Record number of refugess in 2015

The UN Refugee Agency has warned in a report that for the first time ever the number of people displacements could exceed previous records and could exceed 60 million people in 2015.

That’s equivalent to the population of the UK or France.

2015 likely to break records for forced displacement – study

GENEVA, Dec 18 (UNHCR)  With almost a million people having crossed the Mediterranean as refugees and migrants so far this year, and conflicts in Syria and elsewhere continuing to generate staggering levels of human suffering, 2015 is likely to exceed all previous records for global forced displacement, the UN Refugee Agency warned in a new report today.

UNHCR’s Mid-Year Trends 2015 report, covering the period from January to end June, and looking at worldwide displacement resulting from conflict and persecution, shows markers firmly in the red in each of the three major categories of displacement  Refugees, asylum-seekers, and people forced to flee inside their own countries.

The global refugee total, which a year ago was 19.5 million, had as of mid-2015 passed the 20 million threshold (20.2 million) for the first time since 1992. Asylum applications meanwhile were up 78 per cent (993,600) over the same period in 2014. And the numbers of internally displaced people jumped by around 2 million to an estimated 34 million.

Indications from the first half of the year suggest 2015 is on track to see worldwide forced displacement exceeding 60 million for the first time. In a global context, that means that one person in every 122 has been forced to flee their home.

“Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times. It touches the lives of millions of our fellow human beings  both those forced to flee and those who provide them with shelter and protection,” High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said.

“Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion and solidarity with people who have lost everything,” he added.

New refugee numbers are also up sharply: Some 839,000 people in just six months, equivalent to an average rate of almost 4,600 being forced to flee their countries every day. Syria’s war remains the single biggest generator worldwide of both new refugees and continuing mass internal and external displacement. However, the report notes that even with Syria’s war excluded from the measurements, the underlying trend remains one of rising displacement globally.

A consequence of more refugees being stuck in exile is that pressures on countries hosting them are growing too  something which unmanaged can increase resentment and abet politicization of refugees. Despite such risks, the first half of 2015 was also marked by extraordinary generosity: On an absolute basis, and counting refugees who fall under UNHCR’s mandate, Turkey is the world’s biggest hosting country with 1.84 million refugees on its territory as of 30 June.

Lebanon meanwhile hosts more refugees compared to its population size than any other country, with 209 refugees per 1000 inhabitants. And Ethiopia pays most in relation to the size of its economy with 469 refugees for every dollar of GDP (per capita, at PPP). Overall, the lion’s share of the global responsibility for hosting refugees continues to be carried by countries immediately bordering zones of conflict, many of them in the developing world.

Forced displacement is a major problem in parts of the world. Living safely here in New Zealand it’s easy to underestimate the problems this causes individuals, families and countries.

National high in Herald Digipoll

The Herald has National remaining over 50% in an end of year Digipoll, with Labour+Greens+NZ First strugggling to make progress on a collective 45%.

  • National 51.3% (up 0.5)
  • Labour 31.1% (up 0.1)
  • Greens 8.2% (down 1)
  • NZ First 5.7% (down 1.2)
  • Maori Party 2.1% (up 1.1)
  • ACT Party 0.8% (up 0.6)
  • United Future 0.3% (up 0.3)

While movements are small both Labour’s essential support partners have lost  support while all National’s current support parties gained.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 65.2% (up 1.5)
  • Andrew Little 16.2% (up 2.9)
  • Winston Peters 7.9% (down 3.7)
  • Jacinda Ardern 2.8% (down 1.1)
  • Helen Clark 2.5% (down 0.1)

Little won’t be happy with the lack of gain for Labouir but his own rise will give him a little cause for hope.

I think the decline in support for NZ First and Winston Peters is of note. Peters was ranked by some as politician of the year.

He was certainly politician of the first couple of months with a huge win in the Northland by election. But since then he has hardly fired. Add to that the negatives of one of the least liked and worst behaved MPs in Parliament , Ron Mark, and NZ First could be heading for some problems.

Source: NZ Herald National steady at year-end



Roy Morgan December poll

This may be the last political pol of the year, and is the last monthly poll from Roy Morgan.

  • National 49% (unchanged)
  • Labour 28.5% (down 1)
  • Greens 13% (up 1)
  • NZ First 6% (unchanged)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (down 0.5)
  • ACT Party 0.5% (unchanged)
  • UnitedFuture 0.5% (up 0.5)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (unchanged)
  • Internet/Mana 0% (down 0.5)
  • Independent/Others 0.5% (up 0.5)

National will be happy to be holding up, as will Greens.

Labour should be disappointed with their last result for the year. People weren’t inspired by the reshuffle nor anything else.

That’s not a good sign for either the Internet Party (who apparently had an annnual conference recently) nor MANA – I can’t even find their website.

Poll period November 23 – December 6 2015.



Source – Roy Morgan

One more day to vote on flag choice

The Electoral Commission advises that votes can still be put into NZ Post boxes before 5 pm tomorrow and as long as they arrive by 5 pm next Tuesday they will still be counted. So if you want to vote di it tomorrow.

The choices:

The five alternative flags

The one of those that wins will go into another referendum in March next year to choose between that and the current flag.

Voting numbers as of  Wednesday (two days plus late votes to go):


The voting period is 4 days shorter than for the asset sale referendum but is already above it, looking like a reasonable response. It would take about another 200,000 votes to make a 50% return.

Referendum voter turnouts (when not in conjunction with a general election):

  • 1995 Professional firefighters: 652,394 (27.0%)
  • 2009 Smacking referendum: 1,684,402 (56.09%)
  • 2013 Asset sales: 1,368,925 (45.1%)
  • 2015 Flag referendum: 1,372,783 (43.30% of enrolled voters)
    – last two days plus late arrivals to be added

Last few days for flag vote

The Electoral Commission advises that votes for the flag referendum should be put in the post by tomorrow, Tuesday 8 December.

The referendum closes on Friday 11 December but you should allow for time to get there via post.

Here are the choices:

The five alternative flags

The one of those that wins will go into another referendum in March next year to choose between that and the current flag.

The voting returns are tracking at similar levels to the asset sales referendum…

…but the voting period is 4 days shorter.

Referendum voter turnouts (when not in conjunction with a general election):

  • 1995 Professional firefighters: 652,394 (27.0%)
  • 2009 Smacking referendum: 1,684,402 (56.09%)
  • 2013 Asset sales: 1,368,925 (45.1%)

Trans-Tasman: top MP David Seymour

In their annual assessment of MP performance Trans Tasman has named rookie ACT MP for Epsom David Seymour as their top MP for 2015.

David Seymour, Epsom – 8.5

Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Minister of Education and Minister of Regulatory Reform.

What a performance from Seymour. Given a free ride into the House, made leader of a rump party, no one expected much of him. He has proved them all wrong, and become a strong positive MP. He’s been everywhere and is a hard worker – a real surprise. If anyone can make ACT relevant again, it’s Seymour – he’s the man.

This doesn’t surprise me.

Seymour showed potential when I heard him speak at the Act Southern Conference in the middle of last year. I also spoke to him in person and initial impressions were positive.

He then did the hard yards and won Epsom to get a seat back for ACT in Parliament.

He then had to deal with establishing his electorate presence in Epsom, re-establish an ACT Party presence in Parliament, work with the Government and make a mark for himself.

He seems to have managed all of this admirably.

And he is young and hard working enough to do more, possibly far more.

ACT’s big challenge is to find some candidates to build on Seymour’s success.

More from Trans-Tasman:

2015 Politician Of The Year – David Seymour While not exactly a political novice – he has form in student politics, and stood unsuccessfully twice in Auckland seats before getting elected, as well as being an adviser to then ACT leader John Banks, 32 year old David Seymour is in his first term in Parliament, he is a novice as a party leader, and coalition member. The surprise is how well he has performed, and the degree to which he seems to have made ACT a potential vote winner again. Sure he made the odd “coq” up, but no more than many of his colleagues.

He has handled his work with dedication, he is “everywhere” and he is a genuine talent. ACT’s charter school policies could turn out to be one of the successes of the coalition in policy terms and his move to ensure bars could open during the Rugby World Cup showed how in touch he is with public thinking.

He gets the nod as politician of the year because he is at the vanguard of a new wave of politicians – starting with a back to basics approach both in electorate and Parliamentary work.

He’s doing what a minor party should do under MMP – giving support, but making the Govt’s life difficult as well, and he is also doing it tactically. He has proven he can master the Parliamentary bun fight, now he needs to show he can make his party relevant.


Trans Tasman: best and worst of Labour

Stuff reports on Trans Tasman’s annual assessment of political performances in Trans-Tasman roll call – the best and worst of the 2015 political year.

Here are Labour MP assessments and ratings.

Labour fares little better, with transTasman saying it is still reeling from electoral defeat and Andrew Little’s ascension to the top job.

“He is battling to get his caucus behind him and to an extent has succeeded, but there are still many in the party’s ranks who should be looking to their futures – Clayton Cosgrove, David Cunliffe, David Parker and Trevor Mallard should all be looking for new jobs.”

Top five – Labour

Annette King – 6.5/10

Struggles to shake off the mantle of the 90s but is still a dominant force in the party. Labour will need her experience heading into a tough election in 2017.

Andrew Little – 6/10

Making a good first of the leadership, getting his MPs on side and on message. Still not using all his MPs strengths to full advantage. Polls need to move quickly and needs better advice.

Kelvin Davis – 6/10

Gets up the PM’s nose and has a social conscience… ready to be thrown into the attack and relishing it.

Chris Hipkins – 6/10

If Labour ever gets back into power, he will be at the top table.

Phil Twyford 6/10

Another of the young Labour stars who has worked his heart out on housing and transport issues. Deserves a big role in the next Labour Government.

Bottom five – Labour

Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene – 2/10

Another MP going nowhere fast. No prospect of advancement.

Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson – 2/10

Another Labour MP on her last legs. Needs to move on.

Mangere MP Su’a William Sio -2.5/10

His role is to deliver the Pacific Island vote and as long as he is there he probably will

List MP Clayton Cosgrove, Mana MP Kris Faafoi, Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare, List MP Sue Moroney, Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa, Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri  – 3/10

Cosgrove is “a shadow of his old self” and on the outer – probably time to go, says trans-Tasman. Of the others, it says Faafoi had promise, but is yet to deliver, Moroney has worked hard but “it’s not enough”, Salesa has talent but hasn’t shown it and Henare has had no memorable moments so far.

As for National their deputy ranks ahead of Labour’s leader, showing how important a capable deputy leader is.

No sign of Jacinda Ardern in the top five (nor the bottom ranks). She is rated 5/10:

Has done a good job of corralling the Auckland youth vote. Too close to Grant Robertson to have Deputy Leader aspirations. Didn’t deserve “pretty little thing” comment, but hasn’t exactly mastered her shadow portfolios. Still polled as 4th best preferred PM.

Grant Robertson should be worried about his rating, down from 6.5 to 4.

Floundering in the finance role, with generalised comments exposing his lack of knowledge. Isn’t making the traction he should and is relying on his cronies like David Clark too much to fill in the gaps. Not doing his party any favours.

It’s notable that for a party that puts some importance on gender balance apart from King who seems to be there for her long experience and ability to keep the caucus out of mishief the rest of the top performers are all male.

There’s more gender equality in the bottom perfomers.

It should be a major concern for Labour that their are 9 MPs rated 2-3 out of 10. That’s nearly a third of their caucus. The rest just about all have to make the shadow Cabinet being announced today.

Only 7 Labour MPs rate 5 or better. That’s also a major concern.

Trans-Tasman 2015 MP roll call

Click to access Roll%20Call%202015.pdf

Click to access Roll%20Call%202015.pdf

Trans Tasman: best and worst of National

Stuff reports on Trans Tasman’s annual assessment of political performances in Trans-Tasman roll call – the best and worst of the 2015 political year.

Here are National MP ratings.

National is starting to suffer third termitis, and some of its minister’s are burnt out. That’s the view of transTasman, which has just released its annual roll call, the publication MPs look forward to with equal parts excitement and dread.

National is showing signs of third-termitis and senior ministers like Gerry Brownlee and Murray McCully are looking tired, out of sorts, or burnt out.

“Some are looking to the future – [Speaker] David Carter looks as though he will be pleased to relinquish the Speaker’s chair for a Knighthood and a cushy foreign posting, where he will no longer have to be selectively deaf, while Tim Groser will also be looking forward to an ambassadorial posting”.

Top Five – National

Finance Minister Bill English –  8/10

“A foundation for the Government’s ongoing success. Dependable and canny as always, finally getting the books back into the black, even if only for a short time, has been a big deal for him. The power behind the throne.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully 8/10

“He has been a virtual blur this year, rushing through so many countries and doing so much. Failed to secure Middle East peace though. A strong year for the man, which has ended in a hospital bed. He made a massive effort.”

Prime Minister John Key – 7.5/10

Takes a tumble from last year’s rating of 9.5. His popularity is undented, despite ponytail gate and other controversies…..The flag debate may deflate his ego but he is still far and away New Zealand’s most popular leader.”

Justice Minister Amy Adams – 7.5/10

“We said she would be one to watch and she has added to that impression with strong performances across all her portfolios.”

Trade Minister Tim Groser – 7.5/10

“Another minister who has had a huge year and weathered some storms. He is expected to leave soon for a less pressured environment.”

Bottom five – National

List MP Paul Foster-Bell – 2/10

“Last year we suggested he sharpen up his act. He hasn’t.”

Taranaki MP Barbara Kuriger – 2/10

Says she wants ot help promote regional growth. Her own area is doing well but it’s clear she hasn’t had much impact anywhere else.”

List MP Melissa Lee- 2/10
“Probably should be considering another career. Her bus has well and truly pulled out.”

Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith – 2/10

Replaced an MP who was a waste of space, but proving he’s better is tough as well, says transTasman.

Coromandel MP Scott Simpson, Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, List MP Brett Hudson and List MP Nuk Korako – all on 2.5/10

On Simpson, transTasman says: “Can’t seem to get anyone’s attention outside the committee he chairs”. On Mitchell, they say:  “Another holder of a safe seat. A good example of why we should consider fixed terms for MPs.” Hudson: “We said he would have to prove he is anything more than a lightweight. So far still punching at his expected level.” Korako: A man considered genial by most, who has done nothing to change anyone’s opinion.

I think Bill England has been National’s most consistent and probably most valuable performer.

I don’t know about Murray McCully, he is out of sight most of the time, apart from the Saudi Farm debacle which should have marked him down substantially. He was lucky to survive in his job.

It will be hard for new National back benchers to make an impression amongst such a large caucus.

Trans-Tasman 2015 MP roll call

Minor movement in 3 News poll

Despite things like Christmas Island. Key.s rapist remarks and Labour’s conference the latest 3 News/Reid Research poll has barely move, with all but the Maori Party well within margins of error movements.

  • National 46.7% (-0.6)
  • Labour 32.3% (-0.7)
  • Greens 10.2% (+0.2)
  • NZ First 7.5% (-0.4)
  • Maori Party 1.3% (+0.8)
  • Conservative Party 0.7% (0.2)
  • ACT Party 0.8% (+0.2)
  • UnitedFuture 0% (0)

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 38.3% (-1.2)
  • Andrew Little 10.4%  (-0.4)
  • Winston Peters 9.3% (+0.7)
  • Jacinda Ardern 4.2% (+0.7)

Key has dropped a little, as has Little who hasn’t gained any traction after his well received (by party members) conference speech.


That trend through the year for Key should be causing a bit of concern.

3 News report: National still ahead in polls despite ‘rapist’ remarks

Labour on Little at their Conference

Andre Little gave a lectern thumping speech on the opening night of the Labour Party Conference.

On his Facebook page:

Our moral obligation is to do the best for New Zealanders.

Labour’s Facebook page added:

“We take on the big fights, we take on the hard issues – that’s what 99 years of Labour Party history tells us.”

It’s going to be hard to deliver on this – if he means putting all of the people first all of the time.

From @NZLabour:

Packed out hall for the opening of !

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takes the stage to welcome delegates and open the conference

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“We must put people before profit.” – acknowledges inspirational life member Alan Leadley.

Except for the people who seek to make a profit? Will profits be banned?

From Little’s speech:

“I am determined, well before the election, to let the public know what a Labour-led coalition government will look like.”

That would make a good change if it happens. Winston Peters may not play ball though, he has always refused to say what NZ First might do prior to an election.

“Our moral obligation is to do the best for New Zealanders.”

But that often means striking a balance between what’s best between different New Zealanders.

“We take on the big fights, we take on the hard issues – that’s what 99 years of Labour Party history tells us.”

That’s not what the last 7 years of Labour has done – including the last year under Little’s leadership. Will he detail during this conference what big fights Labour will take on?

Standing ovation as declares that Labour is ready to win.

That’s standard Party response, but Little and Labour haven’t looked ready to win yet. They have another two years to work on that.

Labour Party President Nigel Haworth: “We have the ideas and the leadership to take NZ forward.”

Congratulations to , who has received her gold badge and life membership of Labour

reflects on Labour’s proud history of economic equality AND social equality.

“We are the party that built state houses AND banned nuclear warships.”

Both of those are a long time ago, well back in last century. It’s now 2015.

That’s the official Labour messages from the conference – mostly delivered on Twitter, plus a little of Little on Facebook and nothing that I can find on their website yet.