Northland: Willow-Jean Prime Q & A

From NZ Herald Northland by-election: Q+A with leading candidates the Labour candidate Willow-Jean Prime’s  responses.

What is the first thing you would do as Northland’s new MP?

Well, Kelvin [Davis] told me it won’t be a sleep-in. The first thing I would do is take that list of promises we’ve received and which we will hopefully continue to receive until the 28th of March and ensure it was implemented, along with my long list of requests from the community.

Will you stand in Northland again in 2017?


What is your stance on the $1.75 billion Puhoi to Wellsford Highway?

The first stage [to Warkworth] is already committed. Beyond that I still have a question mark and want to see the business case for it, but my real issue is what about the rest of the state highway network and other rural roads? What about rail, and the link to the port? Bringing the motorway that far doesn’t actually address a lot of our issues further north. It’s a start, but what about the rest?

What is your stance on deep sea oil exploration and extraction off Northland’s coastline?

The issue is around extraction. I’m not convinced at this stage that it’s in our best interests in Northland. The community is really divided, the current regulatory framework is not strong enough for environmental protection and when they talk about the jobs it will create, our people don’t have the skills for the jobs. So will it be Northlanders who get the jobs and benefits from that, or will it simply attract other people from overseas or outside our region? There’s also a question mark around benefits to the region in terms of royalties. Any decision has to involve the community.

The Finance Minister has given you $200 million for the electorate. How would you spend it?

There’s the roading network – and I’m so pleased to see all these promises that the by-election has brought us. There are also sewerage and water schemes which used to be more subsidised by the Government than now. Another core piece of infrastructure that needs more investment is broadband and mobile coverage. In Dargaville, the cable is right next to them but they can’t hook in. Only the schools can. What’s that about? It makes it so difficult to do business from the North and it’s a lifestyle thing we like to have too, to connect us to the rest of the world at the same speeds everyone else has got. I can’t even use Skype in my home [near Moerewa].

Prime should be popular on the left and across to the centre and could have built her (and Labour’s) support if her party hadn’t decided to try and hand the election over to Peters. This looks lightweight and earnest – I think Prime comes across better in person.

Cunliffe Q&A on Facebook

David Cunliffe had Q&A on his Facebook page tonight. It worked much better than his last one (at The Standard) – a mix of policy and personable chitchat.

Cunliffe and Parker

Josh Lucas Evening lads. Q: What would an alternative Labour Budget have looked like?

David Cunliffe We’d deal to big housing crisis – 100,000 new homes. Taxing speculators and banning foreign buyers of existing homes. On jobs we’d get unemployment down to 4% in our first term with our Economic Upgrade. And our Best Start package would give every kid the best start in life, including the most vulnerable. See

Simon Gotlieb I’m curious David. We’re pretty certain about where Mr Key wants NZ to be in 20 years. How about you? When my children have children themselves what kind of society would you like to leave them?

David Cunliffe Hey Simon. We’re a bit worried about where NZ will be in 20 years unless we change course. It’s not clear Mr Key has a long term vision. He tends to make shorter term decisions. Our vision is for a NZ where everybody’s potential is recognised, everybody gets an opportunity to do and best they can be. I’m worried we’ve got a generation locked out of the housing market – and child poverty is a ticking time bomb.

Sophie Roil Why should we vote labour

David Cunliffe Because it’s about you, not us – and a fairer society. Take today. The Nats paid parental leave and parental tax credit policy is only half as good as Labour’s Best Start. Worse still, with 285,000 children below the poverty line, their package does not give 1c to the most vulnerable children. Not this year, not next year, not ever.

Tayna King If you win the election will you remove the laws passed by national to violate the privacy of Kiwis eg: GCSB

David Cunliffe Our policy to immediately set up a full review of the NZ security services. We believe NZers have a right to be free from blanket surveillance, and that nobody should be spied on by NZ security services without a judge’s warrant.

David Kelly John Key’s budget speech — empty posturing, how do you stay sane listening to that drivel?

David Cunliffe You’re right, he seemed more interested in petty political point scoring than in addressing the issues that affect New Zealanders in their everyday lives.

Ian Vaudrey Do you think Labour will ever have a leader that can connect with the working man?

David Cunliffe You’ve got one.

Franquis Vegas ACC is a disgusting mess, leaving vulnerable people more vulnerable in order to make cash. Is there anything Labour will do once in government to fix ACC? Thanks 

David Cunliffe Franquis Vegas, I’ve had people in tears in my electorate office – who can barely walk, and ACC has told them they don’t have a problem. We will change the culture of ACC, so that it returns to the ideals for which it was set up – to help NZers who are the unfortunate victims of accidents, not to re-victimise them.

Naani Abercrombie How are you planning on helping to curb the high price of housing, especially in auckland? If a capital gains tax is part of your plan, what are the details of how it would work?

David Cunliffe We have to stop the crazy price increases which are locking young families out of a home of their own. We need to build more affordable houses – and we’re going to build 100,000 over 10 years. We need to remove the tax bias via CGT excluding the family home (currently renters subsidise landlords’ taxes). We also believe it’s a birthright for Kiwis to buy our homes, not foreign speculators.

Trudi Manning Do you believe in God? How about Aliens?

David Cunliffe One all at this end re God. (We’ll leave the aliens to Colin Craig).

Matthew Bowes What do you consider to be the 3 biggest issues facing New Zealands future? and what would you do to solve them?

David Cunliffe Work, homes, families.

Mawera Karetai We are a family with three kids and no plans to have more. We have a business that makes enough for us to survive and grow a little. We would get $200 per child per week under the new WFF tax credits and free health for all three kids – that will make a HUGE difference for us. What are you offering us? PS – we don’t have a trailer.

BY the way, I am a member of Labour and at the moment I am not sure if I can give Labour my Party vote, since I just can’t see where you give a damn about my family.

David Cunliffe Mawera, remember Labour brought in WFF. Our Best Start package is more generous than National’s immitation. Our economic policies will be better for everyone, including you. Our small business package will be something to look forward to.

Byron Donaldson David Cunliffe come to Westport to meet me I’m a great supporter of the NZ Labour Party please come and visit I’m still at high school and I’m the only student at my school who is a member of the Labour Party.

David Cunliffe I’m sure I’ll be there during the campaign. Well done for flying the flag.

Mihaela Soar By the way the so called surplus : selling strategic assets for 4 billions !

David Cunliffe Yes. And they made a loss compared with their promise, and now only 2% of NZers own those shares. (They’ve privatised our rivers too.).

Roger Tarry what do they mean surplus? we still have an overseas debt dont we?

David Cunliffe You’re right Roger. The vast majority of NZ’s debt is private debt, not Government debt – that’s debt held by Kiwi families and businesses, for things like mortgages. National are only talking about the Government surplus – not New Zealand’s external deficit, which they project will blow out to over 6% of GDP.

Curtis Omelvena Hey David. What could future generations lose if we do not raise the retirement age to 67? What are the alternatives to raising the age? Why do you think the best solution is to raise the retirement age? And could you modify the policy so some hard labour jobs retire earlier.

David Cunliffe Today’s Budget shows spending on super this coming financial year exceeding total Government spending on pre-school, primary, intermediate, secondary and tertiary education.Our aim is to ensure NZ super remains a sustainable, universal, publicly funded retirement policy. In order to do that we have to make the numbers add up in a predictable and fair way. We’re being honest with New Zealand. John Key isn’t. Under our policy, the hard labour jobs you talk about will be able to still retire at 65, because they will receive a transitional payment if they need it – no less than the super.

Simon Morris Why did you vote to keep rivers dirty with national

David Cunliffe We didn’t.

Kawhia Chambers do you truly want to represent the people of NZL or the big corporate banks feeding us an exploding crown dept

David Cunliffe I’m in politics to put people first.

Chris Mckissack if you promise to make the mighty waikato river blue again, ill vote for you 

Simon Gotlieb You’d need to get rid of all the cowshit first Chris. Good luck with that one, what with all the dairy farms

David Cunliffe We’ve said we’ll replace National’s weak NPS on “water quality” with a real one.
Clean rivers will not be allowed to get dirtier. Dirty rivers will be cleaned up. Increases in livestock/fertiliser/effluent will be controlled, not permitted.

Caitlin Blacktopp Aah ive written mine out like 5 times now

David Cunliffe I must vote Labour.
I must vote Labour.
I must vote Labour.
I must vote Labour.
I must vote Labour.

Alastair Ross Do you agree with economists saying there is little difference between National and Labours economic policies?

David Cunliffe Absolutely not – CGT, monetary policy reform, Best Start for kids, higher wages, cheaper power, fair employment laws. That’s just a start.

Byron Donaldson There was nothing in the Budget about child poverty I think that’s disgusting.

David Cunliffe So do we.

Jgl Lennon What concrete steps will you take to help the unemployed?

David Cunliffe We’ve set an agressive target to reduce unemployment to 4% by the end of our first term. There’s a whole package of policies that will work together.

SPEECH: New Zealand’s economic upgrade | New Zealand Labour

Ethel Leota Whittaker-Masiutama What kind of jobs would you create for “the people” of NZ

David Cunliffe Jobs with higher wages, all around our regions. In 14 out of 18 regions median wages went backwards since the start of this National Government.
Our manufacturing and forestry upgrade policies provide two examples of how we would get more and better jobs in specific sectors – with higher wages.

Stephen Kennedy Hey DC
As you know, we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. What innovative thinking is driving Labour 2014+ ?
Yours in red, – Stephen Kennedy [teacher, married, 3 kids, mortgage, Kiwi]

David Cunliffe We need to tax capital gains, boost innovation, increase savings, reform monetary policy, provide decent work, and help NZ’s industry on the journey from volume to value.

Mo Mosameh We want to know if are you going to change loan policy for postgraduate students or not ? Because it is not fair international students get free education plus 498$ a week as a scholerdhip from our family tax and kiwis students borrow money from studylink to eat.

David Cunliffe Mo, we’re going to scrap the 5 year ceiling on the student allowance. The Nats in this Budget froze the income threshold for student loan payments for another 3 years, because apparently you’re rich if you’re earning $20k..

[Name removed as requested] Change we can believe in hey. Why do you think National ripped off half your policies?

David Cunliffe Because have no vision of their own. They are a pale version, and they haven’t addressed the underlying economic issues.

David Cunliffe Hi all, wrapping up soon. Thanks so much for your questions, and wish we had time for more of them.

Penny Clark I see you didn’t answer my question, was it too hard for you?

Bennett Morgan Penny – there are over 200 questions. A lot to answer in what was originally going to be a 20 minute Q+A. Currently there are 295 questions or comments. Some weren’t getting the response they wanted (in the time available that would have been impossible).

Bobbi Pagani Would you please answer this question I posted on your page (copied at the bottom of this thread).

Bobbi Pagani Ok David let me make this very clear, I have tried and tried to get Labour to answer my question. I was glad you’re heading the Labour Party. But I cannot get my question answered. You just about had my vote in the bag. If Labour will not answer me I’m not voting for you, ok Only one vote, but my property is prominent and last election your Bill board was on my fence. You won’t be getting that either! I’ve tried for months through many avenues. Please reply, I’m attempting till the last minute.

Dawn Elizabeth Pollard I hope you let us know what your full education policy is sooner rather than later…There are a lot of teachers in NZ and a lot of them are not happy with the direction National is heading. Teachers don’t always vote Labour, you need to show them what you will be doing in education!

Bobbi Pagani Yeah, you did not answer my question Yet again. What is it with that question, posted well before closing time?

Nick Lawson To be honest David Cunliffe I don’t feel your answers held much insight. You seemed to answer the really obvious question and have ignored any questions i would have deemed important, or answered them extremely vaguely. This doesn’t fill me with confidence and has actually turned me off labour completely. Just another national waiting in the wings.
Liam O’Connor Tell me why when, given Parker’s own words that paying down debt is the most important thing, you’d force compulsory savings on me for a retirement I won’t have/reach? Surely it’s better to put that money towards paying off my student loan — a debt I’m sure that many Gen Y felt they had no choice but to take to get ahead — than saving for a hypothetical rainy day. It’s bad economics. Needless to say that when I’m already struggling to live in Wellington because that’s where the jobs are (unless I wanna suffer more and move to Auckland) — and we don’t live extravagantly; I haven’t even been on a paid ticket to the cinema for years — the idea of locking away money with a private company until I’m 65+ (if I make it) on top of tax and student loan repayments seems ridiculous. Especially when you insinuate that this policy will help fund your mates in the forestry industry. Seems like cronyism to me, just in shades of red rather than blue.
Bobbi Pagani If you will not answer my question- to your electorate office, on your page several times, and now here well before closing, even though I thought you were great, no, no and no. I’m still giving you a chance to answer and up until the election, if you don’t I’m not going to tick the box for you.
Now I’m going to ask the question of other parties. 
I have not even received from you why you do not answer.
Bobbi Pagani What a waste of time that session was, and I really believed I would get a reply, posting as I did well before closing.
Ok David Thank you for this opportunity!  I want to address the Rates Rebate. (I have previously asked this question both at the Electoral Office and on Labour’s page and got nowhere, no response on the page.)
So, the rates rebate, as I’m sure you know is a rebate available on application to those on a low income. The maximum rebate amounts to about $600, not insubstantial.
There is a narrow timeframe in which to apply for the rebate. There is information required for the application which is usually not even available by the cut off date for the application, you are expected to guesstimate.
If you miss the cut off Auckland Council will deny the rebate entirely. They will require the full rates to be paid and slap on penalties as well.
This did not used to be so. As I recall some twelve or so years ago if there was a cut off date they did not apply it. Now they do, strictly. 
This may be in accord with the letter of the law but is entirely against the spirit of it. The rebate is there by definition for people who are not managing that well, the low income earners would include the sick, disabled, invalids, elderly. It is there to help, I suppose, (or maybe there’s another reason for it?) Yet Auckland Council requires of the very people who are not managing that they get their application in on time, or rather, really, ahead of time considering the required information isn’t even available. It rigorously enforces the cut off date and denies any extension. I think this is unfair so I have stopped paying rates. If the back rebates were allowed my rates would be well towards being paid.
I would like Labour to look at this law and amend it so that Councils do have to allow eligible applications for rebates and back rebates, regardless of date of application and also not be allowed to apply penalties on the rebates they should have allowed. If the rebate application is late they have had the use of money after all. I think this is fair, and in the spirit of the intention of the Act. Do you? Will Labour do this? I look forward to your reply. Regards, Bobbi.

Too long to deal with in a quick fire Q&A but he is getting frustrated.

From Parliament: Budget Debate – 15th May, 2014 – Part 1

Joyce wrong on Collins poll

On Q&A yesterday Steven Joyce made a questionable claim in relation to a Colmar poll about the possible influence of Judith Collins on voting intentions.

Politicians are frequently poor interpreters of poll results. Many journalists are poor at reporting polls too, due to ignorance or due to the pressures of making an interesting or headline grabbing story out of a few numbers. Politicians may also be ignorant of poll interpretation, or they may be deliberately misrepresenting polls to try and score political points.

Joyce is usually very well informed about issues he has prepared for. He may have been taking advantage of interviewer and public ignorance of polls, unless he just got it wrong.

The Q&A Colmar questions and results were:

Do you personally think Judith Collins should remain a minister?

  • Yes 42%
  • No 42%
  • Don’t know 17%

Do you think her behaviour has been damaging to National’s level of public support, or do you think it will make no difference?

  • Yes, it has been damaging 50%
  • No it won’t make a difference 42%
  • Don’t know 9%

On balance, how well do you think Prime Minister John Key has handled issues with Judith Collins and Maurice Williamson? Would you say…

  • Well 46% (very well 11%, quite well 35%)
  • Not well 42% (not that well 29%, not at all well 18%)
  • Don’t know 11%

Which of these statements best describes how these issues will influence your vote in the upcoming election?

  • These issues will be a factor in your decision 23%
  • These issues will not have much influence 75%

(Sample size 500 eligible voters. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±4.4%-points at the 95% confidence level.)

Discussing the poll on Q&A Joyce said:

It’s the Labour-Greens voters that say, ironically, it would change their vote. I’m not sure where they would change them to.

Colmar pollster Andrew Robertson has commented on this.

Mr Joyce had clearly seen the report because he cited results that were in the body of it – results that had not yet been discussed by the Q+A panel.

Unfortunately, Mr Joyce either misread or misunderstood the results.

The question did not ask eligible voters if they’d change their vote. It asked whether these issues would be a factor in their voting decision. That’s a very different question. One is fairly blunt, and would need to be understood in the context what party people have changed their vote from and to. The other allows people to consider how important these issues are in relation to others.

When asked if these issues would be a factor in their own voting decision, most say the issues won’t have much influence.

Note that the question did not ask people if they would change their vote, it asked whether these issues would be one of the issues they would consider in their decision. There are many other issues, of course, such as education, jobs, housing, child poverty, crime, and the list goes on.

So Joyce was wrong. The poll didn’t ask anything about changing vote. And even if it caused a Labour voter to switch their party vote it could be to Greens, NZ First, Mana, Internet Party.

Or it could make it more likely they will vote, or more likely they won’t vote. These possibilities can all affect the outcome of an election.

The detailed report shows a breakdown of National and Labour & Green supporters.

Colmar Collins poll

In an election where a 2-3% swing could easily decide the outcome 23% of eligible voters is a significant number.

Even 8% of National Party supporters is notable. Analysis of the last election has shown that a significant number of potential National voters decided not to vote, which is a possible explanation for the drop-off in support for them from pre-election polls compared to the election itself.

If an issue like Collins/Oravida caused some national leaning voters to not vote or to switch to NZ First or Labour, and it encouraged more people to get out and vote, for Labour or Green or Mana or Internet Party or NZ First, it could have a major effect on the outcome.

What polling can’t do know is measure how much of an influence the Collins/Oravida issue will have in four months time.

The economy is expected to be a major decider, and associated with this jobs and perceptions of poverty.

Leaders’ personalities can also influence voters, and many people take little notice of politics until the campaign proper begins – this will be in August.

And the last election showed that a late and seemingly trivial issue can have a major effect. The Key/Banks cup of tea reshuffled a lot of tea leaves.

Colins/Oravida will have had some effect on an accumulation of voter perceptions but it’s impossible to tell whether it would decide the election.

It should be noted that there may be more yet to happen with Collins. She has obviously been under pressure and has acted irrationally. She could yet cause more problems for National, even to the extent of resigning.

Steven Joyce may have been trying to deflect from this.

For more details and discussions on this:

Q+A: Parata and Cunliffe comparison

Questions are being asked about who David Cunliffe is, what he stands for, if he is authentic or not. Duncan Garner asked Is David Cunliffe a fake?

I’m starting to wonder just who Cunliffe is. What does he stand for? Is he anti-business or pro-business? Does he care about the poor? Or hang out with the rich? My big question really is this: Who is the real David Cunliffe?

Is he a fake?

Cunliffe was interviewed on the first TVNZ Q+A of the year yesterday: David Cunliffe goes on the Defence (13:32)

He was defensive, he was contradictory, he was apologetic, and he tried some practiced lines.It was difficult to judge what he was.

It was always going to be hard to look good after an awful week. Cunliffe has a lot of work to do (much of it repair work) to appear confident and capable.

Q+A also interviewed Education Minister Hekia Parata: Boost for at-risk students (11:47)

This was an interesting comparison. When Parata took on the education portfolio she struggled. She had some very poor interviews and struggled with question from the opposition in Parliament. Her responses were at times baffling.

National always battles with Labour leading education groups, and Parata had serious problems with class size policy, Christchurch schools and Novopay. John Key took the responsibility for Novopay off her but persevered with Parata in the portfolio.

In yesterday’s interview Parata looked on top of her portfolio. She sounded assured and showed she had a good grasp of education issues and proposals. She somes adeptly avoided answering questions, but gave good clear responses to others.

Parata looked good. Cunliffe looked like he was struggling.

There are two significant differences. One is complexity, Parata has one portfolio to deal with, Cunliffe has to try and be on top of all the major policy areas.

The other is time. Parata has had two years to learn and improve. She has shown she can do that. Cunliffe has been Labour leader for six months.

Cunliffe’s problem is he doesn’t have time. The election will be in about six months. Labour is struggling in the polls now. They should be building towards the campaign and instead they look dysfunctional. Cunliffe is responsible for that – he seems to be not getting the support he should have from all his caucus colleagues, but Labour’s fortunes rest with him.

Cunliffe could look at how much Parata has improved and hope he achieves the same sort of improvement. But he has to do a lot more in a short time.

What he has to achieve would be challenging for the best politician and for the best leader. So far Cunliffe has not proven he is either. It currently looks like he is not up to it.

Ironically Cunliffe has to make a massive transformation so he doesn’t look fake and fumbling.


Winston Peters – online Q&A

Winston Peters had a Q&A on the NZ First website today.  Full text

NZ First: 

Hi everyone. Winston will be here at 4pm to answer your questions, but in the meantime you can submit any questions that you have.

If you could make your questions short and succinct, Winston will be able to answer more of them in the time he has available!

Comment From Jan McKeogh
What are NZ First’s plans for making changes to Section 70 and the DDR of overseas pensions?

Comment From Tangihoro Fitzgerfald
Who in the House allowed Legal Highs into our country.

Winston Peters:
If you go on to our website – you will see a number of statements clearly setting out our policy on this serious anomaly which I hope is clear. There are tens of thousands of people being unfairly treated and we intend to redress this.

Winston Peters:
To be fair, I think all the House has to take the blame for allowing this to happen because we didn’t act quick enough to put the emphasis on the seller to prove the safety of their product. That should be our focus now.

Comment From Isaac
Hi Winston, do you support making changes to KiwiRail so that rail can be put on a level playing field with road transport? KiwiRail could be split into 3 SOEs – NZ Railways Corp (to become rail equivalent of NZTA), rail passenger&ferries (similar to Amtrak in the US) and rail freight, and open up the rail network for other potential operators.

Winston Peters:
Your proposal is interesting and we have not finalised our election policy on this. Suffice to say that we strongly support KiwiRail remaining in NZ ownership and restored to its rightful place in the NZ transport system. On 20 July 1993 National sold NZ Rail. Within three weeks I set out a paper analysing the taxpayer ripoff that had taken place to the tune in excess of $188million dollars (minimum). We’ve never left off our position from that date and we still strongly believe that NZ Rail should be a competitive operator, and its workforce given much of the work that is now being assigned to overseas companies.

Comment From Cathy Le Vaillant
This Government seems to be hell bent on selling us out…what would you do about the land and house banking by offshore owners?

Winston Peters:
We have a NZ ownership register Bill in the ballot. It will tell us for the first time in three decades, who is buying land and houses here. Our objective is to preserve NZ land and housing for New Zealanders. We would not allow the wholesale entry into the NZ property market of foreign interests purely focused on property speculation. The results in Akld alone are disastrous and is skewing price escalation to unthought of levels. The Govt will oppose our Bill because it doesn’t want you to know what’s going on. It’s not overseas investment – it’s an overseas takeover.

Comment From Kara Waihi
Kia ora,I would like to hear your views on 2 things,both being in regards to NZ Education. 1- The introduction of Charter Schools & 2- The proposed teacher bonus scheme.

Winston Peters:
On 1) we are opposed to Charter Schools and the Whangarei example being played out each day in the House is scandalous. We don’t oppose the teacher bonus scheme but ask – what about the other critical areas of investment towards improvement in our schools.

Comment From Guest
Please provide address of Whangarei office and name of person in charge . I may be able to help with publicity. regards Allan Martin

Winston Peters:
83 Bank Street – Esme. However if it’s to do with election publicity, email me directly.

Comment From Tom Adamson
What is your favourite brand of whisky/whiskey?

Winston Peters:
I don’t have one.

Comment From Daniel
If New Zealand First gets 5% or more in this years election and it decides to go into coalition with Labour or National is the $5000 tax free policy and reducing GST to 12.5% on the cards for your support? John Key has done nothing for the poor, his so called fair tax cuts a few years ago and refusing to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour. Thank you

Winston Peters:
We are focussed right now on a start up tax free policy for a specific amount and on other initiatives to ease the plight of those with little discretionary spending power. We hope to announce these policies before too long.

Comment From Stan Randle
Dear Winston I would like to know why NZ First does not promote the concept of “who you are” ie we should identify ourselves first and foremost as NEW ZEALANDERS . There is too much of half , quarter, eighth sixteenth Maori claiming to be Moari instead of being New ZEALANDERS with a Maori heritage. Similarly for new immigrants be they of Asian or Europeon or Island origin . This position should be on all documentation. After all we have Tongans and Fijians and Australians as their ethnic origin Everybody I talk to about this agrees with me.

Winston Peters:
If you’re talking about building nationhood, shared values – we get your point. There are far too many New Zealanders who express their nationality in a hyphenated way.

Comment From Hayden Redwood
My question is. would you help New Zealand generate our own money and credit?. New Zealand’s Treasury, in a letter signed off by Finance Minister Bill English, admitted that barely 5 per cent of this country’s currency was made up of actual money. The rest – at least 95 per cent – is comprised of interest-bearing loans controlled mainly by foreign banks and institutions. My question is would you help generate our own money and credit? Back in 1935 the Labour Government issued its own money, and put it straight into circulation free of interest to pay for workers to convert natural resources into 33,000 state houses, creating public assets that could be provided as a public service at the cheapest possible cost to society.

Winston Peters:
Obviously you’re talking about our current financial system – much of which is comprised of ‘funny money’. We have always stressed the need for our country to be export driven, savings oriented, and NZ investment focussed so that one day we might be free of our dependence on foreign savings, or worse, borrowing money that itself has been printed abroad, in other economies.

Comment From Jack P
My biggest concernt with Key and National is his signing the TPPA and selling us out. Is there any way to stop him? Will it be signed before the elections? Can you enlighten us about the TPPA? This worries me to no end.

Winston Peters:
The TPPA is an intended agreement arising from secret negotiations, the text of which we aren’t even allowed to see. It is a serious abrogation of our sovereignty as a country and parliament is the final arbiter on legislation. What they will do, if they are allowed to get away with it, is present Parliament with a fait accompli, frog-marched their back benchers to vote for it, whether they want to or not, and then say ‘we have made a democratic decision’. If it’s so good for us, why can’t we know beforehand?

Comment From Joe Gordon
Do you think it fair that overseas government pensions which are no different in nature to Kiwisaver should be deducted fron NZ Super?

Winston Peters:
You need to go to our website and see how we would deal with this issue. It’s pro rata, and fair.

Comment From Henare
What is NZ firsts stance on Veteran Affairs and Veterans

Winston Peters:
We believe NZ veterans’ and their families have been getting a raw deal and we intend to address that as we have in the past on pensions, and funding for example the “operation grapple” veterans’ class action. It is sad to see governments and officials dodging a nation’s responsibilities on, for example, Agent Orange and our Vietnam veterans. It’s a most dishonourable position and we wish to correct it.

Comment From Rob Newcombe
Would you implement the 2004/5 MSD reports that condemn the deduction of overseas government pensions from NZ Superannuation as unfair and discriminatory and recommends they be treated as incomes which they are?

Winston Peters:

Comment From Guest
NZ Flag.could we not suggest our flag use the NZ coat of Arms on the present background with the Union Jack as is.The Maori are represented beatifully as are the pakeha and NZ itself?

Winston Peters:
Everyone will have an opinion on the flag and the public, not politicians, should decide if there is to be a change and to what. You never know, the public may opt for your choice!

Comment From Norrie Day
What is NZ’s First policy on the Governments intention to increase the use of 1080 poison.

Winston Peters:
Richard Prosser in parliament today, questioned the Minister of the continued use of 1080. The fact is, 1080 has been banned in most of the world and we’ve got to find a far more effective and sustainable option.

Comment From Rosie
Is it NZ1st policy to push for public transport at the expense of roads? We live in the provinces and don’t have access to public transport so roads are very important to us. Just asking as the Greens want everyone to use public transport.

Winston Peters:
No. But you will see that the Government’s ‘Roads of National Significance’ has seen provincial roading totally forgotten. Have a look up North – not one km of new road since RoNS came in.

Comment From gary schmidt
would you work with john keys if he asked you and give your support to the national party?

Winston Peters:
The great majority of New Zealanders are against these tawdry, backroom pre-election deals. So are we. And have been since the day New Zealand First was formed, over twenty years ago. Unlike the rest, we’ve never broken from this principle, and we’re not about to now. We are months from an election, no one knows what the political parties will present by way of policy, or what policies you and I might find to be odious. So we’ll need to see those and see what the public think of them on election day. And just one last thing. I don’t know whether you’ve ever played cards, but it’s very difficult to be good at it if you haven’t seen them at all.

Comment From gary schmidt
What is your position on ASSET sales ,deep sea oil drilling ,and your position on GMO’s.

Winston Peters:
If you go on our website you’ll see we are consistently against sales of asset which have been built up by generations of NZ taxpayers. Are you taking exploration or extraction? There is no harm in knowing what we might have by way or resources, but extraction is another matter and depends on the first satisfactory answer to the question: what’s in it for New Zealand? And whether a fair share of the royalties will go to the region. As a guideline though, look around the room in which you presently are. 96% of that room will be comprised of products from the extraction industry. Having visited Scandanavia a number of times, and seen governments light years ahead of us on issues of conservation and sustainability, you can have all three – extraction, conservation and sustainability.

Comment From Alex
Do you think Kim Dotcom could become a valued citizen under the right circumstances?

Winston Peters:
I do not know enough of Kim Dotcom to be able to answer your question.

Comment From Greg Wright
Why are foreigners allowed to buy NZ property and farms when we cannot buy property in their respective countries?

Winston Peters:
Because some of you keep on voting for people who are traitors to this country! Hope you’re not one of them!

Comment From John Ryersson
At present it seems only Auckland and Christchurch exist. We export logs from wharves when we have considerable sawmill capacity around the country that could add value. What will NZ FIRST do to ensure regional economies are stimulated and there’s hope for teenagers in the districts?

Comment From Richard
Would Winston allow Kim Dotcom to be deported if a court found in that fashion ?

Winston Peters:
We do have a regional development policy. We do have a NZ log price. We do believe in added value rather than sending our resources overseas in their most raw state for hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for some other economy.

Winston Peters:
NZ First does not test the water with both feet. We would like to know what are the facts on this matter, but thus far we know that the Government is not telling the truth, the GCSB has not told the truth, and some serious breaches of the law have taken place. We hope the court cases reveal what has happened and we will make a judgement then.

Comment From Jennifer
Re TPP: John Key says will notify NZ public just before he signs the deal. Does that mean he will say, that he has a mandate from the people because he told them before hand of his intentions but not the details. (like selling our assets)? Or will he differ pushing the send button for a month or two, while the NZ public (who is his employer) can conclude if that is what they want.

Winston Peters:
His intentions are already clear. Conclude the deal, cobble a parliamentary majority and then tell the public the details of the deal, but not the negotiations. That appears to be the National Government’s position on democracy.

Comment From Len
Hello. Can you use your resources to make the TPPA more publicised. Alot of people have no idea what it can cause.

Winston Peters:
No we can’t because we haven’t been given the text or any of the details of the negotiations. In similar circumstances the Europeans are being told what is going on, as are the Malaysians and the Americans. But the citizens of one of the world’s oldest democracies, New Zealand, won’t be told!

Comment From Judy & Paul Haynes
Will NZ First make voting mandatory as part of their policies for the next election including those New ZeaLanders that have crossed the Tasman to Australia or are abroad elsewhere & are still NZ Citizens.

Winston Peters:
Voting has never been mandatory in NZ, but registering to vote is.

Comment From Mike
Have you visited Kim Dotcom at his mansion?

Winston Peters:
This is a question beloved of the media. They don’t get it. In my job I am asked to see a lot of people in confidence for a wide range of sound reasons. When I meet someone in confidence, I keep that confidence. Fishing expeditions by the media will get them nowhere.

Comment From Matt
What do you think about the new governance of Auckland City? and Is new zealand becomimg to ‘top heavy’?

Winston Peters:
The Auckland Super City was always a mistake. It’s now the biggest city governance in Australasia and it’s hardly a roaring success. But then, what would you expect from something Rodney Hide created, with its non-elected ratepayer paid Maori committee as well?

Comment From Greg Wright
What ever happened to the $50 billion in budget surpluses created during the Helen Clark’s govt? Was it all lost on foreign investments in the 2007/08 crash?

Winston Peters:
There was never $50b in budget surpluses between 99-08. There were serious surpluses, much of it went to the Cullen Fund, which has an investment record paralleled by few similar investments in the world.

Comment From Greg Wright
What is NZ’s total overseas borrowings both private and public? Is NZ bankrupt and living on borrowed time like so many other countries?

Winston Peters:
As at today, I can’t exactly tell you. But it is extraordinarily high and when combined looks a bit similar to PIGS. We are not bankrupt but unless we get focussed on exports and production as opposed to exports and consumption we’re going to be in serious trouble.

Comment From Taras Klish
Dear Mr. Peters, You are the only New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs who visited Ukraine back in 2006, so, we hope that you are more or less familiar with this country and the current crisis in Ukraine. Unfortunately we can not see any reaction of New Zealand Government or Parliament on the brutal violation of human rights in Ukraine by Ukrainian authorities. This is a bit of a concern because other Western democracies have already made their statements (including the most recent Resolution of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the EU and the Resolution of the House of Representatives of the U.S.). Would you help us in some way to attract more attention of NZ Government and the House to this issue? We are already collecting signatures under the Petition to the House, had a few protest actions in Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton, and it’s time to have some support from politicians. Thanks, Taras Klish, Chairman, Ukrainian Association of New Zealand

Winston Peters:
I’ve got to be blunt with you and tell you that although I am concerned at the way democracy is evolving in Ukraine, we can do little here and I suppose our focus is to improve the economic, social and democratic shape of our country and be a responsible citizen in our neighbourhood. There are many who would have us involved in all sorts of countries, half a world away, but frankly, other than being wisely engaged at the UN which such issues arise, we can’t do much.

Comment From Wendy Hammond 09 4287139
Can anything be done about the exploitation of our cockles by hundreds of ‘people’ There will soon be nothing left

Winston Peters:
We don’t have cockles here, they are narrow-neck clams. That said, of course they should be harvested sustainably.

Comment From Rocky
Hi Winston. What is your opinion on the Treaty of Waitangi? and should this aspirational document be used to develop better relations through policy?

Winston Peters:
The greatest writer on the ToW was Sir Apirana Ngata. He advised against writing the ToW into law. He remains by far the wisest statesman on this matter and I have long since agreed with him.

Comment From Winnie The Movie
If there was a movie made about you, who would you want to play you? And if there was a love interest, who would play her?

Winston Peters:
There is. It’s out shortly. Just joking.

Your question is an invitation to modesty and I cannot answer it. Others may have ideas.

Comment From Nick
Do you think Peter Dunne has a place in Government?

Winston Peters:
The answer is yes he does, but he shouldn’t. The PM can squirm day in and day out but he knows that Mr Dunne leaked the Kitteridge Report as I alleged before he stood down last year.

Comment From Annie Simpson
What in NZF policy on freshwater? I have concluded that we can not continue to build more dams and have more cows if we want to protect our natural rivers and water quality.

Winston Peters:
Water quality should be a serious issue in this country. Again, Scandanavia provides a number of models that we should be having regards to. I started an embassy in 2008 in Stockholm and one of the reasons was that we might learn about their sustainable development policies. Your question is far more complicated than it appears but we intend to have a comprehensive before the electorate well before the election.

Comment From FM Wallis
Is there going to be a NZ First candidate for king country this election?

Winston Peters:
We hope so – someone who is able, confident and supported in the presentation of our policies. But whatever, you have two votes and the party vote for us is critical.

Comment From Andrew
what is NZ first’s Policy on Foreign Aid

Winston Peters:
Best evidenced by the fact that when I was Minister for Foreign Affairs we had the biggest foreign aid increase in 40 years. We’d pick up where we left off.

Winston Peters:
In 2009, the Government cut back that foreign aid policy, then last year from its much smaller announced budget, underspent by $92 million. We would pick up where New Zealand First left off.

Comment From Netta Burnside
Roading and the GDP. Taranaki has the highest rate of growth and leads GDP for the country, yet we receive the smallest amount of funding to sustain our roads, how can this be addressed? Lobbying by the incumbent does not seem to do much other than posturing.

Winston Peters:
Our Royalties for Regions policy, which is on our website, would ensure huge injections of funding for regions such as Taranaki. It’s a great policy, it’s fair and Taranaki would get to spend some of its money, rather than it be decided by a bunch of bureaucrats and hollow men in Wellington.

Comment From Lou
What does NZ First offer students in terms of policy?

Winston Peters:
There will be an update on our policy for 2014, but a good guideline can be found in our 2011 manifesto on our website.

Winston Peters:
Thanks for all your questions – and for keeping them relatively short. Sorry we couldn’t answer them all – there were hundreds! We tried to answer a variety of them. Tell your friends because this election is going to be the big one and there is a lot at stake. See you here next time. In the meantime, be nice to people and travel safely.

Winston Peters evades questions on evidence

In a number of interviews Winston Peters has been asked what evidence he has about the Peter Dunne leaks. Peters usually gives vague answers, contradictory answers or simply ignores the question. He has been more evasive than Dunne.

Once exchange was very funny:

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?


CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

Admitting he has never fronted up with evidence?

Here are edited transcripts of three interviews with Peters over the last three days. I have deleted diversionary waffleand questions and answers not related to evidence.

Radio NZ Checkpoint (Friday).

Watson: Mr Dunne says he still denies leaking it, some of his actions unwise, but he is not the source of the leak.

Peters: I don’t believe that.

Watson: What did you know about this?

Peters: Well anyone that saw the electronic record would have to come to the same conclusion that I came to a long time ago, and this is the reason why I raised it.

Watson: The electronic record, did you see an electronic record of his emails?

Peters: I saw sufficient electronic records to know what I was talking about.

Watson: Where did you get them from?

Peters: Well that doesn’t matter really.

Watson: Well, it would be interesting to know though.

Peters: Ah, I’d never ask a journalist for their source because it’s a matter of professional integrity, you can’t disclose it otherwise you’ll never get any more information, and nor can I.

Watson: But is your electronic records that you have seen, do they give you more insight into what’s in those emails? Are the just a track of traffic, or have you got content?Peters: Well, without content they’d be worthless, wouldn’t they.

Watson: Well, have you got content that you’ll be showing to the police?

Peters: I don’t get up and make allegations that I haven’t properly investigated.

Watson: Have you given information to the police?

Peters: No, I haven’t had a chance to talk to them, I only lodged the complaint today.

Watson: But you will be giving information to the police?

Peters: No, I have made myself available to talk to them if they want me to talk to them then that’s fine by me.

Watson: But if they asked for information, if they asked for email content between Peter Dunne and this reporter, you have it and you could give it to them?

Peters: Well most certainly yes.

Watson: How much have you got? Of the 86 emails how much have you got?

Peters: Well enough to know that a serious issue had people who were not treating it properly, had mistreated the information they got, and that was affecting my country’s national interest. I as a former foreign minister I know how seriously our overseas…

Watson: But is your information, have you got information that proves absolutely that Peter Dunne leaked the report to that reporter…

Peters: Well let me tell you this, I made the allegation knowing that there was a day of inevitable consequence, that day has arrived. That’s all you need to know.


The only details were provided by Watson. Peters gave no specific answers – but by not answering and not disputing what was claimed he left the impression that he has seen emails.

TV3 The Nation (Saturday)

Rachel:   Good morning Mr Peters thank you for joining us this morning.   You’ve seen an electronic record of the emails, were they truly professional.

Winston No.

Rachel:  Why weren’t they?  What did you see that made  you…?

Winston:  That’s all history now, but the fact is any one that saw that electronic record and its content had to know that this day was inevitable…

Rachel:  What specifically was unprofessional?

Winston:  Well leaking when you are on the Intelligence and Security Committee is seriously not just unprofessional it is in some countries, in fact our country as well, potentially a criminal act.

Rachel:  Was there anything in those emails that was potentially personally embarrassing to Mr Dunne?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  Can you expand on that?

Winston:  No, that’s immaterial….

Rachel:  Do you think that that is the reason why Mr Dunne didn’t make the emails, the unedited emails available because there was personally embarrassing information in them?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  And yet someone has leaked this information to you.  So is that not a breach of national security as well.  Does that not make you something of a hypocrite?

Winston        Well you’ve gotta be joking if you think that someone acting improperly as a minister, that is threatening the national security issues with respect to other countries, and that information as to the leak is coming to a Member of Parliament is a national security issue, then you’ve got it all – I’m sure you haven’t personally – but it’s a perverse way of looking at things.   There’s no irony here you know.

Source: Video | Transcript

Once again no answers, and no information about evidence provided by Peters.

TVNZ Q + A (Sunday):

CORIN How did you know when you were at that select committee to raise those allegations?

WINSTON I had information that suggested I should check out three things to pursue the information I had in terms of its disclosure.

CORIN What is that information?

WINSTON Well, that he wasn’t being questioned on oath, he wasn’t being questioned with electronic record, and, in my view, there was most certainly- he wasn’t having checked his electronic records.

CORIN And where did you get that from? Have you seen the emails?

WINSTON Look, I’d like to tell you, but, frankly, how many informants would I get if I start disclosing who they are.

CORIN Okay, so you’re not going to tell us where you got it from, but can you describe to us the nature of what you have seen in terms of have you seen emails? The emails in question?

WINSTON Let me just tell you, because there’s much more and wider than you think. The electronic records are very, very clear. Mr Dunne’s denial is, frankly, futile in the extreme. Those denials are bound to fail, and they concern far more than one leak from the GCSB on a classified document. There are other sets of information items from the GCSB which he leaked as well to the same journalist.

CORIN Can you give us some details of what they are?

WINSTON Well, you know, here’s one – one was to do with the very low morale of the GCSB, none of which would’ve been helped by leaking that sensitive report, again from the same minister to the same journalist. There was one with respect to the appointment of the head of the GCSB, the new one, as well as the one that was seriously classified – the Kitteridge report – at all times. And there is more than that as well.

CORIN So that implies that you’ve seen the nature – you’ve seen the actual emails themselves?

WINSTON I don’t think it’s any help for you to try and ask me for how I got the information-

CORIN Because we need to know whether that’s- how valid that is.

WINSTON Valid? That’s why he’s gone.

CORIN But when-?

WINSTON I don’t know why you guys still doubt. When I said in the select committee that I wanted that information, if anyone doubted that I meant to get to the bottom of it, then they don’t know how important this information is.

CORIN But what we need to know- You’re saying that there are other leaks that have come from Mr Dunne to this journalist, but what we need to know – is that what is contained in those emails that he won’t release?

WINSTON Some of it, yes, but it most certainly leaves no doubt that it’s him.

CORIN So you’re saying these emails contain details about Ian Fletcher’s appointment?WINSTON Yes.

CORIN What did it say?

WINSTON Well, it says something that’s clear to you – that a minister is leaking like a sieve.

CORIN So can you just give us a sense of the nature of what you’ve seen and you’ve claimed to have seen in these emails? Is it.. how does it.. what does it show about the nature of the relationship between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne? Do you think Peter Dunne was acting in an appropriate way?


CORIN In what way?

WINSTON Well, I don’t want to, you know, go down that path. It doesn’t-

CORIN Because Peter Dunne says he was absolutely professional, that this was simply just a case of a journalist talking to an MP. Are you saying that’s something different?

WINSTON Sadly, that statement is not true.

CORIN What evidence have you got to back that up?

WINSTON Sad for his staff as well, but, sadly, that statement’s not true.

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?


CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

WINSTON …I asked, ‘Was this evidence on oath? Was there electronic record?’ And to find that the answer is no to both those questions-
CORIN Okay, so you want John Key to do that?

WINSTON Well, because then you would see all of the electronic record, which you are entitled to, against a minister who has offended seriously the laws of this country, and second, who’s now arguing the privacy and the slippery slope down which we might go if his emails are disclosed. Those emails are about him breaching the security and the privacy of classified information.

CORIN Okay. Winston Peters, in the last couple of weeks, you seem to have found some renewed vigour and energy. I mean, you had a big speech on migrants. You’ve used parliamentary privilege to attack an opponent. What’s motivating you at the moment? Are you clearly positioning yourself now as the kingmaker for the next government?

WINSTON First of all, dislodge this idea of parliamentary privilege. I know what the journalists say, and let me tell you this – if I didn’t ask that in a privileged environment, they wouldn’t publish a thing.

CORIN Sure, okay. No, I accept that.

WINSTON …because they’re too scared of being sued. I’m not. They are.

Source: Q+A: Winston Peters interview video

In each interview details were put to him about evidence and he didn’t confirm (or deny) anything at all.

In parliament Peters was more specific. He said all the evidence was in the phone records. The Henry report had no phone evidence, so since that was released Peters has dropped any claims about phone records.

He now uses a more general term – “all of the electronic record“, and he refers to emails generally but provides no specific information about contents.

He has not provided any specific information, and he hasn’t directly confirmed anything.

This is typical Peters – he makes general accusations, allows the media to speculate for him, and then the media give him credit when something from within the vagueness proves to be true.

Radio NZ reported Pressure grows over spy report leak yesterday:

However, Mr Peters told Radio New Zealand News on Sunday he has information which proves Mr Dunne not only leaked the GCSB report before its scheduled release, but also other classified documents.

He said it’s the prime minister’s job to get his hands on the emails and reveal the truth and he wants Mr Key to launch a formal inquiry.

Mr Peters did not rule out releasing the information himself, but said it should come from Mr Key and not from someone outside the Government.

There is no transcript nor audio available so it cant be seen what Peters actually said. He seems to feed the media off air and then avoid answering on air.

I have seem no direct claim of having evidence form Peters. He allows the media to speculate and find evidence for him, he has asked the police to find evidence, and here he claims that the Prime Minister produce evidence.

This is all extremely dishonest of Peters.

He is a master of media manipulation. And they keep letting him get away with it, they don’t hold him to account or insist on substance to his claims, they do all the work for him, and then they give him credit for being right.

Winston Peters talks Q+A sense on the Speaker

Jessica Mutch interviewed Winston Peters on Q + A this morning about the problems in Question Time with the Speaker David Carter and and opposition frustration at claimed unfaori and unbalanced rulings.

Peters gave a reasoned and reasonable response, with a fair evaluation of Carter’s performance to date. He ruled him 3.5 out of 10 so far. He said “it’s only two months. He’s got a long way to go. We do hope that he does get up to it, yes”.

You know, you’ve got to have a Speaker that works, because Parliament has got to work in the end run. And for Parliament to work, we’ve all got to make compromises, but you shouldn’t have to make too big a compromise.

It’s not a game. The fact is that you’re there to ask questions that the public wants the answers to, and it’s in the ambit of responsibility of these ministers and their capacity and their knowledge to answer them properly.

The Prime Minister and his Ministers need to do more to meet their responsibilities to the Opposition and the public.

And Labour need to enable this by being less confrontational and less obsessed with petty point scoring – they could learn from Peters (and the Greens) in their approach to question time. They should be holding the Government and it’s ministers to account, not trying to win an election every week the House sits.

Carter should be able to manage the House in his own style but needs to do more to be seen to be fair – but the parties and MPs need to give him more of a fair go as well.

Full transcript and video:

JESSICA Look, being a referee or an umpire’s never easy, and you’ve got to have the knack. And some people have got it, some don’t, and some can by a lot of hard work and a bit of humility learn it. And he’s got a long, long way to go. Out of ten, what score would you give him?

WINSTON Well, he’s about three and a half at the moment, and I would think that even he would regard that as a pretty good score, but he’s got a long way to go. And if he doesn’t work out, I think we’ll have to look seriously at an independent or some other MP doing the job, because this sort of thing cannot go on. And there’s a lot of justification for the angst and upset of a number of members of Parliament. It’s not political. It’s just not right to have an unfair environment, either unknowingly or consciously.

JESSICA You talked about having someone independent. Do you think we’ve got to that point now?

WINSTON I think we were at the point a long, long time ago, but, of course, all the parties use it as a promotion link or as an equivalent to a Cabinet post, and it comes with a knighthood now, as you know. And so this is a huge inducement for people to do what they would ordinarily not do.

JESSICA Because we’ve seen in the House this week – we’ve seen almost a bit of a tag team with Trevor Mallard, Chris Hipkins, Russel Norman and yourself. Is this a game?

WINSTON No, it’s not a game. The fact is that you’re there to ask questions that the public wants the answers to, and it’s in the ambit of responsibility of these ministers and their capacity and their knowledge to answer them properly. And frankly, I’ve seen some ministers in the past you could never nail because they got up and briefly told the truth. And it’s still the smartest policy.

JESSICA So do you think this is a principle of Parliament that basically we have to have a Speaker who works to make the whole place work?

WINSTON Well, the most unusual people have been good Speakers. The best I ever saw was a guy called Burke – Kerry Burke. People are the-

JESSICA Why was he good?

WINSTON Well, we never thought he would be, and within a week, it was obvious he was going to be because you could tell from his demeanour that you had gone too far and that you weren’t being fair. He never kicked anyone out, and he got amazing cooperation out of the most unlikely people. So I think he was very, very good, and we did not think at the start he would be. Now, he was across the divide. He was a different party’s Speaker, so it’s not so much the party, it’s whether the person understands – you’re Parliament’s man or woman, you’ve got to be independent, you’ve got to be professional, and above all, you’ve got to be fair.

JESSICA In terms of fairness, do you think that David Carter is still very much leaning in favour of National?

WINSTON He hasn’t got past his political colours. He hasn’t dropped the National Party background, and he’s got to do that to be successful. That’s what it actually means in there. If you talk about the romance and majesty of the job, it’s to be Parliament’s person above all else, fearing no party or baggage or obligation. He’s got a long way to go to get there.

JESSICA Because some people would say you’ve been kicked out of Parliament, according to the Parliamentary Library, 38 times. Are you the best judge of what makes a good Speaker?

WINSTON Yeah, I am.

JESSICA Why is that?

WINSTON Because I’ve been treated more unfairly than most.

JESSICA So do you think-?

WINSTON I didn’t come here to make friends, and I didn’t come here to be put down or shut down. And if I was in a court of law, I’d get the answer, and I’m entitled to the answer here too.

JESSICA Do you respect the job that he’s doing?

WINSTON To be fair-

JESSICA Because that’s a point-

WINSTON he didn’t want the job.


WINSTON But the National Party wanted an extra Cabinet post member to be made available. That’s why Williamson outside of Cabinet didn’t get the job.

JESSICA And he’s only been in the job for two months, so don’t you need to give him a bit of leeway?

WINSTON Well, he’s been in Parliament long enough, hasn’t he?

JESSICA Yeah, but doing that-

WINSTON He’s been here since 1994. That is almost 20 years. If you haven’t learnt something in 20 years, maybe you should have gone.

JESSICA Do you think, though, that he does need to be given a little bit of leeway – give him a break, so to speak?

WINSTON Yeah, I think that’s fair.

JESSICA Are you doing that, though?

WINSTON Well, he’s had more than enough breaks so far.

JESSICA Because it seems like you’re giving him a pretty hard time. And watching from the debating chamber, it looks like you’re rarking him up a bit.

WINSTON Well, there’s no use saying, ‘Look, we’ll let the speaker do what he likes and try and learn,’ whilst you lose the game every day trying to get at the truth. Because this is a game or business that’s a raging battle for political plow. And if you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand Parliament. And people are expecting you to put your best foot- and give your best foot forward and give it your best shot. And you cannot have something that is hindering you from doing that.

JESSICA You sued the Speaker a number of years ago for defamation. Some people would say this is personal for you.

WINSTON No, it’s not because of that. You know, you’ve got to have a Speaker that works, because Parliament has got to work in the end run. And for Parliament to work, we’ve all got to make compromises, but you shouldn’t have to make too big a compromise.

JESSICA Does that personal clash, though, make it more difficult for you?

WINSTON It’s not a personal matter between him and me at all, but, you know, he came to me before he got the job and said, ‘We need to talk.’ And my answer was, ‘Well, look, if nobody bothered to consult us about you being chosen in the first place, what would our conversation be about?’

JESSICA So he can stay in the job, in your opinion?

WINSTON Well, he can stay in the job whilst he shows that he’s up to doing the job.

JESSICA And is he?

WINSTON And that should be the condition anyone stays in their job.

JESSICA Is he up to it?

WINSTON Well, as you say, it’s only two months. He’s got a long way to go. We do hope that he does get up to it, yes.

The Nation comments on blogs

At the end of The Nation this morning, when talking about the influence of blogs on Labour’s recent strife, Brian Edwards and Bill Ralston commented on blogs, dismissing them disparagingly. Edwards was particularly harsh on blog comments.

They basically dismissed blogs as crap. That’s either arrogance or ignorance, probably some of both.

It would be as easy to dismiss TV commentators as crap too – and a lot of old media isn’t very  flash. On Q&A this morning Helen Kelly was extremely bad, she wasn’t even trying to give intelligent opinion on the subjects, she was almost entirely promoting a party that she hopes will giver her a safe seat or cushy list position.

Blog posts themselves vary widely in quality. When reading them you have to take into account the track record and credibility of the author, and especially if written under a pseudonym the motives need to be questioned and taken into account.

Some blogs are consistently as good as old media in providing valuable insights into the politicfal scene.

And blog comments shouldn’t be just written off. They also vary widely, with many being of dubious quality and value if looked at individually. But some comments and commenters are excellent – they can give a very useful perspective and provide an overview of sentiments amongst an albeit narrow group of people.

Media now obviously keep an eye on blogs, and despite David Shearer’s denials the Labour leadership – staff and advisers at least – would be seriously remiss if they weren’t monitoring blog comments.

The key to getting value out of blog posts ands comments is understanding the blog and having a feel for the group and individuals who are commenting.

The majority of blog comments can easily be seen as rubbish but they are they same as other social settings. If you listened in to conversations in a bar you would find many that individually could be rubbished but collectively they can give a valuable feel for what a particilar demographic feels and how they see things.

And if you put time into following blogs you learn which authors, posts, commenters and comments are worth keeping an eye on.

Even bloggers or commenters that normally rant and spout a load of crap can give an insight, considering the context and especially when you notice a change in approach or stance.


Like any groups of people and conversations it’s necessary to filter out the noise, and there’s a lot of noise on blogs. But if you know what to look for and who to look out for it’s possible to learn a lot.

‘Who’ can be as important as ‘what’

I’ve learnt from experience that it’s of interest to see who comments and especially who reacts. I know that I or someone else is may be gettting close to the mark when certain people swarm on a post or comment to try and support or discredit it.

What’s not said can mean something

And when people who might normally comment go silent or go off on an avoidance tangent it can sometimes speak volumes.

Glance askance

Those (especially when media or politicians) who glance askance at blogs and turn their noses up at them do so out of arrogance and ignorance, or they are lying and trying to dismiss a message they don’t want to be heard, and they don’t want other others to take it seriously.

Ignore at your peril

If politicians do ignore critical blogs they do so at their peril. Bloggers are social grouops within society, quite a few of whom have both political experience and a connection with the wider population.

Dismissing blogs is as silly as dismissing other groups, likke rergions or suburbs or special interest groups. Blogs have many cultures and motives and qualities.

Blog sentiment can often give signals to what is going to take place, or at least some of the influences on what might happen. As a part of online social media they are often ahead of what the old media is reporting.

And bloggers are voters, like anyone else.

Remarkable change in asset (MOM) bill coverage

After months of strident opposition to ‘asset sales” and the Mixed Ownership Model bill, and complaints that National haven’t presented their side of ther argument well, this weekend saw a significant change in media coverage.

The MOM bill completed it’s passage through parliament this week.

Today TV1’s Q+A had an interview with Bill English that covered MOM issues, and there was a separate interview:

With Mighty River Power about to go on the block we talk to Mark Lister, Head of Private Wealth Research at Craigs Investment Partners.

This looked quite favourably at the propsoects of investing in Mighty River Power, and the potential advantages for New Zealand’s capital markets.

And yesterday (and repeated this morning) on The Nation Rachel Smalley had a realistic and informative discussion on the proposed share floats, especially of Mighty River Power – but curiously this doesn’t feature on The Nation website.

(As at 11.00am Sunday 1 July)

Is the Dotcom item really the lead item from The Nation? Have asset part sales faded from publicn interest this quickly?



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