Question Time flop #2 – Ron Mark

Ron Mark has returned to Parliament after a six year absence. He had previously been an NZ First MP from 1996-2008 and has been touted as a potential successor to Winston Peters as party leader.

In Parliament’s first Question Time this term he was inauspicious with the twelfth question directed at Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse, where he seemed to overrate his abilities.

[Sitting date: 22 October 2014. Volume:701;Page:13. Text is subject to correction.]

12. RON MARK (NZ First) to the Minister of Immigration : Does he have an ideal number of migrants coming to New Zealand; if so, what is that number?

Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (Minister of Immigration): I do have an ideal situation for migrants coming to New Zealand and it is quantifiable, but not in a single number. My ideal is: as many international students as want to come and study at our tertiary institutions; as many tourists who want to come and enjoy our beautiful country; as many skilled migrants as is necessary to fill the skill demands that we have; and, because migration data also includes New Zealanders coming home, as many New Zealanders who want to come home and contribute to this country’s social and economic development.

Ron Mark : As the Minister has just admitted to the House that he has no clear idea of what an ideal level of immigration is—

Hon Gerry Brownlee : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Ron Mark : —does he not realise—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I have a point of order, and no one should be surprised.

Hon Gerry Brownlee : The Standing Orders are very clear on what must be, or should be, in a question. Equally, they are clear on what there should not be. Statements of supposition that were a statement, effectively, at the beginning of what we hoped would be a question are not inside the Standing Orders and should not be allowed in this Parliament.

A basic stuff up – has Marks forgotten how things work or was he deliberately trying the Speaker on?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : The problem with that complaint is that the Minister did say that he did not have an optimum figure that he could give the House. He admitted that he did not have that figure. He referred to tourists and he referred to students, none of which was part of the primary question, and so, frankly, he is guilty by the statement he made.

Peters tries to support Mark.

Hon Gerry Brownlee : The Minister made it clear that he did not have an ideal number, but he had a series of scenarios that were acceptable. For the member to characterise the start of a question as there was an admission, etc., etc., it is not an acceptable way to ask a question in this House.

Mr SPEAKER : I have heard enough. [Interruption] Order! I am on my feet. Strictly interpreting the Standing Orders, all questions should start with a question, but if members also take the opportunity to review Hansard today they will see that on many occasions members take the opportunity to add an introduction, which I have been relatively lenient in allowing.

But, as the member who is asking the question will have noted, when he starts a question like that, it will inevitably lead to disorder. So I invite the member, if he wants to ask a supplementary question, to now rise and ask a supplementary question without the additional comments about a Minister having no idea, etc.

A comprehensive ruling against Mark that not even Peters tried to argue with.

Ron Mark : Thank you, Mr Speaker; thank you, Gerry. Does the Minister, noting that he has not given an ideal level of immigration to the House today, realise that uncontrolled immigration is forcing Kiwis into queues for hospital beds, queues for housing, and queues for jobs, and is driving down Kiwi wages?

Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE : I think it would be helpful to assist the member by describing what migration definitions informed the permanent and long-term migration data that he sees. A migrant includes somebody who is here for a short time, for a long-term temporary basis, and permanently, and New Zealanders returning home.

The member describes an out-of-control or uncontrolled permanent residence migration by foreigners. That is not true. We have a planning range of between 45,000 and 50,000 residents per year, and in the 5 years to 2014 we have not met that range because migration policy is demand-driven, and the demand during the recession has not been there. So I reject the assertion that it is somehow uncontrolled immigration.

It’s a nonsense to claim we have uncontrolled immigration. Year to year migration numbers are hard to control due to the freedpm for new Zealanders to l;eave and return, but apart from that immigration is closely controlled.

Ron Mark : Is it not a fact that a Government using open-door immigration policies is likely to drive down wages and living standards, and when will he admit that we—New Zealand—are on track to replicate exactly what is happening in the United Kingdom right now?

No, it’s not a fact, it’s an absurd claim. Mark must know this is a nonsensical assertion. This is a dishonestly misleading line of attack or ignorant of basic facts.

Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE : I simply reject the prefacing comments about uncontrolled migration. We have very strict immigration policies, which are labour market – tested for temporary visa holders and are very well controlled for permanent residence visa holders. I note that permanent residence visa numbers presently are 20 percent below the 2006-07 numbers that existed when that member’s party was supporting Labour on confidence and supply.

Ron Mark : So if the number of people coming into New Zealand, as reported recently, in 1 year is such that it translates into a need for 8,000 new homes just to meet their requirements, and the Minister of Building and Housing has just told the House today that he has managed to build six houses this year—

Is this approach rustiness, ignorance or arrogance? The video below may give an idea which.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! We are now getting to the stage where it is a speech. Ask the supplementary question.

Ron Mark : Thank you, Mr Speaker. What is the whole-of-Government plan to cater for this level of immigration in terms of infrastructural needs, in terms of housing needs, and in terms of catering for the hospitals and their extra workload? What is this Government’s population plan for New Zealand?

His final question is far too general and not specific to the Immigration Minister’s responsibilities.

Mr SPEAKER : Hon Michael Woodhouse, in so far as he has ministerial responsibility.

Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE : As I think I have already explained, the migration data on which the member bases his question include working holidaymakers; international students; people who are going to help us rebuild our second-largest city; and, above all, Kiwis coming home. Yes, they need houses, and this Government does have a plan to fix housing supply, but I reject the inference that this is somehow some kind of peril that we need to be managing.

It looks like Mark (and his research team) has to get up to speed quickly if he is going to make a serious mark this term.

The NZ First MPs who have resumed from last term may not appreciate being leapfrogged in the party pecking order, especially   when the question is wasted like this.

Predictable result

In the main the election result and sub-results were quite predictable.

Polls were a reasonable indicator but only look backwards so show trends that have happened. They can’t predict to late campaign shifts that are common.

This election was peculiar in that many decisions were put on hold until Kim Dotcom’s big reveal. When it came to nothing it strengthened resolve of swing voters to ensure National retained it’s hold on Government.

Labour dropping below poll results was not surprising. They were obviously not going to do well and non-committed voters either change their minds or simply don’t bother voting.

Claims like “but Cunliffe ran a good campaign” have been proven wrong. As David Shearer said, the end result was tragic for Labour. Cunliffe may have appeared to be campaigning strongly but he puts on a variety of acts. While they might be slick acts voters see through this lack of genuineness. Cunliffe also has a problem that is probably unresolvable – too many people simply don’t like his persona (or personas).

Greens will be disappointed to have struggled to maintain their level of support while Labour were shedding votes. Greens weren’t able to pick them up. This suggests that 10-12% is the upper limit for them. This also shouldn’t be surprising outside the Green bubble. People like to have a party promoting environmental issues but most don’t like the extreme Green stances like no drilling, no fracking, no motorways.

And Greens misread public sentiment if they think that handing out more money to poor people with no responsibilities applied will be popular. Middle New Zealand see this as imposing costs and taxes on them. Socialism is fringe ideology these days.

Winston Peters is adept at picking up protest and shedded votes. NZ First gained vote, gained MPs but otherwise gained nothing. Most of the 91% who didn’t vote NZ First will be happy with this outcome.

The 5% threshold always looked a very high hurdle for Conservatives and so it proved. This was a failure of MMP. The threshold should be no higher than 3%. I don’t personally support the Conservatives but their missing out is a travesty of democracy.

Hone Harawira losing his electorate was a bit of a shock but not really surprising given the severely compromised position of Harawira and Mana hitching their ambitions to Kim Dotcom. Dotcom’s expensive disaster was Harawira’s failing.

Internet-Mana was always a high risk alliance. They might have succeeded as a combined party but Dotcom realised too late that his brand was toxic and he couldn’t resist being prominent. His final week failure to deliver on his promises to hit John Key compounded the problem.

Laila Harre severely compromised her credibility and was still blind to this yesterday, blaming everything but reality. Her political future is very limited.

The Maori Party lost two of their three electorates as widely predicted. For the first time they had sufficient party vote to pick up a list seat to go with Te Ururoa Flavell’s retained seat. Flavell was a minor star of the campaign but will have a difficult job keeping the Maori Party afloat.

David Seymour retained Epsom as expected but also as expected ACT failed as a party. Jamie Whyte failed to step up as leader in a challenging attempt to rebuild a battered brand.

Peter Dunne held is Ohariu seat. That didn’t seem to surprise anyone but unrealistic Labourites from the electorate. As a party United Future was nowhere to be seen, and accordingly votes were nowhere to be seen, dropping to a third of the low return they got in 2011.

Just two more seats for National but this strengthens them substantially, giving them a majority vote on their own as long as they don’t lose any seats this term. They also have ACT, Dunne and Maori Party support options on standby.

Just two less seats for Labour and this weakens them substantially. The result is tragic for them and the outlook is no better. They have done very little to move on the old guard and bring in new talent. They seem out of touch with their constituency of last century. They have yet another failed leader with no obvious replacement. This was also predictable.

Labour have failed for six years to rebuild from the Clark/Cullen era. Unless someone out of the ordinary steps up their future looks bleak.

National campaigned on ‘steady as she goes’ and the voters delivered the platform for National to be a little more politically steady than expected providing outstanding issues don’t impact too much.

Judith Collins has already been sidelined and is expendable should inquiries further damage her.

Now the election is over ‘dirty politics’ should be addressed by Key. And by Labour. And to a lesser extent by Greens. Peters won’t change from his habit of attack without evidence but he will be largely impotent unless the media keep pandering to his baseless allegations.

Some embarrassments may emerge for Key and National out of surveillance and GCSB issues but they look to have been overplayed, and most people accept the need for some surveillance protection.

The simple fact is that most people don’t feel threatened by surveillance and they are concerned about about terrorism.

And it’s ironic that the supposedly net-savvy who campaign strongly against surveillance must be aware that the Google and Twitter and Facebook social media tools they willingly use are tracking what they do far more than any government.

But we can predict they will continue to fight for a free internet that gives them far more public exposure than they ever had. They claim that privacy is paramount in a very public online world.

Otherwise we can predict have much the same Government as we’ve had over the past six years. Most people will be comfortable with that.

It’s harder to predict if Harawira will make a comeback or if Mana will survive their battering and their harsh reality check.

If Dotcom pulls the plug on Internet Party funding it’s demise can be predicted. If that happens it can also be predicted that Laila Harre will find it very difficult to find another party that would risk being tainted by her lack of loyalty and sense.

It is not hard to predict that Labour’s struggle to be relevant and their lack of connection to anyone but some special interest groups will continue.

John Key has shown he is aware of the dangers to National of complacency and arrogance – it can be predicted that some of his MPs will struggle to heed his warnings. But most likely things will continue much as they have.

Peters torpedos left wing options

Winston Peters appeared to promote a Labour+NZ First coalition option yesterday but it looks more like a torpedo to the left, especially aimed at the Greens, perhaps to try and pick up votes from the debris.

The main question is whether Peters was trying to be noticed on a day that Kim Dotcom was sucking up most of the media attention, or if he was trying to slip a positioning statement in under cover of the big news of the day.

Peters put out a media release yesterday afternoon - Alternatives In Election 2014 which praised both Labour’s David Parker and National’s Bill English.

When David Parker was attacked by a former business partner, alleging a breach of the law by the Hon David Parker, I was the first MP to back David Parker because, over an extensive period of time, I believed that he was a man of honour and integrity.

Similarly, I have observed the Hon Bill English’s conduct regarding the allegations in “Dirty Politics” and his reserve in the defence of the Hon Judith Collins’s conduct.

In addition on the question of tax cuts by National, Mr English’s aversion to claiming that they were possible is further evidence for me, that like Mr Parker, he has a certain integrity and honour.

Consequently, I see both of them as capable of being Ministers of Finance.

By stating he would work with either Labour or National Peters appears to keep his coalition options open. But he also slams the Greens.

In this campaign the Green Party has twice, for reasons best known to them, in essence led an assault on the Labour Party.

“Of late the Greens have been talking about being co-deputy prime ministers and wanting the finance portfolio.

“Does that mean when the Prime Minister is abroad we are going to have two acting prime ministers instead.

“This situation would be farcical.

“If the Greens think they are going to take over the levers of economic management they are assuming other parties are not watching their record.

“This statement in no way challenges the Labour Party’s belief that in the right circumstances they could form an alternative government.

“Voters need to be disabused of the view promoted by the Greens that we in New Zealand First would stand by whilst they promote extremist policies in government.

“This is not indicating a choice but the media seem to have overlooked one option entirely, a Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply.

“This emerged in 2005, has precedent, and it was a stable, successful government that delivered the greatest surpluses in recent years.”

Things were considerably different in 2005 when Peters shut the Greens out of Government.

Labour got 41.1% (to National’s 39.1), NZ First got 5.72% and the Greens 5.3%. Labour and NZ First combined with United Future (2.67%) giving a total of 49.42%.

Current polling has Labour in the mid twenties and NZ First 4-8%. Even if a miracle happens and Labour recovered to 30%, and NZ First climbed to 10%, that gets only 40%, well short of a majority. Greens (polling 10-15%) would be essential to get over the line.

Labour+NZ First is likely to be closer to 35% and could go as low as 30%.

“A Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply” looks an unattainable option. Peters must know this.

If Peters rules out combining with the Greens as he appears to have done here then he has only two choices – a coalition with National (possibly alongside Conservatives if they make the threshold, giving National alternatives) or going on the cross benches.

Peters must see potential votes from Green bashing. He has u-turned on his word before but he has consistently avoided working in Government alongside the Greens.

This looks like a torpedo to the left, conceding a left wing coalition is extremely unlikely.

Poll hits dirt, rewards clean

There can be many reasons for poll movements but whether by coincidence or not the parties most associated by dirty smear politics have all dropped in the latest NZ Herald poll, and parties not associated with dirt have gone up, especially the Greens.

Dirty parties:

  • National 50 (down 4.9)
  • Labour 25.2 (down 1.3)
  • NZ First 4.3 (down 0.3)

Clean parties:

  • Greens 13.7 (up 3.8)
  • Conservatives 2.6 (up 1.4)
  • Maori Party 0.7 (up 0.2)
  • Act 0.6 (up 0.6)
  • United Future 0.4 (up 0.4)

Others

  • Mana-Internet 2.1 (down 0.1)
  • Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis (down 0.1)

Having made that point poll to poll movements are not as important as trends.

Herlad poll trends Aug14

  • National’s last poll result may have been an outlier.
  • Labour continue to trend down.
  • Greens have surged but time will tell if it is temoporary or becomes a positive trend.

Herald poll trends small Aug14

  • Winston Peters has been struggling to sustain a profile in a very competitive media.
  • Conservatives will be hoping they are on the rise but 5% is a long way up from there.
  • Internet-Mana climbed initially but may be leveling off.
  • Maori, Act and United Future will be grateful for any scraps they can get.

The poll of 750 respondents was conducted between August 14 and 20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent. On the party vote questions 12.5 per cent were undecided.

Source: Greens spring in polls as National takes hit

What would “one law for all” be?

If we had one law for all what would that law be?  Thou shall not hurt anyone else? Thou shall not tell fibs (especially in politics)?

ACT Party

Act Party leader Jamie Whyte has stirred up a race debate by promoting one law for all.

He means that one race (Maori) shouldn’t have separate laws or privileges or Parliamentary seats to anyone else. That’s fine in theory, but very contentious and controversial in practice, as Whyte is finding out.

But it’s having the desired effect, raising Whyte’s and Act’s profile on the potential constituency that matters for them to start to make an impression in the polls. See comments at Kiwiblog in Jamie Whyte on race based law.

Conservative Party

This is also one of the Conservative Party’s key policies (from very sparse offerings).

OneLawForAll

One Law For All is one of four very brief policy statements on their Issues page.

Another is the Conservative’s ‘bottom line’ policy “On Our Watch Referendums Will Be Binding’. In the unlikely event that they have a watch in Parliament they won’t get support for this, an issue that seems inspired by Craig’s obsession with getting the ‘smacking’ law repealed.

Craig wants one law for all if it involves Maori ‘privilege’, but he wants parents to have a different law than children when it comes to being hit. One could agree with Craig that there’s some crazy thinking here.

Another of their policies is YOUR FIRST $20,000 TAX FREE THEN A FLAT TAX. Act at least have some consistency, wanting one tax rate for all instead of no tax for those earning under $20,000 and then tax whack the rest of us.

NZ First

NZ First seem to stake a claim to the ‘One Law For All’ slogan but it doesn’t stand out in their policies. Their website doesn’t have a page for ‘Winston Peters Rhetoric’ but their is plenty of that elsewhere, for example in Budget in Reply Speech – Winston Peters.

We believe in one law for all – irrespective of ethnic background.

Not the crumbs of tokenism from the Cronies Club Tables!

New Zealand First believes that we must train, skill, educate and employ our own people first.

There’s no excuse for the hiring of cheap labour from overseas when so many are on the unemployment scrap heap back here.

On the issue of foreigners speculating on housing in New Zealand – we’ve had the courage to say it for years but successive governments have refused to act.

Ok, one law for all as long as you’re one of “our own people” and not “from overseas” or a “foreigner”.

NZ First and one law for all seems to be contradictory.

One Law 4 All Party

There is also a party set up and now registered to address this issue – One Law 4 All.

To keep faith with 1Law4All supporters from across the political spectrum, we have the one bottom line – that of legal equality of all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or religion.

Should we win a position in government, 1Law4All will take a middle-of-the road position on all other issues or proposals by other parties. Should this be difficult to define or involve highly controversial legislation, we will seek a majority public consensus and vote accordingly. We will not have personal conscience votes.

Legal equality is a bottom line but on anything else majority public consensus will enable the overruling of minority rights and needs.

Several Questions For All

‘One law for all” and legal equality sound fine in theory, but life and legislation can be more complicated than that. How would the above parties answer the following questions?

  • One assault law for all or separate law for parents?
  • One tax for all or different tax rates?
  • One property law for all or ‘one of us’ versus ‘foreigners’?
  • One immigration law for all regardless of race, religion, age, skills?
  • Can anyone put flashing lights on their car and run red lights and speed?
  • No age limit for marriage, sex, voting, firearms, driving, alcohol?
  • Superannuation for all?
  • Early childhood education for all?
  • Domestic Purposes Benefit for all?

And what seems to be at the centre of all the ‘one law for all’ posturing is the Treaty of Waitangi. Should New Zealand declare all treaties invalid – one treaty for all or no treaties for anyone? There’s quite a few, for example see Treaties and International Law.

Or just selected ones?

Back to Act

While Act want no legal or other privileges for Maori…

Treaty of Waitangi and Race Relations

ACT supports the vision of a free society and would seek to remove all race-based appointments in parliament or any other branch of government.

…they sound more reasonable regarding the Waitangi Tribunal:

We would work towards ensuring the Waitangi Tribunal process ends on the basis of full, fair, and final settlements.

But a quick scan through their other policies suggests they support some targeting and don’t propose universal rules for everyone.

ACC: “The one-size-fits-all compulsory, government-owned monopoly insurance provider is failing New Zealanders.” So they don’t support one insurance provider for all.

Crime and Justice: “ACT supports tough, appropriate sentencing for all offences including burglary (three strikes you’re out), livestock theft (weapon and vehicle confiscation) and murder (sentenced by degree).” Selective application of three strikes, which is targeting some offences and offenders differently to others.

One law for all, unless getting tough on (some) crime will get more votes.

‘One law for all’ is a simple political slogan in a very complex real world.

Polls and election prospects

A number of recent polls have given pointers to where the parties stand with less than two months to go until the election.

National

National have been polling in the high forties through to mid fifties but are expected to drop back a few percent in the final count. They are aware of this and are trying to minimise that drop by playing as safe a game as possible.

They have had some hiccups with embarrassments through Claudia Hauiti (now withdrawn from candidacy) and Gerry Brownlee’s airport security slip-up. Hauiti was National’s lowest ranked MP so she won’t be a loss, and Brownlee has front footed the damage control with what appears to be genuine contriteness.

National have just announced their list with no real surprises. They will say this week what other parties they will be prepared to work with and give a nod to some potential support parties in electorates.

They have yet to reveal much about policies. There main plank seems to be more of the same, steady sensible management of the economy.

That will be enough to win the most seats by far but they are not expected to get enough to rule on their own so their fortunes may be dictated by small parties. They will be hoping Winston Peters isn’t the main dictator.

Likely result range 45-50%.

Labour

The polls have not been good for Labour with the last twelve results being in the twenties, as low as 23%.

David Cunliffe continues to fail to impress as leader. He says his string of apologies are behind him but he is dropping in preferred Prime Minister polls, the latest having him on 8%. Some hope he will show his mettle in leader’s debates but it’s unlikely he will do enough to shine over the seasoned Key.

Media are writing Labour off and talking more about how low they might go instead of how much they might get. There’s good reason for this, they look divided and disorganised.

Labour’s best hope seems to limit the damage and not get any lower than their record low in 2011 of 27.28%. A more common hope is probably that their vote doesn’t collapse.

Likely result range 20-29%.

Green Party

The Greens bounce around in the polls, usually in the 10-15% range.

They look to be the best organised party by a long shot, and seem determined to finally get into Government. They deserve it on their own efforts but they are relying on Labour who will be worrying and disappointing them.

Without Labour improving substantially Greens look like at best competing for attention and influence amongst a mish mash coalition but more likely being denied by Labour’s failure.

Many voters are happy to see Greens in the mix but one negative is there is a wariness (and in some cases fear) of Greens getting to much influence, especially on economic matters. Some Green good, too much Green scary is a common sentiment.

Likely result range 10-15%.

NZ First

NZ First have been polling from a bit under to a bit over the magic 5%.

Most expect them to lift a bit in the run up to voting as happened last year but National will be taking as much care as possible not to hand Winston Peters another opportunity like the cup of tea debacle.

Peters is a seasoned campaigner and the media help his cause because he is good for stories, but time will tell whether there is too much seasoning in the old warrior and too little substance in the rest of the party as the other MPs have failed to impress.

One thing that may make it harder is direct competition for attention  and votes with the Conservative Party.

Likely result range 4-6%.

Maori Party

Poll results have been low for the Maori Party. That doesn’t usually matter because in all elections they have contested so far they have got more electorate seats than their party vote would give them so it has been unnecessary. Last election they got 1.43%.

It’s tougher for them in electorates this time with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retiring. It will be challenging for them to retain their current three seats, with some suggesting they might lose most or all of them.

There will be strong competition from the Dotcom financed MANA Party, but they may be helped by Labour’s woes.

For the first time the party vote may matter to the Maori Party, especially if they only hold one electorate seat.

Likely result range 1-2%.

Conservative Party

Polls have been in the 1-3% range. It’s now looking unlikely National will help Colin Craig in an electorate so they may have to get 5% to make it. That will be difficult, especially if Winston Peters competes openly with them.

Formed just before the last election the Conservatives got 2.65% and hope to improve on that. They have had much more exposure but that may have lost as much support as it has gained. Craig still seems politically naive. He has tried to turn the ‘Crazy Colin’ meme to his advantage but that’s a risky strategy.

Conservative fortunes are relying on National’s decision this week but it’s not looking positive for them.

UPDATE: John Key has just stated that National won’t help Craig in East Coast Bays so Conservatives only hope is getting 5%, which looks a big hurdle.

Likely result range 2-3%.

ACT Party

Act has been polling poorly, often under 1%.

Act were in turmoil last election with a very Brash takeover and installing John Banks as Epsom candidate. Banks won to save Act but has had a troubled term.

Act have made a concerted effort to rebuild over two elections. They have split responsibilities between Jamie Whyte as party leader and David Seymour in Epsom. Seymour looks a good bet in Epsom but the political jury is still out on Whyte and Act.

Much could come down to how Whyte looks in the minor party debates. He is intelligent and has good political knowledge but can look to serious and too polite – he hasn’t been forceful enough in interviews.

Act may benefit from being an alternative to giving National sole charge.

Likely result range 1-3%.

United Future

UnitedFuture has been languishing in polls, as often on 0% as slightly above.

More than ever UF hopes seem to rest solely on Peter Dunne in Ohariu. His chances are reasonable there. He has held the seat for thirty years so is very well known. He hasn’t had the best of terms but seems determined to rebuild his credibility.

Dunne looks to have been helped by all the major parties:

  • National have a new candidate who looks likely to campaign for the aprty vote only and has been given an almost certain list position.
  • Labour’s Charles Chauvel resigned mid term and has been replaced by a relative unknown.
  • Green’s Gareth Hughes has withdrawn from the electorate to promote youth and party vote and has been replaced by someone.

Like last election voters are likely to return Dunne and ignore the party. The party seems to be virtually ignoring the party.

Likely result range 0.3-0.7%.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

ALCP rarely feature in opinion polls, but they manage to get votes in elections. In 2011 they got 0.52%.

They are under new management this time and are likely to get some stoner and protest votes but 5% is just too high a hurdle for the influential media to pay them any attention.

Likely result range 0.4-0.8%.

Internet Mana Party

As a newly formed combo IMP have been polling 1-2%. They have a huge budget so will feature in the attention seeking stakes.

And while Kim Dotcom can’t stand as a candidate his attention seeking will keep him to the forefront of party success or failure.

Dotcom is promising a town hall circus five days before election day – he thinks this will destroy John Key and National but it could just as easily backfire.

His personal crusade is to oust the National Government. He is more likley to fracture the left wing vote and scare people off a Labour let government.

IMP’s monetary might will gain them some party votes but may fail in the ultimate aim.

Likely result range 2-4%.

Summary

IMP could be pivotal in the final result but it looks most likely to be a failure for them and a win for National with a few small allies.

Horan responds to speculatory accusations

Speculation about independent MP Brendan Horan at The Standard has been refuted by Horan.

A post by ‘Geoff’ was full of speculation and accusation and absent any facts – Why does David Farrar hate Winston Peters so much? Farrar responded in Best ever thread on The Standard.

The post included speculation about Horan’s motives and possible collusion with Farrar and National in his questioning of Winston Peters and NZ First in Parliament over the past few weeks.

Lately, Brendan Horan has begun to attack Winston in parliament, somewhat out of the blue.
What is his motivation? Is this National attacking Winston through the satellite state of Brendan Horan?

Why would National do that? Have they decided, in private at least, that a coalition with Winston is intolerable? That’s seems risky because they may need his help to form a government after the election.

Are they just trying to diminish his vote, hoping that most of his supporters would vote National if they abandoned Winston? That would explain the use of Horan as a means to attack Winston without completely jeopardising a post-election deal with him.

How much of a say does David Farrar have in the National party’s election strategy?

Perhaps Farrar is by-passing National and feeding attack lines to Horan directly?

It’s all very fishy. Can anyone shed any light on this?

Horan’s attacks on Peters are not “somewhat out of the blue”. He indicated to me last year that after his family business was dealt with (the excuse Peters used to kick Horan out of the NZ First caucus and party, absent any facts) he would be revealing concerns he had about NZ First.

Geoff’s accusations themselves seemed very fishy, or fishing, and any questioning of them were slapped with Standard threats.

[lprent: Don't be stupid. You are likely to pick up a ban if you accused an author or the site of ulterior motives without proof or a reasonable theory. In the latter case it would usually be after you wank on about it repetitively for some time making assertions without proof.]

In other words you can’t question the “ulterior motives without proof or a reasonable theory” of authors who “wank on about it repetitively for some time making assertions without proof” without risking being attacked or banned – a normal double Standard.

Horan later posted a comment in response. It deserves a right of reply post but that’s not likely to happen at The Standard.

Hi all,

1) I’ve had no contact with David Farrer.
2) All questions I’ve asked have been on behalf of people bullied by the leader of NZ First.
3) I was challenged by media to supply evidence and I did.
4) My sources are Past employees, past and current party members and former NZ First Party MP’s.
5) The speaker is investigating the Leader of NZ First and I’m happy for due process and natural justice to run its course.

Regards,
Brendan

I’ve been following Horan’s questions in Parliament and I follow David Farrar’s posts and tweets and I have seen nothing that puts any doubt on what Horan says here.

I’ve also had recent contact with an ex NZ First employee who is not impressed by some of what Peters has done within NZ First.

Winston Yeah/Nah

A comment at Kiwiblog from ‘minus’ points out Winston Peters contradicting himself.

Winston YEAH / NAH
Speaking from Auckland, Mr Peters said Mr Horan’s claims were lies. While he confirmed NZ First had used parliamentary funding to develop the software, he denied the software was used for party political purposes.

“It’s used to enable our expansion into sector groups, all sorts of commercial and social interest groups where we’re able to spell out what our policies are and interact with them.”

“It is run by someone who knows precisely what the law is as to the appropriateness of use and what you can and cannot do.”

However he also said the software had not been launched yet.

1st sentence Winston denies the software is used for party political purposes.
2nd sentence Winston describes uses which seem to be party political
3rd sentence confirms that someone uses it
4th sentence denies it is used at all – “had not been launched yet”

Kī tōnu taku waka topaki i te tuna, Winston

Quote source NZ Herald: Peters dodges Horan’s allegations

Horan’s accusations against NZ First

Brendan Horan accused Winston Peters and NZ First of misusing funds and parliamentary staff yesterday.

• NZ First used about $20,000 from its taxpayer-funded leader’s budget to purchase the Vanguard “constituent management software”.
• Mr Horan claims Vanguard is used to seek memberships and donations which is against Parliament’s rules.
• NZ First staff who are paid by Parliamentary Service are running the software which is also against Parliament’s rules.

(http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11259250)

Budget Debate – 21st May, 2014 – Part 6Date: 21/05/14Topic: Budget DebatePeople: Andrew Williams, Barbara Stewart,Brendan Horan, Richard Prosser

Starts at 5:45

The draft transcript:

BUDGET DEBATE

15:59:30~BRENDAN HORAN (Independent)

I turn now to Vote Parliamentary Service. Recently I have received information that raises real questions about the use of parliamentary funding by a party. I am writing to the Speaker asking that the Parliamentary Service investigate these matters and report to him. There is a clear precedent for this when in December 2001 the then general manager, John O’Sullivan, reported to the Speaker on the Alliance electorate liaison unit. That report swept aside any uncertainty that might have existed and clearly stated the rules. The Leader of New Zealand First cannot claim to be ignorant—

Richard Prosser: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

BRENDAN HORAN: —but in the past 18 months has—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order! [Interruption] Order! There is a point of order.

Richard Prosser: The Budget debate is around the Government’s allocation of funding for various means and the use of that funding—.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No. Look—[Interruption] Order! The member will sit. The member in opening talked about Vote Parliamentary Service. That is what he is speaking on and he can continue in that vein. I am listening very carefully to what he is saying. That comes under Speaker’s rulings. I am inviting Brendan Horan to continue.

BRENDAN HORAN: It is good to see he had a voice there, but a shame he does not have a vertebrae.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order! That is completely out of order. That is an attack on the integrity of a member of this House. The member will withdraw and apologise for that comment.

BRENDAN HORAN: I withdraw and apologise for that comment.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Brendan Horan—continue.

BRENDAN HORAN: He has deliberately withheld information from the board of the NZ First Party. The NZ First Party—

Andrew Williams: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Under Standing Order 117, “Personal reflections”, a member may not make an imputation of improper motives against a member, an offensive reference to a private member’s affairs”—Standing Order 117.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Look, I know that this is a very interesting subject. This debate is about the spending not the person. We are in a debate on Vote Parliamentary Service. Anything to do with the appropriation and the way that money has been appropriated, how it is being used, and how it is being spent is a matter for debate, and that is what we are on now. So Brendan Horan will continue.

BRENDAN HORAN: The NZ First Party is using taxpayer-funded computer software for party political purposes such as campaigning and fundraising. The programme codenamed “Vanguard”—

Barbara Stewart: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Again Mr Horan is transgressing Standing Order 117, making a personal reflection a member or a—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no. The member has talked about a party. He has not mentioned any individual in this matter.

Hon Annette King: That’s cute.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Sorry? And if we look at Standing Order 117 it says that “A member may not make an imputation of improper motives against a member, an offensive reference to a member’s private affairs, or ae personal reflection against a member.” I am listening very carefully to this. The member must keep focusing on the appropriation to Parliamentary Service, the use and appropriation of that money and any concerns that the member may have, if that is the way that his speech wishes to continue.

Andrew Williams: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Speaker has in the last 2 weeks on numerous occasions advised members that if they have any issue in this regard, it should be referred in the normal manner through the Privileges Committee or through other official channels; it should not be raised in this House. The Speaker has made that ruling on numerous occasions. We would like that to be upheld.

Brendan Horan: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): The member will sit. That may well be the case that there is a referral to the committee, but this is a debating chamber and members in this House have freedom of expression, freedom to express their views. I am listening very carefully to this. I will ask the member to focus on Vote Parliamentary Service. As I have mentioned before, the debate is about the appropriation of the money and the use of that money, and the member should not bring into account the integrity of any member of this House. All members are honourable members. I will ask the member to focus on that.

BRENDAN HORAN: Vote Parliamentary Service —the New Zealand First Party is using taxpayer-funded computer software for party political purposes such as campaigning and fund-raising. The program, code named Vanguard, is a constituent relationships management system that stores personal details of voters and is used for mass mail-outs. Other political parties have these programs too—

Barbara Stewart: I raise a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker. This program has not been launched. It is not part of—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): That is not a point of order. I will ask members that on point of orders, they have to be relevant to the matter. That is not a point of order.

BRENDAN HORAN: Other political parties have these programs too, but they are funded by the parties themselves and operated outside of Parliament. New Zealand First paid tens of thousands of dollars out of the leader’s budget to develop this software and has its parliamentary staff working to run the program for election year. This is a clear breach of Parliamentary Service guidelines. An internal party strategy document dated 9 March 2014 states, under the heading “Funds”: “Campaign fund request, first two weeks April—Self-funding after initial distribution, followed by use of Vanguard appeals to focus groups”. A memo to the party board by the president, Anne Martin, dated 10 March 2014, states: “The director of operations canvassed the use of Vanguard computer program. Suggest board advised of its uses, including candidates’ college program as well.” This use of parliamentary resources for fund-raising appeals and political campaigning is more than questionable, especially from the New Zealand First Party, which promised a fair go in the last election. The public has a right to know what its money is being used for and whether it is being used legally. A company called Lone Star Market Research was registered on 1 August 2012. The company’s sole director is New Zealand First’s director of operations in Parliament, and is a member of the party’s campaign committee. The company was set up with the intention of conducting political activity for New Zealand First. New Zealand needs an assurance from Parliamentary Service and the leader of New Zealand First that Lone Star Market Research has not received one cent of taxpayer money, nor had the use of parliamentary resources. New Zealand First—[Interruption]

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order! There is a point of order from Barbara Stewart.

Barbara Stewart: I raise a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker. This information is totally incorrect. It is just fantasising, and although I realise it is a wide-ranging debate—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no; I do not need any help. I have indicated that anything relating to Vote Parliamentary Service is in order. If the member ties that into Vote Parliamentary Service, that—

Barbara Stewart: But it’s wrong.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Whether it is wrong or right is a matter for debate. This is a debating chamber. It is not for me to judge the accuracy of the information that has been presented. So long as it ties into Vote Parliamentary Service, it is in order. Brendan Horan has 1 minute remaining.

BRENDAN HORAN: Vote Parliamentary Service—the New Zealand First Party membership secretary, present at board meetings and recorded in the minutes of those meetings, is paid by Parliamentary Service for a full-time, out-of-Parliament support role in the New Zealand First office in Bank Street, Whangarei. This is a clear conflict of interest. This paper trail leads down the pathway to inappropriate use of public moneys, serious conflicts of interest, secrecy, and a lack of transparency and accountability, and all from a party that purports to hold everyone else to task. There seem to be clear breaches of the Speaker’s directions on provision of services to MPs and parties. Staff would seem to be in breach of the Parliamentary Service code of conduct. I call upon the leader of that party to open his leader’s budget accounts to the scrutiny of the Speaker first, and then to the public of New Zealand.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): I call the Hon Chris Tremain. [Interruption] Point of order, Brendan Horan.

BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): I seek leave to table an email received on 6 May 2014, stating facts re Vanguard.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is objection.

BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): I seek leave to table the minutes from the New Zealand First board meeting on 2 March 2013.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is objection.

Brendan Horan: Point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): How many points of order do you have?

Brendan Horan: Well, there are number—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order! One moment. Look, points of order will be heard in silence. I am asking the member how many points of order he is intending to bring forward.

Brendan Horan: Three more.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): OK.

BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): I seek leave to table a New Zealand First memo to electorates in mid-July.

BUDGET DEBATE

16:14:54~The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch)

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is objection.

BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): I seek leave to table a report to the board by Anne Martin, of 10 March 2014.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is objection.

BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): I seek leave to table a report of a strategy meeting on 19 March 2014, entitled “Use of Vanguard for fund-raising”.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is objection.

 —

Reported afterwards by Felix Marwick (Newstalk ZB chief political reporter):

Here’s what NZF MPs Prosser, Lole-Taylor, & Stewart had to say after Horan’s allegations in Parliament today

http://chirb.it/bcsFyn

Peters selective facing questions

After making serious insinuations in Parliament yesterday about Brendan Horan (ex-NZ First and now independent MP) Winston Peters participated in a Q & A on Facebook – see Winston Peters Q & A.

A few questions and responses related to what happened in Parliament yesterday.

Comment From Trixie: Hello Winston I think you would be great in a reailty tv show. ever considered it?

Winston Peters: Have you watched Parliament lately? That’s a reality comedy show!

That’s very ironic and cynical considering the Peters made accusations in Parliament yesterday afternoon – see Wrong dishonourable Winston Peters. He seemed to treat the withdrawal and apology he was required to make as a joke.

The questions in the Q & A seem to have been filtered or selected for ‘suitability’. On the Facebook thread announcing the Q & A more awkward comments and questions went unanswered.

LeeLee McMillan Why are you so nasty?

Roy Varma Winston back to his usual election year crap. You are very good at accusations and running your mouth under Parliamentary Previledge. I have a simple challenge why don’t you repeat your bullshit outside Parliament or are you scared of being sued. My understanding of the law is you can’t be sued if you can provide the evidence for a statement or allegation. I am not loyal to any political party but I don’t have time for bullshit when there are important issues to debate.

Ravey DM Jimmy Saville comment was a bit on the nose matey

Tony Visser I used to not mind you. But your jimmy Saville comment today would be one of the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard in Parliament. Calling someone a pedophile. Your a disgrace. Time for you go. Say it out side the house you wimp

Even for Winston Peters accusing Brendan Horan of being like Jimmy Savile is just beyond believe .. unbelievable .. Shame on you Winston ..

Rusty Kane Under parliamentary privilege .. Gutter politics at it’s worst .. how low can you go .. looks like Brendan is going to react with some of his own dirt on Winston tomorrow .. the public just love this stuff .. not ..

Nick D’Angelo I’m surprised Winston would take such a low road. And it’s VERY low. I welcome Brendan’s response, it’s only fair.

Total shame on you Winston Peters for likening Brendan Horan to to Jimmy Saville. The inference is absolutely abhorrent. You have gone to far this time. You should retire from politics, because this type of bully-boy tactics not only shows you for who you really are but also shows your party and politicians in general in a bad light. We do not want this kind of behaviour from our country’s leaders. I note you certainly weren’t brave enough to repeat it outside the House.

This was just touched on in the Q & A.

Comment From Andrew: When you called Brendan Horan the Jimmy Savile of NZ politics, did you mean he has a fondness for cigars, or tracksuits? I’m confused.

Winston Peters: Take a wild guess.

Outside the protection of Parliament he is less specific but Peters continues his insinuation.That could be a patsy question with the intention of airing the smear without Peters taking any risk himself.

And ironically:

Comment From Steven: What do you want in a politician that stands for your Party

Winston Peters: Integrity. Commitment. Loyalty to voters. Serious ability.

He certainly hasn’t led by example on integrity. He has reacted very poorly to being on the receiving end of attacks in Parliament. When the boot is on the other foot he fights even dirtier.

He was happy to run an orchestrated Q & A but avoided addressing more open and awkward attention.

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