‘Blackmail’ blows back on former NZ First MP

Both Asenati Lole-Taylor and her husband have been broken rules accessing criminal records at the Department of Corrections.

Earlier this month it was reported that the husband of ex NZ First MP Lole-Taylor lost his job “after inappropriately accessing the criminal records of a former party official.”

Husband of ex-MP loses job for peek at records

The Corrections Department confirmed manager Dennis Taylor, husband of Asenati Lole-Taylor, is no longer employed after an investigation into a complaint by former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Her historic drink-driving convictions were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election at a 2012 convention.

Bishop laid the complaint in June. At the time Lole-Taylor said the allegations were politically motivated and “blackmail”. She could not be reached for comment yesterday. It is understood Corrections has written to her.

Lole-Taylor was the party’s Corrections spokeswoman until September’s election.

It was known before the election that this case was pending. Lole-Taylor was retained on the NZ First list but dropped to a virtually unwinnable position at 16 – NZ First have 11 MPs.

Stuff now report that Lole-Taylor also broke rules at Corrections.

Former MP Asenati Lole-Taylor ‘broke rules’ by accessing records

Former NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor inappropriately accessed the criminal records of a former party official, the Department of Corrections has confirmed.

Dennis Taylor, her husband, lost his job last month after an investigation found he looked up historic convictions of NZ First’s former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Now, in a letter to Bishop, Corrections has revealed the investigation found Lole-Taylor, who was a rehabilitation and reintegration services adviser at the time, also broke the rules.

But because she quit Corrections after becoming a list MP in 2011, they can take no action.

NZ First can probably avoid having to take any action as well but they have not responded to approaches for comment.

Bishop, a former Defence Force communications operator and sales consultant, was stunned by the findings, saying it was “unbelievable.”

“I am still comprehending the outcome,” she said.

However, Bishop has taken a complaint to the Privacy Commission and may decide to raise the matter with police.

Her historic drink-driving convictions were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election at a 2012 convention. But she had already disclosed her record to the party’s executive board.

At the time, Lole-Taylor said Bishop’s complaint was politically motivated and “blackmail”.

Lole-Taylor has a record of making ludicrous claims against critics.

It’s ironic that she accused Bishop of blackmail when she “broke rules” to access confidential information that she used to try and politically damage someone else.

Lole-Taylor was eight on the NZ First list in 2011. Once could wonder how well she was checked out for that.

This attempted political hit job is unlikely to be one that Winston Peters will want to talk about. His latest crusade has been based on information he has been given from within the Department of Defence.

Winston waning

Winston Peters led NZ First to a creditable election result, but there seems to be little sign of significant achievement beyond that.

Peters kept pressure on Government parties last term but didn’t score any notable hits.

Some of his most memorable hits were unfriendly fire within. He excommunicated Brendan Horan from the party mid term and then ensured Andrew Williams would not survive the election.

If this week is anything to go by Peters is struggling to come close to his glory days in Parliament.

On Wednesday Peters dredged up allegations he made last term:

Rt Hon Winston Peters : If that is the case, why, then, was he prepared as Prime Minister to again take on a Minister who had been stood down, namely Peter Dunne, who leaked four times from the Intelligence and Security Committee?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : That is not proven. The member is making it up, as he often does.

Peters never proved anything, despite promising he had evidence in emails, and when nothing came up there he generalised to “communications” – but he never produced anything and finally had to admit he didn’t have evidence to back up his claims.

Yesterday Peters led question time but was lacklustre against Gerry Brownlee, where Brownlee dredged up an even older faux scandal of a ferry grounding claim.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE : Given that there is no decision to deploy troops to Iraq, I really cannot comment on that. It is simply speculation, much like the ferry touched the bottom. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is it not a fact that he as Minister cancelled his planned visit with the Commander, Joint Forces to the troops currently undergoing training for Iraq so that he could deny any knowledge of the true preparations for war that are going on?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE : No, that is absolutely incorrect. I was actually recently in Halifax and Washington with the Commander, Joint Forces. Tomorrow I will be at the Devonport naval base for a passing-out parade for young naval ratings and officers.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did not ask about Halifax. I did not ask about Devonport. I talked about the troops currently—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member will resume his seat. The question started: “Is it not a fact …”. The Minister immediately answered to say no, it was not a fact.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My fact was to do with a specific locale or site.

Mr SPEAKER : The member has had plenty of time—[Interruption] Order! I am on my feet. The member has had plenty of time to frame his questions. He started his questions with “Is it not a fact …” and then went on about cancelling a visit. The Minister, when he rose to his feet, said no. Effectively, he was saying it is not a fact.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE : Speaking to the point of order, it is, of course, a very well-known fact that the Rt Hon Winston Peters has a lot of trouble understanding what—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! And that is not a valid point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Is this a supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : No, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Then before the member starts, I just want to clarify whether the member is in anyway contesting a ruling I have just given, or is he raising a fresh point of order?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I am raising a fresh point of order, because the question that I sought to ask had to do with only one specific location, and I got two locations that were never referred to.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I have ruled that the Minister addressed the question. If the member has further supplementary questions, he should use them. But to continue to relitigate once I have given a ruling will lead to disorder.

Pointless Peters’ points of order after failing to score and points.

And during a later question he tried to promote a Member’s bill that produced mirth from the other side of the house but his move was soundly rejected. Peters leaned heavily on his elbow as he stood.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : In the light of that Minister’s answer I move—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Is this a point of order or a supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Yes it is.

Yes it is what?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : In the light of the Minister’s answer, I move for the register for foreign ownership bill that is in my name be pulled from the ballot and debated right now.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member has been here a long time. He needs to seek leave to do that.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I have.

He hadn’t.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member needs to do things properly.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Sorry, Mr Speaker. My apologies. I seek leave, in light of the epiphany that the Minister has just expressed on behalf of the Government, for the bill standing in my name to be pulled from the ballot and debated by Parliament right now.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I will put the leave, and the House will decide. Leave is sought for that particular course of action. Is there any objection? There is objection.

WinstonWaningPropped up on an elbow that may have bent a few times too many.

Now Trevor Mallard seems to have seriously applied himself to his new responsibility as assistance speaker (with ambitions to be the next Speaker) Peters may stand out as the sole cantankerous old fizzler.

He may manage to pull some scandal out of his hat this term but it looks like Winston is waning.

Petty Peters poops on flag committee

Winston Peters has announced that NZ First are withdrawing from the cross-party committee set up to decide how the public will vote on a possible flag change.

Expensive Exercise Not The Priority Now

At the whim of the Prime Minister New Zealand’s attention is now on changing the flag – this will cost us dearly, not only in money, but in taking our eye off serious social and economic challenges, says New Zealand First.

“There are many pressing problems to be addressed, with even the PM now acknowledging the scale of poverty,” says Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The birth of a new flag is being sold as the people’s choice but it is being commandeered by National.

“That’s the reason New Zealand First will not be sitting on a so-called cross-party MPS Group.

“A flag is New Zealand’s national emblem and any move to change it must go along an impeccable path.

“Instead, National has invited political parties that barely have a splash of public support. United Future could only rally 0.22 per cent of the party vote in the General Election and ACT had to have a helping hand from National to push Epsom voters to get a sole MP into the House.

“This ‘representative’ Group will decide on flag options that will go out to the public to vote on.

This looks like he’s playing petty politics, but that’s par for the course for Peters.

The committee has been set up to organise two public referendums – that will determine whether there is public support or not, not Peters deciding which parties should or shouldn’t be involved.

His is probably playing to his elderly constituency, as he often does, but doing it this far out from the next election seems politically futile.

NZ Herald reports: NZ First pulls out of flag committee

New Zealand First has pulled out of a committee which will decide how the public votes on the national flag, saying it was an expensive exercise which took attention away from greater priorities.

Leader Winston Peters said this afternoon the flag referendum will “cost us dearly” and take the public’s eye off more pressing social and economic challenges.

“A change of flag might need to be considered but now is not the time. Poverty and housing are at crisis level, it’s no time for a government to be raising a distraction,” Mr Peters said.

His party had rejected the Government’s invitation to nominate an MP for a cross-party committee.

Claiming “more pressing social and economic challenges” should take precedent is ironic from Peters who seems to spend most of his time pursuing petty political attacks.

Mr Peters said the process of changing a national emblem needed to follow an “impeccable” process, but National had instead included political parties with very little support in the decision-making process, such as Act and United Future.

Like that.

Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand First’s absence from the committee would not “inhibit the process in any way”.

And it shouldn’t. If Peters chooses to play in a different sandpit on his own that’s up to him. but his hissy fits shouldn’t prevent Parliament from continuing with doing it’s job.

David Farrar points out at Kiwiblog:

Peters has spent 20 years advocating referendums, yet when it is on an issue he personally disagrees with, he is against the public being able to have a say.

The public and the Government are quite capable of dealing with more than one issue at a time. Also poverty is not at crisis level. Peters is using that as an excuse to deny the public a say – because he disagrees.

Democratic principles and Peters are very loose partners.

Roy Morgan poll – National up

The second Roy Morgan poll since the election shows National recovering support and Labour languishing leaderless (Annette King is doing a reasonable job but just as deputy caretaker leader).

  • National 49.5% ( up 6% since early October)
  • Maori Party 1% (down 1%)
  • Act NZ 0.5% (unchanged)
  • United Future 0% (down 0.5%).
  • Labour Party 24% (up 1.5%)
  • Greens 14.5% (down 3%)
  • NZ First 6.5% (down 0.5%)

Parties outside Parliament:

  • Conservative Party 2% (down 3%)
  • Internet-Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%)
  • Independent/ Others 1.5% (up 1%)

Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone, with a NZ wide cross-section of 866 electors from October 27 – November 9, 2014. Of all electors surveyed 2.5% (up 0.5%) didn’t name a party.

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.

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