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Key on Q+A – Verdict?

1 April 2012 1 comment

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Today was not a good day for Dear Leader…

John Key was interviewed on TVNZ’s Q+A, by Shane Taurima. Key was obviously not the happy-go-lucky, supremely confident person  he had been these last few years.

In fact, Dear Leader appeared unhappy. Even imperceptibly rattled on occassion. As if he had things on his mind…

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During the interview, Shane Taurima touched on relevant issues that had been plaguing National in the last week. As Taurima’s probing into current issues progressed on;

  • The ACC/Browyn Fuller/Nick Smith scandal
  • Questioning whether John Keywas involved in Bronwyn Pullar’s “support team” in her letter to Sovereign Insurance?
  • Nick Smith’s resignation
  • Judith Collins defamation proceedings against two Labour MPs and Radio NZ – and who would pay for it
  • Factional infighting within National
  • A torrent of leaks from within National
  • Murray McCully’s mis-handling over restructuring of MFAT, and the backlash from diplomats…

And then – albeit belatedly – Key engaged the political equivalent of a Deflector Shield, and casually made reference to the following,

JOHN Thats the criticism of his political opponents, but actually thats not correct. I mean, the Chief Executive has set the direction that he wants to take the ministry. Of course, the minister as the purchasing agent, if you like, makes it clear the sorts of things he wants. Yes, John Allens set out an aggressive agenda of potential change, and not all of its going to be accepted. Youve had the Heads of Mission now coming back to New Zealand to sit down and talk to the Chief Executive. But in the end, that organisation is going to change. Im sure therell be some things thatll be rejected and some thatll be accepted. MFAT people themselves tell me regularly that there needs to be change, and we need to basically save money. Now, were gonna have a budget thats coming up in May. Last years budget was a zero budget. What Id say to NZers tonight is that there is every probability that this years budget in 2012 will either be zero or very close to a zero budget, and thats because the governments absolutely committed to going back into surplus by 2014/2015.

*Peoowww!!!*

Taurima took the bait, and his next question was no longer about embarressments to the National Party. Key had re-written the interview agenda,

SHANE So, let us confirm that, cos thats a fairly significant announcement. Youre saying that there will be no or very little new spending. A zero budget this year.

Well played, Dear Leader! Though a tad too late. The interview was already mostly over, with only four minor questions left for Taurima to ask, including,

SHANE You mentioned a future prime minister, and I do want to put this question to you, about you seeing out the rest of this term.

Which was a fairly gormless question to ask. I doubt very much if, only four months into National’s second term, Key would answer anything except with the “Yeah”  he uttered twice.

By the end of the interview, one could not escape the conclusion that Key’s veneer of teflon-coating and born-to-rule  confidence had worn away. He was defensive throughout, and on the backfoot having to explain away the actions of not one; not two; but three Ministers.

From here on in, it’s all down hill, Dear Leader…

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Related Blogpost

Bugger the polls?

Other Blogs

The Standard: Nat Civil War – Key backs Boag over Collins

Additional

Watch full interview here

Read full transcript here

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Bugger the polls?

1 April 2012 9 comments

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April 1st!?!

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At first, I thought this was an April Fool’s joke.

Evidently not. Colmar Brunton  and TVNZ are playing this one straight.

Like a previous Dominion Post  poll, pulling apart this piece of BS  and illustrating why  polling results like these  are meaningless drivel, is ridiculously easy.

On 10 November 2011, a pre-election Colmar Brunton poll gave us these  following results,

National: 54%

Labour:  28%

Greens: 11%

NZ First: 2.9%

A  week later, on 18 November, Colmar Brunton published these pre-election poll results,

National: 53%

Labour:  26%

Greens: 13%

NZ First: 2.0%

The Election Results,  on 26 November, painted a somewhat different picture,

National: 47.31%

Labour:  27.48%

Greens: 11.6%

NZ First: 6.59%

National’s polling on election day was nowhere as high as Colmar Brunton’s previous, far-fetched results.  (Though Labour and The Green’s results were reasonably close to previous polling, Colmar Brunton had totally under-estimated NZ first’s voter support.)

In which case, Colmar Brunton’s current poll results today (1 April) – which seem to be a rehash of last year’s skewed figures – should be viewed with considerable suspicion,

National: 51%

Labour:  29%

Greens: 11%

NZ First: 3%

What Colmar Brunton’s figure’s do show, is that National’s support is dropping; 54% to 53% to 51% in the polls. That’s a 3 percentage-point from drop from 10 November 2011 to 1 April 2012.

Apply that same 3 percentage point drop to National’s Election Day electoral results and you get 47.31% to 44.31%.

Converted to seats: 54 seats out of 120/121. Even if Banks and Dunne retain their electorates, that gives a National/Banks/Dunne coalition 56 seats out of 120/121.

Quite a different picture to what Colmar Brunton is painting.

As I wrote on 19 March, National’s days are numbered.  Barring a miraculous recovery to full employment and abandonment of their asset sales plans – this will be their last term.

Labour is now a government-in-waiting.

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Previous Blogpost

National – The End is Nigh

Other Blogs

Tumeke:  Mainstream media start brainfart landline polls early

Additional

Drop in support for National and Labour – poll

Support for National barely damaged by Tea Tapes

2011 General Election Results

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Drugs & Gambling – NZ’s 21st Century Growth Industries?

1 April 2012 4 comments

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National’s constant mantra has been that any economic recovery and job creation will be a matter best left to the market to achieve. As a neo-liberal, free-market focused Party, National  believes that the State’s role in economic growth is minimal.  National’s job boosting policies have been half-hearted at best.

Despite National’s best attempts to paint our poor economic performance in a positive light, there is a continuing pessimism regarding any possible recovery, growth, and job creation,

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An economic growth of 1.4% is not something that instills confidence in National’s governance,

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Minister of Finance, Bill English tried to “talk up” the gloomy state of our economy,

The economy has now grown in 10 of the past 11 quarters, since emerging from the recession which started in New Zealand in early 2008,” said English said.

The December quarter was challenging, as the economy continued to rebalance, with households saving a bit more and being careful with their spending. In addition, conditions were tough around the world, particularly in Europe

The rebuilding of Christchurch will help drive domestic activity and our two largest trading partners, Australia and China, are forecast to maintain relatively high growth rates. In addition, our terms of trade will remain elevated on the back of demand for our major export commodities from emerging markets.”

NZ Herald

Reliance on “the rebuilding of Christchurch [to] help drive domestic activity” sounds familiar. Where else have we heard such unbounded, vacant optimism,

“From a New Zealand government point of view, we are hugely supportive of the tournament because we know it will be hugely successful,” Key told dignitaries from local government, the International Rugby Board (IRB), and the business community. 

“A rough estimate has estimated the economic impact is worth about $1.25 billion to New Zealand. This is a big event for New Zealand and a big boost for our economy.”  “

John Key, 30 March 2010

National’s “hands-off” ideology eventually has consequences.

What we got, in reality, was this,

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Which then raises the questions as to what else National is doing to grow the economy and create jobs. The answer is depressing.

It appears that National’s plans for boosting job growth involves he promotion of what many would describe as “vices”,

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Promoting gambling and a lethal drug – is this National’s Grand Plan for growing our economy?!

This isn’t just tragic, with the consequential social and health side-effects –  it’s downright vile and sickening. In effect, National is reliant on social vices that cause untold damage to families; impact on mental health;  and harming  peoples’ health.

National’s “negotiations” with Sky City, to boost gaming machines (“pokies”), like it’s dirty little deal with Warner Bros,  is selling Societal Good for short term economic gain. As Green MP Kevin Hague said bluntly,

John Key is setting up people with gambling addictions, and their families and communities, to foot the bill for the new Auckland Convention Centre, said the Green Party today.

I predict that the ‘behind closed doors’ negotiations between the Government and Sky City will find ways of allowing Sky City to extract more profit from the New Zealand public without needing to change the law, thereby entirely shutting the public out from having a say.

The extraordinary hardship and suffering caused by the gambling industry in New Zealand should see the Government trying to find ways of reducing the size and reach of the industry, not cosying up to it and making the regulatory framework looser.”

Personally, I would describe it even more bluntly; National is prostituting this country for economic activity that they have no other way of achieving. Their unflinching adherence to free market dogma blinds them to alternatives and to more productive options for economic growth and job creation.

What next – encouraging huge mega-complexes for brothels?

Tax breaks for liquor companies to build more breweries/distilleries?

Is this the “Bright Future” that John Key promised us, last year? Is this where the “More Real Jobs” that he pledged are coming from; gambling and cigarettes?

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God help us if our future and economic wellbeing is reliant on other peoples’ misery.

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Additional

Govt folds for SkyCity

Green Party: Gambling Policy Summary

Tumeke: Sky City to gain $25 million from 350 more pokies in dirty deal with Government

NZ Herald: Axe tobacco, ban cigarette exports – health professor

NZ Herald: ‘Big Tobacco’ on trial  – Canada’s biggest-ever lawsuit

NZ Herald: Government gets big bucks for bad habits

Scoop.co.nz:  Tourists Come to See Country & Culture – Not Casinos

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