Ardern on conversations and journeys and one term Government

Some interesting comments from Jacinda Ardern in the weekend on what is necessary to avoid being a one term Government – but talking about having a conversation and bringing people on a journey probably things that aren’t going to resonate with a lot of voters.

Newshub: Jacinda Ardern mulls how to avoid being a one-term PM

On the Government on prisons and crime:

Though the Labour-NZ First coalition (with support from the Greens) has kept its nose ahead in the polls, the public doesn’t appear to be so keen on the Government’s plan to reduce the prison population. A poll earlier this month found two-thirds of voters back the three-strikes law, including a majority of NZ First and Labour voters.

Ms Ardern acknowledged the Government may be getting ahead of public opinion on this issue.

“The biggest obstacle we have at the moment is making sure that we bring the New Zealand public with us. You know, this is a conversation we need to have together.

How about having a conversation on how to go with the public rather than trying to bring them with you?

And she wants the public on-side with any changes the Government does implement.

“If you end up being a one-term Government as a consequence of changes you’ve made, you probably haven’t brought people on that journey, and the pitch that we’re making, the conversation we need to have, is to – with New Zealand, is when we have a static crime rate – one actually that we want to bring down – but when we have a static crime rate but an ever increasing prison population, is that the kind of country we want to be?”

I think that people are looking more for leadership than having ‘conversations’ (listening to Ardern prattling), and they want the Government to do what they want rather than getting the people to tottle along on some sort of journey with a conversing PM.

Ardern started off with promise of engaging on a new level, but the longer she has been PM the more she seems to have drifted towards beltway babble and political palaver.

Ardern was thrown in the political deep end and will have had to get help from the political class (politicians and state servants), but is sounding more of a remote insider.

If she really wants conversations she should learn to speak our language.

 

Hard lefties oppose National cooperation on climate change

Jacinda Ardern has described climate change as “my generation’s nuclear free moment” (in a campaign speech in August 2017).

Simon Bridges won’t go that far. On Q+A yesterday

CORIN DANN So certainty. Is climate change the nuclear-free issue of your generation?

SIMON BRIDGES I would not go that far. Is it the most significant environmental issue? Is it an important long-term issue that we need to deal with and deal with seriously and provide certainty on? Yes.

Bridges was vague about where he actually stands on a number of climate issues, and is nowhere near as radical as the Greens, but National have signalled a willingness to work together with other parties – National supporting non-partisan Climate Commission.

But how genuine are they? Not at all according to some on the left.

MickySavage asked yesterday: Does National really want climate change to be a bipartisan issue?

His post concludes:

If this is what National and Simon Bridges is promising then all good and the Government can get on with things.  But if this is merely a replacement of outright denial with a more nuanced approach designed to delay urgent action being taken then he should rethink this.

Bridges has just been reported criticising National MPs expressing doubts about climate change.

Many comments at The Standard didn’t trust National and didn’t want them involved. Petty partisan politics is so ingrained some people can’t countenance cross-party cooperation.

Gabby: “Much easier to wreck things from the inside.”

Robert Guyton: “National’s funders will say, nah.”

Jess: “Bi-partisan means two parties. National wants to regress to Nat vs Labour with Nat as the bigger party, instead of a coalition. Or if they really see Govt and opposition as two parties, their perspective is going to be no help whatsoever (no surprise there).”

Kat: “Agree with you Jess in that National just want to maneuver into a position of taking out the coalition in 2020 by appearing to be genuine about serious issues.”

marty mars: “Simon is insincere imo. The gnats don’t care. Last throw of the die in many ways.”

Stuart Munro: “Trying make a wedge to peel off a few blueish Green voters.”

Jenny: “Feeling the ground shifting under them, National’s corporate sponsors desperately need a bipartisan consensus to do nothing meaningful about climate change.”

Draco T Bastard: “Translation: He wants Labour and the Greens to compromise and accept National’s position. And National will not budge from its position.”

What I think DTB really means is that he doesn’t want Greens to budge from their position – ignoring the reality of an MMP Parliament that requires agreement (and compromise) from at least three parties.

I joined in and said: This is the best opportunity ever for cross party cooperation on dealing with a major issue facing New Zealand and the world. Getting pissy about shunning parties because they don’t measure up to ideals (non of them do) is a bit pathetic given what is at stake.

Robert Guyton:

“Moving towards doing something”
Shuffling their feet so they aren’t considered dead.
That’s all.

I queried Robert: What approach do you think is best Robert – MMP democracy, or petty partisan politics? Greens will get closest to what they want if they’re prepared to work hard with all other parties in Parliament to get the best out of all of them – kinda like the James Shaw approach.”

Robert:

James is handling this issue beautifully, in the way a snake-handler manipulates vipers. Still vipers though.

This was Shaw’s response to National’s announcement they would work with other parties ion climate change:

Fortunately commenters on left wing blogs don’t run things in Parliament, but as Eugenie Sage found out, they can kick up a stink when Ministers follow laws and procedures and allow something activists don’t like.

Wayne Mapp also joined in:

Thank goodness the commenters here are not actually in govt. Most of you would not talk to National on anything (except for terms of surrender).

In reality in a range of issues governments and oppositions co-operate. For instance on national super, various environmental issues, a number of national security isssues there is dialogue and adjustment to get a bipartisan (sometimes multi partisan) consensus.

In fact John Key’s initiative in Opposition was to do the anti-smacking deal with Labour.

But hard lefties seem to hate dealing at all with the political ‘enemy’. In response:

Stuart Munro: “Well you’re a pack of lying assholes.”

One Anonymous Bloke: Here’s a radical idea to improve your public image: stop lying and killing people.

Fortunately people like that are nowhere near real political decision making, all they have is futile vitriol in social media.

This morning on RNZ:

New name for ACT party?

It looks like the ACT party are considering renaming themselves. They have to do something to turn their lack of support around, they are virtually nothing but the MP for Epsom.

Frank Newman: ACT re-branding

…David Seymour says they are looking at a possible name change.

In an interview on Radio NZ on 15 June he said he did not want to give anything away about the new name, but he did mention various options were being considered, like Liberal Party or something more radical like Reason Party.

Well, he actually has already given a fair bit away on this topic.

On the 8th of October 2017 he registered the domain names, liberalparty.org.nz and liberalparty.co.nz. He has not registered domain names involving Reform Party or Reason Party, and those domain names remain.

The registrations were modified recently. But it’s still only ‘possible name change’ at this stage.

The question is whether changing the name will change the public’s perception of the Party.  Changing the name of a dead horse from Jake to Jack, does not bring the horse back to life.

It will take more than a name change – it needs other people involved who look like they could contribute to a party in Parliament, and one of the first hurdles is being seen as serious prospects by media, who are effectively the gatekeepers of any new entrance into politics.

Being rich and eccentric seems to be a prerequisite. Kim Dotcom, Colin Craig and Gareth Morgan all spent millions of dollars and attracted significant media attention, but that didn’t get them over the MMP line (5% threshold).

Seymour has a significant advantage though. If he holds on to Epsom the threshold doesn’t matter, thanks to the failure of the last (National) government to make MMP fair.

History of ACT party vote and MPs:

  • 1996 – 6.1%, 7 list MPs
  • 1999 – 7.04%, 9 list MPs
  • 2002 – 7.14%, 9 list MPs
  • 2005 – 1.51%, 1 electorate MP (Rodney Hide) and 1 list MP
  • 2008 – 3.65%, 1 electorate MP (Rodney Hide), 4 list MPs
  • 2011 – 1.07%, 1 electorate MP (John Banks)
  • 2014 – 0.69%, 1 electorate MP (David Seymour)
  • 2017 – 0.50%, 1 electorate MP (David Seymour)

So even a step up to one more MP will require a tripling of their 2017 party vote unless they can win another electorate.

I thought that Seymour had a fairly good first term considering he had to set up as an electorate MP and set ACT up inn Parliament with no prior experience. But ACT lost ground.

Seymour is trying a dancing stunt to get attention at the moment, but I don’t know whether that will help ACT’s chances. Perhaps his dance party will run as deputy leader.

Unanswered questions over Hager case

The Police gave Nicky Hager a comprehensive apology and a substantial payout after they admitted overstepping procedures and breaking the law in their investigation of Hager when they tried to find out who the hacker ‘Rawshark’ was who supplied Hager with data from Cameron Slater and his Whale oil website.

There are unanswered questions about whether ‘Rawshark’ was a sole operator or a group, whether he/she/they were hacking from the outside or whether it was an inside job (whistleblower). The police failed to find any of this out, and Hager himself claims not to know.

The police made it clear that Hager was investigated as a witness and “was not a suspect of any offending” (which made their botching of the investigation substantially more troubling).

There is a big unanswered question over why the police went to such great lengths when they have made it clear that Hager was investigated as a witness and not as a possible offender – in contrast to their investigation of another acase where Slater tried to have The Standard hacked.

Tim Watkins goes over the case and in particular asks this in More questions from the Nicky Hager case.

Slater had reported the hack to police and quite properly, the police began investigating. However, they began investigating with such vigour they broke the law and were not honest with the courts. It’s a remarkable series of events that appears to go beyond ineptitude, to something more deliberate.

In a country where victims of burglary often complain about the slow response from police and around the time that the national burglary resolution rate (2015) was a record low 9.3 per cent, it’s curious that police would expend such resources on this computer.

But most notably there were other dodgy dealings with computers in the news around the same time, as well. Dirty Politics itself revealed that Slater and National Party staffer and others had been rooting around in the back-end of the Labour Party website. Hager had alleged that one of those who had been in the site was a staff member in the Prime Minister’s office. While Police admitted in their statement yesterday that Hager “was not a suspect of any offending”, there were questions being asked at the time about the legality of that behaviour. Yet nothing so rigorous was undertaken.

Also around the same time, the victim of Rawshark’s hack – Cameraon Slater – was himself commissioning Ben Rachinger to hack The Standard website to establish whether Labour MPs and staff were anonymously writing for the Labour-aligned blog. Rachinger turned whistle blower, leading to a story by me and Lisa Owen that saw Slater finally charged with attempting to procure a hack. He admitted guilt and received diversion.

Slater had to admit guilt to qualify for diversion, but he later suggested on Whale oil that this wasn’t sincere – if so that would make it misleading the court.

I know from my work on that story and my repeated calls to police how slow they were to act on Slater’s actions.

Quite reasonably, police have pointed out that Rawshark’s actual hack (with the potential for a seven year prison sentence) was a worse offence than Slater’s attempted and failed hack (with a maximum sentence of two and a half years).

But when you consider such extensive efforts on one side (where there was serious public interest in the behaviour of people in and around government) and such reluctance to investigate on the other (where, while embarrassing, the ‘crime’ of writing anonymous blog posts was much the lesser justification for a hack), it does raise questions.

The biggest being: Why?

The next question is who: Who made the decisions to deceive the court and the third parties? Who made the decision to conduct the raid in such a way that breached his rights to journalistic privilege? Who breached the Bill of Rights by their approaches to third parties?

Who in the police was responsible, culpable, is an important question.

The dark shadow hanging over all this is political. The police investigation was into a journalist who had made serious allegations against the sitting government of the day. Those are the times when police have to be at their scrupulous best, their most transparent and their most even-handed. Yet they were not.

If the police don’t clear this up they leave a dark political shadow hanging.

At the very least the public needs clear assurances from Police bosses and the Police Ministers around that time – Anne Tolley and Michael Woodhouse – that the politics at play did not influence the investigation. Without honest and frank interviews addressing these questions, how can the public’s trust in police not be effected.

Police officials have not fully discharged their duty yet.

I agree. Perhaps the media can get some honest and frank answers from Tolley and Woodhouse.

And the police need to front up on this. Unless they do that serious questions will remain.

Wishing some of you a septic shitty day

For some reason Bryce Edwards included this tweet in his Political Roundup: Police apologise to Nicky Hager for ‘dirty politics’

Actually that was yesterday. She may or may not be as shitty livered about anyone she seems to be of an alternate political leaning.

This sort of septic shit throwing, and it is sadly not uncommon, is one of the things that gives politics such a bad reputation, and deters many people from engaging or bothering to following anything political.

Last year before the election Stewart asked Are we in the dying days of democracy?

Are we in the dying days of democracy and, if so, can humanity survive it?

In a world gone mad – or, at least, out and proudly neo-liberal – democratic values appear to have entered the ever-tightening circles of the death spiral. The ground is fast rising up to meet them.

If society feels less moral reverence to the democracy ideal, who can honestly blame them? Having listened to Clinton and Trump battle it out for a year before the unthinkable became real, I get it.

Seeing how Stewart lashes out at swathes of people she disagrees with politically, I get it.

Indeed, our fair land does not fare well in the democracy stakes. Despite political party zealots all primed and pumped for the looming election, the electorate may not share their jaunty enthusiasm.

Things changed somewhat after that, but Stewart seems as bitter as she did then, if not more so.

Dan Bidois on his Northcote win

New MP Dan Bidois has a lot to learn now he has won the Northcote by-election. He will have that chance on the National back bench for at least two years.

Simon Bridges says he will give Bidois some minor responsibilities – his biggest task initially will be coming to grips with being an electorate MP and setting himself up in Northcote.

1 News interviewed Bidois before his win: ‘I have been a fighter my entire life’ – New Zealand’s newest MP Dan Bidois takes out Northcote by-election

“I have been a fighter my entire life. I dropped out of school at 15, found out I had cancer and beat it, completed my butchery apprenticeship, eventually getting mentored to go to University and falling in love with education. Ultimately I went on to win a scholarship and complete my Masters at Harvard.”

“I have had to fight for everything I have achieved in life, and so I want to bring that determination to Northcote and fight for the things that matter locally – improving transport, stopping the fuel tax increases, and getting more investment in local services like health and education.”

He said prior to his victory when asked what issues he would pursue in Parliament, that he was “passionate about education and making sure we’re getting more kids learning good trades. I would like to see more done around apprenticeships”.

The economy has been doing well the last few years, which has lifted incomes and meant the Government can afford to invest more in public services, but we can’t take it for granted. The new Labour-NZ First Government is making a range of changes that will slow that growth down, which is really bad for families. We can’t take good economic management for granted.

There is currently no scheduled vote on abortion or cannabis, but I haven’t seen evidence the current systems aren’t working properly. I would want to study the issues more before I made a decision on these two.

I haven’t read the proposed euthanasia legislation yet. I do have some concerns around it though, in that we have to make sure that there appropriate safeguards so our sick and elderly aren’t abused.

Sounds like he has been well indoctrinated with standard National responses in preparation for the by-election.

Time will tell whether he fights for his own voice and his own views.

 

Q+A – interview with Jacinda Ardern

Ardern says they ‘will be’ the transformative government they promised.

It’s mostly a fairly general discussion with little of note revealed.

Ardern says that if a Labour Minister scandal comes up while Peters is acting PM she will handle any own party discipline.

Labour fundraising in private clubs

Labour tried to make a big deal about some National fundraising, but they seem to be doing the same sort of thing, and are looking like they have been caught with their hands in the biscuit jar.

Stuff in 2014: Does Cabinet Club buy influence?

Party funding is back under the spotlight after two ministers ran into trouble over their links with wealthy donors amid revelations National operates a ‘Cabinet Club’ offering access to top ministers in exchange for cash.

Last week National’s $1000-plus Cabinet Club dinners were in the gun, though there were counter-accusations, laced with claims of hypocrisy, that Labour offered chinwags with MPs for $1250 a pop.

The Greens have had a couple of stabs at greater transparency. The first, through Sue Kedgley’s Lobbyists Register Bill, has lapsed. Now the Greens are pressing for a ministerial disclosure regime. Co-leader Dr Russel Norman estimates John Key had raised more than $1 million from his “club” appearances.

“John Key claims the Cabinet Club is part of the normal political donations process. Cash for access to the inner circle of the Government is not normal,” Norman said. “It is democracy for sale.”

National MP Tau Henare says the Left is trying to curb National’s fundraising ability because it is jealous National can raise more. And National president Peter Goodfellow insists there is no quid pro quo for donations.

Newshub in April 2017: Labour launches exclusive ‘President’s Club’

The Labour Party has launched an exclusive secret society called The President’s Club for those who donate big bucks to the party.

It opened for business two weeks ago, with the primary role of luring in big cheques from wealthy Labour supporters.

It’s Labour’s version of National’s Cabinet Club, which sees exorbitantly-priced tickets sold for exclusive dinners attended by Cabinet ministers of the Crown.

Labour president Nigel Haworth says The President’s Club differs from Cabinet Club because Labour MPs aren’t involved, and aren’t used to lure in donations in exchange for access.

But Labour are charging big bucks, and using Ministers as an attraction. Stuff yesterday: Labour hosts business and lobbyists at $600-a-head dinners in exclusive private clubs

Finance Minister Grant Robertson gave a post-Budget speech at a $600-a-head Labour fundraiser at the exclusive Wellington Club, drawing comparisons to the previous National Government’s “Cabinet club” scandal.

According to several attendees, about 40 people, including party supporters, business figures and corporate lobbyists, attended the dinner hosted by Labour president Nigel Haworth on Wednesday, at which Robertson was the key

The Cabinet manual states: “holding ministerial office is regarded as a full-time occupation and is remunerated as such. Accordingly … accepting additional payment for doing anything that could be regarded as a ministerial function is not permissible”.

This means that if Robertson was attending in his ministerial capacity, rather than as an MP, Labour would be unable to use the event as a fundraiser.

Labour dance on the head of an MP pin…

…but get pinged for it.

New Conservative Party launched

The Conservative Party was Colin Craig’s party. It was seriously damaged when Craig hit problems with ex-staff and multiple defamation actions, and Craig dropped his political ambitions.

The party has been repackaged and relaunched:


NEW CONSERVATIVE – BUILDING THE RIGHT BRIDGES

“New Zealand needs a viable coalition option before the 2020 election,” says Leader Leighton Baker at the launch of New Conservative.

Immediately following the 2017 election result, the impact of MMP politics and coalition governments highlighted the vulnerability for the major parties. The 1 News Colmar Brunton poll of 28 May 2018 again raised this question for the National Party.

“We recognise the importance to New Zealand of presenting real options for voters,” observes Baker.

“With several months to evaluate the political landscape, we appreciated how important the Conservative Party was for New Zealand, but we owed it to our members to build on our foundation with new energy and so New Conservative was born,” says Baker.

Established only six weeks before the 2011 election, the Conservative Party achieved over 2% and was well on track for the 5% threshold for the 2014 election before the well reported public fall out for the then party leader Colin Craig, who resigned from the party in 2016, and a rebuilding process began.

“Time worked against us for the 2017 election,” recalls Baker, “but we could not ignore the members who remain committed to the core values of the party.”

With sound policy, and a leadership with extensive experience in the areas that present most challenge for New Zealand, there is fertile ground for New Conservative.

“Our re-launch as New Conservative retains our connection to the solid foundation of our party values while allowing us to disconnect from a history that has nothing to do with who we are,” concludes Baker.


From their website:

WE STAND FOR

A belief in loyalty to a sovereign and united New Zealand, the supremacy of democratic parliamentary institutions and the rule of law.

A belief in the institutions of Parliament and the right of citizens to direct government by the democratic process including binding citizens initiated referenda.

A belief in the equality of all New Zealanders and that all citizens, regardless of race, gender or religion, have equal rights and privileges.

A belief in a decent society that values life, individual privacy, the freedom of the individual (including freedom of speech, conscience, faith and assembly), the right to defend one’s self and property and the importance of family.

A belief that it is the responsibility of individuals to provide for themselves, their families and their dependents, while recognizing that government must respond to those who require assistance and compassion.

It will be difficult for the New Conservatives to get media attention let alone anywhere near sufficient support to look like a viable option.

Via email:

On a wild and rainy Monday we managed to gather around 50 members and supporters for the launch of our new name, New Conservative.

It was an excellent time enjoyed by all and we left inspired that hope remains and that we are the Party that focuses on fixing the causes of the challenges we face as a nation, rather than throwing money or legislation at the problems.

The whole meeting was shown on Facebook Live and you can view the just over one hour long session here. After welcome and introductions, Elliot Ikilei spoke, followed by Leighton Baker.

The 5% threshold hasn’t been beaten by any new party yet under MMP. Craig’s millions and his quirkiness that attracted media coverage was not enough.

However there could be an opportunity in a changing party environment – voters may react against the move towards a virtual two party contest.

Q+A – M. Bovis and Northcote by-election

Today on Q+A:

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor is on the programme to explain the M-Bovis scare and the tax-payers multi-million dollar farmer bailout.

Whena Owen hits the streets of the Northcote electorate to bring us the latest in the by-election.