Archive for 24 September 2012

Polls, Rogue Polls, and Damned Rogue Polls!

24 September 2012 3 comments



Two previous polls this month showed a slight increase for National, and a small corresponding drop for Labour,

National – 47.9% (+0.45)

Labour – 32%  (-2%)

Greens – 10.7% (+1.6%)

NZ First – 5.5% (+1.1%)

ACT – Dog tucker

Source: Herad Digipoll 11 September 2012

National – 46.5%  (+2%)

Labour – 31%  (-1%)

Greens – 12.5%  (-2%)

NZ First – 4.5%  (-0.5%)

ACT  – still dog tucker – with biscuits thrown in

Source: Roy Morgan 13 September 2012

Which makes a recent TVNZ/Colmar Brunton Poll somewhat odd, as it appears to break the trends shown in the above two polls,

National – 45%  (-3%)

Labour – 34%  (+2%)

Greens – 12.0%  (n/c)

NZ First – 2.0%  (-1%)

ACT  – dessert, leftover humble pie

Source: Labour makes gains on National – poll 23 September 2012

So two polls show National tracking up – and one shows the same Party dropping. Which is correct? Which is the ‘rogue poll’?

This blogger opts for the latter, the TVNZ/Colmar Brunton Poll.

With National’s recent strategy to paint Maori water claims as “greedy” and maintaining that “no one owns the water” (as opposed to coal, oil, and gas being sold to power thermal electricity generation) ; and Bennett’s relentless beneficiary-bashing proceeding at Warp Factor 9 – it is hardly surprising that the Nats are rising in the polls.

This is the same dog-whistle politics which Don Brash used during his stint as leader of Labour Greens ACT Mickey Mouse Party  the National Party (finally got the right one – hard to keep track of  The Don, these days)  in January 2004 during his infamous “Orewa Speech”.

The racists and low information voters loved it. Whether bashing the “lazy druggie benes” or bashing the “lazy greedy Mow-ries” – National and ACT know they can always rely on exploiting this country’s latent prejudices to secure some increased electoral support.

The Nats enjoyed a stunning 17% meteoric rise in the polls in 2004, thanks to Brash’s odious speech, that would’ve made a certain German Corporal proud.

The  TVNZ/Colmar Brunton Poll is definitely rogue.

It is too early for the punters to cotton on to the fact that National Party strategists, beavering away in their little dens on the Beehive’s Ninth Floor (or basement dungeon, or where ever Key keeps his Orc-ish minions) are conning them Big Time.  Diversion and distraction – the oldest game in the political book to keep the Middle Classes from realising that National is failing to rev up the economy and unemployment is on the rise.

I am reminded of playing with kitty cat with a bit of string…

It works similar with the Middle Classes. But instead of string, use bene-baiting or “standing up to dem  Mow-ries“. Guaranteed to work.

This blogger still believes that we are in line for a change in government come 2014 (or earlier). Eventually, the Middle Classes tire of hearing the unemployed, solo-mums (but never solo-dads), Maori, etc, demonised and begin to realise that National has nothing positive to offer.

That is when people realise that the Emporer has no clothes. *ick*





As a side issue…

Colmar Brunton brags on its website that it ” is delighted that the One News Colmar Brunton Poll is noted as the poll that most closely predicted the 2011 election “.

According to their own data, they are nothing of the sort. In fact, Roy Morgan achieved closer Party polling than Colmar did. The closest polling figures to actual Election Night voting results are marked in red,




Colmar Brunton got four results closer to Election Night with scores for the Conservative Party, Labour, Greens, and Mana.

Roy Morgan got five scores closer to Election Night; National, ACT, United Future, Maori, and NZ First.

If you’re going to brag that you do a better job than your competitors, it might be a good idea to back it up with real evidence. (At least 50% of respondents agree with that assertion… )

Interestingly, Colmar Brunton generally got it right with the opposition parties (except for Conservatives) whilst Roy Morgan generally got it right with the government coalition parties (except for NZ First).




Previous related blogposts

As predictable as the rising sun (11 Sept)

Poll shows gain for National’s ‘dog whistle’ politics (18 Sept)



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A Dolphin’s Tale

24 September 2012 11 comments



To our great shame, one of the world’s most endangered species, the Maui’s Dolphin, now has less than 55 individuals left.  The species is 54 deaths away from extinction.

See: Forest & Bird – Hector’s & Maui’s dolphins

It’s close cousin, the Hector’s Dolphin, numbers around  7,000-8,000 – a drop from 30,000 in the 1970s.

Each year 23 Hector’s dolphins are drowned in fisher’s nets.

See: Hector’s dolphins on course for extinction

Set nets have all but destroyed these air-breathing mammals in our insatiable rush to strip the seas of edible fish.

On 28 June, Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced,

I have decided to extend the recreational and commercial set net ban in the Taranaki area, from Pariokariwa Point south  to Hawera, with an offshore boundary of 2 nautical miles (nm)…

In addition, due to the level of uncertainty in information relating to Maui’s dolphin presence in the area, I have decided to prohibit the use of commercial set nets between 2 nm and 7 nm in this area without an observer onboard.

Observers will:

  •  report start and end positions of nets set between 2 and 7 nm from shore; and
  •  report dolphins sightings to DOC.”

See:  David Carter – Maui Dolphin Decision Letter

See:  Set net restrictions to protect Maui’s dolphins

Which seemed remarkably less than what was required to save Maui’s dolphin and prevent Hector’s dolphin from sliding further toward extinction.

On 21 September, Radio NZ featured a report about New Zealand’s governmental delegation to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s conference, held in Korea. Shockingly, our delegation   voted against  strengthening measures to protect  Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins,


Full story

Radio NZ:  Listen to more on Morning Report


It must be one of the few  occassions  in our history that New Zealand has voted against a conservation measure in an international forum, focusing  specifically on  an endangered species within our own territory.

There must have been several raised eyebrows at that Conference.

How much longer can call ourselves “100% Pure – Clean & Green”? (Maybe 70%?)

On 12 June, John Key fronted a “Live Chat”, hosted by Fairfax media, where he answered questions put to him by readers.

See Previous blogpost: Fairfax – an hour with Dear Leader

One of the questions put to him referred to endangered dolphins in our waters,

12:28  Moderator:
Anna asks:
What is the govt doing to prevent the extinction of the Maui dolphins? DETAILS! Not just “we’re working on it” NZ wants answers. We want a moratorium on set net fishing.

12:28  John Key:
We are very close to making an announcement in relation to that issue. Stay posted.

That tantalising hint of  “an announcement in relation to that issue” raised hopes that National was set to take firm,  decisive action to preserve both species from the abyss of permanent extinction.

No such luck.

By now we should be used to National stating lofty goals – and taking the lowest road possible to the easiest, cheapest outcome. An outcome we live to regret later.

In two years, Maui’s dolphin may be extinct.

That’s one hell of a “legacy” for John Key’s Prime Ministership to be remembered by.




Take Action

Forest & Bird: Hector’s Dolphins: Distribution

Previous Related Blogpost

An Open Letter to John Key



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National ramps up attack on unemployed and solo-mums (part rua)

24 September 2012 6 comments



Continued from: National ramps up attack on unemployed and solo-mums

Yesterday (12 September) Welfare Minister Paula Bennett released this piece of spectacular “data” to the media,


Full story


It was one of those “Shock! Horror!” stories that the media loves – great headlines, not much critical analysis. When you read the whole “story”, the questions that are not answered scream out at you,

  1. What is full meaning of the statement “An actuarial valuation conducted as part of the Government’s welfare reforms shows the average total cost of those who had received a working-age benefit in the year to June 30, 2011 was $78.1b”?
  2. Why did the Fairfax reporter not cross-reference invalid and sickness beneficiaries to ACC policy of “exiting” clients onto welfare, where ongoing rehabilitation was not available? (ACC staff rewarded for cutting off clients – MP)
  3. How accurate is the report?
  4. How does this report help create 170,000 new jobs, promised by John Key last year?  (See: Budget 2011: Govt predicts 170,000 new jobs)
  5. What was the point of the report, when Bennett herself has admitted on TVNZ’zs Q+A,“There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do.” – Paula Bennett, 29 April 2012 (See:
  6. Why has National spent $800,000 on this “report”, when previously  Bennett refused to undertake further research to gain information on child poverty,  “of course there is poverty in New Zealand. This has been acknowledged by the Government but it’s not a priority to have another measure on it” ? (See: Combating poverty more important than measuring it.)

It’s interesting that Paula Bennett rejected calls for further research to quantify the levels of child poverty in this country stating that, ” it’s not a priority to have another measure on it” – but feels it necessary to spend nearly a million dollars of our taxes on a study of  “an actuarial valuation” on long-term costings of  welfare.

If this doesn’t raise the hackles and outrage of New Zealanders then they are truly braindead.

Worse still is the timing of the realease of the Taylor Fry report.

The report – designed to paint unemployed and solo-mums in a maximum damning light – was released on 12 September.

A day later, this story became public,


Full story

Listen: Listen to more from Bill English on Morning Report


Thus far, that story does not seem to have appeared in any other media.

It has been quietly “buried” under a mountain of negative press releases from National.

This blogger has zero doubt that National was fully aware that Statistics New Zealand was in the process of releasing the data on job losses to the public. That story, plus ongoing redundancies and rising unemployment led National’s taxpayer-funded spin-meisters to pre-empt Statistics New Zealand’s bad news shocker, and instead release their own “Shock, Horror!” story.

Thus far, it seems to have worked.

But for how long?

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank has released an astonishing report blaming National’s policies for low economic growth,,

Fiscal consolidation is expected to have a substantial dampening influence on demand growth over the projected horizon. This consolidation will, all else equal, lead to a lower OCR (official cash rate) than would otherwise be the case.

See: Govt austerity slows growth, keeps rates low – RBNZ

National fails to create the 170,000 new jobs they promised us last year, and blames beneficiaries for their incompetance? Noice.




Yesterday, this blogger emailed Paula Minister on National’s recent bout of beneficiary bashing,

Date:   Wednesday, 12 September 2012 2:23 PM
From: Frank Macskasy <>
Reply-To: Frank Macskasy <>
Subject: Recent “welfare reforms” – Some questions for you.
To: “” <>
Cc: Chris Laidlaw RNZ <>,
    “” <>,
    Dominion Post <>,
    Daily News <>, Daily Post <>,
    Hutt News <>, Jim Mora <>,
    “Joanna Norris ( DPT)” <>,
    Kim Hill <>,
    “” <>,
    John Key <>, Listener <>,
    Morning Report <>,
    NZ Herald <>,
    Nine To Noon RNZ <>,
    “” <>,
    “” <>,
    Otago Daily Times <>,
    “” <>, Q+A <>,
    Southland Times <>, TVNZ News <>,
    The Press <>,
    The Wellingtonian <>,
    “” <>,
    Waikato Times <>,
    Wairarapa Times-Age <>
Kia ora Ms Bennett,
Regarding your proposals to compel the unemployed, solo-mothers, etc, to undertake various obligations, or face having their welfare payments cut, I have some questions to put to you;
  1. Will recipients of Working for Families – which some call a “welfare benefit – also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors? If not, why not?
  2. Will superannuitants who are caring for children also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors? If not, why not?
  3. Will children of all families, regardless of financial and/or employment circumstance also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors? If not, why not?
If  compulsory early childhood education and doctor’s visits for children of unemployed, solo-mums, and other welfare recipients is such a good idea that National is willing to enact legislation, and financially penalise parents for failing to carry out this policy – why are other parents also not being compelled to enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and medical clinics?
Is there a basis upon which only the unemployed who have been made redundant from companies, government departments, and SOEs, are being targetted? What is that basis?
If unemployed or low-income families are financially unable to enroll their children in Early Childhood Education, doctors, etc, what steps will National take to offer additional financial assistance?
Do you still stand by your comment that you made on TVNZ’s Q+A on 29 April 2012, that, “there’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do”.
And lastly; is this propopsal – plus your other so-called “welfare reforms” – simply not an attack on the unemployed and solo-mothers to deflect attention away from your government’s inability to generate the 170,000 new jobs that Prime Minister John Key promised us at the last election?
I await any possible answer you might be able to provide to these questions.
-Frank Macskasy

PS: This correspondence is not to be regarded as permission, whether actual or implied, to release any personal details about me that the State might hold about me.

Her office has responded today (13 September),

Date: Thursday, 13 September 2012 9:06 AM
From: Natalie Hansen <>
To: “‘'” <>
Subject: FW: Recent “welfare reforms” – Some questions for you.

Hello Frank

The Hon Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development has asked me to thank you for your email. 

Consideration is currently being given to the matters you raise and you may expect a reply at the Minister’s earliest opportunity.

Kind regards

Natalie Hansen

Private Secretary, Office of Hon Paula Bennett Minister for Social Development | Minister of Youth Affairs Executive Wing 5.5, Parliament Buildings| Private Bag 18041 | Wellington 6160

Telephone: +64 4 817 6815 | Fax: +64 4 817 6515 | Email:

Consideration is currently being given to the matters”  I raised?

It will be interesting to see what – if any – rational response Bennett comes up with. This should be good.

* Up-date*

Date:  Monday, 24 September 2012 3.57PM
From: “J Key (MIN)” <>
To: Frank Macskasy <>
Subject: RE: Recent “welfare reforms” – Some questions for you.

Dear Mr Macskasy,

On behalf of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, I acknowledge the copy of your email sent for Mr Key’s information.


E Tanga          

Ministerial Assistant/Records Officer           

Office of the Prime Minister

No further response  received from Paula Bennett’s office as at 24 September.





Sources Combating poverty more important than measuring it

NZ Herald: Fate of youth gloomiest stat of all

NZ Herald: Benefit tally ‘not an excuse for hard line’

NZ Herald: Andrew Cardow: Bennett out-nannies Labour’s nanny state

NZ Herald: Govt austerity slows growth, keeps rates low – RBNZ



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