Little on immigration, jobs and drugs

Andrew Little has just been interviewed on RNZ. While critical of Bill English’s comments about drugs causing employment problems – “It all starts to look like an excuse for the government not to do anything about our young unemployed” – he is not against drug testing nor against immigration.

Little actually adds anecdotal evidence of employers needing to know if potential employees are drug safe.

Little slams the Government but in part doesn’t disagree with aspects.

These aren’t simple issues.

Ardern lipstick on a Labour pig?

The media and pundit obsession with trying to pressure Labour into promoting Jacinda Ardern to deputy leader continued yesterday.

This is despite the reality that most people don’t know who deputy leaders are and don’t care.

It seems to be a sign of the growing obsession with promoting celebrity politics – Ardern is better known for her cultivating of the celebrity circuit than for her political accomplishments.

Sure she won the Mt Albert by-election, but that was in a safe Labour seat against no opposition, and having moved there after three failed attempts to win in two other electorates.

Last week Bryce Edwards virtually demanded a deputy leadership change this week if Ardern won in Mt Albert.

He followed up yesterday with a round up of old and new items from activists (who \used to be journalists) and pundits promoting his agenda – Political Roundup: How long can it be before Labour elevate Jacinda Ardern to deputy?

Edwards included just one alternate view:

One commentator disputes the need to make Ardern the deputy. Russell Brown sarcastically says “of course what Labour needs in election year is yet another leadership shakeup” – see: Mt Albert: Cooperating, competing and carpooling.

I posted King of the deputy castle, media dirty rascals yesterday morning but that was probably a bit too critical of his activism to rate a mention. There has been more media activism to promote Ardern into the deputy headlines.

This is all more a symptom of journalists and pundits who want to be political players and movers and shakers rather than being reporters and analysts.

Annette King seems to have quietly done a good job holding the Labour caucus together and protecting Andrew Little’s back. As a deputy is supposed to do. It doesn’t make sense to throw a spanner in the works there with six months until the election.

Ardern has a new job to do in Auckland, she needs to establish herself in an electorate for the first time, and also needs to prepare herself for the election.

It makes no sense to me to give her another new job which will tie her more to Wellington and bury her in the party machine.

And I’m sure Little doesn’t want a deputy who attracts all the media attention.

Who cares who is deputy leader of Labour? I think that most voters don’t give a toss. Those that do can read about Ardern in the Woman’s Weekly.

And perhaps some journalists could consider whether they are political reporters, or activists promoting their pet politicians.

And – would Ardern lipstick really help a Labour Party pig?

Record high immigration/returning Kiwis

The number of people coming to New Zealand hit a new high in January, although this was mainly due to returning New Zealanders rather than new immigrants.

RNZ: Migrant numbers hit new record high as NZers return

Official figures show more than 71,300 people settled here in the year to January, beating the previous annual record set a month earlier by 700.

The January month also set a new high of 6460 – the fifth successive month net migration has exceeded 6000.

Migrant arrivals hit an all-time high of 128,300 in the January 2017 year, with about a third of the total being on work visas, while returning New Zealanders also figured prominently.

“The strength of our labour market and general economic outlook are key influences,” Westpac Bank senior economist Satish Ranchhod said.

That’s a good sign for our economy, but it is likely to put even more pressure on housing.

Not everything is on the rise.

More stringent student visa requirements in the wake of abuse of English language requirements and fraudulent applications have made a dent in numbers, falling 13 percent to 24,300 for the year.

But that was made up for by returning Kiwis.

“About a fifth of all migrant arrivals were from Australia,” Statistics New Zealand population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

“Almost two-thirds of the migrant arrivals from Australia were New Zealand citizens.”

The Government can’t control the number of New Zealanders who want to return, but they have tried to reduce the number of new immigrants.

Last year, the government moved to reduce the number of new migrants, including raising the points needed in the skilled migrant category to 160 from 140, and more than halving the number of people allowed entry under the family category to 2000.

And tourist numbers also continue to rise.

The number of visitor arrivals rose to 381,100 in January and 3.54 million for the year, both record highs.

“The strong increase in visitor arrivals in January 2017 coincided with the Chinese New Year,” Mr Dolan said.

“Over 54,000 visitors from China arrived in New Zealand in January 2017.”

Half of the annual increase in tourist arrivals came from Australia, China and the United States.

And this is putting pressure on infrastructure in tourist areas as well as on tourist attractions.

 

English repeats employment drug problems

Last year before he was Prime Minister Bill English caused a stir when he suggested that some Kiwis were‘Pretty damned hopeless’ – English when it came to trying to get work.  This came up in Question Time in Parliament in April 2016.

Iain Lees-Galloway: Does he stand by the statements made to a meeting of Federated Farmers that there is “a cohort of Kiwis who now can’t get a licence because they can’t read and write properly and don’t look to be employable—you know, basically, young males” and that a lot of Kiwis available for work are, in his words, “pretty damned hopeless”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, and I welcomed the presence of the member who strode to the front of the Federated Farmers meeting and sat there showing complete attention to everything I said, for about 20 minutes.

Iain Lees-Galloway: Does he stand by his statement that one of the reasons why immigration is “a bit more permissive” is that, in his words, Kiwis are “pretty damned hopeless”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I think the member is mixing a couple of different statements there. I referred to the common—[Interruption] Well, the Government is at the sharp edge of this every day, and I referred to the common response from New Zealand employers that many of the people on our Ministry of Social Development list will not show up to the jobs they are offered and will not stay in the jobs that they are offered. If the member has not heard that from dozens of New Zealand employers, he is out of touch.

In a media conference yesterday English said he had anecdotal evidence of similar things, including drug use being a common impediment to gaining employment. This was in response to questions about record immigration numbers.

RNZ: Employers still struggling to hire NZers due to drug use – PM

The government is still hearing from employers who are struggling to find enough New Zealanders to fill job vacancies, in many cases because they would not pass a drug test, Prime Minister Bill English says.

Mr English was talking about the latest migration figures, which show a record run of people coming to New Zealand to live or visit in the year to January.

Last year the prime minister at the time, John Key, said he continually heard from employers frustrated with New Zealanders’ work ethic and drug problems.

Mr English said he heard the same thing about two to three times a week.

“One of the hurdles these days is just passing the drug test … Under workplace safety, you can’t have people on your premises under the influence of drugs and a lot of our younger people can’t pass that test.”

His comments were based on anecdotal evidence, he said.

“People telling me they open for applications, they get people turning up and it’s hard to get someone to be able to pass the test – it’s just one example.

“So look if you get around the stories, you’ll hear lots of stories – some good, some not so good – about Kiwis’ willingness and ability to do the jobs that are available.”

Mr English said the government could not do much to address this particular problem.

“Particularly if these are younger people who are in every other respect capable of finding a job.”

He said the government tended to concentrate on keeping the most at-risk young people on track.

“Getting qualifications, getting them to the start line for employment – drug issues are a bit broader than that … it’s quite a challenge when it comes to employment, more so than it used to be because it used to be quite acceptable to employ someone who was a regular drug user but now under workplace safety [rules] you just can’t do it.”

Mr English said exceptions should not be made for people who were on drugs but who would otherwise be fit for the job, as that could not only put them at risk, but also their colleagues.

This is only a part of the problems getting Kiwi workers but it will no doubt get the most attention.

Trump, Mercer, online data, mass manipulation

This is a long investigative article but it sheds some light on what has been happening with the use of data based mass manipulation in relation to the Brexit vote and in the US. The names of Robert Mercer, Stephen Bannon, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump are intertwined.

Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media

With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network

Just over a week ago, Donald Trump gathered members of the world’s press before him and told them they were liars. “The press, honestly, is out of control,” he said. “The public doesn’t believe you any more.” CNN was described as “very fake news… story after story is bad”. The BBC was “another beauty”.

That night I did two things. First, I typed “Trump” in the search box of Twitter. My feed was reporting that he was crazy, a lunatic, a raving madman. But that wasn’t how it was playing out elsewhere. The results produced a stream of “Go Donald!!!!”, and “You show ’em!!!” There were star-spangled banner emojis and thumbs-up emojis and clips of Trump laying into the “FAKE news MSM liars!”

Trump had spoken, and his audience had heard him. Then I did what I’ve been doing for two and a half months now. I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Is it dead, I wonder? Has FAKE news won? Are we now the FAKE news? Is the mainstream media – we, us, I – dying?

I did the same search and get the same result:

mainstreammediais

That is effective international manipulation of Google search rankings.

I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”.

My first two hits are James O’Keefe (part of the same right wing media network) related, the third is CNS News.

How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic? In the “About us” tab, I learn CNSnews is owned by the Media Research Center, which a click later I learn is “America’s media watchdog”, an organisation that claims an “unwavering commitment to neutralising leftwing bias in the news, media and popular culture”.

Another couple of clicks and I discover that it receives a large bulk of its funding – more than $10m in the past decade – from a single source, the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. If you follow US politics you may recognise the name. Robert Mercer is the money behind Donald Trump. But then, I will come to learn, Robert Mercer is the money behind an awful lot of things. He was Trump’s single biggest donor. Mercer started backing Ted Cruz, but when he fell out of the presidential race he threw his money – $13.5m of it – behind the Trump campaign.

The article goes on to detail how Mercer has been involved in funding and assisting right wing interests to gather and use online data, and how they are manipulating Google and Facebook to promote their interests.

Nigel Farage was assisted free of charge in the Brexit campaign.

And they swung from initially supporting Ted Cruz’s campaign to get in behind Donald Trump.And the rest of that campaign is history.

But since then it’s easy to recognise what Trump says on Twitter and in media conferences as carefully littered with key words to provoke emotional responses.

A large number of Americans have been attracted to this, and more than a few Kiwis as well.

Even if you support Trump, and want to continue to support him, you should understand how this is being done – because someone else who you disagree with, perhaps strongly, may place the same game.

It’s good to see that his sort of investigative journalism is not dead, despite how some are trying to brainwash the world.

US discussion

If there’s news or issues from the USA worth discussing.

Media watch – Tuesday

28 February 2017

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

As usual avoid anything that could cause any legal issues such as potential defamation or breaching suppression orders. Also remember that keeping things civil, legal and factual is more effective and harder to argue against or discredit.

Sometimes other blogs get irate if their material is highlighted elsewhere but the Internet is specifically designed to share and repeat information and anyone who comments or puts anything into a public forum should be aware that it could be republished elsewhere (but please include attribution).

Open Forum – Tuesday

28 February 2017

Facebook: NZ politics/media+

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts.

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
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UK and Europe

A forum for UK and European related issues.

Roy Morgan February poll

The February Roy Morgan poll is unusually stable (for them) compared to January with just a few minor adjustments across the board.

  • National 48% (up from 46)
  • Labour 26% (down from 27)
  • Greens 13% (up from 12.5)
  • NZ First 8%  (down from 9)
  • Maori Party 2% (no change)
  • ACT Party 1% (up from o.5)
  • United Future 0% (down from 0.5)
  • Conservative Party 0% (down from 0.5)
  • Internet Party 0% (no change)
  • Independent/Other 2% (no change)

Labour + Greens are 39% compared to National’s 48%.

National is polling at nearly double Labour’s level of support.

Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone – with a NZ wide cross-section of 852 electors between January 30 – February 12, 2017. Of all electors surveyed 5.5% (down 1%) didn’t name a party.

That polling period is well before the Mt Albert by-election.

roymorgan2017feb

In addition the New Zealand Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating is unchanged at 140pts in February with 63.5% (up 0.5%) of NZ electors saying NZ is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 23.5% (up 0.5%) that say NZ is ‘heading in the wrong direction’.

National and Bill English should be be fairly happy with this result.

Labour may think the Mt Albert by-election will make the difference but there’s little reason to think it will affect support much.

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7149-roy-morgan-new-zealand-voting-intention-february-2017-201702271519