‘Let’s keep moving’ and the Jacinda movement

The Labour Party are launching their election campaign this weekend. It’s no surprise to see it based on Jacinda Ardern – framed as ‘Jacinda and our movement’.

But their ‘Lets keep moving’ campaign slogan seems a bit uninspiring.

Today Jacinda Ardern announced our slogan for the 2020 election campaign. Our plan to rebuild New Zealand is already in action, so on September 19 let’s keep up this momentum, and let’s keep moving

Ardern’s personality and charisma drastically turned the Labour campaign around from pending disaster to recovering enough to be able to form a government in 2017, and her popularity kept the party polling up through this term, until both soared on the back of Ardern successfully fronting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Their Facebook launch promotes the slogan and Ardern:

As does their new pinned post:


The slogan has been spun off their Covid recovery promotion from last month:

Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020

We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and  agriculture sectors, and set out our plan to support Kiwis to retrain and upskill with free trades and apprenticeships training.

Ardern was always going to be central to the Labour campaign. If Covid remains under control recovery from the effects of the lockdown will also continue to be promoted.

An unknown is how the New Zealand economy will look in two months as the campaign climaxes and an extended voting period begins.

If there is a surge in job losses after the wage subsidies run out that could impact but the effects of that may not be clear until after the election.

Ardern will give her conference/campaign opening speech this afternoon.

ACT Party list

The ACT Party have announced their list for this year’s election. The top twenty:

  1. David Seymour
  2. Brooke Van Velden
  3. Nicole McKee
  4. Chris Baillie
  5. Simon Court
  6. James McDowall
  7. Karen Chhour
  8. Mark Cameron
  9. Stephen Berry
  10.  Toni Severin
  11. Damien Smith
  12. Miles McConway
  13. Beth Houlbrooke
  14. Carmel Claridge
  15. Bruce Carley
  16. Cameron Luxton
  17. Grae O’Sullivan
  18. Myah Deedman
  19. David Seymour
  20. David King

Odd to see two David Seymours but #19 is a candidate from Whangarei.

Brooke Van Velden (who has been an adviser to Seymour before running for Parliament) is a good and obvious choice for #2. It looks like five of the top ten are male and female, which looks different for an ACT list.

Nicole McKee is the spokesperson for the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners and has been vocal in opposition to firearms law changes since the Christchurch mosque murders.

Beth Houlbrooke (“an award-winning businesswoman, former farmer, and Chair of the Rodney Local Board”) has been an ACT candidate before and is the only candidate currently featuring on the ACT website.

Going by recent polls there is a reasonable chance of the top few on that list to get into Parliament as long as the Epsom Seymour wins his electorate again, which seems very likely.


Green list dominated by MPs, women

The Green Party list for this year’s election is dominated by sitting MPs and women, with co-leaders Marama Davidson and Jamwes Shaw swapping top roles and first term MP Chlöe Swarbrick promoted aheaad of longer serving MPs to number three.

The initial list promoted some activists over current MPs – see Initial Green Party list lacks gender, climate balance – and a small group of Green activists wanted to sump some MPs – see Left-wing Green faction wants to axe co-leader James Shaw, and Eugenie Sage and Chlöe Swarbrick.

But after party membership had their say on the list MPs have been reinstated up then order, with women dominating the top positions – this is curious given past Green preference for gender balance.

The revamped ranking:

  1. Marama Davidson
  2. James Shaw
  3. Chlöe Swarbrick
  4. Julie Anne Genter
  5. Jan Logie
  6. Eugenie Sage
  7. Golriz Ghahraman
  8. Teanau Tuiono
  9. Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere
  10. Ricardo Menéndez March
  11. Steve Abel
  12. Teall Crossen
  13. Scott Willis
  14. Kyle MacDonald
  15. Lourdes Vano
  16. John Ranta
  17. Lawrence Xu-Nan
  18. Luke Wijohn
  19. Kaya Sparke
  20. Jack Brazil
  21. James Crow
  22. Elliot Blyth
  23. Richard McIntosh
  24. Gerrie Ligtenberg

Tuiono has been dropped down from fifth. Current MP Gareth Hughes is not standing again (he has been virtually invisible for years anyway).

It sort of makes sense that all the MPs standing again get the top rankings, and I think Chlöe Swarbrick’s ranking is largely deserved.

But if the Greens just make the threshold they could have only one of their seven MPs as male, or possibly two of eight (their current proportion).

In the past the party was staunch in promoting gender equality but that seems to have dropped in their priorities. The lack of men up the list is a shame but perhaps the Greens have become less attractive to men wanting to make a mark in politics.

The Greens have two big battles ahead of them.

They keep pleading for more donations, saying they have insufficient funds to effectively contest the election.

And they have been polling close to the 5% threshold. Unless Swarbrick can do a deal with Labour and win the Auckland Central electorate the Greens have to make the threshold to survive – her prospects there may have figured in deciding on her promotion.

Labour are less likely to give up one of their Maori seats for Davidson, who will contest Tāmaki Makaurau. Shaw has never seriously tried to win Wellington Central off Grant Robertson.

The rest of the candidates are described by Davidson as

…young climate fighters fresh off the school strikes, new Māori and Pasifika voices, an environmental lawyer, a psychotherapist with a passion for improving access to mental health, and a first generation Latin American immigrant.

…but there are no standouts there, and most are unlikely to have much chance of getting into Parliament.

Stuff: Green Party list promotes ‘hello boomer’ Chloe Swarbrick

I think the ongoing promotion of an inaccurate retort from Parliament is trite and irrelevant to Swarbrick’s credentials as an MP, it just shows how shallow the media can be.

NZ Herald: Chloe Swarbrick gets a major promotion in the Green Party

Chloe Swarbrick’s had a huge promotion in the Green Party and now outranks two ministers and an under-secretary.

After her 2016 Auckland mayoral campaign, Swarbrick was recruited by the Greens and scraped into Parliament at ninth on the list.

She’s since made a name for herself addressing mental illness and on legalising cannabis and will go head-to-head against new National Party deputy leader Nikki Kaye for the Auckland Central seat.

The Spinoff: Green Party list ranking revealed: can this group lift them over the threshold?

Party press release: Green Party Unveils Its Candidate List For The 2020 Election

Budget – big numbers but little vision?

The 2020 budget has unusually big spending numbers due to trying to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis. Current New Zealand debt is about 20% of GDP, the budget would over double that to 50% with a reduction back to 40% forecast over the next ten years, so the target is double the relative debt.

But the budget has been slammed as lacking in vision, with a big chunk of money earmarked but not yet committed to anything in particular.

Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Robertson’s huge numbers fit the Covid-19 moment

The $50 billion figure tacked to the centrepiece Covid Response and Recovery Fund is in some respects a case of magic with numbers.

Nearly $14b of that had already been spent, with a further $16b laid out in the day’s Budget.

Importantly, that leaves nearly $20b of fiscal headroom for further announcements in the months leading up to the election.

Government staffers were quick to state the $50b number was a cap rather than a target, but Robertson undermined that somewhat by saying it would almost certainly be spent within the next few years.

There were still some striking omissions, however. It was little surprise the Green Party came under pressure from supporters for a lack of policy and funding wins.

…Indeed, Bridges’ canned line that the Government was “turning a $50b problem into a $140b problem” seemed underpinned by the roughly $50b of extra borrowing the last National government took out to cover the costs of the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes.

Bridges is gambling that voters’ historic concerns about debt levels will outweigh their desire for sweeping support – Kiwis faced a “tsunami of debt”, as he put it.

But Robertson’s statement that the country faced a 1-in-100 year global shock, forcing drastic measures, seemed more closely aligned to the national (and global) mood.

Ananish Chaudhuri (Newsroom): Budget’s worrying debt-to-GDP red flags

First, the prediction that nominal GDP is poised to fall by 4.6 percent this year and more the following year before starting to grow again. Unemployment is tipped to grow to nearly 10 percent. These are pretty dramatic. This is worse than the recession that followed the global financial crisis, when real GDP declined by 2.2 percent and the unemployment rate peaked at 6.9 percent.

What is even more striking is the prediction that by 2023, debt will be more than 50 percent of GDP. I am assuming this is public debt and does not account for private debt. I am by no means a deficit hawk, but this level of debt-to-GDP ratio poses risks for most nations, let alone a small island nation very much dependent on global economic trends.

This level of borrowing will certainly put upward pressure on real interest and exchange rates and counter-act to an extent RBNZ’s quantitative easing efforts. The net effect is anyone’s guess since a lot of it will also depend on what is happening to rates in other countries.

Overall, the budget much as expected but with some significant red flags in terms of the steeply increasing debt-to-GDP ratio.

Bryce Edwards (RNZ): A Budget with big numbers, but little vision

It’s a politically-astute Budget, but anyone looking for big transformative change will be underwhelmed by Grant Robertson’s Budget 2020, according to Bryce Edwards of Victoria University of Wellington.

Politically astute as in good for this year’s election campaign? Big handouts claimed by each of Labour, NZ First and Greens, with a lot more available to be announced before September.

Elements of the Budget that will be praised include the free trades training scheme, expansions to welfare programmes such as Food in Schools, and the significant increase in social housing.

Expectations of welfare and tax reforms were not met. The Wage Subsidy Scheme is rolled over, albeit with much more targeting. This continues the trickle-down approach of hoping that the provision of money to the private sector will flow through to workers who will keep their jobs. Noticeably, there has been no increase in income support.

Generally, even though the government is now spending much more money, the size of the state isn’t actually getting much bigger. For example, there’s a big focus on job creation, but not through a heavy state role.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the Budget is the $20bn of unallocated spending as part of the Response and Recovery Fund, which the government is keeping aside to make spending decisions on in the weeks and months to follow. Some will call this a slush fund, which is probably unfair in a crisis with no end in sight, where not all spending can yet be determined.

It will depend to an extent to how extra spending is announced and what it is used for heading towards the election. Greens have already been promoting the campaign benefits of what spending they say they have initiated.

Max Rashbrooke: Robertson goes for repair, not rebuild

Crises can be an opportunity for sweeping change. Many people, especially but not only on the left, have decided that the coronavirus’s economic shock, alongside pre-existing problems of environmental degradation and widespread poverty, is the perfect platform for transforming their society and their economy.

The Budget does spend extraordinary sums: $50 billion for the Covid-19 rescue fund, against the normal Budget allocation of a few billion dollars extra. But that spending goes largely into propping up existing businesses – $3.2b for extending the wage subsidy – or into existing structures, as with the extra $3.9b for health.

There are some small green (or indeed Green) shoots of transformational change. Free trades training, in construction and related areas, for two years. An extra $1.2b for rail, which could be part of a transition to a low-carbon way to live. A $1.1b for a green jobs fund designed to employ 11,000 people restoring wetlands and planting trees beside rivers. A further $20b of the rescue fund still to be allocated, of which $3b is for infrastructure.

Mostly, though, this is a measured budget.

This relative caution has several explanations. New Zealand First is understood to oppose many of the sweeping changes the Greens and Labour would like to see. Scaling up programmes is also not as easy as people think.

Stuff: Budget 2020 winners and losers


  • Workers
  • The film industry
  • Education
  • Health
  • Transport
  • Public Housing
  • Māori
  • Corrections


  • Debt
  • .Hospitality and Tourism (somewhat)
  • Beneficiaries
  • Media
  • Climate change
  • Police

The lack of much for beneficiaries and climate change have been particularly disappointing for the left (which is more Green territory).

Stuff (editorial): Government’s Budget a plan to navigate Covid-19

The Government has laid out its plan for getting the economy back on its feet, coupled with an assurance the country will get through the tough months ahead.

Whether it’s done enough to reassure the public will not be fully known until September’s general election.

Stuff: Parties look to nab wins from $20b ahead of election

A $50 billion Covid-19 rescue package poured out of the Crown coffers yesterday when the government revealed its rebuild plan – but it is the $20b blank cheque that has got the Opposition crying foul.

With just four months and four days until the election, the National Party has labelled it a slush fund for election bribes.

The campaign has unofficially kicked off and even New Zealand First and the Greens started singing from their own songsheets within hours of the Minister of Finance delivering his election-year Budget.

Greens seem to have used the budget to kick off their election campaign (via email):

We have now officially kicked off our Green Reset from the COVID-19 crisis with the release of Budget 2020. We’ve secured massive investment in Green initiatives which will create thousands of jobs while improving life for people and protecting the natural environment.

Voters will decide for themselves whether the Covid-19 pandemic gets sufficient priority over policy opportunism and cynical campaign boosting. It hasn’t helped that Green leaners seem to have been underwhelmed by the budget.

Perhaps there has been some big vision 0 as far as the election and means of Government and political survival.

A lot of spending but little reform (and little joy)

Those who wanted a lot of spending to be announced in the budget got that, but people wanting significant reform of tax and benefits and other social spending have been disappointed.

But there is a wild card lurking – some big announcements to come before the election?

The Covid recovery fund is a huge $50 billion which includes $36.1 billion in additional funding.

$15.9 billion is to be spend on the immediate response to try to get the economy going, with $20.2 billion put aside for future investment.

As usual Green leaders are trying to talk up their influence and achievements. James Shaw said the Budget shows what it means to have Green support in the government.

But an ex-Green MP is disappointed:

As is a Green candidate:

But I think those expecting radical reform in the budget were always going to be disappointed for several reasons:

  • There wasn’t time to work out how to do radical reform
  • There wasn’t time to consult before doing radical reform
  • The Government does not have a mandate to do major reform
  • The Labour Party aren’t very radical and don’t want to be seen as radical
  • NZ First

Budget website: https://budget.govt.nz/

James Shaw on Twitter:

Like the voice of @MaramaDavidson , who has led the @NZGreens campaign to end child poverty. Today’s Budget scales up the Food in Schools programme – which, when we were in Opposition, we fought for – from 8,000 to 200,000 students, with $218 million of new investment.

And @golrizghahraman, who has championed the rights of migrants and the refugees who will find it easier to rebuild their families after Budget 2020’s injection of $33 million into the family reunification system.

And @GarethMP, who for a decade, has pushed to get people into work insulating homes, making them warmer and more affordable. Budget 2020 puts an additional $56 million into the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.

And @janlogie, who’s all of Government response to family and sexual violence has picked up an additional $202 million in today’s Budget.

And @_chloeswarbrick, whose work on behalf of students has helped secure a $20 million hardship fund to help students weather the pandemic crisis.

And @JulieAnneGenter
, who has helped to deliver $1.6 billion in the Budget’s infrastructure upgrade for metropolitan rail in Ack and Wellington, buses and cycling in Queenstown, Ackd’s new Skypath, as well as funding to help councils expand footpaths and roll out temp cycleways.

And, of course, @EugenieSage. It is because of her groundwork over the past two and a half years that today our government is able to scale up our investment in nature as the most essential infrastructure and the best job creator in Aotearoa.

The rebuilding and jobs and other stuff 50 billion budget

Budget 2020, describe by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a jobs budget and officially called ‘Rebuilding Together’ will be covered all over the media but I’ll post things I think are of interest or will promote some discussion here through the afternoon.

A $50 billion rescue fund is at the centre of 2020’s “once in a generation Budget” as the country braces for the economic carnage promised by Covid-19.

Net debt to increase by $140 billion (around $70,000 per household) from 19% of GDP to 54%


$15.9 billion is to be spend on the immediate response to kickstart the economy and $20.2 billion put aside for future investment. Here’s where the money is going.

  • $4bn business support package: includes a wage subsidy extension for eight weeks after the initial 12 week scheme.
  • 8000 new public and transitional homes
  • An extra $3bn set aside to fund infrastructure projects on top of the $12bn already announced
  • $1.77bn boost for Defence
  • $1.6bn trades and apprenticeship training package
  • $1.1bn environmental jobs package – it is predicted to create 11,000 new jobs
  • $1bn to improve transport, including $667m on rail infrastructure
  • $900m support package for Māori, including $200m employment package and $400m increase to education
  • $833m to go towards disability support services
  • $400m to replace Interislander ferries
  • $400m tourism relief package
  • $195m Pacific communities support package
  • $130 to maintain New Zealand Post service levels
  • $56m boost to Warmer Kiwi Homes programme – will help an additional 9000 houses
  • $55.6m of aid spending for Pacific Island nations

Read the full wrap on where the money is going here.

Committed to 8,000 houses over the next 4-5 years (6000 public houses and 2000 transitional homes), that’s nothing like Kiwibuild but a bit of a boost.

An addition $3bn to fund “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, on top of the $12bn spend-up announced earlier this year.

No ‘helicopter’ cash handout.

More than $200 million to provide free lunches for one in four school children expanding the current lunch scheme from 8000 children to about 200,000 by the middle of next year. This is not really Covid related boost. Ok, it sort of is, it will help families who have been hard hit by the pandemic and create 2000 jobs.

Treasury is forecasting growth will shrink by a quarter in the three months ended June, dragging the annual growth rate to minus 4.6 percent.

For the following year growth is expected to shrink by 1 percent, after which it surges to more than 8 percent in 2022, halving over the next two years.

Unemployment is expected to come close to 10 percent in the middle of this year, before gradually reducing to just under 5 percent in three years.

Treasury says trade, business investment, and household consumption will all slide over the next year but will improve from 2021 onwards.

Except that it’s impossible to know what will happen with the world economy, with trade, and how that will affect New Zealand. So this is more guessing than usual from Treasury.

State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters says Budget 2020 is another milestone in securing the future of our rail system, and another step towards economic recovery.

Budget 2020 provides over $1.2 billion for rail, including:

  • $246 million to support investment in the track and supporting infrastructure.
  • $400 million to help replace the Interislander ferries and associated portside infrastructure.
  • $421 million for new wagons and locomotives.

Changes proposed through the Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill will also provide long-term certainty for rail by allowing network investment to be channelled through the National Land Transport Fund. Budget 2020 provides $148 million to support the fund to make these investments once the Bill has been passed.

Postal services maintained for Kiwis

Funding of $130 million from Budget 2020 will allow New Zealand Post to maintain service levels as it positions itself for the future of mail, while an equity injection of $150 million will also be provided from the Government’s COVID Response and Recovery Fund.

Aid spending boost in Budget 2020

Budget 2020 will deliver $55.6 million in additional funding for Vote Official Development Assistance, bolstering the New Zealand Aid Programme’s ability to help those most in need and bringing New Zealand’s overall ODA spend to almost .33 percent of forecasted Gross National Income in 2021.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the Government is backing Pacific Peoples with a $195 million Pacific package to support the recovery and rebuild of Pacific communities from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major investment in infrastructure projects

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has set aside $3 billion to fund infrastructure projects across the country. This is in addition to the Government’s $12b New Zealand Upgrade Programme and Provincial Growth Fund infrastructure investments.

Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) will inject fresh capital, confidence and jobs into our economic recovery as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Ministers will soon decide which projects to progress and consider advice from the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group (IRG) which has received a total of 1924 submissions across approximately 40 sectors with a combined value of $136b.

Rebuilding tourism together

A $400 million targeted Tourism Recovery Fund, alongside the extension of the Wage Subsidy Scheme and a domestic tourism campaign, assist the industry to recover and restart, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.

More Warmer Kiwi Homes

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund ensures an estimated 9,000 additional New Zealand houses will be Warmer Kiwi Homes with a $56 million boost to the Government’s insulation and heating programme.

8000 more public houses to be delivered

The Government will deliver an extra 8,000 new public and transitional homes through Budget 2020, in a move that will stimulate the residential construction sector, create jobs and reduce the housing shortage.

The additional housing places will be delivered by Kāinga Ora, Community Housing Providers and transitional housing providers. Kāinga Ora will finance its proportion of the additional 8000 places by increasing its borrowing over the next 4-5 years, anticipated to be approximately $5 billion. Budget 2020 delivers $570m of Income Related Rent Subsidy funding to support this build programme.

This investment is in addition to the 6,400 public housing homes currently being built, in the pipeline or otherwise delivered, and the 1,000 transitional homes announced in February as part of the Homelessness Action Plan. We are also providing $100m of income related rent subsidy funding to deliver 1,650 extra places ahead of schedule over the last two and a half years.

The extra 8,000 homes announced today will be split between approximately 6,000 public housing homes and 2,000 transitional homes.

Free trades training to support New Zealanders into work

Budget 2020 makes major investments jobs and training as we get New Zealand working again after the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package
  • $400 million in MSD Employment Support
  • $121 million for He Poutama Rangatahi
  • $19.3 million to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs

Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package

  • $334m funding for additional tertiary education enrolments
  • $320m targeted investment support for free trades training in critical industries
  • $412m support for employers to retain and keep training their apprentices
  • $276m funding for Workforce Development Councils and Regional Skills Leadership groups, to be established to give industry and regions a greater voice and help them respond to COVID-19
  • $141m to support high quality tertiary and trades education
  • $32m increased funding to meet demand in Trades Academies
  • $50m for a Māori Apprenticeships Fund
  • $19m for group training schemes to retain apprentices
  • $26m operating and capital for a new online careers advice system.

Today’s budget to deal with Covid inflicted economic challenges

The 2020 budget will be announced by Minister of Finance Grant Robertson at 2 pm today. It is one of the most unpredictable budgets in a long time, having to be re-written to address the unprecedented challenges in dealing with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some signals have already been made, with jobs and welfare priorities. Some budget decisions have already been announced, such as a big boost to hospital spending and a long overdue boost to spending on dealing with family violence, as wel as a rescue package for the racing industry. See:

  • Record investment in hospitals and health services
    Budget 2020 delivers the biggest ever increase in funding for District Health Boards, as well as additional funding to deliver approximately 153,000 more surgeries and procedures, radiology scans and specialist appointments to help clear the COVID-19 backlog.
  • Next steps to end family and sexual violence: Budget 2020
    The 2020 Budget includes significant support to stabilise New Zealand’s family violence services, whose work has been shown to be so essential throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
    $183.0 million over the next four years for the Ministry of Social Development to ensure continued access to specialist family violence services
  • Emergency support for Racing’s recovery
    Minister for Racing Winston Peters has announced a $72.5 million dollar COVID-19 emergency support package for the racing industry.

RNZ: What to expect from the 2020 Budget

It’s the “jobs” Budget and one that will come with a hefty price tag.

The driving priority of the 2020 Budget will be to make direct cash injections into industries such as tourism, to staunch the flow of job losses, reinvent the way the sector operates with the prospect of few customers from offshore, and to ensure viable businesses make it through the medium term.

The Budget will also give a much clearer picture of the impact on economic growth, unemployment and government debt.

Last week, Treasury figures for the nine months ended March showed the initial hit to the government’s finances from the pandemic.

The forecast surplus of $1.3 bn had turned into a deficit of $2.7 bn, as government expenses blew out by more than $4 bn as the first few weeks of the wage subsidy took effect.

Expectations are that government borrowing will mushroom by another $100 – $120 bn over the next four years, which would take the net debt ratio to something approaching 60 percent of GDP.

With such big numbers being thrown around and restrictive spending targets and prudence flying out the window opened by Covid around it is possible a number of ‘nice to have’ progressive type policies will be funded.

We will find out more this afternoon.

Initial Green Party list lacks gender, climate balance

Stuff have reported Green Party initial election list puts newcomer Teanau Tuiono ahead of several sitting MPs

An initial list for the Green Party puts activist Teanau Tuiono ahead of several sitting MPs in the party.

The Green Party list will dictate which of their MPs enter Parliament after the next election, should they win over five per cent of the vote.

The ranking of the list is voted on by members in two different stages – first by delegates at a conference for an initial list and then by all 7000 or so Green Party members closer to the election.

Tuiono was 16th on the Green list last election.

Due to two late withdrawals of male MPs from the list just before the last election the Greens have ended up with 2 male and six female MPs, and one of the males, Gareth Hughes, isn’t standing again. The try to have a balanced list, so they presumably have to have male candidates higher on the list than female MPs.

Tuiono is a veteran activist and education consultant who has worked at the United Nations and Massey University.

The initial list swaps the order of the co-leaders but this is likely to be a Greens having turns thing but also probably means a ministerial role for Davidson if they get back into Government with Labour.

  1. Marama Davidson
  2. James  Shaw
  3. Jan Logie
  4. Eugenie Sage
  5. Teanau Tuiono
  6. Julie Anne Genter
  7. Chlöe Swarbrick
  8. Golriz Ghahraman
  9. Elizabeth Kerekere (Tīwhanawhana Trust chair – “Tīwhanawhana Trust chair” – a takatāpui community group based in Wellington)
  10. Ricardo Menéndez March (Auckland Action Against Poverty activist)

Voted on be delegates, this is still gender unbalanced with only 2 the top 9 male. If Greens get the minimum MPs that’s 2 of 6.

With Hughes dropping out it also looks like more of a move towards social activism with less expertise in climate activism.

The final list could address this.


US: Turnout of voters matters more than swing voters, candidates or policies?

Polls are trying to analyse the wrong things – that’s why they can be inaccurate.

This is from the US two party polarised political system and may not apply so much under MMP in New Zealand, but it’s an interesting theory – it’s not swing voters who decide elections, and it’s not so much candidates and policies. US elections can be decided by which voters are most motivated to get out to stop the other side winning.

This would mean that in 2016 right wing voters were motivated more against Hilary Clinton winning than for Donald Trump. And left wing voters were more ambivalent, with many seeing both Clinton and trump as undesirable.

The 2018 mid-term election favoured Democrat candidates because the motivation to react against trump had strengthened (and there was no ‘Clinton’).

Politico: An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter

Rachel Bitecofer’s radical new theory predicted the midterms spot-on. So who’s going to win 2020?

What if there aren’t really American swing voters—or not enough, anyway, to pick the next president? What if it doesn’t matter much who the Democratic nominee is? What if there is no such thing as “the center,” and the party in power can govern however it wants for two years, because the results of that first midterm are going to be bad regardless?

What if the Democrats’ big 41-seat midterm victory in 2018 didn’t happen because candidates focused on health care and kitchen-table issues, but simply because they were running against the party in the White House?

What if the outcome in 2020 is pretty much foreordained, too?

To the political scientist Rachel Bitecofer, all of that is almost certainly true, and that has made her one of the most intriguing new figures in political forecasting this year.

Keep in mind that they invented political forecasters to make economic forecasters and weather forecasters look good.

Bitecofer, a 42-year-old professor at Christopher Newport University in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, was little known in the extremely online, extremely male-dominated world of political forecasting until November 2018. That’s when she nailed almost to the number the nature and size of the Democrats’ win in the House, even as other forecasters went wobbly in the race’s final days

And today her model tells her the Democrats are a near lock for the presidency in 2020, and are likely to gain House seats and have a decent shot at retaking the Senate.

Bitecofer’s theory, when you boil it down, is that modern American elections are rarely shaped by voters changing their minds, but rather by shifts in who decides to vote in the first place.

If she’s right, it wouldn’t just blow up the conventional wisdom; it would mean that much of the lucrative cottage industry of political experts—the consultants and pollsters and (ahem) the reporters—is superfluous, an army of bit players with little influence over the outcome. Actually, worse than superfluous: That whole industry of experts is generally wrong.

The experts do seem to be more often wrong than right.

The classic view is that the pool of American voters is basically fixed: About 55 percent of eligible voters are likely to go to the polls, and the winner is determined by the 15 percent or so of “swing voters” who flit between the parties. So a general election campaign amounts to a long effort to pull those voters in to your side.

“The idea that there is this informed, engaged American population that is watching these political events and watching their elected leaders and assessing their behavior and making a judgment.”

“And it is just not true.”

In 2016, the election that truly embarrassed the experts, Bitecofer was teaching in her new job and didn’t put together a forecast. She doesn’t pretend she saw it coming:

She says she was as surprised Trump won as anyone else, but what struck her in examining the results, and what she saw as getting lost in the postelection commentary, was exactly how many people voted third party—for the Greens, the Libertarians or Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative who was running on behalf of the “Never Trump” wing of the Republican Party.

Hillary Clinton had run an entire campaign built around classic assumptions: She was trying to pick off Republicans and Republican-leaning independents appalled by Trump. So she chose a bland white man, Tim Kaine, as a running mate; it also explained her policy-lite messaging and her ads.

But in the end, almost all of those voters stuck with the GOP. The voters who voted third party should have been Democratic voters—they were disproportionately young, diverse and college educated—but they were turned off by the divisive Democratic primary, and the Clinton camp made no effort to activate them in the general election.

The anti-Clinton vote was stronger than the WTF anti-Trump vote.

When 2018 rolled around, she saw what was coming: “College educated white men, and especially college educated white women,” she said, “were going to be on fucking fire.”

It didn’t matter who was running; it mattered who was voting.

Negative partisanship

Bitecofer’s view of the electorate is driven, in part, by a new way to think about why Americans vote the way they do. She counts as an intellectual mentor Alan Abramowitz, a professor of political science at Emory University who popularized the concept of “negative partisanship,” the idea that voters are more motivated to defeat the other side than by any particular policy goals.

In a piece explaining his work in POLITICO Magazine, Abramowitz wrote: “Over the past few decades, American politics has become like a bitter sports rivalry, in which the parties hang together mainly out of sheer hatred of the other team, rather than a shared sense of purpose.

Republicans might not love the president, but they absolutely loathe his Democratic adversaries. And it’s also true of Democrats, who might be consumed by their internal feuds over foreign policy and the proper role of government were it not for Trump.”

Bitecofer took this insight and mapped it across the country.

“In the polarized era, the outcome isn’t really about the candidates. What matters is what percentage of the electorate is Republican and Republican leaners, and what percentage is Democratic and Democratic leaners, and how they get activated,” she said.

But it must be more complex than this.

“It’s the big discussion in election forecasting and political science right now,” said Kyle Kondik, communications director at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and an editor at its forecasting site, Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “As I look at it, there are just a lot of different things going on in the electorate. There are a lot of folks who switched from Obama 2012 to Trump 2016. I think that’s pretty clear, but there also were turnout problems for Democrats in these places, and you had people switching or defecting to third parties. The more you learn about this stuff, the less you feel like you have a grasp on it.”

Sam Wang, a neuroscientist at Princeton University who since 2004 has doubled as an elections forecaster…agrees. The percentage of people who swing in and out of the electorate is closer to 10 percent, according to his data, which couldn’t explain the massive swings some counties saw from 2012 to 2016.

As for Bitecofer’s overall theory, Wang says, “It is the detailed version of something that is generally appreciated—that over the last 20 years the big phenomenon in American politics is that Americans have become much more predictable about who they vote for,” he said. “The broad insight is the deep truth of our time, but it is not that novel.”

This bit seems odd – election results are virtually decided before candidates are known.

“What I am saying is that almost all of this shit is set in stone for three years, that almost none of the shit that people are hanging onto, in terms of daily articles, or polls, or the economy or incumbency or ideology is really worth that much.”

Once you know the shape of the electorate, she argues, you can pretty much tell how that electorate is going to vote. And the shape of the electorate in 2018, and 2020, for that matter, was determined on the night of November 8, 2016. The new electorate, as she forecasts it, is made up mostly of people who want a president named anything but Donald Trump, competing with another group that fears ruin should anyone but Donald Trump be president.

But if Hillary Clinton suddenly entered this year’s presidential nomination race and was selected surely that would change things considerably. Maybe. Now left wing voters have experienced Trump in action as president voting against him may be stronger than voting against Clinton.

Although the ranks of independents are growing, up to 40 percent by some surveys, Bitecofer says campaigns have spent entirely too much time courting them, and the media has spent entirely too much caring about their preferences. The real “swing” doesn’t come from voters who choose between two parties, she argues, but from people who choose to vote, or not (or, if they do vote, vote for a third party).

The actual percentage of swing voters in any given national election according to her own analysis is closer to 6 or 7 percent than the 15 or 20 most analysts think are out there, and that larger group, Bitecofer says, are “closet partisans” who don’t identify with a party but still vote with one.

It should be easier to motivate people to vote who already lean your way than swinging someone from one side to the other.

This year’s election?

Bitecofer has already released her 2020 model, and is alone among election forecasters in giving the Democrats—who, of course, do not yet have a nominee—the 270 electoral votes required to claim the presidency without a single toss-up state flipping their way.

And in a view that goes against years of accepted political wisdom that says the choice of a running mate doesn’t much matter, the key she says, to a 2020 Democratic victory will lie less in who is at the top of the ticket than in who gets chosen as veep.

The reason Trump won in 2016 was not, she says, because of a bunch of disaffected blue-collar former Democrats in the Midwest; it is because a combination of Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin pulled away more than 6 percent of voters in a state like Michigan. These were anti-Hillary voters, yes—but they were anti-Trump voters especially, and they are likely to come to the Democratic fold this time around if they’re given a reason.

Trump appears to understand Bitecofer’s theories as well as anyone in politics. He leans into the divisions and negative partisanship. In 2018, Trump turned the midterms into a referendum on him, warning that Democrats would bring crime and chaos into their neighborhoods if they won. There was a turnout surge among Trump voters in some places, but it wasn’t enough to offset the Democratic gains.

Bitecofer already sees the Trump playbook coming together for 2020: warning of a demographic takeover by nonwhites in order to boost turnout among noncollege white voters, and trying to sow chaos in the Democratic ranks so that supporters of a losing primary candidate either stay home or support a third-party candidate.

Bitecofer doesn’t see much of a downside to a candidate like Bernie Sanders. But she doesn’t see much of an upside either, since ideology isn’t as big a motivator as identity, and since Sanders did not in fact bring hordes of new voters to the polls in 2016.

There is some risk to nominating Joe Biden, who could be seen as a candidate of the status quo against a disrupter like Trump, but either way, the key will be to do their version of what Trump does to them every day: make the prospect of four more years of Republican rule seem like a threat to the Republic, one that could risk everything Democratic-leaning voters hold dear.

“If you want to win the election, you have to be able to frame your candidacy in a way that reminds voters that Trump is an abnormality that must be excised,” she said.

While the Trump campaign playbook is well known now, the Democrats are just getting into the serious part of nominating a candidate. How they will campaign is unknown. Surely they can still stuff things up as the Clinton campaign did.

But those who may be motivated to vote against Trump may already be largely determined. Perhaps.


Waitangi Day 2020

I’m a long way from Waitangi day geographically  – it seems to be a northern Māori and politician dominated event.

I’ve always been quite  distance from it emotionally as well, never having felt much of a connection to the occasion.

And I’m not much into pomp and ceremony either.

That’s the context for a few talking points.

I presume most of the political posturing is over, that seems to be what some of them do in the preceding days.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has read ‘her prayer’ at the dawn service.

“Today we pray for our people, our history, and our future”.

I guess she has to say something like that, but I’ve never been into praying, I’d prefer religion was left out of things in a secular country.

“On this 180th Waitangi Day let us pledge to take us across the bridge between two peoples”.

“Give us the courage to learn to walk comfortably in each others shoes”.

“May we unite in kindness and care toward one another”.

‘Pledge’ sounds better. This sounds a bit flowery but ok, except that “across the bridge between two people” suggests quite a divide, and I think things are a lot more complex “two peoples” – there are many families of ‘two peoples’, or three or more.

There’s some pretty stark ‘them and us’ stuff obvious in places like Kiwiblog comments, but we would be better off for looking at common ground and common purpose more. This means accepting more Māori culture and input but I think that is good and necessary, to go with whatever other cultures that have been imported and have evolved.

And problems that affect Māori more, and have struggled with imported type solutions that haven’t solved things, should try more of a Māori orientated approach, including al of health, education, social welfare and crime.

What does Waitangi Day mean to you? He aha te tikanga o te Rangi o Waitangi ki a koe?

As I said, not much, but Stuff give Mai Chen, Jim Bolger, Jeremy Wells, Meng Foon, Matthew Tukaki, Mike Smith, Jeremy Corbett and Georgina Beyer a say.