“…view capitalism not as their friend but as their foe”

One quote from Winston Peters today has already gone around the world.

“Far too many New Zealanders have come to view today’s capitalism, not as their friend, but as their foe. And they are not all wrong.”

That is carefully phrased, but is likely to concern quite a few people. And some markets.

Peters added:

“That is why we believe that capitalism must regain its responsible, its human face.”

I think that’s an important addition. It’s easy to be alarmed at the first quote at a glance, but many will agree with the second.

Jacinda Ardern’s turn to speak

Jacinda Ardern as the possible next Prime Minister (subject to Green Party approval) will speak at 8 pm.

She is speaking now.

Water quality, housing and child poverty are still top priorities for Labour under a Labour-NZ First coalition.

One of the first things she does is thank Bill English for his campaign and his work as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister. Classy (a big contrast to a previous speaker).

She then thanks NZ First, mentioning the party name several times. No mention of Peters.

She then thanks the Greens for robust negotiations.

She then says that she will wait for the Green decision but says she expects the Greens to approve of the deal as they campaigned to change the government – and she is changing the government.

Later in the week (not much of it to go) she will release policy documents Labour has made with both NZ First and the greens, and also portfolio positions.

NZ First will have four portfolios (Ministers) and one under-secretary. Five out of nine MPs.

She confirms the Greens will have ministerial portfolios (they have been offered them). She doesn’t say if they will be inside or outside Cabinet.

She has offered Peters the Deputy Prime Minister job and he is considering it.

Jacinda Ardern: ‘I thank the NZ First Party and Winston Peters for agreeing to a coalition with Labour’

The PM-elect says the Green Party is now undertaking its internal approval process before final arrangements are confirmed.

 

Winston Peters’ announcement – Labour

THE ANNOUNCEMENT:


Going with Labour (presumably if Greens support the arrangement).

Peters says that the Greens aren’t his problem and he can’t give an an answer regarding them. He says that’s up to Labour.

So a lot now depends on what the Greens decide, unless it is a pre-arranged rubber stamp.

He says he has been offered the deputy prime ministership and other portfolios but not finance.

He says that the Prime Minister will announce polices and portfolios.

He says that NZ First has a coalition agreement with Labour, and Labour have a confidence and supply agreement with Greens. The latter hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.

He says that the majority of voters wanted the change that he intends to deliver – but that’s obviously unsubstantiated.

Peters said the decision was taken 15 minutes before he came over to make the announcement – it’s hard to believe that, but if it’s true it’s nuts that he didn’t know which way he would go until then, and makes a nonsense of his claims it was a consensus in the party. They can’t all have made the decision 15 minutes ago.

He says he didn’t advise Jacinda Ardern before making the announcement. Also hard to believe.

Bizarre comments when the Green decision was put to him. He says that Labour already have an agreement with the Greens.

Peters hasn’t told Ardern yet, and neither has he said anything to Bill English about his decision. They found out watching his media conference.


EARLIER:

It has sounded chaotic over the last hour or so at Parliament as an apparent leak or two and some scant evidence got journalists excited, and speculation spiked again.

It sounds like National wouldn’t give in to last minute demands and Labour has got the nod, with Greens ready to go to teleconference at 7 pm.

From Stuff Live:

Winston Peters is about to talk to his caucus – we are expecting a short meeting then he will come down from his office to talk to reporters.

Speculation is mounting that Winston Peters will time his announcement to coincide with the 6pm TV news bulletins.

Newshub are live streaming here.

Jacinda Ardern will be holding a press conference right after Peters’ announcement “either way,” in the words of her press sec.

FULL SPEECH: The moment Winston Peters reveals why he’s chosen Labour – and what he thinks of Jacinda Ardern

Winston Peters speech in the Beehive, where he announces the new NZ Government.

 

The Winston Show today

The Winston Show continues today. We don’t know whether the big announcement this afternoon, announced by Winston Peters yesterday, will be the final act or not. The Greens at least seem to want an epilogue for themselves.

Peters is producing, directing and starring in his show. The NZ First appeared in one act but they have since dispersed, leaving their star in the limelight.

National and Labour are bit players. They don’t know what the announcement is going to reveal, they don’t know what part if any either of them may play. Bill English and Jacinda Ardern have allowed themselves to be sidelined after offering the baubles they think will buy them power.

I voted so I can moan when I find out what is revealed today. Or I can groan and wait another day or two.

Beware of assumptions. Yesterday:

Today this dawned on them:

I’m not sure that everyone is hoping for that, many are probably past caring. Or preparing themselves for three years of the Winston Show.

This can’t be right on Māori seats referendum

With nothing much else to do Lloyd burr has been trawling through NZ First and green policies and has come up with a sort of interesting 16 policies NZ First and the Greens disagree on

With some much spare time on his hands he should be expected to get things right, but  this one can’t be right.

2. Māori Seats

Greens – Entrench Māori Seats and oppose any referendum to remove them.

NZ First – Abolish Māori seats via a binding referendum.

I don’t know how you can have a policy to abolish something via a binding referendum. A referendum is usually intended to leave the decision to voters.

NZ First policy: Maori Affairs

MĀORI SEATS REFERENDUM

  • Māori don’t need the Māori seats. They don’t need tokenism. That is why we commit to a referendum of all electors to retain or abolish the Māori seats.

NZ First make it clear they don’t want the Maori seats, but have committed to a referendum of all electors to give them that choice.

It is arrogant for a 7% party to claim that Māori don’t need the Māori seats.

It can be argued (I do strongly) that it is questionable to allow a majority of every voter to make a decision that impacts on a relatively small minority

But NZ First don’t guarantee abolition, they commit to allowing the voters to decide.

An announcement about an announcement…

A short time ago Winston peters made an announcement that he will make an announcement about the NZ First decision on government tomorrow afternoon, Some time. Maybe.

But there will be more to do from there, the Greens won’t make their decision and announcement until they now what the NZ First decision is.

Winston’s full press release:

New Zealand First will be in a position tomorrow afternoon to make an announcement on the result of negotiations following the 2017 General Election.

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said he had spoken to the leaders of the National Party and the Labour Party today and, amongst other matters, advised them of that.

That announces very little.

Reports from Stuff  Live: Choosing a new government on what the greens will do from there:

From what I understand speaking to Green Party people off the record, that standing conference call with their members to ratify any deal won’t be tonight. In fact it can only happen after Peters makes his decision public tomorrow (and of course only if he decides to go with the left). Which means if he does go that way we could have an announcement from Peters in the afternoon but no confirmed government until the evening.

It’s also possible that Peters could send Labour a final agreement document before actually making a decision, and the Greens could get their Labour/Greens package ratified – all before Peters makes anything public. There are going to be a lot of moving parts tomorrow morning.

Green leader James Shaw says the party will not be holding its conference call, with its up to 155 delegates, tonight.

He said the decision not to go ahead with the call tonight was made mid-afternoon.

So it predated Winston Peters’ public statement that he would make an announcement on Thursday on the result of negotiations following the 2017 General Election.

I won’t be planning my Labour weekend around this, but a few MPs and Parliamentary workers may be busy.

UPDATE: another announcement, this one from Bill English:

National is holding a caucus meeting tomorrow at 11 am in Wellington to provide MPs with an update on coalition talks. A separate teleconference will then take place with the National party board.

We stress that we have had no indication of what decision New Zealand First will make.

We have no further comment at this stage.

“Trump is becoming a failed president”

Donald Trump has been struggling to score any significant policy wins, he gets bogged down with petty squabbles, and there seems to be growing disagreements and splits amongst the Republican Party.

I think it’s too soon to judge his presidency, a major policy win or a war could turn things around quite quickly, but in the absence of substance beyond his at times extreme rhetoric there is growing commentary about his failures, and speculation about his failure as a president.

Juan Williams: Trump is becoming a failed president

 

A Morning Consult poll released last week found Trump losing support in states he easily carried last year. He is down 23 points in Tennessee since his inauguration in January, down 21 points in Mississippi, down 20 in Kentucky, down 19 in Kansas and down 17 in Indiana.

Overall, 55 percent of the country disapproves of the job he is doing as president, according the most recent RealClearPolitics average. At the three-quarter mark of his first year in office, Trump is the least popular new president in history.

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate Republicans are also walking away from Trump.

In part, this is due to his attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Then there are the threats to incumbent Republicans from Stephen Bannon, formerly Trump’s chief strategist.

Bannon said last week he plans to challenge incumbent Republican senators in seven states, including Arizona’s Jeff Flake, Mississippi’s Roger Wicker, Nebraska’s Deb Fischer, Nevada’s Dean Heller and Wyoming’s John Barrasso.

“Creating a civil war inside the Republican Party may feel good, but I think as a strategy, it is stunningly stupid,” former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said of Bannon’s plan.

That looks like team Trump in disarray.

One Republican who has always doubted Trump’s credentials (and has been attacked by Trump) is Senator John McCain.

McCain, in speech, denounces ‘spurious nationalism’

…his speech was one of warning, and seemed very much directed at the leadership approach of President Donald Trump and his supporters.

“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”

Trump has been having spats with various sports people. One respected coach has responded.

The Nation:  ‘A Soulless Coward’: Coach Gregg Popovich Responds to Trump

We’ve all seen the San Antonio Spurs’ future Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich in a state of exasperation on the sidelines, or in postgame news conferences. Many of us have also heard him speak with great vexation and clarity about the direction of this country and the actions of Donald Trump, particularly on Trump’s “disgusting tenor and tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.” But I have never heard this man more frustrated, more fed up, and more tense with anger than he was today.

Coach Pop called me up after hearing the president’s remarks explaining why he hadn’t mentioned the four US soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger. Trump said, “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”

Maybe it was the bald-faced nature of this lie, maybe it was Pop’s own history in the military, but the coach clearly had to vent. He said, “I want to say something, and please just let me talk, and please make sure this is on the record.”

This is Popovich  on the record.

“I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this president had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families are so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.”

“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets.

“We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day.

“The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”

I think that the last comment about those who work with the president is in part at least unfair. I think that some of those working with and for Trump have the interests of the country at heart and are trying their best to cover for the inadequacies and irrationality of Trump.

They are trying to control Trump and limit the damage he does – and especially, they will be aware of the damage trump could do if he runs amok with the US nuclear arsenal (I think they have about 9,000 nukes).

But outside the White House Trump remains unpopular, and there are growing concerns being expressed about his fitness to remain as president.

Unfortunately Trump has said a lot of stupid and unhelpful and unpresidential things, but he hasn’t done anything (that we know of) that is troubling enough to demand he steps down.

It’s possible Trump may get what is required of being president, but there is little sign of his current obnoxiousness and incompetence being turned around.

We – not just the US but the world – may have to wait until Trump does something bad enough to step him over the line, and others step in to put a stop to him.

That is if the US or the world is in a state to do anything then.

 

Some of the silliest speculation

The secrecy in government forming talks seems to have been very effective – political journalists seem to have had few if any leaks to work with. This seems to have frustrated them big time, they don’t like being excluded from the gaming.

So all they have had to write about who is arriving at and leaving meetings, the lack of progress, and speculation.

The speculation covers things like possible governing arrangements – Winston Peters has claimed their are nine possibilities, with no indication which may be preferred or more likely – and also possible policy agreements and ministerial positions.

Trying to second guess Peters is a mugs game. There are indications he doesn’t know things himself, given his time line assurances that have proven quite inaccurate.

After yesterday’s NZ First board meetings and then ‘secret’ meetings between Peters and Bill English, and separately with Jacinda Ardern, gave up nothing of substance some the speculation seemed to get sillier.

Audrey Young: Winston’s two offers: Why it could get personal

Which ever party leads the Government, New Zealand First could expect an unsolicited electoral arrangement in 2020 to assist the party’s survival in Northland or Whangarei – which would never be spoken of.

It would simply be in both parties’ interests.

Tracy Watkins: Coalition talks gather pace with secret meetings

With the policy discussions out of the way, those talks are likely to centre on ministerial portfolios, the structure of the next government – are the Greens in or out for instance – and assurances about 2020.

In National’s case that would likely require cast iron assurances that it will not try to kill NZ First off again – as it very nearly did this time round, when it ran its “cut out the middle man” campaign.

Future assurances might include an acknowledgement that NZ First is first cab off the rank in any future coalition deals – maybe even back channel commitments about an Epsom-style deal in Northland.

I think it would be utterly ridiculous to try to get commitments on the next election campaign, let alone coalition negotiation terms in future terms.

Many things could happen in the next two and a half years that could change things. One likely possibility is that Peters won’t stand again, so any assurances to him would be worthless.

Promising not to compete in a future election would be preposterous and an insult to democracy.

If either National or Labour formed a government now based in part in promises about not competing or assisting in the next campaign, and this government fell apart (and Peters has history on not lasting out a term in coalition) any governing party that was then seen to do a deal with NZ First in advance of the next election would be at high risk of being punished severely by voters.

The Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and Greens turned out to be ill advised and fell to pieces after competing power plays leadership changes. And it doesn’t seem to have done the Greens much good, appearing to have been shunted to the sidelines by Peters, aided and abetted by Labour.

Assurances by Peters have proven to be unreliable – except that one thing he has staunchly stuck to is not indicating any preference for any other party in election campaigns.

For him to make an agreement to cosy up to one or the other of Labour or National in the next election seems as likely as him campaigning in shorts and t-shirt.

In the absence of actual news speculation is bound to fill the vacuum, but it seems to be getting sillier as the limbo period continues.

Sssshhh, don’t tell anyone

NZH: Winston Peters in secret one-on-one meetings with National leader Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern tonight

NZ First leader Winston Peters is holding secret one on one meetings with National leader Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern tonight, straight after the NZ First board meeting packed up with no decision made.

The Herald saw Peters meet with English almost immediately after the NZ First board left.

English was on his own without staff or any of his negotiating team. Peters was also believed to be alone – his chief of staff was not in the room.

The Herald saw English leave soon after 6pm, after about half an hour in the room.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has also just left the room after meeting Peters.

The secrecy was such that Ardern took a different route than usual to get to the room which bypassed any media.

Clarifying a few matters? Or playing one off against the other? Secret meetings invite speculation.

Newshub:  Winston Peters holds secret meetings

National leader Bill English confirmed to Newshub he met with Mr Peters. Ms Ardern was seen rushing away from Parliament.

“I can confirm I met with Mr Peters, but I won’t be commenting on the contents of that meeting,” he said.

Asked what he could tell New Zealanders about the next steps to a government, Mr English replied: “We’ll let you know”.

 

Serious consensus but no consensus

The NZ First meetings have completed with reports of serious consensus on some things (policies) but no consensus on a decision. The board has gone home and something else will now happen for an undetermined amount of time, after which consensus will be sought from the board.

I think the media have reached a consensus that the dicking around will continue indefinitely.

There’s no point in getting an idea of when a decision will be made because so far commitments have been vague except for the ones that haven’t been met.

NZ Herald:  Winston Peters emerges from talks: There’s still work to be done

The New Zealand First leader said they had got a lot of work done and the board’s engagement was complete and it was going home.

Peters said further discussions were needed with the leaders of both National and Labour.

The board had not reached a consensus on a final decision, but there was consensus on “the policies put to both sides and how far we’ve got”.

“We have two sets of policy arrangements, they’re obviously different because they’re different parties. The board knows precisely what they’ll both mean depending on what we do, if we take that choice.”

Stuff: ‘Serious consensus’ on policy in NZ First, but still no decision on Government

“We’ve spent a couple of days on very comprehensive discussions and preparations, for the party to make a final decision. The board’s engagement in terms of that work is complete, we’ve got things to finish off as urgently as we can.

“We’re sorting out differences of calculations and opinions and trying to make sure we’ve got, with both sides, a clear understanding so that when we do finalise it, we’ve already got the agreement rather than having to go away and write it again”.

Peters was unable to provide clarification on the detail of the deliberations, but said policy work inside NZ First had come to a completion.

“This is a case of policies that survived, and those are the ones that will be going into an agreement.”

When “every loose end” was wrapped up, and the two major parties had made clear what they wanted, then the NZ First caucus and Board would make a final decision.

If sense has to be made of what Peters has said here before any progress is made then it could take quite a while.