Archive

Posts Tagged ‘referendum’

Letter to the editor – give us a chance to vote, Mr Key!

30 June 2016 2 comments

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Mon, Jun 27, 2016
subject: Letter to the editor

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The editor
Dominion Post

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British voters have voted to leave the European Union, and our esteemed Prime Minister, John Key responded statesmanlike;

“This was always a decision for voters in the UK and we respect the decision they have made.”

I wonder if our dear leader will also give New Zealand voters the opportunity to vote in our own binding referendum whether to Remain or Exit the controversial TPPA?

Will Key demonstrate the same respect for New Zealand voters?

I call on John Key to give us a referendum so that we, like our British cousins, can determine our own future.

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-Frank Macskasy

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[address and phone number supplied]

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References

Radio NZ: Brexit’s impact on NZ will be limited – PM

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The bloated ego of a vain man – When John Key refused to listen

27 September 2015 2 comments

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Fuck you my little Kiwi Peasants!

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A TV3 Poll on 20 September confirmed what many of us already suspected; the majority of New Zealanders are not interested in changing the flag.

For whatever reason, most respondents chose to stick with the status quo;

Want to change the flag: 25%
Keep the current flag: 69%
Don’t know: 6%

The poll was conducted from 8 to 16 September, and surveyed one thousand people. Even when the margin of error (+/-3.1%) is taken into, the result is a decisive and unambiguous ‘Yeah, Nah!”.

The response of our esteemed Dear Leader was one of arrogant dismissal.

On the morning of Monday, 21 September,  on TV3’s “Paul Henry Programme” (which this blogger has not seem, but is quoting from the TV3 web-story), Key gave his response to the poll;

“It’s, with the greatest respect, not a terribly sophisticated question. It’s yes or no question but within all of those numbers there will be some people who will say they will never change and others who say they’ll never change but if… you press them they might change.”

Key had parroted precisely the same line earlier on Radio NZ’s Checkpoint;

@ 0.45

Key: “Ok, so it’s not a terribly sophisticated question. It’s a yes or no question [unintelligible]-“

An increasingly exasperated Guyon Espiner posed simple questions to the Prime Minister – and elicited anything-but-sensible responses;

@ 0.50

Espiner: “Aw, come on though. This is the best question. It’s a simple question; do you want to change the flag, yes or no. And only 25% of people want to change the flag. It’s a great question.”

Key: “So if you ask more sophisticated questions, fair enough, [garbled] the people who just want to say ‘I won’t change under any circumstances, that’s it, I’ve made my mind up’. That number is under 50% and falling. So everybody else is in a, ah, they will, they’ll say to a pollster ‘Yes, I’ll keep the current flag, but they’re open to change and they’re considering it.

Key kept repeating the mantra that the ‘Yes/No’ question from the TV3-Reid Research Poll was “basic” and was insistent in his (obviously pre-prepared tutored) responses to  Espiner that different questions would yield different answers;

@ 1.23

Espiner: “Yeah but that might be a valid argument if we hadn’t seen the options, Prime Minister. But we’ve got those options out there. People have seen the four options. Then they’ve been asked. And they’ve said, over-whelmingly, they’ve screamed this, ‘no, we don’t want to do it‘.”

Key: “Yeah, like I’ve said, yeah, y’know it’s a very basic question. If you have a look at a more sophisticated basis [sic] you get different answers.

@ 2.19

Espiner: “So the 70% of people who say they don’t want to change the flag, do you think that they, what, don’t know their own minds, or…?”

Key: “No, like like I said to you, y’know, if you ask a more comprehensive question, you get a much more granular [sic] breakdown. And therefore, and then you get to the number of people who just say, ‘no, I don’t want a change’. And that is under 50%. But, y’know, it’s a big number and that’s what makes it difficult, because for a lot of people, y’now, they say, “Oh, it’s out history’ and that’s it. But for goodness sake, every audience I go to at the moment I ask them this question, y’know, at some point in the speech, and I haven’t had an audience that’s been more than 50% at wanting to keep the flag, and in fact the vast overwhelming bulk want a change [unintelligible]-”

Espiner: “Well, come on, that’s just a, that’s just a nice little anecdote though. This is a scientific poll. I mean, we take these numbers seriously, you take your 47% party vote pretty seriously. You can’t have that, and then say ‘Oh yeah, but the poll’s rubbish because I went to a meeting and everyone liked it’.”

At one point, Key  invoked the 1972 Kirk-led Labour government as a justification for his increasingly monomaniacal flag-quest.

Key: “…It’s not a new debate. I mean, whatever the merits you think that, it goes all the way back to Norman Kirk.”

Espiner’s response was immediately derisory;

Espiner: “Oh, we’re not going to start blaming Labour from 1972, now, are we?

Key’s insistance that the TV3-Reid Research poll was flawed because the question was too “basic” or “not  terribly  sophisticated” is a cop-out.

The actual Reid Research poll question was;

Now you have seen the final four flags, do you?

  • Want to change the flag
  • Keep the current flag
  • Don’t know

That poll question is similar to the proposed  second part of the Flag Referendum. Schedule 2 of the New Zealand Flag Referendums Act 2015 is specific how the second referendum ballot paper is to be laid out;

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Schedule 2 Voting paper for second flag referendum
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So if the TV3-Reid Research question was “basic” or “not  terribly  sophisticated” – what does our esteemed Dear Leader think of the second ballot paper, which is nearly identical?

The reality is that this poll has put the “frighteners” into Key.

Perhaps for the first time he has glimpsed the potential implications if the referendum fails to replace the current flag. John Key’s credibility will have taken a severe pummeling; he will have spent much of his “political capital” for no good reason; and it will be seen as a personal failure for his leadership skills.

New Zealanders will have every right to ask why Key spent $26 million on a referendum which only 25%  of respondents – less than National’s core voter-base – supported.

The flag referendum will do for Key what a 1997 referendum on a proposed compulsory superannuation savings scheme did to  National-NZ First coalition  Treasurer, Winston Peters. At that referendum, 92% of voters (from a postal ballot turnout of 80%) voted against replacing NZ Super with a private savings system.

The poll was widely seen as an indictment of Winston Peters and the Bolger-led National-NZ First coalition Government.

A failure of this magnitude will be remembered as “Key’s Folly” – a moment when one man’s ego out-stripped his common sense and he began to believe the hype created by National’s taxpayer-funded spin-doctors and party strategists. In other countries, such ego-driven leaders build massive bronze statues of themselves.

Even Key is not as delusional as to think his “popularity” would let him get away with a 20-metre metal-version of himself in front of Parliament.

As more polls on this issue appear, pressure will increase on Key to dump this fiasco.

The question is; is Key’s ego greater than his much-vaunted political-acumen?

It hasn’t been so far.

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Appendix1

A strategy to subvert John Key’s vanity project

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spoil and foil - flag referendum

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References

TV3 News: Political poll – Support low for flag change

TV3 News: Key – Flag poll question ‘not sophisticated’

Radio NZ: Checkpoint – Key brushes off poll but admits changing flag a tough ask (alt. link)

NZ Parliament: New Zealand Flag Referendums Act 2015 – Schedule 2

NZ Parliament: New Zealand Flag Referendums Act 2015 – Voting paper in second flag referendum

Wikipedia: 2002 General Election

Wikipedia: Referenda in New Zealand

Other blogs

No Right Turn: So much for the PM’s vanity project

The Standard: The flag poll

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the editor – John Key’s legacy?

The Flag Referendum – A strategy for Calm Resistance

Flying the flags of discontent – MOBILISE!

The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister continues

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 22 September 2015.

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Four Ways to Madness, Kiwi-style – a day in our media

22 September 2015 6 comments

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crazy-promises

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September 15 – A day in our history when four items of news were reported in our media, and few people seemed aware of  the new depths of craziness that our country has sunk to.

It was said that the old Soviet system was riddled with contradictions that, by 1991, led to it’s demise.

That charge could just as easily be levelled against the neo-liberal system, where the pursuit of the almighty dollar/euro/yen/etc has resulted in levels of crazy contradictions that are becoming more apparent with each passing day, and  increasingly difficult to sustain and justify by it’s proponents.

Those contradictions, I suspect, were part of the reason of Jeremy Corbyn’s ascension in the British Labour Party, and left-wing governments gaining ground in France, Greece, and elsewhere.

New Zealand has often been behind the times, so it may take a wee while longer for voters to fully comprehend that the neo-liberal system is a fraud, with only a few benefitting.

Four headlines. Four more examples of “free” market, corporate quackery. Four more nails in the neo-liberal coffin.

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Nail #1

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Silver Fern chair sees no problem with Chinese buy-in - radio nz - Bright Foods - China - state owned enterprise

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The purchaser of Silver Fern is Shanghai Making Aquarius Group. Shanghai Maling Aquarius Group will be purchasing a 50% shareholding of Silver Fern, paying $261 million for the buy-in.

Shanghai Maling Aquarius Group is one of four subsidiaries of Bright Foods, a State Owned Enterprise, 100% owned by the Chinese government (though registered in the Cayman Islands – no doubt for tax-avoidance purposes). Bright Foods owns 39.12% (as of September 2015) of Synlait Milk Ltd, which it bought into five years ago.

At $261 million, the purchase price is still a small fraction of the estimated US$4 trillion it has “in foreign currency reserves, which it is determined to invest overseas to earn a profit and exert its influence“, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

As usual, our National-led government has turned a blind eye to yet another buy-up of one of New Zealand’s primary industry producers.

Yet, with a 50% holding, that almost guarantees that half of Silver Fern’s profits will end up going back to Bright Foods and the Chinese government.

Another report states that investors from China are set to invest US$10.9 billion in our real estate, according to said Andrew Taylor, Juwai.com’s co-chief executive;

“Juwai.com projects that the pilot program will enable US$11 billion of new Chinese money to flow into New Zealand’s real estate market. That’s based on wealthy Chinese investing 10 per cent of their assets into international property, including commercial. It’s also based on NZ getting about 3.3 per cent of that property-specific investment, as it has in the past.

The question is; why is it permissable for a  foreign State Owned Enterprise to buy up New Zealand companies – whilst our own government is busy shedding ownership of Genesis Energy, Meridian, Mighty River Power, Air New Zealand, land owned by Landcorp, and houses owned by Housing NZ?

Why does National think that State ownership by the NZ Government in our productive industries is undesirable – but State ownership by foreign nations is perfectly acceptable?

This appears to be a major flaw in  neo-liberal ideology and one that National has yet to confront head-on.

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Nail #2

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Radio NZ - Politicians fling flag barbs - flag referendum - john key - red peak - andrew little

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It has been fairly obvious that the flag referendum has been foisted upon New Zealand for two reasons,

  1. A distraction to deflect public and media attention away from the deepening economic downturn that has every indication of turning into another full-blown recession,
  2. A personal vanity-project for John Key, because eradicating child poverty; addressing the Auckland housing crisis; or making meaningful inroads into New Zealand’s worsening greenhouse gas emissions is not the kind of legacy our esteemed Dear Leader thinks is important enough to warrant his attention (he is a busy man).

On 14 September, John Key surprised many people by “reaching out” to the NZ Labour Party to assist National to include the so-called “red peak” flag in  the up-coming referendum. As Radio NZ reported Key’s comments;

“If I drop out one of them, if I drop out one particular flag, there will be a group that will say that was wrong because I was going to vote for that – there will be another group that will say ‘I just didn’t realise this was a process that could be influenced through social campaign’.

If you look at Labour, they’ve been very disingenuous throughout the whole process so if I’ve got to go back to Parliament and change the law to have five, are you really telling me they wouldn’t then run a campaign that said I’m wasting Parliament’s time because I’m now going back to it?

I mean, these people can play games forever.

Well, they would need to go back and change their position on the flag process, instead of lying to the public and saying they’re opposed to this when their policy is actually to change the flag.

If they want to treat the whole process with respect, they’re welcome to come and have a discussion with me, but that is not the way they’ve played this thing.

And if Labour want to publicly come out and support the process and the change, that it’s an appropriate thing to do and argue that it’s an appropriate thing to do… then we might, but that hasn’t been what they’ve done so far.”

There seemed an element of desperation in Key’s plaintive demand for Labour’s support on the issue.

Which is hardly surprising, as support for the “red peak” option had surpassed 50,000 in an on-line petition – a number equivalent to the 50,000 who marched through Auckland in May 2010, opposing National’s proposed mining in protected Schedule 4 DoC conservation land and marine reserves. The sheer number forced National to back down, and on 20 July 2010, then-Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee announced;

“At the time the discussion document was released, I made it clear that it was a discussion. There were no preconceived positions from the Government. We have no intention of mining national parks.”

The question though is, who is playing games here?

Andrew Little explained;

“The Prime Minister can put Red Peak on the ballot paper without any party political support. He does it by Order in Council – he does not need other parties’ support for that.”

A brief explanation on what is an Order In Council;

Order in Council
A type of Legislative Instrument that is made by the Executive Council presided over by the Governor-General. Most Legislative Instruments are made by way of Order in Council. For more information about the Executive Council, see the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website. To find Orders in Council on this website, search or browse under Legislative Instruments.

Source: Parliament – Legislation – Glossary

Executive Council

The Executive Council is the highest formal instrument of government. It is the part of the executive branch of government that carries out formal acts of government.

By convention, the Executive Council comprises all Ministers of the Crown, whether those Ministers are inside or outside Cabinet. The Governor-General presides over, but is not a member of, the Executive Council. When a new Cabinet is sworn in, Ministers are first appointed as Executive Councillors and then receive warrants for their respective Ministerial portfolios.

The principal function of the Executive Council is to advise the Governor-General to make Orders in Council that are required to give effect to the Government’s decisions. Apart from Acts of parliament, Orders in Council are the main method by which the government implements decisions that need legal force. The Executive Council also meets from time to time to carry out formal acts of state.

Meetings

The Executive Council generally meets every Monday. At the meetings, the Executive Council gives formal advice to the Governor-General to sign Orders in Council (to make, for example, regulations or appointments). The meetings also provide an opportunity for Ministers to brief the Governor-General on significant political and constitutional issues that may have arisen during the week.

Source: Department of the Priome Minister and Cabinet – Executive

So apparently, unless I am missing something else, Andrew Little is 100% correct; “The Prime Minister can put Red Peak on the ballot paper without any party political support. He does it by Order in Council – he does not need other parties’ support for that.”

Which then begs the question; why is John Key trying to strong-arm Labour into supporting the addition of  the “red peak” option onto the ballot paper?

Answer: He is attempting to manufacture “cross party support” to extricate his government from a tricky situation. The flag referendum appears to be spiralling out of control with popular support growing for a flag design that is not simply a pathetic branding exercise (ie; silver fern) – but has become popular with a significant portion of the country.

If Key is to bow to popular pressure, he desperately needs Labour to come on-board, to neutralise a  guarenteed attack from the Opposition benches. As Key himself said on 15 September;

“And if Labour want to publicly come out and support the process and the change, that it’s an appropriate thing to do and argue that it’s an appropriate thing to do… then we might, but that hasn’t been what they’ve done so far.”

In effect, Key is employing precisely the same tactic Labour employed in 2007, where Helen Clark sought cross-party support to pass the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act (a.k.a the ‘Anti-Smacking Act’).

National’s parliamentary support, fronted by the then-Opposition Leader, John Key, gave a “seal of approval” from the Political Liberal-Right, to an otherwise contentious piece of legislation that was provoking howls of hysterical outrage from certain quarters.

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Key - Clarke- section 59 repeal

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Bringing Key on-board was risky for Labour, as it elevated Key to a near-equal position with then-Prime Minister, Helen Clark. But it was seen as necessary, to attempt to dilute the perception that this was “social engineering” inspired by Labour-Green “extremists”.

Eight years later, and this time John Key needs Labour to stifle a growing disenchantment with his personal vanity-project, which is threatening to take on a life of it’s own.

Key cannot afford to lose control of the flag debate. There is a reason that this is a binding referendum –  the framing of the debate; the four choices; and the sequence of questions (#1, which alternative flag do you want, followed by #2, pick one of two flags, an alternative or the current one) – are all under his personal control, via the Executive Council.

Andrew Little is correct, our esteemed Dear Leader could choose to add the “red peak” option by an Order in Council. Key does not require Labour’s assistance, either constitutionally or legally. But he doesn’t want to leave himself open to ridicule from Labour, and the perception that he has “lost control”.

When John Key stated on 15 September;

“I’m more than happy to meet with him but only on the condition it’s not about a yes or no vote. A yes or no vote doesn’t work. It doesn’t deliver what New Zealanders want.”

–  he was not talking about “what New Zealanders want”.

He was talking about what he, John Key, wants. And he needs Labour to do it.

The question is: why should Labour help Key?

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Nail #3

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This next bit comes courtesy from Paula Bennett, currently  Minister for Social Housing.

Radio NZ reported on 15 September,

A government think tank has released its final report on the country’s social services and is urging major reform.

But the Productivity Commission is unable to offer specific solutions as to how the government should deal with the group that is most difficult to look after.

Every year, the country spends $34 billion on social services, more than 10 percent of the GDP.

Read today’s final report into social services by the Productivity Commission (PDF, 4.3MB)

The commission recommends a move away from the current top-down approach, with more responsibility given to providers.

But it could not decide how to deal with the people with the most complex needs, instead suggesting that the government look at two possible solutions.

One option would be a standalone agency which oversees a client’s case across a number of agencies.

The second would be to fund District Health Boards (DHBs) to be responsible for the country’s most disadvantaged people.

It also recommends establishing a Ministerial Committee of Social Services, rather than an Office of Social Services, which had been recommended in its draft report. The ministerial committee would be responsible for reform of the sector.

The commission has defined social services as those including health care, social care, education and training, employment services and community services.

It has looked at agencies and services including Housing New Zealand, Work and Income, Whanau Ora, services for people with disabilities, and home care for the elderly.

Interviewed on Radio NZ’s Checkpoint, Paula Bennett was quick to reassure listeners that National was not penny-pinching at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society;

@ 2.47

“But we’ve never thought that money was the problem as such. If it needs more money, we will.”

The usual lie from a National Minister, considering the severe funding cutbacks to community organisations such as Women’s Refuge, Rape Crisis, community health organisations, Relationship Aotearoa, and many others.

But the following words to gush from her mouth simply beggared belief;

“What we’ve been really big on is the data analytics, that makes sure that we’re targetting the right services to the right kids and more importantly getting actual results for them.”

“Data analytics”?!

Bennett was adamant that  National has been  “really big on is the data analytics, that makes sure that”  they are  “targetting the right services to the right kids and more importantly getting actual results for them

Let’s take a moment to step back in time.

Specifically, set temporal co-ordinates of your Toyota Tardis to 16 August 2012. This NZ Herald story, from that year, tells the story;

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Measuring poverty line not a priority - Bennett

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The question here is; How can Bennett “target the right services to the right kids and more importantly get actual results for them” – when three years ago she stated categorically that finding the “data analytics” was not a priority?

What “data analytics” is she talking about?

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Nail #4

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The fiasco surrounding  the private company running Mt Eden and Wiri prisons got more bizarre on 15 September when it was revealed that  Serco had been let off $375,000 in fines for serious contract breaches.

Fines for breaching the contract between Serco and the Crown are one of the few sanctions that the government can levy on the company for not upholding contractual obligations.

A 15 September report from Radio NZ revealed;

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Serco let off $270k in fines - Minister

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The story then explained why  the heading – “$270k in fines’ – was an under-estimation;

Under questioning from Green Party corrections spokesperson David Clendon this afternoon, Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-liga spelt out the sum of Serco’s cancelled fines.

“Mr Speaker, since Serco took over management of Mt Eden Prison in 2011, I’m advised that Corrections has issued a total of 55 performance notices to Serco – seven have been withdrawn,” Mr Lotu-liga said.

“And the total amount of the withdrawals is $275,000.”

But it seems there are more fines that Serco has had cancelled and Mr Clendon asked the minister about one of them.

“Does the minister approve of Corrections’ decision to excuse the $100,000 fine that was imposed when Serco failed to take back razors that had been issued to prisoners, to inmates, if so why?” Mr Clendon asked.

Mr Lotu-liga responded that that was not one of the seven withdrawn fines he was referring too.

The chronically inept and terminally-tragic Corrections Minister, Sam Lotu-liga, was either unaware of the $100,000 fine – or was wilfully engaged in a cover-up.

However, whether the actual figure of $275,000 or $375,000 is actually irrelevant.

What is truly astounding is that someone within either the Minister’s office or the Corrections Dept had made the decision to scrub $375,000 in fines for serious contract breaches.

The obvious questions which beg to be asked and answered are;

  1. Who made the decision to dismiss $375,000 in fines issued to Serco?
  2. Why was the decision made to dismiss the fines?
  3. Does the same principle  of waiving fines extend to every citizen in New Zealand who has exceeded the speed limit; parked illegally; or committed  some other offence which resulted in a monetary penalty?
  4. What the hell is going on?!

The next time our esteemed Dear Leader or some other National minister utter the phrase, “One law for all” – they should be immediatly reminded that obviously “One Law for All” does not extend to companies like Serco.

15 September – one hell of a day for National. It got about as crazy as crazy can be in this country.

Or is there more to come?

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References

Radio NZ: Silver Fern chair sees no problem with Chinese buy-in

Wikipedia: Bright Foods

NZ Companies Office: Synlait Milk Limited

China Daily: China’s Bright Dairy invests in NZ’s Synlait

NY Times: China’s Global Ambitions, With Loans and Strings Attached

NZ Herald: Chinese investment set to boom

Radio NZ: Red Peak – Politicians fling flag barbs

Ministry for the Environment:  New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2013

Radio NZ: A flutter of hope for Red Peak?

NZ Herald: Red Peak – 50,000 strong petition handed over at Parliament

Fairfax media: Thousands march against mining

TV3: Govt confirms no mining Schedule 4, national parks

Te Ara – The NZ Enclyclopedia: Cross-party negotiation on legislation

Radio NZ: Major social service changes recommended

Radio NZ: Checkpoint – Government willing to spend more on social services (alt. link)

Dominion Post: Women’s Refuge cuts may lead to waiting lists

NZ Herald: Govt funding cuts reduce rape crisis support hours

NZ Doctor: Christchurch’s 198 Youth Health Centre to close its doors as management fails to implement directives from CDHB

Scoop media: Relationships Aotearoa – our story

NZ Herald: Measuring poverty line not a priority – Bennett

Radio NZ: Serco let off $270k in fines – Minister

Radio NZ: Serco let off $375k in fines (alt. link)

Previous related blogposts

Kiwis, Cows, and Canadian singers

That was Then, this is Now #10

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

Three Questions to Key, Williamson, Coleman, et al

Taiwan FTA – Confirmation by TVNZ of China pressuring the Beehive?

Why Labour should NEVER play the “race card”

Letter to the editor: An idea regarding a new(ish) flag

The Flag Referendum – A strategy for Calm Resistance

Flying the flags of discontent – MOBILISE!

It’s a Man’s World, I guess

The cupboard is bare, says Dear Leader

The closure of three prisons and loss of 262 jobs – five issues for the National govt

So what is the rationale for private prisons?

Questions over Serco’s “independent” monitors and it’s Contract with the Crown

“The Nation” reveals gobsmacking incompetence by Ministers English and Lotu-Iiga

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184mupp

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 17 Septembr 2015.

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Flying the flags of discontent – MOBILISE!

7 September 2015 4 comments

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DISOBEY

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On 1 September, the Flag Consideration Panel, based in Wellington, whittled down ten thousand submissions for a new flag – to just four. Sadly, my personal favourite, ‘Lazer Kiwi’, was not amongst them;

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Lazer Kiwi

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On a more serious note; Key’s $26 million vanity-project – a new flag based on his own, personal, fern-fetish – has taken a step closer.

This  distraction from this country’s real problems (housing, child poverty, tanking economy, unemployment, etc) began as a joke that most dismissed with an eye-roll or shrug at best – and outright scorn when people realised they were paying for this exercise through their taxes.

It has been said that Key wants a new flag to be  his “legacy”.

It is a crying shame that he could not set his sights higher. Like eliminating child poverty.

That would have been an achievement. Key would have joined the ranks of honoured former prime ministers; Michael Savage, for introducing State housing and progressive social welfare policies; Norman Kirk, for saying ‘No!’ to atomic bomb testing in the South Pacific; and David Lange, for making New Zealand nuclear-free.

Instead, Key’s ‘ambition’ for this country focuses on a small  rectangle of brightly coloured cloth that we can wave in the wind.

As I wrote on 20 July, I will be participating in the upcoming two referenda on this issue. But not in the way our esteemed Dear Leader would like it.

I offer the following strategy for those voters who are opposed to this referendum;

1.

The referendum will be carried out in two parts. The first part will be a referendum held in November-December this year to determine which alternative people might prefer;

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flag referendum stage one

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This is the ballot paper to spoil by writing over it your opposition to this referendum. In a written piece entitled “Winston Flags Referendum For Protest“, fellow blogger Curwen Rolinson suggests writing “I support the current flag” on your ballot paper. Or you can create your own appropriate message.

2.

The second part of the referendum will be held in March next year. This will be the run-off between our  current ‘Stars’n’Jack‘, and an alternative selected from Step 1.

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flag referendum stage two

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This step must not be spoiled. A clear message can still be sent to our esteemed Dear Leader by voting for the status quo, to keep the current flag.

If the alternative is defeated, and the incumbent flag is maintained as the preferred choice, John Key will have been shown to have engaged in a vanity project, and wasting $26 million dollars of taxpayers money in the process.

By this simple strategy, we, the people,  can show the same scorn to Key’s  pet-project as he did to the asset sales referendum in 2013.

Step 1: Spoil

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flag-referendum-ballot-one

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Step2: Foil

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flag-referendum-Ballot Two

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Remember the tactic;

Step 1: Spoil

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Step 2: Foil

Fly your own flag of discontent.

Share the message. Spread the words: Spoil and foil.

It is in our power to stop one man’s vanity-project and his so-called “legacy”.

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Previous related blogposts

The Flag Referendum – A strategy for Calm Resistance

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6a00d83451d75d69e201a73d6b27c2970d

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 2 September 2015.

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The Flag Referendum – A strategy for Calm Resistance

20 July 2015 9 comments

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eight_col_eNZign-NZ-Flag-Richard-Aslett

Richard Aslett’s “eNZign”

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When John Key referred to a referendum as “… a complete and utter waste of money because it’s just about sending a message”, he was not referring to his much-beloved pet-project, the $29 million flag referendum.

He was, in fact, deriding the $9 million asset sale referendum held two years ago, and which resulted in a decisive 67.2% of 1.3 million New Zealanders voting against the government’s asset sales programme. Key was bluntly dismissive of  the asset sales referendum;

“Overall what it basically shows, it was pretty much a political stunt.”

Charming.

Key’s $29 million dollar white-elephant project receives his personal blessing and whole-hearted endorsement;

“In the end you have to say, what price do you put on democracy where people can genuinely have their say on a matter that is actually important? … This is a cost essentially of one of the values that New Zealanders would want to test.

Yes, it’s a one-off cost, but my view would be that if the flag doesn’t change as a result of this referendum process, then it won’t be changing for a good 50 to 100 years, so this is a cost we have to bear.”

– whereas a preceding referenda on a critical economic/political policy was dismissed as irrelevent in the Prime Minister’s grand scheme of things.

Nothing better illustrates the deep contempt which John Key holds the public and democracy than his inconsistent attitudes on these two referenda.

If New Zealanders want to send our esteemed Dear Leader a definitive message, they might recall the decisive message they sent to  the National-NZ First Coalition government in 1997, where  92% rejected Winston Peters’ superannuation scheme.

I offer the following strategy for those voters who are opposed to this referendum;

1.

The referendum will be carried out in two parts. The first part will be a referendum held in November-December this year to determine which alternative people might prefer;

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flag referendum stage one

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This is the ballot paper to spoil by writing over it your opposition to this referendum. In a written piece entitled “Winston Flags Referendum For Protest“, fellow blogger Curwen Rolinson suggests writing “I support the current flag” on your ballot paper. Or you can create your own appropriate message.

2.

The second part of the referendum will be held in March next year. This will be the run-off between our  current ‘Stars’n’Jack‘, and an alternative selected from Step 1.

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flag referendum stage two

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This step must not be spoiled. A clear message can still be sent to our esteemed Dear Leader by voting for the status quo, to keep the current flag.

If the alternative is defeated, and the incumbent flag is maintained as the preferred choice, John Key will have been shown to have engaged in a vanity project, and wasting $29 million dollars of taxpayers money in the process.

By this simple strategy, we, the people,  can show the same scorn to Key’s  pet-project as he did to the asset sales referendum in 2013.

Addendum1

Alternative Option 2: If Richard Aslett’s “eNZign” design (see top of page) is selected as the alternative for the March 2016 referendum (highly, highly unlikely) – vote for it. What better “legacy” for Key’s prime ministership than something that looks like the product of an LSD-induced trip?

So not only will $29 million have been wasted, but a “trippy” flag will have been chosen that takes New Zealand back to the psychedelic 1960s.

What better way to give Key the one-fingered salute?

Addendum2

Meanwhile, John Oliver shared his brilliant insights into the flag debate;

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John oliver new zealand flag referendum

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References

Otago Daily Times: Asset sales referendum ‘waste of money’

Fairfax media: Asset sales programme to continue – Key

NZ Herald: John Key defends cost of flag referendums

NZ Govt: Flag Consideration Panel – The flag consideration process

Youtube: John Oliver – New Zealand’s New Flag

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The Pencilsword Flagpole blues

Acknowledgement: Toby Morris, ‘The Wireless

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on  13 July 2015.

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= fs =

Letter to the editor – Contempt for Referenda? Now it’s our turn.

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Tue, Jul 14, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor

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The editor
Dominion Post

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John Key wants the public to take seriously his $29 million flag referendum.

1.3 million New Zealanders voted in the $9 million asset sales referendum in 2013. I intend to show the same “respect” to his referendum, as the contempt he showered on the asset sales referendum, and which he scornfully dismissed as a waste of money and “a political stunt”.

It’s our turn.

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-Frank Macskasy

[address and phone number supplied]

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Related blogposts

 

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= fs =

Letter to the editor – a new angle in the flag debate

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date: Wed, Jul 1, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor

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The Editor
NZ Herald

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Considering that, with the rise of globalisation and trans-national corporates able to sue sovereign governments in secret Investor-State Dispute tribunals – as in the TPPA – I’m surprised Key wants a flag at all.

 

If we are one global marketplace and borders no longer exist, then for proponants of the free market, flags are redundant. Nationhood has been consigned to history. Only the Consumer and Shareholder matter, in this Brave New Commercial World.

 

So really, why not spend that $26 million on something that really matters? Maybe a huge statue of John Key, standing astride the entrance to Auckland harbour, beckoning welcome to visiting freighters bearing consumer goods. The government could even build apartments within the frame, thereby addressing the city’s housing crisis.

 

Crazy idea? No more crazy than an expensive referendum that very few people really want.

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-Frank Macskasy

 

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[Address and phone number supplied]

 

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= fs =

Letter to Radio NZ: Key, the flag, and irrelevancies

30 January 2014 4 comments

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

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FROM:     "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT:  Flag
DATE:     Thu, 30 Jan 2014 07:53:28 +1300
TO:       Checkpoint RNZ <checkpoint@radionz.co.nz>

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Kia ora Geoff & Simon,

It should be fairly evident to all by the most naive that
raising the flag is Key's juvenile attempt at distracting
voters from the real problems confronting this country.
Chief amongst those is rising child poverty, wage/wealth
inequality; high unemployment; shortage of affordable decent
housing, etc.

With all these problems facing the country, Key focuses on 
irrelevancies and suggests a referendum.

We had a referendum on the sale of state assets and he
ignored the results. So now he wants another referendum and
he'll respect the results of that one?

Pathetic and laughable.

-Frank Macskasy

(phone number supplied)

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vote election 2014

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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= fs =

Has Key just insulted 1,058,638 National voters?

21 December 2013 Leave a comment

As was predicted, Key’s response  to voter turnout to the asset sales referendum has been dismissive and derisory,

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PM playing down voter turnout - 13.12.13

Source

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With “only” 1,297,281 voting papers returned,  Key was obviously unimpressed,

Well the numbers don’t look like they’re that significant. I mean at the moment it’s sitting at around about 40 per cent.

Key added that the number was ” not absolutely amazing, it’s not overwhelmingly opposed“.

Considering that 1,058,638 people voted for National in 2011, does that also mean that Key is dismissive of National’s electoral support in 2011 as “ the numbers don’t look like they’re that significant“; “not absolutely amazing“; and not “overwhelmingly opposed ” to the Labour Party’s anti-asset election campaign?

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electoral result 2011

Source

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Because from where I stand, 238,643 more people participated in the  asset sales referendum  than voted for National, two years ago.

I’m sure 1,058,638 National voters would be unimpressed at the suggestion that they “don’t look like they’re that significant “.

That’s the trouble when a Prime Minister casually describes nearly a quarter of the country’s population as not “significant”. That’s a lot of people to dismiss out of hand.

And a lot of aggrieved voters.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 December 2013.

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References

Wikipedia: 2011 Election results

Fairfax media: PM playing down voter turnout

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= fs =

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 16 December 2013

16 December 2013 2 comments

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– Politics on Nine To Noon –

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– Monday 16 December 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 ( 22′ 37″  )

This week:

  • Len Brown

Listen to Matthew Hooton’s surprising analysis of Len Brown’s hotel room upgrades.

  • Paula Rebstock and the MFAT Inquiry
  • Asset sales referendum
  • Christine Rankin vs Paula Bennett

en Brow.

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= fs =

Letter to the Editor: Key’s arrogance shines through

16 December 2013 2 comments

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

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FROM:    "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:    Mon, 16 Dec 2013 08:09:19 +1300
TO:      Dominion Post < .co.nz >

 

The Editor
DOMINION POST

As predicted by many, Prime Minister Key has been busily
dismissing and deriding the results to the recent asset
sales referendum with comments like these;

"Well, the numbers don’t look like they’re that
significant. I mean at the moment it’s sitting at around
about 40 per cent.     That’s not absolutely amazing,
it’s not overwhelmingly opposed. But the people who are
motivated to vote will be those who are going to vote
against." 

And,

"They were expecting a big turnout, they were expecting a
big vote in their favour and they didn't get either of
those. Overall what it basically shows is that it was a
political stunt."

John Key's increasingly strident utterances and arrogant
nature is becoming more public with each passing day and it
has become abundantly clear to New Zealand how casually he
dismisses public opinion.

So be it.

At the next election I hope no National candidate has the
cheek to say that their party listens to public concerns,
because we will know that is a barefaced lie.

-Frank Macskasy
(address & phone number supplied)

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Email address

Dominion Post:   .co.nz (max 200 word limit)

References

NZ Herald: Asset sales proceed in spite of referendum

Fairfax media: PM playing down voter turnout

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= fs =

Letter to the Editor: Key responds to the asset referendum voter turnout

14 December 2013 3 comments

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

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FROM:    "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Saturday, 14 December 2013 12:07:32
TO:      NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz> 

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The Editor
NZ Herald

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Predictably, Key has dismissed the asset sale referendum,

    “Well, the numbers don’t look like they’re that
significant. I mean at the moment it’s sitting at around
about 40 per cent.     That’s not absolutely amazing,
it’s not overwhelmingly opposed. But the people who are
motivated to vote will be those who are going to vote
against.” 

Let's be clear here: 1,297,281 voting papers were returned
in the Referendum.

If  1,297,281 referendum votes are not signficant - contrast
that to the 1,058,638 who voted National in 2011. Are they
also not "significant" or "absolutely amazing"?

Not very bright of Dear Leader Key to so casually dismiss
1,058,638 National voters. Come the next election, those
voters may look elsewhere where their support is more
valued. And listened to.

Because one thing seems fairly clear; Key has stopped
listening.

-Frank Macskasy
(address & phone number supplied)

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Reference

Fairfax media: Two-thirds of voters oppose asset sales

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= fs =

I’ve voted – have you?

5 December 2013 3 comments

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no to asset sales 13 feb

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Despite John Key’s open disregard for public opposition to asset sales, the referendum is a vital means by which we, the people, can let him know how we feel.

Public opinion polls have already indicated that the majority of New Zealanders want our state assets kept. This referendum will confirm it.

Key may be dismissive of this CIR, as it is non-binding.

But at the next election, he and his fellow National Party MPs, will not be able to claim that they “listen to the people”. Their contempt for public opinion will remain a bitter memory for too many voters.

This will be the legacy that Key takes into the next election; that he thumbed his nose at the voice of the people.

So is it worthwhile voting in this CIR? You bet it is.

Whichever way Key jumps – whether he ignores the result or not – we win.

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referendum voting paper

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 November 2013.

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= fs =

392,000 New Zealanders send a clear message to John Key – Part Rua

12 March 2013 4 comments

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Continued from: 392,000 New Zealanders send a clear message to John Key – Part Tahi

NZ, Wellington, 12 March 2013 – Ms Maniapoto Jackson introduced the first speaker, Greypower’s President, Roy Reid,

“So please welcome up the man who initiated this historical moment for us – the biggest citizens initiated referendum in [New Zealand’s] history!”

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

Roy Reid

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“As President of Greypower, I wish to inform you  that Greypower has been opposed to the  sale of state owned assets  for a number of years. And this was reconfirmed at our annual general meeting two years ago. We advised all the political parties in this  House that we were opposed to them selling any of our assets.

Our generation worked hard. We paid the taxes, to build our existing assets. They’re not for sale. They belong to  all New Zealanders.

I sincerely thank all those who worked from one end of New Zealand to the other, to collect those 394,000 signatures just behind us.  It’s the biggest petition  ever presented to this House.
I pay tribute to our co-supporters, the New Zealand students association. For being involved with us, because it shows the country that we are united from the elderly to the younger generations…

…I’m sure that we’ve got enough valid signatures in those boxes to force the referendum. And [despite] no respect for what this government today says, the people of New Zealand will have their say.”

It as perhaps fitting that Mr Reid was given first opportunity to address the crowd.  It was indeed his generation, and others before him, who sacrificed so much to build what we have in New Zealand today. And which a few greedy, short-sighted number of our fellow New Zealanders seem unable to comprehend that these assets do, indeed, belong to us all.

Not just to those with the cash to buy shares.

Our elected representatives certainly did not hesitate to show their agreement with Mr Reid’s comments,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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Ms Maniapoto Jackson then invited the next speaker; ex-Vice President of the Auckland Students Association and  Ngai Tahu; Arena Williams,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

Arena Williams

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Ms Williams greeted the crowd in Te Reo and her following message was short, blunt, and to the point,

“There’s one message that the government needs to take home from such an over-whelming support of this petition, and that’s Stop the asset sales and give New Zealanders a chance to have a say on this really important issue!”

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The next invited guest-speaker was  economist, Peter Conway, from the Council of Trade Unions,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

Peter Conway

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Mr Conway said,

“The Union movement is really proud to be here today  at this amazing event and I just want to say, fantastic effort. Well done everybody! It’s awesome.

Now it might have been a little bit easier if for me to have the backing of a one million dollar advertising campaign, and maybe if we we’d been able to do it all on line. But I actually think that the fact that we went out there into communities where people work, live, and play and debated the issues; talked to people about it and got such a fantastic response, is really a testament to our democracy…

… So this is part of our democracy. And what we’re saying to the government; respect democracy… Let’s get this referendum up,  and the Council of Trade Unions, on behalf of the union movement, is calling on the government to halt all asset sales and listen to the people.

Kia kaha, and thanks very much.”

Ms Maniapoto Jackson then welcomed the Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Mt Albert, David Shearer,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

David Shearer

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 After expressing his welcome,  Mr Shearer gave a brief thanks to the people, followed by a similarly brief message,

Look, I just wanted to start by saying ‘thank you’, ‘thank you’ for all of those people who went out day after day, weekend after weekend, who stood on cold corners in the middle of winter and got people to sign this petition. Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who care about this country so much that they put their signature to this petition.

This is about the transfer of an asset that we all own into the hands of a very few. That’s what it’s about, it’s about fairness. It [asset sales]  is not fair.

This referendum will make the government listen to New Zealanders.

The fight will go on. It’s not finishing today. It will go on and we in the Labour Party will continue to fight this until 2014.

I wanted to say, as the boxes were being put up there, I was thinking that “Another Brick in the Wall” tune came into my mind, and I was thinking “We Don’t Want your Asset Sales Programme John Key”…

… Once again thank you for your effort, thank you for being here today. Kia Kaha,  let’s take  it to the government.”

Before Ms Maniapoto Jackson introduced the next speaker, Green Party co-leader Russell Norman, she briefly pointed out  that the Parties behind her were unified, “with only the odd absence, which was duly noted“.

Mr Norman then addressed the people,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

Russell Norman

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Mr Norman then addressed the people,

“Today we stand here here on behalf  of the millions of New Zealanders who are opposed to the sale of their assets. Today we stand here on behalf of the hundreds of thousands von New Zealanders who have signed this petition, behind us. Today we stand here on behalf of future generations who are relying on us to stand up for our country.

And that is why we have done this massive piece of  work that you see behind us.

It has been incredibly hard work on behalf of thousands and thousands of people to go out and collect these signatures. It is despicable that the Prime Minister  then says that the people who signed this petition were children and tourists! Prime Minister you do not know New Zealanders!

If the Prime Minister of New Zealand thinks that the people who signed this petition, the 400,000 people who signed this petitition, are not real New Zealanders, then he is in the wrong country…

… Real New Zealanders are the ones who worked and laboured to build those assets up so that we could inherit them. Real New Zealanders are the ones who will look after them so that we can pass them on to those who come after us…

… We have a mandate to keep our assets. The Prime Minister has no mandate to sell them.”

Ms Maniapoto Jackson then introduced Mr Peters, saying  “if there’s anyone who can talk about justice and fairness, it’s Winston Peters“,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

Winston Peters

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“…Mr Key does does not have a mandate to make these sales. We all know the last election result and he relies upon the vote of Peter Dunne, who you know, with your money, at the last election had TV adverts saying that he would not do that.  So there is no mandate.

We come now to the referendum, which  is a chance for Mr Key to see whether he’s got the public backing and he doesn’t have even have the backing of one third of the National Party vote by every survey that you and I have seen.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be difficult over the next few months on this issue, but I want to make something very, very,  clear. Unless we make it clear to everyone who’s buying, that after the next election, whenever they fly the white flag, we intend to take back those shares at no greater price than they bought it for, then we will not be making the message very clear for Mr Key who governs for the few and very few.

Now your problem is,  you don’t own a casino. Otherwise he’d be listening to you.

And you’re you’re not a Hobbit or some wide-boy from Hollywood, otherwise, he’d be listening to you.

No wonder he fell upon the defence of tourists, because that’s what Mr Key is; a CV Prime Minister, who will soon go, on issues like that…

… this is just the beginning. It is not the end.”

Next up, Ms Maniapoto Jackson introduced “the wonderful leader of the Mana Party, and MP for  Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira“,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

Hone Harawira

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Mr Harawira injected a note of humour into the afternoon, and the crowd enjoyed his off-beat way of giving a speech,

“Look I’m going to do most of my korero in Maori, so the best way for you to support it is, every time I stop to take a breath,  clap like crazy!”

The crowd obliged with enthusiasm, clapping and cheering each time he paused  during his korero.

Ending his speech in  Te Reo, he  added,

“Now just for a short chant, a short chant, eh? Because Moana get’s all the the recording rights for this little gig, so mine is going to be a short little chant. So just follow after me. You ready?

“Aotearoa is not for sale!”

The crowd responded, “Aotearoa is not for sale“.

“C’mon, c’mon, now you can do better than that,” he ‘admonished the crowd with a smile.He repeated, “Aotearoa is not for sale!”

The responded boomed back, AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE!”

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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“Tell John Key to Go to hell!”

“TELL JOHN KEY TO GO TO HELL!”

And with that, Hone  Harawira finished with a cheerful “Kia ora tatou!”.

As far as political speeches went, it was one of the shortest and more entertaining that this blogger has heard for a while. He certainly injects a bit of fun into a political event.

As an intriguing aside, this blogger managed to capture this picture of two Davids and a Damian. Their body language seemed to belie any suggestion of tension or ‘struggle between Messrs Cunliffe and Shearer.

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

(L-R) David Shearer, David Cunliffe, Damien O’Connor

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Hmmmm… One has to wonder…

On a closing note, Ms Maniapoto Jackson ‘encouraged’ (dragged!)  Hone Harawira back to the microphone to sing a duet – an old song from their protest days together,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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And final posed-pics from Ms Maniapoto Jackson and  Hone Harawira, after their singing-duet finale,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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It’s interesting to compare the persona of Hone Harawira in the media, especially in his early days in Parliament – with the man who presents to the people, at public gatherings.  There is a warmth and sincerity to the man that is almost wholly lacking in his MSM appearances – but a warmth and humour that is obvious when seeing him in person.

And from the Green Party caucus, this lovely snapshot. They deserve thepride they were feeling in being part of a movement to collect nearly 400,000 signatures,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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In conclusion…

John Key’s casual dismissal of the petition, and the nearly 400,000 New Zealanders who signed it,  was not a “good look”. It spoke volumes of Key’s persona; his arrogance; and his pettiness.

He could just as easily have accepted the petition as part of the democratic process and congratulated New Zealanders for   participating. It would have made him look statesmanlike; stand above petty politics; and increased his mana.

Being derisive; suggesting that the signatures were from “children and tourists”;  was offensive.

It was unnecessary and uncalled for.

It was childish.

It publicly revealed John Key’s innermost insecurities – as he knows that the people are not with him on this issue. It must be a debilitating, depressing feeling, knowing that three million New Zealanders are angrily opposed to what Key and his cronies are up to.

“Where is the love”, he may well ask?

“Where is the respect”, we ask him.

An open message to John Key…

The Prime Minister insists he has a “mandate” to part-privatise our state assets.

I disagree. More people voted for Parties opposing state asset sales than voted for Parties endorsing said sales.

John Key has a one seat “majority”, due in part to manipulations during the 2011 election, and MMP rules that prevented some Parties from gaining representation in the House.  For example, the Conservative Party won twice as many votes as ACT – but gained no seats. (see: Mandates & Majorities)

That’s not a mandate, Mr Prime Minister – that’s an accident of circumstances.

Mr Key – if you truly insist that you have a mandate, then put it to the test. Hold off on the sharefloat for Mighty River Power. Let the people have their say in a referendum.

I, for one, will accept the verdict of a referendum, whatever the outcome. If the majority – even the slimmest margin over 50% – support your asset sale programme, you’ll not hear one more word from me on this issue ever again.

Are you willing to  put your “mandate” to the test, Mr Prime Minister?

Are you willing to listen to, and abide by, the will of the People?

I am.

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Additional

Radio NZ: Petitioners confident of asset sale referendum

Dominion Post: Government to ignore asset sales referendum

NZ Herald: Asset sales petition arrives at Parliament

TV3: PHOTOS: Asset sales petition presented

TVNZ: Petition against SOE sales delivered to Parliament

Newstalk ZB: Opposition MPs greet anti-asset sales petition

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  • Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  • At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  • Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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= fs =

392,000 New Zealanders send a clear message to John Key – Part Tahi

12 March 2013 3 comments

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NZ, Wellington, 12 March 2013 – Another beautiful sunny day with blue skies  (apologies to farmers) was a perfect setting this afternoon in Wellington, when a couple of hundred marchers arrived on Parliament’s grounds, bearing 68 boxes, containing 392,000 signatures.

The referendum requires 304,000 valid signatures to precipitate a nationwide referendum. The 392,000 signatures gives a 22% ‘buffer’ against invalid signatures; people not on the electoral roll; duplicate signatures; and malicious attempts to undermine the petition.

There was a small number of people on Parliament’s grounds  awaiting the march, amongst them tino rangatiratanga activists, Brenda and Fran,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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At about 1pm, marchers arrived, bearing the boxes that contained a priceless treasure – signatures of 392,000 New Zealanders. Media flocked around them. This was an historical event,

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12-march-2013-presentation-of-anti-asset-sales-petition-parliament-referendum

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They walked onto Parliament’s grounds to cheers and applause of those waiting,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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On the steps to Parliament, more media and elected representatives from Opposition Parties were waiting. (Curiously, none from National, ACT, or United Future were in attendance. Their ‘invites’ must’ve been lost in the post?)

Politicians clapped as the marchers approached. Men, women, young, old, Maori, Pakeha, these were New Zealanders who believed that the People’s Assets were not to be stripped and flogged off by a handful of politicians,

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12-march-2013-presentation-of-anti-asset-sales-petition-parliament-referendum

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Sixty eight marchers proudly carried a prized box each,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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The boxes were carefully passed over a security barricade, to be stacked on the Parliamentary forecourt,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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Meanwwhile, the crowd watched, as the stacking of boxes progressed,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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The leadership of the Green and Labour Parties,  with Brendan Horan (far left, standing beside Metiria Turei); former AUSA President, Arena Williams (standing beside David Shearer); Grey Power National President, Mr Roy Reid; Annette King; and (far right – no slur intended, Mr Conway) CTU Economist and Director of Policy, Peter Conway .

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira, joined the Party leaders shortly afterward (NZ First lreader, Winston Peters was standing off-camera, to the left),

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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NZ First leader, Winston Peters, being interviewed by a MSM journalist,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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A panoramic view of part of the assembled crowd,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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Green MP, Jan Logie; NZ First leader, Winston Peters, and NZ First MP, Andrew Williams, at the stacked petition boxes. At this point, the  invited guest-speakers were preparing themselves – and  their notes – to address the crowd and media,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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With a  unique style and flair she has become reknowned for, Moana Maniapoto Jackson welcomed people to today’s presentation of the petition,

“We are celebrating people power…”

Coaching the crowd, to chime in with “Ohhhh yeahhhh” as the chorus, Ms Maniapoto Jackson launched into a short protest-style song. Her powerful voice belted out the words, making her microphone and speakers practically redundant, as she filled Parliament with her lyrical sounds,

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  12 March 2013 - presentation of anti-asset sales petition - parliament - referendum

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“Hey, hey Mr John Key,

You say you’ve the mandate
We’re here to help,
it’s not too late,
People here are standing strong
a hundred thousand – can’t be wrong
We’re here to help you get back on track,
Let’s stop the sales,
Let’s pull it back.

Crowd’s chorus, Ohhhhh Yeahhhhh!

All together now!

OHHHHH YEAHHHH!”

Ms Maniapoto Jackson then welcomed the first of “a long line of luminaries, that are positively glowing with energy and excitement as we deliver to the government a very strong call from New Zealanders.”

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To be continued at: 392,000 New Zealanders send a clear message to John Key – Part Rua

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Additional

Radio NZ: Petitioners confident of asset sale referendum

Dominion Post: Government to ignore asset sales referendum

NZ Herald: Asset sales petition arrives at Parliament

TV3: PHOTOS: Asset sales petition presented

TVNZ: Petition against SOE sales delivered to Parliament

Newstalk ZB: Opposition MPs greet anti-asset sales petition

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  • Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  • At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  • Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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John Key: four years and a fixed date for Parliament?

7 February 2013 24 comments

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Key pushes for four-year termsFull Story

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Four Year Term?

Periodically, our politicians try it on, and try to persuade us to give them more power.

Two previous referenda in 1967 and 1990 asked the question  whether or not the Parliamentary term should be extended from three to four years.

The public, bless their cotton socks, obligingly responded with resounding ‘No’ votes to any extension of the Parliamentary terms. Unsurprisingly, the public wanted to keep a firm grip on the tenure of our politicians.

Let’s not forget that we have no Upper House, no written Constitution, and few binding referenda to speak of. Once we elect MPs, they are practically free to do as they wish.

Which they do with unpleasant predictability.

National’s latest intention to sell 49% of several state assets – despite being a minority government and despite over-whelming public opposition is another clear case of politicians doing what they want and screw the will of the people.

Key’s agenda to sell 49% of Mighty River Power despite a referendum in the offing is another indicator of politician’s arrogance.

And Key wants us to give him (or Labour) an extension to the three year Parliamentary term?!?!

No thank you.

If politicians want an extension to their employment contract (which is what elections effectively are), then they have to earn our trust. To date  I have seen very little trust earned.

Let’s be clear here. A four year term may well be more “efficient” to the process of government.

But “efficient government” is not necessarily synonymous with democracy and public participation. In fact, some very “efficient” governments have turned out to be very undemocratic and very, very nasty.

A three year term may be “inefficient” – but by the gods, it’s the one single leash on executive power that the public currently holds over our elected representatives.

If politicians want our trust to be given a four year term – they first have to earn it.

And anyway, if a government is doing a good job – the people will vote accordingly, won’t they?

In the meantime, I, for one, will be keeping a firm grip on that three-year leash.

Fixed Election Date?

Key also made passing reference to having a fixed election date, as do our American cuzzies.

The benefit of this, he maintains, is that a fixed date takes away the ability of politicians to manipulate the date of elections to suit their own agenda.

Media reports barely refered to this suggestion. I suspect that Key has mentioned this, only in passing, because for him it’s a side issue.

It’s actually a good idea.

But he’s not interested in this good idea. He wants a four year elecoral cycle.

Wrapping his four-year agenda in the Fixed Date “gift-paper” is a way for him to present a rather questionable “gift” dressed up in something nice.

Public Referenda or Parliamentary Decision?

These two issues can be decided either by binding public referenda, or by 75% of Parliament voting to enact the reforms.

It’s a shame that the same criteria are not used to determine the fate of our state own assets.

What about it, Mr Key?

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Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2013 at 10:46
From: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
Subject: Four Year Terms, Fixed Election Date, and other matters
To: John Key <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>
Cc: David Shearer <david.shearer@parliament.govt.nz>,
Winston Peters <winston.peters@parliament.govt.nz>,
Metiria Turei <metiria.turei@parliament.govt.nz>,
Russel Norman <Russel.Norman@parliament.govt.nz>,
“Hone.Harawira@parliament.govt.nz” <Hone.Harawira@parliament.govt.nz>,
“peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz” <peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz>

Kia ora Mr Prime Minister,

It has been reported in the Media that you have raised twin issues of extending the Parliamentary Term from 3 to 4 years, and having a fixed Election Date.

To enact these reforms, either a binding referenda or 75% of Parliament will have to vote in favour.

Binding Referenda or 75% of Parliament seems a democratic way to enact such important changes.

In which case will you also be using the same process to allow the People or Parliament to decide whether or not to proceed with the 49% sell-down of certain State assets?

After all, if you want the people to give you something – shouldn’t we expect the same courtesy in return?

You want a four year term – we want the chance to vote on our State assets. Let’s do it.

Go to the people.

See what they say.

I can live with the results. Can you?

Regards,

– Frank Macskasy

Blogger

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Final Thought

At a time when National implemented a 90 Day Trial period for new employees, John Key wants to extend his Parliamentary employment by a year?

I don’t think so, chum.

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Other Blogs

The Standard: Against a four year term

Imperator Fish: Why we must have a four-year parliamentary term

Public Address: A four-year parliamentary term?

Tumeke: Why a 4 year term would be madness

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A delay to asset sales – thank gods for Te Tiriti!

3 September 2012 2 comments

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John Key has said that “no one owns water”.  The inference being that water is collectively the property of all New Zealanders.

That’s a very socialist principle.

In which case, we should be asking  him; does the same apply to state owned enterprises? Maori certainly want to know the answer to this question.

The Waitangi Tribunal’s interim recommendation to National was to delay asset sales until the issue of water rights, share allocations, etc,  could be addressed, and good-faith negotiations undertaken.

Today was D-Day for National and it’s planned asset sales agenda,

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Full Story

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Basically, it had three options available to it;

  1. Ignore the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendations to delay asset sales,  and Maori would head straight to Court for litigation. A High Court would most likely injunct National from proceeding with the sale.
  2. Voluntarily postpone asset sales and engage in good-faith negotiation with Maori,
  3. Legislate away any potential Maori water-rights – and the consequence would be a political upheaval similar to what Labour experienced over the Foreshore & Seabeds issue.

Option # 1 would mean little difference to Option #2; both would result in an inevitable delay.

At least Option #2 allowed a measure of good-faith bargaining and maintaining a reasonably relationship with the Maori Party.

Issue #3 was unthinkable. Aside from resulting in mass angry protest from Maori and losing it’s  Maori Party coalition partner,  the resultant social  instability would make the next two and half years a political nightmare for any government.

When Maori Council Co-chair, Maanu Paul, said,

This issue is such a big issue for Maoridom that we had to go all the way in terms of seeking redress and if that means going to the Supreme Court, that’s where we’ll end up.”

… he wasn’t making idle chit-chat. Maori are playing hard-ball on this issue and are not about to fold their hand. They have too many aces, and have little hesitation in playing them.

As it was, National blinked first,

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Full Story

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We now have breathing space until June next year.

In that time, opposition to asset sales will harden even further and come up with new strategies to fight National’s agenda.

National will have found that, bereft of allies, it’s privatisation agenda will not have become any easier. In fact, it may well face new challenges and barriers to it’s very unpopular policy.

One such  challenge is that it still has only a one-seat majority in the House.

John Key must be praying every night before going to bed that he wakes up the next day with the same number of MPs that he had the previous day.

All it would take is  a scandal; a resignation; and a by-election…

Or a heart attack…

Or a road crash…

A lot can happen in nine months.

Addendum 1

AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE CELEBRATES DELAY IN ASSET SALES

– Monday 3  September

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Aotearoa Is Not For Sale is delighted that the Waitangi Tribunal has been successful in its recommendation to the Government that the sale of Mighty River power shares be delayed until iwi claims over water rights and guardianship are negotiated.

This delay is a victory for all those who have worked tirelessly in the campaign against the Government’s policies to sell our state-owned assets under the mixed ownership model, and ANFS will continue to support Tangata Whenua in their struggle to have their rights and responsibilities as kaitiaki recognized and upheld. Respect for te Tiriti o Waitangi is a reminder of the need for the government to protect the rights of Maori and all other New Zealanders, who built these assets together, and who together assert that the government cannot sell them.“When Maori and the agreement they entered into with the Crown in 1840 is undermined, all New Zealanders are undermined. The decision today can therefore be celebrated by everyone,” says Miriam Pierard, ANFS spokesperson. “The Government is clearly reluctant to back down completely on its very unpopular policy, so although we can take heart today, we must remember that we still have a battle ahead of us.”Aotearoa Is Not For Sale will continue to build a national, direct action movement against asset sales, while supporting Maori in their principled negotiation for recognition of water rights as an issue in it’s own right. We will also continue to boycott Mercury Energy as a subsidiary of Mighty River Power and promote the Keep Our Assets petition for a public referendum on the issue.

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale stands for the retention of all SOEs by all New Zealanders. No special deals. No special shares. No special payments. No asset sales means no asset sales at all, to anyone.

We will not be divided like our assets. We will be united, we will not be silenced, we will resist this together.

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ANFS Spokesperson
Miriam Pierard
aotearoaisnotforsale@gmail.com
http://aotearoaisnotforsale.com/

Addendum 2

Winston Peters was “on form” today (3 September) on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report“, when he make the pertinent observation that,

“...I think this has now beome a bloody minded push for an ideological outcome, that  has got a number of people behind the National Party arguing for it, against the national interest.”

Listen: Radio NZ – Morning Report interview with Winston Peters

Peters is correct. This has indeed become little more than an exercise in bloody-mindedness.  With public opposition; conflict with Maori; questions as to how much a share float will raise; a loss in revenue for the State; and other questionable aspects to National’s agenda, there seems very little benefit to the country for asset sales.

Even the majority of business-people oppose asset sales on the basis that it would have been cheaper to borrow money from offshore, rather than losing revenue  from fully-owned SOEs.

See: Selling state assets: it’s a crappy commercial decision – The Voice of Business

Key’s final argument for asset sales is that his Party won a mandate at last year’s election.

Once the petition is submitted to the Clerk of the House and a Referendum is held, even that proposition will vanish.

What will Key do when a referendum delivers an over-whelming “No” vote?

What can he do?

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Additional

Sale of Mighty River Power delayed

Government delays SOE sale

Mighty River sale on hold

Government delays Mighty River Power share float

Mighty River sale to be delayed

RNZ:  Listen to Donna Hall on Morning Report

Scoop/Q+A: Q+A – Shane Taurima Interviews Tony Ryall

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