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Review: TV3′s The Nation – When current affairs gets it right

20 June 2014 1 comment

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the nation_logo

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After my uncompromising critique of an episode of TV’s The Nation, broadcast on 24 May, I was gratified and relieved that the producers and hosts of the programme had returned to a degree of journalistic/media professionalism that we should expect as the norm for current affairs in this country (and which is too often lacking).

The Nation, broadcast on 14 June, was good, solid, current affairs which left the viewer better informed after watching it. Hosts Lisa Owen and Patrick Gower, and reporter Torben Akel,  were on form with their respective interviews.

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Hosts for TV3's "The Nation", Lisa Owen and Patrick Gower

Hosts for TV3’s “The Nation”, Lisa Owen and Patrick Gower

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First up; Hekia Parata, on what is rapidly devolving into another of National’s disastrous, ill-considered attempts to insert neo-liberal “reforms” into our education sector. National’s $359 million  so-called “Teaching & leadership career pathways” has been roundly condemned by the  primary school staff union, NZEI, and the Principals Federation asserting that it is unacceptable and unworkable.

Parata responded to questioning from Patrick Gower;

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The Nation - Patrick Gower - Hekia Parata - TV3 - National - education

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[FULL TRANSCRIPT: Hekia Parata]

A decidedly ‘robotic’ performance from an automaton-like Hekia Parata. (Have National Party strategists and contract scientists actually built a look-a-like android  replacement replacement for Parata, to minimise potential stuff-ups from the mishap-prone education minister? And how did they make the android more realistic than the original?!)

Whether she actually convinced teachers and parents watching her performance is doubtful. When politicians avoid giving direct answers to questions, the inescapable conclusion is that they’re hiding something.

What is Parata hiding?

Perhaps the very real likelihood that the so-called “Teaching & leadership career pathways” policy is National attempt to introduce performance-pay-by-stealth?

In fact, my money is precisely on that call: performance-pay-by-stealth.

At any rate, she stayed on-message, and it was fairly obvious that Parata had been well-schooled by her tax-payer funded media-minders. She passed National’s Standard for evasiveness to questions.

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Next up, a serious look at one of this country’s worst pressing social problems – child poverty. The Right can bleat on about “SkyTV aerials”; ill-informed moralists who lead ‘saintly lives’ can pass judgement on “poor parenting”, and  the middle classes can turn a blind eye – but none of that will diminish a growing social crisis in our midst.

Prior to the introduction of neo-liberalism; the “free” market; de-regulation; and “more choices”, the term “child poverty” was unknown. Food banks barely existed, as this 2005 Child Poverty Action Group report pointed out;

There have always been foodbanks in Auckland, but until recently these were small- scale operations and, like the soup kitchens, were there to deal with emergencies and the requirements of the handful of indigents that have always been present in the urban areas of New Zealand. Data from the Presbyterian Support Services Foodlink Directory5 shows there were 16 foodbanks in Auckland in 1989. By 1994 this had mushroomed to over 130 (Mackay, 1995).

Nationally, the number of foodbanks exploded following the 1991 benefit cuts, and the passage of the Employment Contracts Act (ECA). For those in already low-paid and casual jobs, the ECA resulted in even lower wages (McLaughlin, 1998), a situation exacerbated by the high unemployment of the early 1990s (11% in 1991). The benefit cuts left many with debts, and little money to buy food (Downtown Community Ministry, 1999). In 1992 the introduction of market rents for state houses dealt another blow to state tenants on low incomes. By 1994 it was estimated that there were about 365 foodbanks nationally, one-fifth of which had been set up in the previous year (Downtown Community Ministry, 1999). This figure was an estimate, based on information from the 1994 foodbank conference. There were no nationally collated figures, a weakness that persists in the sector today.

Regarding what in some cases was a quadrupling of demand for food parcels after 1991, Mackay cautiously hypothesizes that “it is likely that much of it was driven by the benefit cuts of April 1991” (Mackay, 1995). Foodbank workers themselves were unequivocal that the 1991 benefit cuts were the key driver of increased foodbank use. Reflecting those most likely to be unemployed or on low wages, up to 90% of foodbank users were dependent upon some form of income support, and Maori and Pacific Island families were over- represented among those seeking assistance (Mackay, 1995).

Lisa Owen interviewed Jonathan Boston (Professor of Public Policy at Vic, co-chair of Child Poverty Expert Advisory Group), who has written New Zealand’s first book on Child Poverty in this country. That interview was followed up by Commissioner for Children, Dr Russell Wills.

 

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TV3 - The Nation - Lisa Owen - Interview Dr Russell Wills

L-R: Lisa Owen & Dr Wills; Lisa Owen and Jonathan Boston

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[FULL TRANSCRIPT: Jonathan Boston & Russell Wills]

Both interviews made for compelling, informative viewing.

Dr Wills  and Prof Boston are professionals; academics;  with a deep understanding of problems and issues confronting our society. Neither men have a political agenda – theirs is simply to inform anyone who will listen that child poverty is a problem we can no longer afford to ignore.

Dr Wills made this simple statement in a level, calm tone – but which was nevertheless dramatic for it’s content;

“My weekend will be full of poor mostly Maori and Pacific preschool children with infectious diseases that our English registrars often haven’t even seen before. Now we see acute rheumatic fever. We see tuberculosis.  We have admissions to intensive care with children with illnesses that should have been treated in primary care but they couldn’t afford to go. We just don’t see those kinds of issues in our elderly people and I think that’s a great shame.”

I wonder, though,  if the inquisatorial approach taken by Lisa Owen to interview Messrs Wills and Boston was applicable in this instance? The inquisatorial style works well for political or activist public figures who may not always be forthcoming in disclosing facts.
But when it comes to academics and professionals such as Professor Boston and Dr Wills, I submit that such people will usually always  be forthcoming, even when academics are often loathe to talk in terms of absolutes, or provide simplistic answers to complex questions.
For example, Lisa Owen asked Dr Wills;

OWEN: But these are tight financial times as you would appreciate; you have said previously the questions is: are we prepared to give up something for the vulnerable. So who is the ‘we’ that has to give up something?

WILLS: It’s people like us Lisa. The fact is that we have large numbers of poor children in New Zealand who are missing out on things that our kids take for granted. So the kids that I see on the children’s ward often live in cold, damp, crowded houses. They often can’t afford to go to the GP. They commonly don’t have their own bed. They frequently all crowd around together in the living room to sleep.

OWEN: I appreciate what you’re saying there but when you say it’s people like us, that’s a nebulous concept. Don’t we need to pin down where this money is going to come from? Isn’t super or capping or raising the age, isn’t that a place where we can get a certain lot of money?
There was something a little  disturbing about the suggestion that “when you say it’s people like us, that’s a nebulous concept“.

It’s almost as if Lisa Owen had taken Margaret Thatcher’s dogma (“there is no such thing as society“)  and applied the notion to the question. Has New Zealand society become so individualised; so fragmented – that it is now a “nebulous concept“?

Sometimes we learn more from the interviewers than from  the people they are charged with interviewing.
Both men had a wealth of insights and knowledge to share with the audience. Their interviews could easily have been doubled in length to facilitate deeper under-standing of the issues involved. Perhaps canning Hekia Parata’s drivel would have provided extra time?
The audience would certainly have ended up better informed. (We already understand the fact that politicians often spout rubbish; talking a lot, but saying nothing.)

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Next up; the one and only (some might breath a sigh of relief at that), Colin Craig. Perhaps one of the oddest political aspirants to hit our political stage in recent times, Colin Craig had some very strange things to say in his interview;
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The Nation - Patrick Gower - Colin Craig - Conservative Party - TV3 - National - election 2014

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[FULL TRANSCRIPT: Colin Craig]

Gower started the interview with this bizarre exchange – almost reminiscent of a school Head Master dressing down an errant pupil;

Patrick Gower: I want to start with this extraordinary political cry for help that you made this week, effectively asking the Prime Minister to pull a candidate out of a seat for you.

Colin Craig: I didn’t do that.

Gower: Yes you did.

Craig: No, I didn’t.

I was expecting an impatient, testy, Gower to stand, pick up a nearby cane, and instruct  Craig,

Gower: Right boy, that’ll be enough fibbing! Bend over for six of the best!

Craig, of course, supports beating children, so this scenario would not be entirely implausible. And no one would have blamed Gower in the least.

Gower then asked Craig this salient question;

Gower: So which one of those could you beat? Which one of those three candidates could you beat? And tell the truth.

To which Craig responded;

Craig: Well look, I don’t think I could beat any of them unless we run a fantastic local campaign and people get behind us. Last time I –

Interesting.

Interesting because of what was not said, rather than what was.  No outrage over “dirty deals” in this interview, as Mr Gower expressed recently regarding the Mana-Internet alliance;

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

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And…

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

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I suspect, however, that the difference in style in Gower’s critiquing the deals between the Right – and that between Mana and Internet (no deals in recent times  have been proven between Labour and other parties on the Left, despite claims) –  is not so much a matter of bias, rather one of common acceptance.

In short, we are used to an ex-trader Prime Minister doing behind-the-scenes deals so it is the ‘norm‘ when the Right does it.

But not the ‘norm’ for the Left because, to date, such deal-making has been rare.

Unfair?

Yes, of course it is.

But nothing will ever change because (a) the public have more or less accepted such political wheeling-and-dealing as par-for-course amongst right-leaning politicians and their parties;  (b) it serves the interests of the Right, and (c) the media can get stuffed (in the eyes of the Right) because in the end, what matters is political power – not  chest-thumping from a few media talking-heads.

That’s the way it is.

The Left can (a) adapt and engage in their own deal-making or (b) remain “above it all”;  maintain a holier-than-thou attitude; and hope the voting public notice and duly reward them with their votes. Option ‘B’ is like going to a gunfight armed with a knife and hoping the gun misfires. There is no Option ‘C’.

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The last interview, by Torben Akel,  with Todd Barclay – the National candidate replacing outgoing MP, Bill English in Southland – was perhaps the most curious.

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The Nation - Torben Akel - Todd Barclay - Southland electorate TV3 - National - election 2014

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At only 24, Todd  Barclay is one of Parliament’s youngest MPs. In itself, this not a negative factor, as we need representation from and for young people in our House of Representatives.

What was at issue was Barclay’s relative lack of life experience.

As Torben Akel asked in a introduction voice-over,

“But age aside, does Barclay have the real world experience to be an MP. Or does he represent the rise of an insulated careerist political class?”

National’s own website highlights Barclay’s limited life-experience;

Working in Wellington and then Auckland, Todd worked for Bill English and cabinet ministers Hekia Parata and Gerry Brownlee. He left Parliament to work for one of New Zealand’s leading public relations consultancies, before taking on a role as Corporate Affairs Manager for Philip Morris.

To be fair, one has to wonder just how much life experience a person can achieve by age 24. Though Barclay’s experience, thus far seems constrained to working for various ministers in Parliament and for a tobacco company that peddles products that kill people.

Not exactly a CV to be proud of.

In fact, it could be said that politics and public relations revolve around manipulating reality rather than living in it.

All up, a good interview; low-key and yet illuminating. Torben Akel did a good job presenting the person and his record, and then let the viewer decide for him/herself what to make of this young man.

Now it’s up to Southlanders if this is who they want as their representative.

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Postscript #1

The parameters “child poverty” nz  on Google returns 178,000 results;

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child poverty - google results - Google - search engine - new zealand - nz

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Not exactly something to be proud of, eh, New Zealand?

Postscript #2

It is has been said before and it is worth repeating again; the greatest disservice that TVNZ and TV3 programming managers have done to the viewing public; their own staff; and to their entire network is to ‘ghettoise’  “The Nation” and “Q+A” on early morning and late night time-slots in the weekends.

Maori TV schedules “Native Affairs” on Monday evenings  at  8.30pm.  This suggests that the management at Maori TV have sufficient faith in their ‘product’ that they are willing to give it a prime time viewing slot.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for TVNZ and TV3.

(And no, we will not settle for “Seven Sharp” or “The Paul Henry Show“.)

Postscript #3

National’s media release on it’s “Teaching & leadership career pathways” was published on it’s on party website; the Beehive website; and on Scoop Media. There’s a slight ‘risk’ in publishing an official party policy communique on an independent website – you never quite know what else is going to appear alongside the text;

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (1)

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (2)

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (3)

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (4)

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I’m sure Parata, Key, et al in the National Party would be “delirious with joy” at having a political advert for Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party nested within their pride and joy educational policy statement release…

… Not!

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References

Beehive: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Radio NZ: NZEI, principals unite against policy

TV3 The Nation: Interview – Education Minister Hekia Parata

TV3 The Nation: Interview transcript – Education Minister Hekia Parata

Salvation Army: Hard to swallow – Child Poverty Action Group

BWB Books: Child Poverty in New Zealand

TV3 The Nation: Interview – Jonathan Boston & Russell Wills

Wikiquote:  Margaret Thatcher

TV3 The Nation: Interview – Conservative Party leader Colin Craig

Twitter: Patrick Gower

TV3 The Nation: The new breed of career MPs

National Party: National Selects Todd Barclay For Clutha-Southland

National Party: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Beehive: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Scoop Media: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Previous related blogposts

Review: TV3′s The Nation – “Let them eat ice cream!”

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

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

Additional

Facebook: Inside Child Poverty

Bryan Bruce: How to vote strategically improves children’s lives

Child Poverty Action Group

 

Events

Tuesday 17 June, 5.30pm
Panel discussion with Jonathan Boston,
Damon Salesa, Susan St John and Russell Wills. Chaired by Tracey McIntosh.
Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland
26 Wynyard St, Auckland

Thursday 19 June, 8.00am – 4.00pm
Inequality: Causes and Consequences
Student Union Memorial Lecture Theatre
Victoria University of Wellington

Friday 20 June, 5.30pm
Lecture and book launch
Speakers include: Justine Cornwall, Jonathan Boston, and Cathy Wylie
Royal Society of New Zealand
11 Turnbull St, Thorndon, Wellington


 

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20 september 2014 VOTE

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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

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And this is why we call them Right Wing Nut Jobs…

7 March 2014 3 comments

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ACT

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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From the Xtremely Looney Files

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Right wing nuttiness knows no bounds.  Public utterance by Garth McVicar, Colin Craig,  and recently from ACT’s new leader, Jamie Whyte, are just too good for any self-respecting (or otherwise) blogger to pass up.

From the laughable, on the chemtrail conspiracy theory,

Our party has no formal position on chemtrails. I am aware of the theory that chemicals are being released at high altitude for some nefarious purpose, but don’t know whether there is any truth in this or not.” – Colin Craig, December 2012

… and more snorts of  laughter on the conspiracy theory that the moonlandings were a hoax,

I don’t have a belief or a non-belief in these things. I just don’t know. I have no idea, mate. That’s what we’re told. I’m sort of inclined to believe it. But at the end of the day I haven’t looked into it. There are very serious people that question these things. I don’t have to have an opinion on these things, I don’t have time to look into it.” – Colin Craig, 4 December 2013

… to the offensive,

Why should, say, a 70-year-old who’s had one partner all their life be paying for a young woman to sleep around? We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world. This does nothing to help us at all.”- Colin Craig, 9 May 2012

… to nasty, ignorant, religion-inspired judgementalism,

The marriage institution being a relationship between a man and a woman predates government. It is not the job of government to start re-defining marriage… New Zealand has had enough social engineering; it’s time to bring government back to core services”  – Colin Craig, 11 May 2012

I think most people recognise that there are other influences such as upbringing, such as events in life. For homosexuals, they are statistically far more likely to have suffered child abuses as a child… It certainly can make a difference in someone’s choices in life, there’s no question about that in my mind.” – Colin Craig,  4 August 2012

Yes, we are discriminating between relationships. We are saying that marriage between a man and a woman is recognised. We are saying that a relationship between a man and a man, for example, goes down the path of a civil union.” – Colin Craig, 23 January 2013

… to this very strange exchange on TV3,

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

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

“Sure. Sure I could,” he responded.

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

“Yea, if I wanted to,’ he replied. – Colin Craig, 27 July 2012

Something you want to tell us, Colin?!

Meanwhile, new ACT leader, Jamie Whyte took a walk on the Very Wild Side on incestuous relationships,

I don’t think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult.  I wonder who does believe the state should intervene in consensual adult acts?  I find it very distasteful I don’t know why anybody would do it but it’s a question of principle about whether or not people ought to interfere with actions that do no harm to third parties just because they personally wouldn’t do it.

The probability of having some problem with the children is greater when the mother is over the age of 35 but I’ve never heard anyone suggest that anyone over the age of 35 shouldn’t be allowed to have sex.” – Jamie Whyte, 26 February 2014

Mind you, this is the character who referred to the minimum wage as “cruel”,

“ …those businesses which don’t directly lay off workers will be discouraged from employing more, or replacing those who leave voluntarily in future. The best thing that low skilled workers can do is get work experience. It’s hard to think of a crueller policy than passing a law that bans the people most in need of work experience from getting any.” – Jamie Whyte, 25 February 2014

–  because as we all know, paying someone $1 an hour is not *cruel*.

… and has no problem in abolishing health and safety regulations to protect workers,

I do believe that the regulatory framework around labour and health and safety in New Zealand should be liberalised, and I think there’ll be many advantages to workers in liberalising them.  I’m not sure that we’re going to campaign hard on that, but I certainly believe that.” – Jamie Whyte, 3 February 2014

– because 29 men killed at Pike River Mine, and dozens killed in the foresty industry,  is not a sufficient sacrifice on the alter of Libertarianist ideology.

… and plucking bizarre beliefs out of thin air (on the marriage equality Bill),

The marriage amendment bill will not benefit society at all and will ultimately have detremetal [sic] effect on crime at all levels .” – Garth McVicar, 20 January 2012

If you look at the court stats, most of the crime that has been committed has been committed by fatherless kids .” – Garth McVicar, 21 January 2012

Although that  rationale  seems more than a bit odd. If “most of the crime that has been committed has been committed by fatherless kids” – having two  fathers  should all but eliminate crime!?!

That would be a Good Thing, right?

But that’s prejudice for you. It collapses very quickly under a groaning weight of  blind prejudice and weak foundations based on irrational ‘logic’.

On a positive note, even society’s fringe elements can count  on Parliamentary representation.

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References

Fairfax: Craig focusing on ‘upside’ of media

NBR:  Colin Craig not sure man walked on moon

Otago Daily Times: NZ women ‘most promiscuous in the world’

NZ Herald:  Homosexuality a personal choice, says Conservative Party leader

Dominion Post: Colin Craig: Gay marriage is ‘social engineering’

NZ Herald:  Act Leader Jamie Whyte stands by incest comments

Scoop Media: National bows to minimum wage myths

NZ Herald: Society right to discriminate – Craig

The Ruminator: Mr Ryght: An interview with ACT leader: Jamie Whyte

Newstalk ZB: Don Brash surprised by ACT’s new direction

Fairfax: Lobbyist links gay marriage to crime rise in NZ

NZ Herald: McVicar stands by claim over gay bill

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Colin Craig Conservative Party

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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

24 February 2014 Leave a comment

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– Politics on Nine To Noon –

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– Monday 24 February 2014 –

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– Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams –

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Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams discuss the recent political polls.

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

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

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Letter to the Editor: Colin Craig – law-breaker!

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FROM:    "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the ed
DATE:    Wed, 15 Jan 2014 12:56:35 +1300
TO:     "Dominion Post" <letters@dompost.co.nz> 

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The Editor
DOMINION POST
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Wannabe politician, Colin Craig, recently admitted to
hitting his daughter. When asked on Radiolive, on 13
January, he replied,

"I occasionally do it now." 

With the repeal of that part of Section 59, which permitted
adults to use the excuse of "correction"  when faced with
allegations of physical abuse, that kind of behaviour by
parents and guardians became illegal. 

Which begs these questions;

1. How can we have a politician in Parliament, who is sworn
to uphold the laws of the land, admit that he flouts laws
that don't suit his particular beliefs?

2. Why should a person, who also happens to be an aspiring
politician and millionaire, be above the law when the rest
of us  are held to account for infringements both small or
large?

3. How will National reconcile it's "tough on crime" stance
when at the same time they  actively seeks Craig's party as
a potential coalition partner, even though Craig admits to
flouting the law?

It will be intriguing to see John Key's response to this
issue - once he gets back from his latest overseas junket.

-Frank Macskasy
(address & phone number supplied)

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Addendum

Section 59 of the Crimes Act says: –

* Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of:

– preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person

– preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence

– preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour

– performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.

* Nothing in (the above section) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.

* To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.

Source: NZ Herald – Colin Craig: I smack my child

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Bring in the clowns…

This has to be seen to be believed. I was trying to figure out who was the bigger clown – Banks or Craig.

Then I realised a simple truth…

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Banks and Craig(click on image)

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They’re both clowns.

The Right must be very proud?!

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References

TV3: In-fighting kicks off among National’s partners

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Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 25 November 2013

25 November 2013 1 comment

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– Politics on Nine To Noon –

 

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– Monday 25 November 2013 –

 

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– Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams –

 

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Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

 

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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 ( 23′ 15″  )

 

This week:

  • Electorate boundary reshuffles,
  • new party leaderships,
  • government share sale policy,
  • and offshore drilling.

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Citizen A with Martyn Bradbury, Colin Craig & Dr Wayne Hope

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– Citizen A –

 – 6 June 2013 –


Colin Craig & Dr Wayne Hope –

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Citizen A: With Martyn Bradbury,  Colin Craig, and  Dr Wayne Hope discuss the following issues:

  • Is Key the new Muldoon?
  • What’s worse for education – Novopay or Charter Schools
  • Why is Winston attacking Dunne?

 

Citizen A screens on Face TV, 7.30pm Thursday nights on Sky 89


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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

The Daily Blog

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Colin Craig confirms he likes cartoons – Christianity is in safe hands

24 April 2013 3 comments

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The civilian

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In what can only be seen as  an own-foot-shooting, futile,  other-foot-firmly-planted-in-mouth exercise, Colin Craig today sicced his legal rottweilers onto the satirical blog, The Civilian.

Evidently, Colin “The-Fourteenth-Apostle” Craig didn’t see the humour in the satirical blogpost, Maurice Williamson looking pretty stupid after floods,  where the blogger  “quoted”  Craig as “saying”,

Williamson likes to talk about big gay rainbows,” said Craig, “but it would help if he understood what the rainbow actually means. After Noah’s flood, God painted a giant rainbow across the sky, which was a message that he would never again flood the world, unless we made him very angry. And we have.”

Let’s be clear here; Craig did not make that statement and most people with a reasonably high-functing brain would’ve understood that.

It was satire. Humour. Make funny. Happy la-la’s.

So for Craig to take offence and instruct his lawyers to send a threatening letter to The Civilian’s editor, Ben Uffindell, kinda beggars belief. In short – what a f****n  dumb thing to do.

For one thing, this story  has now exploded  into the mainstream media, and onto social media. The story has ‘legs’ and been  covered in the NZ Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio NZ, Newstalk ZB, and probably elsewhere. (And it will be further raised, discussed, and mercilessly poked fun at, this afternoon on Jim Mora’s panel-show at 4pm.)

So rather unsurprisingly, web traffic to The Civilian has skyrocketed,

Mr Uffindell said the website’s servers had been struggling to keep up with the massive spike of traffic caused by publicity of the incident.

Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – Conservative Party threaten legal action over satire

This is the kind of publicity every blogger dreams about and  Ben Uffindell must be laughing with glee and thanking whatever gods he worships, for his lucky day.

Second point, Craig was quoted (?) in a NZ Herald story and stating,

I take these things pretty seriously. We are a serious political party and want to go a long way, so making sure that what is reported on what I have said, is accurate is important.

[…]

But when it comes to statements being reported in the public sphere … there is no room for humour.”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald –  Colin Craig warns on satirical quote

“…there is no room for humour.”

Well, he’s got a point there. After all, how many people can forget Craig’s explicitly non-satirical comment when he labelled every young woman in New Zealand as whores,

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

Acknowledgement: TV3 –  Kiwi women ‘most promiscuous’ – Colin Craig

No room for humour there, I think. And when given a chance to apologise or withdraw that comment on TVNZ’s Q+A, on 13 May 2012, Craig shrugged it off with a typical rightwing cop-out, hiding behind the label of  “political correctness”,

PAUL  HOLMES:  “Anyway, the perception, I think, is that you blew it with that one bizarre comment. ”

COLIN  CRAIG:   “Well, look, I’m always going to be speaking my mind. As I say, I think it was a true comment. If people want a politically correct conservative party, then they’re not going to find it in the Conservative Party.

Acknowledgement: TVNZ – Q+A

Methinks there’s a strong stench of hypocrisy with Mr Craig having such a micron-thin-skin toward a satirical website – and yet has no hesitation in indulging in some casual misogyny slagging of every young woman in the country by calling them   “the most promiscuous young women in the world”.

Imagine if all 2.2 million women in this country instructed their lawyers to send a letter to Craig, threatening him with legal action for defamation?

For him, that’s “political correctness”.

But if a satirical website does it to him… *wags finger* “Tut, tut!”

The good news, folks, is that on Radio NZ’s  “Morning Report”, Colin “My-god-is-more-omnipotent-than-your-god” Craig  said,

Look, um, I know and people who know me think I’m pretty funny sort of a guy. I love cartoons.”

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ –

Colin Craig threatens to sue satirical website

Yeah, Colin, you’re a laugh-a-minute. In fact, people laugh at you more than you realise.

Clown.

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*** Update***

At 11:32 am this morning, Radio NZ reported that Colin “Invisible-beings-talk-to-me” Craig had withdrawn his threat of legal action because this “retraction” had been posted on  The Civilian,

This article is the subject of a legal dispute between The Civilian and Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig, which came about as the result of a legal notice that you can read in full here.

In this article, The Civilian published a statement which it attributed to Colin Craig regarding Maurice Williamson, “big gay rainbows” and the passing of the gay marriage legislation. We accept, upon further review, that Mr. Craig never made the statement attributed to him. We retract the statement and apologise to Mr. Craig for any harm we have caused to his impeccable reputation.

We would like to note that we have also taken the additional measure of bolding the statement in question so that everybody knows which thing it was that Mr. Craig did not say.

Radio NZ further reports,

The story is still on the website, but editor Ben Uffindel has written to the lawyers with a signed copy of the retraction and apology statement.

However, the letter is clearly tongue-in-cheek and is signed with a large smiley face.

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Defamation threat withdrawn

*snigger*

Mr Craig, you’re still a clown. As our American cuzzies like to put it,  consider yourself ‘owned‘.

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GOD

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References

TV3:  Kiwi women ‘most promiscuous’ – Colin Craig (9 May 2012)

Radio NZ:  Legal action threatened over satirical item (24 April 2013)

NZ Herald:  Colin Craig warns on satirical quote (24 April 2013)

Fairfax Media: Conservative Party threaten legal action over satire   (24 April 2013)

Newstalk ZB: Colin Craig goes after ‘The Civilian‘  (24 April 2013)

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= fs =

Priorities – according to the ‘gospel’ of Colin Craig (part rua)

19 February 2013 24 comments

Four days after I blogged this –  Priorities – according to the ‘gospel’ of Colin Craig – the NZ Herald followed up with it’s own story,

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Party leader funds attack on MPs

Source

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The NZ Herald story reports Colins as stating,

“It does cost money to be in politics, and it’s helpful that I’ve got an income. But having said that, it wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have such a base of volunteers.”

This is absolute rubbish.

The lealet’s were not delivered by “volunteers”. The leafet in question,

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four pages of leaflet

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– appeared  with two or three other other bits of commercial junk-mail (despite a “No Junk Mail” sign clearly visible) in our letterbox.

So unless Conservative Party “volunteers” are also delivering promo-leaflets for a pizza company, Mr Craig is fibbing.

The Conservative Party leaflet was obviously delivered by a commercial company specialising in mail-dropping advertising material.

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= fs =

Priorities – according to the ‘gospel’ of Colin Craig

15 February 2013 27 comments

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conservative party logo

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This came through our letter box today,

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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It came with other advertising junk-mail (despite the “No Junk Mail” clearly visible on our letterbox), so it was obviously delivered by a commercial leafletting company and not by Party volunteers.

The front page instantly commanded attention with the wording, “Do you agree?”  followed by “Find out what 34% of people surveyed didn’t know!”.

Stirring stuff!

What was taxing the mind of Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig?

What pressing issues were dominating his thoughts?

Was it the loss of 40,000 jobs in the last four years as the manufacturing and export sector are hit by a higher and higher New Zealand Dollar?

Was it 85,000+ young people not in employment, education of training?

Was it the 175,000 unemployed?

Was it 250,000 children living in poverty?

Was it National’s intention to partially flog of  five state assets, worth billions to taxpayers in this country?

Time to open the pamplet and find out…

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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Marriage equality?!

Craig has spent tens of thousands of dollars on a piece of colour-printed, glossy paper to complain about gays and lesbians being given marriage equality???

Where is this man’s head at?

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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Craig’s comments are not even logical.

For one thing, he states that “this is not about equality”.

Rubbish.

It is all about equality.

He even admits it,

The Civil Union Act in fact copied the operating provisions of the Marriage Act so both have the same legal equality (except deliberately in the case of adoption and parentingof children.)”

Oh… so there’s ‘equality’ – except in cases of blah, blah, blah.

Um… *scratches head*… then it’s not equality, is it, Mr Craig?

Saying that “…both have the same legal equality except deliberately in the case of adoption and parentingof children” is like saying that Blacks in the Southern States of America were equal to Whites in the 1950s… except for blah, blah, blah…

Or Blacks in South Africa were equal to Whites in South Africa during the Apartheid Era. Oh, except that Blacks couldn’t vote. And weren’t allowed on certain beaches. Or blah, blah, blah…

Message to Mr Craig’s remaining functioning brain cells: you can’t have equality where exceptions undermine that equality. Because then it’s not equality. It’s something else.

Which, by the way, is one of the strange points that Craig attempts to make in his weirdly surreal propaganda.

On the page below, Craig states,

This country has become a dangerous place to be a child. If nothing else we must fight and speak for the children. We must seek their absolute best [?] and give of ourselves to protect them, blah, blah, blah…”

So what is it that Colin Craig is trying to say? That two people in love and wanting to marry is going to make “this country …  a dangerous place to be a child “?! How the f**k does that work?

Poverty is dangerous for children.

Lack of nutritious food is dangerous for children.

Damp houses are dangerous for children.

Drugs and alcohol dangerous for children.

Abusive households are dangerous for children.

Government policies to do with low wages; poor housing; and lack of opportunities is dangerous for children.

But two people in love wanting to get married?

The workings of Colin Craig’s mind is even more unfathomable than I had previously believed possible. No wonder John Key rolled his eyes and muttered “it’s going to be a long two and a half years” when presented with the possibility of the bizarre Conservative Party as a potential coalition partner (see:  John Key’s midterm blues?).

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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Reading this trash, I laughed even harder when I spotted another incongruency at Craig’s disjointed thinking.

On page 2,

… Mr Key is now ignoring his electorate and says he will support same-sex marriage and adoption. He will not be voting as directed by his electorate. This is simply wrong. If Mr Key will not vote on behalf of his electorate, then who will? He is their paid representative; he is the one person sent to Parliament on their behalf.

On page 3,

Good leadership requires listening to both sides of the debate  and then deciding  what is best for our country.”

So on the one hand… Craig sez that it “is simply wrong” for Key not to vote according to his electorate (not that we actually know what his electorate “thinks”.

But on the other hand, “good leadership ” is about “ listening to both sides of the debate  and then deciding  what is best for our country“.

Hmmm, a bit contradictory there, Colin. You should proof-read your writing a bit more closely.

Last bit,

I believe the evidence shows that it is ideal  that an adopted child grow up with a great Mum and Dad…”

Two things bother me about that blanket statement.

1. If “evidence” exists to support Mr Craig’s prehistoric views, then it’s not a matter of  “belief”. Evidence either exists to support his views. Or it does not.

Belief does not enter into it.

2. Unfortunately, the evidence that does exist points to one inescapable fact; many homes in our country are dangerous places for young children.

Too many have been neglected, severely injured, beaten, sexually abused, traumatised, and killed – at the hands of their “Dads” and too often, their “Mums”.

Heterosexual, ‘nuclear’-style families.

They are killing the children of our nation.

And not a gay parent to be seen anywhere.

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Other blogs

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= fs =

Neo-liberal Libertarian holds up Victorian England as “model for success”

30 September 2012 21 comments

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As the sun slowly sets on the political tragi-farce that was the rich man’s parliamentary vehicle – the ACT Party – it’s core supporters are desperate to find a new Party to call home.

Colin Craig’s  Party is most likely anathema to  socially-liberal and fiscally neo-liberal ACT-types and Libertarians – they would view the Conservatives as another ‘false god‘, to be studiously avoided.

Libertarians are of a strange species who hold ideological views diametrically opposed to socialists/marxists/social democrats – and even National Party policies.

For Libertrarians, the State is something to be cut back and allowed to wither away.

Which, strangely enough, is what Marxist/Leninists also propose in their vision of  a communistic society, where the State “withers away”.

The difference, of course, is that in a Libertarian world (which I shan’t call a “society” as societies do not exist in an individualistic, Libertarian model) property is individually owned and protected by all means, including use of deadly force.

In a communistic society, the same property is collectively managed, though again deadly force is used to prevent counter-revolution taking place…

It’s interesting to note that whilst marxist/socialist/communist regimes have existed in various forms, throughout the world – not one single modern nation has ever existed using  a Libertarian model.

In some ways, Somalia came close, with two out of three Libertarian tenets in play; minimal government and no taxation. The third tenet, a strict rule of law to protect private property rarely exist – though property rights were often enforced by force of private militias.

Indeed, the use of private militias to protect one’s own property is naked libertarianism at it’s  truest form. After all, if Libertarians argue that taxation is theft; that individuals should not contribute to  the education of everyone’s children – then it stands to reason that one should not have to pay for a Police Force to protect someone elses’ property.

When Richard McGrath was asked on TV3’s “The Nation”  about the implementation of libertarianism in any country, his response was eye-opening,

THE NATION: ‘Is there anywhere in the world that’s  a model for how you think?”

RICHARD McGRATH: “Well though it sounds strange, Victorian England actually had a lot of institutions that really looked after people in need, the friendly societies, and those sorts of voluntary organisations. And a lot of that’s gone now because the government’s moved in, muscled in, and taken it over.”

See: Is John Banks causing ACT’s demise?

Victorian England“?!

Is that the model of a Libertarian nation? A society that was class-ridden; poverty-stricken; poorly-educated; rampant with disease and crime; and where factories were free to dispense massive pollution into the air (causing the infamous London “fog”) and Thames River,  turning it into an open-air sewarage channel?

Is McGrath holding up, as the ideal Libertarian model, a society where mentally ill were incarcerated as criminals; ill treated; and poorly fed? Where children worked as slaves in vast factories? Where, if a husband deserted his wife and children, she’d be forced into prostitution to survive?

McGrath refers to the charity work of  “ friendly societies, and those sorts of voluntary organisations ” – which was indeed the case. There was no organised State social welfare, healthcare, or superannuation for pensioners.

Whilst factory owners made vast sums of profits on the backs of lowly-paid, over-worked, and mis-treated workers – those without work; the sick; the infirm; and other unfortunates survived on the meager handouts from charities that relied solely on the generosity of  some benefactors.

Oliver Twist‘ was not some fanciful tale of a dark Fantasy World. It was a slice of life from our nasty, brutish past.

A nasty, brutish past that Libertarians want to bring back?

To show how utterly mad these people are, and how disconnected they are from the real world, I refer the reader to another Libertarian, Peter Cresswell.

In the same programme, on Christchurch’s rebuild,  Peter Cresswell suggested,

” You could say, no taxes; get rid of the RMA;   so for 3 or 4 years or 5 years you’ve got complete freedom for people to do what they wish with what little they have left.”

See: Ibid

Complete freedom for people to do what they wish“?!

What – like rebuild on the same fault-lines where previous buildings crashed into piles of rubble on 22 February, last year? Or re-build using techniques , designs, and material that would be wholly inappropriate and dangerous to occupants?

Perhaps build a fifty story high-rise in the same manner as the ill-fated CTV Building?!

It is little wonder that in last year’s general election, the Libertarianz Party won only 1,595 votes (See: 2011 general election official results).

Very few people would want to live in a Libertarian nirvana that replicated Victorian England. It might be a fine thing if you’re a rich Estate holder, Industrialist, or Merchant.

But it’d be Hell to be working in one of their factories.

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= fs =

Mischief making with Matthew Hooton?

21 August 2012 7 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

See: 45th New Zealand Parliament

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

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

So why has Mr Hooton been saying things like,

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

[abridged]

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

Listen:  Politics with Matthew Hooton and Josie Pagani

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

Listen:  Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is he happily fomenting mischief?

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

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= fs =

Colin Craig – What a silly man you are

6 August 2012 5 comments

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Full story

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Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig, reckons that sexual gender is a “choice”?

Damn. I must be having a ‘John Banks’ moment –  ‘cos I sure as heck can’t recall ever making any decision to be straight.

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= fs =

Ministers, Mad Moralists, and Minor Parties

29 July 2012 4 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It worked in 2009.

See: Benefits of 50 to be scrutinised

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

See: Bennett increases pursuit of welfare ‘rorts’

See: Drug tests for more beneficiaries mooted

See: New welfare law a ‘war on poor’

See: Big families mean big welfare dollars

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

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

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

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

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

So ACT will be gone after the next election.

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

I doubt that.

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

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Full Story

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

Riiiiight.

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

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

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

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

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

See:  John Key’s problem with partners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But at what cost?

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

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

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

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

See: Green Party submission on the MMP Review

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

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

See: John Banks – escaping justice

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

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

See: Conservative leader says gay marriage ‘not right’

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure. Sure I could,” he responded.

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

“Yea, if I wanted to,’ he replied.

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

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

Why are all small right wing parties loony-tunes?

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

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

Happy times for Dear Leader, John Key.

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

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

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

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

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

See: Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

And just last year,

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

See:  PM rules out any NZ First deal

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

See:  Key names election date, rules out Winston Peters

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

See: ‘Polarising’ PM losing gloss

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

So Colin Craig it is.

And yes,

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

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Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Majority

10 June 2012 9 comments

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking

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Colin Craig, leader of the Conservative Party, appeared on TVNZ’s Q+A on 10 June, and was interviewed on the issue of  gay marriage (henceforth referred to as Marriage Equality). His reticence on the issue was fairly evident, and he had some trouble  explaining his rationale denying the right for gays and lesbians to marry,

SHANE Thank you both for joining us this morning. Colin Craig, more than two-thirds of Kiwis support it. Why don’t you?

COLIN CRAIG – Conservative Party leader

Well, look, a poll says that, and if we look at the States, most of the polling over there says, you know, 60% to 70%. But 32 out of 32 states when it when to a referenda-

SHANE Let’s talk about New Zealand.

MR CRAIG …decided it was-

SHANE The New Zealand poll, though – nearly two-thirds support it. Why don’t you?

MR CRAIG Why don’t I is I think that marriage is not purely something that belongs to the state, and I think what we’re talking about here is an intersection of many different interests. So, marriage is cultural, it’s traditional, it’s an institution in our society-

Q+A  interviewer, Shane Taurima, finally got this response from Colin Craig,

SHANE So tell us why you don’t support it.

MR CRAIG Why I don’t support a change to that is that I think that marriage is a word that’s historically, traditionally defined, and I think that all New Zealanders have an interest in it. Now, if all New Zealanders did decide, and I would support a referenda on this, if all New Zealanders decided, “Hey, yeah, look, we’re ready for a change,” fair enough, but I don’t think that’s where New Zealanders are at.

SHANE So you’d back a referendum?

MR CRAIG Absolutely, I would, yeah.

See: TVNZ Q + A: Transcript interview with Colin Craig and Louisa Wall

Unfortunately, Colin Craig’s position on Marriage Equality conflicts with his own Party’s stated position on the rights of New Zealand citizens.  On their website, under the heading of Principles, the Conservative Party proudly proclaims,

Founding Principles of The Conservative Party of New Zealand (Long Form)

  1. A belief in loyalty to a sovereign and united New Zealand, the supremacy of democratic parliamentary
    institutions and the rule of law;
  2. A belief in the institutions of Parliament, the right of citizens to direct government by the democratic process
    including citizens initiated refenda;
  3. A belief in the division of government responsibilities between central and local government.
  4. A belief in the equality of all New Zealanders and that all citizens, regardless of race, have equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of New Zealand

The document further states,

Founding Principles of The Conservative Party of New Zealand (Short Form)

  • The rule of law and government by democratic process including citizens initiated referenda
  • Responsible, accountable, and limited government
  • Careful stewardship of natural and financial resources
  • That government must protect life, freedom, and property
  • Equal rights and privilege

See: Conservative Party Principles

Fine words. Good words. Words that few of us would disagree with.

And nowhere amongst those lofty sentiments do we find a caveat stating that Gays and Lesbians are expressly prevented from enjoying equal rights and privilege and a belief in the equality of all New Zealanders.

Mr Craig appears to be in conflict with his own Party if he is willing to deny a group of New Zealanders the same rights which other New Zealanders take for granted.

Would Mr Craig deny Maori and Pakeha to marry each other? Inter-racial marriage was once taboo.

As for referring the issue to a citizens initiated referenda – this blogger can think of few things more vile and offensive than  determining a group’s rights and status under the law  by the will of a majority of voters. Such an outcome would not even by dependependent on a majority of all voters – but only  a 50%-plus-1 of those bothering to vote.

Mr Craig seems to believe that the Majority should decide on the rights and privileges of a minority? We sell out rights cheaply if we permit such a travesty of  “democracy” to determine who can and can’t enjoy equal rights and privileges“.

Such as happened in the United States, in California, in 2008, where Californians were asked to vote on Proposition 8. This referenda called for a response to the question,

Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.” The ballot summary read that the measure “changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.”

See: LIMIT ON MARRIAGE. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Essentially,  voters were asked to vote on other peoples’ marriage and right to marry.

Can the reader think of a greater perversion of the democratic process? That the “Majority” can take away the rights of a Minority at the tick of a felt-tip pen?

The result of Proposition 8 was as follows,

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52.24 % of those who cast a valid ballot voted in favour of Proposition 8. Ie; they voted to take away the right of gays and lesbians to be married, if they wanted to exercise that right.

That was 52.24% of a 79.42% voter turn-out.

Or, put into numbers, 7,179,435 voters out of  17,304,428 voters decided who could exercise a right, and who could not.

On Friday, you could marry. By Monday morning, you could not.

Furthermore, those 7,179,435 voters determined the status of voters who were barely unable to exercise their franchise. A minority of voters had determined not just to remove the rights of a minority; but had determined an outcome for an even greater number of voters; and denied rights to those not yet able to vote.

If this sounds  fair and democratic to the reader, or to Colin Craig,  let’s try this little test,

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In  a belief in the equality of all New Zealanders, would Colin Craig be willing to put his right to marry to the test?

Can we vote on his marriage?

Of course the question is patently nonsensical. As is the proposition that a Majority can decide whether or not to deny a Minority  certain rights.

Such a proposition is not democracy – it is a distortion of democracy.  It would legitamise any unilateral decision by the majority, whether confiscating property; re-introducing slavery; enacting an unjust or irrational law;  or anything else that happens to take the fancy of a large enough number of people.

Mr Craig does not want to marry a gay man. Fair enough.

I do not want to marry Mr Craig or his wife, either.

But we don’t need to restrict legislate for that. I’m assuming that Mr Craig; his wife; and I, can sort that out between us.

So why does he feel it necessary to make that choice for other adults? And why would he want to legitamise – via an obscene exercise in mock “democracy” –  the  denying of rights and privileges to other adults in society based simply on his own preference for a partner?

Mr Craig should re-read the Founding Principles of his party. They are wise words; good words; common sense even.

But does he truly understand what they mean?

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References

Wikipedia: Proposition 8

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The banality of bigotry…

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A recent Dominion Post article, regarding Colin Craig and his resistance to allowing  Gays and Lesbians to have the same rights as heterosexuals to be married, yielded some fairly bizarre comments from him and his supporters,

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Full Story

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Craig goes on to say,

New Zealand has had enough social engineering; it’s time to bring government back to core services… ”

I wonder if that was the argument used by  opponants to giving the vote to women?

After Craig demanded that ”New Zealand has had enough social engineering“, and  that government should stay  “out of the bedrooms of the country“, he stated,

The marriage institution being a relationship between a man and a woman predates government. It is not the job of government to start re-defining marriage.

So on the one hand, Craig doesn’t want government in our bedrooms – but on the other, he wants government in our bedrooms to determine who may or may not get married?!

So it’s government interference when he approves – but not otherwise?

Perhaps the nuttiest comment supporting  to Craig’s position but this bizarre response,

Halo   #66   1:37pm

#65 Im in my 30’s and Im against Gay marriage purely because it is wrong! If it was right then you would have the right. So not just ‘older people’ are against the idea.

?!?!

Um… come again?

Oh heck, never mind.

See:  Colin Craig: Gay marriage is ‘social engineering

Luckily for us, Craig has no infuence on government – though John Banks shares many of the Conservative Party leader’s views,

See: Banks, Lee Oppose amendment (‘Evening Post’, 11 November 1992)

See: Banks’ deviants remarks draw fire (‘Dominion’, 10 June 1993)

See: Banks repeats barrage against homosexuality (‘Evening Post’, 28 July 1993)

If, at the next election campaign, National starts to ‘cosy up’  to Colin Craig’s Conservative Party – John Key may find that a step too far for many  urban liberals and women voters. Many in that constituency would find Craig’s attitude on gays and women to be offensive.

This comment on women certainly would have alienated much support,

We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world.

See:  No proof to promiscuity claim – PM

I guess that’s the trouble with courting potential right wing coalition partners; eventually one cannot help but uncover some flakiness about them that is embarressing and off-putting to the electorate.

I leave the reader with this piece, that I found on someone’s Facebook page. I think it sez it all, really,

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Citizen A – 10 May 2012 – Online now!

Citizen A

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– 10 May 2012 –

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– Claudette Hauiti & Selwyn Manning –

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Issue 1: What are the odds of an Epsom by-election and are the Conservative Party John Keys new best friends?

Issue 2: When is Nanny State not Nanny State? When it’s beneficiaries and contraception!

Issue 3: Is the GC the new low point for Public Broadcasting?

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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11 May: End of the Week Bouquets, Brickbats, & Epic Fails

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– End of the Week Bouquets, Brickbats, & Epic Fails –

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New Semi-Regular Weekly Event

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Tim Groser (National)

For having the courage and insight to suggest that making Te Reo compulsory in our Primary Schools would be a good idea. On TV3’s ‘The Nation, on 28 April, Mr Groser said,

My personal view is that we should be teaching Maori to every five-year-old child. If you introduce very young children from New Zealand to the idea of bi-culturalism and more than one language then they will be able to learn other languages as their personal circumstances fit.”

It’s not often that a politician from an opposing Party stands out – but when they do, they certainly make an impact. One may not agree with all his views – especially on free trade – but a politician who has depth in his or her views, and is not captured by an ideology, deserves respect.

Hone Harawira (Mana)

For having the guts to do what very few politicians have done before; stand up for the working man and woman;  condemn an oppressive employer; and encourage New Zealanders to make a stand and boycott Talleys.

Jim Anderton did it in the 1980s and 1990s, and now Mr Harawira is doing likewise,

It was a nasty and spiteful decision to try to force workers to cave in to company demands or get their emergency benefits cut. The locked out workers have been forced to band together to survive and to keep the working conditions they’ve won through years of negotiation.

Talley’s aren’t the only brands in the shelf” said Harawira “and all we want people to do is choose something other than Talley’s for now.”

No doubt he’ll be attacked, derided, and vilified by every right wing nutjob in the country – but Mr Harawira will also have earned the respect of New Zealand workers.

Tariana Turia (Maori Party)

For carrying on her campaign against the pernicious industry that kills 5,000 New Zealanders  every year; the tobacco corporations. If a disease was rampaging through the country, killing 5,000 people every year – there would be a State of Emergency; the military would be called out to guard checkpoints; and the whole country would be on lock-down.

But because it’s tobacco, it is somehow acceptable. Crazy!

Ms Turia deserves to be re-elected into Parliament. Like Hone Harawira, she is standing up for those folk who would otherwise be crushed by corporate power whose only interest is making big profits.

In fact, I go one step further; at the next election; after a change of  government; I encourage David Shearer to allow Ms Turia to carry on her campaign and to re-appoint her as Associate Minister for Health. Some issues are just too damned important to be determined along Party lines. (There is precedent; the incoming National Government in 1990 kept Labour MP, Mike Moore, as part of New Zealand’s GATT  negotiations team. His value to the country was so highly regarded that Party affiliation was secondary to maintaining his role.)

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John Banks (ACT)

For, um… er… I can’t remember. Sorry… no, I don’t recall.

John Key (Dear Leader)

So many to choose from…

But two that stand out this week,

#1: Having the utter gall to deride the Australia  by suggesting that they have  “an inherent weakness” in their economy, and then adding,

It’s very much a two-speed economy in Australia. The mining sector is very strong and obviously Western Australia and Queensland are big beneficiaries of that.”

Say whut?!

Australia also has a strong compulsory system of compulsory superannuation, and our Aussie cuzzies have saved in excess of A$1.31 trillion so far, for their retirement. That money is  able to be re-invested in their local economy.

By comparison, here in New Zealand, we voted in 1975 to elect a government (led by Robert Muldoon) who campaigned on scrapping our version of a compulsory super fund. New Zealanders are notoriously poor savers, which means that as a nation, we rely heavily on borrowing from overseas lenders.

By scrapping our own super-scheme 37 years ago, we shot ourselves in our own feet.

So do us a favour, Dear Leader, and don’t go saying that the Australian economy has “an inherent weakness”. The only “weakness” I see is a poor leadership in this country that promises all manner of things to voters simply to get elected.

Case in point;

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

That was over four years ago. But this blogger notices that Dear Leader still  continues to make precisely the same promises,

I think it is a long-term and sustainable attribute for their economy but it doesn’t mean that we can’t close the gap with Australia.”- John Key, 9 May 2012

Still waiting.

Still waiting.

Still…

Oh, and don’t forget those 170,000 new  jobs you promised us last year as well, Mr Key!

Still waiting.

Still waiting.

Still…

#2: Asking  children at  Holy Family School in Porirua East if they wanted to be the Prime Minister, and when they all replied with enthusiasm, he retorted,

Frankly, the way it’s going at the moment you can have the job“.

Ok, Mr Key, your “honeymoon” with the media and public is over – we get that.

You’re having a rough time with scandals, unpopular policies, and your policies are not working to create jobs and a growing economy – we get that to.

And you have our sympathy for having to put up with John Banks – we so get that!

But venting your frustrations at a bunch of bright-eyed, eager children is simply not on. In fact, it stinks that  you shot them down with a cheap retort when they were expressing a real enthusiasm for your role as leader of this country.

If the job is getting to you – move on. One thing you never, ever do, is to dump on kids just because you’re having a bad day week month year so far. Bad form, Mr Prime Minister.

Mark Mitchell (National)

Perhaps the most gormless comment this week came from National MP, Mark Mitchell,  on TVNZ7’s “Backbenches” on 10 May, when he adamantly explained that National was not selling state assets. To everyone’s jaw-dropping amazement, Mitchell said (in part),

“… It got labelled [as] asset sales. We’re not selling the assets, what we’re doing is freeing up some of the shares in those assets for Kiwis to invest in. It’s as simple as that…

We’re keeping the assets but we’re freeing up some shares for Kiwi investors to invest in. We’re keeping the assets. This is the thing that actually a lot of people didn’t understand.”

?!?!

What!?

So the people of New Zealand still own Telecom, BNZ, Post Bank, etc, because we we just freed up some shares? Is that how capitalism works – you sell half the shares in a company, but we still own the entire company?

Dayum. Even Karl Marx never thought of that one!

Thank you, Mr Mitchell. Thank you for being a National MP – and not one from the Left.

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And for the final category, the Epic Fail of the Week,

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Colin Craig

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Colin Craig

This week’s Epic Fail has to go to Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig, who managed to alienate 51% of the population in one sentence, consisting of thirteen words,

We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world.

An Epic Fail of stunning proportions!

Way to go, Colin. You can, of course, expect that statement to come back and haunt you in years to come.

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Maori Party and the new Conservative Party – some thoughts

8 November 2011 1 comment

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I’ve been thinking…

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Maori Party

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On the issue of state asset sales, Maori Party opposition appears to be luke-warm,

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Maori Party not keen on asset sales

Tuesday 11th October, 2011

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is trying to create some electioneering difference from her coalition partner by coming out against state asset sales.

National is campaigning on selling off stakes in the state-owned power generators and Air New Zealand if it’s reelected next month.

Mrs Turia says pressure to support the plan is coming on the Maori Party from iwi who want to invest in assets.

“We’re not going to stand in the way of iwi but at a personal level, a political level, we don’t support asset sales because what we’re fearful of is that overseas big buyers will come in and in the end our assets will be owned by them,” she says.

Tariana Turia says there are already protests against Chinese companies buying up farmland although Maori are always conscious that more than 94 percent of land in Aotearoa is now owned by non-Maori.”  Source 

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Three weeks later, the Maori Party position on asset sales to Iwi became clearer, if only fractionally,

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Maori Party give iwi exemption on asset sales

Tuesday 1st November, 2011

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says her party doesn’t support state asset sales, but it won’t stand in the way of iwi who want to buy in.

The party’s manifesto released at the weekend said any privatisation must be managed in a manner that is consistent with Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Mrs Turia says the party is aware that many iwi want a chance to buy shares in companies like Solid Energy and Mighty River Power.

“We’re not saying that we support asset sales. What we are saying is we’re not going to stand in the way of those iwi who believe that if they can buy in to those assets, to hold them in New Zealand, we support them,” she says.

The party is also pushing for a Treaty clause into the overseas investment legislation so iwi are given first right of refusal on any land being considered for sale to foreigners.”  Source

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I would suggest to the Maori Party that a   more hardline rejection of asset sales  would put additional pressure on National to reconsider their deeply unpopular policy. Key has already stated today (7 November) that SOE sales could be postponed – supposedly because of the deteriorating state of the global economy. But I suspect it  more to do with public opposition to asset sales, and that focus-group testing has shown that Labour’s campaigning on this contentious issue is gaining traction out in Voter Land.

With the likely demise of ACT, and Peter Dunne probably losing Ohariu to Charles Chauvel, National would have  only one potential ally remaining.  As such, the Maori Party could easily  “flex” it’s collective-muscle and put the brakes on this unpopular policy.

With 68% of voters opposed to asset sales, according to one recent poll, the Maori Party could be tapping into popular public sentiment on this issue by adopting a “me too!” oppositional stance to National.

Once the election is over, and the dust settles, the Maori Party may be the only force in Parliament able to stop the sale process.

The irony of this should not be lost on us;  Maori preventing the alienation of state assets; promoted by a minority; against the wishes of the majority. Oh, the karma.

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Conservative Party

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Colin Craig’s Conservative Party appears to be gaining some traction with voters, and is actually beginning to register in the polls. Not bad for a new party, led by a relative “unknown”, that was registered only on 11 October this year. (Unknown perhaps outside of Auckland.  Colin Craig stood as a mayoral candidate for Auckland in 2010, and finished a credible third-placing.)

Amongst their policies is a mixture of 1950s-style social conservatism; appeal to nationalist sentiment; and economic liberalism. In some ways, they are a more user-friendly version of ACT. Conservatism/economic liberalism with a human face, to borrow a phrase from the 1968 “Prague Spring” uprising.  Or, as TV3 put it,

The Conservative Party opposes selling state assets – in direct opposition to National – and has traditionalist views on marriage, abortion and child discipline – putting them at odds with Labour. ” – TV3

A recent Herald-Digipoll has the Conservative Party at 1.1% – higher than ACT, United Future and the Mana Party, in some polls. The Conservative Party could conceivably  replace ACT as a credible alternative.  Indeed, their Party List appears more diverse in terms of gender and  ethnicity,  than ACT’s Middle Aged White Men’s Circle-Jerk.

Analysis by Guest Commentator,

 Historically Christian parties in New Zealand have struggled to achieve mainstream credibility because the appeal of underlying Christian values has been overshadowed by fears that they will go rabid on abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality. Colin Craig appears to understand this, as his recent comments that the state should not make moral judgements on behalf of individuals would indicate an intention to avoid positioning the Conservative party as a traditional Christian party in order to have a chance of eventually rising to MMP’s 5% challenge.

Alastair, “Political Antagonist”

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Curiously, Larry Baldock (List #3, Tauranga Candidate) and Gordon Copeland (electorate candidate only, Hutt South) appear to be “re-cycled” from Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, under whose banner  they were elected as MPs in 2002.

If the Conservative Party attracts votes, it will most likely be from practically all centre-right  parties; National, NZ First, and ACT, as well as centre-left Labour. The Conservatives appear to offer a bit of everything to everyone, and in some ways are not dissimilar to United Future in 2002, with a bit of NZ First thrown into the mix.

The real danger with this approach is that Craig runs the risk of making the party appear watered down, with questions about moral issues on his Facebook page often met with conservative personal views qualified by reassurances that the Conservative party are not jumping over themselves to enforce abortion laws or turn back the clock on homosexual law reform. That sort of response works well on social media as it has Craig coming across as a nice bloke who has firm social values and respects the views of others, but it simply won’t work in traditional media. If the Conservative party really does start to strengthen their profile then eventually a confident interviewer such as Duncan Garner will pin Craig down to aggressively and repeatedly ask the question “will you or won’t you” while Craig awkwardly dances around his weak and ambiguous policy position. The involvement of hard line Christian politicians such as Larry Baldock and Gordon Copeland look likely to further jeopardise Craig’s “too controversial, keep mouth shut” approach to formal party policy.

Alastair, “Political Antagonist”

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As the Conservative Party matures, and it’s policies become more embedded, electoral support will settle and it will attract mostly… well… conservatives.  With a hint of raw nationalism in the form of opposing state asset sales. It will be the ideal home for disaffected “soft”  National Party and disillusioned NZ First supporters.

After ACT’s demise, it’s supporters will most likely migrate to National, which they see as a potential home for colonisation and eventual “conversion” of the Party to orthodox neo-liberalism. An invisible ACT faction/ginger group will want to do to National what they accomplished in Labour in 1984-1989.

Will the Conservative Party win seats in Parliament? Perhaps, more importantly, the question should be: would the Conservative Party survive Parliament?

A part of me believes that the Conservatives have the potential to do well and chip away support from various parts of the political spectrum, particularly given the backlash towards the anti-smacking legislation, but another part of me worries that they may be spreading themselves too thin.

Alastair,  “Political Antagonist”

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