Posts Tagged ‘Mark Osborne’

A Message to Winston; A Message to John Key; and a Message to the Regions

2 April 2015 2 comments



NZ First – National Coalition announcement, 11 December 1996



Message to Winston Peters: don’t stuff this one up.

If you get too close to John Key’s government, voters will perceive you as another “satellite” party to National in the same vein as ACT, Peter Dunne, and the Maori Party. None of the three have done particularly well in  elections;

  • ACT won Epsom only at the pleasure of John Key
  • Peter Dunne remains a one-man band – essentially a National-lite clone
  • The Maori Party lost another MP last year, as voters deserted it in droves

Be wary of supporting National’s legislative programme (even with “major” changes).

Be wary of being perceived as being too close to National.

Be extremely wary about throwing National a Parliamentary “life-line” – voters will remember that in 2017 (if not earlier).

How many times can you repeat the same mistake?



Peters 'sorry' about coalition - NZPA - 14 September 1998





Message to John Key: a reminder of your warning on 21 September, 2014, about the perils of third-term arrogance creeping into government;

“I won’t be wanting to see any hint of arrogance creeping in.

In a way, having an absolute majority could exacerbate that situation, so I don’t intend to take the party veering off to the right.

One of the big messages I’ll be wanting to give incoming ministers and the caucus is that it is incredibly important that National stays connected with our supporters and connected with the New Zealand public.”

The arrogance from National was demonstrated when they  kept secret the Police investigation of Mike Sabin – prior to last year’s election. It was only four months later that some (but not all) revelations regarding a police investigation became public knowledge and Sabin was forced to resign.

Voters in Northland had good reason to consider they had been deceived – by their own Party-in-power!

National’s further arrogance was again demonstrated when Key flippantly dismissed Peters’ presence in the by-election with his “absolutely zero” chance remark. It is not for government MPs, Ministers, or the Prime Minister to tell voters who has or has no chance of winning an election. That privilege is reserved solely for voters, who make that decision on the ballot paper.

More arrogance when a brace of Ministers suddenly appeared throughout Northland, in taxpayer-funded Ministerial limousines, to prop up their lame-duck candidate. Not exactly a good look for a region racked with poverty, one would have thought?

As  Green Party co-leader, Russel Norman, said,

“It’s pretty extraordinary that National is not only pork barrelling the electorate, but accessing the pork themselves to get themselves around the electorate.”

More important still – why wasn’t this kind of attention bestowed on Northland over the last few decades whenever National was in power? Did they really think citizens would not notice? Really?!?!

The arrogance of National was even more jaw-droppingly breath-taking with it’s blatant electoral bribes of up-grading ten Northland bridges to two lanes; speeding up broadband introduction to the region, etc. Is that how National really perceives voters – that they think we are too thick to recognise the stench of electoral bribes when  shoved under our collective noses?

Then again, the tax cut bribes did work for Key in 2008. (Which, nearly seven years later, we are still paying for.)

And threatening to withdraw one of the bribes, if voters decided not to choose the National candidate – as Key clumsily announced on 13 March – was arrogance cloaked in paternalism. Paternalism is best left to parents with rebellious teenage children. It rarely works on voters.

Five days later there was more arrogance yet, when a National backbencher thought that threatening New Zealand citizens, was a really, really clever idea. It was not, as Shane Reti discovered to his cost. Real Stalinist-stuff. Doesn’t go down well with Kiwis.

Finally – John Key’s most brazen act of arrogance  illustrates how deeply “concerned” he felt  about Northland’s dire economic and social circumstances, and how “greatly”  he supported his own Party’s candidate to win the by-election;



PM to attend the Cricket World Cup Final


I’m sure Northlanders are equally delighted to have a new Member of Parliament to represent them.




Message to the Regions: if New Zealanders living in parts of the country that have missed out on the country’s “rock star economy” feel sufficiently aggrieved, they should do something about it.

As always, the power is in their hands. They have the vote.

Use it.

Northlanders did, and they have just sent National a clear message they will not forget in a very long time.


Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender


Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes





NZ Herald:  Election 2014 – Triumphant PM’s strict line with MPs – Don’t get arrogant

Fairfax media: Government’s wall of silence over Mike Sabin

TV3 News: National MP Mike Sabin resigns

TV3 News: Peters launches Northland campaign with ‘The Force’

TV1 News: Taxpayers forking out for ministers limo rides in Northland

Fairfax media: Northland by-election – John Key admits National pulled back on promises

NZ Herald: Nats to borrow for other spending – but not tax cuts

Fairfax media: Nats – Roads in doubt if Winston wins

Radio NZ: Dusty road group claim bullying

Scoop media: PM to attend the Cricket World Cup Final

Previous related blogpost

Teflon Man No More

When the teflon is stripped away

Witnessing the slow decay of a government past it’s Use-By date

Letter to the editor – Northland voters have been warned



planet key


This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 March 2015.



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Northland by-election – a damning poll and a damnable lie?

12 March 2015 5 comments




A recent TV3 poll and associated story yielded two interesting observations. Firstly, that Winston Peters has a better chance of winning the Northland by-election than Labour.

Secondly, that the National candidate, Mark Osborne, is quite likely a liar.

The Poll

Despite TV3’s Patrick Gower thoroughly unprofessional interview with Winston Peters on The Nation, on 28 February, where he condescendingly referred to the NZ First leader’s candidacy in the Northland by-election as “a stunt” with “very little chance of winning here” – a TV3-Reid Research poll has put Peters firmly in the lead.

Peters’ lead is a commanding five percentage points over his nearest rival, National’s Mark Osborne;


tv3 poll- northland by-election - 5 march 2015


The poll results are a stunning up-set for National and creates serious doubt whether the Key government can survive a full three-year term.

The poll also revealed that Northland voters are far from “relaxed” about the police investigation  surrounding former Northland MP, Mike Sabin, which evidently began in August last year;


tv3 poll- should voters have been told sabin was under police invstigation - by-election poll - 5 march 2015

Even a clear majority of National voters agreed with the question whether “voters should have been told Mike Sabin was under investigation”;


tv3 poll- should voters have been told sabin was under police invstigation - national voters - by-election poll - 5 march 2015


The TV3 poll is evidently backed up by a  “secret poll” recently referenced by the National Business Review.

From a majority of 9,300 in the 2014 election, National is now set for a crushing, humiliating defeat. Worse still, it will take their numbers in the House from 60 to 59 with reliance on ACT, Peter Dunne, and the Maori Party to pass legislation and survive confidence votes.

Any further by-elections between now and 2017, and even support from ACT and Peter Dunne may not be sufficient to save this government. For the first time since the first MMP government was formed in 1996, New Zealand could see an early election, and the subsequent demise of John Key’s political career.

On 35%, Peters has a fairly good chance of taking Northland. But with 19% Undecideds – the outcome is by no means “done and dusted”.

This is still a First Past the Post election, and Osborne could still win the electorate with one single vote, even with a majority voting against him.

Labour Leader Andrew Little should re-visit his comments on Radio NZ’s Morning Report on 3 March, where he stated that the Labour candidate, Willow-Jean Prime “was in with a chance“.

Little also said that he did not know “where Peters stands in terms of peoples’ affections for him” in the electorate.

I suggest that the TV3 poll is a fairly clear indication.

Little added, “I’m just not convinced that the level of support is there for Winston that some people claim“.

Perhaps the poll may begin to convince Little that  “the level of support is there for Winston“.

Guyon Espiner pointedly  asked Little “are you  open to being convinced if a poll were to come out“?

Little replied that it thought it was “unlikely“.

It is no longer unlikely, and indeed, it is likely that Labour’s Ms Prime will come a distant third in what has quickly become a two-horse race.

The question for Labour, now, is what is more important?

  1. Contesting a by-election on a point of principle even at the cost of  potentially helping National retain the seat?
  2. Swallowing pride; adopting a truckload of pragmatism;  giving Peters a free run; and perhaps hastening the demise of this increasingly self-serving government?

Former Labour president, Mike William said on 4 March, on Radio NZ’s Nine to Noon programme, that he would have counselled against Labour contesting the by-election. Williams cited cost and Peters working alongside Labour to assist Kelvin Davis to win the Te Tai Tokerau electorate last year.

If Peters wins Northland, it would be a win/win for the Opposition;

  1. The government’s majority would fall by one,
  2. The government would become more vulnerable to future by-elections,
  3. Peters would have to vote with the Opposition on every important issue that mattered. Peters simply could not afford to vote with National and risk being seen as another coalition partner alongside Dune, ACT, and the Maori Party.

The question that Andrew Little should ask himself every day and night from now on is; do I really want to risk splitting the opposition vote in Northland and thereby help John Key preserve his government?

Because in the final analysis, that is what it boils down to.

The Lie?

In the TV3 video with Gower’s voice-over, note Osborne’s response (at 2:16) to an off-video question regarding the curious circumstances surrounding Mike Sabin’s sudden resignation from Parliament on 30 January;

“Ah, I’m not aware of the situation or the circumstances behind it.”

Then note Peters’ response (at 2:20) to Osborne’s comment;

“They all knew. And at the top. Including my opponent, who was a Treasurer of the organisation.”

If Peters is correct and Osborne was (is?) the Treasurer of the Northland Branch of the National Party – then it is inconceivable that he was unaware of Sabin’s situation and the police investigation.

Enquiries made to the National Party, by phoning the Electorate Office, and on Twitter,  on the morning of 6 March have not resulted in any responses to questions on this issue.

Electorate committee executives are almost always the first to find out what is happening on their own patch.  For Osborne to deny any knowledge of Sabin’s situation is simply not credible.

Osborne was either kept out of the loop by other electorate executives; never attended committee meetings; and never spoke to other committee members – or he is lying.

Which is more likely?

Not exactly an auspicious start to his nascent political career?

Perhaps he is following in his Dear Leader’s footsteps.






TV3 The Nation: Transcript – NZ First leader Winston Peters

TV3 News:  Peters on track to win Northland seat

TVNZ News: Police asked questions about Mike Sabin six months ago

NBR: UPDATED: The fix isn’t in – Labour to contest Northland

Wikipedia: 2014 General Election results

Radio NZ: Labour won’t rule out deal in Northland byelection (audio)

Radio NZ: Labour urged to make way for Peters in Northland

National Party: Northland electorate

National Party: Twitter

Other blogs

Bowalley Road: Sorry Winston – Why Labour Needs To Stand In Northland

Polity: Herald on Northland

Polity: Game on

Public Address: The Northland by-election; or The so-called Tizard Effect

The Daily Blog: Why National might lose Northland and why Labour can’t win

The Daily Blog: Poll shows Winston winning Northland

The Dim Post: Northland

The Standard: On Northland

The Standard: Northland Polls; Horrorshow for National



Northland by-election - the public going to sleep


This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 7 March 2015.



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