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Posts Tagged ‘2014 Elections’

My political compass…

23 August 2014 8 comments

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20-september

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TVNZ are doing a very interesting on-line political survey, where respondents are asked to give feedback to various political issues. It’s a New Zealand version of an overseas political compass that has been in existence for soime years.

I enourage people to go online and complete the survey. I’m sure a lot of politicians will be taking some interest in the outcomes.

I present my own compass here;

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How much you agree with the parties

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I agree only 90% with boththe Greens and Mana?! Hmmm, methinks I’ll have to check my middle class privilege…

But even more disturbingly, I agreed 23% with ACT?!?! And 37% with the Conservative Party?! What the heck is up with that?! I’m not going to be able to sleep well tonight…

Interestingly, this highlights a very real dilemma for me; who to give my Party Vote to?

Both the Greens and Internet-Mana are worthy parties to support. This is a real “sophie’s Choice” for me…

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How you fit in the political landscape

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Well, the above chart shows me clearly to the left on economic and socially progressive issues. Thank goodness. (In my teens and early 20s I would’ve been closer to National or ACT. But then, I was young and stupid.)

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How you rate the party leaders

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I think I was overly generous for Winston Peters…

I voted ‘1’ for Colin Craig based on,

  • his opposition to state asset sales,
  • his opposition to selling farmland to overseas investors,
  • his regular  contributions to the legal fraternity,
  • entertainment value.

One of the questions asked was what was the most pressing issue for me this election? I put child poverty. All else flows from that.

I encourage folk to take the Political Compass survey. (Just be careful before answering the questions as some are double-negatives.)

Have fun!

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References

TVNZ: Vote Compass

 


 

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john key is scared of your vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Young Zealanders – Rebels WITH a cause.

20 August 2014 3 comments

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Kim dotcom twitter

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Good message. (Especially the last bit.)

The response from the likes of John Key, Matthew Hooton, Claire Robinson, David Farrar, Duncan Garner, Patrick Gower, that psychopath, Cameron Slater, certain Labour MPs,  et al,  illustrates very clearly that the Establishment Political/Media complex is not reacting to the swelling success of the Mana-Internet Movement very well. The rise of Mana-Internet is a direct challenge to orthodox, established political and media groups, not seen since the 1960s and 1970s.

In those two decades, the stressors which caused upheaval in our society, from the the youth, was sparked by a horrendous war in Vietnam.

The stressors these days are economic, social, and alienation.

But far from being long-haired hippies who are “tuning in, turning on, and dropping out” – the rebellion that is beginning to burst to the surface of  society is more like “tuning in, turning on, and going online“. The young have a focal point for their dissatisfaction, and they have seized the day.

Make no mistake – National’s (and some Labour) careerist politicians; their tax-payer funded party strategists (hullo Jason Ede!); and fellow travellers in the media (hullo John Armstrong!) and blogosphere are staining their y-fronts and panties;

Greg Boyed ‏- Broadcaster

“Watching Laila Harre making excuses and explain away Dotcom’s antics looks more and more like Joan Baez fronting Kraftwerk #dotcom”

Clayton CosgroveLabour MP

“…that New Zealand’s Prime Minister of any political persuasion should not be told to F off.

Political leaders who incite that, namely Dotcom, and political leaders who condone that, namely Laila Harre, have no place in our politics.”

David CunliffeLabour Leader

“I think it’s unacceptable. There’s no place for that in New Zealand politics.”

Kelvin DavisLabour MP

“Sorta ironic that in 1914 Mata Hari was a German agent, and in 2014 there’s Laila. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mata_Hari”

Guyon EspinerRadio NZ Morning Report co-Host

“…you’ve put it out as an advertisement for your party. So it isn’t just a rock concert at that point is it? It’s an ad for the Mana Party and for the Internet-Mana Party and it is a rant of swear words and offence against the leader of another party.”

“What? Yelling at the Prime Minister?”

“But isn’t that rather patronising to say that young people’s expression of politics is to swear at the Prime Minister? I mean isn’t that rather patronising?”

“No, no, I don’t need to ask that question at all. I’ll decide the questions to ask!”

“YOU guys have to take responsibility for this because YOU put it out as an advertisement for YOUR party.”

“So that’s what you want to encourage young people to do? To express themselves in politics in this way, by swearing at the Prime Minister?”

“And encouraged by Kim Dotcom, holding a mask of a cartoon of the Prime Minister, while a whole crowd chanted ‘Ef John Key”, and  you think that that’s a good thing? That’s, that’s, just  [a] nice youth expression of political views  is it?”

“Can we expect to see more of this from the Internet Mana Party?”

Duncan GarnerRadioLive

“This Internet-Mana party alliance is a sham and a rort, but MMP allows for it – which is the worst bit.

I’ve seen nothing like it in the history of NZ politics. It is far less transparent than the dodgy electorate seat deals National has done over the years. New Zealanders have every right to be outraged.

[…]

It now includes pulling out his cheque-book and paying for a political party and buying people off – so he can keep his sorry backside out of the clink.

It’s as simple as that: he’s paying big money so he doesn’t turn into some sort of dribbling mess behind bars – some reports suggest he’s pumped $4m into setting up this party. So how much is he paying his people?

I asked new leader Laila Harré yesterday, she said she wasn’t sure yet. But money between the two will change hands at some stage, she’s clear on that.

She will be paid for this role. Is this the New Zealand way? I would argue no way. It’s grubby isn’t it? You only get paid once you get elected don’t you?”

Duncan GarnerRadioLive

“So, the Prime Minister said you’re backed by a sugar daddy – Kim Dotcom. So what? Many people will actually agree with him. It’s not really wrong. Is it?

To take offence is to be far too thin-skinned. Harden up, shake it off, but – best of all – just ignore it.

The truth is the Mana-Internet Party is backed by a German billionaire on the run from the authorities. It is what it is: he’s paying you and he’s paying for the party to exist. If he goes, the party goes.”

Phil GoffLabour MP

“I am also opposed to anyone buying a political party and buying influence by splashing out $3 million as Dotcom proposes. National allowed him to buy permanent residence in New Zealand. Now he thinks he can buy the political system.

Appointing Laila Harré is a good disguise for why he is putting the money in but most people will see that. As the old saying goes ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’. Our political system ought not be allowed to become the plaything of the very rich. A good reason why state funding of political parties ought to be considered.”

Patrick GowerTV3

“Hone & Dotcom’s grubby deal. Hone, Kim & Laila wrecking MMP/diminishing mana of Maori seats- it is a disgrace.”

Patrick GowerTV3

“Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP 3news.co.nz/Opinion-Hone-a Same goes for your pals Hone, Dotcom, Minto and Sykes.”

Chris HipkinsLabour MP

“Will the small parties promising to splash around taxpayer cash be held to account the same as the two big parties? Won’t hold my breath..”

Chris HipkinsLabour MP

“Getting a bunch of people drunk and getting them to chant abuse isn’t political leadership. It’s thuggery and megalomania intertwined.”

Matthew HootonRight wing Commentator

“Feels a bit like a Munich Beer Hall in the 1920s?”

Shackleford HurtmoreTwitter

“It was the Internet Party. They were actually chanting “FAQ John Key”.”

John KeyPrime Minister (Acting)

“I think New Zealanders will call it themselves. They’ll make their own decision about whether they want someone in the political system that does this sort of stuff.

I think the students are just part of a pawn about what this guy’s doing. But I just think New Zealanders will just sort of say that’s not the way we do politics in New Zealand, it may be the way that Kim Dotcom wants to do things.”

Stuart NashLabour MP

“@chrishipkins v dangerous when megalomania meets disaffected. Totally irresponsible behaviour & no place for it in NZ politics – or society”

Claire Robinson – ‘Political marketing specialist

“Laila Harre was expressing such indignation about John Key’s ‘sugar-daddy’ comment and the need for respect in the political debate, and at the same time you have Kim Dotcom posting a video inciting hate speech, in effect, among a crowd of young people.

It is sinking to such a low, and completely at odds with what she’s trying to do, exposing yet again the enormous disconnect between Kim Dotcom’s hatred for John Key and the way that she wants to campaign.

You could not imagine her standing up there and getting people to say ‘f**k John Key. That is not what she’s about.”

Tracey Watkins – Dominion Post,

“Recent displays of crowds chanting “f… John Key” and his effigy being burnt could either be put down to youthful hijinks or something more sinister. “

Conclusion…

In  2011, around a million New Zealanders did not vote because they saw no reason to. Especially young people. They saw nothing (or very little) in any of the established  political parties that was of direct interest to them.

What they did see, generally, was a bunch of older generation New Zealanders – their parent’s generation – fighting over what resources we have left; screwing up the environment; not listening; and mostly making everything (eg, housing, university education, medicine, etc) as diabolically expensive as they could get away with.

Now they have a reason. They are pissed off. And they will vent their anger irrespective of quasi-parental admonishments from media commentators and political “scientists”.

In fact, Mr Key, Mr Davis, Mr Garner, Mr Cosgrove, Mr Armstrong, Mr Gower, Mr Farrar, Mr Goff,  Mr Hipkins, Mr Espiner, Ms Robinson, Mr Nash, Ms Watkins, et al, if you stand in their way, you can expect to be told to fuck off in no uncertain terms as well.

Isn’t it interesting that when the rich and powerful bankroll right-wing parties into power, the media and commentariat barely blink. For them, it’s business as usual. It is the Establishment asserting it’s primacy and ensuring that the status quo (with minor fiddling around the edges) is maintained.

But as the NZ Herald’s own right wing commentators, John Armstrong, cleverly pointed out,

“For once, such a cheque was being written for a party on the left rather than one from the right…

[…]

… When was the last time a party of the left had that kind of money to throw around in an election? “

That is what angers National and right wing commentators – that we now have a level-playing ground.

As for the so-called “Left” – in this case, Labour – well, they are also justifiably mightily angry because,

  1. Dotcom didn’t send the cheque their way, as did Glenn Owen who donated $500,000 to the Labour Party prior to the 2005 election,
  2. The “missing million” – especially the young ones – have found their voice, but are not using it for the traditional institutions on the Left or the Right. Labour and National have largely been left behind; made irrelevent to young people by the older generation’s own actions.

Well, we wanted young New Zealanders to engage.

I believe that is precisely what they are doing.

Engaging.

On their terms.

All the bluster; all the self-righteous anger; all the finger-wagging at ‘bad’ language; all the sanctimonious, pontificating on “proper behaviour” by politicians, media commentators, right wing bloggers, political ‘scientists’, et al – doesn’t that just go down ‘so well’ with young people who are in a rebellious mood?

Really folks, the more you rail against the young, the more you will sound like your own parents.

Remember?

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References

Twitter: Kim Dotcom

Twitter: Greg Boyed

TVNZ News: NZ politics gets dirty in lead up to election

TV3 News: Dotcom labelled a ‘thug’ by Labour MP

Twitter: Kelvin Davis

Radio NZ: Guyon Espiner (interviewing Laila Harré)

RadioLive: Duncan Garner: Party for sale – Internet-Mana is a sham and a rort

RadioLive: Duncan Garner: Harden up Laila Harré!

Facebook: Phil Goff

Twitter: Patrick Gower

Twitter: Patrick Gower

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twityter: Matthew Hooton

TVNZ News:  Internet-Mana denies involvement in PM burning effigy video

Twitter: Stuart Nash

NZ Herald: Internet Mana ‘sinking to such a low’

Dominion Post: New lows hit from the outset

Otago Daily Times: Naked pragmatism behind Mana’s alliance with Dotcom

NZ Herald: New Year award for Labour’s big donor

Other references

Fairfax media: Internet Mana anger over Key effigy claims

Other blogs

Gordon Campbell:  Gordon Campbell on Internet Mana’s swearing video

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Harre -Harawira

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 August 2014

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On course for a change of government – hold her steady!

17 August 2014 1 comment

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Red Green Up

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The Roy Morgan poll, carried out at the end of July, was a complete reversal of National’s polling fortunes thus far;

National: 46%  (down 5%)

Labour: 30% (up 6.5%)

Greens: 12% (down 3%)

NZ First: 5% (down 1%)

Internet-Mana Party Alliance: 2.5% (up 1%)

Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%)

ACT:  0.5% (unchanged)

United Future: 0.5% (unchanged).

Conservative Party:  1% (unchanged)

 

To back up that earlier poll,  TV3  released it’s own Reid Research Poll. Our entire household whooped with delight at tonight’s (17 August) results;

National: 47.5% (down 1.9%)

Labour: 29% (up 2.3%)

Greens: 13%  (up 0.6%)

NZ First: 4.6%   (up 0.3%)

Internet Mana Alliance: 2.0%  (down 0.2%)

Maori Party: 0.8%  (down 0.3%)

Act: 0.3%  (up 0.2%)

United Future: 0.2%  (no change)

Conservative Party: 2.5%  (down 0.2%)

Note;
  • Both Roy Morgan and TV3 Reid Research are very close with their results for the four main parties
  • At 47.5% the Nats are near the 47.31% they won in the 2011 election (see chart below).

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National Labour Greens NZ First
One News Colmar Brunton [1]2 October 2011 56% 29% 9% 1.9%
3 News Reid Research [1]2 October 2011 57.4% 26.6% 9.8% 1.9%
Roy Morgan Research [1]26 September – 9 October 2011 55.5% 28% 9.5% 2%
Roy Morgan Research [1]10–23 October 2011 53.5% 29.5% 9.5% 2.5%
Herald-DigiPoll [1]20–27 October 2011 53.5% 30.3% 9.5% 2.85
Actual Election Night Result [2]26 November 2011 47.31% 27.48% 11.06% 6.59%
Fairfax/Ipsos Poll [6]17 July 2014 54.8% 24.9% 12.4% 2.6%
Herald-DigiPoll [5]20 July 2014 52% 26.5% 9.9% 4.6%
One News Colmar Brunton [4]27 July 2014 52% 28% 10% 4%
Roy Morgan [3]31 July 46% 30% 12% 5%
Election Night: Frank’s Prediction20 September 2014 44% 33% 13% 5%

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Notice how the poll results in 2011 dropped from around 56%/57% for National to an election night figure of 47.31%? That is around a ten-percentage point drop.

Polling results for Labour were static – but the election nights results for the Greens rose by two percentage points from around 9% to their Election night win of 11.06%.

A governing party’s support will always fall during the campaign, as a contest of real ideas and campaign advertising is given equal prominence to government propaganda.

It will be interesting to see how Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Politics”, story will  impacts on National’s support in coming polls.

If it drops radically any further, Key may have to,

1. Sack both Collins and Ede to mollify voters,

2. Reverse his decision and do a deal with the Conservatives,

3. Go for a tax cut policy – which though grossly irresponsible, unaffordable, and will put the govt back into debt –  would buy them the election. (I predict such a  policy shift will be seen as panicking by voters, fail, and rebound badly on the Nats.)

I’ve said it for the last couple of years;

  • Expect a new government post 20 September.
  • Key is history.
  • And watch a brutal political ‘knife fight’ between Collins/Slater and Steven Joyce for the National Party leadership.

Most important, my friends,  we will have a new Prime Minister and a new government.

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David-Cunliffe-at-2013-Labour-Party-conference-nov2013--Getty-Images_w452

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References

Roy Morgan:  National (51%) increases election winning lead over Labour/ Greens (38.5%)

Wikipedia:  Election Night results: 2011

Previous related blogposts

Latest Roy Morgan Poll – the game has turned!


 

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Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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State propaganda on TVNZ – pssst, just don’t mention the war! Er, Election!

16 August 2014 2 comments

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toilets-watching-bare-ass-on-tv

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TVNZ’s Breakfast on 12 August, went from it’s scurrilous mis-reporting of the effigy burning, to sheer, naked propaganda. This time, Key put on a performance as a typical all-blokey cook-in-the-kitchen.

The programme host, Jeanette Thomas, opened with this statement – in-between eye-lash fluttering and schoolgirl giggling;

“We’re cooking with the Prime Minister, John Key. And this is alllll about getting to know yooou, and all the stuff that you do kinda behind the scenes, ’cause we’re not allowed to talk politics today…*giggle, giggle*”

 

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TVNZ - Breakfast - cooking

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Yeah, yeah, giggle, giggle, flirt…

However, one sharp-eyed viewer made this comment on his facebook page soon after the show was over;

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TVNZ - Breakfast - cooking- facebook - hugh fletcher

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Not quite the ordinary, blokey “man-of-the-people” after all, eh?

Question is, will TVNZ’s ‘apolitical’ Breakfast show allow equal time to Labour leader David Cunliffe? And will it be hosted by ‘impartial’ host, Rawdon Christie…?

Which brings us back to this slightly-more-serious-matter…

11 August – TVNZ Breakfast Show:

Note the  Breakfast host’s chatty “interview” between Rawdon Christie and Dear Leader John Key. Rawdon is all smiles and let’s Key speak without interuption;

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TVNZ - Breakfast - kim dotcom - video - effigy - john key - burning - 2014 elections

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12 August – TVNZ Breakfast Show:

The following day, TVNZ allowed Internet Party, Laila Harré, to respond. Note the combative/defensive stance  by host, Rawdon Christie;

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TVNZ - Breakfast - laila harre

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Laila’s “right of reply” included at least thirteen interruptions as Christie spoke over his guest within a five minute period.

It was left to the State broadcaster’s competitor, TV3, to publish a ‘retraction’ by John Key,

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John Key admits effigy video not linked to Internet Mana

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No apology from  Key, of course. Dear Leader does not ‘do’ apologies – unless it is “serious”.

It appears that media can broadcast or publish any old garbage with minimal recourse. Even when the target of a deliberate smear is given an opportunity to correct misinformation, the broadcaster’s representative will fight tooth and nail to justify their own misconduct.

We’ve seen it with the NZ Herald and the Donghua Liu Affair.

Interesting though that when Rawdon Christie first interviewed Key on this issue, on 11 August, he said,

“Another stunt, which may cause you slightly more concern, and that is on Cameron Slater’s WhaleOil site, recently…”

It should come as no surprise that Key and Christie were more than willing to take the blogger’s story at face value;

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PM hints tip-off came from Cameron Slater

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As Claire Trevett wrote in February this year,

[Key]...would not confirm it was Mr Slater, but said he did speak to Mr Slater “every so often,” and had called him earlier this week during which they briefly discussed Kim Dotcom. He said that did not mean he agreed with everything Mr Slater wrote on his blog. “I speak to lots of blogsters [sic].”

Such is the unholy relationship between the National Party and far-right, sleaze merchant, Cameron Slater – along with media connivance for an “easy story”.

Though this time I suspect Key and TVNZ may have ended up with some egg on their faces.

Anyone for some fried eggs’n’effigies?

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References

TVNZ: Good Morning –  John Key in the kitchen

TV3: John Key admits effigy video not linked to Internet Mana

Facebook: Hugh Fletcher‎ – Good Morning

TVNZ: Internet-Mana denies involvement in PM burning effigy video

Fairfax media: Internet Mana anger over Key effigy claims

TVNZ: Good Morning – Laila Harre attacks PM for effigy video ‘slur’

NZ Herald: PM hints tip-off came from Cameron Slater

Previous related blogposts

The Donghua Liu Affair – Damn lies, dirty tricks, and a docile media

The Donghua Liu Affair threatens to unravel – PM and NZ Herald caught up in a dirty trick campaign?

The Donghua Liu Affair – the impending final act and curtain-fall in this smear-campaign

The Liu Affair: The first step to a complaint to the Press Council

The Donghua Liu Affair: responses from NZ Herald and Prime Minister’s Office – Is the PM’s office fudging?

The Mendacities of Mr Key #6: When apologising to a victim of violence is not considered “serious”

Other blogs

The Daily Blog: Just spoke to Electoral Commission – there’s been a complaint re the Planet Key satire song, they will declare if it’s banned this afternoon

 

 


 

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john key is scared of your vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 13 August 2014

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Mana-Internet Roadshow hits Wellington

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internet mana

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Wellington, NZ, 4 August – The Mana-Internet Roadshow hit Wellington on a chilly Monday evening, with the event scheduled for the waterfront venue at Mac’s Brew Bar,  in Taranaki Street. The first sign of the event was the eye-catching bus, decorated in Mana-Internet livery, parked outside the old brick, brewery building;

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mana-internet-party-roadshow-wellington-4-august-2014

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Inside, Mana-Internet activists were busy setting up for the 6pm start, arranging chairs, speaking podium, party merchandise and leaflets, etc. It was a hive of quiet, determined, activity. Note King Kapisi (middle image) at work on his board;

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014

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Party paraphernalia had sprung up throughout the hall;

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014 (91)

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Videographer, Gerhart, chatting with Mana Party Leader and MP for Te Tai  Tokerau, Hone Harawira;

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 KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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Mana Party President, Annette Sykes, and the world’s first transgendered elected representative, Georgina Beyer – pausing from their chat to pose for cameras;

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mana-internet-party-roadshow-wellington-4-august-2014

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Mana Leader, Hone Harawira, and Mana candidate for Rongotai, the dedicated Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati;

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014

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Eager young Mana-Internet activists on the main door, answering questions from members of the public;

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014

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Interestingly, contrary to some bullshit being spun on social media, there was no “door charge” and neither were members of the public offered “freebies” of any description. The lies from certain individuals illustrates their desperation to undermine Mana-Internet’s credibility.

Meanwhile, former broadcaster and Alliance MP, the extraordinary Pam Corkery, and Internet Party leader, Laila  Harré, catching up and enjoying a quiet moment;

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014

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Glenn McConnell, from The Beehive Mandate, interviewing Internet Party candidate, for Wellington Central, Callum Valentine (camera-person – off shot – Saeran);

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014

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During his speech later in the evening, Callum said,

“Throughout the ’80s we saw a rise of stark individualism, and I think from my point of view what my generation is trying to piece back together is a sense of community…”

Interesting, how the young folk understand the price we paid for neo-liberalism.

The public meeting was due to “kick off” at 6, and at 5.30, the hall was still mostly empty.

This blogger asked several activists if they were worried that the turnout would be low.  Without exception, every single Mana-Internet volunteer smiled or grinned with confidence and replied “wait and see“.

They were either hopelessly over-confident – or their experience on the road, travelling around the country had given them just cause to be confident.

They were not mistaken. By 5.50, the main part of hall looked like this;

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mana-internet-party-roadshow-wellington-4-august-2014

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The rear part of the hall  filled quickly as extra chairs were laid out. By 6, there was standing room only;

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014

 

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There have not been very many public political meetings where a minor party has drawn such numbers. These people were not political activists from the Left. Instead, they represented ordinary New Zealanders of all ages and ethnicity.

If this meeting had been publicised with a full page ad in the Dominion Post, this blogger believes that the Wellington Town Hall would have had to have been hired to cater for the numbers that would have attended. There seemed a feeling of  anticipation on the faces of many.

If  every hall in the country where the Roadshow has stopped was filled in the same way, then little wonder that John Key and certain right-wing Labour MPs are worried at the spectacular rise of Mana-Internet.

No wonder Mana-Internet cannot expect allies in any part of the political spectrum. This alliance of two tiny little parties has sprung from the fertile soil of discontent, and is quickly becoming a very real threat to the established political status quo of this country.

And it is little wonder that they are so hated by the mainstream media commentariate; they simply  don’t ‘get‘  why Mana-Internet is so popular.

As the hall filled to capacity (250-300, according to Brew Bar management), singer Matiu Te Hoki set the mood with several songs – including a few with audience participation. The response was enthusiastistic support  from most of the crowd;

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mana-internet-party-roadshow-wellington-4-august-2014

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Internet Party candidate, Chris Yong, mc’d the event, and introduced guest speakers as they made their way up onto the stage;

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mana-internet-party-roadshow-wellington-4-august-2014

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Wairangi Koopu (L),  professional rugby league player for the Pt Chev Pirates, and hip hop recording artist, King Kapisi (R), entertaining the crowd;

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mana internet party roadshow - wellington - 4 august 2014

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Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira, spoke with wit, humour, and passion;

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mana-internet-party-roadshow-wellington-4-august-2014

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Hone began  by explaining Mana’s fierce determination to fight the current National government. He said,

This country is being driven to poverty. That too many of our people are being driven to homeless. Too many of our young people are being driven into unemployment. A lot of them just get on the plane and go to Oz… simply because this government is committed to maximising the wealth for their friends. It’s not a society that I want, it’s not a society that Mana wants.”

He then gave a brief background into how the idea for an alliance between Mana and the Internet Party had come about;

So as we moved closer towards this election, I started thinking about how we could lift our game. How could we raise our voice. How could we engage with wider audiences. How could we get our  our message out to a greater public.

Now, I didn’t know how to do it. I was struggling with the ideas – watching, of course,  while all sorts of other people were trying all kinds of deals. Then I was sitting down and talking to some young fellas at my Kura at home and one of them, a 17 year old, says to me, ‘You know this Kim Dotcom guy? Do you mind if I left Mana and joined the Internet Party?’

I walked away and I had a really good think about it. And then I came back to him, and sat  down and talked to him some more. And what I realised was that our kids, Maori kids I’m talking about, and I imagine all kids, they’re ready to ‘fly’. They’re ready to chase that internet dream. And yet politics was stuck in a quagmire. Much of a muchness. Sameness after sameness. Nobody being prepared to to step outside the box and do something different.”

He said, “that young fella basically challenged me to do something about it“.

So I thought to myself, I’ve been getting these calls from this guy, lives up in Coatsville. Big mansion up the road on the North Shore. Might be time to take that call.

Took the call.

We sat down. We had a bit of a korero. Well I’ll tell you, he talks like nobody I’ve ever met met before.

Hone added, to audience laughter,

Not just because he’s German, either.”

Hone described Kim Dotcom’s credibility by the way he spoke on certain issues, and how those same issues mattered to young people that Hone listened to.

Hone then went to to relate the reaction of Mana Party membership when he disclosed to them that he had been in discussion with Kim Dotcom. He said he knew there was a big risk in what he was considering. He described their reaction;

Mate, the response was almost universal. 99.5% – ‘what the —- do you think you’re doing! But as they heard more, as they learnt more, they realised that there’s something happening here.

He explained how such a strategic alliance would be the catalyst to “lifting our game”.

Hone then went on to describe the necessity of finding a leader for an Internet-Mana alliance,

So when it became possible  that that leader might,  just might be Laila Harré, I’m thinking to myself, ‘If we could pull this  off, this could go down  as the biggest strategic move in politics in 2014‘.”

Many in the audience clapped enthusiastically at that point.

Hone said that “we either got Laila, or else there would be no deal“.

So when we signed a deal between Mana and the Internet Party for the creation of Internet-Mana, I knew what the rest of the country didn’t know was that the deal was going to be done because I  have a comrade standing alongside me that I could be proud of, that I would be proud to stand on any front line with, and will be proud to sit back and let her do all the driving.”

Hone added that whilst Mana-Internet might not have “all the right things to say“, that people wanted change. He was adamant that was why Mana-Internet was enjoying packed halls around the country.

Where we are now, everybody, is we’re  in a position  to take politics to a whole different world. We’re in a position to completely change the way people view politics.”

After strong applause, Hone introduced the next speaker…

Kim Dotcom – one of the freshest things to hit New Zealand politics since the Green Party’s Nandor Tanczos – addressed the audience with his usual waggish, cheeky style. (One of the reasons Dotcom might be so popular with ordinary folk? He possesses a strong streak of that  Kiwi trait of anti-authoritarianism, that ferments just below the surface of our docile sheeplike-veneer, and which  was cleverly epitomised in the 1981 iconic classic movie, ‘Goodbye Pork Pie‘.)

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Kim gave his greeting in Maori and welcomed those in attendence;

“Very nice to see so many people show up here tonight, in Wellington, in the ‘belly of the beast’! Isn’t this exciting?

We have had this happening every night for the last four weeks. There is something happening in this country. There is an appetite for this.”

With his trademark humour, and wry jabs at the establishment, Kim said,

“Because we are in Wellington tonight, I want to ask every staff member of the GCSB, please raise their hand… I know there are a couple of them here. Alright, so let me address you first.

Please don’t worry even though we’re going to shut you down, we will find you guys jobs.”

Kim then related the lead-up to the creation of the Internet Party. He referred to the Hollywood-style raid on his property; the closing down of his business; the illegal aspects to the search  of seizure of his property; the spying on eighty-eight other New Zealanders by the GCSB; and how he and his wife, Mona, had been supported by many of his neighbours. He said that with the seizure of all their assets, they survived on the generosity of neighbours who brought them food, and one even loaned him a car to use.

Kim said the this support increased massively after his interview with TV3’s John Campbell.

He described the government’s closing down of his business, Mega-Upload, as an “over-reach” carried out without a trial.

Kim explained how his now-defunct business, Mega-Upload operated, and that in effect it was similar to a very big external hard-drive. He said people could upload their files for storage or to share with others. It was not a pirating service, he explained, though some users did carry out such activities. He likened his business to the old VHS video tapes which Hollywood at one time tried to curtail, because they could be used to copy commercial movies.

Kim also explained why current practices by Hollywood played into the hands of movie-pirates, by delaying release of movies by several months in different parts of the world. This, he said, was done to maximise profits. The consequence was,

“So they are actually responsible for the creation of the piracy problem, simply by the way they are doing business. Because even if a New Zealander wants to access a movie legally and is happy to pay for it, [they] can’t find it, and the only way to find it is on Google and through an illegal  download. Well then that’s really a problem Hollywood should solve and isn’t really a problem for service providers like myself or the users.”

Kim then changed tack and described a “total lack of vision” when it came to the digital economy. He berated the lack of cellphone coverage in many areas of New Zealands and asked, “is this Zimbabwe or New Zealand?”

He condemned a focus on primary production as limiting our economy, and failing to “take this country forward”.

Kim digressed at one point and outlined his previous criminal convictions in Germany. He said he was 19 when he had hacked NASA because he was curious if they knew of the existence of aliens.

This drew loud laughter from the audience.

“I didn’t find anything”, he lamented. The laughter from the audience increased.

He then hacked Citibank to make a donation of $20 million to Greenpeace because he thought the organisation deserved a donation because “I thought they were good for the environment and stuff”. More laughter from the audience, and some clapping.

After which he hacked a credit rating agency to set the credit rating for the Prime Minister to zero, “because I didn’t like the guy”. This drew even more laughter, cheers, and a round of applause.

Kim said that at his trial, the judge pointed out that he should use his talents and knowledge for the benefit of society. What followed next could only happen in a civilised society with a brilliant sense of humour.  The judge said Kim should use his skills to improve on-line security for businesses, to protect them from other hackers;

“To make their networks secure. I thought that’s a good idea so I wrote a business plan. I went to my government and I said I’ve just been convicted, can I please have a million dollars for my new business. And they gave it to me.”

The audience laughed with delight.

“So they gave me a million dollar loan, 20 years interest free. Didn’t have to pay anything back for 20 years. Within a year I had fifty staff and in another year later I already paid it all  back.

We don’t have anything like this in New Zealand.

There are a lot of young people here with great ideas. If they had programmes like that, we would would have in ten ten years down the road a much better, a much bigger workforce; more jobs.”

Kim said many other countries also had such programmes which invested heavily in the minds of young people.

The right wing and some in the media commentariat have no hesitation in pillorying Dotcom’s misguided youth. But when they condemn a person for his illegal actions as a 19 year old, you just have to wonder where their heads are at.

Kim then told the audience of something else that bothered him; the New Zealand tertiary education loan system. He said that the Mana-Internet Party would remove all fees and provide free tertiary education for all students.

That announcement was greeted enthusiastically by the audience.

“Let me explain why. Because what’s currently happening is that we are asking our future, our [human] capital of this country, to study and get brighter and smarter and be able to create and build something with that knowledge. But we are putting them in a position where they have their first mortgage before they even started their professional life. They are indebted so much that  they are looking for jobs abroad that are usually paying a bit more than in New Zealand. They are leaving this country; they build a network of friends there. Some start a family there and they never come back.

And how is that smart for this country if you send our best people – our biggest chance to increase our market share in the digital economy – away. It makes no sense at all… Why not make that investment in you for you to stay here and use your capacity that you have up here [indicated head], to make life better for all of us.”

Kim then turned his attention to Hone Harawira, seated on-stage beside him, and told the audience that the Mana Party leader was committed to resolving inequality in New Zealand. He said that we had a huge problem in this coiuntry and that our society was not fair.

Kim said that we needed to re-establish a social fairness contract, making sure that those who had the least were supported and looked after.

He thanked Hone for the partnership between them.

Kim turned to Laila Harre and described her as “an amazing source of power”. After the Mana-Internet alliance had been announced, Kim said that the media attacks on her were vicious. He said,

“But she stood her ground and she said, ‘so what?'”

He thanked Laila for her participation and taking the movement to a “whole new level”.

Kim then paid tribute to Mana-Internet’s young candidates as the best at their fields. He said that they did not “think like politicians“, they thought like the many young people in the room.

He said that young people would be instrumental in the growth of the internet economy and the growth of GDP.

Kim said we could take our market share in the world economy and lift our standard of living for all. He said this would increase incomes so people could afford housing and other consumer goods to make their lives better. He said all other industries would also benefit from a tech-boom.

Kim said that South Korea had already transitioned to a tech economy. He said the South Koreans had had an economy similar to New Zealand’s until they made the conscious decision to turn their society into a high-tech society, with high-speed broadband into every home. In the process, they went from unemployment at over 10% to 2.6%.

Kim said there was “no secret” to achieving such a transformation. He said it could be done, and New Zealand could do it.

He said,

“We are in a position in New Zealand where we have so many smart young people that are hungry for an opportunity like that, so let’s give it to them with Internet Mana this year.”

Kim was followed by another well-known New Zealander.

She might be sick and in the midst of medical treatment, but the vivacious Georgina Beyer was a firebrand, speaking with  powerful  determination, and  attacking the Foreshore and Seabed Act, as well as the current government.

Georgina described the intense pressure that Labour’s Maori MPs had come under to vote for the Foreshore and Seabed Bill. One by one, except for Tariana Turia – who she paid tribute to – they folded. When she requested that she be allowed to abstain from the Bill, the Labour Party caucus howled her down.

She expressed her deepest regret that she had voted for the Foreshore and Seabed Act. She said,

“I committed a great shame under the Helen Clarke, Labour-led government; the Foreshore and Seabed [Bill]. That was the greatest Treaty breach in modern history…it did an absolute injustice to Maori.”

It had been the pivotal moment when she could no longer stomach being a member of parliament, and resigned shortly thereafter. Georgina said that Labour did not deserve to win back the Maori seats, because of the way they had abused their Maori MPs.

Joining the Internet-Mana campaign, she said, was her way of contrition for her mistake.

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[Note: apologies for heavy red-tone to above image. My camera did not “like” some of the overhead spotlighting, from certain angles. – FM]

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After Hone’s stirling introduction of Georgina, she described the  “despair and desperation” that was impacting on many people in this country. She illustrated by launching into a furious condemnation of the 90 Day Trial period for new employees, outlining how she had lost her job to an unsympathetic employer,

“When I did get a job at [employer’s name redacted] in Masterton, the goddamn 90 day fire-at-will clause got me sacked! Why? Because I wanted to practice democracy in the 2010 mayoral democracy.”

She added, “Watch out when I get back there [to Parliament] – it’s [90 Day Trial Period law] going!”

Georgina said that the Unions needed to be strengthened after being decimated the last couple of decades. She said that when people are employed, that they should feel safe and be paid properly.

Georgina described walking into the WINZ office as “de-humanising” and must be changed. She accused Work & Income’s previous CEO, Christine Rankin of creating a climate that was more like a correctional facility, complete with security guard(s) at the door.

Paula Bennett’s figures for reduced numbers on welfare was treated with derision and  challenged,

“Paula Bennett sits in Parliament, rabbitting away about the wonderful figures of the employment rates coming down. She’s shifting them around!

I’ve chaired the social services select committee for four years. I know the ‘jiggery-pokery’ that goes on, and the goddamn fiddles to make them look good. She’s telling you porkies!”

Georgina said Bennett wanted everyone to think “everything was going well, under this rock star economy“.

She added she was seeing the “hurt and the hate” that was being created in communities, and said there was little wonder that society was stressed and resulting in growing violence and abuse.

Georgina recounted her recent trip to Christchurch where she had been handed a report by Te Puawaitanga Ki Otautahi Trust  on social problems affecting that city. She described the report as sobering;

“It’s about whanau housing, post-earthquake, down in Christchurch. Just one thing I’d like to share with you which I just think is atrocious, and it may well be happening in other areas around New Zealand, South Auckland, Northland, where-ever like that. Women are terminating their pregnancies because they don’t want to bring a child into the shit, crap places that they’re living in.

They’re cold, they’re damp, they’re rat infest[ed]. Now Christchurch, yes, is an exceptional situation right now. But you’d think after nearly two or three years they would’ve got those sorts of problems sorted,  while making crap deals with Skycity and convention centres in Auckland, [and] building roads of national significance around the country…

… building stadiums that really aren’t necessary while people in our country are going cold, and tired, and starving, and children who are getting skin diseases…”

Georgina demanded to know,

“Is this the New Zealand we want to live in?”

When the audience replied “no!” in loud unision, Georgina responded that the government had to change, as well as people’s attitudes about our growing social problems.

If her strength that night was anything to go by, once her health improves she’ll make the ‘Energiser Bunny’ look like a wimp in comparison.

Georgina was followed by Annette Sykes, Rotorua lawyer, activist, and champion for  Māori independence;

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[Note: apologies for heavy red-tone to above image. My camera did not “like” some of the overhead spotlighting, from certain angles. – FM]

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Annette opened by saying she was proud to be part of a relationship that was built on mutual respect between both parties. She said,

“It’s important that we make choices that are wise, choices that can be reviewed, but [also] choices that aren’t just good for Maori but are good for all of this country. And that is why I’m really proud to be part of a relationship agreement that is building on those fundamentals; mutual respect. A desire to see all sectors of society, the poor and the rich, making a  contribution [and] also receiving a benefit from their participation in this government.”   

Annette confirmed Hone’s description of how his suggestion for an alliance between Mana and Internet was received by the membership;

“I was [part of] the 99.5% at Mana. I was the one that Hone had to persuade the most. I was really suspicious about the relationship. But I had to take my hat off to Mr Dotcom, because there’s very few pakeha that would dare to walk into the Mana AGM, and subject themselves to the kind of cross-examination that Mr Dotcom did. And I can tell you it was without mercy.

He was asked [about] everything. How would he feel about our first policy of course, [which] is to tax the rich? How would he feel about us promoting quite candidly policies that stopped the $1.4 billion of benefit cuts that are being taken from the poor, and reversing the tax cuts on the rich and then substituting them with things like  a Universal Basic Income?

Substituting them with a Capital Gains Tax? Substituting them with a tax on the toys that boys like to play with; you know, fast cars and flash boats.”

Annette continued,

“And he handled it. He handled it with an aplomb. I see a number of my socialist comrades here, and they will testify for the questions that he stood up to. And weren’t any easy questions, even for the most, I think, weather[ed] politician like Hone. They are real fundamental questions, like did he agree that we should stop foreign sales like the kind that are going through the back door at Taupo? Right now, as we speak?

Should we be putting in safeguards to protect [us from] the  privatisation of our most fundamental assets from going offshore? And in all of those questions he came up with the single answer which is Mana policy. We have to take the power back from the National Party. We have to put the power back into the community where it belongs.”

Annette had a message for the mainstream media which seemed obsessed with Kim Dotcom, Mana, and the Internet Party;

“When he enters a room, yep, he’s got plenty of money. Stop talking about his money, please. He’s a man with a mind and a mission. That’s really important. The mind of the man, the intellectual largesse that he brought into our meeting house at Ngati te Arere, is what we saw.”

She gave this parting advice,

“Stop listening to the TV [and] start listening to your hearts.”

The next speaker was another well-known New Zealander; Laila Harré. She explained her reasons for joining the new Mana-Internet alliance;

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[Note: apologies for heavy red-tone to above image. My camera did not “like” some of the overhead spotlighting, from certain angles. – FM]

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With obvious pride in her voice, Laila told the audience;

“…From the the north of the North Island we have filled halls in Kaitaia, in Kaipoi, in Kerikeri, then we ran out of towns starting with ‘K’ in Northland so we filled the hall in Whangarei.

We went back to “K” and with a full hall, pouring with people, in my political turangawaewae, the Kelston Community Centre in West Auckland.

And onwards from there to Rotorua, where Annette Sykes rocked the town with one of the biggest political meetings to have been held there, in a generation.

On to Hamilton, then to New Plymouth, on to Whanganui, yesterday in Palmerston North, and now in Wellington. And we are reaching thousands and thousands of people through these direct communications, in the halls, and town halls, and school halls of New Zealand and we are changing politics!”

Laila was ‘working’ the crowd with a voice that was soft, yet steeled with  determination. She had a message she wanted to give, and nothing short of Wellington’s ‘The Big One’ would get in her way.

She told the audience she was the recipient of two extraordinary gifts. The first was Kim Dotcom’s gift, to those New Zealanders who felt disconnected and disenfranchised from the established political system. She spoke of the Internet Party building a new movement that would create a new voice in politics.

She said the second gift was the alliance of the Mana Movement  with the Internet Party. Laila spoke of votes counting as people voted for the Internet-Mana alliance, and predicted that Hone Harawira would win Te Tai Tokerau for a fourth term.

There was an outburst of applause when she said that, and again when she predicted that Annette Sykes would win the electorate seat in Waiariki.

The crowd erupted into louder applause when Laila took a swipe at coat-tailing media commentators (commentators who seemed to focus primarily on Mana-Internet . With defiance, she said,

“I have no shame at all in going into Parliament on his coat-tails and on her apron-strings!”

Laila also sent a message to her colleagues in the Trade Union movement. She said,

“My message is this. Progressive politics is about constantly building and inventing and reinventing the way that we enghage the people and make a difference on their behalf. Progressive politics is about alliances and this alliance and the the Intertnet Party’s developement gives us the opportunity as progressive New Zealanders to connect a whole lot of people to the power of progressive politics who have become disillusioned with it, or who have seen their only opportunities  being to give in to the craven individualism promoted by the New Right in this country, because nothing else has looked better or more attractive to them for a long time. And the trade union movement has always been about strategic alliances; about clever politics; about being brave and standing up for what we see as fair and just, and this alliance has the capacity to change the government in September. And that is what the working people and the unemployed people of this country need to happen desperately.”

Laila then “sent a message” to Wellington, and it was simple and to the point;

“We don’t have a rock star economy!”

She said that the Mana-Internet roadtrip had visited many communities and told the audience, “you would be horrified at the propaganda by this government sold to New Zealanders over the last six years“!

The disgust in Laila’s voice was apparent. She expressed her horror at the loss of decent, affordable health services, especially in the regional communities. Laila’s exasperation was evident when she said she had believed many critical health problems had been solved – but instead many poor families and young mothers  faced prohibitively high medical, doctor’s or prescriptions charges. She said,

“When they fêted Tony Ryall when he finished his term as Health Minister, they weren’t  fêting him for improving our public health system. They were fêtinghim for keeping the horror stories of  our health system off the front page of our newspapers for the last six years. And I want to know why the Opposition has been asleep on the job, because I have heard stories in the last four weeks that I was hearing fifteen years ago at the beginning of the health services crisis in this country, that I believed to be fixed. And I’m going to raise those issues in Parliament, in Wellington in [drowned out by applause and cheering].”

Laila added,

“We have an inequality crisis in this country. And it is a crisis that has been building and growing for thirty years. Now 285,000 children live in houses with incomes below the poverty line.

That’s almost become a cliche, hasn’t it? In the circles that we mix in – just an accepted reality. 285,000 New Zealand children whose parents don’t have a large enough income to provide for the very, very, most basic necessities of life. It’s a disgrace!

And if we think that we have an inequality problem now,  let’s just look twenty years ahead, at what that time bomb means for the capacity of New Zealand to cope and to lead in the digital technical age.”

She said it was a disgrace that over 200,000 New Zealand school children had no internet access in their homes, saying it deprived them of knowledge to lead our economy in twenty years’ time.

Laila explained,

“Internet-Mana represents a very different kind of politics and there’s a few people out there including some of our friends, who are finding ourt new kind of politics quite confusing. It’s like ‘did we give you permission to do this’? Well actually, we don’t need permission to participate in the democracy of our country and neither do you,” pointing to the audience.

Laila said that Mana-Internet took away the sugarcoating, to dress things up, to spin things, and to pretend there is nothing really wrong with this country. She said Mana-Internet would lift the responsibility from the shoulders from all those burdened by the way things were in New Zealand.

She said she was giving  fair warning to the National Party and mainstream media, that she would be attending the Helensville electorate meeting on 11 August, where John Key would be making his one and only public appearance (how very ‘big’ of him, I thought). As the rapturous applause died away, Laila grinned and said matter-of-factly,

“I know it’s a long shot.”

She said she would be fronting to John Key, to engage with the Prime Minister on his record, and how he had abdicated his responsibility for a decent future for this country’s children.

Laila said she would demand that he bring along the text of the secret TPPA document, so we could know in advance which rules and laws we would be allowed to pass, and which ones we were not.

She asked, “wouldn’t it be kind of decent” to know what we were signing up to?

Laila then announced clearly and succintly,

“We are not going to support a National government, that’s for sure. But we’re also not going to support Labour to sign the TPPA!”

The audience cheered and clapped loudly at that policy announcement. It was clear that there was no public support in that hall for the TPPA, or that it was held in secrecy by the National government.

Laila also said she was going to ask the Prime Minister “to give us just a little bit more information” than what he gave to the Auditor-General on his conversation with SkyCity which
completely gutted normal rule of law and procurement processes“, and which changed the laws surrounding gambling to suit the corporate agenda of the casino in Auckland.

Laila called SkyCity “the biggest corporate pariah” in the country.

She said,

“I want to know what went on, and we do not stand committed to that [Skycity convention centre] contract.”

Laila said that the pokies that had been gradually eliminated from Auckland would now be returned to SkyCity. She said that the convention centre deal was funded on the backs of problem gamblers.

Laila said she would be asking the Prime Minister what really happened with respect to to Kim Dotcom’s permanent residence application, and,

“… did he really not know about Kim Dotcom until one day before the raid?”

She would be asking the Prime Minister to account for the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom and eightyeight other New Zealanders.

Judging by Laila’s powerful combination of fierce intellect, wit, and passion, Key would be in for a ‘bumpy’ ride that night.

In parting, Laila gave the audience a message to which they seemed very receptive;

“You can make that happen on September 20th… This is an opportunity to put some honest, brave, and smart voices into Parliament and to deliver a new kind of message and a new kind of politics to this country…

…we can change not just government, we can change politics forever.”

She added,

“Whatever the polls are telling us, the outcome of this election does not depend on the people who vote National. The outcome of this election will depend on those people who don’t.”

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Postscript 1

Going by the lack of media (except for a sole Radio NZ reporter)  coverage of the Roadshow event in Wellington,  one thing seems clear; the mainstream media has no idea how to deal with the Mana-Internet alliance.

Is it a passing fad? Something fleeting that will vanish like so many other small parties have come-and-gone over the years?

Or is it something new? Something that is a radical step-change in politics in the 21st Century?

One thing that struck me was the age of most of those involved; they were young people in their late teens and twenties.

It is my belief that politics in the 21st century belongs to a new, younger generation… and they are slowly awakening.

The msm has no idea of what is coming. And if they do, they have no idea how to frame it.

The Rule Book on Politics has just been chucked out the window.

Postscript 2

This is Leo…

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After the roadshow, we had dinner at Wellington’s iconic Green Parrot Cafe, a block away from the Brew Bar

We met Leo, one of the hard-working staff at the Green Parrot. He casually enquired if we’d just come from a gig and we replied that we had – the Kim Dotcom Roadshow ‘gig’.  Conversation turned to what Dotcom was trying to achieve with the Mana-Internet Party; to shake up the political system.

Leo said he had not taken much notice of politics, but he had heard of Dotcom and the hassles he was having. Even though he was entitled to vote, he hadn’t last time.

I replied,

“Well, if you don’t vote, you’re letting someone else decide your future.”

Leo got that immediatly and we chatted more. He said he wasn’t sure who he would vote for – but was adamant “it won’t be for that guy, John Key“.

The more we chatted, the more we realised that Leo was the archetypal young non-voter. He said politics didn’t seem very relevant in his life.

I encouraged him to check out the Mana-Internet or Green parties, as he might find relevance with either one.  Whoever he chose, it was important that he cast his vote. He said,

Yeah, I’m going to look into it…

One of the ‘Missing Million’  –  may no longer missing.

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References

Maori TV: Internet Mana roadshow meets Kaitaia

Radio NZ:  Internet Mana takes aim at Labour

The Beehive Mandate

Rotorua Daily Post: Internet Mana launches campaign in Rotorua

TV3: King Kapisi sent out to rally young voters

Te Puawaitanga Ki Otautahi Trust: Housing survey

Mana Party:  Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki

Related

Fairfax media: Te Tai Tokerau tangles

Fairfax media: PM quiet on Dotcom’s ‘f*** John Key’ rally

Previous related blogposts

Labour’s collapse in the polls – why?

The Mana-Internet Alliance – My Thoughts

The secret of National’s success – revealed

Political Identification Chart for the upcoming Election

The Media will respond to Kim Dotcom’s up-coming revelations professionally, impartially, and with all due diligence

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

Other Blogs

The Daily Blog:  No Cookies! But maybe the balance of power. Why Kelvin Davis and the Labour Right are so scared of Internet-Mana.

The Daily Blog:  Cunliffe on Internet MANA, how ungrateful is Kelvin Davis & how we know Labour’s vote isn’t collapsing

 

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vote mana labnour green

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 August 2014

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= fs =

 

Letter to the Editor: Lies, damn lies, and media sensationalising

12 August 2014 3 comments

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from:          Frank Macskasy
to:               Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date:          Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 11:06 AM
subject:     Letter to the editor

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The editor
Dominion Post

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Tracy Watkins  recently wrote; “Recent displays of crowds chanting “f… John Key” and his effigy being burnt could either be put down to youthful hijinks or something more sinister”.  (12 Aug)

Watkins has missed the point.

Discontent and anger against the current government has been rising steadily for years with,

* Cuts to education whilst giving massive tax-breaks and subsidies to corporations.

* we became aware that the wealth of the top 1% has doubled since 2004, whilst wages have stagnated.

* young people can no longer afford to buy their own homes, whilst speculators/investors make huge tax-free gains.

* tax-cuts for the rich, whilst GST and prescription charges were increased for the rest of us.

* Christchurch’s housing shortage crisis worsened – and Gerry Brownlee’s response is that the “free market will sort it out”.

* rising child poverty and inequality, whilst National passes punitive policies to attack the poor; the unemployed; solo-mothers; low-paid workers, etc.

This is why people are burning effigies and telling our dearly beloved PM to get f—-d.

Their anger has finally boiled over.

The media –  comfortably esconced in their middle-class bubble – have been caught utterly by surprise.

Which shows just how far out of touch the media have been.
-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

 

 

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References

Dominion Post:  New lows hit from the outset

Other blogs

The Daily Blog:  Oh now John Armstrong and Vernon Small want to talk about policy?

The Daily Blog:  Bullet holes in Hone’s electorate office vs bonfires and drunk chants

The Daily Blog:  What’s worse than Key lying about Internet MANA effigy burning on Breakfast TV?


 

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Kirk

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

Letter to the Editor: Jump Epsom voters, Jump!

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from:     Frank Macskasy
to:           NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date:      Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 4:56 PM
subject: letter to the editor

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The editor
NZ Herald

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There is an old saying attributed to  lords, masters, and army sergents; “when they say jump – you ask, ‘how high, sir?’

Dear Leader John Key has issued the order to Epsom’s loyal National voters to cast their electorate  vote for ACT’s David Seymour.

In other words, “jump”!

Perhaps Labour, Green, and other non-National voters should “jump” the other way and vote for National’s Paul Goldsmith? I’m sure he’d be delighted to be elected Epsom’s member of Parliament.

-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

 

 

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Kirk

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Report: Increasing the minimum wage v.s. job losses

7 August 2014 6 comments

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PUT-THE-POLITICIANS-ON-MINIMUM-WAGE-AND-WATCH-HOW-FAST-THINGS-CHANGE

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Introduction

Labour recently announced a policy which evidence strongly indicates will impact positively on every low-wage earner in this country; families;  as well as benefit small-medium businesses;

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Labour pledges $2 rise in minimum wage to $16.25

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The knee-jerk reaction from Dear Leader Key and his little wannabe side-kick, Simon Bridges, was as predictable as the sun rising;

Key hit back at the announcement.

[…]

New Zealand already had the highest minimum wage relative to the average wage in the developed world, he said.

Pushing it up too too fast would cost jobs.

“It’s pretty well documented around the world that, yes, you can make changes and do that over time but if you think about the mass of employers in New Zealand they’re not the big companies like Fletcher Building or Fonterra they’re actually the hundreds of thousands of small businesses around New Zealand and they simply will employ less staff, fire people or ultimately not take on staff in the future.”

Labour Minister Simon Bridges, reiterated Key’s claims, saying the policy would hurt businesses.

“Labour’s policy to immediately increase the minimum wage to $16.25 would cost at least 6000 jobs … If you want to make people unemployed this is a good way to go about it,” he said.

So how true is it that raising the minimum wage “would cost 6,000 jobs”?

As far back as November 2011 (the previous election campaign)  Key repeated the mantra  that  6,000 jobs would be lost if Labour increased  the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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raising-minimum-wage-wont-cost-jobs-treasury

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However,  those bright young things at Treasury  seemed to hold a radically different view;

The Department of Labour says the rise will cost 6000 jobs. But Treasury has a counter view; “This has not been true in the past. The balance of probabilities is that a higher minimum wage does not cost jobs.

Indeed, according to a report on the Australian Business Insider, the notion that increasing minimum wages led to unemployment was “exploded as a myth”, after it was revealed that;

“…  a November 2011 study from Barry Hirsch and Bruce Kaufman of Georgia State University and Tetyana Zelenska sheds light on how businesses respond to increases in labour costs, and the results were surprising. 

The group surveyed managers of fast food restaurants in Georgia and Alabama as they contended with three annual increases in the federal minimum wage between July 2007 and July 2009. 

They asked the managers if they were taking any steps to offset increases labour costs. 

[…]

…only 8 per cent of managers surveyed thought that firing current employees was at all important to make up for lost wages. 

Indeed, raising the minimum wage allowed management to extract more performance from current employees in more than half of all cases. 

Higher labour costs weren’t only offset from cuts to total labour cost, either. Management also took several steps to increase efficiency and productivity to compensate for the higher costs… “

The Georgia State University study also asserted (page 31);

Further, our study does not find evidence of clear-cut employment losses – even
over three years and a 41% increase in the MW. Possibly over a still longer time span, or with a larger
sample of restaurants, a negative effect might appear. Discussion with owners and evidence outside our
study period suggest that negative effects may manifest through reduced store openings and increased risk
of store closings. Given this important qualification, the message from our study, along with other results
in the literature, is that employment effects in the short-to-medium run are small, perhaps near zero in
many settings, and certainly smaller than expected based solely on the competitive model. It would be
surprising (at least to us) were an important reason for this result not the behavioral dimensions of wage
setting and human resource management (e.g., discretionary effort, equity concerns, management heterogeneity)
 that the standard competitive and monopsony models largely ignore.

The data

Here in New Zealand, the minimum wage has risen fifteen times since March 2000;

Previous minimum wage rates

In force from: ADULT YOUTH TRAINING
1 March 1997 $7.00 $4.20
6 March 2000 $7.55 $4.55
5 March 2001 $7.70 $5.40
18 March 2002 $8.00 $6.40
24 March 2003 $8.50 $6.80 $6.80
1 April 2004 $9.00 $7.20 $7.20
21 March 2005 $9.50 $7.60 $7.60
27 March 2006 $10.25 $8.20 $8.20
1 April 2007 $11.25 $9.00 $9.00
In force from: ADULT NEW ENTRANT TRAINING
1 April 2008 $12.00 $9.60 $9.60
1 April 2009 $12.50 $10.00 $10.00
1 April 2010 $12.75 $10.20 $10.20
1 April 2011 $13.00 $10.40 $10.40
1 April 2012 $13.50 $10.80 $10.80
1 April 2013 $13.75 $11.00 $11.00
In force from: ADULT STARTING OUT TRAINING
1 May 2013[4]
n/c
$11.00
n/c
1 April 2014 $14.25 $11.40 $11.40

Notes:

  1. From 2001 to 2008 the adult minimum wage applied to employees aged 18 years and over. Prior to that, the adult minimum wage only applied to those aged 20 years and over. From 1 April 2008, the adult minimum wage applies to employees aged 16 years and over, who are not new entrants or trainees.

  2. The youth minimum wage applied to employees aged 16 and 17 years. From 1 April 2008, the youth minimum wage was replaced with a minimum wage for new entrants, which applies to some employees aged 16 or 17 years.

  3. The training minimum wage was introduced in June 2003.

  4. From 1 May 2013 the minimum starting-out wage replaced the minimum wage for new entrants and the training minimum wage for trainees under 20 years of age.

[Above chart and information-notes courtesy of MoBIE/Dept of Labour]

So how do those increases compare to our employment/unemployment rates? Let’s superimpose the dates for each increase in the adult minimum wage with numbers of  employed persons. (Red vertical bars indicate increase in minimum wage. All data courtesy of Dept of Labour/MoBIE.)

6 March 2000 – Increased from $7.00 to $7.55 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2000NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2000

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5 March 2001 – Increased from $7.55 to  to $7.70 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2001NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2001

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18 March 2002 – Increased from  $7.70 to $ 8.00 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2002NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2002

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24 March 2003 – Increased from   $ 8.00 to $8.50 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2003NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2003

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1 April 2004 – Increased from  $8.50 to $9.00 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2004NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2004

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21 March 2005 – Increased from  $9.00 to $9.50 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2005NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2005

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27 March 2006 – Increased from  $9.50 to 10.25 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2006NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2006

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1 April 2007  – Increased from 10.25 to $11.25 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2007NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2007

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1 April 2008   – Increased from  $11.25 to $12.00 p/h

(Labour)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2008NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2008

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1 April 2009   – Increased from $12.00 to $12.50 p/h

(National)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2009NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2009

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1 April 2010   – Increased from $12.50 to $12.75 p/h

(National)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2010NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2010

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1 April 2011   – Increased from  $12.75 to $13.00 p/h

(National)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2011NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2011

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1 April 2012   – Increased from $13.00 to $13.50 p/h

(National)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2012NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2012

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1 April 2013   – Increased from  $13.50 to $13.75 p/h

(National)

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NEW ZEALAND EMPLOYED PERSONS - 2013NEW ZEALAND UNEMPLOYED PERSONS - 2013

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The above graphs reveal the following;

  1. In eleven out of fourteen years, numbers of employed rose after a minimum wage increase.
  2. Nearly all the years which show a fall in employment numbers are post-Global Financial Crisis; 2009, 2010,  and 2012.
  3. The fall in employment numbers in 2009, 2010, and 2012, occurred post-minimum wage increases which were smaller amounts than pre-2008 minimum wage increases. Ie; 50 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cent incremental increases for respective years 2009, 2010, and 2012.
  4. One of those three years – 2010 – showed a drop in employment for only one Quarter before rising again.
  5. By contrast, increases between 2000 and 2008 range from 15 cents an hour (2001) to $1 an hour (2007) – and show continuing, sustained, employment growth.
  6. Employment fell in 2006, due in part to  a “… slowing in growth over 2005 was largely driven by the external sector.  A relatively high exchange rate and some relatively poor agricultural production seasons resulted in weak export growth, while a strong domestic economy contributed to considerable growth in import volumes.  Recently, however, growth in the domestic economy appears to have eased with weakness in the household sector as growth in private consumpti on and residential investment slow.  This has led to a significant slowing in import volume growth and has seen some rebalancing towards net exports following strong increases in agricultural production“.

So would increasing the minimum wage benefit every low-wage earner in this country; families;  as well as benefit small-medium enterprises (SMEs)?

Why do critics – usually adherents of neo-liberal dogma and National Party ministers, supporters,  and fellow-travellers – vociferously deny the advantages of raising the minimum wage?

Neo-liberals who maintain that increasing the minimum wage creates job losses see only one half of the Grand Picture. They see money flowing from employers to employees – and that’s as far as they see what is happening.

What they are missing is the second half of the Grand Picture; those employees do not bury their extra pay in the back yard, forever consigning it to the earth as compost.

Instead, employees spend their pay increases.

There are currently 54,600 workers currently on minimum wage in this country.

Increasing the minimum wage from $14.25 per hour to $16.25 per hour means an extra $80 per week for a worker (gross). That means 54,600 workers’ spending power increasing by a staggering $4,368,000 per week (gross).

That’s a whole lot of extra groceries, clothing, shoes, appliances, medication,  and other essentials and  consumer goods being purchased in our economy.

All of a sudden, small-to-medium businesses will have 54,600 potential customers spending an extra $227,136,000 annually(gross). Plus additional tax-revenue gained by the State. Plus less paid on welfare, as more people are employed.

Right-wingers will make the oft-parroted, plaintive cry, “But where will the money come from?”

The answer; from the productivity created by those 54,600 workers. They just get to keep more of that productivity, instead of  into the bank accounts of invisible share-holders or disappear off-shore to corporate owners.

And as those 54,600 workers spend more, SMEs will sell more; which will mean higher turn-over; more profits; more investment; more jobs…

The logic is clear-cut; increasing the minimum wage increases spending power; generates more economic activity; and achieves the same goal which Key & Co used to justify their 2009 and 2010 tax-cuts;

 “…The tax cuts we have delivered today will inject an extra $1 billion into the economy over the coming year, thereby helping to stimulate the economy during this recession. More important, over the longer term these tax cuts will reward hard work and help to encourage people to invest in their own skills, in order to earn and keep more money.”

If  tax cuts for the rich can help “stimulate the economy“, then so can a livable wage increase for 54,600 low income earners.

It cuts both ways.

Even as Key has stated on numerous occassions,

We think Kiwis deserve higher wages and lower taxes during their working lives, as well as a good retirement.” – John Key, 27 May 2007

We will be unrelenting in our quest to lift our economic growth rate and raise wage rates.” – John Key, 29 January 2008

I don’t want our talented young people leaving permanently for Australia, the US, Europe, or Asia, because they feel they have to go overseas to better themselves.” – John Key, 15 July 2009

Science and innovation are important. They’re one of the keys to growing our economy, raising wages, and providing the world-class public services that Kiwi families need.” – John Key, 12 March 2010

We will also continue our work to increase the incomes New Zealanders earn. That is a fundamental objective of our plan to build a stronger economy.” – John Key, 8 February 2011

We want to increase the level of earnings and the level of incomes of the average New Zealander and we think we have a quality product with which we can do that.” –  John Key, 19 April 2012

Summation

Evidentially speaking, the data above shows;

  1. More often than not, employment numbers rise after an increase in the minimum wage.
  2. Unemployment is affected by factors other than minimum wage increases (eg; Global Financial Crisis, drought, etc).
  3. Labour increased the minimum wage $5 per hour (2000 to 2008), and unemployment dropped to 3.4% by December 2007.
  4. National increased the minimum wage  $2.25 per hour  (2009 to 2014)  and unemployment currently stands at 6% (new unemployment stats due for release on 6 August).

Key’s assertion that lifting the minimum wage would lead to “6,000 jobs lost” is therefore patently false, and electioneering with peoples’ lives.

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References

Fairfax media:  Labour pledges $2 rise in minimum wage to $16.25

TV3: Raising minimum wage won’t cost jobs – Treasury

Australian Business Insider: A 2011 Study Exploded One Of The Biggest Fears About Raising The Minimum Wage

Georgia State University: Minimum Wage Channels of Adjustment

MoBIE/Dept of Labour:  Previous minimum wage rates

NZ Treasury: New Zealand Economic and Financial Overview 2007

MoBIE/Dept of Labour:  Employment & unemployment – December 2007

Statistics NZ: Household Labour Force Survey: March 2014 quarter

MoBIE: Minimum Wage Review Report 2013

NZ Parliament: Tax Cuts—Implementation

Trading Economics: New Zealand Employed Persons

Trading Economics: New Zealand Unemployed Persons

Previous related blogposts

John Key’s track record on raising wages – 5. The Minimum Wage

Dollars and common sense – raising the minimum wage

Treasury’s verdict on raising the Minimum Wage?

Treasury’s verdict on raising the Minimum Wage? – Part II


 

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Living Wage

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 3 August 2014

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= fs =

Latest Roy Morgan Poll – the game has turned!

6 August 2014 1 comment

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Red Green Up

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Don’t let anyone tell you that the Left is headed for defeat on 20 September.

Don’t let the polls tell you that the election is done-and-dusted and Key will be settling in for a third term.

Don’t let Labour’s right-wing MPs’ shenanigans demoralise you.

Don’t let media smear campaigns and various Tory dirty tricks shake your faith.

The election campaign has only just begun, and the most recent poll – from Roy Morgan –  will be giving Key, Joyce, Brownlee, English, Collins, Bennett, etc, sleepless nights from now on.

The Roy Morgan poll, carried out at the end of July, paints a grim picture for the Nats;

National: 46%  (down 5%)

Labour: 30% (up 6.5%)

Greens: 12% (down 3%)

NZ First: 5% (down 1%)

Internet-Mana Party Alliance: 2.5% (up 1%)

Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%)

ACT:  0.5% (unchanged)

United Future: 0.5% (unchanged).

Conservative Part:  1% (unchanged)

National’s 46 percentage rating is a massive drop from the low-to-mid 50s it has been enjoying in polls up until now. Even the previous Roy Morgan poll (which is the main poll to consider as it is the only one that calls cellphones) had National on 51%.

Make no mistake about the significance on this fall; National is now polling below it’s election night result of 47.31%!

Why is this significant and ultimately so terrifying for this government?

Because if you glance to the chart below, you will see polling results for the month of October, preceding the 2011 General Election, which had National rating between 53.5% to 57.4%.

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National Labour Greens NZ First
One News Colmar Brunton [1]2 October 2011 56% 29% 9% 1.9%
3 News Reid Research [1]2 October 2011 57.4% 26.6% 9.8% 1.9%
Roy Morgan Research [1]26 September – 9 October 2011 55.5% 28% 9.5% 2%
Roy Morgan Research [1]10–23 October 2011 53.5% 29.5% 9.5% 2.5%
Herald-DigiPoll [1]20–27 October 2011 53.5% 30.3% 9.5% 2.85
Actual Election Night Result [2]26 November 2011 47.31% 27.48% 11.06% 6.59%
Fairfax/Ipsos Poll [6]17 July 2014 54.8% 24.9% 12.4% 2.6%
Herald-DigiPoll [5]20 July 2014 52% 26.5% 9.9% 4.6%
One News Colmar Brunton [4]27 July 2014 52% 28% 10% 4%
Roy Morgan [3]31 July 46% 30% 12% 5%
Election Night: Frank’s Prediction20 September 2014 44% 33% 13% 5%

 

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Yet, less than two months later, their actual election night result was far less – 47.31%.

Polling results are only approximate indicators. They are never accurate for the following reasons;

  1. They do not take into account the Undecideds/Won’t Say respondents.
  2. Undecideds become Decideds, as they firm up their decisions.
  3. People change their minds.

If National is polling mid-to-high 40s at this point in the campaign, their election night result will be even lower. My guess is around, or below,  the 45% mark.

My prediction for this year’s election night results:

National: 44% – 53 seats

Labour: 33% – 40 seats

Greens: 13% – 16 seats

NZ First: 5% – 6 seats

Mana Movement: 4 seats

Maori Party: 1 seat

ACT:  1 seat

Dunne: nil – seat loss

NZ First will try to be the “kingmaker” and my prediction is that he will coalesce with National. The Maori Party will coalesce with Labour, giving a Labour-led coalition a one seat majority.

 

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References

Roy Morgan:  National (51%) increases election winning lead over Labour/ Greens (38.5%)

Wikipedia:  Election Night results: 2011

[1] Wikipedia: Opinion polling for the New Zealand general election, 2011

[2] Election Night results: 2011

[3] Roy Morgan: National (46%) lead over Labour/ Greens (42%)

[4] One News Colmar Brunton: More poll woes for Labour as National rides high

[5] NZ Herald: National and John Key more favoured than ever for next government

[6] Fairfax/Ipsos Poll: Labour’s poll woe deepens

 

Other blogposts

The Daily Blog:  Latest Roy Morgan Poll: Labour jumps 6.5 points up to 30%, National tumble

The Standard: Latest Roy Morgan poll


 

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Lorde wants you to vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 3 August 2014

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= fs =

Waiting for Gower’s Twittering of indignation…

4 August 2014 4 comments

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20-september

 

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Key has made his call; deals with ACT and Peter Dunne are in – a deal with the CCCP (Colin Craig’s Conservative Party), is out;

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Deals show contempt, says Labour

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Now we can look forward to TV3’s political commentator, Patrick Gower, posting tweets of outrage at Key’s machinations – just as he did two months ago. On 29  May, Gower was scathing at the alliance between Mana and the Internet Party;

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Patrick gower - twitter - laila harre - mana internet party alliance

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Patrick gower - twitter - laila harre - mana internet party alliance (2)

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Will Gower make the same expressions of outrage at National?

What are the odds?

Postscript

It seems obvious that Gower has a personal thing against Mana and Kim Dotcom.

His most recent utterances on 29 July made that perfectly clear, when he has again stated,

“And David Cunliffe has repeatedly and pointedly refused to rule out working with Internet-Mana to form a Government.”

At every opportunity, Gower has repeatedly demanded Cunliffe rule out working with Mana-Internet.

Why?

When a journalist demands that a political party make a definitive policy statement to rule out a potential coalition partner is not reporting the news – it is a naked attempt to influence it.

It is one thing to ask a party leader who they will/won’t deal with, post-election. That is a perfectly legitimate question to ask.

But to pressure a party leader to rule out a potential coalition partner?

Gower has stepped beyond the bounds of what is acceptable journalism. It is not his job to dictate to any party leader who they should/shouldn’t coalesce with. His job is simply to report their decisions.

The rest is up to us, the people to evaluate that information.

Pull your head in, Paddy.

 

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References

Radio NZ:  Deals show contempt, says Labour

TV3: Opinion – Dotcom does Key a Winston favour

Previous related blogposts

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

 


 

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david cunliffe stood up on the issue of domestic violence

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 July 2014.

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Mike Hosking as TVNZ’s moderator for political debates?! WTF?!

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Labour claims Hosking's biased

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I checked the calendar, and it’s not April 1st.

An April Fool’s joke is the first reaction I had when I heard  that someone at  TVNZ had appointed Mike Hosking to be the moderator  for live, televised election-year debates.

I mean – really? Mike Hosking?!?!

The same Mike Hosking who endorsed John Key’s government in January 2013;

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Media - Hosking plugs car and Key - NZ Herald - Mike Hosking - John Key

(Hat-tip, The Standard)

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Hosking was effusive when he endorsed Key last year;

“As I see it, all things considered we are doing pretty bloody well. We box above our weight.

We have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them in Government.”

The same Mike Hosking who recently vilified Labour Leader, David Cunliffe?!

“Is David Cunliffe incompetent or mad? Is he out to lunch or out of touch? Is David Cunliffe deluded or living in a parallel universe?

What possible explanation can there be that has any level of sense or thought involved that sees him on holiday skiing two months out from an election when he is where he is in the polls. A decision like this speaks to a person who fails to understand the basic principles of leadership.”

The same Mike Hosking who called David Cunliffe a moron?!

If Mike Hosking is the answer – can TVNZ please spell out what the question was?!

Meanwhile, ordinary New Zealanders are leaving comments here, highly critical of TVNZ’s appointment of Hosking as a “moderator”.

However, Fairfax closed off their comments section after this story, with the majority of posts scathing of TVNZ.

The majority  readers of the Fairfax article seem to be unimpressed with Mike Hosking in their (unscientific) poll;

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Can Mike Hosking host the leader's debate - fairfax poll

(Vote here)

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It is abundantly clear to many people by now that the mainstream media in this country, for the most part, is covertly or overtly supporting the re-election of a John Key-led government. The ongoing de-stabilising campaign against David Cunliffe, complete with non-existent $100,000 bottles of wine and criticising his red scarf, are strong indications of the  mainstream corporate-media’s agenda.

If you, the reader, are as bemused by TVNZ’s bizarre decision to use Hosking as a faux “impartial” moderator, then sign the petition here;

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Petitioning TVNZ to drop Mike Hosking from moderating TV debates

(click on image)

Please do your bit: share the link to the above petition as far and wide as possible!

Meanwhile, this from me, to “The Listener“…

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

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from:      Frank Macskasy
to:           Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date:      Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 9:51 PM
subject: Letter to the editor

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The editor
The Listener

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Of all the professional broadcasters that TVNZ could have used for the upcoming Leader’s Debates, they chose Mike Hosking?!

The same Mike Hosking who, last year, very publicly and enthusiastically endorsed John Key and his government by saying,

“As I see it, all things considered we are doing pretty bloody well. We box above our weight.

We have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them in Government.”

By what stretch of the imagination do TVNZ executives think that Hosking is in any way impartial? It would be like asking Maggie Barry or Shane Taurima to do the job.

There are many impartial, talented, and highly respected broadcasters who TVNZ could call upon; Rachel Smalley and Greg Boyd are just two names that spring to mind.

Or, the incomparable Kim Hill, perhaps one of the most respected broadcasters in the country would be ideal. Her credentials for impartiality are impeccable.

But not Mike Hosking. Not when he flies the flag for John Key and the National Party.

We deserve better.

-Frank Macskasy

[address and phone number supplied]

Remember to share, far and wide!!

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References

Fairfax Media: Labour claims Hosking’s biased

NZ Herald: Media: Hosking plugs car and Key

Newstalk ZB: Mike’s Editorial: Cunliffe looks like he’s given up

Yahoo Entertainment: Seven Sharp Returns and The Paul Henry Show Debuts

NZ Herald: Liu – $100k not just for wine

TV3: David Cunliffe owns up to getting it wrong

Previous related blogposts

When the mainstream media go feral: A tale of two holidays

Other blogs

Against the Current: Mike Hosking claims he isn’t biased. Yeah, right

Against the Current: Mike Hosking says Bash A Beneficiary Day!

Against the Current:  Mike Hosking asks – What is David Cunliffe hiding

MIKE HOSKING ASKS: WHAT IS DAVID CUNLIFFE HIDING?
YES, MIKE HOSKING IS A MORON
HOW MUCH OF A TOSSER IS MIKE HOSKING?

– See more at: http://nzagainstthecurrent.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/mike-hosking-says-bash-beneficiary-day.html#sthash.4t68qxKz.dpuf

Against the Current: Yes, Mike Hosking is a moron

Against the Current: How much of a tosser is Mike Hosking?

Against the Current: Seven Sharp promotes anti-Gay politician

The Standard:Everything in moderation

Polity: Mike Hosking

The Daily Blog: Dear Seven Sharp – after learning Hosking will be the leaders debate moderator – NO I will not give you the pretence of balance & I refuse to appear on your show

The Daily Blog: UNBREAKING: The list of questions Mike Hosking will use in first TVNZ leader debate

 


 

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david cunliffe stood up on the issue of domestic violence

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

Nat’s courts good, Labour’s courts bad?!

30 June 2014 1 comment

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party-logos - which

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It seems that some special Courts are “bad”, according to National;

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National - Labour's quake court poorly considered

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… whilst other special Courts are good, according to National;

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New ACC tribunal to replace District Court

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Kinda hard to know what National thinks is a “good” or “bad” idea…

… unless it involves giving away our taxdollars to corporates in subsidies and bailouts, and screwing the poor, beneficiaries,  and workers even further.

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References

TV3 News:  National – Labour’s quake court poorly considered

NZ Herald: New ACC tribunal to replace District Court


 

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Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

Letter to the Editor: The National House of Cards (v.2)

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

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FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:    Thu, 19 Jun 2014 13:52:49 +1200
TO:     "NZ Herald" <letters@herald.co.nz>

 

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The editor
NZ Herald

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So let me get this straight; the Nats have "found" an eleven
year old letter, purportedly from David Cunliffe, relating
to Donghua Liu's legitimate application to the Immigration
Service. 

Locating a letter from eleven years ago, from a government
department?

I had no idea our bureaucracy was so incredibly
super-efficient.

It also appears that John Key and Bill English seem to have
differing stories when they  got hold of this mysterious
"letter". Key says he  "can't exactly recall, I think it was
a few weeks ago."

But English says he did not know anything about it.

So what is the story? When did they "get hold" of this
letter? Who gave it to them? And how on earth could it have
been "found" after eleven years?

Methinks there is more to this issue, and the dodgy
shenanigans being played out by senior National ministers in
an apparent dirty tricks campaign, is the real story.

It is high time for Key and English to come clean. What are
they up to?


-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

 

.


 

References

Radio NZ: PM and deputy at odds over Cunliffe letter

Radio NZ Interview: Deputy PM says Cunliffe’s credibility shot

NZ Herald: Key on Liu-Labour link – More to come

The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung – Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

Letter to the Editor: The National House of Cards

19 June 2014 2 comments

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

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FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:    Thu, 19 Jun 2014 09:31:52 +1200
TO:     "Dominion Post"  <letters@dompost.co.nz> 
.
The Editor
Dominion Post

.

So National's party strategists have begun their "House of
Cards"  dirty tricks campaign? Finding an eleven year old
letter, to try to discredit David Cunliffe,  must have been
the "luckiest" stroke in history.

It is going to be a nasty campaign and the Nats will pull
out all stops to win.


-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

 

.


 

References

NZ Herald: Key on Liu-Labour link – More to come

The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung – Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

The secret of National’s success – revealed.

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labour mana greens internet

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1. Preface

Firstly, a disclosure on my part: I am a Green Party supporter (though by no means ‘wedded’ to that  particular party – or any party for that matter).

Secondly, it is not often I write a piece criticising others on the Left. I have long held the opinion that the Left needs to work together to achieve common goals, and that public displays of discord only serves to play into the hands of the Right.  And really, do we need to give the Right any further ammunition? Especially free of charge?!

2. What the hell is going on?!

Going by recent public comments made by Labour MPs and candidates, it seems that the Labour Party is either planning to sit this election out – or some of it’s higher-ranking public individuals are out of control.

How else to explain recent statements made in the mainstream and social media by Labour people, attacking others on the Left?

A few examples.

Kelvin Davis on 28 May  (see video at 1.29);

“People can see that this is just a stitch-up and I don’t think they like seeing Tai Tokerau being traded off like that. I think they’re taking the voters of Tai Tokerau for granted.”

Chris Hipkins on 30 May;

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chris hipkins - unprincipled sell outs - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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The above ‘tweet’ was supported by none other than ACT Party-member, Peter McKeefry;

and we look forward to you Chippie slamming the corruption of democracy by the left in general debate.

Meanwhile, also on 30 May,  Labour MP and one-time Party leader, Phil Goff, added his three cents worth on Facebook;

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Phil Goff - facebook - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Goff makes the point,

I am also opposed to anyone buying a political party and buying influence by splashing out $3 million as Dotcom proposes.”

Funny. That is precisely the same smear that the Right continually throw at Labour: that unions are “buying influence” with their donations to the Labour Party campaign ‘war chest’.

It can only be a facepalm moment when a senior, experienced, supposedly politically-savvy Labour politician utters a statement that parrots and validates Right-wing bullshit. Nice one, Phil. Got anything on ‘lazy benes’ spending up large on SkyTV, booze, and drugs?

.

Chris Hipkins on 31 May;

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chris hipkins - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Right-wing blogger and National apparatchik, David Farrar, caught on very quickly when Kelvin Davis re-tweeted one of National Party supporter, Hamish Price’s tweets, and posed this question;

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David Farrar - kelvin davis - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

.

Hipkins again, on 1 June;

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chris hipkins -dodgy deals - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

 

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And just to make sure we all got the gist of his attacks on small parties (aka, Internet-Mana), Hipkins threw this ‘grenade’ into the mix on the same day;

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chris hipkins - small parties - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Of all the statements put out by Labour’s MPs, that one has to be the most asinine yet – as blogger Jackal (et al) tried to point out to Labour’s Napier candidate, Stuart Nash;

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jackal - jackal blog - stuart nash - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

 

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Kelvin Davis seems unable to comprehend that a “Labour victory” is unobtainable if Labour shafts potential coalition partners.  He could not answer the simple question; “How will you achieve a Labour  victory without coalition partners“?!

This simple fact not lost on National – and the Nats have consistently out-ranked Labour in every  poll to date! (More on this point in a moment.)

Twitter-user, Andrew Riddell  tried (in vain) to point out the futility of Labour’s attacks on Mana-Internet – and was “rewarded” with a very bizarre, Winston Peters-like evasive response by Labour’s Education spokesperson and MP for Rimutake, Chris Hipkins;

.

 

chris hipkins -andrew riddell - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Kelvin Davis on 2 June;

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kelvin davis - twitter - ngatibird - laila harre - Mana party - internet party - labour party.

Kelvin Davis’ hardline statements were supported by rightwing Twitter members such as Hamish Price, Manoja St John – and by right-wing, National-supporting blogger, Keeping Stock;

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keeping stock -  mark mitchell - kelvin davis - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

.

Note who “Favourited” Keeping Stock’s tweet – Kelvin Davis and  National Party MP, Mark Mitchell (red arrowed).

Amazingly, it was ‘ordinary’ Twitter users who tried to talk sense into Labour’s MPs and candidates;

.

They want to be be in opposition. They can’t even function together as one team.

.

Ppl don’t have the confidence to vote left bcause they can’t see how we will work together. Fix this!

.

For someone who is pro-MMP you show a real inability to think in terms of left and right blocs.

.

why use strategic friends and allies when you can just lose all by yourself?

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if u want to win need to get around your heads around the fact that MMP rules allow what happened and be more magnanimous

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that is not constructive. Think outside the “two big parties” box please.

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another crack at your future coalition partners.. It’s like you know you’re going to lose….

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Gee, , I’ve never heard you be so purposefully insulting … oh, wait. Yes I have.

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Speaking of sell outs.. I remember the time in 1984 when I voted Labour and got neoliberalism instead.

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Kelvin,you are in the wrong party .. join the Nats and make a REAL difference

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It is counter productive for the left to dis the left Instead its smarter 2 wish them well & focus on a left win

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Even more kinda sorta ironic that the Kelvin Scale is used to determine absolute zero.

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how many tory votes do you think that tweet scored you?

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Pull your head in .clowns like urself are gonna cost THE LEFT thats right THE LEFT. this election.

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Is Labour on a kamikaze mission? Goff, Davis & now Nash slagging off coalition partners. This is damaging.

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more the left stands undivided the easier it is for the country to think the right is the only consistent choice

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The last (but not really – there were many, many more)   made the point that really counts.

3. The Primal Urge to Self-Destruct?

I’m not sure what ‘game’ Labour is playing at here. Obviously they are trying to grab potential votes that might accrue to Mana-Internet – but the process they are using is so utterly destructive that it beggars belief.

In an MMP environment, both National and Labour need smaller parties as coalition partners. This was amply illustrated in 2011, when National all but endorsed John Banks for the Epsom electorate, and made Katrina Shanks an electorate candidate-in-name-only in Ohariu, to allow Peter Dunne the opportunity to win.

National fully understands the realpolitik of MMP.

Labour – it appears – is still playing by First Past the Post rules.

National set the rules for MMP  on 14 May 2013, when Justice Minister Judith Collins told the House that National would be rejecting the Electoral Commission’s recommendations to abandon the ‘coat tailing’ provision and to reduce the party threshold from 5% to 4% [which this blogger supports]. Collins gave the weak excuse,

“Mr Speaker, of course I did not hold the MMP Review. That was a matter that was undertaken by the Electoral Commission. But I can also say that I made it very clear that we need concensus on these matters for any change and there is no concensus for any change.”

The “concensus” that Collins referred to was ACT and Peter Dunne opposing the scrapping of coat-tailing because it would significantly damage their electoral chance to win extra seats with that provision.

As Gordon Campbell wrote;

National can hardly bitch and moan about this outcome either. For nearly 15 years, it campaigned loud and long against the evils of MMP and railed for a review of its shortcomings. Yet then Justice Minister Judith Collins promptly and cynically shelved the MMP review findings, once National realised that the review’s main recommendation – that the electorate seat coat-tails now being used by Harawira and Dotcom should be abolished – would hurt its own chances of getting Colin Craig and his Conservatives and the Act Party’s latest minion in Epsom onside, and into Parliament. If the Mana/Dotcom arrangement looks like cynical pragmatism, it is merely par for the course.”

Labour needs to get their head around one simple reality; that it must – must! – play by the rules which National have set. Playing by another set of rules will result in losing the election in September and staying on the Opposition benches.

If Labour is trying to paint itself as “principled” – they have failed. Right wing blogs and even msm journalists have tarred both main parties with the same brush, as TV3 journalist, Patrick Gower did in 2011, with an outrageous claim about Labour doing “dirty deals” with the Greens. (For the record, since 2002, the Greens’ policy has been to campaign for the Party Vote, not the Electorate Vote. Gower was making sh*t up when he claimed – without any actual evidence – that Labour and the Greens colluded in Ohariu in 2011.)

Being “principled” will not prevent public attacks by  right-wing commentators; headline-hunting conservative msm journos; business interests; National/ACT; etc.

Being “principled” will simply give National a free run in this years’ election.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in under-mining potential coalition partners.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in looking weak and fractured, in the eyes of the public.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies smacks of dis-unity. Dis-unity, in the eyes of the public, is not a Government-in-waiting. It is Labour unable to set aside self-interest and  party-politics for the good of the nation.

If the public perceive that Labour is more interested in attacking it’s own potential allies – and here is the nub of the problem – then why should people vote for such a fractious party that appears unable to work alongside said potential allies?

National – polling in high 40s and low 50s – cultivates potential allies.

Labour – polling in high 20s and low 30s – undermines, attacks, and marginalises it’s own potential allies.

Contrast Labour’s current destructive pattern of behaviour with National’s attitude, as repeated ad nauseum by John Key;

 We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country, even when those parties have different policies.

Labour says that it will campaign on it’s own policies.

So does National.

But the difference  – the B-I-G difference – is that in doing so, National does not attempt to subvert the chances of it’s potential allies. Quite the contrary, it nurtures it’s potential coalition partners like a farmer tending to his flock.

Is this “dirty deal-making” as sensationalist media headline-mongers keep hysterically screaming?

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Patrick Gower - laila harre - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

Patrick Gower - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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– or has National understood what the public really, really, really want; constructive co-operation between political parties?

How many times have we heard the public say, “why can’t they work together for the good of the country?”.

Well, National’s strategists have understood and implemented this very simple truism; the public do not like seeing squabbling politicians. The public want political parties to work together, collegially  to solve pressing problems.

That is why Key keeps repeating his mantra,

 We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country blah blah blah.. 

That is why National is high up in the polls.

That is why Labour is floundering and losing support. And respect.

That is why the latest Roy Morgan poll – the most reasonably accurate of all polls (except the one that really counts on Election Day) – had this recent shocking result;

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National (52.5%) surges to election winning lead while Labour/ Greens (38%) slump to lowest since last New Zealand Election as Greens propose a Carbon Tax to replace the Emissions Trading Scheme

Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong gain in support for National (52.5%, up 7%) now at their highest since before the last New Zealand Election and well ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (38%, down 6%) – almost matching their performance at the 2011 New Zealand Election at which the two parties polled a combined 38.5%.

Support for Key’s Coalition partners has also improved with the Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%), ACT NZ (1%, up 0.5%) and United Future 0% (unchanged).

Support has fallen significantly for all Opposition parties with the Labour Party down 1.5% to 29%, the Greens down 4.5% to 9% (the lowest support for the Greens since September 2011), New Zealand First 4.5% (down 1.5%) and Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (unchanged) and the Internet Party is 0.5% (unchanged).

If a National Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the result would be a landslide victory for the National Party and a third term for Prime Minister John Key.

 

.

That is why the Left will lose on 20 September.

Unless Labour radically changes tack and demonstrates to the public that they are more interested in working together with potential partners – than wrecking their chances at winning votes – voters will be put off. Telling the public that Labour “can work with other parties after the election” is not good enough. Labour must show it can do it.

Otherwise, as one quasi-fascist right-wing blogger put it, the public will perceive that “things are falling apart for the Labour Party“.  He may have a valid point.

Again, as Gordon Campbell stated,

 Labour may just be mule-headed enough – and tribally fixated on the FPP-era of politicking – to try and get rid of Harawira at all costs, and thereby torpedo one of its main chances of forming the next government.

At which Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish added;

 How not to win an election…

…Pretend that we still have a First Past the Post electoral system.”

It is supremely ironic that National – the champion of the Cult of Individualism – can work collectively and collegially with other political parties. But Labour – a party of the left, which espouses collective action for the greater good – is desperately and greedily scrabbling for votes for itself and attacking  potential allies.

Also ironic is that the current MMP rules were set by a National government for the benefit of National. When other parties such as Mana-Internet try to use those very same rules, the reaction from National,  the media, and other right wing commentators, is both vicious and sustained.

Unfortunately, Labour have bought into National’s strategy.  The concept of “principles” – which utterly eludes the Right – has been used to frame the issue of small, left-wing parties “coat tailing” into Parliament. It is “un-principled” when the Left does it.

When National does it, they are being “pragmatic” and duly ignore the shrill screams of the likes of Gower, Garner, et al.

Because in the final analysis, National has sussed perfectly well what the public wants.

We have three months to do likewise.

Or we will lose.

 

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References

TVNZ News: Former MP Laila Harre tipped as Internet Party’s new leader

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Facebook: Phil Goff

Twitter: David Farrar

Twitter: Hamish Price

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Jackal (Jackalblog)

Twitter: Andrew Riddell

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Kelvin Davis

Twitter: Keeping Stock

Fairfax media: Government’s MMP review response slammed

TV3: John Key’s State of the Nation speech – the main points

Kiwiblog: Mana-Dotcom Alliance

TV3: Dirty electorate political deals, done dirt cheap

Twitter: Patrick Gower

Roy Morgan Poll

Previous related blogposts

The Mana-Internet Alliance – My Thoughts

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

Judith Collins issues decision on MMP Review!

Additional

Fairfax media: Labour MPs not happy with Mana-Internet

Other blogs

The Standard: Labour’s Mana Internet Party dilemma

Gordon Campbell: Gordon Campbell on the rise of Laila Harré

The Daily Blog:  Authoritarian Labour: Why Kelvin Davis needs to STFU – and soon!

The Daily Blog:  Keep Calm And Carry On: Why the Left should ignore the next round of poll results

Imperator Fish: How to win an election

 


 

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Why I am a Leftie

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 7 June 2014.

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= fs =

 

The Mana-Internet Alliance – My Thoughts

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internet party mana party

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1. Mana’s cunning plan

Firstly, let me say that I have a huge amount of respect for Sue Bradford. Much like Kate Sheppard, her contribution to New Zealand society with her political activism and expression of ideals is something that our children and grandchildren will recognise and appreciate. She is the better part of our nation’s collective conscience in what is right, fair, and decent.

When Sue  Bradford speaks, we listen.

On the issue of the Mana-Internet Party Alliance (it is not a merger, as cynics and right-wing commentators are suggesting),  whilst I understand her reservations, I don’t accept we have the luxury of being “purer than pure” about this.

I don’t need to remind people that this government has been vicious toward low income earners; workers; and welfare recipients. Whilst National has bent over backwards for the likes of Rio Tinto, Warner Bros, and Skycity, it has nothing but contempt for those at the other end of the socio-economic spectrum.

Bennett’s on-going war-of-words on the unemployed and solo-mothers (but never solo-fathers) and repressive new  measures at WINZ are making life harder and harder for those who must survive on welfare.

Simon Bridges’ anti-union legislation will destroy the last vestiges of protection and collective bargaining for workers, delivering them into the grasping fists of local and foreign capitalist corporations.

We can argue all we like about the ethics of co-operation between Mana and the Internet Party.  We can indulge our political passions till the dairy cows come home (after their morning poo in our rivers).

We can keep waiting for a mass workers’ movement to rise up and overthrow the oligarchy that rules this country (and others throughout the world) – but really,  it ain’t gonna  happen, folks.

Quite simply, the poor/unemployed/low-paid are too busy struggling day-to-day to survive on their meagre incomes; avoiding debt collectors; and keeping up with WINZ’s ever-changing rules and new hurdles. Who can forget the chilling, heart-wrending  story  of Sarah Wilson, who recounted her experiences with WINZ. There are thousands of men and women and children like Sarah going through what she has.

The middle-classes are either National Party aspirationists who have bought the neo-liberal, consumer-is-king, construct, hook-line-and-sinker – or are trying to keep their heads above water, balancing their outgoings with their income. The latter have one eye on their bank accounts and the other on the lot of the poor/unemployed/low-paid – and will do anything to keep from slipping down to their bottom level.

Like homelessness in the United States, once down the socio-economic ladder, it is damned hard to climb up again.

If we needed  a clear example why the Left must take every opportunity to rid ourselves of this government, it is this piece, which I have republished from Tony Milne’s blogpost on The Daily Blog;

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Hooray for our National Government!

Let me tell you just how well they have supported my family over the last twelve months.

We started off 2013 full of hope that finally things were going to get better. Our children were at new schools and beginning to recover from the trauma of being trapped in the CBD during the earthquake. Having lost our source of income as a result of the earthquake I retrained as a teacher. My husband and I both had teaching jobs. As a beginning teacher and teacher Aide our salaries were very low but at least we were earning.

Strike 1: We were earning but not receiving. Novopay! That wonderful new acquisition of our caring and intelligent government hit us hard. For months we were not paid properly or at all in my husband’s case. This meant that we quickly fell into debt as we had no income. Paying interest on the debt cost us thousands by the end of the year.

Strike 2: My job was a fixed term position for 1 year. That’s ok. I’m sure to find another one… except the government has closed so many Christchurch schools that even many experienced teachers are out of work. So no more jobs available. Way to go government! As if we haven’t suffered enough in Christchurch!

Strike 3: Thank goodness we have a welfare system to help us out in times of trouble. Our incredibly generous government has worked its magic on the welfare system too. Revamping it to make sure those nasty beneficiaries don’t eat into their coffers and mess up the budget surplus targets. So despite being unemployed I am ineligible for a benefit. The reason being that the $379.28 that my husband brings home each week during the school term (as a teacher aide he does not get paid for school holidays) is too much for me to qualify. We can claim an accommodation supplement of $120 per week.

Strike 4: $120 per week accommodation supplement doesn’t go very far in Christchurch thesedays. But if we lived in Auckland we could get more because housing is so much more expensive there. Really? A small 1960’s house with 2 1/2 bedrooms and no insulation is at least $450 a week in Christchurch. A search on Trademe revealed 68 3 bedroom houses available for rent in Auckland for $350 per week or less. There were no 3 bedroom houses for that price in Christchurch. Aah yes there is a housing shortage but the government will not increase the accommodation supplement or do anything to stop the profiteering of landlords. Or make resolving the housing shortage a priority.

Why? Who knows… it seems that people are not as important as those good old market forces – our friends supply and demand.

It is interesting to consider that during a similarly traumatic and destructive national emergency (World War 2), it was illegal to profiteer in this way. In fact in the UK, profiteering like this was akin to treason and carried the death penalty.

Strike 5: So, here we are. A family of two adults and two hungry teenagers and two cats living on $568.28 per week for 40 weeks of the year and $189 per week for the rest when you include our
family tax rebate. Our rent was $470 per week and it was costing $110 per week for my husband to commute to his job. In order to save money we have put the kids into the school where my husband works and moved close by. Our rent is now $450 per week and we are locked into it for the next twelve months. We signed the contract believing that we would be entitled to a benefit that would give me an income and believing that for $450 a week it would be insulated and safe if not beautiful.

We were wrong. We were unable to find anything cheaper despite searching for months. I had applied for a benefit in the first week of February after my previous employment contract ended.

Unfortunately, WINZ were having a tough few months and it took them until the 6th process my application. They declined it. If I had known that it would be declined I would not have signed the tenancy three weeks earlier.

Strike 6: Novopay strikes again! Novopay failed to pay me correctly at the end of my contract so I am still owed a week’s pay. Novopay refuse to talk to teachers and will only talk to the pay officer in the school. I notified the school over a month ago and they say that they have referred the matter to Novopay. Nothing more they can do. Novopay won’t talk to me so I can’t find out where my money is. Stalemate!

So as you can see our wonderful government has taken an ordinary family and crushed it through the accumulated impact of the decisions of their various departments. We survived the earthquake and after three years the physical and psychological injuries are starting to heal. Unfortunately, we won’t survive this government. I don’t know what I can possibly do to change my situation. I have tried every avenue I can think of. Years of hard work all for nothing.

It baffles me that such a government could ever be elected by reasonable people. But then I guess Hitler was elected too… I am sure there are well meaning people in the government somewhere but I wonder if they really appreciate the impact of the decisions that they make on ordinary people.

One other point: getting rid of this government is not just a matter of helping those who are threatened by right-wing policies – though god knows that should be plenty to motivate us.

The longer that a right-wing government is in power, the further their neo-liberal policies are cemented in place, and the harder to undo them. The dismantling of free tertiary education and introduction of tertiary fees/debt, from 1992, is a prime example.

A third term of National will see a further erosion of workers’ rights; beneficiary bashing; growing inequality; worsening housing shortage; and other social and economic ills. A third term will make it much harder for an incoming Labour-Green-Mana-Internet Party(-NZ First ?) to carry out social reforms, as the country is moved further and further to the right.

Time is not on our side.

2. Flavell’s unmitigated hypocrisy

On the Mana-Internet Party Alliance, Maori Party co-co-c0-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell said;

“Utilising Maori seats to drag in somebody who is questionable about their knowledge about things Maori, and indeed the dreams and aspirations of the Tai Tokerau, it’s not on.”

If I were Flavell, I would not be  bandying about words like “dreams” and “aspirations“.

Since  John Key became Prime Minister – with Maori Party support – unemployment has risen; the housing crisis has worsened; child poverty has increased; and income inequality has worsened;

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Income inequality in New Zealand -  the Gini coefficient - 1982 - 2012

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Note the yellow-highlighted After Housing Costs rise in inequality from 36.8 (2007) to 37.7 (2012). The higher the figure in the GINI co-efficient, the greater the inequality.

Many of those unemployed and looking for work or living in garages are Maori or Pacifica. Poverty related diseases are impacting on Maori and Pacifica children worse than other ethnic groups. New Zealand’s under class is growing.

As such, Flavell and his mates in the Maori Party are every bit a part of the problem rather than the solution. So if I were Mr Flavell or his fellow-travellers, I’d be keeping my head down, and mouth firmly shut.

3. Labour’s mind-numbing stupidity

(Some ?) (All ?) Labour MPs need to make up their minds – do they want to be in government or not?

Labour’s Kelvin Davis’s comment on 28 May;

“People can see that this is just a stitch-up and I don’t think they like seeing Tai Tokerau being traded off like that. I think they’re taking the voters of Tai Tokerau for granted.”

– beggars belief.

With that incredibly asinine comment, it appears that certain Labour MPs do not quite comprehend;

  1. This is an MMP political environment – has been since 1996, for god’s sakes!
  2. This will be a closely fought election according to political pundits, commentators, bloggers, pollsters, etc. Even Dear Leader acknowledges that this year’s election will be  close.

As such – and let me bold this so that any Labour politician reading this doesn’t miss it – every single seat will count. The next government may have no more than a one or two seat majority.

In which case, let me explain it in simple terms for Mr Davis and his colleagues;

  • If Kelvin Davis wins Tai Tokerau – that will give one seat to a Labour-led-government.
  • If Hone Harawira wins Tai Tokerau, and the Mana-Internet Alliance polls 1.5% (for example), that will give a Labour-led government two MPs.
  • Let me repeat that, as some of my colleagues may be a bit slow on the up-take on this point;
  • If Kelvin Davis wins Tai Tokerau – that will give one seat to a Labour-led-government.
  • If Hone Harawira wins Tai Tokerau, and the Mana-Internet Alliance polls 1.5% (for example), that will give a Labour-led government two MPs.

Now in my books, two is better than one, by about 200%.

So – unless Labour is getting nervous at impending interest rate rises, and is planning to sit this election out and gift the government back to National – there is no benefit whatsoever to the Left if Kelvin Davis wins Tai Tokerau.

None.

Nada.

Nil.

Zero.

In fact, if Mana-Internet fails to win seats, we could see a third term of this guy, as our Prime Minister;

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johnkey5

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I trust that’s helped focus people’s attention?

4. Postscript

If rumours are correct that Laila Harré has been appointed as the new leader of the Internet Party, then we have nothing to fear. Laila is as solid as they come when it comes to a strong leftwing philosophy. Her integrity, vision, and inner strength  will keep the Internet Party firmly to the Left.

I’d say our chances of a new progressive government post 20 September just got better.

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References

NBR: Internet Party, Mana merge

NZ Herald: Beneficiaries ‘attacked on all sides’

NZ Herald: Welfare rules force people to struggle on without benefits

Writehandedgirl Blog: Terror and humiliation – just another day with WINZ

The Daily Blog: “We won’t survive this government”

TVNZ News: Dotcom’s party poised for Parliament on Harawira’s coat tails

MSD: Household incomes in New Zealand: Trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2012 Revised Tables and Figures 27 February 2014

Interest.co.nz: Otago Uni study estimates over-crowding causes over 1,300 hospital admissions a year and some deaths; Professor calls for programme to build thousands of affordable homes

Scoop media: Shocking poverty causing shocking diseases in our children

NZ Herald: Key admits underclass still growing

TVNZ News:  Former MP Laila Harre tipped as Internet Party’s new leader

Radio NZ: PM still expects tight election race

Previous related blogposts

Good onya, Sue!

Heroes…

 


 

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Vote the government out

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 May 2014.

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9= fs =

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 27 May 2014

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– Politics on Nine To Noon –

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– Monday 27 May 2014 –

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– Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams –

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Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Our political commentators speak about the recent boost in National’s polling, the strengthening New Zealand economy, and the upcoming elections.

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

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Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (21′ 30″ )

  • Budget 2014, Family Package
  • Polls
  • Election 2014, voting, Labour-Green Bloc, “Missing Million” voters
  • David Shearer
  • Environment, rivers, genetic engineering, nitrate pollution, Ruataniwha Dam
  • Resource Management Act reforms, Amy Adams, Peter Dunne
  • Mana Party, Internet Party
  • Green Party list
  • Winston Peters, Parliament

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= fs =

Budget 2014 – How has National exposed itself in Election Year?

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2014 election

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Right Wing blogger and National Party apparatchik, David Farrar, wrote in the Dominion Post on the day after the Budget,

“By contrast I expect debate on the New Zealand Budget to be over by Monday morning.”

Really?!

Don’t you believe it, sunshine.

National’s sixth budget contained spending on;

  • $171.8 million to extend paid parental leave (PPL):
    • Additional four weeks, starting with a two-week extension from 1 April 2015, and another two weeks from 1 April 2016.
    • Extend eligibility of paid parental leave to caregivers other than parents (for example, “Home for Life” caregivers), and to extend parental leave payments to people in less-regular jobs or who recently changed jobs.
  • $42.3 million to increase the parental tax credit (PTC) from $150 a week to $220 a week, and increase the payment period from eight to 10 weeks, from 1 April 2015.
  • $155.7 million to help early childhood centres remain affordable and increase participation towards the 98 per cent target.
  • $33.2 million in 2014/15 to help vulnerable children, including eight new Children’s Teams to identify and work with at-risk children, screening of people who work with children, and additional resources to support children in care.
  • $90 million to provide free GP visits and prescriptions for children aged under 13, starting on 1 July 2015.

(Source: Treasury)

 

It was perhaps the last item – free healthcare for Under 13s – that took the media, public, and Opposition by surprise. As others have stated, it was a policy lifted straight from the policy pages of Labour, Greens, or Mana.

Other increases in  funding included increased funding ($10.4 million) for sexual violence services

Sexual violence services have been critically under-funded since 2012 and many were forced to cut back on staffing as funding dried up in Wellington, Auckland, and elsewhere. It is fairly evident that funding increases for child healthcare, parental leave,  and sexual violence services have all been left for 2014.

Which conveniently also happens to be election year.

As far as cynical self-interest goes, these Budget funding-measures are an obvious – if utterly crude – attempt at  currying public favour as Election Day bears down on this government.

Why was funding for sexual violence community groups not made available earlier, so that full staffing levels and services for survivors could be maintained? $10.4 million dollars out of a Government revenue of $64.1 billion is not massive by any standard. In fact, it is just a shade under one year’s worth of Ministerial travel, at $11 million.

By comparison, National gave a  tax-payer funded bail-out of $30 million to the Rio Tinto  aluminium smelter last August – three times what was eventually budgetted for sexual violence services.

Even the $2 million of taxpayer’s money paid  by National to a Golf Tournament over the last three years would have assisted these much-needed groups  keep their services intact and skilled counsellors employed,  until this month’s Budget.

Leaving critical funding till Election Year is tantamount to abusing the victims of sexual violence all over again.

The same could be said of funding free healthcare for Under 13s. If it is a good idea now – why was it not a good idea two years ago?

It’s not as if John Key did not acknowledge the growing under-class in this country only three years ago;

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Key admits underclass still growing

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And a year later, this staggering headline appeared in the media – a story few of us would ever believe would happen here, in Gods Own;

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Hungry kids scavenge pig slops

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Little wonder then, that Dr Nikki Turner, from the  Child Poverty Action Group, was less than impressed by National’s sudden transformation into a quasi-social democratic party with a newly-cloned heart, and a belated attempt to improve children’s health;

A child lobby group says free doctors’ visits and prescriptions will make little difference to reducing child poverty without also improving the incomes and the housing conditions of the very poor.

“Without adequate income, without adequate warmth and housing, we’re not going to (make) a lot of difference at this stage to our children’s health.”

Indeed. Without addressing the core causes of poverty-related diseases, National’s free health-care plan is simply a  multi-million dollar band-aid. The root causes of those diseases will still be present in many households up and down the country.

If Key and English thought that their band-aid solutions would be gratefully accepted by an uncritical, compliant media and public, they were mistaken.

An un-named author of an editorial in the Dominion Post on 16 May stated,

“This is a deliberately bland and even boring Budget. The Government has clearly decided that grey and safe is its best hope in election year. The only surprise was free doctors’ visits for under-13-year-olds. Middle New Zealand will welcome it, as it will many of the other, carefully telegraphed, handouts. More paid parental leave: who could object? A bit more help with childcare costs: why not?”

The same editorial went on,

“The other glaring black hole in the Budget is the housing crisis. More and more New Zealanders cannot afford a house, and the Government’s response is muted and inadequate. The Budget promises to remove tariffs on building supplies, a sensible step following revelations about the high price of such materials here compared with Australia. But the change will cut only a few thousand dollars from the price of a house.

Much bolder moves will be needed, including a capital gains tax. But National’s caution here is a drawback, not an advantage. Sometimes problems are serious and need action. National seems to believe it will be enough to cut red tape and remove some of the planning obstacles in the way of housing. It won’t.”

This is where John Key and Bill English have mis-calculated badly, and which no one (?) has picked up.

After all, if a problem with children’s health was not critical, why would a fiscally conservative government fund free doctor’s visits to the tune of $90 million? Indeed, as Trevor McGlinchey for the NZ Council of  Christian Social Services said, on 16 May,

“In providing $500 million of support for children and families over four years the Government has recognised many of our families are suffering.”

The key-word here is “recognised“.

In funding free healthcare, National has admitted to anyone who will take notice that a problem of some magnitude exists in this country. They can no longer hide behind platitudes.

As the above editorial went on to state,

“At present there is little rage about poverty, inequality and the housing crisis. These problems are raw and real but voters are patient and only a minority of voters now seem to actually hate National. It will probably take another term before a majority is truly fed up with Key and his band. In the meantime, this bland document may be a document for the times.”

The author of that piece is being optimistic. By acknowledging that a problem exists; by acknowledging that state funding is required; and by acknowledging that a “radical” (for National, this is radical stuff) solution is required – they have left themselves wide open in this election campaign.

A campaign manager with a posse of motivated, clued-up, and capable strategists, will be able to use this in the up-coming election campaign. Like a game of chess, in trying to show how “clever” they were in manipulating public perception, National have left their “social policy flank” exposed and vulnerable.

So much for Kiwiblogger Mr Farrar’s misplaced optimism that “I expect debate on the New Zealand Budget to be over by Monday morning”.

Quite the contrary, David.

By shining a bright, $90 million spotlight on this problem, they can no longer deny that it exists or is “improving”.

It’s only just begun.

*

Postscript #1

The cost of financing this country’s $59 billion debt is shown in this Dominion Post graphic;

.

Revenue and expenses 2014 budget new zealand government

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The cost of financing our debt is shown to to $3.9 billion, per year.

Two years ago, the Green Party used Parliamentary Library information to estimate the cost of the 2009 and 2010 tax cuts;

“The Green Party has today revealed that the National Government has so far had to borrow an additional $2 billion dollars to fund their 2010 tax cut package for upper income earners.

New information prepared for the Green Party by the Parliamentary Library show that the estimated lost tax revenues from National’s 2010 tax cut package are between $1.6–$2.2 billion. The lost revenue calculation includes company and personal income tax revenues offset by increases in GST.”

The cost of those tax cuts is  roughly the equivalent of what we are now paying to service our overall debt.

So much for National’s “prudent fiscal managing” of the government’s books.

Postscript#2

Someone at the Dominion Post seems to have a rather shocking memory. At the bottom of Page A4, in their 16 May edition, this item was published;

.

Past budgets 2009 - Dominion Post - 16 May 2014

.

Promised tax-cuts in 2009 were not “axed”. As this IRD page explained;

.

IRD technical tax area 2009 

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Key even made this helpful suggestion to those who did not want their tax cuts to donate them to charity,

“I am just as sure there are many who are in a position to donate some of that extra income”.

Which would make it hard to donate non-existent tax cuts, as the author of the Dominion Post article claimed.

Postscript #3

This graph from Treasury (with a minor enhancement by this blogger) shows our borrowings from 2003 to 2013, with subsequent estimations.

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Treasury New Zealand debt

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According to the graph, we can see how Labour paid down the country’s sovereign debt, leaving New  Zealand well-placed to weather the on-coming Global Financial Crisis and resulting recession. Something even Key and English have had to admit on occasion;

“The level of public debt in New Zealand was $8 billion when National came into office in 2008. It’s now $53 billion, and it’s forecast to rise to $72 billion in 2016. Without selling minority shares in five companies, it would rise to $78 billion. Our total investment liabilities, which cover both public and private liabilities, are $150 billion – one of the worst in the world because of the high levels of private debt in New Zealand.”

Indeed.

 

.


 

References

Dominion Post: English spreads the lolly far and wide

NZ Treasury:  Key Facts for Taxpayers (Part 1)

NZ Herald: Budget 2014 – Building products tariffs lifted temporarily

Manawatu Standard: Boost for rape crisis services welcomed

Fairfax media:  Rape crisis line forced to cut staff

Dominion Post: Wellington rape centre forced to cut hours

NZ Treasury: Government Revenue

Fairfax media: MPs’ travel costs rise

NZ Herald: PM defends $30m payout to Rio Tinto

NZ Herald: Golf event tots up $2m in Govt aid

NZ Herald:  Key admits underclass still growing

Fairfax media: Hungry kids scavenge pig slops

Radio NZ: Child lobby sceptical of budget moves

Dominion Post: Editorial – The crowd goes mild at Budget

Parliament: Inequality—Assets and Income

Scoop media: Govt’s 2010 tax cuts costing $2 billion and counting

Dominion Post: Child poverty still not being corrected

IRD: [2009] Tax cuts for individuals

Otago Daily Times: Key says donate tax cuts to charity

NZ Treasury:  Net debt peaks as a share of GDP in 2014/15

National.co.nz: Mixed Ownership

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the Editor: playing politics with rape victims, National-style

Letter to the Editor: $3000 offer to the Unemployed is a joke – and not a very funny one!

Letter to Radio NZ: $3000 offer to the Unemployed is a joke – and not a very funny one (v.2)

 

 

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 18 May 2014.

.

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Annette King confirmed as Labour’s candidate for Rongotai

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20 September

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NZ, Wellington, 3 May –  The Rongotai Branch of the NZ Labour Party has confirmed current MP, and former minister, Annette King, as Labour’s candidate for the 2014 General Election.

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annette king - labour candidate for rongotai -  wellington - 3 may 2014

Rongotai Labour Party members and invited guests, attending the electorate-selection meeting at Mornington Golf Club.

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In a speech to a packed hall at Mornington Golf Club, in the south Wellington suburb of Berhampore, Ms King was introduced by former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Wellington Central, Grant Robertson. His opening comments drew applause and laughter from party members, supporters, and public;

“I get to sit next to Annette in Parliament which is a huge pleasure. One of the things I’ve noticed is that Annette is one of the best multi-taskers in politics. She can simultaneously complete a Soduku and eviscerate Tony Ryall, all at the same time.”

He added,  “the committment that I have seen from Annette that is reflected in the twenty one years as the MP here is without peer, in politics in New Zealand, in my view.” Grant Robertson spoke of her “compassion, true heart, and Labour values”.

Robertson said “she is true to what we believe is a movement that it’s our job to lift the spirits and the prospects of every New Zealander.” Turning to Ms King, he added, “we need you in the  next Labour[-led] government, we need your wisdom, and your experience… and your core values.”

He then seconded her nomination as the Labour candidate for the Rongotai electorate.

With no other nominations, Annette King’s nomination was put to the floor, and was passed unanimously by voice vote.

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Wellington Central MP,  Grant Robertson, discussing issues with Labour Party rank and file members.

Wellington Central MP, Grant Robertson, discussing issues with Labour Party rank and file members.

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A little later, I had a brief one-on-one with Grant Robertson.  I asked him,

“Grant, what is your personal number one for this election?”

He replied,

“The biggest issue for me is jobs. As the Labour Party’s employment spokesperson, I go around the country and I see too many New Zealanders who don’t have work, who want to work, and we have an economy that doesn’t have jobs at the center.

We’re an economy at the moment that’s driven by the bankers and the speculators and what we need is an economy that’s driven by and for people and that will have jobs at the center. So that’s what you’ll hear me talking [about] all through the election.”

I asked Grant Robertson about Labour’s buy-local procurement policy,

“Government procurement is one of the best ways you can stimulate the economy and most of the countries in the world do it and don’t worry about the so-called committments that they’ve got under international agreements… But absolutely, a procurement policy that focuses on encouraging companies that will employ New Zealanders is vital.”

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Annette King, addressing Labour Party members with a good-natured speech.

Annette King, addressing Labour Party members with a good-natured speech.

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Following on, Annette King, addressed Labour Party members with a good-humoured speech, and reaffirmed her determination to promote Labour Party policy and ideals. Ms King said “there was work to be done” and that she “had the passion, the feeling, and the committment” to follow through. She also paid tribute to “new blood” coming through in the Labour Party,

“I do believe that a party needs new talent, we need to bring in the new and rejuvenate. And we’re doing that with members like Grant [Robertson], and Jacinda [Ardern], and David Clark, and Megan Wood, and many of those young people who are coming through showing such talent.”

Ms King also reaffirmed the need for people with institutional memory;  “an experience of knowing what it’s like to be in government. What we want, at this election, is to lead the government again.”

Ms King added,

“The value of fairness to New Zealanders; ensuring that everybody is looked after in this country. Not just the privileged few we see under this government.   There does need to be access to good healthcare; education for our children; and really important, the ability to have a warm, dry, affordable, home. These are some of the  values of our party and so much more.”

In reference to National’s latest scandals, she said,

“We’re going to take the fight to this government, in the next few months. We’ve got twenty weeks to make sure we lead the next government and I believe that we can. What a difference a week makes in politics! Last week a few of us were down at the Newtown market… we were down there and people were walking past us, and looking at us sideways and walking on.

We’d just suffered the fallout of the Shane Jones departure from the party. Today, down at the market, we were surrounded by people. People wanted to talk about policy, to talk about the Labour Party. They wanted to join the Labour Party.  In one week we have seen some really innovative policy coming out of the Labour Party, and people [were] saying ‘Hey, that is the Labour Party we know. A progressive Party that comes up with the real ideas [for] change for New Zealand’.”

There was more than an element of truth when Ms King pointed out,

“All the progressive change in this country came from the Labour Party. This government, and the National governments before, are governments of the status quo. And when you need change, you have a Labour party [government].

And what I could not bear is the thought of three more years of National, and neither could most working people in New Zealand.”

 

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Current MP for Rongotai, Annette King, discussing policy matters with Labour Party stalwarts.

Current MP for Rongotai, Annette King, discussing policy matters with Labour Party stalwarts.

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Annette King is one of the longest-serving MPs in Parliament, having been in office for twentyseven years – twentyone of which have been in the Island Bay/Miramar electorate alone.

In 2000, she was Minister for Health, over-seeing the re-building of the Health portfolio which had been badly under-funded by the previously National-led government. Chronic under-funding in the late 1990s was having a deleterious effect on patients requiring critical life-saving surgery. Many failed to survive the growing waiting lists under Bill English’s watch.

National’s health minister at the time – Southland MP, Bill English – tried to stem the increasing deaths by belatedly injecting extra money for surgery. It failed to address the crisis that had been building over several years of National’s cost-cutting; tax cuts (1996, 1998); and slashing of the public service sector.

One of Ms King’s first moves was a  cash-injection of $1.5 billion into the health sector in December 2001. She said, at the time,

“Unashamedly, the first lot of money will go to those with the greatest need – low income, poor, sick, Maori, and Pacific [people].”

National’s health spokesperson at the time, Roger Sowry, responded with a statement which could only be described as jaw-dropping for it’s sheer hypocrisy.

With National cutting back on funding for services; increasing user-pays; two tax cuts (2009, 2010), and slashing the public service sector, it seems that – unlike the Split Enz song, history does indeed repeat.

Ms King will have her work cut out for her when a new Labour-Green government takes office after 20 September.

Below, Paul Eagle, chatting with Labour Party members;

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    Shrewd strategist and local City Councillor, Paul Eagle (in red shirt), was announced as Annette King's campaign manager.

Shrewd strategist and local City Councillor, Paul Eagle (in red shirt), was announced as Annette King’s campaign manager.

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This blogger took a moment for a brief interview with Annette King, asked her what her priorities would be when a new Labour-Green government took office post 20 September.

I asked Annette King, “what’s really important to you?”

Ms King replied,

“The most important thing for me, and it’s the number one that runs through everything we do, and that is reducing inequalities…”

“Health inequality; housing inequality; education inequality. Inequality in New Zealand is the biggest I’ve experienced in all my years. And I mean, I wasn’t here for the Depression, I’m not that old, but inequality in our society is so great now, that we need a progessive government that’s going to address them. And then you go through the areas. If you take health inequalities; who dies earlier; who dies younger; who has less access.

And you go to low income, Maori, and Pacifica. So that’s my priority.”

Interesting – Annette King’s priorities were remarkably similar to her comments in December 2001 (see above).  Grant Robertson seems to have been correct when he said that her “core values” had not changed.

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(L-R) Paul Eagle, Annette King, and Grant Robertson

(L-R) Paul Eagle, Annette King, and Grant Robertson

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Ms King’s successful nomination was followed by a final ceremony; the awarding of a recognition to long-serving Party members for their contributions to the labour movement.

LEC Chairperson, Peter Franks, presented a gold pin, and life-membership, to Peg Collett and Reatha McInnes (not pictured), for long-term service to the NZ Labour Party;

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LEC Chairperson, Peter Franks, presenting a gold pin,  and life-membership, to Peg Collett and Reatha McInnes (not pictured), for service to the NZ Labour Party.

LEC Chairperson, Peter Franks, presenting a gold pin, and life-membership, to Peg Collett and Reatha McInnes (not pictured), for service to the NZ Labour Party.

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One hopes that people like Ms Collett and Ms McInnes are with us to see the return of this country to the social democratic values for which we were once internationally reknowned for.

We once led the way in women’s rights; anti-atomic bomb testing in the South Pacific; anti-apartheid campaigning; a nuclear-free status; and many other progressive movements for which we can be rightly proud.

The term “punching above our weight” doesn’t even begin to cover the impact that we, as a nation, have had on global affairs.

Today, as the current government would have it, our “reputation” seems fixed on making money from tourism; making money selling logs and dairy powder; and making money with the production of fantasy movies.

“Making money”

Not quite “up there” with engendering the right of women to vote; saving the planet from atomic weapons; and supporting an entire nation to be free from apartheid.

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References

Wikipedia: Annette King

ODT/NZPA: Public Hospital ills blamed on funding

ODT: Acute heart surgery list nearly 400

The Press: Four forced off waiting list die

Sunday Star Times: Anger on heart op delay – English wants answers on cash use

The Dominion: $1.5b injection for Health

NZ Herald:  Prescription fees increase

Fairfax media: 2400 more state sector jobs could go

Metrolyrics: History Never Repeats Lyrics

NZ Herald: NZ inequality at highest level

 

Copyright (c) Notice

All images stamped ‘fmacskasy.wordpress.com’ are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

 

 


 

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I'm a leftie voting left - join me

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 5 April 2014.

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Letter to Radio NZ: $3000 offer to the Unemployed is a joke – and not a very funny one (v.2)

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

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FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: National's cunning $3000 plan for the unemployed
DATE:    Wed, 07 May 2014 10:02:39 +1200
TO:      Kathryn Ryan  <ninetonoon@radionz.co.nz>

.

 

Kathryn Ryan
Nine to Noon Show, Radio NZ

.

After three years the best that the Nats can come up with is
Bennett's plan to pay unemployed $3,000 to relocate to
Christchurch to find work.

The only problem is;

1. There is no guaranteed work, as Select Recruitment
managing director Karen Bardwell has stated "the rebuild had
yet to kick into high gear and the demand for low to medium
skilled workers simply wasn't there".

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/243602/agency-questions-jobless-incentive

2. There is a critical housing shortage with astronomical
rents being demanded/paid. Where will 1,000 workers find a
place to live? Bennett doesn't say.

3. The $3,000 grant is predicated on;

3A. The job being for 30 hours per week or more,

3B. The job lasting 91 days or more

htt
p://beehive.govt.nz/release/budget-2014-%E2%80%983k-christchurch%E2%80%99-help-job-se
ekers

Item 3A and 3B are the fish-hooks. If an employer decides to
cut back a worker's hours or, initiates the 90 Trial Period
law - the workers has to repay the $3,000.

The implications of this are obvious. 

Not only is a worker in a precarious position to keep
his/her job - but has a potential $3,000 debt hanging over
their head.

The potential for abuse by manipulative, exploitative
employers is obvious.

The risk is all on the unemployed, and very few people would
be willing to put themselves into such a vulnerable
situation.

Pity. It was the 'germ' of a fairly good idea. But as usual,
National hasn't thought it through.

Or was it designed to fail by making it so unattractive that
no one in their right mind would take it up, and Bennett
could once again bang on about "lazy benes"?

It wouldn't be the first time.



-Frank Macskasy
[address & phone number supplied]

.


 

References

Beehive.govt.nz:  Budget 2014: ‘$3k to Christchurch’ to help job seekers

Radio NZ: Agency questions jobless incentive


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

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= fs =

Letter to the Editor: $3000 offer to the Unemployed is a joke – and not a very funny one!

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

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Paula Bennett

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6 May, 2014

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Budget 2014: ‘$3k to Christchurch’ to help job seekers

.

The Government is providing further support for the Canterbury rebuild with $3.5 million of new operating funding for 2014/15 in Budget 2014 to assist beneficiaries to take up work in Christchurch.

“We’re offering up to 1,000 beneficiaries a one-off payment of $3,000 each if they have a full-time job offer in Canterbury and are ready and willing to move there,” Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.

“The rebuild is creating thousands of jobs in Christchurch, and there are people around New Zealand ready to take them up, but who don’t currently have the means to get there.

“With an unemployment rate in Canterbury of 3.4 per cent – lower than the 6 per cent rate nationally – there are plenty of opportunities. There is demand not only in construction, but in hospitality, retail and many other industries too.

“Work and Income will be working closely with employers to connect them with beneficiaries who’d be suited to work for them, and I’m confident this incentive will provide a boost for the rebuild, and for the employment prospects of beneficiaries,” Mrs Bennett says.

The $3,000 payment will help beneficiaries with the move to Canterbury, sorting accommodation, clothing, tools and any other purchases they might need to make when getting settled.

This offer will be open to beneficiaries of all ages, but a particular focus will be placed on young people aged 18-24 years, as the rebuild provides the opportunity for them to gain employment skills that will set them up for life.

To qualify, the job offered must be for over 30 hours a week, and for longer than 91 days. The payment will be non-taxable, and exempt from an income and asset test.

If the recipient goes back on benefit within three months of the payment without a sufficient reason, then the payment must be repaid.

This initiative will cover jobs within the geographical areas of Ashburton, Hurunui, Selwyn, and Waimakariri District Councils, and the Christchurch City Council.

 

.

An interesting idea… until one read the second-to-last line. Which prompted this response from me;

.

 
FROM:   "f.macskasy"  
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Wed, 07 May 2014 00:52:23 +1200
TO:     "The Press" <letters@press.co.nz>

.

The Editor
THE PRESS

.

When I first heard that National's Paula Bennett was
offering $3000 for unemployed to relocate to Christchurch to
find work, I thought it was an interesting idea with merit.
Though one wonders why it took three years for National to
come up with it. An election year bribe?.

Upon closer inspection there are two fish-hooks in this
plan.

A job has to be over 30 hours a week, and  longer than
ninetyone days, or else the $3000  must be re-paid.

Should an employer reduce those thirty hours, or use the
government's own Ninety Day Trial Period to sack the worker
-  that $3000 must be repaid.

The unemployed person takes the risk in taking up the $3000
grant, but their fate is in the hands of the employer, whose
decisions can result in the worker having to repay the
money.

The plan's sheer inherent contradictions undermines any
potential effectiveness.

In fact, it seems designed to fail.


-Frank Macskasy
[address & phone number supplied]

 

 

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References

Beehive.govt.nz: Budget 2014: ‘$3k to Christchurch’ to help job seekers


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: playing politics with rape victims, National-style

.

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

.

FROM:   "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Thu, 01 May 2014 23:51:54 +1200
TO:     "NZ Herald" <letters@herald.co.nz> 

.

 

The editor
NZ Herald

.

News that Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, has
agreed to fund the Sexual Violence Sector with $10.4 million
dollars over the next two years is a welcome - if sadly
belated - step.

Two years ago, Rape Crisis in Wellington and  HELP
Foundation in Auckland were forced to cut services and staff
due to a lack of funding.

In 2012, with a $55,000 shortfall, Wellington's Rape Crisis
had to cut services and staff by 20%, and freeze wages of
remaining employees.

In the same year, Auckland's HELP Foundation faced a 
$200,000 funding-shortfall and also had to resort to cutting
counselling and other services such as their 24-hour
rape-crisis helpline. Spokeswoman Aimee Stockenstroom was
quoted as saying,

"Despite working intensely with a range of government
departments right up to the last minute and requests to meet
with Minister Paula Bennett, we have not obtained sufficient
funding to keep the 24-hour telephone crisis line
operating."

Now, in election year, this government has "found" $10.4
million.

Which poses several questions;

1. Is this new money - or have other social services been
cut, and money transferred from other much-needed
programmes?

2. Why was this money not provided when it was most needed
in 2012, where much needed services were cut for women in
dire need?

3. A cynic might say that Bennett has "found" this money in
2014 - an election year. Is it possible that a government
can be so self-serving; so callous; that it plays politics
with rape victims?

And lastly, 

4. What guarantee will there be that after two years, when
the $10.4 million runs out, that various rape counselling
services will not have to go through this funding struggle
all over again?



-Frank Macskasy
[address & phone number supplied]

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It’ll be interesting to see if this one gets printed.

Even more interesting if Bennett dares reply to it!

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References

Fairfax media:  Rape crisis line forced to cut staff

Dominion Post: Wellington rape centre forced to cut hours

NZ Herald: Rape crisis centres to get $10m boost

Scoop media: Wgtn Rape Crisis Groups Respond to Sexual Violence Funding


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Letter to the Editor: The power of the vote

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

FROM: "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:38:19 +1200
TO: "Sunday Star Times" <letters@star-times.co.nz> 

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The Editor
SUNDAY STAR TIMES

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This year, if every Labour, Green, Mana, and Internet Party
supporter finds just one person who didn’t vote in 2011,
and supports them to go to the ballot booth on 20 September
– we will have a new government as our Christmas present.

Then we can have a government that focuses on more jobs;
building homes for young New Zealanders; alleviating child
poverty; protecting the environment, and all the other
critical problems confronting our nation.

Those should be our priorities - not endless scandals;
corporate welfare; tax breaks for the rich; dodgy deals
behind closed doors; rising inequality; falling home
ownership whilst speculators profit; farms sold of to
foreign investors; threats to our coastline through
unconstrained deep sea drilling; polluted rivers and lakes;
and not enough jobs for the 168,000 unemployed in this
country whilst National allows cheap foreign labour for the
Christchurch re-build.

To every Labour, Green, Mana, Internet Party supporter; find
one person who did not vote in 2011 and encourage him/her to
vote for change. The power of the Vote is greater than many
realise - which is why so many dictators around the world
fear it.

We can have the country we want. But we're going to have to
work hard to achieve it.

-Frank Macskasy

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(Address & phone number supplied)

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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

31 March 2014 5 comments

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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“;

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

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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)

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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

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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;

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NZ First ignored chance to implement own policy

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“… 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.

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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

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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.

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Political Identification Chart for the upcoming Election

21 March 2014 1 comment

MEMO TO SOME LABOUR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

Evidently, some folk in the Labour Party have difficulty in recognising who the real enemy are.

Accordingly, I have taken the step of borrowing from the World War 2 era, where the British War Office produced Enemy Plane Identification Charts to easily recognise British warplanes and not confuse them with their Nazi counterparts;

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enemy idenification chart

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To assist some Labour MPs, who seem to have comprehension and eyesight difficulties, I have designed an  easy-to-understand wallchart, to differentiate between the enemy (National, ACT, Peter Dunne, et al) and the Good Guys (their allies, the Greens and Mana).

It helps when you know who to ‘shoot’ at, and who to welcome as a potential Parliamentary ally. Accordingly, I present  the Friends & Foes Political Spotter Chart;

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political friends and foes spotter chart

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It helps the Cause not to shoot your friends.

Anyone who cannot tell the difference should not be on the political battlefield.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 March 2014.

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