Sign up to ‘our values’

ACT MP David Seymour says that refuges should sign up to ‘our values’. This sounds like a populist poke.

NZH: Refugees should sign-up to our values, says Act’s David Seymour

Act Party leader David Seymour welcomed the quota’s increase to 1000 from 2018 – but said new arrivals should sign a “statement of commitment to New Zealand values”, including freedom of speech, and respect for women and those of different sexualities.

“Countries like Australia and Belgium require immigrants to sign a statement of commitment to national values. A New Zealand Values Statement could include a commitment to respect the basic freedoms that make this country a wonderful place to live.”

Seymour doesn’t seem to have explained how a set of ‘our values’ might be defined, how a pledge to uphold the standards would work in practice.

There is no way a values pledge could be enforced, it would be futile with changes of attitudes and could not do anything about children of refugees.

Who would define what values should be pledged to? The commenters at Kiwiblog?  Authors at Whale Oil? Commenters at The Daily Blog? Authors at Boots Theory?

As a country we couldn’t have a civil discussion and decision on what our flag should look like. I don’t see much chance of defining values that new citizens must pledge to.

And what about existing citizens and the values they live by?

Shouldn’t New Zealand citizens all endeavour to set an example by which refugees and immigrants could follow by examplke?

 

Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill

Act MP David Seymour unsuccessfully tried to introduce his End of Life Choice Bill “to be debated as members’ order of the day No. 1 on the first members’ day after the Health Committee reports back to the House on its inquiry into the petition of Maryan Street and 8,974 others”.

An objection denied leave for this to proceed.

Draft transcript:

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): Martin Hames was sick and knew he would get sicker. He took his own life alone not wanting to implicate anybody else in his death. He did it much earlier than he would have liked because he knew that the advancing condition of Huntington’s disease would prevent him from later taking such action.

People like Martin Hames find themselves ill and beyond the help of palliative care, and the Supreme Court of Canada describes them as having two options: they can take their own life prematurely, as he did, often by violent or dangerous means or they can suffer until they die from natural causes.

As the Supreme Court said, that choice is cruel. This cruel choice is not just a legal construct from a foreign court; it is all too real for New Zealanders.

Palliative care has advanced well in the past 20 years but, as the High Court admitted just last year, unfortunately it does not work for everybody, and, sadly, 10 percent of suicides by older New Zealanders are by those with terminal illnesses.

There needs to be a more compassionate option in New Zealand, and it is time for Parliament to debate and vote on assisted dying legislation. The democratic mandate for Parliament to do this is very, very large.

In a Colmar Brunton poll last year, 75 percent supported assisted dying legislation. There are few issues in any political time that three-quarters of New Zealanders support, yet that is the case with assisted dying legislation.

Last year close to 9,000 people signed a petition leading to a parliamentary inquiry on this issue. I hope that inquiry, currently before the Health Committee, will produce a high-quality report clarifying many facets of the issue for New Zealanders, but it cannot produce a bill that Parliament must debate and vote on.

There is, however, currently a member’s bill in the ballot. My End of Life Choice Bill is targeted towards cases of highest need and includes strong safeguards. It gives people with terminal illnesses a compassionate option.

To be clear, a law change will not result in more people dying but in fewer people suffering. Evidence from Europe finds that, on average, assisted deaths shorten a person’s life by only 10 days.

Crucially, this practice is already happening in New Zealand but in a far less safeguarded way. Auckland medical school research has found 4.5 percent of GPs surveyed on their most recent dying patient found that it was from a drug administered explicitly to hasten death.

The End of Life Choice Bill would, instead, put the patient in charge, allowing them to make a safer choice under the protection of the law.

For many, the strength of potential safeguards will be the deciding factor in supporting change, and although the issues are complex, I refuse to believe that it is impossible for a Parliament as mature and functional as ours to agree on a set of safeguards for this legislation.

I understand there are parliamentarians who oppose assisted dying no matter what, and I do not demand their support for the End of Life Choice Bill.

All I ask is for the rest of Parliament to have the chance to debate and vote upon the issue. In the Lecretia Seales case, the High Court said that leaving the choice to the courts would be “trespassing on the role of Parliament and departing on the constitutional role of judges in New Zealand.”

It is not that the judge said that he disagreed with Ms Seales’ application to die on her terms and at her timing; he simply said it was up to us to make that decision about what the law should be.

The time has come for us colleagues to do our job. To continue avoiding this debate would be a disservice to the people we purport to represent. New Zealanders deserve a Parliament unafraid to confront an issue that is on legal, moral, and democratic grounds critically important to them.

I seek leave to introduce my End of Life Choice Bill to be debated as members’ order of the day No. 1 on the first members’ day after the Health Committee reports back to the House on its inquiry into the petition of Maryan Street and 8,974 others.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought for that course of action. Is there any objection? There is objection.

While there were not many MPs in the House when leave was sought to introduce the Bill there only seemed to be one who object.

ACT shift on climate change

The ACT Party appears to be shifting it’s stance on climate change, with reports that the ACT Climate Change Policy is no longer available on their website.

At the same time leader David Seymour launched an attack on the Green Party, saying the Greens had done “bugger all for the environment”.

Stuff reports: ACT deletes climate change policy from their website

ACT has removed their climate change policy from their website…

The 2008 policy, which claimed New Zealand was not warming and pledged to withdraw the country from the Kyoto Protocol, was unavailable on the ACT Party’s website as of Friday evening.

From the first page of the policy:

ACTClimateChange2008

“New Zealand is not warming” will be harder to argue in 2016.

Seymour describes himself as a climate lukewarmer.

“I believe it is real, and a portion of it is manmade, but I question the extent to which it is dangerous.”

“Since the industrial revolution we’ve increased the concentration of C02 by about 100 part per million. No question about that.”

“I think it is time for a slightly more intelligent debate. Otherwise its a bit like being back in the playground – ‘Are you are a denier or are you a good person?’ It’s all a bit puerile.”

“It’s actually a scientific debate – and quite a complex one.”

Warmer versus denier is a puerile way to debate climate change but good versus bad is common in politics.

With climate change the arguments seem to be more bad versus don’t care, bad versus good, bad versus good and bad, bad versus no point in trying.

Most people will agree that the science of climate change is very complex, and most probably agree that potential mitigation or solutions are difficult and complex.

Seymour has called for “a more scientific and mature discussion of the issue”. Once the ACT Party have done that they may come up with a more scientific and mature climate change policy.

Hooton: on ACT’s strategies

Matthew Hooton, a committed supporter of and voter for the ACT Party, gave a speech at  their annual conference.

He closed his speech by outlining how he saw their prospects, and implored them to put his political dream into practice.

John Key has no choice but the reindorse David Seymour in Epsom in 2017 – pretty much no matter what David and Act do between now and then. That is true if Act is around zero in the party vote, in which case Epsom creates an overhang. More optimistically, it is even more true if you get yourselves up to 2%, 3% or – most powerfully in terms of a Key endorsement – the magic 4.9%. If you get above 5%, of course, then maybe my poor old friend Paul Goldsmith should get a chance.

Key has choices about ACT and Epsom, but it is very likely he will make it easy for Seymour to retain Epsom.

Your best strategy over the next 17 months before the election is to more clearly distinguish yourself from National. David Seymour, at great personal cost, made that strategy possible when he turned down a higher-paying minister’s job to avoid being more tightly bound to National under cabinet collective responsibility. I’ve never heard of a politician making that decision before. It speaks to David’s integrity.

That done, what would happen, for example, if you declared you would not vote for a Budget that expanded Steven Joyce’s corrupt corporate welfare machine, or that included more money for Murray McCully’s corrupt Saudi sheep bribe? I’ll tell you what would happen in terms of policy: Any plans to expand corporate welfare or fly more sheep over to the Saudi desert would be dropped from the Budget.

Except that ACT have a Confidence and Supply agreement with National – “ACT New Zealand agrees to provide confidence and supply for the term of this Parliament to a National-led Government in return for National’s agreement to the policy programme and other matters set out in this document. ”

2014 ACT Party Confidence and Supply Agreement [PDF 68k] (PDF)

ACT have an agreement that guarantees they will vote for budgets. It would be drastic and potentially damaging for them politically if they broke that agreement. Seymour won’t do that.

And I’ll tell you what would happen in terms of the Epsom guarantee: Absolutely nothing, except the people of Epsom would be more likely to vote for David Seymour even without a National endorsement. John Key is not going to say “that David Seymour stopped me flying more sheep to Saudi Arabia so I’m going to chuck him under the bus and jeopardise my fourth term” anymore than he might say “that damn Maori Party won’t back me on the TPP so that’s the end of my relationship with them and we’ll just have to have a Labour government”.

Moreover, around the country, Act would gain respect from genuinely small government people who don’t like the big government corruption we are seeing from the elements in the current government. And that means John Key’s need to endorse David Seymour again would only grow.

ACT would lose respect from those who see Confidence and Supply agreements as very important for stable government and for reliable small party support.

Look to one of the parties you are effectively in coalition with, the Maori Party. Depending on the poll, it’s doing about six times better than you with the voters. As I understand it, it votes against the National Party in parliament more than Labour. And, when it makes a fuss about that, it goes up in the polls because that is what its constituency wants.

But the Maori Party has never broken a confidence and supply agreement as far as I am aware.

Yet the Maori Party has a perfectly good relationship with John Key because the one thing he understands is realpolitik. He understands that the Maori Party may well be essential to his fourth term, and he understands the Maori Party has to do what the Maori Party has to do to be there after September next year

Now, you’ve got at least one of my votes tied up – usually including the party vote – so you shouldn’t really take advice from me, because I’m a dead cert.

But here’s what I think anyway. The people who don’t vote for you now, but may vote for you in 2017, don’t want you to do anything to jeopardise John Key’s fourth term.

Like threaten a confidence and supply agreement?

They want you to support him. But they also want to see you fight him. They want to see you fight Steven Joyce’s corrupt corporate welfare machine. They want to see you fight Murray McCully’s corrupt Saudi sheep deal. They want to see you fight Bill English’s plans to knock down houses and rebuild Auckland in the form Wellington planners say is best for us.

They want to see you fight a government that has raised benefits but has no concrete plans for tax cuts; a government which has borrowed more money than the net total of all previous New Zealand governments combined; a government which may deliver one surplus and then send us back into deficit again; a government which is proud to have no interest in addressing issues of an ageing population.

They want to see you fight a government which has failed to reform the Resource Management Act, and one which remains far too beholden to indulgence seekers, whether Sky City Casino or powerful iwi bosses.

They will want to see you fight a government that almost certainly plans to corruptly allocate water to existing users rather than more fairly to people with new ideas, because it is a government beholden to the lobbyists from Fonterra and Federated Farmers.

These are the sorts of thing that will drive your party vote up. It is what will make Epsom a genuinely Act seat rather than something of a gift. And those things together mean John Key will have no choice but to ensure you win Epsom again.

Perhaps.

If a single MP ACT tail tries to wag a 59 MP National dog to much there will be political risks. If National are not reliant on whatever numbers ACT can offer after the next election to make up numbers then National may not risk a disloyal coalition partner very much, if anything.

If National have to reach a coalition agreement with a 10-15 strong NZ First party in order to retain power and don’t need ACT’s numbers then the importance of ACT, and probably the necessity of ACT, will be significantly diminished.

ACT have to differentiate themselves from National without over reaching and without putting confidence and supply loyalty in doubt.

That’s a challenge for a tiny party on the fringe that has no option but to partner up with National if they want to be a part of the Government.

Like I said at the outset, it’s a complex relationship you have with John Key. But you have absolutely nothing to lose, and nothing to fear, from building on the successes of the last year to more strongly advocate for the things you believe, which just happen to be the things New Zealand continues to so desperately need.

Seymour and ACT should certainly “more strongly advocate for the things you believe”, that’s advice that could be given to any party.

But it’s imperative they increase their party vote substantially.

If voters think that ACT may be unreliable, may try to wield power disproportionate to their vote, then they may just choose National as a safer option. Or NZ First.

Source at Voxy: Matthew Hooton speech to ACT Conference

Hooton: ACT and the median voter model

Matthew Hooton, a committed supporter of and voter for the ACT Party, gave a speech at  their annual conference.

He explained the ‘median voter model’, how John Key uses it, and how ACT should act against the drift left.

Well, we have a prime minister who is applying the median voter model more rigorously than any other I can think of anywhere in the world. And, as Labour heads ever more to the extreme left, John Key will follow them, because that’s what the median voter says to do. It’s not his fault that Labour’s not playing the same game.

The median voter model says Labour should head to the centre but they’re not. But, given that, the median voter model says John Key should allow them all the way to the extreme left and that is what he will do left unchecked, because that’s what the model says he should do.

So Act’s role is to have enough gravitational pull on the right to try to at least slow John Key’s inevitable and logical drift to the left, eventually maybe even stop it and keep him in a steady state or – here’s hoping – one day even pull him slightly back towards sound policy.

ACT can only have a significant impact on this if they have the numbers, and 1 isn’t anywhere near enough to do anything other than dabble on the fringe.

ACT’s numbers history:

  • 1996: 6.10%, 8 MPs – 1 electorate (Richard Prebble) and 7 list
  • 1999: 7.04%, 7 list MPs
  • 2002: 7.14%, 9 list MPs
  • 2005: 1.51%, 2 MPs – 1 electorate (Rodney Hide) and 1 list
  • 2008: 3.65%, 5 MPs – 1 electorate (Rodney Hide) and 4 list
  • 2011: 1.07%, 1 electorate MP (John Banks)
  • 2014: 0.69%, 1 electorate MP (David Seymour)

So ACT took a dive in 2005, recovered partly in 2008 but plummeted when Don Brash took over the leadership and waned some more during John Banks’ eventful term that ended with no ACT MP in Parliament.

Seymour has impressed many so looks likely to hold onto his electorate seat, but rebuilding party vote will be a challenge.

Possibly in their favour will be a decline in National’s vote (if it happens this term) that will give them more seats and power (providing National can form a government again after the 2017 election) and National proportionally less power.

But it will also depend on other numbers. If either or both Peter Dunne and the Maori Party make up critical coalition numbers that weakens ACT’s position.

If NZ First also join a National led coalition, which would presumably be with substantially more MPs than ACT (they currently have 12 and going by current polls look likely to maintain that sort of number).

So ACT’s future power is reliant on their own recovery of party support, plus how the numbers fall for all other parties.

Source at Voxy: Matthew Hooton speech to ACT Conference

Hooton: on John Key and National’s raison d’etre

Matthew Hooton, a committed supporter of and voter for the ACT Party, gave a speech at  their annual conference.

He opened it with a review of some of John Key’s political history, compared and contrasted him to Lee Kuan Yew,  and explained National’s raison d’etre – the most important reason or purpose for their existence.

This speech is about the complex relationship, that I think most of us in this room have, with John Key – and how Act might manage it better to your advantage in the future. The relationship is complex because, on one hand, John Key has massively exceeded any reasonable expectations as Prime Minister. But, in another way of looking at things, he’s also failed to live up to them.

John Key first came to prominence when he smashed Michael Cullen in the finance spokesmen’s debate in 2005, when he was broadly and largely loyally promoting Don Brash’s economic policy. And it became pretty clear he would become the next leader of the National Party when he gave an insightful speech on Singapore to the Auckland National Party conference in 2006.

To those of us in our 40s, who are now grey-haired, our political awakening had happened with the liberating social and economic changes of the mid 1980s and early 1990s. But we had to accept that if John Key was positioning himself to be New Zealand’s Lee Kuan Yew he wasn’t going to be the radical free-market liberal we might want.

But, if he were to be Lee Kuan Yew, he would be extremely ambitious for New Zealand. He would radically invest in infrastructure. He’d be an enemy of welfarism and sloth. He’d ensure New Zealand was open to the world and lightly regulated, at least in an economic if not a social sense. He’d be one of those driven, Asian-style, uniting yet transformational leaders. When it comes to the Lee Kuan Yew test, you can really only give him a “C” – maybe a “C+” on a good day.

But in New Zealand’s current circumstances and our MMP environment a Lee Kuan Yew type government is out of the question. Wikipedia summarises LKY’s rule in Singapore:

Lee is recognised as the founding father of independent Singapore, with the country being described as transitioning from the “third world to the first world in a single generation” under his leadership.

With overwhelming parliamentary control, Lee and his cabinet oversaw Singapore’s transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources to an Asian Tiger economy. In the process, he forged an effective system of meritocratic and highly efficient government and civil service. Many of his policies are now taught at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Lee eschewed populist policies in favor of pragmatic long-term social and economic measures. With meritocracy and multiracialism as the governing principles, Lee made English the common language to integrate its immigrant society and to facilitate trade with the West. However, Lee also mandated bilingualismin schools for students to preserve their mother-tongue cultural identity.

Lee’s rule was criticised, particularly in the West, for curtailing civil liberties (public protests, media control) and bringing libel suits against political opponents. He argued that such disciplinary measures were necessary for political stability, which together with rule of law, were essential for economic progress.

Back to Hooton and political reality in New Zealand.

But, on the other hand, as you get grey haired, the importance of reigniting the excitement of radical reform declines a bit. And it’s replaced with the over-riding need to keep the absolute lunatics in an Andrew Little-Grant Robertson-Matt McCartern-Metiria Turei-James Shaw-Winston Peters-Te Ururoa Flavell-Marama Fox-Hone Harawira-Laila Harre coalition out of office.

These are people who are mainlining their international trade policy from Jane Kelsey. They have been running around promoting an economic model from Tufts University, which I had never heard of, that assumes that all labour and capital is perfectly immobile.

Under this model, the people who lost their jobs in 1998 at the Mitsubishi Plant in Porirua, the Nissan plant at Wiri, the Honda plant in Nelson and the Toyota plant in Thames are apparently still going to work each day, carrying their lunchboxes, and they sit staring at the machinery with which to assemble cars, and then go home at the end of the day. And they have been doing this for 18 years now, because, you know, labour and capital are perfectly immobile.

Under Labour’s Tuft’s University model, no worker ever gets a new job. No machinery is ever decommissioned or used for something else. No one ever innovates or responds to new circumstances in any way. And this is seriously the sort of economic assumption that Labour and the Greens have been using to say the TPP would be bad for New Zealand. So keeping those lunatics away from office is absolutely paramount.

You could say – again when you are feeling charitable – that John Key has been like Lee Kuan Yew in establishing political hegemony for his party in New Zealand. And you could also say, that that’s what the National Party is for. It’s why it was formed: to keep Labour out of power.

And so there is absolutely no point in being critical of Mr Key for doing exactly what his party was formed to do. And he is doing it with extraordinary success, compared with Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley, especially given MMP. And he is doing it without quite lurching all the way to full-scale Muldoonery, although only because Steven Joyce hasn’t got there yet.

Hooton goes on to say that in it’s role to keep the left out of Government National will get dragged more to the left as Labour goes further left.

And he says that it’s ACT’s job to minimise this leftward move, stop it, and try to pull back to the right if it can.

Source at Voxy: Matthew Hooton speech to ACT Conference

ACT versus Greens on air travel

It’s ACT’s annual conference this weekend and leader and sole MP David Seymour has used the media attention to take a swipe at Green MP hypocrisy over air travel.

He says that the Green MPs spend more on air travel and less on surface travel than any other MPs.

He gives these figures for average three months of air travel per MP (excluding cabinet ministers):

  • Greens $7992
  • Labour $7790
  • National $5493
  • NZ First $5998

In his conference speech:

But slowly I became disillusioned with the leaders of the environmental movement.  Partly due to their hypocrisy.

A student once told me he voted Green because he saw Nandor Tanczos catching a train in the middle of the night, when nobody was watching.  How things have changed.

When I flew up to Waitangi this month there was a Green MP on the plane up and another one on the plane back down.  Do they not know that there are buses from Auckland to the Bay of Islands?

Julie-Anne Genter likes to tell everybody she lives on Mt Eden road so she can catch a bus to the airport.  Really Julie-Anne?  What do you catch when you get there?

You might think I’m just picking anecdotes but here’s the thing.  Last quarter Green MPs spent more on air travel than New Zealand First MPs.  More than National MPs, and even a smidgen more than Labour MPs.  All but three Labour MPs have electorates to get back to.  Where do the Greens go?

They talk about buses and trains but they spent less on surface travel than any other party’s MPs.

Co-leader James Shaw likes to tell people he used to help businesses reduce their air travel.  The Green Party must be his hardest client.

This is the party that flew three MPs to Paris to talk about climate change.  I could go on.

NZ Herald reports: Act attacks Green Party over air miles

The Green Party are hypocrites given their MPs’ spending on flights, Act leader David Seymour says.

Mr Seymour said the latest release of expenses shows that in October, November and December the average Green MP spent $7992 on air travel — the highest average amongst political parties.

Seymour spent $7442 on his air travel but says that Green co-leader James Shaw spent nearly twice as much,  $14,425.

The Greens have responded:

“Attacking our MPs’ use of air travel is a boring, standard line that the extreme right resort to nearly every year.

“Air travel is a reality for MPs who work hard, especially for those who don’t live in Wellington. It’s also caucus policy to offset all our air miles.”

Shaw lives in Wellington. Seymour’s Epsom electorate is in  Auckland.

ACT preview annual conference

ACT Party’s ‘Free Press’ previews their annual conference – but there is no mention of when it is or where it is. You have to follow a link to a registration page and then search down the page to find out.

Saturday 27 February 2016 from 9.00 am till 5.00 pm at Orakei Bay, wherever that is.

Strong Communities and Free People
All of the speakers have one thing in common.  They don’t just talk about making New Zealand a better place, they’ve all been active and successful at doing it.  We’re proud to host them because they show it’s not always politicians and their grand government schemes that make New Zealand a better place, but that true compassion means directly helping.

Ruth Money
The country’s leading victims’ advocate.  As a volunteer she has assisted victims of some of the highest profile cases in recent times with navigating the justice system.  ACT has always advocated putting victims’ rights first and Ruth is at the forefront of not only talking about how victims can be better supported (which she’ll do at the conference) but actively supporting them on her own time.

Dame Lesley Max
Co-founder and CEO of the Great Potentials Foundation and creator of the HIPPY and MATES programs.  Since its foundation, ACT has advocated strong community organisations solving social problems where the Government doesn’t always get it right.  We are honoured to host one of New Zealand’s leading social entrepreneurs at our conference.

Lindsay Mitchell
Lindsay’s blog is a recognised authority on welfare reform.  As an assiduous researcher she is the best person in the country recount what National’s reforms have and haven’t achieved over the past eight years, and what the nest steps for reducing child poverty should be.

Michael Littlewood
Recently retired from the University of Auckland’s Retirement Policy and Research Centre, Michael Littlewood has been at the forefront of the superannuation debate in New Zealand since the early 1990s.  ACT believes that John Key and all other leaders have been too eager to kick the retirement can down the road, and we’re proud to host a definitive expert on the subject at our conference.

Matthew Hooton
New Zealand’s best free market commentator, Matthew’s weekly National Business Review column is compulsory reading for many on the right.  Matthew reminds us that New Zealand once led the world at free market reform, and that National have done little to roll back Helen Clark’s legacy of government expansionism.

David Seymour
Our leader’s keynote address will focus on the four P’s of free market environmentalism, Pricing, Property Rights, Prosperity, and Private Initiative.  For too long environmentalism has been confused with government intervention when all the evidence worldwide shows it is free societies that make the best environmental custodians.

Sonare on the Orakei Basin (and a Tesla Roadster)
If all of that is too much, you will be entertained by Auckland jazz band Sonare on the edge of the beautiful Orakei Basin.  Free Press also understands that, on the Smart Green theme, Tesla will be offering rides in their electric super car, the Tesla Roadster.

Davis Seymour’s success since being elected in 2014 should encourage a good and enthusiastic turnout. ACT need some good candidates to back Seymour up and try and rebuild their party vote.

Recent election results:

  • 2014: 0.69% (16,689 votes)
  • 2011: 1.07% (23,889 votes)
  • 2008: 3.65% (85.496 votes)

In 2008 National defeated Labour with 44.93 % and have increased their vote since then, probably partly at ACT’s expense.

If National support starts to slip, Seymour continues his impressive performance and ACT get some good candidates they could reverse their sliding trend and get one or two more MPs in 2017.

Party prospects

What are party prospects leading up to next year’s election? It’s a long time in politics until we vote again so there’s many things that could affect the overall outcome and the outcome for individual parties.

Has Been and Never Been

The 5% threshold is making it pretty much impossible for a small or new party to get into Parliament on party vote. This is by design by the large parties, successfully keeping small parties shut out.

Mana Party

Mana took a punt on Kim Dotcom’s big money last election and crashed badly, losing their only electorate and failing to attract combined party vote. Hone Harawira seems to have disappeared from public view, and the Mana Party website seems to have also disappeared. Their chances of revival look unlikely, and their chances of success again are also unlikely.

Internet Party

The Internet Party had large funds and little credibility last election. Dotcom acknowledged afterwards that he was politically toxic. Without his money and presence and media pulling power the party continues – their website remains – but is ignored and will find it difficult to get anywhere, which is a shame because they had some interesting ideas on inclusive democracy.

Conservative Party

With heaps of money and media attention last election Colin Craig and his Conservatives could only manage about 4%. After last year’s major upheaval it’s unlikely they will get half that next time. Craig is severely damaged politically and socially and would struggle to lead the Conservatives to 2% next time. There is no obvious alternative leader.

The Strugglers

UnitedFuture

As a party UnitedFuture has faded just about completely. It is still operating but without a major input of money and new personal I don’t see any change. The only option for UF is for outsiders to see an opportunity to use an existing party to get a foothold in Parliament rather than start from scratch, but even then success would be dependent on Peter Dunne  retaining his Ohariu electorate. I think Dunne must be close to considering retiring, and if he does UF will retire or expire.

ACT Party

ACT have defied critics and survived the Don Brash and John Banks disasters due to the success of one person, David Seymour. I think Seymour is odds on to retain Epsom next year (deservedly) so ACT is likely to survive. National and possibly Conservative vote must be up for grabs, but it will depend on ACT coming up with additional electable candidates to make an increased party vote attractive. Jamie Whyte didn’t work out, but with Seymour anchoring the party they may attract strong candidates who would then stand a good chance of success through an improved party vote.

Maori Party

The Maori Party continue to be quiet achievers. They should be able to retain at Te Ururoa Flavell’s electorate seats and their first list MP Marama Fox has made a quick impact. They stand a chance of picking up ex Mana Maori votes so have some chance of getting more seats via their list. Further electorate prospects will depend on candidate quality. The Maori Party could also be impacted negatively by a Labour resurgence if that ever happens.

The Over Threshold Parties

New Zealand First

It’s difficult to predict NZ First’s future. It is very dependant on Winston Peters. He had a major success early last year by winning the Northland buy election but hasn’t dome much since then. He could just be pacing himself, rebuilding energy and drive for next year’s election campaign. Or he could be running out of puff – that’s been predicted before but so far he has managed to keep coming back.

Installing Ron Mark as deputy could be a problem for NZ First. The rest of the party has been generally out if sight, but Mark is an ambitious attention seeker, and the attention he gets is often uncomplimentary. He could deter voters.

But if Winston remains NZ First should remain after next year’s election. Peters may or may not retain Northland, but the party should be good for 5-10% party vote if he is still in the race.

Green Party

The Green Party have successfully weathered another leadership change. They had built their vote and presence but were disappointed to not gain ground last election despite Labour’s vote shrinking. Greens are assured of retaining a place in Parliament but may find it challenging to increase or even retain their current numbers if Labour recovers and increases their vote. And Greens need Labour to improve substantially to give them a chance of having their first stint in Government.

Greens should be able to stay above 10% but may be cemented as a good sized small party rather than becoming the growing force they have ambitions of being.

Labour Party

Labour have to improve their support significantly or it will either be difficult for them to get back into Government or it will be difficult for them to govern with Greens and NZ First pulling them in different directions, possible apart.

It would be unlikely for Labour to switch leaders yet again, that would be damaging, so they need Andrew Little to step up. That hasn’t happened yet. They are playing a risky strategy of keeping a low profile while they consult constituencies and rebuild policies. They really have to be looking like a possible alternate Government by the middle of this year. They need to somehow get back 5-10% support.

They are banking on Little growing into his leadership role. He can only be a contrast to John Key, but so far he looks more out of his depth rather than swimming competitively on the surface.

Labour are also banking on their ‘Future of Work’ policy development. It’s a good focus for a labour allied party, but a lot will depend on whether it results in something seen to be visionary or if it is perceived as a Union policy disguised by Grant Robertson.

Labour could get anywhere between 25% and 40% next election. It’s hard to tell what direction they will go at this stage.

National Party

National have been very successful since they won in 2008. They have increased their support since then, most parties in power bleed support. This partly to do with John Key’s continued popularity, and increasingly by Bill English’s capable management of finances in sometimes very difficult circumstances (GFC and Christchurch earthquake).

National’s support must fall at some stage but it’s difficult to judge when that might start happening. Left wing activists have been predicting it in vain for seven years. Much will  depend on whether Labour can step up as a viable alternative alongside Greens and probably NZ First.

Next election could see them get anywhere between 40% and 50%. Their political fate is in their own hands to an extent but also reliant on possible alternatives.

Why Seymour turned down a ministerial position

Duncan Garner asked David Seymour yesterday why he turned down a ministerial position offered by John Key.

Garner: When offered a promotion today the Prime Minister offered him a Cabinet role if you like, a Ministerial role anyway, Minister of regulatory Reform and Associate Minister of Education that was probably outside Cabinet. He declined the offer. Why was that? He joins me now.

There’s not many MPs in life that turn down Ministerial roles. Why have you done it?

Seymour: A couple of reasons. One is that if I was to become a minister I could not have a Private Member’s bill in the ballot, and I ‘ve got a Private Member’s Bill in there to legalise euthanasia.

Now amazingly enough nobody else in Parliament is either prepared to put a bill in, or their leaders won’t let them put a bill in, and I think it’s a critical issue for New Zealand, that we shouldn’t leave people, it’s a very small minority of people to be sure, who have basically reached the end of their life and their only choice is a violent amateur suicide, or to suffer on intolerably. And I think we’ve got to move on that.

Garner: So you to me look quite principled on this.

Very principled, especially considering the chances of having his bill drawn from the ballot are low.

Garner: It’s something you believe in, it’s something you believe should be pushed through Parliament, and you’ve put that ahead of some sort of personal privilege, which was being a minister.

Seymour: Well look I just say who knows how political careers end, most of them peoeple say end in failure. If I can get this bill through and convince my Parliamentary colleagues to support it then i will have done something that I think makes New Zealand a better place, and that two thirds of New Zealanders in the most sceptical polls say Parliament should be doing something about it. T

Which should be the aim of all MPs, which I’m sure just about always is but others are more likely to put personal ambitions ahead of a commitment to try and make a difference on something like euthanasia.

The alternative is if I became a Minister then yep, get a limo, yep, get a bit more cash, ah yep everybody calls you Honourable apparently, but I wouldn’t be able to do that.

Now staying as an under-secretary I’ve still got my hands on the tools for regulatory reform and partnership or charter schools. In a more limited way sure, ah but look I gotta rebuild the ACT Party and be a good MP in Epsom, it’s my first year, ah, can’t do everything.

Seymour has done an extraordinary amount for a rookie in his first year in Parliament establishing himself in an electorate plus resurrecting a severely ailing ACT Party in Parliament.

Not only does he seem to have managed that adeptly, he has also made some notable gains albeit in minor ways as prepared and able to negotiate legislative changes like the World Cup bar opening.

Some have already named seymour as MP of the year. This principled stand, putting his commitment to an issue that’s important to him and others first, and putting the good of his electorate and party first, before short term personal ambition (how many MPs have been appointed Minister 14 months into their first term?)  – he must surely rate at the top of the Parliamentary pile this year.

Transcribed from RadioLive audio: The real reason David Seymour declined a ministerial position from Key

 

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