Tracey Martin responds, sort of

Tracey Martin has responded to a post via Twitter with an attack on the messenger and no indication of what she disagreed with.

I had linked to Tracey Martin oblivious to NZ First ironies and contradictions with this tweet:

@TraceyMartinMP may have to step up but appears oblivious to @NZFirst ironies and contradictions

She two days later she replied:

@PeteDGeorge @NZFirst That is because they are neither – you have taken words and twisted them in your head to fit your picture, unfortunate

It’s unfortunate Tracey has chosen a bland attack on the messenger without addressing what she disagrees with.

She may have a point – this direct quote…

Martin says she’s never formally met  Hekia Parata but is critical of the way she treats other MPs.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools; the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te reo most of the time, is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

…may be more hypocritical rather than ironic or contradictory, given the way Winston Peters acts in and around Parliament.

And maybe it’s not exactly bullying when Peters makes serious accusations against other MPs and often fails to produce any evidence to support his claims.

Tracey can explain what she thinks it is if she chooses. I’ve offered her a right of reply to explain what she disagrees with.

Tracey Martin oblivious to NZ First ironies and contradictions

Stuff has an interesting profile of NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin, who is a low profile contrast to Winston Peters. Her party leadership profile may step up a notch or two if Peters becomes committed to spending time in his Northland electorate.

So Tracey Martin – in Winston Peter’s shadow may have to change.

There’s significant Martin family involvement in NZ First, with Martin’s mother on the board of directors and Tracey’s sister works for her.

And there could be more as the NZ First board will decide on Monday who will ‘choose’ to take up Winston’s vacant list position. If Ria Bond at next on the list turns it down then Martin’s Mataroa Paroro, who is married to Martin’s sister-in-law, will get the opportunity to be instructed by the board to become an MP. That’s the board that includes Martin and her mother.

The profile paints a partial positive picture of Martin.

Living in the shadow of NZ First leader Winston Peters would be a cold place for many and while deputy Tracey Martin is no threat to his popularity she is successfully carving herself a place in Parliament.

Martin is consolidating a reputation in Parliament as one to watch, including nipping at the heels of Education Minister Hekia Parata.

But it also illustrates some irony and contradiction.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools, the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te Reo most of the time is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

Martin says she’s never formally met  Hekia Parata but is critical of the way she treats other MPs.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools; the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te reo most of the time, is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

Accusing another MP of Parliamentary ‘bullying’ and sledging while serving in Winston’s shadow is cute – Martin can often been seen laughing and cheering when Peters is in full fight in the House.

At the age of 50, Martin has found herself in a position of power that she never asked for and would walk away from tomorrow – a surprising claim from an MP only six months into her second term in Parliament.

In 2008 she was 13th on the party list and had no hope of making it to Parliament but when the listing committee, including her mother, met in 2011, she leaped up to second place. ntsG came out as number two. nte

“I deliberately said to my mother if she had any influence at all don’t make me number two because there was a certain group of people who were a bit anti the Martins anyway.”

Has she really not sought some level of power? She wasn’t promoted to second on the list and deputy leader by accident. If she hasn’t tried to get there she has been put there. It’s more likely a combination of both seek and having a hand up, despite her claims.

Martin is a self-professed feminist in the true meaning of the word.

She once asked her daughter what she thought a feminist was, she responded, “a woman who thinks she’s better than a man”.

Martin was quick to correct saying, “no, a feminist is a woman who believes she’s equal to a man. A woman who thinks she is better than a man is Mum”.

Regardless of whether she’s referring to herself or her mother as ‘Mum’ that’s an odd statement.

Better female representation is a long-term goal but for Martin the job is only a three-year commitment.

She’s in her fourth year in Parliament.

“I could happily go home tomorrow and do what I love to do which is raising money to help my community.

“I’m not desperate to stay here and that’s because I think the absolutely worst kind of politician is a person who is desperate to keep their job because they’ll do and say anything to keep it.”

Again that’s from someone serving as deputy to Peters, the king of saying anything to keep his job and do anything to keep it – as happened in the Northland campaign, where it seems the media is so used to Peters making outlandish promises they don’t take him to task for it.

Martin comes across as oblivious to the ironies and contradictions she illustrates.

Winston Peters apologises, pledges to work constructively

A very sober looking Winston Peters made several apologies last night and pledged to work constructively, first for the people of Northland who voted for him, second for the good of Parliament and of the country, and third to restore his credibility as a politician (Winston third).

Press Release
Winston Peters (NZ First Party)
31 March 2015

First I want to apologise to the people of Northland for using them as a means of carrying out political utu. I pledge to put their interests first and to work hard and diligently for the betterment of Northland.

Second I apologise the the Speaker David Carter for acting like a petulant child in Parliament and disrespecting the Chair and the House. I am sorry I acted like as bad a winner as Brad Haddin.

Third I apologise to John Key for calling him ‘a spolt brat’ and ‘lad’. I was the one who acted like a childish brat. I respect Key as the Prime Minister and work with him as best I can in a constructive manner for the benefit of Northland and the country.

Fourth I apologise to Andrew Little, who I ran all over after he threw Willow-Jean Prime under my campaign bus. He clapped me as loudly as anyone in the Labour caucus when I first rose in Parliament after my win. I thank him for what he’s done for me and humbly recognise him as the rightful Leader of the Opposition. I will go and talk to him about what I can do for Labour as soon as he summons me.

Now the euphoria of my grand triumph has worn off a bit I pledge to put the interests of the Northland electorate first and foremost, as I promised in the campaign.

I also pledge to start respecting the sanctity of Parliament and authority of the Speaker and act in accordance with positive and constructive politics.

And only my third priority I am determined to restore my dignity and credibility to the highest level it was at over the last forty years of my career.

A senior journalist, who wishes to remain anonymous, remarked “I’m shattered. If Winston reforms and becomes sensible, co-operative and constructive I’ll never get any headlines off him. Which politician will we laud over and promote now?”

How National can show they’ve learned from Northland

There’s many lessons National could learn from their Northland debacle.They’re at real risk of falling out of favour with the nationwide electorate unless they are seen to have learned, and are seen to rectify the exposed shortcomings.

These numbers in particular should be food for thought.

  • SABIN, Mike 18,269 (September 2014)
  • OSBORNE, Mark 11,347 (March 2015)

That’s about 7,000 fewer people voting for the National candidate, despite a massive campaign effort including blatant election bribing and scare tactics. And despite the fact that most people never expected Winston Peters to deliver on many some major promises he made.

Safe seats and safe vote levels aren’t safe. If pissed off enough many voters will punish politicians and parties in the only way they can, and that’s what has happened in Northland.


Slater. Osborne. National in Northland.
Key and National in 2017?

There’s two things they could do straight away that would indicate they have learned and they are prepared to act on a strong message sent by the voters of Northland.

1. Be up front and honest about when they knew about the police investigation of Mike Sabin

John Key’s and National ministers’ refusal to be open and honest about when they learned about Mike Sabin being under investigation has been arrogant and dishonest, and has proven very damaging to their Northland campaign. And to their nationwide credibility.

And it is likely to get worse when details go public. Information is widely known but if the media and other parties become unconstrained by legal suppression then Key and National will be hammered even harder. Unless they own up and front foot this, albeit belatedly.

John Key needs to lead on this and be open and honest about when he knew and when his office knew and when his Ministers knew.

Otherwise the impression of him lying to hide a dirty secret will linger on and keep damaging him and National.

2. Show that they will genuinely engage with Winston Peters and NZ First on Northland and regional issues

Winston Peters won a resounding victory in Northland. Voters there expect something for it, and if they don’t get what they want National should struggle to win back what should have been a relatively safe seat. Peters has indicated he will stand again in 2017.

Genuinely working with Peters on Northland issues will recover some support and credibility in the north. Peters may still hold the seat – if he reciprocates and genuinely works with the National government – but National have a party vote to protect.

And if National shuns Peters and NZ First it will look like petty punishment of them and of many voters.

Peters has a major mandate in Northland. NZ First have 11 MPs (and could get a twelfth, Peters hasn’t decided whether to drop out of his list position and bring in another MP yet).

Key and National have to show they are prepared to put wider Northland interests and democratic interests ahead of political pettiness (as do Peters and NZ First).

And if they don’t?

If National don’t show they’ve learned lessons from their hammering then they could get hammered on a wider scale in 2017.

They were helped in the 2011 and 2014 elections by the weakness of the alternative. But Winston Peters showed that if a Government does badly enough and is arrogant enough then voters will reject them and take their chances on an alternative.

If National don’t demonstrate they are prepared to act on and rectify lessons learnt in Northland then they could get thrashed in 2017.

And they should be addressing this straight away, demonstratively. Or voters will think they haven’t learned or that they think people will forget their failures and mistakes.

National can and should show they’ve learnt from their Northland debacle – if they want to stem a massive loss of confidence in them.

UPDATE: it looks like Key is planning on continuing to sweep Sabin under the National rug.

“The Mark Sabin situation is something we can’t adequately talk about” – Key on Northland loss

There are some aspects he could talk about if he chose to be honest and up front.

Winston’s whopper win

Winston Peters has been given a huge victory by voters in Northland by-election.

  • PETERS, Winston (NZ First), 15,359
  • OSBORNE, Mark (National) 11,347
  • PRIME, Willow-Jean (Labour) 1,315

Votes for others totalled 403:

  • CARR, Joe (Independent) 107
  • HERBERT, Maki (Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis) 85
  • GRIEVE, Robin (ACT) 66
  • PORTER, Rueben Taipari (Mana) 55
  • PAINTING, Rob (Climate) 38
  • ROGAN, Bruce ((Independent) 22
  • BONNER, Adrian Paul (Independent) 17
  • HOLLAND, Adam (Independent) 14
  • Informal votes 43

Votes counted 28,468 – it was a big turnout for a by-election.

This is an election night majority of 4,012 which is a huge turnaround from National’s Mike Sabin’s 9,300 lead last year (52.74%of the candidate vote).


  • PETERS, Winston (NZ First), 53.95%
  • OSBORNE, Mark (National) 39.86%
  • PRIME, Willow-Jean (Labour) 4.62%

Interestingly that matches what polls had predicted for Peters midweek (53% and 54%) but shows an increase for Osborne (from 34% and 36%) and a decrease for Prime (10% and 9%).

Party vote in the 2014 general election:

  • National 17,412 (48.97%)
  • Labour 5,913 (16.63%)
  • NZ First 4,546 (12.79%)
  • Green 3,855 (10.84%)
  • Conservative 2,243 (6.31%)
  • Internet-Mana 601 (1.69%)
  • Focus 216 (0.61%)
  • ACT 162 (0.46%)

So even the small party vote reduced significantly. This time it turned out to be a two horse race between a nimble old nagger and a draughthorse.

NZ First didn’t stand a candidate in Northland last year so the candidate vote isn’t a useful comparison.

Polity picks Osborne in Northland

Rob Salmond, a Labour pollster, has picked Mark Osborne to win the Northland by-election based on National having a well organised machine in action versus Winston Peters with little established electorate organisation and Labour giving up trying.

Note that this was posted before yesterdays 3 News poll:

  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 54%
  • Mark Osborne (National) 34%
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour) 10%
  • Other 2%

But Salmond’s point still stands. There’s a difference between sticking one up National when someone rings and asks for your off-the cuff opinion and getting out and voting.

In Northland, the National supporters are organised by the National Party nationwide machine. Winston Peters’ supporters, by contrast, aren’t that well organised. That’s why they’ll likely lose.

And he details the reasons.

But this this by-election the turnout is enormously higher than in the most recent general election. It is *up* around 70%, compared to the general election just six months ago. Normally, it would be down 50%.

… where is it coming from?

  • Labour’s machine? Categorically nope.
  • New Zealand First’s machine? Nope. They don’t have much of a turnout machine.
  • Sudden discovery of advance voting by Northlanders over the past six months? A stretch.
  • Northlanders care much more about the by-election issues (bridges, arts centre accounting, ferry ride discounts) than the general election issues? Another stretch.
  • National’s machine? Yes. That is the cause.

So, my prediction remains a solid National win, not borne of popularity, but borne of organisation.

This is supported by a comment by a Labour campaigner:

Speaking to Willow Jean earlier today she says the Nat’s have a huge on the ground team, where as Peters has very few.

I don’t know if Rob’s prediction still stands but the result could be much closer than the poll suggests due to it being much less effort answering a question on the phone than going out and voting.

Polity: Northland: Countdown-to-letdown

Northland Poll: Peters 54%, Osborne 34%

3 News have just announced a new poll for the Northland by-election (although some of the numbers don’t add up).

  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 54%
  • Mark Osborne (National) 34%
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour) 10%
  • Other 2%

That’s a significant lead. But some of the numbers are a bit weird.

Can you trust Winston Peters?

  • Yes 43%
  • No 48%
  • Don’t know 9%

So 11% more say they will vote for Peters than trust him. It’s possible that voters on the left don’t trust him but put more priority on scoring a hit on National.

But more curious is the number who say which party they have switched from to support Peters:

  • 75% of Labour voters
  • 25% of National voters

In last year’s election:

  • National got 49% – 25% of that is about 12%.
  • Labour got about 17% – 75% of that is 13%.
  • NZ First got 13%.

That adds up to 38%, well short of 54%. Greens got about 11% and Conservatives got 6% which if all voted for Winston gets up to his poll support.

And if you take 25% off National’s 49% you get about 37%, a bit above 34%. This suggests that the poll isn’t particularly accurate.

500 Northland voters were polled.

The margin of error on a poll that size:

  • 40%-60% ±4.5
  • 25% or 75% ±3.9
  • 10% or 90% ±2.7

That allows for quite a bit of variation.

Regardless, Peters is well out in front. National will have much more organisation and help to get their supporters out the vote than NZ First who haven’t stood a candidate in Northland for about a decade, but it still looks ominous for National.

There has already been a much higher than normal number of people who have early voted.

Other poll results:

Are the bridge upgrades a bribe?

  • Yes 74 – percent
  • No 22 – percent
  • Don’t know – 4 percent

Do you agree with the bridge upgrades?

  • Yes – 58 percent
  • No – 39 percent
  • Don’t know – 3 percent

Read more:

Peters huffs pot then blows cold

Winston Peters is being reported as huffing hot on pot reform them blowing cold a short time later while campaigning in Northland.

Claire Trevett in Winston Peters backtracks on marijuana referendum:

NZ First leader Winston Peters promised to hold a referendum on legalising marijuana while campaigning for the Northland byelection, but rapidly backtracked on it straight afterwards.

Mr Peters was holding a street meeting in Kaikohe when a man asked whether he would legalise marijuana.

Mr Peters replied: “you want to legalise marijuana? I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a referendum and if the answer is yes, the answer is yes. I’ll give you a vote on the referendum and if the answer is no, it’s no. Yes if you’ve got the majority, no if you haven’t. That fair enough? Wonderful.”

Peters was shown on 3 News saying that.


Asked about it later he denied he was supporting any such proposal or putting up a referendum himself, saying his comments were simply the shorthand required on a campaign trail. “I didn’t say ‘I’m going to give you the referendum. I said our policy is a referendum and if you want one, you’ve got to go and get one.”

He didn’t say either, but was closer to the first – ” I’ll give you a vote on the referendum “.

That’s a Clayton’s election promise – he’s not offering anything, especially after his backtrack.

He did not personally support it and had never smoked cannabis himself.

He was setting out NZ First’s longstanding policy that citizens’ initiated referendums should be enforceable.

That’s not how it came across at all. Peters is promoted as being very experienced at campaigning. He was initially misleading and then made things up to try and cover up his mistake.

NZ First appear to have no policy on cannabis. There is no reference to it in their policies, and their only policy mentioning drugs is under Law and Order:

  • Reintroduce the chargeable offence of being intoxicated and disorderly in public, to include intoxication from the use of drugs whether legal or illicit.

Mark Osborne seems to have a similar position to National, unsurprisingly.

For the record I don’t support legalisation of marijuana and won’t be putting up a bill for it; or promising it and then unpromising it 5 minutes later.

National appear to want to leave the current legislation as it is – which means leave the same mess in place. But they don’t refer to cannabis in their Law and Order policy.

Winston Peters’ Northland ‘promises’

While National’s Northland candidate Mark Osborne is making by-election port barrel promises that can be delivered – using taxpayer money – Winston Peters makes promises that he is very unlikely to be able to deliver on.

The NZ First website doesn’t appear to detail any of the promises being made.

There’s no detail about Northland promises, the website only refers to their 2014 policy manifesto. In that there’s only one reference to Northland, under MĀORI AFFAIRS :

New Zealand First will [lists a number of items including]:

  • Maintain areas as Zones of High Housing Need (e.g. Northland, East Coast, Eastern Bay of Plenty). Such zones will have low deposit and low interest provisions made available to them. Encourage Maori to build houses on collectively owned land.

I haven’t seen him campaigning on that. He’s not targeting the Māori vote in Northland, who will largely be on a different roll, Te Tai Tokerau.

What about keeping Winston honest? He made a number of claims on Q & A yesterday:

Why should Northland voters put their trust in me? Well, I’ve got a track record for making things happen.

He’s been in Parliament  for most of the last forty years. He’s made things happen at times past, like on the 1990’s and in coalition with Labour in 2005-2008 but the was rewarded by him and NZ First being dumped out of Parliament.

His track record for ‘making things happen’ in Northland is, ah, I don’t know. While he first stood in 1975 for Northern Maori he has never represented Northland (he was MP first for Hunua and later Tauranga before losing in 2005 by a wide margin).

NZ First haven’t stood a candidate in Northland for the last few elections.

My message is very simple to the National party voters – if you want an export-plus province, which you are, in the top of this country’s export wealth creators list to get a fair go, then you need someone who understands how the second-tier economy has happened and how you need a fairer go for farming, for fishing, and all those industries that used to provide full employment up there.

Understanding is one thing (and debatable), delivering is a different matter. Even if Peters did have some power in Opposition (he would have little) farming and fishing couldn’t be given special attention just in Northland,.

In short, the farming community knows that if the dollar was far better set – now, I don’t want to get complicated here – but if it was set to be sympathetic to exporters, then the north would be going so much better. And farming, for example, as the classic example of National party support, would not see one in four or five being seriously concerned about the bank that they are owing so much debt to now.

Not getting complicated means not explaining how he would set the dollar ‘far better’. He’s unlikely to be able to set the dollar at all. And if he could set the dollar it would be complicated, having a wider impact than on farming. Imports would be more expensive, including petrol.

Now, the fact is that up north, every industry that should be up is down, and everyone that should be down is up. In fact, it’s upside down there, and I’m committed to turning it the right way up.

No details on what that means and how he would turn things ‘the right way up’.

We’ll ensure they have a job with first-world wages, and we’ll make sure the employers get the tax concessions to keep them profitable.

What could he ensure? Targeted wage support, tax concessions and guaranteed profitability for Northland?  While in Opposition?

I’m going to ensure that the wealth that Northland has – and it is serious – whether it be tourism, whether it be in forestry, whether it be in farming, whether it be in all sorts of horticulture and agriculture – which should be possible – is going to be freed up, but they are going to get the benefits of it.

Can we expect an explanation of what that means? Or details of how it could be done? Unlikely.

The Northland voters may give him a go but if he doesn’t keep his many promises he’s likely to be thrown out in the 2017 general election. And NZ First could be dumped with him.

From their website home page:

“New Zealand First is not afraid to confront Parliament head on and we refuse
to accept defeat in any cause we believe in.”

A win in Northland may be short term victory, but if they don’t deliver they may have accept whatever defeats the voters give them.

Three futile Members’ Bills drawn

There was a Members’ bill draw today, with 68 competing in the ballot.

Convention Centre Act Repeal Bill – Tracey Martin (NZ First) – would repeal the Sky City legislation.

Environmental Protection Authority (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill  – Meka Whaitiri (Labour) –

Whaitiri said the current law had a “glaring omission” in that it didn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of the Authority.

Her bill would amend the Environmental Protection Authority Act to add an additional  objective that the organisation must aim to protect, maintain, and enhance New Zealand’s environment.

Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill – Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First)

…would affect the TPPA – it would prohibit New Zealand from entering international agreements that include provision for investor-state dispute resolution.

Source: Aimmee Gulliver at the very useful Beehive Live.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog isn’t impressed – Three silly bills.

Some members bills are very good. But none of them got drawn from the ballot today.

These are all rather silly backwards looking bills.

I predict all three bills will fail to get past first reading.

They probably will fail at the first reading.

Sky City repeal bill: NZ First want to have a second vote on a law that has already been passed. Considering that we have avoided any injection of taxpayer funds into the convention centre, their timing is pretty bad for them.

The (second one) complains that the Environment Protection Authority is not required to protect the environment. This flies in the face of the reality that the EPA has declined almost all the major off shore projects before it on environmental grounds. This is a bill to fix a problem that does not exist.

And the third bill is the most stupid. It would, if retrospective, force NZ to withdraw from basically every international trade agreement we have ever signed, pull out of the WTO, and never take part in any future trade deals. And NZ First claims to be pro-exporters!

They look like politicking bills rather than being aimed at having any chance of success.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,944 other followers