Post debate poll bounce for Clinton

The FiveThirtyEight odds for president have swung back towards a bigger lead for Hillary Clinton. Their current forecast:


A the trend lines show that could just as easily turn around again. The US electorate seems to be volatile, I suspect with a large number of voters unhappy with all candidates.

Will the weight of media opinion take it’s toll on Trump in the final month of the campaign?

USA Today is the latest to come out against Trump.

USA TODAY’s Editorial Board: Trump is ‘unfit for the presidency’

The Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. We’re doing it now.

In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them. Because every presidential race is different, we revisit our no-endorsement policy every four years. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.

This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.

From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.

Whether through indifference or ignorance, Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protections.

They then list a number of problems they see with Trump:

  • He is erratic
    He simply spouts slogans and outcomes (he’d replace Obamacare with “something terrific”) without any credible explanations of how he’d achieve them.
  • He is ill-equipped to be commander in chief
    Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements typically range from uninformed to incoherent.
  • He traffics in prejudice
    From the very beginning, Trump has built his campaign on appeals to bigotry and xenophobia.
  • His business career is checkered
    Trump has built his candidacy on his achievements as a real estate developer and entrepreneur. It’s a shaky scaffold…
  • He isn’t leveling with the American people
    …alone among major party presidential candidates for the past four decades, he refuses to release his tax returns…
  • He speaks recklessly
    …It’s hard to imagine two more irresponsible statements from one presidential candidate.
  • He has coarsened the national dialogue
    Trump’s inability or unwillingness to ignore criticism raises the specter of a president who, like Richard Nixon, would create enemies’ lists and be consumed with getting even with his critics.
  • He’s a serial liar
    Trump is in a league of his own when it comes to the quality and quantity of his misstatements.

They also state reservations about Clinton:

Nor does this editorial represent unqualified support for Hillary Clinton, who has her own flaws (though hers are far less likely to threaten national security or lead to a constitutional crisis). The Editorial Board does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement.

Some of us look at her command of the issues, resilience and long record of public service — as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of State — and believe she’d serve the nation ably as its president.

Other board members have serious reservations about Clinton’s sense of entitlement, her lack of candor and her extreme carelessness in handling classified information.

Clinton is a significantly flawed candidate. Just far less so than Trump.

USA Today concludes:

Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.

That’s damning, but they encapsulate the concerns of many, not just in the US but around the world.

Local body elections – time to vote

There’s about a week to go before votes have to be in so I had better bite the bullet and try and evaluate candidates, and fill in and send my voting papers.

What I have rank:

  • 11 mayoral candidates
  • 43 council candidates
  • 9 regional council candidates
  • 11 community board candidates

You don’t have to rank all of them, you can just rank some but if you want to try to exclude people you really don’t want elected you need to rank them at the bottom so need everyone in between.

To do this justice it will take quite a bit of time, and even then a lot of it will be based on a photo and a brief bit of blurb.

Dunedin is currently running slightly ahead of 2011 in votes returned, at 21.53% compared to 18.65%, but it’s well under 2010. The total last time was 43.49% which is disappointing but not surprising.

Some other voting returns to 30 September:

  • Christchurch 21.18% (down from 24.21%)
    – a virtual no-contest for mayor won’t help here
  • Wellington 17.34% (down from 18.65%)
    – with the mayoralty up for grabs that’s oddly low
  • Queenstown Lakes (includes Wanaka) 28.76%
    – a keenly fought mayoralty there
  • Nelson 26.39% (up from 25.08%)
    Marlborough 31.58% (up from 31.14%)
    – has Whale Oil helped stir up the voters there?
  • Porirua 16.17% (down from 18.67%)
  • Napier 23.64% (down freom 25.36%)
  • Central Otago District Council 42.32% (up from 31.70%)
    – has Michael Laws stirred up interest there?
  • Tauranga City Council 17.85% (down from 19.44%)
  • AUCKLAND 18.28% (up from 16.1%)

A lot of people haven’t voted yet. Including me, I’d better get into it, but if the weather is good over the weekend it might have to wait.

A problem with an extended voting period is it is easy to procrastinate.

Many voting returns here:

Auckland returns:

Brash targeting Peters with racial sledgehammer

I doubt that Don Brash is deliberately being devious with his Hobson’s Pledge ‘anti-separatist’ campaign. It looks like a resurrection of his  claim to infamy from his Orewa speech in 2004 – that sparked a recovery in National party support but National have now dismissed this brash attempt at stirring up race debate again.

NZ Herald: Brash’s new campaign dismissed by political leaders

There is no longer any appetite in New Zealand for a race-based campaign led by former National Party leader Don Brash, political leaders say.

Both National and Labour dismissed Brash’s latest bid to put an end to “preferential treatment” for Maori in New Zealand.

Even the Act Party which Brash used to lead did not endorse the new “Hobson’s Pledge” campaign, which Brash is fronting.

The campaign echoes Brash’s infamous “one law for all” speech at Orewa in 2004 and the Iwi/Kiwi billboards used when he was National Party leader.

National Party campaign chairman Steven Joyce said today that times had changed, and he did not see the new campaign as a threat.

“The difficulty in what he’s focusing on is that most New Zealanders realise we take a very balanced approach to these issues.

While some issues hidden amongst Brash’s rhetoric deserve discussion his sledgehammer approach is a hopeless way to try and achieve anything but elevating angst and anger.

Brash sees one possible ally in Parliament – Winston Peters and NZ First.

Brash said that could put him in the unusual position of donating money to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who was once a sworn enemy.

“As it stands at the moment, the only political party which is making an issue of this is New Zealand First,” he said.

“Someone with my particular background is not wildly enthusiastic about that.”

Peters probably won’t be wildly enthusiastic about Brash stealing his thunder. Brash is far from being his favourite political activist.

Media have sought a reaction from Peters but so far there seems to have been no response.

Is Brash doing NZ First a favour by highlighting one of Winston’s hobby horses? Or is he going to damage NZ First support?

It’s hard to see whether Brash is trying to deliberately or inadvertently impact on NZ First.

Brash effectively trashed ACT when he hijacked the party in 2011. David Seymour has distanced himself from Brash:

Act Party leader David Seymour said there were aspects of Hobson’s Pledge that he agreed with. He opposed the creation of specific Maori positions within local government and Resource Management Act proposals which give iwi a new role in consenting decisions.

But Act’s position on Maori issues were changing, he said.

“If you look at where Act’s going today … partnership schools have been overwhelmingly endorsed by Maori.

“If it came down a choice between scrapping Maori seats and reforming education so that people have real choice … I don’t need to tell you which is Act’s priorities these days.”

What’s more effective in politics, pandering to populist racial intolerance, or achieving actual results?

Despite a support surge after his Orewa speech Brash ended up failing in 2005, and he nearly destroyed ACT in 2011.

Working with Maori on positive education initiatives, as Seymour is doing, seems to be a far better approach than inflaming and dividing – an ironic but inevitable effect of Brash’s blunt ‘one people’ ideal.

Stuff: John Key: Kiwis uninterested in ‘broken record’ attacks on Maori favouritism

Kiwis are not interested in Don Brash’s “broken record” of attacks on Maori favouritism, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key says he is unworried by the launch of an “anti-separatism” campaign fronted by the former National Party leader, intended to pressure politicians into opposing preferential treatment of Maori.

Key said he was not worried about the campaign, which was part of the democratic process, and believed most Kiwis “want to live in a harmonious New Zealand”.

“It’s sort of pretty much a broken record from Don, but I think New Zealanders have seen in the last decade what’s taken place, they’ve seen that ultimately as Treaty partners, Maori and the Crown have to work together and actually we’re a stronger country for doing that.”

Key did not believe there was separatism in New Zealand, but said the Crown had “legal obligations” to Maori which it had to follow.

“They have certain rights which are bestowed upon them and we have to honour the court rulings for doing that…if we don’t do that, the courts rule against us.”


Dunne: “the decidedly inferior Mr Little”

In his weekly blog post Peter Dunne has made it clear that he doesn’t rate Andrew Little highly.

Dunne is obviously not angling for a memorandum or any sort of understanding with Labour. He may not care, it’s unknown whether he will stand again next year. He may also not care for an alliance involving Greens and NZ First along with Labour.

Dunne’s post takes a historic look at why he thinks Little’s spurning of the centre is likely to be unsuccessful, interspersed with some fairly pointed remarks about Little.

While the Leader of the Opposition is right to talk of “coalitions of interests” he is wrong to assume he alone can put them together without the glue of the centre ground. Fraser, Holyoake, and more latterly Clark and Key fully understood that point.

Mr Little, who is nowhere near their league, appears not to.

Not very complimentary.

So, the Leader of the Opposition thinks elections should not be about who wins the centre ground. He is right, up to a point, especially about bringing together “coalitions of interests” in his bid to win office.

Where he is wrong, however, is that no New Zealand Government – single or multi party, pre or post MMP – has ever been elected without winning over the centre ground of politics. Moreover, for at least one hundred years, New Zealand has had moderately conservative governments, led since the 1930s by either National or Labour.

But Dunne also opines that Little is nowhere near the quality or popularity of Labour’s successful leaders, like Norm Kirk, David Lange and Helen Clark.

It is no coincidence that along the way, Kirk, Lange and Clark had all moderated their message to win the public confidence, and that Labour only won office when they did so.

Yet the far less impressive Mr Little apparently believes he can eschew those lessons.

And again:

But again, the decidedly inferior Mr Little knows better.  

Dunne is yet another ex-Labourite who is not on good terms with the current Labour leadership.



Gary Johnson for US president?

With a media obsession with Clinton versus Trump it’s easy to forget that there are two other candidates standing for US president – Libertarian leader Gary Johnson and Green leader Jill Stein.

With a virtual mainstream media blackout Johnson is polling at around 7-8% (Stein barely rates).

What the distorted media coverage keeps highlighting is the degree of dismay over Hillary Clinton and the degree of dread of having a President Trump.

This is in part reflected in ‘Direction of Country’ polls, which have been showing that about two thirds of voters think the US is on the wrong track. Recent polls from Real Clear Politics:


It doesn’t show much confidence in the prospects of either a Clinton or a Trump presidency.

Shouldn’t the media, and US voters, give a bit more attention to a real alternative, especially Johnson? He offers a real alternative to the Clinton/establishment ticket, and surely he is a safer bet then Trump.

Johnson was the governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, and is the Libertarian Party nominee for president.

New York Times gives him a shot at selling himself:

Gary Johnson: Take a Deep Breath, Voters. There Is a Third Way.

The America I know wasn’t on the television screen on Monday night. My America is about the freedom to make choices, pursue your dreams and use your skills as entrepreneurs. It is about having more choices than just red versus blue.

Americans want to be able to choose a president who is capable of reason, of learning from failures, and of telling them the truth, even when it hurts. Most of all, they want to choose a president who will adhere to the Constitution and will make government live within its means.

I’m offering that choice. I wasn’t part of the presidential debate on Monday, but as Americans listened in dismay to the so-called major parties’ candidates, Google searches for “Gary Johnson” skyrocketed.

I’m the third candidate — the leader of the Libertarian Party. My name will be on every ballot alongside that of my running mate, Bill Weld, who like me was a twice-elected Republican governor of a strongly Democratic state.

Our kids are better educated than ever before. Our technology enables entrepreneurship and transparency. Our military is second to none, as it should be.

But our two-party political system is an entirely different story. Hyper-partisanship may be entertaining, but it’s a terrible way to try to run a country.

The US political system – along with the media that feeds it – does look terrible.

We’re the alternative — and we’re the only ticket that offers Americans a chance to find common ground.

Johnson outlines his and his party’s policies and a positive approach.

Less than six weeks before Election Day, independents and, particularly, young voters are increasingly turning to Bill Weld and me as reasonable, rational and experienced candidates. We are the party that can break the partisan gridlock which for too long has kept real solutions out of reach.

The Democrats and the Republicans are symbols of a broken political system. Clinton is a part of a stale establishment, Trump represents a crazy high risk alternative.

If I was a US voter I’d be seriously looking at an alternative, and I think that the Gary Johnson option deserves serious consideration.

Clinton v Trump, round 1

There has been massive coverage of and commentary on the first US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Will it change anything? We wil have to wait to find out.

Clinton sounds like a PC electronic checkout; Trump like a drunken uncle from a side of the family you try to avoid.

I didn’t watch the debate and have only seen small bits of it, but from what I did see and hear Clinton was a practiced, smug and smarmy establishment candidate. She won’t have lost committed support but I don’t know whether she will have won many over either.

Trump emphasised his boofishness and what must be a deliberate strategy to lie profusely.

One bizarre aspect of the debate was that Trump denied having said something (I can’t remember which brazen lie it was), and it was shown shortly afterwards that tweets from him that prove he was lying were being deleted from his Twitter account.

Prior to the debate there was interesting string of tweets from @gtiso on the Italian election of Silvio Berlusconi in 1994.

Berlusconi’s secret weapon leading into the 1994 elections was he worked out he could just lie all the time. The whopper the better.

He worked out that the state media would be paralised by the imperative to provide balance and powerless to correct him, while his opponents were left in a state of permanent impotent outrage, both at being lied about and at the fact that he was getting away with it.

So they, and the portion of the non-state media aligned with the left, just spent the campaign repeating “this man can’t be prime minister”.

Result: he won in the closest thing we could get in our system to a landslide. Hey, does any of this sound familiar?

To give you an idea of the caliber of lying: he said over and over that the communists had been in power in Italy for the previous 50 years.

This was, obviously, the opposite of the truth. But in no time at all I started hearing people repeating it in my neighbourhood.

The Brexit campaign adopted similar tactics, now Trump. But I’m shocked it took so long for such a simple idea to be exported.

How many Americans don’t care about politicians lying? Enough to turn their politics and their presidency upside down?

I’m not a US voter but I think I share a common sentiment – I don’t particularly like Clinton, nor what she stands for in politics. But I fear for the effect that a President Trump would have on the United States, and how that would flow on to impact on the world.

Credible democracy is already the loser, but perhaps we ain’t seen nothing yet.

The US election may hinge on how many of those who despair at what they are witnessing turn out to vote versus how many turn away from the election .

Greens would stand aside for Labour in Mt Roskill

Greens have announced they won’t stand a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election, should Phil Goff win the Auckland mayoralty and resign from Parliament.

Stuff: Greens won’t stand candidate in any Mt Roskill by-election

The Greens will not stand a candidate in a Mt Roskill by-election if Labour incumbent Phil Goff wins the Auckland mayoralty and vacates the seat, the party has announced.

The deal is part of a memorandum of understanding the two left-wing parties signed earlier this year – but the Greens say the move has “no bearing” on its plans for the 2017 election.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the party had decided not to stand a candidate in the seat “after several weeks of internal discussions”.

“The Mt Roskill by-election will be closely contested, and we don’t want to play any role in National winning the seat.” 

Turei said the decision showed the success of the memorandum of understanding between the two parties, which includes an agreement to co-operate in Parliament and investigate a joint policy and/or campaign.

The party was making the announcement now to be clear with its supporters and the public, given the “considerable interest” in a likely Mt Roskill by-election.

I think the timing of this announcement is odd, before the results of the local body election are known.

The Greens risk a backlash over this – perhaps this is a deliberate test of what the reaction might be in advance of next year’s general election.

Last election Barry Coates stood for the Greens in Mt Roskill. He will soon replace Kevin Hague as next Green off the list in Parliament. A by-election would have given him a chance to raise his profile but he has to defer to a party decision to stay away.

The Greens may think that not standing in order to help Labour candidate Michael Wood will give them and their MoU with Labour good publicity, but it could just as easily backfire. I guess it’s best to test this now before taking a bigger risk in next year’s election.

ACT’s David Seymour is highlighting the change of attitude to electorate jack-ups by both Greens and Labour.

Mt Roskill arrangement shows hypocrisy of opposition

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

“The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

“Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Wood stood for Labour in Epsom last general election and has been selected as Labour’s candidate in Mt Roskill should Goff resign.

It will be interesting to see if ACT stand a candidate in Mt Roskill. That would give them more opportunity to bash Greens and Labour with a hypocrisy hammer – but it could also jeopardise the National candidate’s chances.

ACT didn’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill in 2014.

UK Labour ‘chaos’

More from Missy in the UK.

This morning the UK woke up to some of the media discussing the ‘chaos’ of yesterday at the Labour Party Conference with the media focussing on the allegation that the Shadow Defence Minister (sorry not Secretary as I reported yesterday) punched a wall in anger after he gave his speech in response to it being changed at the last minute by Corbyn’s aides (as reported yesterday) .

Corbyn this morning cancelled all of his media appearances for today, officially due to diary management issues, but speculation is rife that the real reason is so that he isn’t questioned about yesterday, and in particular Trident.

Yesterday it was announced that Labour’s policy for energy will be to completely ban fracking – this is in opposition to the unions who say many of their members will lose jobs, today the replacement policy was announced. Corbyn has indicated that under Labour the UK will return to coal mining – presumably to return to coal fired energy. Nothing reported as yet on how the environmentalists see this, nor has it been explained how this will be de-conflicted with Labour’s stated clean air policy.

McDonnell yesterday indicated that if Labour were to win the next election there would be a return to 70’s style socialist economic policies. This combined with the idea of returning to coal mining has some in the media talking about a return to the past under Labour.

Today has been no less eventful, so just some highlights below.

Sadiq Khan addressed the conference, I won’t go into the details, but the gist of his speech was how he is the most successful Labour politician at the moment, and the party need to follow his lead to become electable.

The NEC voted on whether to allow representatives from Scotland and Wales Labour Parties to join the committee, this is opposed by Corbyn and his supporters as it is seen as potentially reducing Corbyn’s power in the NEC, as he fears that the Welsh First Minister (Labour) and the Scottish Labour leader will choose moderates, thus diluting and reducing his already small majority. This move is part of reforms by the respective Labour parties which will give them greater autonomy in having an independent voice on the NEC. The vote went in favour of the reforms, and the Scottish and Welsh Labour parties will now be able to have a representative on the NEC.

Labour has provided their support to a referendum on the terms of Brexit. This is seen by some as a concession to Owen Smith who supports a second referendum on the EU. This will not be popular amongst many voters, nor is it a policy that they will have to follow through on, as Brexit is expected to be pretty much completed (if not fully completed) by the time the next General Election rolls around in just over 3 years.

Tom Watson addressed the party this afternoon, and in it he launched a passionate defence of Blair and Brown – something that won’t go down well with Corbyn or his supporters, who hate Blair and Brown.

Labour jump, National slump in Roy Morgan

The September Roy Morgan poll has the main parties bouncing around.

  • National 41.5% (down from 46.0)
  • Labour 33.5% (up from 25.5)
  • Greens 12.0% (down from 14.5)
  • NZ First 8.5% (down from 9.5)
  • Maori Party 2.0% (up from 1.5)
  • ACT Party 1.0% (no change)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (down from 1.0)
  • Mana 0% (down from 0.5)
  • United Future 0% (no change)
  • Other 1.0% (up from 0.5)

Who knows why National has dropped from 53% in July to 46% in August to 41.5% in September.

Or why Labour laboured on 25.5 for both Julu and August and then jumped 8% to 35.5 this month, when Andrew Little was hardly visible.

It would be wise not to get hopes up or down to much over this result.




UK Update – Labour and Corbyn’s leadership

Update #1 from Missy in the UK:


As Pete reported the other day, to no-one’s surprise – except the most politically obtuse – Corbyn won the leadership election, with an increased majority, so let the re-unification begin…. or not.

The Party Conference is bringing out all sorts of opportunities for MP’s to get in digs to Corbyn, but I am not going to cover them all here, but there have been some controversies, and a couple of main points to raise.

Corbyn hinted in his opening speech that he would not rule out de-selection, and Corbyn supporters have been more open stating that any MP who criticises or opposes Corbyn will be labelled a traitor and action will be taken against them.

On Sunday Corbyn was interviewed on Sky, and amongst his points one that came out was around an issue that is quite big here at the moment – that of the inquiry into soldiers conduct in Iraq.

Just some quick background, this has been ongoing for years, and some soldiers who have been cleared are being re-investigated, and for many the accusers are being actively sought out by lawyers who are making a lot of money off legal aid to bring these cases, even though many of the complainants have been shown to be lying, and in some cases members of the Taliban – or even ISIS. The soldiers are having to foot their legal bill themselves. There is a campaign to get the Government to stop the investigations and inquiry – and Tony Blair has also come out in support of it being stopped, despite being the reason for them being conducted.

During his interview on Sky, Corbyn has said that the inquiry should continue, and that he supports soldiers being investigated for their actions in Iraq – despite the fact that many of the complainants have been proven liars. This has not gone down well with many in the community – including a large number of Labour voters. Corbyn also stated that the Armed Forces needs to be scaled back – though to be honest if the persecution of the soldiers continue no-one will want to join, so therefore that will happen naturally.

Another thing that many are in disbelief at is that Corbyn does not understand why MI6 need to be recruiting more people. It was announced last week that MI6 will be looking to recruit up to 1000 more people by 2020. Corbyn is baffled as to why so many are needed for MI6. This has angered many in the Labour party – and outside it – saying it shows that Corbyn doesn’t understand the threats faced in the UK. The UK is currently on a Severe threat level, meaning an attack is highly likely, the only level higher is critical, meaning a threat is imminent.

Today the Shadow Defence secretary gave his speech, he was reported as being angry when Corbyn’s aids altered his speech, removing the sentence saying that there is no reason to oppose a replacement for Trident, and suggesting that Labour may still yet make it policy to abolish Trident, and not replace it.

A number of Labour MP’s have taken the opportunity of fringe meetings at the Conference to criticise Corbyn, and his supporters, many have warned that unless they move away from the hard left they risk losing very badly at the next election, and losing support to UKIP. In response to the new Labour Policy of opposing fracking, one MP said that there is no point in Labour just opposing Government, they need to be able to say what they will replace it with. Some have noted that polls indicate that Corbyn is not trusted on security matters, and they see this as an issue for the party.

Anti-semitism, sexism, and misogyny also continue to be themes from some MP’s in their speeches attacking Corbyn.