Parliament’s winners and losers

Audrey Young on This term’s winners and losers as Parliament winds up for the election

Winners

Chris Finlayson…

…has been a highly productive minister, getting 16 treaty settlement bills passed in the Parliament this term, out of 287 passed altogether.

Judith Collins…

…can be classed a winner…she has been on her best behaviour, showing no outward signs of ambition (other than a faux challenge of English for the leadership) and has applied her bent for populism to tax issues.

Julie Anne Genter…

…has enhanced her reputation, needling away daily at Simon Bridges on transport, which earned a promotion from No 8 on the party list to No 3

Marama Fox…

…began the term as a new MP and with huge shoes to fill as co-leader, replacing Tariana Turia. She has well and truly been noticed, with a larger than life personality, and her willingness to work with Opposition parties.

Chris Bishop…

…has been one of the outstanding backbenchers.

Michael Wood…

…has been an impressive figure in Labour’s backbench after winning the Mt Roskill byelection in December.

Losers

The failures this term, especially in the past few weeks, have been pronounced with the resignation of two party leaders, Andrew Little as Labour leader and Metiria Turei as Green co-leader.

Andrew Little’s…

…failure to connect with voters had such as impact on support that he stood to lose his own list seat.

Todd Barclay…

…trashed his own career…

Chris Hipkins…

…has damaged his credibility by claiming to have asked questions about New Zealand citizenship to minister Peter Dunne (one of the 42, 239 written questions) without knowing anything about Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Winners and Losers

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman…

…did a great job in getting the Cabinet to support the historic $2 billion pay equity settlement for aged-care and support workers.

But health has started to become a problem area for the Government this year and Coleman’s combative style has been a hindrance, not a help.

Nick Smith…

…has a grasp for detail but no longer for politics. He has trashed his reputation on a series of housing and environmental issues this term.

Sue Moroney…

…made a big impact as a Labour backbencher, particularly in paid parental leave, but failed to build sufficient relationships in her own party to retain a winnable list position.

Bill English…

…originally claiming he didn’t know who had told him that Barclay had recorded his electorate agent.

Young didn’t mention it but English won the top prize, Prime Minister.

Hamish Walker selected for Clutha-Southland

The National Party in Clutha-Southland has gone for someone quite a bit older to replace Todd Barclay as their MP – 32 year old Hamish Walker has been selected to be their next MP. Walker appeared to be the front runner.

It has to be expected he will easily win what is a very safe National seat, so the hardest part has been done. Many MPs are selected more by parties than by electorates.

Walker stood for National in Dunedin South last election. He lost to Labour’s Clare Curran by 3,858 votes, not bad for what has historically been a Labour stronghold.

Better for his party, National got 15,003 party votes to Labour’s 12,518. National had also come out in front in the 2011 election but by less, so Walker and his campaign team must have been doing something well.

Walker was 65th on National’s list in 2014, a few places outside the cut. It doesn’t matter where he ends up on their list this year, he should romp in in Clutha Southland, Barclay won with 21,561 votes there in 2014, with the Labour candidate second on 6,675.

I think he moved to Dunedin from up north prior to the last election.

 

 

Labour’s Clayton’s Capital Gains Tax policy

Labour have a Clayton’s Capital Gains Tax policy – the CGT policy you have when you don’t want one before an election.

And Jacinda Ardern can claim clarity and transparency all she likes, but that won’t make her sound clear and transparent.

Labour needs a way of funding additional spending signalled in their policies (and that’s before policy demands and costs from NZ First and Greens are taken into account).

For the last election they proposed a Capital Gains Tax. When he took over the leadership after the election Andrew Little ruled a CGT out, saying it was unpopular (that’s debatable, Labour leaders had been unpopular).

This campaign new leader Jacinda Ardern won’t rule out a CGT, saying one would be considered if their proposed Tax Working Group recommended one

“I think we’ve given a huge amount of clarity and transparency over this. We’ve made it very clear we’re not campaigning on a Capital Gains Tax, and we do not believe on Capital Gains tax or  anything similar applying to a family home.

“But at the same time we’ve also acknowledged that we don’t think there’s fairness in our taxation system. We’ve proposed a review which we hope to hold in government, which we will hold in government.

“I’m not pre-empting what that review will find, in the same way that the Government when they campaigned in 2008 did not pre-empt the work that their 2010 taxation report would find.

“But I am maintaining our right and ability to act on it’s findings and do the right thing when we’re in  government.”

So if Labour lead the next Government and appoint a taxation review group that recommends a Capital Gains Tax then they may act on that.

“We’re yet to know what that will be though.”

Not exactly clarity for now.

“I’ve been very, very transparent on this. We do not think that assets are treated fairly, relative to other forms of taxation in New Zealand. The fact that someone can go out and work a 40-hour week and pay tax on that, someone can own multiple homes, flick them off for capital gain and is often not treated in that same fair manner, is something that needs to be addressed.

“Most countries have. New Zealand sits on its own in that regard. But I’m not going to pre-determine what that working group will find, and how it suggests we resolve that.

She clearly supports a CGT. And makes it fairly clear what she wants the working group to recommend and not recommend.

Question “What if the working group finds that the capital gains tax should apply to the family home, haven’t you just pre-determined that?”

Ardern: “Oh we’ve set out some expectations, and any government would say that there are particular values and things that it holds important and dear, so it’s good that we be clear with that group before we go in what our expectations are.”

That’s waffle that can be taken to mean that Labour want a CGT to be recommended by a Tax Working Group, they want family homes exempt, but don’t want to campaign on implementing a CGT this election.

More from interest.co.nz: Labour leader Ardern maintains ‘right and ability’ to introduce Capital Gains Tax if working group suggests it next term; Would exempt ‘family home’

 

recent study by economist Andrew Coleman would indicate that not imposing a CGT on the family home would continue to encourage home-owners to invest in lifting the value of their property by renovating for value uplift and building larger homes, rather than potentially putting that money into other savings schemes that currently face greater tax hits than property.

A CGT exempting family homes is also a tad Claytons – the CGT you have without having a comprehensive CGT.

 

Hipkins’ ALP colluder has worked for NZ Labour

More details on the Australian Senator’s chief of staff named as the person who colluded with Chris Hipkins over citizenship questions – he was a New Zealander who has worked in Parliament here for Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and Phil Goff.

NZH: Citizenship saga: Man who spoke to Hipkins is a Kiwi

A former staffer for former Prime Minister Helen Clark and Finance Minister Michael Cullen was the Australian Labor Party staffer who spoke to Labour MP Chris Hipkins, prompting questions by Hipkins about citizenship in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported Marcus Ganley, Australian Senator Penny Wong’s chief of staff, was the Australian Labor Party staffer who had spoken to Hipkins – a conversation Hipkins said prompted him to ask questions of Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne on the legal citizenship status of an Australian born to a New Zealand father.

Ganley was an adviser to former PM Clark and former Finance Minister Cullen during the Labour Government until 2008. He then advised Phil Goff as Opposition Leader.

Hipkins worked as a policy adviser to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark prior to becoming an MP in 2008, initially under Clark’s and then Goff’s leadership.

In a written statement, Wong said a staff member in her office had “informal discussions with New Zealand friends about domestic political issues, including the section 44 debate.”

She said the questions Hipkins asked were not asked on behalf of Australian Labor.

“At no point did [Ganley] make any request to raise the issue of dual citizenship in Parliament, a fact confirmed today by Hipkins and the New Zealand Labour Leader.”

So, prompted by Ganley, Hipkins did some digging on citizenship here, supposedly  having no idea about the interest in Barnaby Joyce’s citizenship status.

Was it general dirt digging by two individuals independent of their parties? If so they have both seriously embarrassed their parties, and raises questions about the way they operate.

Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, has said she would find it difficult to work with NZ Labour, prompting a strong response from Ardern.

Hipkins is currently the sixth ranked Labour MP, he is 7th on the party list for this election, and is Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House.

For a tough decision free New Zealand

On Green anti-poverty campaigner Marama Davidson on RNZ’s Morning Report:

She like her co-leader James Shaw won’t say whether she thinks it’s ok for beneficiaries to break the law.

“I too am not going to judge people. What I would like see, laws that will allow everybody to have enough so they don’t have to make tough decisions.”

From the audio from Green Party re-launches election campaign with ‘Love NZ’

The first elimination of tough decisions is to vote for this care free utopia.

There will be no need for anyone to make tough decisions at all, like how to get things done, and how to finance it.

The rise of Marama Davidson

Marama Davidson has had a rapid rise in politics. She is now the second ranked Green MP, and has just been given the responsibility of heading the Green campaign against poverty.

She is known as a social justice activist.

Davidson has been in Parliament for less than two years. She missed making it in 2014 by one list position (she was 15 on the list). When Russel Normal resigned in November 2015 she became an MP.

Earlier this year Davidson was showing as 13th ranked Green, after another new MP had joined after Kevin Hague resigned last year.

When the Greens’ preliminary list came out in April Davidson came in at 4. She was elevated to number 3 for the ‘final’ list, but that has changed now Metiria Turei has withdrawn from the list.

Yesterday in a relaunch of the Green election campaign sole leader James Shaw number the Green number 2 as one of a new caucus leadership team. Davidson has been put in charge of the Green poverty policy, effectively taking over this responsibility from Turei.

From Davidson’s bio (from the Green website):

Marama’s parents met as young, urban Māori activists; she was literally born into the movement.  However, it was Marama’s ten year career at the Human Rights Commission that brought life to her activist and social justice foundations.

Marama worked part-time as the Chief Panelist for the Glenn Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.  Her involvement in the inquiry has placed violence at the forefront of her political radar.  Marama supports the compassionate and necessary work that MP Jan Logie leads around violence, and longs for a day when we can call Aotearoa violence free.

As well as supporting movements on the ground, Marama is also an online activist.  She has a powerful presence on social media, which she sees as a great way to vocalise important issues and to engage with the community.  She is a blogger, and writes about social justice, Māori politics, women’s rights and more.

Marama is passionate about all areas of injustice, and is committed to using her voice wherever she can to elevate issues.  She is inspired by community leaders who do the hard work and stay connected to the issues and the people in their neighbourhoods.

“I am enthusiastic and excited about making change that honours our connection to each other, and our planet”

She is the Green spokesperson for Māori Development, Social Housing, Human Rights and Pacific Peoples.

In October 2016, Davidson took part in the Women’s Peace Flotilla, which intended to highlight the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Davidson is active in social media. her reaction to Turei’s stepping down:

And active in campaigning:

Also on Facebook:

Today I spoke to people waiting in the long lines outside of both the Manurewa and the Clendon offices of Work and Income.

The photo below was supposed to be a selfie with just me and the office door. I don’t like to expose people who might be treated cruelly in public.

But Kataraina went out of her way to run over to me after I’d spoken with people in the line about our Green Party plans to end poverty. And after I’d spoken to people about what happened to Metiria.

She insisted on being in the photo with me. She insisted on being named. I told her that I wanted to post my photo publicly and that I didn’t want her to be in it.

She looked me in the eyes and had to spell it out: she wanted to be in the photo.

So who am I to take her voice away. She wanted her voice to count.

I enrolled lots of people to vote this morning. I gave out flyers about how we will end poverty, starting with increasing benefits and removing benefit sanctions. I asked people to vote, and to vote for the Green Party so we can make peoples voices count.

End poverty. Take our country back from cruelty.

We’ve had a rough week. We’re determined now more than ever.

Her last speech in Parliament:

Davidson will ensure that the Green campaign against poverty continues with some emphasis.

Having representatives like Davidson in Parliament is good. Time will tell, possibly, how she would do as a Minister.

 

Labour has a new leader but…

When Labour looked like they could be heading for a disastrous election result under Andrew Little’s leadership he stepped down, and Jacinda Ardern stepped up.

Ardern immediately showed that she could at least manage the all important public media driven side of the job. She looked assured and confident, and she looked very different to Labour’s past failures, Little, David Cunliffe, David Shearer and Phil Goff. She also looked very different to her current competitors Bill English and Winston Peters.

Metiria Turei and the  Green Party did Labour a massive favour by precipitating Little’s abdication, and kept helping make Ardern look good by self imploding.

Both Labour and Ardern were quickly rewarded by big changes in opinion polls.

Labour suddenly looked fresh, and importantly now looked competitive on their own against National. The election had been transformed into a real head to head battle.

But…

There are a number of things that haven’t changed substantially, or haven’t changed for the better for Labour.

Changing leader did nothing to change the current Labour caucus, and that has been under performing and has looked weak. The same MPs are still there, and many of them will be returned to Parliament. Trevor Mallard now looks to have a good chance of getting back in.

Grant Robertson is still finance spokesperson, and now looks to have more influence as a close Ardern ally. He is probably not a big attraction to voters.

While Labour has tried to distance themselves from the Greens the two parties still have a Memorandum of Understanding, and they still appear to need each other if they are going to change the government. Labour has benefited in the polls in part at the Greens’ expence.

I think that many voters are wary of having the Greens in government, especially after their very messy last couple of weeks that accentuated an emphasis on radical social policy changes.

Labour may also need NZ First to form a government. Polls have suggested this for years.

They share this problem with National, but Labour has an additional problem – they look like needing both NZ First and Greens. That could involve some tricky negotiations and compromises.

Ardern has got the Labour Party breathing again, and has genuinely breathed life into the election campaign.

But she can’t win the election on her own. She needs voters to get some confidence in her candidates and party.

And she somehow needs to convince voters that she can manage Winston Peters and a severely disrupted Green Party. Taking over her party was easy in comparison.

Labour has a much better chance of reversing the gradual party vote rot under Ardern, but they still have some major challenges.

Green Party relaunch – ‘Love New Zealand’

The Green Party are ‘resetting’ their campaign and relaunching it this afternoon.

James Shaw acknowledges that things have been messy. He said he entered politics to campaign on climate change, against poverty, and for a better standard of politics. He says that over the past two weeks Greens have acted as poorly as other parties.

Their ‘new’ slogan is ‘Love New Zealand’ – recycled from 2014.

He also announces a new caucus leadership team.

  • Marama Davidson – ending poverty
  • Julie Anne Genter – climate change
  • Eugenie Sage – cleaning up rivers

They are the next ranked MPs, and now Shaw is sole leader this is s sensible campaign strategy.

 

Q+A: Ohariu electorate

Q+A: Is Ohariu a safe seat for Peter Dunne? We have the results our Q+A Colmar Brunton Snap Poll on the Ohariu electorate

NZ Herald pre-empt this:  Jacinda effect’ erodes Peter Dunne’s support in Ohariu but he hopes it will be temporary

United Future leader Peter Dunne believes his support in Ohariu has been eroded because of the Jacinda Ardern effect but he questions how long that will last.

The Q + A show has a snap poll tomorrow (TV1 – 9am, Sunday) which is expected to show Dunne trailing Labour candidate Greg O’Connor.

“The question is, and it is something everyone is trying to figure out at the moment, is how deep-seated that factor is,” Dunne told the Herald on Sunday.

“Is it a phenomenon that will pass by as quickly as it arose or is it something more substantial?

Dunne has held the west-Wellington seat since 1984, originally as a Labour MP, but held it in the 2014 election by only 710 votes. He has been a support partner of the National-led Government since 2008.

In the past National has campaigned for only the party vote but this time it is explicitly asking National supporters to give Dunne their electorate vote to keep him in Parliament.

Labour and the Greens have done an electorate deal in which the Greens are not standing in order to give O’Connor, the former police union boss, a stronger chance of rolling Dunne. The Greens had 2764 electorate votes last time.

It’s not surprising to see that Peter Dunne’s hold on the Ohariu electorate is at serious risk (it has been before but so far he has survived).

A resurgent Labour under Ardern’s leadership was always going to help O’Connor against Dunne, but that may or may not hold up as we get into the business end of the campaign.

If Dunne loses it will make National’s chances a little bit harder.


Poll:

  • Greg O’Connor (Labour) 48%
  • Peter Dunne (United Future) 34%
  • Brett Hudson (National) 14%
  • Jessica Hammond (TOP) 2%

Party support in Ohariu:

  • National 46% (50.23% in the 2014 election, 49.60 in 2011)
  • Labour 35% (23.42%, 26.53%)
  • Greens 12% (15.01%, 14,42%)
  • NZ First 4% (4.76%, 3.91%)

501 voters, +/- 4%

That’s a big lead to O’Connor and it looks very difficult for Dunne, but there have been big poll swings lately so it’s difficult to know how this will end up.

However I think this looks ominous for Dunne.

Another part of the poll:


  • Staying with Dunne 63%
  • Switching to O’Connor/Labour 27%
  • Switching to someone else 10%

 

Q+A: Steven Joyce and National’s campaign

Q+A this morning: “Our political editor Corin Dann talks to the National Party campaign manager Steven Joyce about how National will respond to Labour’s rise in the polls.”

On Ohariu – Joyce says they have been doing numbers there too and it’s closer but he said Dunne has it all ahead of him. he gives a big plug for Dunne due to his contribution to stability in government.

He makes the point that voting choices tend to be made quite late in key electorates involving large amounts of tactical voting.

Joyce downplays the strength of Winston peters and New Zealand First.

He concedes that National are about 3% shy of where they want to be, confirming recent public polls that have National in the mid forties.

On the Jacinda effect? No more worried than in any election. Elections are won and lost on small margins, ‘it’s slightly different’, he says similar to 2005 (in which NZ First called the coalition shots).