French presidential election

It looks very likely that no candidate will get a clear majority in the first presidential election in France, meaning that a second election will be held next month. But it is uncertain which two candidates will make the run-off, with a poll predicted 25% of voters undecided.

Guardian: French election: vote heading for nailbiting climax – live

Final polls show four leading presidential candidates so close that any two could go through to runoff in two weeks’ time

It’s not exactly nail biting if the result won’t be known until after a second vote in two weeks.

There are 11 candidates but four seem to have a chance of getting through:

Emmanuel Macron

Party: En Marche! (On the Move!). Centrist: liberal economically, left socially
In brief: Fresh, internationally-minded, upbeat

Marine Le Pen

Party: Front National. Far-right.
In brief: Imperious, combative, theatrical, ruthlessly determined; France first.

François Fillon

Party: Les Républicains. Centre-right, conservative.
In brief: Family, faith and the free market; now also alleged abuser of public funds

Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Party: La France Insoumise (France Unbowed). Radical left
In brief: Power to the people, sharp tongue, fiery oratory, great showman

Only one candidate to the left of centre.

France’s 2017 presidential election has been one of the tightest and least predictable in generations. After the final set of opinion polls on Friday, of four candidates leading the first round any two could conceivably make it to the runoff.

FrenchPresidentialPoll2017

What’s more, up to 25% of voters were estimated to be undecided on the eve of the vote. No one, in short, should be under any illusions: anything could yet happen.

How does France’s system of vote estimates work?

The initial vote estimate in French elections – in use and steadily perfected since 1965 – is based on an actual vote count.

Pollsters select about 200 polling stations around the country, in rural areas, small towns and urban agglomerations, carefully chosen to be as representative as possible of the country as a whole.

When the polling stations close – all are among those that close early, at 7pm – and as the votes are being counted, a polling official records, for a sizeable sample of the ballots, the number of votes for each candidate.

Those numbers are then run through a sophisticated computer program that adjusts them for past results and assorted variables, and produces a national vote estimate. This is not the official result, but nor is it an opinion poll.

It is usually very accurate, to within a percentage point of so – but this being an exceptionally close race, a percentage point may be decisive. So either we will have a reliable result at 7pm, or we won’t.

That must be 7 pm UK time, it is currently 7:48 pm in France (5:48 am NZ) so we may have an idea of how it might be going soon.

That means beware of fake vote estimates on social media.

Media watch – Monday

24 April 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 credible and effective.

Open Forum – Monday

24 April 2015

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.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

World watch

Sunday GMT

There’s a lot of things happening of interest around the world, from the Brexit split between the United Kingdom and the European Union to Donald Trump’s young presidency in the United States, from the civil war in Syria and the associated surrounding Middle East mess, to growing tensions around North Korea and China.

Post here what you think may be of interest to others or could be worth discussing. Some topics may be transferred to separate posts.

Video on demand to be censored?

The retiring Chief Censor seems to be bit peeved that the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why was available to view on demand without needing to be classified by the censor.

The Government say they are going to try to legislate to tighten things up on video  on demand, but I don’t know how it will work. Age restrictions would be futile. Slapping a rating on shows would barely make any difference if at all.

RNZ: Law to regulate video-on-demand likely later this year

The government says it hopes to introduce legislation to regulate video-on-demand broadcasting later this year.

The retiring Chief Censor, Andrew Jakk, has called for urgent action to regulate the new forms of broadcasting such as Netflix.

Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen recently said Netflix was able to circumvent the censorship office to air controversial show 13 Reasons Why, which showed a need for the law to be clarified.

The censor’s office classification of the show would come nearly a month after it was released.

I don’t follow this. Being an offshore provider of video I think that Netflix simply wasn’t required to have anything classified.  Or did they have to but didn’t need to wait until it was classified. That would be bizarre.

The government announced it would introduce legislation on the issue last August, but hasn’t yet done so.

The Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, Maggie Barry, said the government intends to introduce the law change this year and refer it to a select committee.

She said the work had been complex, as the law needed to be future-proofed to allow for technological changes in the future.

Ms Barry said the new law would still exclude user-generated content and print media from regulation.

Print media are regulated by an industry body, the Press Council.

So user generated videos via Youtube, Facebook and many others will be excluded but commercial videos would have to be passed by the censor. Good luck with that.

What about live streaming which is becoming more common?

Video is easily available from around the world from many sources, trying to censor some of it must be of very questionable effectiveness.

I don’t know how they’re going to deal with this so that it is effective and fair.

$53m for World Expo pavilion

The Government has announced they will commit to spending $53.3m on a pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai in 2020.

It’s probably a good investment for the country and for New Zealand businesses.


New Zealand to participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Trade Minister Todd McClay have announced that New Zealand will participate in World Expo 2020, to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The announcement was made during Mr Bridges’ visit to Dubai.

“Through Budget 2017, the Government is committing $53.3 million to construct a New Zealand Pavilion that will allow Kiwi businesses to highlight their innovative products and services and open doors to new export markets,” says Mr Bridges.

“Showcasing New Zealand to the world is a crucial part of boosting economic growth. Expo 2020 will provide a springboard to promote us as an innovative, solution-focused economy to the 25 million visitors expected to attend from across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

“It will also allow us to build on our strong economic and transport links to the UAE which acts as a global air and sea logistics hub, providing access for New Zealand exporters to a much wider region. We’re already well connected with five direct daily Emirates flights, contributing $700 million to the economy,” says Mr Bridges.

“It makes clear economic sense for New Zealand to participate in this global event,” says Mr Bridges.

The Expo will take place from October 2020 to April 2021 with Mr McClay saying it will attract high-value visitors from all corners of the world.

“Expo 2020 is a vital opportunity to increase New Zealand’s profile amongst new trading partners as well as grow our trade with existing partners,” says Mr McClay.

We have a strong trade and economic relationship with the UAE and $3.8 billion of two-way trade with the wider Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” says Mr McClay.

“The Gulf States also importantly provide an entry point into the wider region for many New Zealand companies and a base from which to better access the wider Middle East and beyond,” says Mr McClay.

New Zealand is close to completing a free trade agreement with the GCC, which comprises of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The UAE alone is New Zealand’s twelfth largest trading partner, with annual two-way trade exceeding $1.9 billion in 2016.

About Expo 2020

Expo 2020 has the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. The Expo site will be around 2sq/km in size and will contain three thematic areas: opportunity, sustainability and mobility.

These three pavilions will showcase ideas and innovations, and countries that attend will have their specific pavilions spread around the thematic areas. New Zealand has been invited to participate in the sustainability precinct.

The organisers expect around 180 nations to participate. New Zealand is among the first 20 to formally confirm attendance.

More information on the Expo see http://expo2020dubai.ae

New Zealand Pavilion

The Government is about to launch an RFP process within the creative sector of New Zealand to select the best team and ideas for the design and content.

‘Neoliberalism’ debate continues

The economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s in New Zealand rescued the country from the extreme interventions of Robert Muldoon, which were misguided attempts to re-invent New Zealand’s economy after Britain dumped us as one of it’s primary producers and to deal with the oil shocks of the late 80s.

I don’t recall those reforms ever being described as the introduction of a new ideology, nor them being called neoliberalism. (But I didn’t follow politics closely in those days).

I’ve followed politics a lot more over the last decade and even then it seems to be increasingly in more recent years that people from the left have lamented the advent of neoliberalism and expressed a yearning to how things once were (while never saying how that was supposed to have been).

Certainly how we manage our economy and social services and public services has changed markedly over the last half century. Margaret Thatcher changed things in Britain, and Ronald changed things in the USA. But it was hardly a massive shift from capitalism to neo-liberalism as if it was as drastic as a move in the other direct to communism would have been.

Then this week Jim Bolger, New Zealand Prime Minister in much of the 1990s, seemed to denounce neoliberalism in an interview for RNZ: The Negotiator – Jim Bolger: Prime Minister 1990-97

Bolger says neo-liberal economic policies have absolutely failed. It’s not uncommon to hear that now; even the IMF says so. But to hear it from a former National Prime Minister who pursued privatisation, labour market deregulation, welfare cuts and tax reductions – well, that’s pretty interesting.

“They have failed to produce economic growth and what growth there has been has gone to the few at the top,” Bolger says, not of his own policies specifically but of neo-liberalism the world over. He laments the levels of inequality and concludes “that model needs to change.”

That’s kind of remarkable. Certainly there has some problems that have emerged from how the country is managed over the last three decades.

A discussion was sparked on Twitter today.

Bryce Edwards:

Jim Bolger recants neoliberalism, & now on Michelle Boag graciously acknowledges Laila Harre’s good work in industrial relations!

Liam Hehir:

Can you point to an instance of him explicitly praising “neoliberalism” at any point?

Bryce Edwards:

He’s widely accepted to have overseen the implementation of a version of a neoliberal programme, no? He was fairly praiseworthy of that.

Liam Hehir:

Yeah – and he really expressed no regret for that in the podcast. He also didn’t suggest his reforms were neoliberal – that was Guyon’s word

Bryce Edwards:

All true. Yet David Farrar suggests that Bolger is now “to the left of Helen Clark”. I look forward to your column on this.

Rob Hosking:

There’s a huge amount of oversimplification & revisionism going on about this (and related matters) at the moment. It’s very misleading.

Phillip Matthews:

I’d be interested to know if the word “neoliberalism” was used much in NZ in the 1990s. People talked about market forces or Rogernomics.

I’ve only heard “neoliberalism” being used over the last few years. It’s a retrospective label that most people have no understanding or even knowledge of.

Greg Jackson:

I wrote about economics and politics in the 80’s and 90’s. Never heard “neoliberalism” bandied about in popular or private usage.

Liam Hehir:

Whatever you call it, it was never promoted as an ideological agenda. It was sold as a necessary, if bitter, medicine.

(By prime ministers, I should add).

In the interview, Espiner asks Bolger about neoliberalism. Bolger is non-committal about the term. He then goes on to express some dissatisfaction about current economic circumstances. So what happens, “OMG Jim Bolger has denounced neoliberalism you guys!!!!”

Ben Thomas:

Re revisionism: Guyon suggested Douglas’s economic plan happened under cover of “popular social reform” like homosexual law reform.

I mean, we all pretend on Twitter we’ve always been woke, but that’s a helluva way to misremember 1980s NZ (& the courage of the reformers)

Yeah, the BWB crowd’s window into the 1980s is via Kelsey’s books and Alistair Barry’s documentaries. It gives a skewed picture.

I was sorta relieved when Moore pointed out actually there weren’t thousands protesting in the streets each day, or complete social collapse.

I think generally people knew things had to change and quite drastically.

Matthew Hooton:

The craziest is the idea the “unpopular” economic reforms were possible because of the “popular” anti-nuke & homosexual law reform moves.

For many, anti-nukes was tolerated cos of economic reforms & the homosexual law reform bill was extremely controversial at the time.

How things were economically in the early to mid 80s was untenable, and we can’t undo what has happened.

 

 

  1. How the heck do you change the model from neo-liberalism?
  2. Why don’t we address the problems, deal with them and move forward?

From what I’ve seen most people who say “we must reverse neoliberalism” actually mean “we need to change to socialism”. We can’t go back.

Why don’t we just do what we can to fix the problems we have now and not worry about labels and revolutionary changes.

 

Q+A: pay equity settlement

Many more in the wings, like social workers (deserved) and health clerical workers (an an equity basis maybe but not so much of a responsibility/stress basis).

Mental health works and early child workers also on the list.

“There’s a lot stopping people from joining unions”.

Unions are not allowed to be in work places promoting themselves. Some employers deter union involvement.

Calling for “real money, real resources” out of the next Government despite the fiscal responsibility agreement between Labour and the Greens – the PSA will be pushing for significantly more spending on a number of things.

Q+A: is our defence future fit?

Greens are generally against defence spending, Andrew Little has said that Labour will reduce spending on defence, and our fleet of defence helicopters has just been grounded after an engine failure in one of them.

And is Gerry Brownlee soon to shift to Minister of Foreign Affairs? He could do that and retain Defence, at least until the election.


Worried about developments in North Korea? Not particularly worried.

Whether New Zealand got involved would have to be a decision made if that time arises.

North Korea has an “evil regime”. [That’s what North Korea says about the US.]

No comment on whether he will be named the new Foreign Minister tomorrow. It is not for him to announce it.

On Hit & Run – Brownlee is comfortable with how it was handled. Five days to react? It takes time to investigate sudden outlandish accusations. He thinks there is no need for further investigation.

There’s something new on this from David Fisher: Hit & Run: NZDF never carried out investigation into civilian deaths

Most people who noticed Hit & Run have moved on and forgotten it.

Australia threatened with nuclear retaliation

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Hot air probably, but this is getting a bit too close to home.

1 News: Australia threatened of nuclear retaliation from North Korea following sanctions talk

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has reportedly sparked a threat of nuclear retaliation from North Korea after saying the rogue nation will be subject to further Australian sanctions.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency yesterday quoted a foreign ministry spokesman accusing the Australian foreign minister of “spouting a string of rubbish again.

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Ms Bishop said on Thursday that the sanctions were to send “the clearest possible message to North Korea, that its behaviour will not be tolerated, that a nuclear-armed North Korea is not acceptable to our region”.

She also urged China to step up pressure on North Korea to stamp out its belligerent and illegal behaviour.

In the report from Pyongyang, the North Korean ministry spokesman accused the Australian government of “blindly and zealously toeing the US line” and said Ms Bishop had “better think twice” about the consequences of her “reckless tongue- lashing”.

“It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such government. But if she is the foreign minister of a country, she should speak with elementary common sense about the essence of the situation,” the spokesman said.

“It is entirely attributable to the nuclear threat escalated by the US and its anachronistic policy hostile to the DPRK that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to the brink of war in an evil cycle of increasing tensions.”

This is probably just more rhetoric, hot air, rather than an actual threat.

But if North Korea does try a nuclear strike it would probably be easier to hit Australia rather than the US – it’s closer and probably far less protected.

A Northern Hemisphere nuclear strike would be bad enough, but in the mid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere New Zealand would be at less risk than most countries.

A nuclear attack on Australia is a different matter. The usual weather drift is from there to here.

North Korea probably doesn’t have the weapons nor the delivery systems to hit Australia.

But if they did, and if they did strike Australia, then things get even more serious for us here in New Zealand. And there’s a lot of Kiwi family in Aus.