Refuge quotas – a little will help some people a lot

Pressure is building on the Government to increase our refuge quota from a level of 750 set in 1997.

All parties other than National have stated support for an increase as a refuge crisis grows around Syria and in Europe. John Key wants to kick the can down the road, saying the number will be up for review in 2016.

Each of National’s support partners want an increase.

  • UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne said the Government had “got it wrong” on the refugee issue. There was a strong case for lifting New Zealand’s annual refugee quote to at least 1000, Dunne said. That was “the very least” New Zealand could do as a good international citizen, Dunne said.
  • Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said New Zealand could afford to take on more refugees as part of its global citizenship, and the Maori Party thought the yearly quota should increase from 750 to 1000. “We want to be sure we are able to cater for the people that come in – we call that manaakitanga – are we able to care for them and their needs?”
  • ACT leader David Seymour said he would not pick a number for how many refugees New Zealand should accept, but as a principle said the quota should be “pegged to our ability to support refugees”. It could be pegged to population – which would have it somewhere between 1000 and 1100, Seymour said.

What New Zealand can do is always only going to be a small drop in an ocean of humanity searching for a safe place to live.

Lebanon has a similar populatio to New Nealand but due to proximity to Syria have been burdened with 1.2 million refuges. That’s a huge influx, proportionally.

Germany is set to accept 800,000 refuges this year – but that could blow out with the increasing pressure of refuges currently on the move.

Increasing our quota from 750 to 1,000 won’t make a huge difference overall, but it may make a huge difference for 250 people. It’s a little to ask of a country that has the advantage of distance and a huge moat in protecting ourselves from people desperate to re-settle somewhere safe.

Morgan versus Key on flag preference

Gareth Morgan has been given another opportunity to promote his flag change preferences in a Herald column – PM’s flag preference is underwhelming. He criticises Key for stating his preference for a new flag – while promoting, again, what he wants and doesn’t want.

Firstly the Prime Minister clearly wants his preference to be chosen and that does somewhat taint the integrity of using public referenda to arrive at a decision.

Why? Key has just one vote, like the rest of us. He’s doing far less promotion of his preference than Morgan is of his. Morgan is doing far more than anyone to influence the outcome of flag choice.

Mr Key has politicised the process, and so some will oppose whatever he prefers regardless, thereby undermining the entire exercise.

It would always be politicised no matter who initiated a flag change process. Yes, some will oppose Key’s choice just because he’s a politician they don’t like. They have a right to vote however they like. Some may oppose Morgan’s choice because he is using disproportionate influence with money and media access to promote it.

Morgan is trying to get his flag chosen amongst the final four.  He is trying to impose more influence than anyone, including Key.

The Prime Minister wants the silver fern. His rationale was spelt out in Saturday’s newspapers. He simply wants the flag to be a brand, he has no interest whatsoever in any meaning beyond that. It’s all about recognition for Mr Key.

Of course a flag is about recognition, that’s what they are for. But Morgan makes up “wants the flag to be a brand”. Key doesn’t say anything like that.

This is what he said in John Key: Why my vote will go to flag with the silver fern:

I believe a new flag can take the best of the past and project that into the future.

It can reflect a forward-looking, confident New Zealand that is asserting itself and building its own identity in the 21st century. Our flag can be the choice of New Zealanders rather than the 19th century adaptation of a British ensign.

Last Saturday night I wore a New Zealand Rugby Union tie with a silver fern on it. On my lapel I also wore a silver fern because it, to me, symbolises this country that I love and so proudly serve.

The All Blacks’ jersey had a silver fern on it, and around me were more of them. In a sense, the people have already spoken.

They have adopted a symbol that unites them as belonging to a young and proudly independent country that has achieved a lot and has more to do.

Our flag should tell that story.

Morgan’s version is quite different – he made it up.  Morgan went on:

It’s all about recognition for Mr Key. He loves the Canadian flag for that reason and he adorns himself with silver fern badges and insignia when he attends sports events. He notes the rugby crowd all have a silver fern somewhere on our attire when we roll up for the game. And that for Mr Key that means we have chosen or endorsed the fern as the symbol of who we are.

That logic’s pretty shallow.

Again, recognition is the primary function of a flag.

And Morgan’s analysis is very shallow. The silver fern is used far more widely than in rugby. It’s a symbol that’s common across a range of sports. And businesses. And the State already uses it extensively.

Our passports are black with large silver ferns front and back. It’s a widely used symbol. It is already New Zealand’s defacto symbol.

Morgan keeps repeating his dissing:

I suspect Mr Key’s thoughts on this issue don’t run much deeper than corporate branding. That’s disappointing don’t you think?

National flags more often than not tell a story about the formation of the nation, what its values are and what it stands for – as the Flag Consideration Panel’s first question to the public asked. They are not a logo – many firms will incorporate recognisable aspects of their nation’s various insignia within their own brands and logos.

To suggest the national flag should just be another corporate brand like this is underwhelming, a shallow facsimile of what a national flag could be.

It’s Morgan who keeps claiming the silver fern is just a brand, while saying andf implying that’s what Key has said, which is incorrect.

After a long diss of Key and the silver fern Morgan finally gets to make his own case.

Let’s get serious here. New Zealand has just undertaken a 40-year process to reinstitute the legitimate basis of how our nation was formed. The Treaty of Waitangi is recognised officially as the founding document now, it is incorporated already in over 300 laws and regulations.

New Zealand is seeking to honour, albeit belatedly, the truth of arrangements between indigenous peoples and subsequent migrants. This is a huge achievement, and a major differentiating factor between us and Australia, Canada or the US for that matter. We should be extremely proud of this – forgive me, but it means more than the All Blacks winning.

What better way to celebrate such a coming of age, than to adopt a flag that recognises that milestone, recognises that we have one of the most multicultural societies on earth, a society that also has a bicultural treaty at its heart – an agreement that establishes the legitimacy of all migrants to call themselves New Zealanders? This is our uniqueness. We have a wonderful opportunity here to present a flag that defines, who we the New Zealanders actually are.

This is the flag that Morgan thinks does all that and defines who we the New Zealanders actually are:

1_New-Zealand-Flag_flying

There is nothing about it that suggests ‘New Zealand’ to me.

The designers of it have written an explanation of the colours and shapes, as required in Morgan’s flag competition guidelines. But most people don’t read stories behind flags. For most people a flag is simply a visual image.

Flag noun: a piece of cloth used as the symbol of a nation, state, or organization

Morgan wants it to be more than a symbol, and has the money and access to media to push his own design and his own ideas on what it should all mean.

But he is misrepresenting what Key has said. He is misrepresenting by omission by not acknowledging how widely accepted the fern already is as a symbol of New Zealand

Morgan may end up being successful in pressuring the flag panel into including his design in the final four. That appears to be his current aim.

And he may then pile money into promoting his design (plus all the free publicity media give him).

He can promote his story as much as he likes.

But I think that most people won’t care about abstract stories attached to some basic shapes and colours.

New Zealanders will choose the flag that they feel most means New Zealand to them.

How would Mallard know what people want?

In a column at Stuff Trevor Mallard talks as if he knows “what we want”, but he doesn’t even seem to know what he wants, apart from dissing an opponent.

Trevor Mallard: Flag issue about PM’s ego, not what Kiwis want

When it comes to a brand spanking new flag, I started the parliamentary process with an open mind.

I don’t remember that bit. He must have closed his mind quite quickly.

The time for change will come I thought. But the middle of the commemoration of World War 1 is not the time.

if you don’t want something to happen you can think of many reasons why now isn’t a good time.

John Key has written that seeing the silver fern at the Bledisloe Cup  game confirmed to him that New Zealand needs a new flag. I watched that game, too.

But something else occurred to me looking around the packed stadium of 50,000 people: you would need three stadia that size to hold all the people who are out of work under National.

That’s why so many New Zealanders are angry about Mr Key’s flag project. There are a lot of serious issues facing New Zealand but the Prime Minister is fiddling about with the flag like he has nothing else to do.

This multi stadia vision of Mallard’s must be quite new. When he was in the Labour Cabinet his responsibilities included Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for the America’s Cup and later Associate Minister of Finance. Financie and sporting events must have been a different priority then.

There are 148,000 people unemployed in New Zealand right now, up 50,000 under National. There are 305,000 kids in poverty, up 45,000 under National. Net Government debt is at a record level, up by $58 billion under National. Homeownership is at its lowest level in 60 years.

$26m wouldn’t solve those problems, but it could make a start. Instead, Mr Key is flushing it away on a referendum that Kiwis have clearly said they don’t want.

Mr Key wrote “in a sense, the people have already spoken”.

He’s right: Kiwis have spoken. In every forum and in the media, the public opposition to a new flag and the referendum is overwhelming. The fact that fewer than 700 people showed up to the Flag Commission’s multi-million dollar roadshow speaks volumes.

The polls are stark – 70% of us don’t want change. Just 25% do.

That’s just one poll, so it’s very misleading quoting that. There are thirteen polls cited here, with a range of results. The three option polls show minorities against change in all three polls conducted last year.

The vast majority of over ten thousand flag design submissions were serious suggestions, suggesting significant interest from Kiwis.

It’s as plain as day that the second referendum will vote to keep the current flag.

It’s as plain as day that Mallard doesn’t know what he is talking about – or is deliberately promoting false impressions.

It’s impossible for anyone to know what the result of the second referendum will be.

The point of a flag referendum is to ask the people if they want change. The clear answer is that they don’t.  Not only do New Zealanders not want change, they don’t want $26m of taxpayers’ money spent on a vote.

No, the point of the two referendums is to ask if people want change. Grumpy old politicians opposing change under a Prime Minister they don’t want given any credit gives far from a clear answer.

John Key wrote that he believes now is the time for us as New Zealanders to have the national discussion around changing the flag.

I disagree. This is all for a vanity project in John Key’s name. We should all remember the word vanity comes from the Latin root Vanus which meant empty.

I began this process with an open mind. My mind is now made up. Now is not the time to change the flag. It wasn’t at the start of the process. It certainly is not now, no matter how many times the Prime Minister tries to convince us it is.

Mallard’s mind was obviously made up a long time ago. He has been campaiging against the referendums and against flag change for yonks.

Mallard announced that Labour would oppose change in March – see Loony Labour line on flag questions – despite change still published Labour Party policy.

But his and Labour’s opposition to flag change the Key way goes back into last year:

Petition 2014/0006 of Hon Trevor Mallard
During our consideration of this bill we also heard evidence on Petition 2014/0006 of Hon Trevor Mallard, requesting

That the House note that 30,366 people have signed an online petition calling for the Government to include a question in the first flag referendum asking New Zealanders if they want a change of flag or not.

The petition, along with other submissions, supported the inclusion of an initial “yes/no” question immediately before the proposed four alternative flag designs to be ranked in the first referendum. The petitioner argues that this referendum structure would allow participants to consider the alternative flag designs to help them decide whether or not they want to change the flag. If a majority voted against changing the flag, then the current New Zealand flag would be kept. The petitioner argued that this structure could save money as it might negate the need for a second referendum.

If the majority voted to change the flag, under the petition’s proposal the second referendum would be a run-off between the current flag and the highest-ranked alternative.

The majority of us recognise that if this procedure were followed, many of those who voted against changing the flag would probably not proceed to rank alternative flags, and therefore not contribute to selecting the preferred alternative. We note that the 2011 referendum on the voting system used a similar structure, and more than 50 percent of voters who voted to keep MMP in Part A did not go on to vote for a preference in Part B.

The majority of us note that the petitioner’s proposed referendum structure was considered by Ministry of Justice officials in preparing the Regulatory Impact Statement on the bill. The option was not among the top four for achieving the goal of a legitimate and enduring electoral outcome. There are a variety of reasons for this. For example, for a change of flag to occur, a majority of voters would have to vote twice for change, both in the first and second referendum; whereas those opposed to change could prevail at either referendum. The majority of us believe that the petitioner’s proposed structure would bias the referendum in favour of the status quo. A further reason against the proposal is that placing a first-past-the-post vote on whether or not the flag should be changed alongside a preferential vote as to the design of a possible new flag would cause complexity and thus confusion for voters. We note that the petitioner argued against this assumption.

Some submitters argued that adding an initial “yes/no” question into the first referendum would save money. However, the advice from the Electoral Commission is that not proceeding with the second referendum would produce only very limited cost savings. Net savings would be $2.27 million (given sunk costs already incurred and additional costs).

The majority of us therefore recommend no change to the referendum structure.

So Mallard is misrepresenting the cost – the first referendum with or without his amendment would incur most of the cost.

New Zealand Labour Party minority view

We stand strongly opposed to this bill.

While we question whether there is a genuine appetite for a debate around the flag, this has not been the primary reason for our opposition. Rather, it is the structure of the referendum that we object to.

And when they didn’t get the structure changed (which would have been against expert advice) Mallard and Labour switched to total opposition.

The most consistent argument against this proposed referendum structure was that it would be too complex for voters—we consider this argument to be an insult to the intelligence of the New Zealand population.

FOR. FUCKS. SAKE.

Labour wanted to make it more complex.

Mallard seems to have forgoten about this “most consistent argument” now a simple alternative choice in the first referendum and a simple new versus old i the second.

Mallard’s changing arguments are an insult to the intelligence of the New Zealand population

How can he know what Kiwis want when he doesn’t seem to know what he wants, except to oppose key’s flag initiative? Petty politics at it’s worst.

“Pretty little thing”

Graham Lowe has been criticised for referring to Jacinda Ardern as a “pretty little thing”. People seem to get immediate negative impressions from just that phrase.

It’s certainly not a way I would describe any politician (or anyone) – but I did’t say it, Lowe did. Regardless of what I or anyone else things of the phrase shouldn’t Low be able to think and speak in his own way? We can criticise him if we like, but Lowe has a right to speak as himself.

But predictably Lowe was condemned. NZ Herald reported:

National Council of Women New Zealand chief executive Sue McCabe said the description of MP Jacinda Ardern as “a pretty little thing” was dismissive and condescending.

“Within the context, a woman’s appearance is irrelevant; rather the focus should be on her abilities as a politician and potential Prime Minister.

“By focusing on her appearance and describing a grown woman as ‘little’, the panellist showed a lack of respect for Jacinda.

“This comment is sexist. Often when people highlight sexism, the concern is dismissed. More often than not, it’s seen as a one-off comment and the person apologises.

“However, these comments are symbolic of the sexism that is entrenched in our culture.

“We call on New Zealanders to think about the language they use and make sure it reflects the equality of genders.”

Should everyone be forced to speak with much greater care? or should they be able to speak as they think, as old fashioned as it may sometimes be – it’s unlikely Lowe will change his nature significantly at his age.

And it’s worth looking at all of what Lowe said.

Paul Henry on his show this morning asked Lowe what he thought about the Labour MP’s surge as preferred Prime Minister in the Herald’s latest DigiPoll.

He asked him if he thought, in the future, “we would be talking about” Ardern as Prime Minister.

Lowe said: “I’ll tell you what, she’s a pretty little thing at the moment. And what she says, she speaks pretty smart I think. She just comes across as the right image. It wouldn’t surprise me in the future.”

He said John Key also had a good “television image”.

“If she was Prime Minister at some stage, she’d look good. You’d see her and you’d think ‘Wow, she’s our Prime Minister’.”

He was actually complimenting Ardern (in his own way) – “And what she says, she speaks pretty smart I think” doesn’t sound sexist.

He went on to promote Ardern’s chances of becoming Labour leader and Prime Minister.

And while Lowe didn’t balance things by calling John Key a pretty little think he referred to key’s “good television image”.

To possibly many voters ‘television image’ is one of their primary impressions of politicians. Sure it’s very superficial, but it’s how some people view politics and politicians.

They are not likely to spend more time analysing the leadership capabilities of politicians if they are criticised for speaking their own thoughts in their own words.

Of more interest to me is who is behind what appears to be an ongoing campaign to promote Ardern as someone who some people will perceive as a “pretty little thing”.

They may be quite happy to get the additional attention as a result of Lowe’s comment.

That cartoon is just a bonus to the campaign.

What appears to be a carefully groomed image of Ardern has been promoted via a number of media for several months, NZ Herald is just the latest to pick up and promote her PR.

Is Ardern acting on her own? She must have some support from somewhere.

Little has a sense of humour

In Question Time in Parliament today Andrew Little asked several questions on the Health and Safety Bill, starting with:

Does he have confidence in the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, given his decision not to include sheep, beef, and dairy farming in his Proposed Schedule of High Risk Industries?

There were predictable digs about lavendar growing and butterfly farming.

Does the Prime Minister agree that ridiculous situation where working with lavendar and butterflies is high risk, but working with bulls and explosives is not, has undermined public confidence in his Health and Safety reforms, and if not why not.

But he was working up to a good one.

If he thinks butterfly breeding is high risk but dairy farming isn’t, can he tell us the last time a rampaging butterfly had to be shot by police in the streets of Whanganui?

There was much laughter from the left and even some smiles on the right.

He has a wee way to go but maybe there’s some hope for Little.

Ardern one of favoured Little replacements

Jacinda Ardern is one of the more favoured relacements should Andrew Little step down from the Labour leadership, but NZ Herald talks her up more than us justified in Jacinda Ardern’s star still rising.

They have publisghed two poll resuo\lts:

Preferred Prime Minister

John Key 63.7 (down 0.9)
Andrew Little 13.3 (down 0.6)
Winston Peters 11.6 (down 0.4)
Jacinda Ardern 3.9 (up 3.4)
Helen Clark 2.6 (up 1.6)
Metiria Turei 0.9 (up 0.6)
James Shaw 0.6 (up 0.6)

Ardern has jumped up there but she’s not far ahead of the margin of error for Helen Clark.

Q: If Andrew Little were to step down as Labour leader during this term, who do you think would his best replacements as Opposition leader?

Annette King 21.8
Jacinda Ardern 20.1
Grant Robertson 18.0
Phil Twyford 4.0
None of the above 10.5
Don’t know/ refused 25.7

That doesn’t look good for Labour.

King is one of their most respected MPs, was deputy leader under Phill Goff, is currently deputy leader, and has been stand in leader during last year’s leadership contest, but she can hardly be seen seriously as a leader of the future.

That Ardern and Grant Robertson come close behind with over a third (36.2%) ‘none’ or ‘don’t know/refused’ might suggest Little’s leadership is secure but it doesn’t look great for alternatives.

Ardern has shown no sign of being ready to step up to lreadership type responsibilites and Robertson is a multiple failure in leadership contests.

The poll of 750 eligible voters was conducted between August 14 – 24.

Exposing dirty politics – and journalists?

No Right Turn has a post about his ongoing attempts to extract details of communications between John Key and Rachel Glucina over the ponytail saga.

This raises important issues about whether politicians’ interactions with journalists should be private or not.

Exposing dirty politics

Back in April it was revealed that Prime Minister John Key had systematically and repeatedly assaulted and sexually harassed a cafe waitress (while his police bodyguards stood around and did nothing). Shortly afterwards, dirty politics operative and sewer-columnist Rachel Glucina ran a smear-job on the victim.

When he was asked under the OIA whether he had had any communications with her about it, Key refused to respond. That refusal was one of the worst I’ve ever seen, and so naturally enough the requester took it to the Ombudsman. On Wednesday we learned that the Ombudsman was investigating the refusal. Key response to this has been to stand by his stonewalling, citing a “long-standing view” and a “convention” that his interactions with the media shouldn’t be released. The problem? None of that is in the law.

The OIA specifies a number of conclusive and non-conclusive reasons for withholding official information – and the Prime Minister having a “long-standing view” that he should be above the law isn’t one of them. And the grounds he does cite – “privacy” (his own) and “confidentiality” (offered for his own convenience) – are simply not applicable.

If the system works as it should, Key should be forced to reveal whatever information he holds (subject to legitimate redactions for privacy – things like names and phone numbers, not whether he or his minions talked to a journalist).

As for the supposed consequences, I’m perfectly comfortable with them. As I noted earlier, if Key is so ashamed of his contact with Rachel Glucina that he is blatantly ignoring the law to avoid admitting it, maybe he shouldn’t have contacted her in the first place. And if the threat of exposure deters him from making such contacts in future, then that would a victory for the OIA.

[Disclosure: I’m a party to this complaint, having complained about the refusal of my request for information regarding the existence of information]

I’m not so comfortable with the potential consequences.

Should any communications between any MP and any journalist be obtainable for publication under the Official Information Act?

While the OIA may not specifically address journalist/politician confidentiality other laws do.

The free exchange of communications between politicians and the press is a crucial part of an effectively functioning democracy.

If a blogger could successfully demand that any such communications be made public I think there will be many politicians and journalists very uneasy.

Idiot Savant wants to score a hit against Key here. Terms like “systematically and repeatedly assaulted and sexually harassed” and “dirty politics operative and sewer-columnist” suggest they are not particularly balanced on this issue.

While I have concerns about how Glucina handled the Amanda Bailey story I have greater concerns about the implications of opening up all politician/journalist communications to public scrutiny.

Especially when it appears there is a growing desire to attack and punish journalists and media who are deemed to be politicaly biased by some political activists and Winston Peters and Andrew Little.

I wonder how Peters and Little would like all their comminications with journalists open to public scrutiny?

Note: No Right Turn doesn’t allow comments but this has been reposted at The Standard so there will be comments on it here: NRT: Exposing dirty politics

John Key supports the silver fern

In NZ Herald John key explains why he will vote for a flag with the silver fern – except he doesn’t say which design he would support as there’s a number of them in the list of forty that include a silver fern.

John Key: Why my vote will go to flag with the silver fern

Last Saturday night I had the privilege, with more than 40,000 others, of watching the Bledisloe Cup decider at Eden Park.

Several things struck me about the night, not least of them the wonderful display by the All Blacks which bodes well for their World Cup campaign.

What I first noticed was the sea of black in the crowd.

There was a sprinkling of yellow – worn by a few diehard Aussie supporters who probably did not have a very good night – but black was dominant. New Zealand supporters had come with their passion, with their pride and with their black.

What I also noticed was that there were very few New Zealand flags in the crowd.

Most New Zealanders, I believe, do not think of the flag as their preferred way to display and share their sense of national identity. Besides, it’s too much like Australia’s – especially when New Zealand is playing against Australia.

Without being able to count the stars, how would people know whose flag anyone was holding?

I have the privilege of travelling all over the country and meeting thousands of New Zealanders. I reckon we are as loyal and patriotic as any people in the world. But very few New Zealanders fly the flag proudly. It isn’t emblazoned on the T-shirts and backpacks of travelling Kiwis, and few would choose to wave the New Zealand flag at street parades and sporting matches.

I believe that’s because our current flag reflects the way we once were, rather than the way we are now. In saying that, I mean no disrespect to the New Zealand flag. It has served us well. It has flown at the most important times in our country’s history. It has flown to remember the servicemen and women who gave their lives for our country. It has flown at funerals, at national days and at Gallipoli.

It has flown when our sportspeople have won gold medals overseas at Olympic games. It flies at Parliament, from public buildings and on public holidays. But I believe a new flag can take the best of the past and project that into the future.

It can reflect a forward-looking, confident New Zealand that is asserting itself and building its own identity in the 21st century. Our flag can be the choice of New Zealanders rather than the 19th century adaptation of a British ensign.

I think that now is the time we had a national discussion and, for the only time in New Zealand’s history, all have the opportunity to have a say in choosing our flag.

In the future, no one will remember or care who the politicians were when we changed the flag, just as they do not remember or care who the politicians were when we got our current ensign. It simply does not matter. All that is important is to ensure the decision is taken fairly and democratically. Many Commonwealth and other countries have changed their flags. While it might have seemed a big deal at the time, I bet none would choose to go back.

Canada’s maple leaf, for example, is a powerful symbol of that country – instantly recognisable in a way its previous flag was not.

Changing our flag would not disrespect the New Zealand servicemen and women who served under it. Those brave New Zealanders did not fight for a flag, they fought for a country, for each other, for the people they left behind and for a way of life that included freedom of choice. Many lie in foreign graves adorned not by a New Zealand flag, but by a silver fern.

Last Saturday night I wore a New Zealand Rugby Union tie with a silver fern on it. On my lapel I also wore a silver fern because it, to me, symbolises this country that I love and so proudly serve.

The All Blacks’ jersey had a silver fern on it, and around me were more of them. In a sense, the people have already spoken.

They have adopted a symbol that unites them as belonging to a young and proudly independent country that has achieved a lot and has more to do.

Our flag should tell that story.

John Key on arguments for and against flag change

Mood of the Boardroom 2015

NZ Herald has published a summary of their annual ‘Mood of the Boardroom’: Dairy and infrastructure top worry lists which shows that business confidence has slipped.

Confidence (out of 5) in:

  • Local economy 2.3
  • International economy 2.54
  • Own business situation 2.99

 The country’s senior business leaders are becoming increasingly concerned about the slowing economy, the Government’s strategy and our reliance on China and dairy exports.

The 2015 Mood of the Boardroom, published today, surveys 110 top corporate chief executives and company directors as well as heads of our leading business organisations.

The results show 75 per cent want to see the Government formulate a Plan B in case the dairy slump continues. Eighty per cent want diversification of the economy accelerated.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents agreed that indicators pointed to an economic slowdown from their own business perspective.

On political performance:

  • Bill English 4.6 (down from 4.75)
  • John Key 4.28 (down from 4.49)

Drops for both is not surprising given the worsening economic conditions and increasing number of embarrassing issues. If this downward movement continues through to the election it will pose re-election difficulties for National.

Jacinda Ardern was rated the most impressive Labour MP for the second year running.

This makes National’s re-election chances less difficult unless Andrew Little and Grant Robertson can gain some credibility in the business world.

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