Vance fans Hughes’ leadership chances

Kevin Hague is a clear favourite in the Green leadership contest (in May, nominations don’t close until mid April). James Shaw is a newbie MP who will interest some, but may struggle to get support from party faithful.

Vernon Tova is prepared top argue outside the Green square – this may appeal to the wider voter base Greens desperately want but is unlikely to win him Green backing.

Gareth Hughes is as party faithful as you can get. He knows how to pander to the Green-wow crowd.

All four current leadership contenders were in a panel interview on The Nationa.

And Hughes has a Fairfax journalist fan, Andrea Vance. She praised his chances on The Nation panel in the weekend, although inadvertently highlighted a significant anomaly.

You’ve got Kevin and James who are considered the front runners. I was actually very impressed by Gareth Hughes because, as you say he lacked gravitas, but he actually has probably the best message to win over new voters.

I thought Hughes would appeal more to the party faithful than new voters, being one of the party faithful himself. But Vance echoed Hughes’ introduction.

Hughes: I want to be part of the most progressive government this country has seen in generations.

That doesn’t sound like winning over middle New Zealand voters.

Hughes: The Greens under my helm would be larger. My mission is to excite and inspire, to reach out and represent a new generation of voters. We’d be making sure we’re seeing action on climate change. What I want to see is a bigger, more powerful, more influential Green Party, because the issues we work on, they’re more important than ever.

Do you have the gravitas, the credibility to be a co-leader?

Hughes: This is my opportunity over the next two months to stand up and show the members of my party what I know I have inside, which is I know who I am, I know what I stand for, I know where I want to go. This is my opportunity, and the members have a fantastic choice. I’m standing as someone who’s been a campaigner for 15 years. I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the wins under my belt, and I want to lead our party to a bigger Green Party.

He may have a job to convince that he can lead.

We’re something new, we’re something different, and we’re something better.

I’m a Green because I support our new, different, independent party.

And he has to think up some convincing slogans. He repeated the ‘new’ theme – Greens have been around since last century.

Hughes showed a number of times how entrenched in Green procedure he is.

I stand by our party’s decision.

I’m stuck on the green.

I support what the members want. They make the decision, not the leader.

Our members look at what’s the level of agreement…

Well, I support what my party’s policy is.

Well, Lisa, in my party the leader and the caucus do not decide the policy. It’s our members.

Give me your opinion.

Hughes: I would have a discussion with our members…

Bit of philosophical discussion, but I think what voters and our members want to see from us is pragmatic solutions.

Greens have an admirable system of party wide decision making. But most people look to politicians to lead, and especially to leaders to lead, not just follow the crowd.

The Hughes approach will please many Green members, but it is unlikely to enthuse more voters. But Vance wasn’t enthused by Hughes’ lack of knowledge.

Now, coming to you, Gareth, what about the rate of inflation?

Hughes: It’s less than 2 percent.

Would you like another crack at that?

Hughes: Well, it’s around 2 percent recently.

0.8 percent.

Vance:

I mean it’s basic 101, you do your prep if you’re going on the telly to give your first national pitch.

An MP knowing the current inflation rate should require any prep, it’s something they should know.

You know you’ve gotta know what the inflation rate is, that was just appalling.

And on party renewal:

I think that also Green members have gotta look for someone who’s gonna be a little bit ruthless in terms of cleaning out the Greens. There’s definitely, in the way National has,  and Labour might well start to. There needs to be renewal  in the Green party for them to move forward.

It’s hard to see Hughes being ruthless. He seems very committed to discussions and listening to party members. The party members have a lot of say on the green list, and therefore on renewal. There was little sign of this in their last election list.

But despite these obvious drawbacks to his leadership ambitions Vance closed with more praise of Hughes.

I think that Gareth Hughes, and perhaps it didn’t come through quite as well today…

As well as what?

…but I think he has got quite an appealing message to middle New Zealand. He’s talking about people in the suburbs, he’s talking about people with young families that are you know sort of struggling day to day.

You know he’s pitching to that. He’s not talking about macro economics and sustainability, he’s actually talking about back pocket issues. And I think that would actually have a lot of appeal.

It’s just that Gareth sort of needs to work on his image a little bit I think.

So she twice singled out Hughes above the others for praise, despite several shortcomings. I’m not sure how well in tune with middle new Zealand Vance is.

I’m fairly sure Hughes will appeal more to Green Party faithful far more than wider voters.

And even they may prefer someone with some sign of leadership.

Hughes can’t always ‘Hey party/Clint’ at a leadership level.

Green leadership contenders on spying

The Nation had a panel discussion with the four Green male co-leader contenders (note that there could, nominations don’t close for another month).

They were asked about the GCSB and spying.

Vernon Tava: “extremely carefully circumscribed”, “far, far stronger oversight”, “treated very, very carefully”, “extremely tight rein”.

James Shaw: “rules around it have to be very clear”, “ transparent oversight”. He seems to contradict himself with “I think the thing that we’ve had in the last few years that people have become increasingly worried about is this idea that everyone is being spied on” but “I think there’s sort of an expectation in our society that that’s OK”.

Gareth Hughes: “I support NZ having domestic intelligence abilities with appropriate oversight and transparency, but we should not be spying on other countries”, “I think we should have a GCSB with appropriate oversight, and I think they should be supporting our companies to prepare themselves against cyber-attack intrusions”.

Kevin Hague: “I definitely would bail out of Five Eyes, and I would shut down the GCSB. I think, uh, that isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for surveillance, provided that there is a reasonable cause and that is independently verified. Um, and I think Gareth’s right that it could be the police that actually carries out that function.”

No GCSB, no foreign surveillance or intelligence seems to be a very naive position to have. It’s not likely to happen with both National and Labour seeing the need for the GCSB.

Greens complained that they don’t have a member on the Security and Intelligence Committee but if they oppose the GCSB and any foreign surveillance or intelligence gathering perhaps their exclusion shouldn’t be surprising.

3 News Transcript:

Is there a place for spying in our society? Vernon?

Tava: It needs to be extremely carefully circumscribed. There are people— you know, we’re seeing with the 1080 threat. You know, we’re seeing there are people who want to do malevolent things. But we need far, far stronger oversight and far less politically oriented oversight than we’re seeing now. It needs to be treated very, very carefully.

So it’s OK to spy as long as you keep a tight rein on it?

Tava: Extremely tight rein.

James?

Shaw: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think the rules around it have to be very clear. There has to be transparent oversight. People need to understand what we’re doing. I think the thing that we’ve had in the last few years that people have become increasingly worried about is this idea that everyone is being spied on. You know, countries have spied on each other from time immemorial. Uh, for, you know, trade deals. Uh, you know, wars. All that kind of thing. I think there’s sort of an expectation in our society that that’s OK. I don’t think that there’s an expectation that it is okay to spy on everybody.

So, Gareth, is it OK to spy on people?

Hughes: I support the police having intelligence-gathering, uh, abilities with appropriate oversight. When it comes to the Five Eyes network, you know, I’m a dad. I teach my kids to do what’s right. Spying on our friends and allies. Spying on our major trading partner, that’s not right.

So leave Five Eyes and shut down the GCSB?

Hughes: I believe NZ should get out of the Five Eyes network. I don’t believe it’s in our economic interest. I don’t believe it is the right thing to do. I support NZ having domestic intelligence abilities with appropriate oversight and transparency, but we should not be spying on other countries.

But you name-checked the police, then. You said it’s OK for the police. What about the GCSB? Yes or no?

Hughes: I think we should have a GCSB with appropriate oversight, and I think they should be supporting our companies to prepare themselves against cyber-attack intrusions.

So, Kevin, bail out of Five Eyes as Gareth says?

Hague: Yeah, I definitely would bail out of Five Eyes, and I would shut down the GCSB. I think, uh, that isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for surveillance, provided that there is a reasonable cause and that is independently verified. Um, and I think Gareth’s right that it could be the police that actually carries out that function.

But are you aware what damage that would do to us to bail out of that agreement?

Hague: I don’t see any damage. What are you thinking of?

Economic damage with our trading partners.

Hague: Yeah, I don’t believe it would result.

Hughes: How do you think our major trading partner, China, feels about us gathering their data? How do you think our allies and friends in the Pacific feel about it? Now, two decades ago, NZ stood up for an independent foreign policy. What we see now is we’re part of this—

Well, in the Pacific, a lot of the island nations have said they are not bothered by it. They accept it.

Hughes: And, to be frank, they’re in a different power situation vis-a-vis NZ. I don’t think they want, seriously, us to be surveilling and scooping up all of their communications.

Green financial n…n…nou…nous…nah

The four Greens who have put themselves forward to replace Russel Norman as co-leader have a bit of homework to do if they want to get up to speed financially.

They were interviewed on The Nation this morning and 3 News reports  Green candidates fumble financial questioning.

Three of the four candidates for the Green Party leadership have failed to answer general knowledge financial questions.

Co-leader Russel Norman, renowned for giving the environmentally-focused party financial credibility, is resigning his leadership.

Green Party MPs James Shaw, Gareth Hughes and Kevin Hague, as well as party co-convenor Vernon Tava, have thrown their hats in the ring.

And financial hats are not their strength.

Mr Hughes thought the inflation rate was around two percent. It’s 0.8.

Mr Hague thought economic growth in the last year was 0.25 percent. It’s 2.9.

Mr Tava thought the Official Cash Rate was 7.8 percent. It’s 3.5.

“That’s the sort of data I could just look up on my phone right now,” Mr Tava said in his defence.

It’s very hard to be on top of all things in politics but these are fairly basic financial questions.

Perhaps whichever of them becomes co-leader will hand over financial responsibility to Metiria Turei.

Fourth candidate may be lining up for Green leadership

Stuff reports that there may be a fourth contender to replace Russel Norman as male Green co-leader. They say that it’s likley that rookie MP James Shaw is set to announce he’s putting himself forward after earlier saying it would be very unlikely due to his inexperience as a new term MP.

Three others have already announced they will contest the leadership, MPs Kevin Hague and Gareth Hughes and 3 News reported:

, a Green Party co-convenor in Auckland, is reported to be throwing his hat in the ring to be the party’s new male co-leader.

Mr Tava has decided to stand for the leadership.

He is a Waitemata Local Board member and is deputy chair of the board’s finance committee as well as being involved in work on parks and open spaces, and heritage, urban design and planning

Tava is not on the Green list so can’t get into Parliament this term.

Norman was elected co-leader while outside Parliament but came in via the list when one MP resigned and the next two on the Green list stood aside.

Hague will still probably be the front runner but Shaw has been talked of as a future leader.

After the last two Green leader selections (Norman and Turei)  losing contenders resigned as MPs – Nandor Tanczos.and Sue Bradford. I think that’s less likely this time.

Mollyhawk versus mollymawk

There’s confusion over the difference between a mollyhawk and a mollymawk after Shane Jones referred to Gareth Hughes as a mollyhawk.

Mollyhawk squawk over ironsand hearing

Mr Jones says it’s not appropriate for a member of parliament to shoot down a statutory organisation fulfilling its statutory responsibility.

“What has irked me is not the existence of the process but the perception there are two standards here. I’m being required, after I raised issues to do with the supermarket, to void speaking too much about the role of the commerce commission so they have got clear air to do their job.

If it’s good enough for me, in Labour, it’s good enough for the Green mollyhawk to do the same thing with that statutory organisation,” he says.

According to NZ Birds Online there’s a distinct difference.

Mollyhawks:

Larus dominicanus
Conservation status: Not Threatened
Other Names are: karoro, kelp gull, dominican gull, black-backed gull, mollyhawk, seagull, blackbacked gull, black backed gull

Pacific gull

Larus pacificus
Conservation status: Vagrant
Laridae, Larus

Other Names are: jack gull, Australian gull, large-billed gull, larger gull, mollyhawk

Mollymawks:

Chatham Island mollymawk

Thalassarche eremita
Conservation status: Naturally Uncommon
Diomedeidae, Thalassarche

Other Names are: Chatham Island albatross, Chatham albatross, toroa, Chatham shy albatross, Chatham mollymawk

Campbell black-browed mollymawk

Thalassarche impavida
Conservation status: Naturally Uncommon
Diomedeidae, Thalassarche

Other Names are: Campbell Island mollymawk, Campbell black-browed albatross, Campbell Island albatross, toroa, black browed mollymawk, blackbrowed mollymawk, black browed albatross, blackbrowed albatross, Campbell mollymawk, Campbell albatross

And more varieties of mollymawk here.

UPDATE: a comment at Kiwiblog from Maggy Wassilieff:

Sorry P.G….. mollyhawk is a variant word use of mollymawk…. check out H.W. Orsman ” The Oxford Dictionary of NZ English”.

ps. you’ve gotta know how to check facts if you’re editing a fact-checking service.

pps. personal disclosure: I was the plant editorial advisor for DNZE

That wasn’t a comprehensive fact checking exercise. I thought NZ Birds Online was a reasonable source.

Collins dictionary online:

mollyhawk
(New Zealand) the juvenile of the southern black-backed gull (Larus dominicanus)

mollymawk
(New Zealand) an informal name for mallemuck

I don’t have that version of the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English.

Online is The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary, it only lists mollymawk.

The Encyclopedia of New Zealand:

New Zealand’s smaller albatrosses
Mollymawks The Thalassarche albatrosses, sometimes known as mollymawks, are considerably smaller than the great albatrosses.

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/search/teara?keys=mollymawk

No entry for mollyhawk.

It’s not surprising that the two might get confused in general usage.

Additional facts and references are always a possibility in research.

See also: Shane Jones – mollyhawk or mollymawk?

Adams slams Cunliffe’s claims on offshore drilling

Further to Cunliffe and Hughes wrong on public ‘muzzling’ Environment Minister Amy Adams has slammed David Cunliffe’s claims in Govt rides rough shod over democratic rights where he said:

The Government has today revealed its true contempt for democratic rights by ploughing on with plans to override Parliamentary majority and gag local communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

Kiwis also lose their rights to have a say on exploratory drilling off their local beaches under new rules coming into effect today.

“This is an outrage and the latest from a Government which continues to chip away at democracy.”

“The muzzling of local communities concerned about oil exploration shows the Government has once against backed the interests of multinational corporations over the rights of ordinary New Zealanders.

“New Zealanders have a right to a say in what happens in their oceans.

Gareth Hughes said:

National are intent on eliminating New Zealanders even having a say,” said Mr Hughes.

Adams responded with a media release:

Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead

Hon Amy Adams
Minister for the Environment

28 February, 2014 Media Statement

David Cunliffe latest attempt to rewrite history on oil and gas exploration highlights an on-going, casual relationship with the truth, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

“As a minister in the previous Labour Government, David Cunliffe knows there was no environment oversight and certainly no public involvement in the exploratory drilling process under his watch,” Ms Adams says.

“Once again he has been caught out being tricky with the truth. He is trying to create a distraction from Labour’s woeful environmental credentials.

“Under his government, 36 wells were drilled in the EEZ between 1999 and 2008 with no legislation in place to protect the environment.

“In fact, the Labour regime only required the Minister for Energy and Resources to sign a permit and required no formal environmental assessment at all. That’s it – no public comment, no submissions, no consideration of environmental effects.

“The ridiculous thing about David Cunliffe’s argument is that the EEZ Act introduced by this Government actually replaces a non-existent environmental regulatory regime for drilling in the EEZ, where the public had no say.

“Under this Government, the public will for the first time get a chance to have a say. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can call for submissions from the public prior to granting a consent for exploratory drilling, if the EPA feels it is required. And before any production drilling can take place, a full public process must be held.

“This means before an oil company can make a single dollar of profit, they have to go in front of the people of New Zealand and make sure everyone has a say in the full process.”

A far more robust consents process is now in place.

This also addresses claims made by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, Greenpeace spokesperson Steve Abel and Oil Free Otago spokesperson Niamh O’Flynn in Deep-sea drilling change slammed (ODT).

Cunliffe and Hughes wrong on public ‘muzzling’

David Cunliffe and Gareth Hughes are wrong on claims of public “muzzling” over new non-notified consent regulations for off-shore exploratory drilling.

Envirinment Minister Amy Adams announced new regulations on Thursday. The public cannot oppose this drilling via the consents process – see Non-notified consents for exploratory drilling confirmed – but this doesn’t change how it was.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has attacked this in a statement Govt rides rough shod over democratic rights but makes misleading or false claims.

The Government has today revealed its true contempt for democratic rights by ploughing on with plans to override Parliamentary majority and gag local communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

Kiwis also lose their rights to have a say on exploratory drilling off their local beaches under new rules coming into effect today.

“This is an outrage and the latest from a Government which continues to chip away at democracy.”

“The muzzling of local communities concerned about oil exploration shows the Government has once against backed the interests of multinational corporations over the rights of ordinary New Zealanders.

“New Zealanders have a right to a say in what happens in their oceans.

“A Labour government will make sure deep sea drilling consents are subject to full transparency and require international best practice.

“Off their local beaches” is emotive and inaccurate, the drilling this summer has been 60-100 km away from the beaches.

Kiwis have not lost any rights and have not been muzzled. Amy Adams:

But in terms of it being non-notified, well the public has no say on them now and never has had,  and so you know I think that’s left out of this debate. People are talking as if the ability to feed in this is removed.

There has never been a process for the public to have their say on exploratory drilling, and there’s never been a process for  any regulator oversight.

She says there has been no change to public having a say in the consents process, they’ve never had any say. I’ve seen nolthing that contradicts this claim.

And the public have not been muzzled, they can still speak and protest as much as they like.

“The non-notified discretionary classification is the pragmatic option for exploratory drilling, and will provide a level of regulation proportionate to its effects,” Ms Adams says.

“The classification will provide effective oversight and environmental safeguards without burdening industry with excessive costs and timeframes.”

The Government has put in place formal processes, oversight and safeguards. It could be argued that this doesn’t go far enough, but it’s an improvement on what we had, which was described by Radio New Zealand:

Until now the drilling has been in a grey zone regulations-wise.

So the new regulations for exploratory drilling are better than we had and make no change to the public having a say.

Is this good enough?

We aren’t having this debate because of the rhetoric and false claims of opposing politicians like Cunliffe.

Green MP Gareth Hughes also criticised the change in regulation and oversight (but no change in public input) in New oil drilling regulations muzzle New Zealanders:

“The Government legislated to stop people voicing their opposition at sea, and now they are locking them out on land,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

National are intent on eliminating New Zealanders even having a say,” said Mr Hughes.

“I am deeply concerned this will mean that the public will not get any say at all on extremely controversial proposals,” said Mr Hughes.

Greens don’t want just the public to “have a say”-

“The Government shouldn’t allow companies to risk our environment and economy with exploratory deep sea drilling in New Zealand’s waters.”

– they want no offshore drilling at all. For Greens the public “having a say” means giving the Greens and Greenpeace more opportunity to protest and delay and stop drilling.

Labour standing another party insider for Ohariu

It’s no surprise to see Labour about to confirm a female candidate who has been a party insider to stand in Ohariu against Peter Dunne.

In Stuff’s Today in Politics:

Labour  picks hopeful to take on Dunne

Labour will tomorrow confirm Virginia Andersen  as its candidate for Ohariu to take on UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne. 

Ms Andersen has worked for the Office of Treaty Settlements,  police and as a private secretary and senior political adviser with Labour in Parliament.

Many Labour candidates seem to be selected (or hand picked) from party insiders.

Last election was strongly contested by current MP Peter Dunne (UnitedFuture) against Labour’s Charles Chauvel, Green’s Gareth Hughes, with National’s Katrina Shanks supposed to effectively stand aside (she campaigned more than was expected).

Chauvel resigned mid-term and took on a UN job in New York.

Greens have shifted Hughes to campaign on the list only to try and attract a wider youth vote.

Shanks resigned last year to take up a private sector job. She wasn’t expected to have much prospect of progressing through National ranks.

A comment on Facebook:

There are no people outside the labour machine willing to stand. I said it ten years ago and it is still true today.

Labour is not the workers party. It is the party workers party.

Greens overstating oil spill risk

Following the Shell announcement they will test drill off the Otago coast the Green opposition is quick off the mark overstating the risks of an oil spill.

There is very little chance of finding oil. They are looking for gas. Great South Basin oil find very unlikely:

  • Chance of finding no hydrocarbons = 70%
  • Chance of finding gas = 30%
  • Chance of finding oil = <1%

But this hasn’t stopped Greens with their predictable opposition. Gareth Hughes in Mixed response to Shell drill announcement:

Green MP Gareth Hughes says it’s an extremely rough location – and a risky one.

“Big storms wash though, it’s far from the worlds oil infrastructure and help if needed and I think many New Zealanders would struggle to believe that New Zealand waters could cope with a large scale oil spill.”

Mr Hughes says the announcement is “deeply concerning” for the local environment.

It is risky for sure (although big storms are common around the world, not just here), but there’s a very low risk of an oil spill, especially a large scale spill.

Gareth Hughes not standing in Ohariu

Gareth Hughes won’t stand in Ohariu in next year’s election, according to a Stuff report.

GREENS GIVE HUGHES THE NOD TO REMAIN UNSEATED

The Greens have given MP Gareth Hughes an exemption from the party’s usual rule that candidates must stand in electorate seats. Instead, he will run in 2014 as a list-only candidate so he can focus on boosting the party’s youth vote. He stood in Ohariu in 2011, but the party has chosen Tane Woodley to stand there next year. Mr Woodley is a planner with Civil Defence and an army reservist. He has had 22 years in the army as a regular and as a reservist.

Hughes contested Ohariu in 2011 against Peter Dunne (United Future), Katrina Shanks (National) and Charles Chauvel (Labour). Tacticval voting by National supporters helped Dunne retain the seat. Chauvel and Hughes totalled a little more than Dunne’s votes.

Chauvel has already resigned and now works for the UN in New York. Shanks has announced she won’t be standing again.

Dunne has said he will be standing again next year. He will have a fresh set of challengers. How National approach the electorate contest could have a major bearing on the result and possibly (like this term) that could have a significant effect on the balance of Parliament.

What sort of candidate Labour put up and how much Labour and Greens promote tactical voting could also be significant.

Greens have already indicated Tane Woodley will be standing for them. he was 24 on the Green list in 2011.

Woodley stood in Rimutaka in 2011 with relatively modest results – his electorate vote 5.98%, the Green party vote 9.97% which was less than their overall party vote.

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