, to it’s more traditional role of a neo-liberal party, espousing free market ‘reforms'; user-pays; asset sales; minimalist government; and the Cult of the Individual.
Brash has achieved none of those policy-goals.
ACT is polling well under the 5% MMP threshold (5%). It’s 1% – 3% poll rating rating is not sufficient to win seats in Parliament. It must therefore rely on winning an Electorate Seat, at which point the 5% threshold is set aside.
John Banks’ candidacy in Epsom has also seemingly failed to ‘fire’. Banks is trailing well behind the National Party’s candidate, Paul Goldsmith. Banks’ position is not helped by John Key stating publicly,
“I’m going to vote for Goldsmith. I am the National Party leader and I am going to vote for the National Party candidate and give my party vote to National.” – John Key
Which makes a mockery of the unspoken “arrangement” between National and ACT, and seems to be an insult to Epsom voters that whilst they are expected to give their vote to John Banks – the Prime Minister refuses to lead by example. Charming.
If, as seems likely, John Banks does not win in Epsom then, like Winston Peters losing Tauranga, ACT is out of Parliament.
Strike 1 for National.
Since the height of United Future’s popularity in 2002, their electoral support has declined to margin-of-error polling,
United Future, as a political entity, is all but dead except in name. Peter Dunne is essentially now a one-person band – and even in his electorate of Ohariu-Belmont, is experiencing waning support with each election,
Peter Dunne, Electorate Votes 1996 – 2008
1996 – 15,915
1999 – 20,240
2002 – 19,355
2005 – 16,844
2008 – 12,303
In 2008, Dunne’s electorate majority over his nearest opponant, Charles Chauvel (L), was a bare 1,006 votes. At the rate that Dunne has been losing electoral support, and if even half the Green electorate vote shifts to Chauvel, then Peter Dunne will lose his seat in Parliament.
Strike 2 for National.
National’s only remaining life-line; the Maori Party. Polls indicate that Maori Party co-leader, Pita Sharples, will most likely win his seat, Tamaki Makaurau. Whether he is join by other successful candidates from the Maori Party is anyone’s guess, and with their low overall ranking in the polls, the Maori Party is unlikely to approach the 5% threshold, much less cross over it.
In 2008, the Maori Party won five out of the seven Maori Seats. With the advent of the Mana Party, formed by breakaway MP Hone Harawira, and supported by many disaffected Maori Party members/activists, these seats are now contested in a three-way battle; Mana, Maori, and Labour.
As an indicator, Hone Harawira won his seat Te Tai Tokerau in a by-election, earlier this year,
If the Maori Party beat Mana’s challenge and win sufficient seats; and if they enter into coalition with National, then John Key is faced with the real prospect of having no counter-balancing Party on the Right. Unlike the 2008 election result which gave him ACT and Peter Dunne on the right, National will be governing at the “pleasure” of just one coalition partner.
Considering that the Maori Party has stated it’s opposition to asset sales (albeit lukewarm opposition), the partial-privatisation agenda may not go ahead as John Key and Bill English anticipated. (*whew!* The ‘family silver’ is saved till another day!)
John Key recently stated,
“I think it is important to understand if the Greens hold the balance of power it would be a Phil Goff Labour-led government and I think they would be quite upfront about that.” Source
The same could be said of the Maori Party. National’s re-election prospects now depend solely on the success of their Coalition partner.
National’s strike 3? We will have to wait till 26 November for the final result.
I’ve been thinking…
Throughout this election campaign – and even prior to Don Brash’s coup d’état - ACT has been polling well under the 5% MMP threshold, that permits a Party to win seats in Parliament.
With such low voter support, ACT has relied on the electorate seat of Epsom, which Rodney Hide won in the 2008 General Election with a handsome 21,102 electorate votes. National’s Richard Worth came a distant second with 8,220 electorate votes.
Since then, ACT has suffered several set-backs;
- A very public coup, which saw Don Brash seize the leadership of ACT – despite the fact he was not even a member of that Party when he took over.
- A serious mis-calculation in advocating legalisation of marijuana. Whilst this would be reasonable policy for a quasi-libertarian Party – it did not go down well with the conservative folk of Epsom.
- John Banks reportedly “reigning in” his own Party leader on the cannabis issue.
- Deputy leader, John Boscawen, resigning under circumstances that were less than clear.
- Brash attempting to resuscitate anti-Treaty sentiment with a newspaper advert attacking “maori privilege“.
- Brash not focusing on core, economic issues, as he said he would at the time he took over from Rodney Hide.
- Nominating John Banks as the new candidate for Epsom – something that Epsomites seem less than enthusiastic about.
- John Key stating publicly that he was voting for the National candidate in Epsom, Paul Goldsmith.
With ACT practically falling apart before our eyes, it seems unsurprising that it barely registers in public opinion polls. It polls usually 1-3%.
Meanwhile, Banks is trailing behind Paul Goldsmith, despite the “unspoken arrangement” between National and ACT, the Epsom National Party supporters give Banks their Electorate Vote, and National their Party Vote. The idea being that if ACT scores over 1.2% of the Party Vote nationwide; and wins Epsom*; then Banks could pull one or two extra MPs into Parliament with him, as a Coalition partner for National.
So far there seems little chance of this happening. If current polling translates into votes on 26 November, then ACT is out of Parliament – another small party “bites the dust” under MMP.
One part of me views this possibility with a shrug and a “meh”. Considering ACT’s harsh right wing policies that most certainly favour the rich and corporate ‘elite’, it is hard to muster any sympathy for such a group.
But another part of me is… uneasy. Uneasy at the prospect of ACT’s demise.
Though I have no truck with that Party and it’s hard-line right-wing, neo-liberal, free market ideology – I cannot help wondering what will happen once it fails to return to Parliament.
What will happen to it’s supporters?
Where will they go, in terms of finding a new political “Home”?
Remember that ACT was founded by Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble – one-time Labour Party MPs. Douglas, Prebble, and other hangers-on had colonised a supposedly social democratic, left-wing party – and between 1984 and 1989, had managed to gain control of Labour. Like some parasitic organism, they had managed to take over the Host, and turned Labour into a precursor of the ACT Party.
A party of me shudders at the imminent demise of ACT.
Where will the ‘parasites’ end up? In which new Host?
The obvious choice would appear to be National.
If ACT supporters colonise National and become a viable, albeit invisible, faction within that Party – it will happen out-of-sight, and without the elecorate’s knowledge.
Voters in 1984 believed they were voting for a traditional Labour Party. They were badly mistaken.
National, with an agitating ACT faction vying for power and influence, could be a re-run of history.
Let’s not be too keen to see the end of ACT. Let’s keep the buggers where we can see them; out in the open.
+++ Updates +++
There has been some discussion recently about the (extremely remote) possibility of a National-Green Coalition, post-election.
The Green Party leadership seems frosty at the idea, and List candidate, Catherine Delahunty, has stated that she will resign if such a Coalition deal eventuates.
Most recently, this issue was canvassed during an episode of Statos TV’s “iPredict Election Show”, with Green MP, Gareth Hughes.
Personally, I have no great love for this notion either.
My first preference would be a Labour-Greens-Mana-(Maori Party?) Coalition. (And yes, I think such a notion would work. They all want similar things for their constituents, and despite some asteroid-sized egos at work, their party policies are not as divorced from each other as they like to make out.)
In saying that…
Part of the rationale for MMP is that small parties act as a “brake” on the executive power of governments. Most recently this worked well when ACT voted – along with Labour and the Greens – to seriously amend National’s outrageously draconian, Police Video Surveillance Bill.
MMP is not just an electoral system – it is an extension of the Will of the Voter to prevent any one party from having total control over Parliament. The days of unbridled power by the likes of Muldoon, Douglas, Bolger, and Richardson, are long gone.
If the Greens can act as a “brake” on National – should it win the largest number of seats in Parliament – but not sufficient to govern on their own – then this option should be explored. With all due respect to Ms Delahunty – a principled person who does not appear to brook political shenanigans easily – let us at least look at what the Greens might achieve in Coalition with the Nats…
- No asset sales. Not 49%. Not 25%. Not 1%. End of story.
- No more demonisation and attacks on unemployed and other beneficiaries. Enough of the victim-blaming of this recession.
- Re-focus the next government’s attention on job-creation policies. This has to be a priority. Without jobs, we are sentencing a couple of hundred thousand of our fellow Kiwis to rot on welfare.
- Raise the minimum wage. Yeah, I know this is Labour Party policy – but somehow I dont think they’ll mind if you nick it and use it.
- Begin the re-building of Christchurch, in earnest. Enough with the messing around. As a famous sweatshop-operator-and-maker-of -footwear sez, Just Do It!
A Green-National partnership would be handy to achieve all of the above. But more than that – much more importantly – the Greens could pull National away from the Right, and back to the middle ground in politics.
That, in itself, would be a worthy achievement.
If a Party wins an Electorate Seat, then they are not bound by the 5% threshold, and can win as many seats as their Party Vote allows them, regardless of whether or not they are at 5%.
2011 Party Lists:
- Green Party
- Mana Party
- NZ First
- United Future
Announced: 28 August 2011
1. Dr Don Brash
2. Catherine Isaac (replaces John Boscawen)
3. Don Nicolson
4. Hon John Banks
5. David Seymour
6. Chris Simmons
7. Stephen Whittington
8. Kath McCabe
9. Robyn Stent
10. John Thompson
11. John Ormond
12. Lyn Murphy
13. Kevin Moratti
14. Robin Grieve
15. Pratima Nand
16. Dominic Costello
17. Toni Severen
18. Richard Evans
19. Ian Cummings
20. Gareth Veale
21. Toby Hutton
22. Dan Stratton
23. Robert Burnside
24. Hayden Fitzgerald
25. Alex Spiers
26. Peter McCaffrey
Announced: 29 May 2011
1. Metiria Turei
2. Russel Norman
3. Kevin Hague
4. Catherine Delahunty
5. Kennedy Graham
6. Eugenie Sage
7. Gareth Hughes
8. David Clendon
9. Jan Logie
10. Steffan Browning
11. Denise Roche
12. Holly Walker
13. Julie Anne Genter
14. Mojo Mathers
15. James Shaw
16. David Hay
17. Richard Leckinger
18. Aaryn Barlow
19. Jeanette Elley
20. Sea Rotmann
21. Michael Gilchrist
22. Dora Langsbury
23. David Kennedy
24. Tane Woodley
25. Joseph Burston
26. Mikaere Curtis
27. Shane Gallagher
28. Saffron Toms
29. Steve Tollestrup
30. Jack McDonald
Announced: 10 April 2011
1. Phil Goff
2. Annette King
3. David Cunliffe
4. David Parker
5. Ruth Dyson
6. Parekura Horomia
7. Maryan Street
8. Clayton Cosgrove
9. Trevor Mallard
10. Sue Moroney
11. Charles Chauvel
12. Nanaia Mahuta
13. Jacinda Ardern
14. Grant Robertson
15. Andrew Little
16. Shane Jones
17. Su’a William Sio
18. Darien Fenton
19. Moana Mackey
20. Rajen Prasad
21. Raymond Huo
22. Carol Beaumont
23. Kelvin Davis
24. Carmel Sepuloni
25. Rick Barker
26. Deborah Mahuta-Coyle
27. Stuart Nash
28. Clare Curran
29. Brendon Burns
30. Chris Hipkins
31. David Shearer
32. Michael Wood
33. Phil Twyford
34. Stephanie (Steve) Chadwick
35. Kate Sutton
36. Jerome Mika
37. Iain Lees-Galloway
38. Josie Pagani
39. Lynette Stewart
40. Jordan Carter
41. Kris Faafoi
42. Christine Rose
43. Glenda Alexander
44. Susan Zhu
45. Rino Tirikatene
46. Sehai Orgad
47. Megan Woods
48. Mea’ole Keil
49. David Clark
50. Richard Hills
51. Anahila Suisuiki
52. Hamish McDouall
53. Louis Te Kani
54. Tat Loo
55. Soraya Peke-Mason
56. Julian Blanchard
57. Peter Foster
58. Pat Newman
59. Julia Haydon-Carr
60. Michael Bott
61. Vivienne Goldsmith
62. Nick Bakulich
63. Chris Yoo
64. Barry Monks
65. Hugh Kininmonth
66. Jo Kim
67. Paula Gillon
68. Carol Devoy-Heena
Announced: 1 November 2011
- Hone Harawira
- Annette Sykes
- John Minto
- Sue Bradford
- Misty Harrison
- James Papali’i
- Tawhai McClutchie
- Angeline Greensill
- Jayson Gardiner
- Dr Richard S Cooper
- Dr Peter Cleave
- Val Irwin
- Sharon Stevens
- Keriana Reedy
- Pat O’Dea
- Roderick Paul
- Grant Rogers
- Nguha Patuwai
- Barry Tumai
- Ngawai Herewini
Announced:29 October 2011
1. Waihoroi Shortland
2. Kaapua Smith
3. Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata
4. Tina Porou
5. Awanui Black
6. Davina Murray
7. Tariana Turia
8. Pita Sharples
9. Te Ururoa Flavell
10. Josie Peita
11. Paora Te Hurihanganui
12. Fallyn Flavell
13. Daryl Christie
14. Tom Phillips
15. Tim Morrison
16. Tamai Nicholson
17. Aroha Rickus
Announced: 4 September 2011
1. John Key (1)
2. Bill English (2)
3. Lockwood Smith (12)
4. Gerry Brownlee (3)
5. Tony Ryall (6)
6. Nick Smith (5)
7. Judith Collins (7)
8. Anne Tolley (10)
9. Chris Finlayson (14)
10. David Carter (9)
11. Murray McCully (11)
12. Tim Groser (15)
13. Steven Joyce (16)
14. Paula Bennett (41)
15. Phil Heatley (22)
16. Jonathan Coleman (29)
17. Kate Wilkinson (30)
18. Hekia Parata (36)
19. Maurice Williamson (8)
20. Nathan Guy (18)
21. Craig Foss (33)
22. Chris Tremain (31)
23. Jo Goodhew (39)
24. Lindsay Tisch (19)
25. Eric Roy (28)
26. Paul Hutchison (23)
27. Shane Ardern (24)
28. Amy Adams (52)
29. Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga (35)
30. Simon Bridges (51)
31. Michael Woodhouse (49)
32. Chester Borrows (32)
33. Nikki Kaye (57)
34. Melissa Lee (37)
35. Kanwaljit Bakshi (38)
36. Jian Yang (-)
37. Alfred Ngaro (-)
38. Katrina Shanks (46)
39. Paul Goldsmith (-)
40. Tau Henare (26)
41. Jacqui Dean (40)
42. Nicky Wagner (43)
43. Chris Auchinvole (42)
44. Louise Upston (53)
45. Jonathan Young (66)
46. Jackie Blue (45)
47. Todd McClay (54)
48. Alan Peachey (34)
49. David Bennett (44)
50. Tim Macindoe (55)
51. Cam Calder (58)
52. John Hayes (50)
53. Colin King (47)
54. Aaron Gilmore (56)
55. Jami-Lee Ross (-)
56. Paul Quinn (48)
57. Paul Foster-Bell (-)
58. Maggie Barry (-)
59. Ian McKelvie (-)
60. Mark Mitchell (-)
61. Mike Sabin (-)
62. Scott Simpson (-)
63. Claudette Hauiti (-)
64. Joanne Hayes (-)
65. Leonie Hapeta (-)
66. Sam Collins (-)
67. Jonathan Fletcher (-)
68. Heather Tanner (-)
69. Denise Krum (-)
70. Carolyn O’Fallon (-)
71. Viv Gurrey (71)
72. Karen Rolleston (-)
New Zealand First
Announced 12 November 2011
1. PETERS, Winston
2. MARTIN, Tracey Rodney
3. WILLIAMS, Andrew North Shore
4. PROSSER, Richard Waimakariri
5. STEWART Barbara Waikato
6. HORAN, Brendan Tauranga
7. O’ROURKE, Denis Port Hills
8. TAYLOR, Asenati Manukau East
9. MULFORD, Helen Pakuranga
10. BARR, Hugh Ohariu
11. TABUTEAU, Fletcher Rotorua
12. PARAONE, Pita Whangarei
13. CATCHPOLE, Brent Papakura
14. CRAVEN, Ben Wellington Central
15. HO, Jerry Maungakiekie
16. GUDGEON, Bill Hamilton West
17. GARDENER, Kevin Nelson
18. DOLMAN, Ray BOP
19. SCOTT, David Otaki
20. RATANA, Randall Dunedin Sth
21. BINDRA, Mahesh Mt Roskill
22. PERRY, Edwin Taupo
23. JELLEY, Dion Northcote
24. HALL, John Manurewa
25. STONE, Kevin Coromandel
26. NABBS, Doug Hunua
27. PIERSON, Brent Rongotai
28. ILALIO, Oliva Mangere
29. STEWART, Gordon Hamilton East
30. REID, Tamati East Coast
31. BROUGHAM, Ian Whanganui
32. WOODS, Bill Selwyn
33. DAVIES, Allen Auckland Central
United Future Party
Announced: 20 October 2011
1. Peter Dunne
2. Doug Stevens
3. Rob Eaddy
4. Sultan Eusoff
5. Alan Simmons
6. Bryan Mockridge
7. Vanessa Roberts
8. Pete George
9. Ram Prakash
10. Martin Gibson
11. Clyde Graf
12. Damian Light
13. Andrew McMillan
14. Diane Brown
15. Brian Carter