Archive

Posts Tagged ‘winston peters’

Winston Peters recycles pledge to “buy back state assets” – where have we heard that before?

31 March 2014 1 comment

.

no

.

Over the last two years (give or take), NZ First leader, Winston Peters, has stated on numerous occassions that buying back shares in the three energy SOEs (Meridian, Genesis, and Mighty River Power) will be a “bottom line” in any post-election coalition deal.

On 20 June 2012, NZ First posted this statement on their website,

New Zealand First will use its influence on the next coalition Government to buy back our state-owned power companies which are being flogged off by National.

Rt Hon Winston Peters says New Zealand First is committed to buying back the shares at no greater price than paid by the first purchaser.

“State-owned assets rightfully belong to all New Zealanders but National is intent on handing them over to rich foreign investors.

“It is simply lining the pockets of the wealthy by selling off well-performing assets that already provide the Government with extremely healthy dividends.”

Mr Peters says it is only fair to alert potential investors that New Zealand First’s intention to buy back the shares will be part of any coalition negotiations.

“As things stand now, the assets will end up in foreign ownership which is an outright attack on our sovereignty. We are committed to repelling that attack.”

The pledge was repeated on 29 November 2013;

New Zealand First is the only political party that has said since the beginning that if the Government did go ahead with this idiotic decision, then when we are in a position to influence the next Government, we would buy back the shares at a price no more than that initially paid for them.

On ‘The Nation‘, on 15/16 March, interviewed by Patrick Gower, Peters repeated NZ First policy that a share buy-back, at a cost no greater than the original purchase-price, was a bottom line policy for his Party;

Gower: So that means buying Genesis back?

Peters: That’s right. At no greater price than they paid for it.

Gower: And does that mean buying back the other power companies as well?

Peters: It means exactly that. That’s what our position has been for some time.

Gower: So that’s a priority for you in any negotiations?

Peters: It is a priority, and it also has the blessings in terms of economic calculations from Treasury.

Taken at face value, Peters’ committment to buy back shares in the powercos seems more comprehensive and radical than either the Greens or Labour. Neither have committed to buying back shares in Meridian, Genesis, and Mighty River Power until the government books allow it.

But, can Peters’ pledge be taken at face value?

Can he be trusted to make good on his word to (a) make a share buy-back a bottom-line in any coalition deal and (b) actually follow through?

His track record on such matters is not good.

On 27 September 1996,  the then-Bolger-led National government sold the Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Ltd cutting rights to a private  consortium (Fletcher Challenge Forests, 37.5%, Brierley Investments Ltd, 25%, and Chinese state-owned company,  Citifor Inc, 37.5%)

This became a major election issue in  the lead-up to the first MMP election in  1996, with the Alliance organising a CIR petition to halt the sale.

NZ First leader, Winston Peters, pledged to buy back the cutting rights, stating on several occasions that any government he was part of would “hand back the cheque“;

.

The game plan - what we're all playing for - NZ First buy back forest corp

.

During the election campaign, Peters stated unequivocally his intentions that the privatisation of Forestry Corp would not stand under any government he was part of;

“I want to tell the Chinese buyers and I want to tell Brierleys that they had better not make any long-range plans because the day after the election is over we will be sending them an emissary to them them exactly what is going to happen, that is, that we are going to keep out promise, they can give back the asset and we will give the money back.” – Winston Peters,  Otago Daily Times, 1 Feb 1997 (on pre-election statement/promise)

.

http://fmacskasy2.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/otago-daily-times-1-february-1997-winston-peters-asset-sales-forestry-corp-buy-back-hand-back-the-cheque.jpg?w=605&h=729

.

On 11 December 1996, Peters announced that he would be entering into a formal coalition arrangement with the National Party, to form the first MMP coalition government.

Subsequently, Peters’ pledge to “hand back the cheque” and buy back the forestry cutting rights, was ‘quietly’ dropped;

.

NZ First ignored chance to implement own policy

.

“… NZ First did not make any attempt to include  in the [Coalition] agreement its policy of placing a 24.9% limit on foreign ownership of strategic assets.

Neither did they raise the NZ First promise to buy-back Forestry Corp, which was sold earlier this year to a consortium including Fletcher Challenge.” - Otago Daily Times, 16 Dec 1996

As Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister in the National-NZ First government, Peters had ample opportunity to implement his Party’s buy-back policy. It was a promise he could have kept. And should have kept.

Instead, NZ First opted to implement National’s policy of tax cuts on 1 July 1998. With even more tax cuts promised by then-Finance Minister, Bill Birch.

This was money that Peters could have allocated and spent of re-nationalising our forests – but was instead wasted on cutting taxes, thereby reducing the ability of the coalition government to implement a buy-back, as Winston Peters had promised.

If Peters holds the balance of power after 20 September, and if he forms a coalition with either bloc, he may well carry out his promise to buy back shares in our energy utilities.

Or then again, he might not.

.

*

.

References

NZ First: NZ First Committed To Buying Back State-Owned Assets

NZ First: Our asset sales buyback promise – Radio Live Column

TV3: Winston Peters: Asset buy-back ‘a priority’

FAO.org:  Devolving Forest Ownership in New Zealand: Processes, Issues and Outcomes

Treasury: Income from State Asset Sales as at 30 September 1999

Wikipedia: CITIC Group [Citifor]

Wikipedia: Referendums in New Zealand

Otago Daily Times: Alliance quits quest for forestry petition

Otago Daily Times: NZ First ignored chance to implement own policy

Otago Daily Times: NZ First opts for National

Otago Daily Times: Further tax cuts unlikely before next century

NZPA: Birch pledges more tax cuts

.

*

.

Be careful what you wish for - Key and Peters

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 March 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 17 March 2014

.

- Politics on Nine To Noon -

.

- Monday 17 March 2014 -

.

- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -

.

Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Winston Peters and the possible make-up of the next government. Moves to link school funding to performance.

.

radio-nz-logo-politics-on-nine-to-noon

.

Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (23′ 51″ )

  • Winston Peters, NZ First
  • Judith Collins, Orivida,
  • Helen Clark
  • Green Party transport policy
  • Hekia Parata, education policy, school fundsing system

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: what is a politician’s promise worth?

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

.

FROM: 	"f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letters to the Editor
DATE: 	 Sun, 16 Mar 2014 21:10:15 +1300
TO: 	"Sunday Star Times" letters@star-times.co.nz 

.
The Editor
Sunday Star Times

.

Winston Peters has pledged that his Party's bottom line is
the re-purchase of all shares in Meridian, Genesis, and
Mighty River Power at "a price no more than that initially
paid for them".

This is stated on NZ First's website, and Peter's reiterated
his pledge on TV3's 'The Nation' on 15/16 March.

I sincerely hope that Mr Peters' promise to buy back the
powerco SOEs fares better than his pledge in 1996, to buy
back Forestry Corp's timber cutting rights. Forestry Corp
was privatised by the Bolger-led National government for
around $1.6 billion to a consortium made up by Fletcher
Challenge Forests, Brierley Investments Ltd,  and Chinese
state-owned company,  Citifor Inc (now known as CITIC
Group).

Peters promised during the 1996 general election;

“I want to tell the Chinese buyers and I want to tell
Brierleys that they had better not make any long-range plans
because the day after the election is over we will be
sending them an emissary to them them exactly what is going
to happen, that is, that we are going to keep out promise,
they can give back the asset and we will give the money
back.”

The buy-back never happened, despite Mr Peters becoming
Treasurer and Deputy PM on 11 December 1996. His pledge
quietly disappeared.

Let's hope the same fate does not befall his pledge to buy
back the powerco shares.

-Frank Macskasy
(address  & phone number supplied)

.

*

.

Related blogposts

Fool me Once, Shame on you

Winston Peters recycles pledge to “buy back state assets” – where have we heard that before?

.

*

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Nine To Noon – Election year interviews – Winston Peters

.

- Radio NZ, Nine To Noon -

.

- Wednesday 12 March 2014 -

.

- Kathryn Ryan -

.

On  Nine To Noon, Kathyrn Ryan interviewed NZ First’s leader, Winston Peters, and asked him about coalition negotiations, policies, polls, and other issues…

.

Radio NZ logo -  nine to noon

.

Winston Peters is the leader of NZ First, which is polling at around the 5% threshold for getting MPs into parliament without winning an electorate seat, meaning it could yet hold the balance of power after voters go to the polls on September 20.

Click to Listen: Election year interviews  ( 35′ 17″ )

 

.

.

= fs =

John Banks and Winston Peters, Apples and Oranges

25 February 2014 Leave a comment

.

543440_3738666104816_56663201_n

.

If ever the media – especially journalist wonder why the public view them with disdain and minimal trust – they need only look at their behaviour when it comes to undignified media “scrums” around public figures.

The recent melee in Parliament’s halls, as journos tried to elicit a response from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, regarding his visit to Kim Dotcom’s mansion – was a less than edifying spectacle,

.

Video - PM accused of spying on Peters

.

Evidently, the Press Gallery were a bit “miffed” at Peters’ curt responses to them and refused point blank to answer their questions. So in response to Peters’ lack of response, NZ Herald reporter,  Audrey Young, wrote a “revenge piece” for her paper,

.

Audrey Young - Winston Peters resists excellent questions

.

A “revenge piece” being something a journo will put together to present the subject under discussion in a less-than-positive light. That’ll teach him/her/them not to co-operate with the Fourth Estate!

Apparently really, really annoyed, Young  wrote,

“We don’t recall Peters suggesting John Banks’ visits were a private matter.”

This was echoed by “Claire” (Claire Trevett?),

“Do you think John Banks didn’t need to tell us whether he had gone out there or not, or whether his privacy was breached when Dotcom said he had been out there?”

Ok, let’s get one thing straight here; Winston Peters is not being accused of accepting donations from Kim Dotcom, nor attempting to hide said donations in a falsified electoral return.

If indeed that is what “Claire” and Audrey Young are suggesting, then let’s have it out in the open. Make the allegations and ask the questions.

But comparing John Banks’ dodgy “hide-the-cheques” shell-game is in no way comparable to a politician meeting a citizen (or permanent resident, in this case). That is not journalism – that is just downright immaturity on a school-yard level. It is pettiness.

It certainly ain’t journalism.

Disclaimer: I am not a NZ first supporter. Never have been, and most likely, I never will be.

.

*

.

References

TV1: Winston Peters: Spies watched me meet Dotcom

NZ Herald: Audrey Young: Winston Peters resists excellent questions

.

*

.

election 2014

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 17 February 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 24 February 2014

24 February 2014 Leave a comment

.

- Politics on Nine To Noon -

.

- Monday 24 February 2014 -

.

- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -

.

Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams discuss the recent political polls.

.

radio-nz-logo-politics-on-nine-to-noon

.

Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (21′ 58″ )

  • TV1-Colmar Brunton Poll, Roy Morgan poll
  • Election campaigns
  • David Parker
  • Labour Party, NZ Power, “Best Start”, Auckland Rail Loop early start
  • Russell Norman, Kim Dotcom
  • David Cunliffe
  • Shane Taurima, TVNZ
  • Winston Peters
  • Greens, David Hay, Leaders’ Debates
  • ACT, Richard Prebble, Jamie Whyte, flat tax
  • Conservative Party, Colin Craig
  • and an early election in September?

.

= fs =

The Mendacities of Mr Key #2: Secret Sources

24 February 2014 1 comment

.

key's credibility takes a hit

.

In an on-going series, we will look at the half-truths; mis-representations; omissions; and outright lies, told by Dear Leader John Key.

2. Secret Sources

Background

On 4 October 2011, John Key made this astounding statement in the Debating Chamber,

When Standard & Poor’s were giving a meeting in New Zealand about a month ago, what they did say was there was about a 30% chance we would be downgraded – that’s what happens when you’re on negative outlook. They did go on to say though, if there was a change of government, that downgrade would be much more likely.”

The comment was made under Parliamentary privilege.

Five days later, on 10 October, Key “explained” that the comments had come to him in an email, from an un-named “friend”. He duly released the text,

.

.

When Standard and Poors heard Key’s comment, they were none too pleased.  Standard and Poor’s sovereign rating analyst, Kyran Curry, who attended the Auckland meeting that the “email” referred to, replied,

“In Auckland last month, I might have talked about the importance of the Government maintaining a strong fiscal position in the medium term but I would never have touched on individual parties. It is something we just don’t do. We don’t rate political parties. We rate Governments.”

Key fronted to a media conference and was grilled by journalists,

.

.

His body language, tone of voice, and other minute clues all indicate he was being less than honest. I leave it to the reader to reach their own conclusion how honest Dear Leader was.

In my opinion, John Key lied and the email was subsequently fabricated.

Nearly two and a half years later, and Key is embroiled in yet another “secret sources” mess;

On 12 February, Key disclosed that Winston Peters had met with Kim Dotcom, at his mansion in Coatsville, three times. Peters accused Key of using the GCSB/SIS to spy on him, saying,

“What’s his informant, who is he? … This is is a surveillance matter and I want to know more about it.”

Key responded the same day,

“I heard from an individual who’s a person who’s got nothing to do with National Party, nothing to do with any government agency. The person told me it was three. I was pretty sure they’d be right – because they often are – and guess what, they were.”

On the 13th of February, Key stated,

“I can absolutely categorically tell you it’s got nothing to do with an official agency. From time to time people see things and from time to time people tell me.”

Key added,

“Contrary to what [Peters] might want to believe, I can read. A member of the public, for want of a better term rang me up and said what was the case. I assumed it was right. I said it, it turned out to be right. I didn’t think it was that controversial, to be honest.”

So did a member of the public” phone Key and inform him that Peters had visited Kim Dotcom? Or did Key “read” about it somewhere?

When questioned by the media, Slater told the Herald,

“If the Prime Minister says I’m a source, I guess I must have been.”

Which kind of makes Key’s earlier assertion that he “heard from an individual who’s a person who’s got nothing to do with National Party” a complete lie. As we all know, Slater is closely connecxted to the National Party; his father (John Slater) is an ex-President of the National Party; and Slater is probably a paid up member of the National Party.

Unless it is Slater who is lying (which is equally plausible as he has a reputation  for telling lies)? Otherwise, if Slater is telling the truth, then he has landed Key in it.

One of them is lying.

Take your pick.

Conclusions:

Key had not been forthcoming either on the Standard and Poors “email” or on where he got the tip-off that Winston Peters had visited Kim Dotcom.

What is equally disturbing is that Key is willing to use private information to smear a political opponant. Not since Paula Bennet released information on Natasha Fuller and Jennifer Johnston, has a politician willfully invaded another person’s privacy.

Whatever one may think of Winston Peters – and I am no fan of his – Peters deserves his privacy like anyone else.

Charge: broken promise/deflection/half-truth/hypocrisy/outright lie/mis-information?

Verdict: Mis-information, (probable) outright lie

 

.

*

.

References

NZ Parliament: Credit Rating Downgrade—Effect on Economy

TV3: Key accused of lying in Parliament over downgrade

Previous related blogposts

Nick Smith

Politicians never tell fibs

The Mendacities of Mr Key #1: The GCSB Bill

.

*

.

1504434_636268686433547_1633036652_o

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 17 February 2014.

.

.

= fs =

Radio NZ: Focus on Politics for 14 February 2014

16 February 2014 1 comment

.

- Focus on Politics -

.

- Friday 14 February 2014  -

.

- Chris Bramwell -

.

A weekly analysis of significant political issues.

Friday after 6:30pm and Saturday at 5:10pm

Legislation to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products passed its first reading in Parliament this week with almost unanimous support.

Listen to John Banks’ prioritising the right of Big Tobacco company’s “intellectual property rights” over the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

.

Radio NZ logo - Focus on Politics

.

Click to listen: Focus on Politics for 14 February 2014 ( 16′ 07″ )

.

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: Winston Peters, Kim Dotcom, and blank cheques

22 January 2014 6 comments

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

.

FROM:     “f.macskasy”
SUBJECT: Letter to the ed
DATE:      Wed, 22 Jan 2014 11:17:04 +1300
TO:          “Dominion Post” letters@dompost.co.nz

.
The Editor
Dominion Post

.

One thing that can’t be denied is that a vote for NZ First -
despite having some policies I agree with – is pretty much a
blank cheque for Winston Peters. I’ve no idea if a vote for
NZF is a vote for a Labour-led bloc or a center-right block
led by John Key.

Kinda like a vote for Kim Dotcom’s Party – what would we get
if we voted for his party? A potential coalition with
Labour? National? Sitting on the cross benches?

As a voter, I’d like the privilege of an informed choice -
not a stab-in-the-dark-and-hope-for-the-best.

Really, is that too much to ask?!
.

-Frank Macskasy

(address and phone number supplied)

.

vote left

.

.

= fs =

As promised to young NZ First supporter…

22 August 2013 1 comment

… on Facebook,

.

 

Thank you Peters

.

(Hope the lettering is big enough, Curwen?)

.

.

= fs =

Welcome to new glorious People’s Republic of New Zealand

8 August 2013 3 comments

We are living in scary times. This is what 1,058,638 voters got when they ticked the box for National;

.

Peters says police wanted his private phone records

Source:  Radio NZ –  Peters says police wanted his private phone records

.

When the Prime Minister  and his office can unleash the police onto an opposition party Leader, then we are in deep trouble. This is the sort of tactics Robert Mugabe  employed in Zimbabwe against opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai (see: Zimbabwe police turn up heat against harassed opposition).

It’s bad enough that the Police wanted access to Peters’ phone records.

But to liaise with the politician’s office – when police investigations should be apolitical and non-partisan – speaks to an unhealthy relationship between the Prime Minister and Police. We’ve already seen Key appoint an old “school chum” as director of the GCSB (Ian Fletcher).  Police raiding media offices.  The Prime Minister’s office gaining access to phone, email, and security-card logs from another member of Parliament and a journalist. And Police seizing info from telcos without a warrant (see: Police seize Cuppagate texts).

If Helen Clark’s office had pulled  stunts like this, every National party  politician and right wing blogger  would be over this like flies on a fresh cow-patty.

More and more, National is disregarding conventions regarding the separation of State power, and over-riding civil rights and privacy.  Key and his party apparatchiks will target anyone; other politicians; journalists; welfare beneficiaries.

Who will be next?

Imagine the extent of their power once the GCSB and TICS Bills are passed through the House. Imagine the abuse of political power once the GCSB will be spying on us all.

We’ll never know.  It will all be legal. And secret.

Borat would feel right at home.

.

.

= fs =

If this isn’t corrupt – what the f**k is?!

7 August 2013 3 comments

.

 

Peters slams National's house buy

Source: Fairfax media – Peters slams National’s house buy

.

The National Government selling a  state-owned property to itself?!

This is the kind of practice  that is best synonymous with Third World or ex Soviet republics, where corruption is rampant.

Now we are witnessing  corruption by National ministers, Party officials, and their equally culpable apparatchiks.

Who would have thought that we would see this kind of thing here in New Zealand? And how do National Party members and supporters justify this kind of corrupt behaviour?

Perhaps it is time for Transparency International – the global corruption monitoring organisation – to reconsider our rating.

A message to Mr Peters;

Post the 2014 election, if you hold the balance of power, will you align yourself with a self-serving, discredited Party that has no compunction to act corruptly?

Will you cosy up to a Party that has engaged in unpopular legislation; ignoring public opinion; attacked critics; extended State surveillance power; and is now stealing public property for their own purposes?

Do you want yourself and your Party associated with this kind of corruption?

You have some deep thinking to do after next year’s election.  Choose wisely.

 

 

.

.

= fs =

 

 

Bricks, Bouquets, Bain, and Winston Peters

30 June 2013 1 comment

.

Brickbats

.

Brick1

.

There is an unpleasant tendency in our politics for parties to bash each other when they amend or dump a policy.

I’m not referring to breaking election pledges, such as National’s raising GST when Key promised that would not happen. That was clearly dishonest, and worthy of public condemnation.

I am referring to Parties putting forward a new policy outside of the Election period, and which the public has not had an opportunity to consider. These are policies that have not been tested, and are yet to be  subject to scrutiny, debate, and a verdict from the public.

Recent examples include Labour dropping their policy to remove GST from fresh food; National changing their policy on class-room sizes; and the Greens dumping their policy on Quantitative Easing.

National’s “u-turn”  on the Auckland rail-loop is another example. In this instance, the issue of the Rail Loop has been discussed and debated in the public arena. Eventually,  National Ministers realised that there was strong public support for this project and their own oppositional posture was no longer tenable. (No doubt this realisation was amply assisted by Focus Groups.)

So, yesterday, the Nats announced that they would be supporting the Rail Loop, with appropriate levels of funding,

.

Govt to contribute to Auckland rail link

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Govt to contribute to Auckland rail link

.

- and the response from Labour; other political opponents; and the media was to slam National for it’s “u turn”.

Now, I’ll emphasise the point here that I am no friend of right wing governments. That includes this National government.

But. When the Nats  change their policies to be more in line with New Zealanders’ expectations; and when they dump an unpopular policy which was based more on ideological clap-trap rather than common sense; and when they bow to public and political pressure to adopt more progressive policies – they should be encouraged and applauded.

Otherwise, if we’re not going to give  positive reinforcement to their policy changes, the Nats will simply refuse to countenance future backdowns when faced with public opposition.

After all,  where is the profit in listening to criticism and dropping a policy  if you’re going to be bollicked regardless?

In this respect, I think there is a fair degree of immaturity on this issue and it’s high time we did a bit of growing up. Schoolyard tit-for-tats is no way to do consenting adult politics.

Hat-tip: No Right Turn

.

Bouquets

.

Bouquet3

.

Big Ups to National for reversing it’s opposition to the Auckland Rail Loop.  This will be of major benefit to Auckland; improve public transport; take pressure of roads; reduce petrol consumption (and petroleum imports); create new jobs; and boost the economy. There is no downside to this major infra-structure project.

My only criticism is that National has delayed the project by three years; planning to start in 2020, rather than 2017. I see no practical reason for this delay and will only push up the cost of the project.

If it’s worthy of support by central government then it’s worthy of being initiated ASAP.

This blogger looks forward to more progressive changes to National’s policies.

.

The Bain Mystery: case closed

.

Bain case - Two dark lines on thumb point to father as killer

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald: Bain case: Two dark lines on thumb point to father as killer

.

Last night’s (26 June) Third Degree on TV3 was as dramatic as the programme promos made out. New evidence indicates fairly conclusively that the muderer of the Bain family in 1994 was indeed – Robin Bain.

Twin carbon-streaks on his thumb are a match with the rifle’s ammo-clip.

Along with the bloodied foot-prints tracked through the Bain residence, which were closer to Robin Bain’s foot-size than David’s, this is the evidence which conclusively identifies the killer as Robin Bain.

In the US, this kind of homocide is known as the “family annihilator”, where the most common perpetrator is the father/step father/boyfriend. In a remarkably similar case  in New Zealand in 1992, a  family annihilation was committed in a  manner eerily resembling the Bain killings;

On May 20, 1992, Brian Schlaepfer, 64, shot or stabbed the family, killing his wife Jocelyn, 55, his three sons, Peter, 39, Karl, 33, and Darrell, 31. Also slain were Peter’s wife Hazel, 42, and their son Aaron, 11.

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Day of slaughter on family farm

It is time for Justice Minister Judith Collins to pull finger and  pay David Bain compensation. There is no logical reason to stall any longer.

Whoever is holding up this process in National’s caucus no longer has a rationale for their intransigence.

What’s it to be, Ms Collins – bouquets or brickbats?

.

Winston Peters channels Orwell

.

Peters blasts 'Orwellian' censorship over stand on migrants

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Peters blasts ‘Orwellian’ censorship over stand on migrants

.

The irony of Winston Peters channelling George Orwell’s 1984 should not be lost on anyone.  Mr Peters points out that life under Orwell’s totalitarian regime of Big Brother involved absolute suppression of free speech.  The slightest murmur of dissent invited dreadful retaliation by The State.

But Mr Peters also forgot to mention that in 1984, Big Brother was able to maintain it’s iron grip over the people by means of total surveillance.

Quite simply,  in 1984 the State watched and listened to everything that people said. Everything. No one was exempt.

Which sounds remarkably like the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill.

This Bill seeks to expand the powers of the GCSB to be allowed to spy on all New Zealanders.

Winston Peters is considering supporting this Bill (see:  Peters open to compromise over GCSB bill).

So, what was it you were saying about George Orwell’s 1984, Mr Peters?

Vote the Bill down, Mr Peters, vote it down. Do it for free speech; do it for privacy, and do it to keep Big Brother out of our lives.

Bouquets or brickbats?, Mr Peters?

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 June 2013.

.

*

.

References

NZ Herald: Day of slaughter on family farm (19 May 2007)

TVNZ: Bain trial considers sockprint measurements (20 April 2009)

Fairfax media: Key ‘no GST rise’ video emerges (10 Feb 2010)

Fairfax media: Class-size backdown ‘to haunt National‘ (10 June 2012)

TV3:  Labour gone cold on GST-free food (25 March 2013)

NZ Herald: Greens ditch quantitative easing policy (19 June 2013

NZ Herald: Peters blasts ‘Orwellian’ censorship over stand on migrants (25 June 2013)

Radio NZ:  Govt to contribute to Auckland rail link (26 June 2013)

TVNZ:  Peters open to compromise over GCSB bill (26 June 2013)

NZ Herald: Bain case: Two dark lines on thumb point to father as killer (26 June 2013)

.

.

= fs =

Dodgy polls, dodgy dealings, and a spot of fear-mongering

.

Dodgy Polls

.

The lates Herald-Digipoll paints a depressing  picture for Labour. Or, does it?

.

Further fall in polls dismissed by Labour - 26.6.2013

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Further fall in polls dismissed by Labour

.

However, the poll is by no means as accurate as some would have us believe,

The real poll to watch is Roy Morgan, which calls cellphones as well as landlines.

The Herald-Digipoll should therefore be treated with a fair measure of scepticism.

.

*

.

Dodgy dealings

.

peter-francis-family-campaign-justice

Acknowledgement: Peter Francis: undermining family’s campaign for justice was my low point

.

Anyone who believes that expansion of GCSB’s surveillance powers would target only “subversives” should read the above article from The Guardian. Read it in full.

And take note of who the UK Police labelled as “subversives”.

Never underestimate the willingness and  ability of state agencies to pry and interfere in our lives – especially  when those state agencies feel threatened.

The State does not “love” us.

The State is a multi-faceted entity that may help us one day – and spy or threaten us the next.

The story of former police officer  Peter Francis should serve as a clear warning to everyone that the power of the State can be easily mis-used, and is best kept on a short leash.

I am therefore incredulous that the GCSB – which broke the law by illegally spying on 88 New Zealanders, is now about to have that law-breaking legalised, and spying over us all, legitimised. This is practically rewarding criminal behaviour.

Now Winston Peters is flirting with the Nats by offering to support the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill – with “safeguards”.

“Safeguards”?!

Rubbish.

Peters is not in the least interested in safeguarding the rights of New Zealanders. He is interested only in destroying political opposition (the United Party) and safe-guarding his own interests and position at the next election as “king maker”.

I wonder if Me Peters will be willing to explain to his audiences why he is considering expanding the powers of the GCSB, thereby sending us further down the road of becoming a Surveillance State.

NZ First must vote down the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. Otherwise, he may regret having this stain on his political career.

Mr Peters, just say,

.

no

.

*

.

Fearmongering

.

When a politician starts to engage in naked fear-mongering to panic the masses into supporting whatever dodgy agenda they’re engaged in – it’s time to start worrying.

Evidently, according to John Key,  the entire country is in dire  need of “protection” from unseen, unknown  evil villains,

“By the way, very senior Labour members within that caucus understand completely the importance of national security and of keeping New Zealanders safe and the very question they might have to ask themselves if one day there was a equivalent of the Boston bombings in New Zealand would they be the very same members who would stand up and say they prevented New Zealanders from being kept as safe as they otherwise could be.”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Spy bill: ‘This isn’t playtime’ – Key

That’s on top of Key’s other utterances.

On weapons of mass destruction,

“There have been covert attempts to acquire New Zealand science and technology for programmes relating to weapons of mass destruction or weapons delivery systems”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald: PM’s hacking claims a distraction – Labour

On foreign terrorism (with domestic support),

“There are people within our country who have links to offshore terrorist groups.  Those links range from helping to fund terrorist groups through to an attraction to their extremist activities.”

And,

“While the terrorism threat in New Zealand has remained low, there are people within our country who have links to off-shore terrorist groups.”

Acknowledgement: TVNZ – Key reveals WMD cyber terrorism threat to NZ

I wonder if those “off-shore terrorist groups” comprise of Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, PETA,  et al?

On cyber espionage,

“And the many other threats to our national security have continued to intensify, these include cyber-attacks against Government and private organisations where information is at risk, and the intellectual property of some of our smartest and most innovative New Zealanders is at risk.”

Acknowledgement: IBID

But it’s all ok, according to Key, who resorts to the “You-Have-Nothing-To-Fear” rhetoric,

“With regards to the three main functions, the Act will be amended to make clear the GCSB can use its powers when undertaking activities in all of these areas, subject to controls and conditions.”

“Controls and Conditions”?!

We’ve already had “controls and conditions” under the current GCSB law, which stated quite clearly* that the Bureau was not legally permitted to spy on New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

Nevertheless, that still didn’t stop them  from spying on 88 New Zealanders and permanent residents.

Acknowledgement: NewstalkZB – Threats of cyber espionage and terrorism

“What actually happens with national security is protecting the interests of New Zealanders, and if people aren’t doing something wrong, then it’s very unlikely they would be falling within the remit of the GCSB’s activities.”

Acknowledgement: Otago Daily Times – Key goes on offensive over GCSB

Really? “If people aren’t doing something wrong, then it’s very unlikely they would be falling within the remit of the GCSB’s activities.”?!?!

The families spied on by Peter Francis and other UK police [see above: Dodgy dealings] might feel differently, Mr Prime Minister.

Fear-mongering – a despicable way to convince the public for the need to change a law.

.

*Note

Section 14 of the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 states;

14 Interceptions not to target domestic communications
  • Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.

.

.

= fs =

National Party spin on Aaron Gilmore and MMP

.

Want a good reason for voting for MMP

.

Something I’ve noticed in the last few days, as the Aaron Gilmore saga drags on, is the number of snide references being made to our electoral system, MMP (Mixed Member Proportional).

.

"...what he's reflecting actually is the reality of MMP. Which whether we like it or not every party leader is powerless."

what he’s reflecting actually is the reality of MMP. Which whether we like it or not, every party leader is powerless.”John Key, 9 May 2013

.

 As with the sacking from NZ First's caucus of list MP Brendan Horan, who continues to sit in the House and draw his generous salary and perks, that has underlined a key flaw in the rules for MMP. List MPs are in Parliament solely because of the positions allocated to them by their parties. If they are no longer acceptable to their parties at large, they should likewise be kicked out of Parliament.

As with the sacking from NZ First’s caucus of list MP Brendan Horan, who continues to sit in the House and draw his generous salary and perks, that has underlined a key flaw in the rules for MMP.
List MPs are in Parliament solely because of the positions allocated to them by their parties. If they are no longer acceptable to their parties at large, they should likewise be kicked out of Parliament.”Un-named author, 11 May 2013

.

“It is absolutely the curse of MMP that you can’t get rid of an MP that doesn’t deserve to be there.”

“It is absolutely the curse of MMP that you can’t get rid of an MP that doesn’t deserve to be there.”Michelle Boag, May 2013

.

The new meme is that the MMP system is somehow permitting Aaron Gilmore to remain in Parliament, and is vexing his Leader’s desire to remove him. The subtext is that MMP is severely ‘flawed’,  allowing errant members of Parliament to flout the ‘system’ and disregard the wishes of the public – and their Party leaders.

The corollary is that the previous system, First Past the Post (FPP) was somehow ‘superior’; tougher on wayward politicians, and allowed Party leaders to ditch them.

Both views are patently false.

As usual, watch out for politicians and their hangers-on – they speak with a forked tongue.

The reality is that pre-MMP, during our First Past the Post era, there were several members of Parliament who split away from their Parties (either National or Labour).

The Roll Call of Honour/Dis-Honour – depending on your point of view:

Matiu  Rata – resigned from Labour, 1979

Jim Anderton – resigned from Labour, April 1989

Gilbert Myles – resigned from National, late 1991

Hamish MacIntyre – resigned from National, late 1991

Cam Campion – resigned from National, March 1993

Winston Peters – resigned from National, early 1993*

Of the six MPs listed above, only Peters resigned from Parliament (as well as his Party), prompting a by-election on 17 April 1993. Rata prompted a by-election the following year, in June 1980.

Peters’ resignation was made of his own volition, as he sought a mandate from his Electorate after a public and very acrimonious split from the Bolger-led National Government of the day. (Indeed, Peters’ by-election was  dismissed  as a “stunt” by his opponants. I guess you can’t win either way.)

The remaining for MPs, Anderton; Myles; MacIntyre; and  Campion all remained as sitting Independent MPs until the following general election. Only Anderton and Peters were re-elected in subsequent elections.

All five MPs were electorate-based, and elected under FPP. In this respect, both MMP and FPP share a common feature; at no time could either Labour or National force their five ‘rogue’ MPs from Parliament.

This is a fact that Key, Boag, and the un-named author of the Dominion Post editorial should be fully aquainted with.

It appears to me is that by ‘dissing’ MMP, the conservative elements in politics (Key, Boag, and an obviously right-leaning anonymous  editorialist) are attempting to shift blame from their own short-comings  onto our electoral system. “Scape goating” is the appropriate term, I believe.

But worse than that – by smearing our electoral system, the Conservative Establishment is further undermining the public perception of democracy in New Zealand.  The apalling low voter turn-out in 2011 –  74.2% , the lowest turnout since 1887 – can only be exacerbated when those with a loud public voice ridicule and deride our electoral system.

The subtext here is; “our electoral system is crap; don’t bother using it; don’t vote; disengage”.

This, of course, suits the purposes of the Conservative Establishment. The less people who vote, the better for them. Their hope is that their own voter base will ignore the subliminal messaging and continue to cast their ballots on Election Day.

It is a sad day in our country when those with a strong public voice (political leaders, public figures, anonymous editorial writers, etc) use their positions to undermine democracy and further erode public participation, when instead they have a duty to promote a sense of  civic duty in our nation.

What’s the bet that come the next election, John Key, Michelle Boag, and the anonymous Dominion Post editorialist will all be voting?

Of course they will. They understand the power of the ballot.

.

When you stop voting

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 12 May 2013.

.

*

.

References

TVNZ:   Gilmore refuses to resign amid fresh allegations (9 May 2013)

Dominion Post: Editorial: Gilmore should accept it’s time to go  (11 May 2013)

National Business Review: Boag: how best to deal with Gilmore

.

.

= fs =

The Politics of Power and a Very Clear Choice – Part Wha

new zealand high electricity prices

.

Continued from: The Politics of Power and a Very Clear Choice – Part Toru

.

First NZ

.

As Chris Trotter pointed out in his excellent blogpost just recently,

ONLY STEVEN JOYCE could offer up JB Were, Woodward Partners, Milford Asset Management, First NZ Capital,  and Forsyth Barr as credible critics of the Labour-Greens’ energy policy. As if these six financial institutions were ever likely to offer the Opposition parties their fulsome support!.”

Acknowledgement: The Daily Blog – No Dog In The Fight: Whatever happened To Academic Expertise?

We can add to the above list; AMP Capital, Morningstar Research, BusinessNZ, and Federated Farmers – all of which appear to be the front-line foot-mercenary-soldiers in National’s counter-attack to the Labour-Green’s NZ Power.

Minister of the Known Universe, Steven Joyce’s actual comment was,

Financial analysts including JB Were, Woodward Partners, Milford Asset Management, First NZ Capital, Devon Funds Management and Forsyth Barr are unanimous in their condemnation. One has labelled it a ‘hand grenade’ to the New Zealand economy, while others have said it will cut the value of every New Zealanders’ KiwiSaver account and lead to rolling blackouts. ”

Acknowledgement: Scoop –  Labour-Greens Power ‘Plan’ Economic Sabotage

Rolling blackouts“?!

He left out a plague of locusts and rivers turning into blood (though with farm run-offs, these days it’s more like Rivers of  Excrement).

We’ve had power black-outs in the past, due to dry weather; equipment failure; shut-downs for maintenance; human error; etc. And we will continue to have unavoidable power cuts, in the future;

.

Damaging gales forecast for north 5.5.2013

Acknowledgement: NZ Radio – Damaging gales forecast for north

.

Joyce added,

Kiwis are deeply suspicious about the Labour-Greens announcement and its timing. It’s simply economic sabotage. ”

Hmmm, considering the high value of the New Zealand dollar’s destructive effects on our manufacturing/export sector and the 40,000 jobs that’s been lost in the last four years – if I were Joyce, I would not be too keen to bandy about charges of “economic sabotage”. National’s policies in the last few years have been more than effective in that regard,

.

Exporters tell inquiry of threat from high dollar

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Exporters tell inquiry of threat from high dollar

.

It’s hardly surprising that most of the negative response has been from the financial markets and commercial firms. They are the ones with the naked vested interests.

To date, the following fear-threats have been thrown at the New Zealand public – because make no mistake, these  doomsday scenarios are directed at voters, and not Labour or the Greens.

Perhaps the most outrageous claims – or outright lies – came from share broking company, First NZ,

“Despite the alleged “excessive price increase in the 13 years since 2000 we are not convinced the system is broken. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t need fixing.

Since 2008, the “real” rate of increase (net of line charges) has slowed even further to 0.5 per cent per annum. Your writer knows for a fact he is paying less for electricity today than three years ago.

Our modelling assumes 11.6 per cent residential tariff increases over the next four years, however net of line charges this reduces to 3.2 per cent over four years.

We believe the Opposition’s desire for a 10 per cent reduction in power prices can mostly be achieved through the current market without the need for a complex and costly change of market structure.”

Acknowledgement:  NZ Herald –  Power price cuts coming anyway, says First NZ

In another document, First NZ made the extraordinary claim,

“Despite the alleged “excessive” price increases in the 13 years since 2000 we are not convinced the system is broken. We estimate that, net of line charges and after allowing for inflation, residential electricity prices have risen 2.6% since 2000.

Acknowledgement:  First NZ – Contact Energy – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

Hold on.

Is First NZ is really telling the public that power prices have only risen 2.6% since  2000?!?! Well, they do qualify that with “net of line charges and after allowing for inflation”. Though why they would omit line charges seems pointless; the public are still paying at the end.  “Clipping the ticket” seems the norm and impacts on the end-consumer regardless of how it is done.

Which also raises a question in my mind;  why is First NZ making this assertion only now? Why did they not make the effort to rebut National’s claims when Dear Leader issued public statements like this, on 27 January, 2011,

“In the nine years Labour was in government, power prices went up 72 per cent and the Government owned 100 per cent of the assets.”

Acknowledgement:  NZ Herald – Power price fears if Govt stakes go

Why did First NZ not issue public statements ‘correcting’ National’s “misrepresentations” at the time?

Why have they left it only till now, to counter the assertion that “power prices went up 72%”?

Why is a single-buyer desk for electricity sending brokerage firms into a panic? Especially, considering, that we already have single buyer-desk’s in the form of Fonterra, Zespri, PHARMAC, etc.

The answer, I submit, is fairly obvious. First NZ’s fanciful statements and assertions are part of an orchestrated litany of bullshit to scare Joe & Jane Public to run back into the cold, dead arms of Nanny Neoliberal.

The Financial Money Men, with their Federated Farmers allies, are propping up their neo-liberal stooges in Parliament. The rats are out of the woodwork, and we can see who is lined up against the best interests of the public.

Because, in the final analysis, this all boils down to money – who makes it and who gets to keep it. And because so much money is at stake, we are told that rising power bills is the price for living in a “free” market.

We’re also promised that power prices will drop. Sometime. In the future.

We just have to be patient.

Maybe another thirty years?

It will be interesting if people buy into this propaganda BS.  Will voters believe the fear-mongering campaign from the money-pushers?

Or will they realise that share brokers and merchant bankers are  interested only in seeing that power prices remain at stratospheric levels, to provide maximum returns for their shareholders?

Because one thing is as certain as the sun rising tomorrow; these firms are not remotely interested in our welfare. Nor in the welfare of Kiwi families being gouged with higher and higher power bills.

I’m struck senseless that so many National supporters believe  that siding with the likes of JB Were, Woodward Partners, Milford Asset Management, First NZ Capital, Devon Funds Management,  Forsyth Barr, Business NZ, Federated Farmers, et al, will somehow gain them some kind of  ‘benefit’. Are National supporters so masochistic and blinded by their faith in the “free market” that they are willing to tolerate  paying higher and higher prices for electricity?

I hope they realise that JB Were, Woodward Partners, Milford Asset Management, First NZ Capital, Devon Funds Management,  Forsyth Barr, Business NZ, Federated Farmers, et al, will not pay the power bills for National supporters.

Good luck with that!

The Labour-Green coalition should welcome these attacks as an opportunity. Every time one of these money-pushing firms launches a critical attack on NZ Power – the Labour-Greens should counter with press conferences where facts, stats,   and more details are presented for the public and nice, big, colourful  graphic-charts presented.

Like this one, from the Ministry of Economic Development/Business, Innovation, and Employment;

.

Ministry of Economic Development - Power Prices 1974 - 2011

Acknowledgement: Ministry of Economic Development/Business, Innovation, and Employment – Power Prices

.

(Note price drop around 1999. Whilst Industrial and Commercial prices fell, residential prices continued to rise. There is more to explain the 1998/99 price fall here;  Statistic NZ –  Electricity consumption. It had little to do with Bradford’s reforms, and more to do with competing retailers changing their  methods of calculation for the CPI electricity price index and building extra generation capacity. The cost of the latter had shifted from the State and onto domestic consumers.)

Where possible, David Parker and Russell Norman should  speak at engagements around the country at public meetings. (Community newspapers and other local media should be engaged, as they love anything that happens within their community.)

Invite others such as  the Salvation Army, and experts such as energy-sector expert, Molly Melhuish, and Victoria University researcher Geoff Bertram, should be invited to address media events.

Invite members of the public; families, etc,  to present their power bills as evidence of skyrocketing prices.

Build a Broad Front of support. Show the country that there is support for NZ Power.

People want reassurance. We need to give it to them. And we need to show them why the National and the  finance sector are working in cahoots.

Because ain’t it funny that no community organisation has come out, demanding that the electricity sector remain unregulated and welcoming higher and higher prices?

And if the media aren’t presenting the full story, use progressive blogs to publish the information. We, too, can be  “foot soldiers” in this struggle. (Because surprise, surprise,  we too, use electricity.)

This is a war between the Neo Liberal Establishment and Progressive forces fighting to roll back thirty years of  a failed experiment.

That war began on 18 April.

There is no reason on Earth why we should not win.

.

NZ First

.

I find it hard to trust  NZ First. Or, to be more precise; I find it hard to trust it’s leader, Winston Peters.

His parliamentary colleagues; party members; and supporters – I have no problem with. They are people who, generally, want the best for this country and dislike the false religion of neo-liberalism as deeply as those on the Left do.

But Peters…

Peters has ‘form’. He has changed direction  on numerous occassions, and I find it hard to take him at his word.

Some examples…

1.

In 1996, Winston Peters campaigned to defeat the National Government and remove it from power. His campaign statements at that time seemed unequivocal;

Jim Anderton: Is the member going into a coalition with National?

Winston Peters: Oh no we are not.” – Parliamentary Hansards, P14147, 20 August 1996

.

There is only one party that can beat National in this election that that is New Zealand First.” – Winston Peters, 69 & 85 minutes into First Holmes Leaders Debate, TVNZ, 10 September 1996

.

Of course I am not keen on National. Who is?

… This is a government bereft of economic and social performance  [so] that they are now arguing for stability.” – Winston Peters, Evening Post, 25 June 1996

.

The prospects are that National will not win this election, that they will not form part of any post-election coalition.” – Winston Peters, The Dominion, 5 October 1996

.

It is clear that this National government will use every means at its disposal to secure power… Come October 12…  Two months ago I warned that the National Party would use every trick and device at their command to to retain their Treasury seats.” – Winston Peters speech to Invercargill Grey Power, 26 August 1996

.

The Prime Minister [Jim Bolger] is not fit for the job and come 12 October he will be out. He should not get on his phone and call me like he did last time, because we are not interested in political, quisling  behaviour. We are not into State treachery.” – Winston Peters, Parliamentary Hansards, P14146, 20 August 1996

.

We believe the kind of politician depicted by Bolger, Birch, and Shipley is not to be promoted into Cabinet. As a consequence we will not have any truck with these three people.” – Winston Peters, NZ Herald, 22 July 1996

.

We are a party that says what we mean and mean what we say, regardless of the political consequences.” – Winston Peters, Speech to public meeting, 9 October 1996

Despite Peters’ assurances,  on  11 December 1996  the public woke up to this nightmare,

.

.

2.

In 1996, one of the biggest election issues was the sale of  Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Ltd (cutting rights only,  not the land). In 1996, the then Bolger-led National government had announced it’s intention to privatise the SOE,

In 1996, the Minister of Finance announced the government’s intention to sell its shares in the Forestry Corporation of New Zealand (formerly Timberlands Bay of Plenty). The corporation’s assets were Crown Forestry Licences to planted forests, which had expanded to 188 000 ha in the central region of North Island, processing plants in various locations, a nursery and a seed orchard.

A handful of large forestry companies and consortia submitted bids. The sole criterion was price. However, as the strength of the bids was not as great as hoped, bidders were asked to resubmit their bids. In August 1996, it was announced that the Forestry Corporation of New Zealand had been sold to a consortium led by Fletcher Challenge in a deal that valued the assets at $NZ 2 026 million.

Acknowledgement:  Devolving forest ownership through privatization in New Zealand

The sale went ahead and the  final sale-price was $1,600,000, to a consortium made up of  Fletcher Challenge Forests (37.5%), Brierley Investments Ltd (25%) and Citifor Inc (37.5%).

Acknowledgement:  Treasury – Income from State Asset Sales as at 30 September 1999

Throughout 1996, Winston Peters engaged in an election campaign to “hand back the cheque” should he and his Party be elected into a position of power,

.

Forests Buy back signalled - Evening Post - 13 August 1996

Acknowledgement: (hard copy only): Evening Post, 13 August 1996

.

the Game plan - what we're all playing for - Eveni ng Post - 2 October 1996

Acknowledgement: (hard copy only): Evening Post, 2 October 1996

.

To quote  Peters, who said on 13 August 1996,

I ask both the Labour and Alliance parties – putting politics aside for  this one day – to join New Zealand First in it’s post-election pledge to reverse the sales process“.

As many who lived through the times will recall, Peters pledged to “hand back the cheque”. It was a powerful message.

But it never happened.

Peters joined in coalition with National  (consigning Labour and The Alliance into Opposition) and the pledge to buy back the forests was dropped – much to the disgust of people at the time..

Sixteen years later, and Peters has made the same promise all over again.  On TV3′s The Nation, on 24 June 2012,  Winston Peters stated,

 “The market needs to know that Winston Peters and a future government is going to take back  those assets. By that I mean pay no greater price than their first offering price. This is, if they transfer to seven or eight people, it doesn’t matter, we’ll pay the first price or less. ”

Acknowledgement: TV 3 – The Nation

On 4 March this year (2013), Peters announced,

New Zealand First will use its influence on the next coalition Government to buy back our state-owned power companies which are being flogged off by National and we are committed to buying back the shares at no greater price than paid by the first purchaser.”

Acknowledgement: Scoop – One More Quisling Moment from Key

Another quote from Winston Peters, who  said in a speech to the NZ First Conference,  in 1999,

All the policies and manifestos in the world are meaningless when you cannot trust the leadership. That is what leadership is about – trust. Nobody expects leadership to be infallible. But you have a right to expect it to be trustworthy.”

Acknowledgement: (hard copy only):  Speech by Rt Hon Winston Peters to the New Zealand First Conference, 18 July 1999, at the Eden Park Conference Centre

Indeed; “All the policies and manifestos in the world are meaningless when you cannot trust the leadership.”

If Peters and NZ First hold the balance of power in 2014 and choose to enter into a coalition arrangement with National – will he carry out his pledge this time?

Or will that promise be dropped and buried for political expediency and some babbled, weak excuse?

It’s happened once, before. And not too long ago.

Can he be trusted for a second time?

I am of  the belief that folks can learn from their mistakes. God knows I’m made a few in my early adulthood.

Has Winston Peters learned to honour his electoral pledges and not to treat the voting public as fools? Has he learned that he betrays voters at his peril? I hope so.

Because the public exacted a fitting response to his behaviour in 2008, as he and his Party were punished and spent three years in the political wilderness (see;  New Zealand general election, 2008).

More than ever, the future of this country – and the power –  is in our hands,

.

NZ Power Shearer Norman

.

Residents Vote In Mana By-Election

.

Don’t screw up this time, Mr Peters.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 6 May 2013.

.

*

.

Previous Related Blogposts

History Lesson – Tahi – Electricity Sector “reforms”  (4 March 2012)

John Key: Man of Many Principles (28 Sept 2012)

Labour, Greens, NZ First, & Mana – A Bright Idea with electricity! (10 March 2013)

Additional Sources

Statistics New Zealand: The history of electricity reform

Ministry of Economic Development: Electricity Prices

NZ History Online:  Dancing Cossacks political TV ad

The Treasury: Income from State Asset Sales as at 30 September 1999

References

NZPA: Splitting up ECNZ expected to cut wholesale power price (16 Dec 1998)

NZPA:  Reforms aimed at business – Luxton (21 April 1999)

Otago Daily Times: Power Prices Set To Soar (12 May 1999)

Otago Daily Times: No case for regulation (24 May 1999)

Otago Daily Times: Lower power prices coming says Bradford (3 June 1999)

Otago Daily Times: Power prices to rise by up to 15.1% (29 June 1999)

Otago Daily Times:  Reforms blamed for hike (13 July 1999)

Scoop: Alliance to hold Winston Peters accountable (8 Oct 1999)

NZ Herald: Peters ‘forgets’ NZ First support for power reforms (13 Aug 2008)

Fairfax: Government to seek inquiry into power price rise  (30 September 2008)

NZ Herald:  Put prices on hold, Brownlee tells power companies (21  May 2009)

NZ Herald: Mighty River directors’ 73pc pay rise realistic – Key (5 April 2013)

Scoop:  Labour-Greens to rip up the book on electricity pricing (18 April 2013)

NZ Herald:  Labour-Greens plan could work, says Vector CEO (19 April 2013)

NZ Herald:  National gobsmacked at Labour idea (19 April 2013)

NZ Herald: Power plan likened to Soviet era (19 April 2013)

NZ Herald: MRP chief slams socialist’ plan (21 April 2013)

TVNZ:  Q+A – Transcript of Steven Joyce interview (21 April 2013)

NZ Herald:  Bernard Hickey: Power barons fail to fool the public this time around (21 April 2013)

Radio NZ: Power prices nearly double since 2000 (21 April 2013)

Other blogs

Kiwiblog: Electricity Prices

Tumeke: MANA threaten overseas investors not to buy assets – Bloomberg pick up on the story

.

.

= fs =

How to sabotage the asset sales…

.

Something I blogged on 25 June 2012, and now more appropriate than ever…

.

.

On last weekends’ (23/24 June 2012) “The Nation“,  the issue of asset sales was discussed with   NZ First leader, Winston Peters; Green Party MP, Gareth Hughes; and Labour MP, Clayton Cosgrove,

.

Source

.

Whilst all three parties are staunchly opposed to state asset sales, NZ First leader, Winston Peters went one step further,  promising that his Party would buy back the assets.

Gareth Hughes and Clayton Cosgrove were luke-warm on the idea, quite rightly stating that there were simply too many variables involved in committing to a buy-back two and a half years out from the next election. (And Peters never followed through on his election pledge in 1996 to buy back NZ Forestry – “to hand back the envelope”, as he put it –  after National had privatised it.) There was simply no way of knowing what state National would leave the economy.

Considering National’s tragically incompetant economic mismanagement thus far, the outlook for New Zealand is not good. We can look forward to more of the usual,

  • More migration to Australia
  • More low growth
  • More high unemployment
  • More deficits
  • More skewed taxation/investment policies
  • Still more deficits
  • More cuts to state services
  • And did I mention more deficits?

By 2014, National will have frittered away most (if not all) of the proceeds from the sale of Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

In such an environment, it is difficult to sound plausible when promising to buy back multi-billion dollar corporations.

Not to be thwarted, Peters replied to a question by Rachel Smalley, stating adamantly,

The market needs to know that Winston Peters and a future government is going to take back  those assets. By that I mean pay no greater price than their first offering price. This is, if they transfer to seven or eight people, it doesn’t matter, we’ll pay the first price or less.

Bold words.

It remains to be seen if Peters will carry out that threat – especially if a number of his shareholders are retired Kiwi superannuitants?

When further questioned by Rachel Smalley, Peters offered specific  ideas how a buy-back might be funded,

Why can’t we borrow from the super fund, for example? And pay that back over time?  And why can’t we borrow from Kiwisaver  for example, and pay that back over time…”

The answer is that governments are sovereign and can make whatever laws they deem fit. That includes buying back assets at market value; at original sale price; or simple expropriation without  compensation. (The latter would probably be unacceptable to 99% of New Zealanders and would play havoc with our economy.)

Peters is correct; funding per se is not an issue. In fact, money could be borrowed from any number of sources, including overseas lenders. The gains from all five SOEs – especially the power companies – would outweigh the cost of any borrowings.

Eg,

  1. Cost of borrowing from overseas: 2% interest
  2. Returns from SOEs: 17%
  3. Profit to NZ: 15%

We make on the deal.

The question is, can an incoming Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana government accomplish such a plan?

Should such a  radical policy be presented to the public at an election, the National Party would go into Warp Drive with a mass  panic-attack.

But it’s not National that would be panicked.

It would be National going hard-out to panic the public.

National’s scare-campaign would promise the voters economic collapse;  investors deserting the country; a crashed share-market; cows drying up; a plague of locusts; the Waikato River turning to blood; hordes of zombie-dead rising up…

And as we all know, most low-information voters are highly susceptible to such fear-campaigns. The result would be predictable:

.

.

But let’s try that again…

A more plausible scenario would have the leadership of Labour, NZ First, the Greens, and Mana, meeting at a secluded retreat for a high-level,  cross-party strategy conference.

At the conclusion of said conference, the Leaders emerge, with an “understanding”, of recognising each others’ differing policies,

  1. Winston Peters presents a plan to the public, promoting NZF policy to buy-back  the five SOEs. As per his  original proposals, all shares will be repurchased at original offer-price.
  2. The  Mana Party  buy-in  to NZ First’s plan and pledge their support.
  3. Labour and the Greens release the joint-Party declaration stating that  whilst they do not pledge support to NZ First/Mana’s proposal – neither do they discount it. At this point, say Labour and the Greens, all options are on the table.

That scenario creates considerable  uncertainty and anxiety  in the minds of potential share-purchasers. Whilst they know that they will be recompensed in any buy-back scheme – they are effectively stymied in on-selling the shares for gain. Because no new investor  in their right mind would want to buy  shares that (a) probably no one else will want to buy and (b) once the buy-back begins, they would lose out.

Eg; Peter buys 1,000 shares at original offer price of $2 per share. Cost to Peter: $2,000.

Peter then on-sells shares to Paul at $2.50 per share.  Cost to Paul: $2,500. Profit to Peter: $500.

Paul then cannot on-sell his shares – no one else is buying. Once elected, a new centre-left government implements a buy back of shares at original offer-price @ $2 per share. Price paid to Paul: $2,000. Loss to Paul: $500.

Such a strategy is high-stakes politics at it’s riskiest.   Even if Labour and the Greens do not commit to a specific buy-back plan, and “left their options open” –  would the public wear it?

The certainty in any such grand strategy is that the asset sale would be effectively sabotaged. No individual or corporate buyer would want to become involved in this kind of uncertainty.

Of less certainty is how the public would perceive  a situation (even if Labour and the Greens remained staunchly adamant that they were not committed to any buy-back plan) of political Parties engaging in such a deliberate  scheme of de-stabilisation of a current government’s policies.

The asset sales programme would most likely fail, for sure.

But at what cost? Labour and the centre-left losing the next election?

We may well end up winning the war to save our SOEs – but end up a casualty of the battle.

.

.

.

*

.

Related Blog posts

Peter Dunne says

Campaign: Flood the Beehive!

Additional

Asset sales remain unpopular for NZers

.

.

= fs =

Spitting the Dummy, John Key Style

13 December 2012 7 comments

.

Key - Peters' dislike of me impedes deal

Full story

.

When it  comes to sheer, naked audacity – John Key has it by the Kenworth truck-load.  And just it appears that Dear Leader has reached stratosopheric heights of effrontery – he goes one better.

A few days ago, Dear Leader lamented the very real possibility Winston Peters would choose to coalesce with Labour, rather than National, at the next election.

If anything, this was worthy of a good, hearty  laugh!

To understand why, we must cast our minds back to 2008, and the donations scandal that enveloped Winston Peters when he denied knowledge of a $100,000 secret donation from billionaire, Owen Glenn,

.

Phone records contradict Peters

Full story

.

During this affair, John Key had plenty to say about Winston Peters,

National Party Leader John Key says Winston Peters would be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by him unless Mr Peters can provide a credible explanation on the Owen Glenn saga.

“Labour Party donor Owen Glenn’s letter to the Privileges Committee completely contradicts Winston Peters’ version of events about the substantial $100,000 donation made by Mr Glenn to Mr Peters’ legal costs.

“Mr Glenn’s letter represents a direct challenge to Mr Peters’ credibility, from the only other person in the world in a position to know the facts.

“From Parliament’s point of view, the Privileges Committee provides an appropriate vehicle to resolve the points of conflict and to hold individuals to account. But from the Prime Minister’s and the Government’s point of view, that is not enough.

“Governments and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and, ultimately, the public. Faced with today’s revelations, it is no longer acceptable for Mr Peters to offer bluster and insults where simple, courteous, honest answers are required.

“It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask.

“Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister. Helen Clark has stood Ministers from Labour down for much less.

“Unless he can provide a credible explanation about this serious issue, he should be unacceptable to Helen Clark as a Minister in her Labour-led Government.

“Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by me unless he can provide a credible explanation”.

See: Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

In early 2011, Key was still adamant that he would not countenance working with Peters in any future coalition government,

“I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead,” he said at a press conference today.

“Historically, he has always been sacked by prime ministers. It’s a very different style to mine and it’s rearward-looking.

“I’m about tomorrow, I’m not about yesterday.”

[...]

“If Winston Peters holds the balance of power it will be a Phil Goff-led Labour government,” Mr Key said.

See: Election date set; Peters ruled out

And just prior to last year’s electons, Key had this to say about Winston Peters, all but accusing the NZ First leader of being an unreliable, destructive political force in Parliament,

Prime Minister John Key warned voters yesterday that a new government after Saturday’s election could be brought down on any issue by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters unless National won enough votes for “strong, stable, dependable leadership”.

[...]

Said Mr Key: “What Winston Peters is saying to New Zealanders is that on every Budget, on every issue, there could be a general election. How could New Zealand govern itself over the next three years, which is likely to be a volatile period in the world economy, when at any stage the whole Government can be brought down by Winston Peters?”

See: John Key’s new target: Winston

I think it’s fairly clear that up until recently, Key had ruled out working with Peters. He was unequivocal in his condemnation and distrust of Peters.

There now appears to have been some kind of quantum-shift in John Key’s approach to Peters,

“I think that the argument that he really really dislikes the Greens, let’s put it politely, that’s all true . . . but he’s not overly enamoured with me,” Mr Key said.

He and Mr Peters had chatted during a trip to Samoa as part of a New Zealand delegation.

“I had a brief chat to him but realistically I think he will go with Labour . . . Even if we were prepared to change, and that would be a big if, he was always going with Labour . . . in 2008,” he said. “I think it’s just personal.”

See: Key: Peters’ dislike of me impedes deal

“…but he’s not overly enamoured with me,” says Dear Leader?!?! No sh*t, Sherlock! When did that *news flash* come to Key’s attention?!

Let me state at the outright; John Key’s questioning  of Winston Peters’ behaviour in 2008 was perfectly justified. In a functioning multi-party democracy, we rely on opposition Parties to keep governments honest.

Without an active, critical Opposition, we end up like Zimbabwe or a One Party state like Nth Korea. Without an Opposition there simply would be no democratic system in this country.

So whilst it may have been irksome for Labour supporters and the Left, in general, to have a coalition partner under a spotlight for alleged corrupt practices (undeclared donations) – John Key was doing the job that the taxpayer was paying him for.

But whilst condemning Peters in 2008 and the following three years – by flirting with Peters as a potential coalition partner, we see a further measure of the man that John Key is.

In 2008, Key considered Peters “unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by him unless Mr Peters can provide a credible explanation on the Owen Glenn saga“.

Since no such “credible explanation” was ever forthcoming – what has changed?

In 2008 and 2011, Key tried to destroy NZ First to deny Labour a potential coalition partner.

Now, with National fast running out of coalition partners (except for the one-clown bands known as ACT and United Future); with the Maori Party’s continuing survival no means a certainty; and the Conservative Party at 1% or less in the polls – the answer is prosaic; National is desperate for a Coalition partner.

Unfortunately for Key, his utterances stand in the collective consciousness of other political parties; the media, and the blogosphere.

Courting NZ First in such a very public way, and voicing indignation  at being rebuffed, will simply make Key look very foolish indeed. It will be yet another indication to the voting public that Key’s word cannot be taken at face value.

On it’s own, it would mean nothing of significance to the public and media.

But Key has back-tracked on so many policies, promises, and pledges that this will be another nail in his political coffin.

He may have started out as an “ordinary bloke” and non-political politician – but that has gradually changed. With his point-of-difference gradually eroded, what makes him any different to any other politician?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

.

*

.

Previous relared blogosts

John Banks – escaping justice (Part Rua)

Sources

NZ Herald: Pressure mounts on Peters as Key all but shuts door  (27 Aug 2008)

Scoop:  Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government   (27 Aug 2008)

TV3: Owen Glenn piles the pressure on Winston Peters over donation (9 Sept 2008)

NZ Herald:  Phone records contradict Peters (10 Sept 2008)

NZ Herald:  Timeline: The NZ First donations saga (23 Sept 2008)

Other blogs

The Pundit: The art of not predicting politics

.

.

= fs =

John Key: Man of Many Principles

28 September 2012 25 comments

.

.

In case anyone has been holidaying on Planet Key lately, and missed the latest shenanigans from the Ninth Floor of the Beehive,  John Key has apparently  abandoned his earlier principles rejecting  possible coalition deals with Winston Peters. He  has found new principles of  “wait and see”.

In 2008 and 2011, Dear Leader Key was fairly adamant and all but promised to poke himself in both eyes with red-hot pokers, rather than go into any coalition with Peters,

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

But this blogpost is not about Key’s ‘principles’ which, as we all know by now, are so bendy-twisty ‘flexible’ as to be positively plasticine.  When Key assures us that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, we still want to see it for ourselves. Just to make sure.

Indeed, another blogger – NZ Pundit – scarily predicted back  in August 2008  that Key’s “read-my-lips’ rejection of Winston Peters, as a possible coalition partner, was little more than a “hollow promise“, and would change overnight if National found itself desperate for a coalition partner.

See: NZ Pundit – Key’s Hollow Promise On Winston

Fast forward to 2012 – National finds itself desperate for a coalition partner.

With ACT now a Dead-Party-Walking after one scandal too many and Peter Dunne effectively a One-Man-Party, that leaves the Nats with two options;

  • The Maori Party. Does National really want to be beholden to a Maori nationalist party? Even if it is a paler-version of Hone Harawira’s Mana Party? Will the Maori Party make it back in 2014 anyway?
  • The Conservative Party. Notwithstanding it’s quasi-religious flakiness, Colin Craig has managed to alienate about 60% of the population (women and gays) plus probably everyone else with two interconnected braincells. Even if National drops the MMP Party threshold from 5% to 4%, there is no likelihood Craig will increase his electoral support.

In reality, with John Key showing the amorality of a  political  serial-adulterer, he will take whatever option is on offer. Whether his coalition bedmate is  the Maori Party  or CCCP (Colin Craig’s Conservative Party) or a menage a trois of both, concerns him nought.

As long as he can cross that magic 61 or 62 seat majority (depending on over-hangs) is his sole concern.

To achieve that end, National’s back-room strategists have been working over-time and have fixed their laser-sights on Winston Peter’s New Zealand First.

Said strategists have taken a single  approach to dealing with NZ First – with two planned outcomes.

In both scenarios, National makes overtures to NZ First and make it clear to the voting public that this time, Key will not resile from a  National-NZ First Coalition . Key will make the age of super entitlement and promise of abandonment of asset sales two prime factors that Peters will  find hard to reject. ( Peters is not as hard-line in his opposition to asset sales as he makes out.  See “Peters switch on Asset Sales“)

A third common ground between the Nats and NZ First;  if water rights is still a burning political  issue, this will move NZ First to the right, into National’s camp, as both parties have stated positions firmly rejecting Maori aspirations on this issue.

1. Yay

First scenario; Despite been seen as “cosying up” to National, NZ First retains electoral support, and makes it over the 4%/5% threshold. With Peter Dunne, John Key leads a third term of a National-led coalition government.

Outcome: win for National and John Key.

2. Nay

Second scenario;  As National electoral support drops and public hostility to John Key increases, any perceived “cosying up” between the Nats and NZ First is viewed with displeasure by Peters’ supporters.

NZ First’s supporters – traditionally seen as the “grumpy vote” – either do not bother to cast a vote on Election Day (as many of Labour’s supporters stayed away last November), or cast their vote for the Conservative Party or possibly  Labour.

NZ First fails to cross the 4%/5% threshold, and loses their seats in Parliament. In effect, National has been toxic to NZ First. Why would voters support NZ First if appears they will  be getting a National-led government? Those who vote NZ First traditionally do so as a protest vote against the incumbent government (whether Labour-led or National-led).

Outcome: win for National and John Key.

Both scenarios are a No Lose situation for National. Except that in Option #2, any perception of a “cosying up” by National to NZ First may mean the “kiss of electoral defeat” (again) for Peters. If National’s support drops further in the polls; if Key’s status of Preferred Prime Minister  wanes; and if the Nats are seen as ineffectual in a stagnating economy – does Peters want to be “tarred by association” by a Party on the way out?

Many New Zealanders – especially those in the late 30s and older – will remember the events of December 1996.

Many voters viewed NZ First’s decision to coalesce with Bolger’s National Party as an electoral betrayal – especially when Peters had made several Key-like statements during the 1996 election campaign. These statements were  unequivocal in denouncing National as a a potential coalition partner, and sent a clear message to the voting public,

.

Jim Anderton: Is the member going into a coalition with National?

Winston Peters: Oh no we are not. – Parliamentary Hansards, P14147, 20 August 1996

.

There is only one party that can beat National in this election that that is New Zealand First. – Winston Peters, 69 & 85 minutes into First Holmes Leaders Debate, TVNZ, 10 September 1996

.

Of course I am not keen on National. Who is?

… This is a government bereft of economic and social performance  [so] that they are now arguing for stability. – Winston Peters, Evening Post, 25 June 1996

.

The prospects are that National will not win this election, that they will not form part of any post-election coalition. – Winston Peters, The Dominion, 5 October 1996

.

It is clear that this National government will use every means at its disposal to secure power… Come October 12…  Two months ago I warned that the National Party would use every trick and device at their command to to retain their Treasury seats. – Winston Peters speech to Invercargill Grey Power, 26 August 1996

.

The Prime Minister [Jim Bolger] is not fit for the job and come 12 October he will be out. He should not get on his phone and call me like he did last time, because we are not interested in political, quisling  behaviour. We are not into State treachery. – Winston Peters, Parliamentary Hansards, P14146, 20 August 1996

.

We believe the kind of politician depicted by Bolger, Birch, and Shipley is not to be promoted into Cabinet. As a consequence we will not have any truck with these three people. – Winston Peters, NZ Herald, 22 July 1996

.

We are a party that says what we mean and mean what we say, regardless of the political consequences. – Winston Peters, Speech to public meeting, 9 October 1996

.

Despite Peters’ assurances,  on  11 December 1996  the public woke up to this announcement,

.

Front page, Otago Daily Times, 11 December 1996

.

The following three years were harsh for NZ First, culminating in it’s tearing apart in late 1998.The party split in two, with the ‘rump’ NZ First, and breakaway ‘Mauri Pacific‘, led by Tau Henare (now a National MP).

NZ First was nearly annihilated in the following year’s General Election, with Peters barely retaining his seat of Tauranga,

1996 – NZ First Party Vote: 276,603 (source) – Peters’ Electorate Vote: 18,997 (source)

1999 – NZ First Party Vote: 87,926 (source) – Peters’ Electorate Vote: 63 (source)

The message from voters was crystal clear for Peters; supporting an incumbent Party to retain power was a ‘no-go’ . People voted for NZ First to get rid of the incumbent government – not prop it up.

Cosying up with the Nats will not serve Peter’s  interests one iota. It will remind the electorate of the events of the late 1990s, and will harm popular support for NZ First.

Peters should consider; as opposition to National grows, why would people who oppose National vote for a small Party that may end up propping it up? The answer is; people will not vote for such a small Party.

This should serve as a warning to Peters and his Party: coalesce with National at your peril. History can repeat.

.

Peters ‘sorry’ about coalition – NZPA – 14 September 1998

.

*

.

Previous Related Blogposts

Ministers, Mad Moralists, and Minor Parties

Additional

Otago Daily Times – NZ First leads in ‘most loathed’ poll  (8 October 1999)

Dominion Post – Key rules Peters out of National’s future (27 August 2008)

Sean Plunket – PM should ponder the Orwellian switch to the farmhouse (22 Sept 2012)

TV3 – Duncan Garner: John Key refuses to rule out Winston Peters (24 Sept  2012)

TV3 – Peters welcomes National coalition (25 Sept 2012)

TV3 – Video:  Peters welcomes National coalition (25 Sept 2012)

.

.

= fs =

John Banks – escaping justice (Part Rua)

14 September 2012 18 comments

.

Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking John Banks

.

Continued from: John Banks – escaping justice

Following on from the police decision on 26 July not to prosecute John Banks for submitting an allegedly fraudulent Electoral Return, containing incorrect details of donors, this blogger emailed the Prime Minister on this issue,

.

From: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
To: John Key <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>
Cc: Jim Mora <afternoons@radionz.co.nz>,
    Chris Hipkins <chris.hipkins@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Chris Laidlaw RNZ <sunday@radionz.co.nz>,
    Dominion Post <editor@dompost.co.nz>,
    Daily News <editor@dailynews.co.nz>,
    Daily Post <editor@dailypost.co.nz>,
    David Shearer <david.shearer@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Hutt News <editor@huttnews.co.nz>,
    Kim Hill <saturday@radionz.co.nz>,
    Listener <editor@listener.co.nz>,
    Metiria Turei <metiria.turei@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Morning Report <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>,
    NZ Herald <editor@herald.co.nz>,
    Nine To Noon RNZ <ninetonoon@radionz.co.nz>,
    Otago Daily Times <odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz>,
    Q+A <Q+A@tvnz.co.nz>,
    Russel Norman <Russel.Norman@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Southland Times <editor@stl.co.nz>,
    TVNZ News <news@tvnz.co.nz>,
    The Press <letters@press.co.nz>,
    The Wellingtonian <editor@thewellingtonian.co.nz>,
    Waikato Times <editor@waikatotimes.co.nz>,
    Wairarapa Times-Age <editor@age.co.nz>,
    Winston Peters <winston.peters@parliament.govt.nz>
Subject: Corrupt practices under the Local Electoral Act (2001)
Date: Saturday, 28 July 2012 6:57 PM

Rt Hon. John Key
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Wellington

28 July 2012
 

Sir,

With regards to matters raised by TV3′s John Campbell, Trevor Mallard, and others, surrounding John Banks; his 2010 Electoral Return; and subsequent Police investigation, I invite you to read and consider questions and comments made on my blogpost, “John Banks – escaping justice“.

You will note that I have raised several questions regarding this matter, and have written to  Police Asst Commissioner,  Malcolm Burgess, for clarification and answers to issues that I regard as important.

I have also contacted Transparency International, a global NGO that rates countries according to levels of corruption within their society. Last year, New Zealand ranked #1 on a  Corruption Transparency Index 2011. Following the John Banks Donations Affair, I have invited Transparency Internation to review our top ranking, in terms of least corrupt nation on Earth.

Far from being a “closed matter”, I believe this issue is of vital importance – especially since it appears that many of Kim Dotcom’s allegations against John Banks have been substantiated.

The question that I am asking; will you remove John Banks from his Ministerial roles?

Regards,

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
Frankly Speaking

.

No reply (or even acknowledgement) received as yet, by14 September.

An acknowledgement was, however, received from Winston Peters’ office.

.

Update

.

Since the Police decision, the files on this case have been released to the public and the revelations are shocking to put it mildly.

What the police have uncovered is corrupt behaviour, lying, manipulation of the law, and a Crown Minister who has escaped prosecution on the flimsiest of technicalities.

What the Police files reveal:

  • Banks received three additional “anonymous” $25,ooo donations for his mayoral campaigns. (See: Police file: How Banks’ team targeted rich-list  ) Who were those donations from? Were they one $75,000 donation from one individual/organisation? Were receipts issued for those donations? Did the Police investigate the source of those donations?
  • The Police state that  although Banks had filed a false election return, “he hadn’t done so deliberately, because he had signed it without reading it“. Really?! Is that the new standard set in New Zealand where people can sign documents and escape liability by simply claiming “I didn’t read it”?! (Can I use that with my bank manager to stop paying my mortgage, because “I didn’t read my  mortgage agreement with my bank?”. Won’t she be pleased!)
  • Skycity received a receipt from Bank’s Campaign Treasurer for their $15,000 donation. That donation was later listed as ‘anonymous’.  (By contrast, Len Brown – who also received a $15,000 donation from Skycity – openly and correctly recorded the source of that donation on his Electoral return.) How could Banks’ Treasurer then knowingly record that Skycity donation as “anonymous”?!
  • Banks twice phoned Dotcom to thank him for the donation – the same donation he could not remember when first challenged by the media.
  • John Banks incited Kim Dotcom to break the Electoral law on reporting donations by advising him to hide the $50,000 donation: “I want to help you Kim and I can help you more effectively if no-one knows about this donation.” (See: John Banks told lawyer of support by Dotcom )
  • Banks is now trying to hide his statement to the Police, despite his oft-repeatred mantra, “Nothing to fear, nothing to hide”. Banks is most certainly doing his utmost to hide his statement he made to the police. See: “Banks camp’s stories differ“. What is Banks trying to hide from the Public? What more is there that would damn John Banks in the eyes of the public? What indeed.

Further  playing the role of the scoundrel and rogue, Banks then has the temerity to blame others for his mendacity. Through a spokeswoman (because Banks hasn’t the intestinal fortitude to front directly to the media), he released this statement,

A spokeswoman for the minister said he had always stated he signed the electoral return in good faith believing it to be true and correct. “He has always believed he acted within the law.”

She said the law – passed by Labour 11 years ago and tightened yesterday – was “unclear, unfair and unworkable”.

“Mr Banks believes that no candidate for public office should have to go through what he has been through.”

Unbelievable!!

Banks says “He has always believed he acted within the law” ?!?!

By advising a political donor to hide his donation by splitting it in two?

Banks then attempts to blame the Labour Party by suggesting that the law was “unclear, unfair and unworkable” ?!?!

The law is actually quite clear and specific:

”  109 Return of electoral expenses

(1) Within 55 days after the day on which the successful candidates at any election are declared to be elected, every candidate at the election must transmit to the electoral officer a return setting out—

  • (a) the candidate’s electoral expenses; and

  • (b) the name and address of each person who made an electoral donation to the candidate and the amount of each electoral donation; and

  • (c) if an electoral donation of money or of the equivalent of money is made to the candidate anonymously and the amount of that donation exceeds $1,000,—

    • (i) the amount of that donation; and

    • (ii) the fact that it has been received anonymously.

(2) Every return under subsection (1) must be in the form prescribed in Schedule 2 or to similar effect.

(3) If the candidate is outside New Zealand on the day on which the successful candidates are declared to be elected, the return must be transmitted by the candidate to the electoral officer within 21 days after the date of the candidate’s return to New Zealand.

(4) It is the duty of every electoral officer to ensure that this section is complied with. “

Source: Local Electoral Act 2001

The law is actually quite clear and specific: donations and donors are to be truthfully recorded:  “the name and address of each person who made an electoral donation to the candidate and the amount of each electoral donation; and…

It was not the law at fault – it was the person who conspired to defeat that law who is at fault here. If a person like John Banks is not preprared to follow the law – both in letter and spirit – then no amount of “tightening” legislation will work. People like Banks will simply find new ways to circumvent the intent of legislation.

It is therefore a bit rich for Banks to say,

As Charles Dickens said in 1838 the law is an ass – and it’s important that the Government cleans it up. No candidate for public office should go through what I had to go through.”

See: Banks welcomes changes to ‘unfair’ donations law

The law is not an “ass”. The real  ass is a certain MP for Epsom who treats the law like a minor irrirant, to be brushed aside at will.

Banks would not have gone  “through what [he] had to go through” had he simply followed  the law. It wasn’t “rocket science”.

Banks is also blaming Police for not releasing the record of  his three-hour interview with the Police, saying that it was their decision. This is another lie from the Member for Epsom.

As with all lies, they eventually collapse under their complexity, as happened when Banks’ press secretary let slip that he had indeed “gone over” his Electoral Return with his Campaign Treasurer, before signing it,

Mr Banks is likely to face further questions after his press secretary removed his line of defence against the accusations.

Police said they could not prove that he knew the content of the form was false because it was filled out by the campaign treasurer, who assured Mr Banks it was “true and correct”. Mr Banks then signed it.

Ms Mackey yesterday challenged descriptions of this as saying Mr Banks signed the form without reading it. In an email, she said: “But John Banks did read the document.”

Police had already established Mr Banks knew who some anonymous donors were. Ms Mackey’s statement meant he would have known the donation form did not include donors of whom he was personally aware.

She then back-pedalled, saying the treasurer had “gone over” the form with Mr Banks.

See: Banks camp’s stories differ

This  is not the first time that the  Banks/ACT camp has slipped up and  issued a conflicting statement,

.

On the following day, another ACT member dropped an even bigger ‘clanger‘.

On 2 May,  ACT Party President, Chris Simmons, was interviewed on Radio New Zealand’s “Checkpoint” programme by Mary Wilson. (Note: This blogger personally heard this interview.)

.

ACT Party President Chris Simmons

.

Simmons stated that the suggestion, by John Banks,  to split the $50,000 donation was,

“…one of the suggestions made to Dotcom.

He has given me an indication why he made that suggestion and that was that he initially was going to put in $25,000 of his own money and he figured that other people should be putting in the same sort of numbers.”

With that extraordinary slip-of-the-tongue, Simmons had publicly admitted what Kim Dotcom had been alleging, and what John Banks had been consistently andf strenuously denying.

Simons retracted within the hour, according to the “NZ Herald“.

See: Act Party president flip flops on money

.

So it appears that Simmons was right the first time; John Banks had indeed suggested to Dotcom to split the $50,000 donation. When Simmons retracted that statement less than an hour later, that is when he lied when he said,

I can’t say that because I don’t know that and John hasn’t told me that. I haven’t asked John that. What John has told me is he spoke to a lot of people asking for donations. He has told me [he] spoke to Dotcom but I haven’t gone into the details of it. All I’m interested in [is] was that donation report above board. He’s been very clear he has nothing to fear and nothing to hide.”

See: Act Party president flip flops on money

How many people have been drawn into Banks’ web of lies? How many more will  lie for him?

It should be abundantly clear to any but the most partisan National/ACT supporter that John Banks has the moral compass of a Nigerian scammer. It is therefore unacceptable that, when challenged, Dear Leader John Key reaffirms his support for Banks,

 “Nothing has changed when it comes to (our earlier) position. I haven’t read the full (police) report, I’ve seen what’s in the media … Look, this is a politically motivated attack from Labour and really where they should have put their political energy is changing the law. It is very, very broad, unworkable law and that’s why the Government is changing it now.”

John Key was then asked if he still maintained confidence in Banks, and replied,

Yes absolutely.”

See: PM stands by John Banks

Two points;

1. The law currently states that ” if an electoral donation of money or of the equivalent of money is made to the candidate anonymously and the amount of that donation exceeds $1,000…

National is planning to change the Act by raising the limit to $1,500. How that would have prevented Banks from rorting the Electoral Act is unclear to this blogger.

2. When NZ First Leader, Winston Peters was embroiled in the Owen Glenn donations scandal, John Key was very adamant what he expected from then-Prime Minister, Helen Clark,

”  Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 4:24 pm
Press Release: New Zealand National Party

John Key MP
National Party Leader

27 August 2008

Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

National Party Leader John Key says Winston Peters would be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by him unless Mr Peters can provide a credible explanation on the Owen Glenn saga.

“Labour Party donor Owen Glenn’s letter to the Privileges Committee completely contradicts Winston Peters’ version of events about the substantial $100,000 donation made by Mr Glenn to Mr Peters’ legal costs.

“Mr Glenn’s letter represents a direct challenge to Mr Peters’ credibility, from the only other person in the world in a position to know the facts.

“From Parliament’s point of view, the Privileges Committee provides an appropriate vehicle to resolve the points of conflict and to hold individuals to account. But from the Prime Minister’s and the Government’s point of view, that is not enough.

“Governments and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and, ultimately, the public. Faced with today’s revelations, it is no longer acceptable for Mr Peters to offer bluster and insults where simple, courteous, honest answers are required.

“It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask.

“Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister. Helen Clark has stood Ministers from Labour down for much less.

“Unless he can provide a credible explanation about this serious issue, he should be unacceptable to Helen Clark as a Minister in her Labour-led Government.

“Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by me unless he can provide a credible explanation”.

Source: Scoop.co.nz – Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

Indeed.

Your call, Mr Key.

Addendum

A link to this blogpost has been emailed to media, political parties, as well as John Key and John Banks. Why not? Nothing to fear, nothing to hide…

Continued at:

John Banks – escaping justice (Part Toru)

.

.

*

.

Related blogpost

Key on Banks; Staunch, stupid, or stuck?

Additional

Local Electoral Act 2001

Summary Proceedings Act 1957, Section 14

Police statement: Outcome of Police investigation into electoral returns of Hon John Banks

Police Complaint File No: 120427/9334

Listen to Mary Wilson’s interview with Malcolm Burgess (26 July 2012)

Call to sack Banks after more donations details released (13 September 2012)

.

.

= fs =

A delay to asset sales – thank gods for Te Tiriti!

3 September 2012 2 comments

.

.

John Key has said that “no one owns water”.  The inference being that water is collectively the property of all New Zealanders.

That’s a very socialist principle.

In which case, we should be asking  him; does the same apply to state owned enterprises? Maori certainly want to know the answer to this question.

The Waitangi Tribunal’s interim recommendation to National was to delay asset sales until the issue of water rights, share allocations, etc,  could be addressed, and good-faith negotiations undertaken.

Today was D-Day for National and it’s planned asset sales agenda,

.

Full Story

.

Basically, it had three options available to it;

  1. Ignore the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendations to delay asset sales,  and Maori would head straight to Court for litigation. A High Court would most likely injunct National from proceeding with the sale.
  2. Voluntarily postpone asset sales and engage in good-faith negotiation with Maori,
  3. Legislate away any potential Maori water-rights – and the consequence would be a political upheaval similar to what Labour experienced over the Foreshore & Seabeds issue.

Option # 1 would mean little difference to Option #2; both would result in an inevitable delay.

At least Option #2 allowed a measure of good-faith bargaining and maintaining a reasonably relationship with the Maori Party.

Issue #3 was unthinkable. Aside from resulting in mass angry protest from Maori and losing it’s  Maori Party coalition partner,  the resultant social  instability would make the next two and half years a political nightmare for any government.

When Maori Council Co-chair, Maanu Paul, said,

This issue is such a big issue for Maoridom that we had to go all the way in terms of seeking redress and if that means going to the Supreme Court, that’s where we’ll end up.”

… he wasn’t making idle chit-chat. Maori are playing hard-ball on this issue and are not about to fold their hand. They have too many aces, and have little hesitation in playing them.

As it was, National blinked first,

.

Full Story

.

We now have breathing space until June next year.

In that time, opposition to asset sales will harden even further and come up with new strategies to fight National’s agenda.

National will have found that, bereft of allies, it’s privatisation agenda will not have become any easier. In fact, it may well face new challenges and barriers to it’s very unpopular policy.

One such  challenge is that it still has only a one-seat majority in the House.

John Key must be praying every night before going to bed that he wakes up the next day with the same number of MPs that he had the previous day.

All it would take is  a scandal; a resignation; and a by-election…

Or a heart attack…

Or a road crash…

A lot can happen in nine months.

Addendum 1

AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE CELEBRATES DELAY IN ASSET SALES

- Monday 3  September

.

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale is delighted that the Waitangi Tribunal has been successful in its recommendation to the Government that the sale of Mighty River power shares be delayed until iwi claims over water rights and guardianship are negotiated.

This delay is a victory for all those who have worked tirelessly in the campaign against the Government’s policies to sell our state-owned assets under the mixed ownership model, and ANFS will continue to support Tangata Whenua in their struggle to have their rights and responsibilities as kaitiaki recognized and upheld. Respect for te Tiriti o Waitangi is a reminder of the need for the government to protect the rights of Maori and all other New Zealanders, who built these assets together, and who together assert that the government cannot sell them.“When Maori and the agreement they entered into with the Crown in 1840 is undermined, all New Zealanders are undermined. The decision today can therefore be celebrated by everyone,” says Miriam Pierard, ANFS spokesperson. “The Government is clearly reluctant to back down completely on its very unpopular policy, so although we can take heart today, we must remember that we still have a battle ahead of us.”Aotearoa Is Not For Sale will continue to build a national, direct action movement against asset sales, while supporting Maori in their principled negotiation for recognition of water rights as an issue in it’s own right. We will also continue to boycott Mercury Energy as a subsidiary of Mighty River Power and promote the Keep Our Assets petition for a public referendum on the issue.

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale stands for the retention of all SOEs by all New Zealanders. No special deals. No special shares. No special payments. No asset sales means no asset sales at all, to anyone.

We will not be divided like our assets. We will be united, we will not be silenced, we will resist this together.

.

ANFS Spokesperson
Miriam Pierard
aotearoaisnotforsale@gmail.com
http://aotearoaisnotforsale.com/

Addendum 2

Winston Peters was “on form” today (3 September) on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report“, when he make the pertinent observation that,

“...I think this has now beome a bloody minded push for an ideological outcome, that  has got a number of people behind the National Party arguing for it, against the national interest.”

Listen: Radio NZ – Morning Report interview with Winston Peters

Peters is correct. This has indeed become little more than an exercise in bloody-mindedness.  With public opposition; conflict with Maori; questions as to how much a share float will raise; a loss in revenue for the State; and other questionable aspects to National’s agenda, there seems very little benefit to the country for asset sales.

Even the majority of business-people oppose asset sales on the basis that it would have been cheaper to borrow money from offshore, rather than losing revenue  from fully-owned SOEs.

See: Selling state assets: it’s a crappy commercial decision – The Voice of Business

Key’s final argument for asset sales is that his Party won a mandate at last year’s election.

Once the petition is submitted to the Clerk of the House and a Referendum is held, even that proposition will vanish.

What will Key do when a referendum delivers an over-whelming “No” vote?

What can he do?

.

*

.

Additional

Sale of Mighty River Power delayed

Government delays SOE sale

Mighty River sale on hold

Government delays Mighty River Power share float

Mighty River sale to be delayed

RNZ:  Listen to Donna Hall on Morning Report

Scoop/Q+A: Q+A – Shane Taurima Interviews Tony Ryall

.

.

= fs =

Mischief making with Matthew Hooton?

21 August 2012 7 comments

.

.

Matthew Hooton is a right-wing blogger, political commentator, and National Party fellow-traveller.  He has been an occassional  guest panellist on Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury’s excellent “Citizen A”, as well on as Radio New Zealand’s late-Monday morning slot, “Politics with…”.

In his favour, he is one of the more coherent from the neo-liberal camp and can present a reasoned opinion without resorting to cliched, right-wing rhetoric or blame-speech. In short, you can listen to him without groaning; face-palming, and eventually reaching for the “off” switch or the Remote channel-changer.

Lately though, this blogger has been hearing something unusual from the man who is a self-professed fan of the original, neo-liberal, ACT Party.

It turns out that Matthew Hooton is either a closet Winston Peters fan, or has been up to  a subtle piece of mischief-making  lately…

On Radio NZ’s  political segment  on Monday late-afternoons, hosted by Kathryn Ryan, Mr Hooton has been making some very strange noises about a National-Conservative Party-NZ First coalition.

Those with a fair memory will recall that NZ First has been in coalition with National once before, in 1996.

See: 45th New Zealand Parliament

To put it mildly,  Peters’ decision to go with National was unpopular with the public. The coalition deal did not last long and neither did it  end well.

But considering it was New Zealand’s very first coalition government under MMP,  Peters might be forgiven. It was a steep learning curve for the entire country.

So why has Mr Hooton been saying things like,

If you assume that this report makes it much more likely that the Conservative Party will come into Parliament, and if you also assume that Winston Peters  would prefer not to be  a third wheel on a Labour-Green government , then National really  can get it’s support down as low as say 40% now, and with New Zealand First and the Conservatives be assured of forming a government.

[abridged]

But if the government does accept these, then National now knows very clearly it’s  path to it’s third term is through that Winston Peters-Colin Craig deal.” – 13 August

Listen:  Politics with Matthew Hooton and Josie Pagani

Then, forget about all this nonsense  flirting with these one-MP parties, and focus on forming a government – god help me for saying this – with New Zealand First and the CCCP [Colin Craig's Conservative Party - not the USSR].” – 20 August

Listen:  Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams

It seems fairly clear that, having learned the lessons  of the late 1990s, it seems highly unlikely that Peters would risk another public backlash by coalescing with National. It would  be annihilated in the following election…

… which, may give us a clue why Matthew Hooton has been dropping little “hints” about a potential National-NZ First-? Coalition arrangement.

Could it be that, like this blogger, Matthew Hooton has seen and understood  the portents in the political tea-leaves, vis-a-vis latest political opinion polls, which show a steady decline for National?

Could it be that Mr Hooton understands that ACT and Peter Dunne are dog-tucker – especially once MMP reforms are implemented?

And could it be that a third term for National can only be guaranteed if,

  1. Colin Craig’s Conservative Party breaks the new 4% threshold, and,
  2. NZ First does not make it back into Parliament?

Without NZ First, a Labour-Green-Mana Coalition may be unable to beat a National-Conservative Coalition. It may come down to a simple one or two seat majority, as happened last year.

So why would Mr Hooton be touting a National-Conservative-NZ First Coalition?

Because, traditionally, supporters of NZ First tend to be disaffected voters.

They vote against the incumbent government (in this case National), just as  voters cast their ballot for NZ First in 1996, believing it to be a vote against the incumbent Bolger-led National government.

If a meme can be developed that  there is a possibility that NZ First may opt to join a National-Conservative Party coalition (even though there is zero indication of this happening), then that may alienate potential voter-support for Peters.

After all, what would be the point of voting for Peters if he simply props up the current government? That would be the subtle, psychological message that Hooton may well be trying to implant in Voterland’s collective psyche.

It’s a kind of reverse psychology; “a vote for NZ First is a vote for a John Key-led government”. Which would put off voters who don’t want a Key-led National coalition, thereby reducing NZ First’s chances of breaking the 4% threshold.

They may instead vote for the Conservative Party, which presents itself as the new “maverick kid on the block”.

(And yes, I know the Conservative Party is most likey to coalesce with National. But, like voters who opposed asset sales still voted for John Key, those who vote for Colin Craig may not consider that eventual outcome. All they see is an new Alternative Option.)

So when the likes of Matthew Hooton drop little hints of a National-NZ First deal – just ask yourself; what’s Matthew up to?

Is he happily fomenting mischief?

Or is he really a closet fan of the Dapper Suited One?

.

.

= fs =

Ministers, Mad Moralists, and Minor Parties

29 July 2012 4 comments

.

.

A previous moral hysteria surrounding welfare beneficiaries and especially solo mums (but never solo dads) took place back in August 2009, when Paula Bennett released the files of two solo-mothers who had dared to criticise the Minister for closing down the Training Incentive Allowance.

Despite having no  authorisation or right to do so, Bennett  released details of the  women’s  WINZ files to the media and three years later there is still an outstanding complaint against her. It was a nasty, vindictive abuse of Ministerial power not seen since the autocratic rule of  Robert Muldoon.

Attacks on solo mums reached a hysterical crescendo that could only be described as naked misogyny – especially from a sector of the male population that has never had much success in relating to women. There were vile comments on many internet fora that cannot be repeated in polite company.

Fast forward to April 2012, and National is facing so much bad news that the media and bloggers are finding it difficult to choose what to hone in on.  Just to remind us about some of the problems confronting National,

  • Youth unemployment up from 58,000 last year  to 87,000 this year
  • Total unemployment up to 160,000 – 6.7% of the workforce
  • The government tax-take is down by $1.57 billion  in the first nine months of the fiscal year
  • Government deficit increases to $6.13 billion, or $800 million more than forecast
  • Migration to Australia is increasing, with a net loss of 39,100 to the year ending February 2012
  • Wages continue to lag behind Australia
  • New Zealand’s sovereign debt is at a massive  $13.5 billion dollars
  • Student debt is at a record $13 billion – and rising
  • Widening wealth/income gap
  • Increasing child poverty and poverty-related disease on a massive scale
  • Increased repayments demanded from tertiary students – effectively a tax increase
  • Ongoing public resistance to state asset sales
  • Ongoing public resistance to selling productive farmland to overseas investors
  • Ongoing public resistance to mining in conservation lands
  • A growing public disquiet over a hydrocarbon-extraction process known as “fracking”
  • Selling legislation for a convention centre and 500 extra pokies
  • Ministers involved in scandal after scandal
  • Key’s ‘teflon coating’ now practically non-existent, and developing a reputation for not being upfront with the public
  • A coalition partner whose brand is now so toxic  that even right wingers are singing it’s funeral dirges
  • and numerous other negative indicators

Time for the government  Spin Doctors to swing into action, and deflect attention from National’s apalling track record thus far.

Time to dust of the Manual for Deflection, and flick through to the chapter on blaming solo mums (but never solo dads) for the ills of the country; the Black Plague in the Middle Ages; both World Wars; and most likely the sinking of the Titanic.

Time for John Key to point at some young woman pushing a pram,  and shout – “Hey! Look over there!”

It worked in 2009.

See: Benefits of 50 to be scrutinised

Why not try it again, wonder National’s faceless, taxpayer-funded spin-doctors and strategists,  to deflect  public attention from  scandals and poor management of the economy?

See: Bennett increases pursuit of welfare ‘rorts’

See: Drug tests for more beneficiaries mooted

See: New welfare law a ‘war on poor’

See: Big families mean big welfare dollars

New Zealanders (in general) are suckers for this kind of Deflect & Demonise Strategy.

It’s what National  does, when their economic policies fail; they blame it on the poor; the unemployed; widows; solo-mums (but never solo-dads), etc. It’s what the right wing do, blaming their failed policies on others. Because as we all know, right wingers are Big on Personal Responsibility… (Except for themselves.)

It happened in the 1990s. It’s repeating again.

.

.

It’s pretty much a given that the ACT is now living on borrowed time, and will end up in the political  rubbish bin of history. It was never popular with mainstream New Zealand in the first place – New Zealanders having had a bitter  taste of it’s ideology in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.

Events over the last couple of years; last twelve months; and last few weeks, a cascade of scandals and dirty dealings have left the public wondering if lunatics had, indeed, taken over the asylum called ACT. For a Party that advocated the purity of market-driven efficiency, it was prone to one bizarre gaffe after another. They couldn’t even update their own website several months after last year’s elections.

So ACT will be gone after the next election.

The result has been media, pundit, and public  speculation of  a new potential Coalition partner for National. There has been recent speculation in the last week or so that Colin Craig’s Conservative Party might make a suitable candidate to shore up National’s numbers in the House.

I doubt that.

For one thing, does National really want a new coalition partner that appears to be every bit as flaky as ACT?

.

Full Story

.

We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world. This does nothing to help us at all.”

Riiiiight.

Obviously Mr Craig has, um, “researched” this issue in some depth?! Did he go “undercover“, I wonder? And did he go “one-on-one”  with his “subjects“?

On this rare occassion, I find myself in sympathy with the Smiling One,

“… Colin Craig, had suggested New Zealand women were the most promiscuous in the world and therefore should not get taxpayer funded contraception.

Key resisted taking the Lord’s name in van and rolling his eyes.

But he did say “it’s going to be a long two and a half years.”

See:  John Key’s problem with partners

Indeed.  If   the government lasts full term. Which I doubt.

National has a problem in this area. It has no viable coalition partner, and is unlikely to find one in the foreseeable future.

Part of that reality is based on MMP and how it has affected Labour and National.

After MMP was introduced in 1996, Labour splintered into it’s constituent factions; the centrist ‘rump’ Labour Party; the environmentalist/social justice Green Party;  the overtly left-wing, worker’s,  Newlabour Party ; and the nationalist Maori party, Mana Motuhake. (The Greens, Mana Motuhake,  and NLP briefly coalesced into the Alliance Party, along with the Social Credit/Democrat Party and short-lived Liberal Party.)

The Greens, Mana Motuhake,  and NLP, had been part of the factional make-up of Labour. MMP simply separated out  it’s componants like a laboratory centrifuge. So when coalition talks took place, to form a Labour-led  Coalition Government, those same factions simply re-morphed.

Before anyone complains that MMP has created a “mess” – not true. These factions had always existed in Labour, and had constantly ‘jockeyed’ for influence within the greater ‘umbrella’ Labour banner.

Under MMP, these factions and negotiations were simply forced out into the open, for everyone to see. The same had been   happening under First Past the Post, but behind closed doors. This was internal party politics exposed to the glare of sunlight and public scrutiny.

National, on the other hand, did not fractionate  in such a similar, dramatic, manner. It lost two MPs to the New Zealand Liberal Party (in 1992), Conservative Party (formerly Right-Of-Centre Party), and one to the Christian Democrats. None of those fledgling parties  survived the grueling electoral process and quickly vanished into political history.

A third party, New Zealand First, had splintered from National earlier, and like Mana Motuhake became a nationalist party, but mainly from a pakeha perspective.

ACT was another party on the right, and appeared to draw support from both National and, to a lesser degree, Labour. It remained a small grouping, peaking in 1999 with nine MPs – largely at the expense of it’s larger right wing cousin, National.

It’s not that National doesn’t have potential coalition partners.  On the whole, National remains intact; a solid bloc of the centre-right. It’s potential coalition partners are already a part of National.

National’s only hope of picking up an extra seat or two is to rort the MMP one-seat threshold system, as it did by supporting John Banks in Epsom (with  success now mixed with regret, no doubt).  It could give a ‘nod and wink‘ to Colin Craig in the Rodney seat, and if he won that electorate, and if Craig’s Conservative Party polled the same as it did last year (2.65%), then it would gain four seats in total.

That might give National a chance at winning the next election.

But at what cost?

  • It would be seen to be once again manipulating the electoral system. The Epsom deal did not end well for National – do they really want to go down that road again?
  • The Conservatives are opposed to asset sales – so that policy would be off the agenda.
  • How would urban liberal voters view a coalition with a party such as the Conservatives? New Zealanders have always been averse to electing  overtly religious parties to Parliament (eg; Christian Heritage, Christian Coalition, Destiny New Zealand) and when some of United Future’s MPs were revealed as having a strong religious bent, they were pretty smartly voted out.
  • And would National want a flaky coalition partner with quasi-‘Christian’ overtones, and who seemed to view New Zealand women  in a casual Talibanesque-sort of way? How would National’s women MPs feel sitting alongside Colin Craig, knowing that he viewed them as the ” most promiscuous…  women in the world  “?

Craig’s Conservative Party may have a better chance to win seats in Parliament if the Electoral Commission’s review on MMP decides to recommend to Parliament that the Party Vote threshold be reduced from %5 to 4%.  Of course, the Commission can only recommend to Parliament, and any decision to reduce the Party Vote threshold will ultimately be up to the National-ACT-Dunne Coalition.

I suspect the Nats will adopt the 4% recommendation. Not because it’s fair (get a grip!), but because anything that assists ACT or the Conservative Party gain seats in Parliament will be welcomed with open arms by the Nats. Self interest rules.

The Greens’ submission to the Electoral Commission supported abolishing the Electoral Seat threshold as inherently unfair, and promote  reducing the Party Vote threshold from 5% to 4% to compensate for smaller Parties  such as NZ First, ACT, etc.

See: Green Party submission on the MMP Review

Likewise, this blogger suspects that National will probably reject any recommendation to abandon the Electoral-Seat threshold.  (The Electoral Seat threshold is where Party X does not cross the current 5% Party Vote threshold, but if one of their candidates wins an electoral seat, they get an exemption from the 5% threshold, and gain as many MPs as their Party Vote allows.)

This may be National’s one and only  “electoral lifeline”, as ACT heads for the political guillotine – especially after John Banks’ incredible performance over his fraudulent 2010 Electoral Donations fiasco.

See: John Banks – escaping justice

However, since Craig’s comment nearly three months ago, he has moved on from denigrating women, to gays and lesbians. His latest comment is indicative of a man who has little tolerance for matters outside his narrow worldview, when on 27 July he ‘tweeted’,

It’s just not intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal.”

See: Conservative leader says gay marriage ‘not right’

It take a spectacular degree of arrogance to decide that another consenting adult’s relationship is “not normal”.

This blogger feels it only appropriate that Mr Craig’s marriage to his wife should be put under the microscope.

It has been said often enough that those who vociferously oppose homosexuality (especially in males) often have a measure of sexual insecurity themselves. For many men, condemning and reviling  homosexuality has been an attempt to reaffirm their own heterosexuality by “proving their straightness” to themselves.

Perhaps, in this instance, Mr Craig may have something he wishes to get of his manly chest,

He was so sure that homosexuality was a choice, he bet his own sexuality on it.

“Do you think you could choose to be gay if that is the case?,” he was asked.

“Sure. Sure I could,” he responded.

“You could choose to be gay?,” he was asked again.

“Yea, if I wanted to,’ he replied.

See:  Colin Craig: ‘Gay parents not good role models’

Anything you want to share with us, Mr Craig? Don’t worry, we’re all consenting adults here…

Why are all small right wing parties loony-tunes?

Is this the sort of political party that National wants to cosy up to?

And more important – would a possible coalition with a bunch of religious homophobes and misogynists really endear  National’s voting-base to keep supporting the Nats?

Happy times for Dear Leader, John Key.

.

.

National does have another potential coalition partner – the New Zealand First Party. Though their first attempt at coalition (in 1996) ended very badly for Winston Peters, that could be explained as “growing pains” after our very first MMP election. I doubt if any small Party would ever repeat such horrendous mistakes again.

But in coalescing with NZ First, National would have to abandon much of it’s right wing, neo-liberal agenda.  State asset sales would be gone by lunchtime. The sale of farmland to overseas investors would be restricted (if Peters is to be taken at his word). And the edge might be taken of other policies favoured by National.

On the other hand, NZ First had been punished previously for coalescing with National. As well, NZ First  has an active youth-wing that might not appreciate ‘sleeping with the enemy’.

Working with Winston Peters would be one very big rat for John Key to swallow. Considering how adamant he was back in 2008,

Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by me unless he can provide a credible explanation.

See: Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

And just last year,

I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead.”

See:  PM rules out any NZ First deal

If Winston Peters holds the balance of power, it will be a Phil Goff-led government.”

See:  Key names election date, rules out Winston Peters

Sealing a coalition deal with someone he has categorically ruled out in the past would damage Key’s credibility even further. Our Dear Leader is already developing something of a reputation for being “untrustworthy, dishonest, arrogant, smarmy and out of touch”.

See: ‘Polarising’ PM losing gloss

Does he want to compound that perception by backtracking on his declaration that he cannot/will not work with the NZ First leader?

So Colin Craig it is.

And yes,

“It’s going to be a long two and a half years.”

.

.

= fs =

You Have Mail…

.

.

National, ACT, and Peter Dunne have passed legislation to enable the partial-privatisation of our property; Meridian, Genesis, Mighty Rive Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

I will not take this lying down. Neither should you.

Every New Zealander who believes, hand on heart, that what National is doing is just plain wrong must take  whatever (non-violent) action they can to make their anger known to our elected representatives,

.

To the editors…

.

from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>
date:     Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM
subject:     Letters

The Editor
SUNDAY STAR TIMES

If ever there was a government that has deliberately ignored the will of the people, it is this John Key-led National Party, along with it’s one-man band supporters, John Banks and Peter Dunne.

By passing legislation to enable asset sales, they have thumbed their noses at the entire country. This government is now so far out of touch with the public, that they are blind to what New Zealanders want for the future of their country.

Mr Key can smile and dress-up the proposed asset sales in any way he wants – but the people will revile him for selling what we alreadsy own.

Shame on you, John Key, and on you, Peter Dunne. Shame of you for taking what belongs to us – and then trying to sell it back to us, and any carpetbagger that pops up from overseas.

If I have one word of advice to this wretched government, it is this: resign.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

.

from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date:     Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 7:08 PM
subject:     Letters

The Editor
NZ HERALD

One cannot help but be thoroughly disgusted at the actions of John Key and his wretched “government”, in passing asset-sale legislation.

The manner in which they have blatantly disregarded public opinion on this issue, is simply appalling.

This government has lost it’s legitamacy and should resign. Give the people a new election, and a fresh chance to determine the future of our country.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

.

from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date:     Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 6:58 PM
subject:     Letters

The Editor
DOMINION POST

Peter Dunne – you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

.

from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     Peter Dunne <peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz>
cc:     Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>,
 Morning Report <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>,
 Jim Mora <afternoons@radionz.co.nz>,
 Nine To Noon RNZ <ninetonoon@radionz.co.nz>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:35 AM
subject:     State Assets

Peter Dunne
MP For Ohariu

Sir,

Congratulations for ignoring the will of the people, including those in your own electorate. Bravo!

The majority of New Zealanders wanted our state assets kept in public ownership – and you have steadfastly refused to  respect those wishes.

I wonder how you will be viewed by future historians? As a politician who stood against 3.8 million New Zealanders; that you were right and everyone else was wrong?

Or as another ‘Roger Douglas’ and ‘Max Bradford’ – politicians who also went against the will of the people, and are now scorned figures in our history?

Mr Dunne, you  could have stood against the tide of privatisation – seen as sheer theft by the rest of us – and gone down in history as the man who  made a difference. You could have been a stand-out figure in our history.

But you failed. You failed us, the people. And you failed yourself.

You have participated in an act of infamy and you will have to share a measure of the responsibility for your actions.

Right about now, a fair number of people throughout the country, and in your own electorate, want you gone from Parliament. But no doubt you will resist that demand as well, just as you resisted our calls not to sell our state assets.

The next two and a half years will not be happy for you, sir. And deservedly so.

Begone from Parliament.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

.

To the politicians…

.

from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
to:     John Key <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>
cc:     Dominion Post <editor@dompost.co.nz>,
 Jim Mora <afternoons@radionz.co.nz>,
 Morning Report <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>,
 NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM
subject:     Asset Sales

John Key
Prime Minister

Sir,

Congratulations. You must be feeling quite a sense of victory and accomplishment;

Victory: over 80% of the people who opposed asset sales. You have ignored the vast majority of New Zealanders who do not believe that our power companies; Solid Energy; nor Air New Zealand should be sold. These are people who understand that (a) they make good profits for the State, (b) would not help the country if they were sold, and (c) they belong to us and our children.

The last point is especially pertinent; these are state assets that belong to each and every one of us.

At best you and your Parliamentary colleagues are guardians of these assets – not the owners.

But that hasn’t stopped you from passing legislation to part-sell these SOEs. That is our property you intend to sell.

Accomplishment: you took a slim electoral victory and have converted it into some kind of warped, over-hyped,  “mandate” to sell assets that you do not own and which the people do not want sold.

Right about now, you must be feeling a sense of relief that your Party has overseen this legislation passed. But I am guessing that you may also be sensing a fair measure of unease.

Well you should. You and 60 of your fellow Parliamentarians are facing three and a half million very pissed of New Zealanders. That’s quite a feat to have gone from being one of the most popular Prime Ministers – to someone who is now reviled up and down the country.

Sir, I suggest that these partial-asset sales is a mistake – probably the greatest mistake and miscalculation of your career.  If you think that New Zealanders will come to accept what you are doing, then you are wrong.
 
It is not too late. You can still post-pone any asset sale until after the referendum. If you truly believe that New Zealanders will come to support your plans, then you will give us a chance to express ourselves through the referendum ballot paper.

If you choose to ignore public opinion, then you have lost the support of a majority of New Zealanders. People are angry now. But wait until the first SOE is sold, and that anger will manifest itself in a myriad of ways.

You will have lost respect in the eyes of the country, and any legitamacy you have as our elected leader.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

.

David Shearer
Leader of the Labour Party

Russel Norman & Metiria Turei
Co-leaders of the Green Party

Winston Peters
Leader of NZ First

Hone Harawira
Leader of the Mana Party

Kia Ora to you all,

I am writing to you as a New Zealand citizen – one of many – who is apalled and disgusted at the passing of legislation, making way from the part-privatisation of Genesis, Meridian, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

Like 80% of other New Zealanders, I am utterly opposed to any partial sale of state assets – especially strategic state assets such as our energy companies.

As has been pointed out innumerable times, there is no sound commercial or social reason to sell-down any of these assets. As well as making sound returns for the State and us, the taxpayer, these are assets that belong to all New Zealanders – not just those who can afford 1,000 parcel-shares.

John Key and his colleagues have ignored public opinion; scorned public expressions of protest; and swept aside sound arguments against privatisation. They are resisting the will of some 70-80% of New Zealanders by proceeding with their actions.

Accordingly, I offer to you a proposal to undermine their ill-conconceived and undemocratic plans.

From a blog-post I made on this issue:

How to sabotage the asset sales…

Whilst all three parties are staunchly opposed to state asset sales, NZ First leader, Winston Peters went one step further,  promising that his Party would buy back the assets.

The Greens and Labour are luke-warm on the idea, quite rightly stating that there are simply too many variables involved in committing to a buy-back two and a half years out from the next election. There was simply no way of knowing what state National would leave the economy.

Considering National’s tragically incompetant economic mismanagement thus far, the outlook for New Zealand is not good. We can look forward to more of the usual,

  • More migration to Australia
  • More low growth
  • More high unemployment
  • More deficits
  • More skewed taxation/investment policies
  • Still more deficits
  • More cuts to state services
  • And did I mention more deficits?

By 2014, National will have frittered away most (if not all) of the proceeds from the sale of Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.

In such an environment, it is difficult to sound plausible when promising to buy back multi-billion dollar corporations.

Not to be thwarted, Peters replied to a question by Rachel Smalley on Q+A, stating adamantly,

” The market needs to know that Winston Peters and a future government is going to take back  those assets. By that I mean pay no greater price than their first offering price. This is, if they transfer to seven or eight people, it doesn’t matter, we’ll pay the first price or less. “

Bold words.

When further questioned by Rachel Smalley, Peters offered specific  ideas how a buy-back might be funded,

” Why can’t we borrow from the super fund, for example? And pay that back over time?  And why can’t we borrow from Kiwisaver  for example, and pay that back over time…”

The answer is that governments are sovereign and can make whatever laws they deem fit. That includes buying back assets at market value; at original sale price; or simple expropriation without  compensation. (The latter would probably be unacceptable to 99% of New Zealanders and would play havoc with our economy.)

Peters is correct; funding per se is not an issue. In fact, money could be borrowed from any number of sources, including overseas lenders. The gains from all five SOEs – especially the power companies – would outweigh the cost of any borrowings.

The question is, can an incoming Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana government accomplish such a plan?

A plausible scenario would have the leadership of Labour, NZ First, the Greens, and Mana, meeting  for a high-level,  cross-party strategy conference.

At the conclusion of said conference, the Leaders emerge, with an “understanding”, of recognising each others’ differing policies,

  1. Winston Peters presents a plan to the public, promoting NZF policy to buy-back  the five SOEs. As per his  original proposals, all shares will be repurchased at original offer-price.
  2. The  Mana Party  buy-in  to NZ First’s plan and pledge their support.
  3. Labour and the Greens release the joint-Party declaration stating that  whilst they do not pledge support to NZ First/Mana’s proposal – neither do they discount it. At this point, say Labour and the Greens, all options are on the table.

That scenario creates considerable  uncertainty and anxiety  in the minds of potential share-purchasers. Whilst they know that they will be recompensed in any buy-back scheme – they are effectively stymied in on-selling the shares for gain. Because no new investor  in their right mind would want to buy  shares that (a) probably no one else will want to buy and (b) once the buy-back begins, they would lose out.

The certainty in any such grand strategy is that the asset sale would be effectively sabotaged. No individual or corporate buyer would want to become involved in this kind of uncertainty.

Of less certainty is how the public would perceive  a situation (even if Labour and the Greens remained staunchly adamant that they were not committed to any buy-back plan) of political Parties engaging in such a deliberate  scheme of de-stabilisation of a current government’s policies.

The asset sales programme would most likely fail, for sure.

* * *

These are desperate times, calling for desperate measures. Bold measures.

If all four opposition parties can create a plan that will undermine National’s asset-sales programme, then that may be the only way to preserve what rightly belongs to us all.

I, and others, encourage and support you to work together on this critical matter. Without firm leadership from the four Opposition Parties, the public have little hope of stopping National.

-Frank Macskasy
Blogger,
“Frankly Speaking”

.

And their responses…

.

from:     David Shearer david.shearer@parliament.govt.nz
to:     Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 8:06 AM
subject:     RE: Stopping Asset Sales – A proposal
mailed-by:     parliament.govt.nz

Thank you for your email.

 I will pass it to David Shearer.

 Yours sincerely

Dinah Okeby
Office of David Shearer
labour.org.nz

.

from:     Winston Peters Winston.Peters@parliament.govt.nz
to:     Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
date:     Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:18 AM
subject:     RE: Stopping Asset Sales – A proposal
mailed-by:     parliament.govt.nz

Good morning
 
Thank you for your email.  I will pass your message on to Mr Peters for his attention.
 
Kind regards

  Anne Moore
Executive Assistant
New Zealand First

.

from:     Isabelle Lomax Isabelle.Lomax@parliament.govt.nz
to:     Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
date:     Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 4:25 PM
subject:     RE: Stopping Asset Sales – A proposal
mailed-by:     parliament.govt.nz

Kia ora Frank,

 Thank you for your email to Russel and Metiria. They have asked me to reply on their behalves. We appreciate you taking the time to send your idea through to us. You have obviously put a great deal of thought into this and seem to have a very thorough understanding of the issues involved. It’s an interesting idea. I have forwarded it to our advisors on the asset sales issue, and we will have a think about it!

 Thanks again for taking the time to write, and for your passion about this important issue.

 Nāku noa, nā
Isabelle

Isabelle Lomax
Executive Assistant
Office of Dr Russel Norman MP
Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
14.14 Bowen House
T (04) 817 6712

Authorised by Russel Norman, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

.

*

.

Related Blogposts

Is John Key showing desperation on asset sales?

How to sabotage the asset sales…

Campaign: Flood the Beehive!

Other Blogs

Aotearoa – a wider perspective: Asset sales and Nationalisation, Argentina leads the way!

.

.

= fs =

A John, a Tony, and a Winston

.

.

This morning’s  ‘Q+A’ (TV1), and ‘The Nation’  (TV3),  featured interviews with John Key, Tony Ryall, and Winston Peters. Peters  also appeared on John Tamihere’s panel on ‘Think Tank‘ – but more on that in a moment.

The three interviews and panel yielded some interesting points…

.

Tony Ryall, Minister for State Own Enterprises

.

One of National’s constant cop-outs on why the economy is stagnating and unemployment is so high, is a constant finger-pointing at the previous Labour government. According to Key, English, et al in National, the previous Labour government left the economy in a “parlous state”,

In 2008 the Government inherited an economy that had been in recession for nearly a year and that was up against a world economy in crisis….

… Under the last Labour Government the economy got way out of balance.

… We inherited from Labour a set of government books showing never-ending budget deficits and government debt spiralling out of control. This would have ruined the economy and created an onerous debt burden destructive to jobs and income growth.

See:  John Key, Statement to Parliament 2011,  8 February, 2011

I do agree with the view that for New Zealand to have a sustained recovery based on a stronger export sector will be a challenge with the dollar at the current levels. But I imagine that that member will not try to make a political point about that, because it is precisely record-high interest rates and a record-high dollar, driven by the previous Government’s reckless economic management, that have put the export sector into such a difficult position. “

See: Bill English, Parliamentary Questions And Answers – 30 July 2009

None of it is true, of course, and National’s attempt to re-write history is simply a dishonest strategy to excuse their own shocking performance at growing the economy.  In fact, this blogger pointed this out in a carefully researched analysis of Labour’s track record from 2000 to 2008.

See:  Labour: the Economic Record 2000 – 2008

Today (17 June), SOE Minister Tony Ryall let slip on ‘Q+A’  an admission that Labour’s record on fiscal management was not what National Party strategists had been alleging,

TONY RYALL  Uh, its certainly about debt. You know, New Zealands debt is currently $52 billion, $53 billion. Expected to go to $72 billion in the next three years. Thats getting to a level that were uncomfortable with. Thats the reason why we want to sell a minority stake in these assets, free up some cash that can then be invested in the other priority assets that New Zealanders want in the future

[abridged]

TONY  RYALL Thats right. Because at the moment, were going from $8 billion when we started in 2008. The debts now around $52 billion. Were expecting to be at $72 billion in another three years time…

See: TVNZ  Q+A  Transcript interview with Tony Ryall

So much for National; their party apparatchiks; and supporters who constantly warn us that Labour was, and is, a “borrow and spend” Party. National seems to be quite adept at racking up massive overseas debt – whilst cutting taxes locally.

Eventually though, that debt has to be re-paid. Hence why National is selling state assets and cutting back on state/social services.

Thank you, Tony Ryall, for the admission that the previous government, in fact, was not as fiscally inept as you and your colleagues have made out. Nor as inept as your handling of the country’s economy.

Feel free to call an early election any time soon?

.

John Key, Prime Minister (Temporary)

.

John Key’s appearance on today’s ‘The Nation‘ as the front man for an ideologically-driven National Party was on-par with past performances as the ever-smiling, smooth-talking politician, whose role it is to put a “human face” on the neo-liberal agenda.

There were several issues touched upon in the interview – though none as deeply as perhaps the viewer might have desired. On the issue of National’s deal-making with Sky City, Key was let off the hook lightly – with Fairfax interviewer, John Hartevelt looking slightly bemused when a particularly promising line of questioning was cut short.

Perhaps the interview tried cramming in too many issues, for the alloted time?

On the issue of the Auditor General’s investigation on National’s involvement in deal-making with Sky City on the possible awarding of a contract to build a new Convention centre, one comment from Key, in particular, should have raised a few eyebrows and generated further questioning.

At 6.37 into the interview;

KEY: The involvement I had, as Minister of Tourism was to go and talk to a number of critical players, and as part of a general conversation say to them, “Hey, look, New Zealand’s interested in building a convention centre. Did that with Sky City. I did that with people out at ASB Centre The Edge. I did that with Ngati Whatua. That’s not unusual.  I mean, and to argue that that would be unusual would be to say, well, look I have discussions with people in Whangarei about building a museum there. And I have discussions  with people in Auckland about building  a cycleway.

So now what we’re  talking about about is, ok, was there undue influence or was the process correctly handled, that’s what the auditor general  will say.

So let me tell you this, for a start of, ok, in terms of the expression of interest process, my office had absolutely no involvement, no correspondence, [ interuption by Rachel Smalley] no phone calls, absolutely nothing. So when the auditor general  comes in there will be no correspondence, no phone calls, no discussions, zero.

In a very casual, matter-of-fact manner, Key has stated that whilst he had “talks to a number of critical players, and as part of a general conversation say to them, “Hey, look, New Zealand’s interested in building a convention centre” – that there is no record whatsoever of any such talks or interaction with any of the parties involved.

What we do know is this,

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed he offered a deal to Sky City allowing the casino to have more pokie machines in return for building a multimillion-dollar convention centre. Mr Key, speaking from Indonesia, confirmed he made the offer to Sky City in his capacity as Minister of Tourism, Newstalk ZB reported…

… Mr Key was asked last July in a question for written answer from Green MP Sue Kedgley whether he or any of his ministers had met representatives from the casino to discuss changes to the Gambling Act.

He replied: “I attended a dinner with the Sky City board 4 November 2009 where we discussed a possible national convention centre and they raised issues relating to the Gambling Act 2003″.  “

See: NZ Herald SkyCity deal was PM’s own offer

See: Blogpost Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How

The problem here, is that with Key’s “office having absolutely no involvement, no correspondence, no phone calls” we, the public have no way of knowing what has transpired. There is simply no telling what has gone on between Key and “critical players”.

I don’t know about you, the reader, but I am not in the slightest reassured by Key’s explanation.  It is an extremely worrying development in our system when important matters between government of commercial intrerests can be discussed in secret; off the record; and with no paper trail or other indication as to how arrangements were agreed upon.

The potential for corruption is plain for all to see.

If Key does not comprehend this, then his political advisors are not doing their jobs properly. This is not the transparent government that we have come to expect in a modern society – nor what John Key promised us.

See:  Open and Transparent Government – Declaration

John Key then went on to mount an extraordinary and peculiar attack on Winston Peters.

At 27.35 into the interview;

KEY: I dare him to go out there and say he will not under any conditions form a government with Labour, even if Labour’s policy is to raise the super age from 2020, not in the three-year period from 2014 to 2017.

“I dare him to say he will not, because he’s tricky and he’ll find a way all around all of that stuff. “

See: TV1 News -National in trouble – Peters

See:  TV1 VIDEO: Prime Minister John Key on ACC, super and the future

Curiously, when pushed by John Hartevelt, Key did not categorically rule out  a coalition deal with Peters as he did in 2008.

This blogger believes that  Key and National understand   Rule #1 in politics: learn to count.

If National’s support drops in 2014 (or earlier election) they will require a coalition partner with more numbers than the one-man parties of ACT and United Future. Only NZ First comes anywhere near offering the Nats a  potential coalition partner.

At the very least, National’s strategists want to drive Peters away from any potential coalition-partnership or Supply & Confidence support deal for a Labour-led government.

As for Peters – this blogger doubts that he will repeat his fatal mistake of entering into coalition with National, as he did in  on 11 December 1996. Peters understands that his constituency vote for him because it is a protest vote against the incumbent government – in this case, National.

Just as in 1996, people voted for him as part of a wide-spectrum political bloc of anti-National sentiment that was sweeping the country. By coalescing with the Nats in 1996, Peters ignored that sentiment and suffered the wrath of the electorate – first at the superannuation referendum in 1998, which was soundly defeated 92% to 8%. A year later, at the general election, Peters barely scrapped back into Parliament by winning his seat with a 63 vote majority. His Party polled under the 5% threshold.

No doubt National will continue to play their silly-bugger games to de-stabilise the  Labour-led governmen-in-waiting. They have no option, as their own internal polling must be reflecting what mainstream polling is showing; the public have had enough of National; it’s “Bright Future” never-never promises;  and want change. Come 2014 (if not earlier), the Nats will be dog-tucker and will be gone by dinner-time on election night.

Again, feel free to call an early election any time soon, Dear Leader?

.

.

Winston Peters appeared on TVNZ’s ‘Q+A‘, and afterward on TV3’s ‘Think Tank‘, hosted by John Tamihere. Neither appearances could have been more starkly contrasting.

On ‘Q+A‘, interviewed by the personable Greg Boyd, Peters resorted ‘to form’, and displayed  his typical media-combativeness and mis-mash  of slogans and faux-outrage, that is his public persona.

It was painful to watch.

See: TVNZ Q+A Winston Peters on Coalition and Superannuation

‘Nuff said.

Contrast Peter’s cringeworthy performance on ‘Q+A‘, with his appearance on  ‘Think Tank‘, today, as one of three guests; Labour Leader David Shearer and Auckland University professor, Jane Kelsey.  This was a Winston Peters from a Parallel Universe where he appeared thoughful; measured; insightful; and practically led the panel. This is a Winston Peters who commands respect and attention – not the Jeykill & Hyde version on ‘Q+A’ who alienates the viewer with his  antics.

See: TV3 Think Tank 17 June

As a critic of Winston Peters, my suggestion to him is this; lose the attitude. Or at least tone it down. The media can be a pain in the arse, for sure, but why wind them up needlessly?

Save the aggro for the debating chamber in the House. That is where Peters can best utilise that righteous anger he is so famous for. And where he can best show the public that he is on our side as the champion of the Ordinary Kiwi Battler.

The Winston Peters that this blogger saw on ‘Think Tank‘ is the one that will help re-build NZ first.

Not the grumpy old bugger who got into a shouting-match with Greg Boyd.

If Peters reads this, take my criticisms as constructive. Or not. As a Labour-Green supporter, I’m not terribly fussed if he makes it back to Parliament at the next election, or fades away into the Twilight Zone.

But perhaps his supporters and Party activists deserve that opportunity?

Just my 5 cents + 15% gst worth.

.

*

.

Acknowledgement

Cartoons by Murray Webb

.

.

= fs =

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 769 other followers