Seymour versus Peters hots up

David Seymour and Winston Peters have been clashing for a while. As we get towards the business end of the election campaign their feuding is hotting up.

Seymour in a speech in Parliament on Wednesday:

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT):

But then you come round to New Zealand First. What a disaster. There is Winston Peters. He has been sacked from Cabinet three times by three different Prime Ministers. He has been voted out of two electorates, and the third electorate has not had an opportunity to vote him out yet, but help is on its way. It is going to vote him out on 23 September. This is a guy who has more bottom lines than a 100-year-old elephant. He is now up to 9 bottom lines. He has peaked too early in this election, and he is going to find out that the problem with Winston Peters politicking is eventually you run out of other people’s gullibility. He still has not paid back the $158,000—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

DAVID SEYMOUR: —and frankly, the way he campaigns is racist.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! A point of order—the Rt Hon Winston Peters.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I will tolerate a fair bit from that member, but I will not tolerate him getting up and making deceptive, deceitful statements like that. I know what we paid back—all $158,000, in circumstances—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat. [Interruption] Order! That is not a point of order. [Interruption] Order! That is not a point of order. That is very much a debating matter. The member can continue his speech, and if the member feels he has been misrepresented throughout the speech there is another means. It is not raised on the floor of the House, and I refer the member to Standing Order 359.

DAVID SEYMOUR: If one ACT MP can get that far under Winston Peters’ thin skin, imagine how far five ACT MPs could get. He does not like it up him but the ACT Party has kept him out of power for the last three elections, and we are going to do it again. I understand his frustration, but he has got to stay there.

Peters responded in the same debate:

We have seen the last National Party polls—the most recent ones—and it is all bad news for them, for them, and a whole lot of parties here, but it is good news for one other party. Take a wild guess which party that is.

We do not care about Epsom’s three-quarters of a million dollars bludger and his cuckolded behaviour in this Parliament.

Seymour followed up: ACT to keep the cabal of crooks out of office

“Metiria Turei’s proud theft of taxpayer money qualifies her perfectly as a Green Party activist. However, it should exclude her from ever entering Government. The people who write our laws should not thieve from the taxpayers who already pay their salaries.

“That goes for Winston Peters too,” says Mr Seymour.

“Yesterday in the House he claimed to have ‘paid out’ the $158,000 in taxpayer money he illegally spent during the 2005 election. The truth is Parliamentary Services never got this money back, leaving taxpayers with the bill. I’ve laid a complaint with the Privileges Committee today over Mr Peters’ attempt to mislead the House. Just like Metiria Turei, Winston Peters is a fraud, and should never be let near the baubles of office again.

“The safest way to keep the cabal of crooks out of Parliament is with a stronger ACT. With more MPs we’ll ensure stable National-led Government, while also forcing National to address issues they’ve ignored, like New Zealand’s chronic housing and infrastructure deficit.”

Yesterday to media Peters referred to Seymour as “a cuckolded political prostitute”.

This is a part of the competition for attention that has ramped up significantly.

Seymour is trying to claw ACT support up so he has at least one MP working alongside him.

Peters would seem to wish that ACT disappears from Parliament.

ACT’s one vote has been enough to keep NZ First out of a balance of power position after Peters won the Whangerei by-election. It is possible that this could be repeated after September’s election, depending on how close National get to a majority.

With Labour languishing and Greens taking what looks like a desperate gamble the best chance of Peters getting power is with National, and he won’t want to be competing for that with Seymour.

But feuding with Seymour is a side show for Peters. It’s hard to see him improving the NZ First vote much by having an ongoing spat with Seymour.

Seymour is fighting to remain relevant. It looks likely he will keep his Epsom seat, but is struggling to lift ACT’s support enough to get a second MP in on the list.

But Seymour probably has more to gain by attracting attention from Peters, because the media tend to go where Peters goes.

Seymour’s position in a Government alliance does look a bit precarious, and NZ First strength could sideline him. But he is young and potentially has many years ahead of him for a political career.

Peters must be getting near the end of his long career. This election may be his last shot at the Government limelight, so it could be boom or bust for him. So he has more to lose if he gets dragged down by feuding Seymour.

Over ACTing

‘Any publicity is good publicity’ is being tested by the ACT Party.

They announced their party list in the weekend. Number 2 was Beth Houlbrooke. She promoted herself on Facebook:

I am proud to announce I have just been named as the new Deputy Leader and No. 2 list candidate for ACT NZ.

The party seems to be using her to stir up some controversy, quoting her saying “The fact is, parents who cannot afford to have children should not be having them.”

That the party repeated it suggests it is a deliberately strategy to stir things up to attract attention.

While any prospective parent should consider how well they could care for any children, including financially, this is a very crude dog whistle from ACT.

There are genuine issues that should be debated regarding state support of parents. Labour has just promised a generous per baby handout.

There is anecdotal claims that some young people look at motherhood as a sort of (perceived to be easy until they get there) career choice. There are certainly potential issues with offering financial incentives to have babies.

But I think that ACT have handled this poorly and cynically. And insensitively, there are a number of reasons why parents, especially solo parents, can find themselves struggling financially.

It might attract fleeting attention but is unlikely to attract many votes, and is at least as likely to repel potential voters.

 

ACT Party list 2017

letedACT announced their party list. It is relatively young and the top 10 is 50/50 gender-wise.

Only 3 of the top 10 were on ACT’s list in 2014. Seymour was electorate only and didn’t stand on the list.

The 2017 list:

1 – DAVID SEYMOUR – Epsom (electorate only, not on list in 2014)
David Seymour, Leader of ACT and Member of Parliament for Epsom, is the only millennial party leader in Parliament. Since 2014, Seymour has served as Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Ministry of Education in the National-led Government. His End of Life Choice Bill was drawn for debate this past June.

2 – BETH HOULBROOKE – Rodney (2 in 2014)
Beth, ACT’s candidate for Rodney, is currently elected as Chair of the Rodney Local Board (Auckland Council). She has twice been elected into local government in 2013 and 2016. Beth has stood for ACT in two previous elections as well as serving on the Board for ACT New Zealand for the past four years and member since the Party’s conception.

3 – BROOKE VAN VELDEN – Auckland Central
Brooke Van Velden, ACT’s candidate for Auckland Central, is a public relations and corporate affairs consultant with Exceltium, an Auckland based PR firm. She holds a joint Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees, majoring in economics, international trade, politics, and international relations from the University of Auckland. Brooke is an avid singer and currently resides in the city.

4 – BHUPINDER SINGH – Manakau East
Bhupinder Singh, ACT’s candidate for Manakau East, played professional cricket for the Auckland Aces from 2008-2013 and represented New Zealand A on their 2010 tour in Zimbabwe.  He is currently head coach of the Papatoetoe Cricket Club. Bhupinder is also an executive at Ray White Real Estate.

5 – STEPHEN BERRY – East Coast Bays (6 in 201)
Stephen Berry, ACT’s East Coast Bays candidate, has worked in the retail industry for 20 years and is currently employed in senior management for Countdown Supermarkets. Stephen has previously ran as an ACT candidate in 2014 and as the Affordable Auckland candidate in the 2013 Mayoral race, finishing in third place. Stephen lives with his partner of nine years, John in Forest Hill.

6 – STUART PEDERSON – Tauranga
Stuart Pedersen, ACT’s candidate for Tauranga, is a private investor with a background in economics and investment field. He is passionate about sailing and is an active volunteer with the Bay of Plenty Sailing Academy Trust. Stuart and his wife, Pamela, currently reside in Mt Maunganui.

7 – ANNEKA CARLSON – New Plymouth
Anneka Carlson, ACT’s candidate for New Plymouth, a small health and fitness business owner and is currently studying for her business law degree. She also holds a diploma from AUT in health and fitness. Previously, Anneka spent two years as a Police Officer in west Auckland. Anneka is a passionate advocate for animal welfare, serving on the board of the North Taranaki SPCA.  Along with the Cancer Society, Anneka runs a support group for men suffering with cancer.

8 – SHAN NG – Mana
Shan Ng, ACT’s candidate for Mana, is a commercial lawyer with a background in the ICT and telecommunication procurement and commercial sector. She holds a law degree from Cardiff University and has been admitted to the bar as barrister and solicitor in three jurisdictions, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Shan is fluent in four languages, including Cantonese, Malay, and Mandarin.

9 – SAM PURCHAS – Dunedin North
Sam Purchas, ACT’s candidate for Dunedin North, is a student at Otago University, studying a double major in microbiology and chemistry. Sam is the President of ACT on Campus and is heavily involved in the performing arts.

10 – TONI SEVERIN – Christchurch East (11 in 2014)
Toni Severin, ACT’s candidate for Christchurch East, is a small business owner. She previously spent fourteen years working for the Canterbury Health Laboratories and holds a QTA in Immunology. Toni previously ran as an ACT candidate in 2008, 2011, and 2014 in Christchurch and currently serves on the Board of ACT New Zealand.

11 Grae O’Sullivan Rimutaka
12 Richard Evans Kaikoura
13 James McDowall Hamilton East
14 Richard Wells New Lynn
15 Michael Warren Wellington Central
16 Andi Moore Ohariu
17 Andy Parkins Hutt South
18 Colin Anderson Whanganui
19 Bruce Carley Bay of Plenty
20 Tom Corbett Rangitata
21 Brian Davidson Selwyn
22 Alan Davidson List only
23 Dan Doughty Dunedin South
24 Alex Evans Helensville
25 Paul Gilbert Ilam
26 Roger Greenslade Wairarapa
27 Deleted as requested
28 Stuart Hawkins Waimakariri
29 Bruce Haycock Northcote
30 Paul Hufflett Nelson
31 Nick Kearney North Shore
32 Tim Kronfeld Upper Harbour
33 Michael Milne Tamaki
34 Joe Misselbrook List only
35 Craig Nelson Northland
36 Joshua Perry List only
37 Vineet Shiriwastow Coromandel
38 Satnam (Sam) Singh Manurewa
39 Anthony Smith Hunua
40 Chris Sole Rongotai
41 Neil Wilson Rangitikei

The ACT Board has ranked candidates 1-19, the remainder are listed alphabetically.

http://act.org.nz/act-unveils-party-list/

UPDATE: the ACT website page linked to now only has their top 10. One person has requested they be removed from the list.

ACT Party list defector

Party list announcements can be fraught affairs. Not everyone’s ambitions can be satisfied. And so it has happened over ACT’s party list.

NZ Herald: Act Party deputy Kenneth Wang resigns over list ranking, party direction

Act Party stalwart and deputy leader Kenneth Wang has pulled out of the party list and resigned as deputy leader just hours before its line-up of candidates for the election was due to be announced.

Wang said his decision was partly because of the place he was given on the list, but also because the party had moved away from policies that attracted him to it in the first place, including on tougher sentencing and ‘one law for all.’

Wang has been with Act since 2002 and was an MP between 2004 and 2005 after Donna Awatere Huata left. He was elected deputy leader in April 2014 and was second the party list in the last election.

His decision was “partially” because of where he was placed on the list – as the deputy leader he had expected to be second. “I told them I should be high or not on it at all. But they have different priorities.”

Act leader David Seymour said Wang had not expressed any unhappiness with the party’s direction until he withdrew.

I expect there will be more disappointment with individual placements on the list.

Wang said his decision was not a sign of no confidence in Seymour, but the party had changed under that leadership. “I think David has a new style and reflects a new generation.”

There also be general disappointment that one disgruntled person has pre-empted the announcement (that ACT has been talking up for a couple of days)  by going public with their disappointment in advance.

The party list will be released at 2pm. Seymour said of the top ten, the average age was 36 years old, half were women and they spoke about seven languages between them.

ACT Party list here.

 

ACT on ending ‘digital strip searches’

Yesterday 1 News:  ‘Digital strip searches’ at NZ airports force hundreds of Kiwis to surrender mobile and laptop passwords each year

New figures obtained by 1 NEWS have revealed Customs officials at New Zealand airports force up to two travellers every day to hand over their electronic devices and the passwords that access them.

New Zealand customs say they are looking for smugglers but admit they do sometimes take copies of travellers data and pass it on to Government agencies, including the police.

This is very contentious.It shouldn’t be happening without good cause and without proper authority.

Intelligence Investigations Customs general manager Jamie Bamford said depending on how much data is on a phone or laptop the search can be “quick and cursory” or a “little more extensive”.

“We can seize their device at the moment, and we have tools to break that encryption,” Bramford said.

“We do adhere to the privacy act and are guided by that.”

Since 2015, just over 1300 people have been subjected to digital strip searches at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.

The most commonly searched nationality was New Zealanders, with 296 searched, followed by Chinese, with 269 searched, and then Taiwanese with 91 searched.

A bill is also currently before parliament to fine people who refuse digital strip searches to be fined up to $5000.

But from ACT today:  ACT ends the free-for-all on digital strip searches

ACT has secured a law change which will end customs’ free-for-all on digital strip searches, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Unrestricted power to demand people’s passwords and search their files is an affront to civil liberties, and it will inevitably lead to violations of privacy. New figures confirm over 1300 people have been digitally ‘strip searched’ since 2013.

“Customs practices are simply out of touch with modern reality. In the past, people would only pack a suitcase with a few paper documents, but younger generations often travel with all their personal files. Meanwhile, if a genuine criminal is determined to keep incriminating files, they’ll do it on cloud storage, not on their personal device.

“The good news is that ACT has worked to stop random digital searches. The current law does not require Customs to have cause to suspect offending to conduct a search. But ACT has convinced the Government to require reasonable cause for these searches, as part of a new Customs and Excise Bill currently before parliament.

“This will prevent countless New Zealanders and visitors from facing intrusive and unjustified searches.

It should never been allowed on such an unrestricted basis in the first place.

 

Poll good for ACT in Epsom

David Seymour has a comfortable lead in an ACT poll on the Epsom electorate:

  • David Seymour (ACT) 46%
  • Paul Goldsmith (National) 30%
  • David Parker (Labour) 11%
  • Julie Anne Genter (Greens) 11%

These are all close to within margin of error range of the 2014 election result.

From ACT:  David Seymour comfortably ahead in Epsom poll

A recent Curia poll conducted of 750 voters (+/- 3.5% margin of error), in the Epsom electorate from 21-28 May shows incumbent Epsom MP and ACT Party Leader, David Seymour, ahead with a strong 16-point lead.

When asked “With your electorate vote, which of these candidates would you vote to be the electorate MP for Epsom”, David Seymour led on 46 per cent of decided voters, with National’s Paul Goldsmith on 30 per cent, and both Labour’s David Parker and Green’s Julie-Anne Genter* following on 11 per cent.

*Since the poll was conducted, the Green Party have nominated Barry Coates as the Epsom candidate.

That’s a handy lead for Seymour at this stage. I think he’s done well this term to come from nowhere to establish a profile in Wellington and presumably in Epsom, and to at least stop the rot in the ACT Party.

He wasn’t well known in 2014 but won Epsom, with some help from National.

  • David Seymour (ACT) 43.08%
  • Paul Goldsmith (National) 31.61%
  • Michael Wood (Labour) 9.36%
  • Julie Anne Genter (Greens) 8.15%

Michael Wood has since won the Mt Roskill by-election. Interesting to see David Parker standing for Labour again, he stood there in 2011 and got 10.45% of the vote.

Julie Anne Genter stood in the Mt Albert by-election earlier this year and that is listed as her electorate on the Green website so I presume she is staying there.

There’s a bit of musical chairs going on. Barry Coates stood in Mt Roskill last election against Phil Goff, getting 5.04% of the electorate vote.

With Epsom looking likely for Seymour he is looking at trying to lift the ACT party vote.

“This poll result is important, as it shows that every party vote for ACT will count. Only a Party vote for ACT will keep Winston Peters out of power and ensure a stable centre–right government for the next three years.”

Another ACT MP or two could make a difference.

ACT push this in their latest Free Press – 19/06/2017:

EVERY PARTY VOTE FOR ACT WILL COUNT
Germany has had MMP for 70 years, but it is reported to be even less well understood there than here. The lesson is that ACT must constantly remind supporters how our convoluted voting system works. If ACT wins Epsom then the party does not need to meet the five per cent threshold. 1.3 per cent of the party vote will elect a second MP.

ACT AS CRITICAL TO THE OUTCOME AS EVER
The latest public poll, from Newshub, has ACT at 0.9 per cent of the vote, and the current governing parties of ACT, National, United Future, and the Māori Party with a majority of one. ACT picking up an extra seat could be definitive to the election outcome. There are many reasons the socialists hate ACT and chief among them is that we keep on keeping them out of Government. 1998 (when the Bolger coalition imploded), 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017 to come.

AIMING HIGHER
1.3 per cent would get ACT another MP, but 2.1 would get us three. 2.8 per cent would get us four, and 3.5 would get us five. ACT’s current polling is comparable to the same point in the cycle during 2008, when five MPs were elected. Electing five MPs would give the kind of leverage ACT enjoyed in that parliamentary term.

In August 2008 ACT was polling 0.6-2.3%. They got 3.65% in the election (Rodney Hide was their successful Epsom candidate).

In August 2011 ACT was polling 1.1-2.2%. They got 1.07% in the election (John Banks was their successful Epsom candidate)

In June 2014 ACT was polling 0.7-1.0%. They got 0.69% in the election.

Seymour was able to concentrate on campaigning in Epsom while party leader Jamie Whyte campaigned for the party nationally, but had trouble connecting.

This year Seymour will have to split his time and efforts between Epsom and national campaigning. Success with ACT’s party vote will also depend on which other candidates ACT can come up with.

‘Whale Oil for Winston’ versus Seymour and ACT

David Seymour has been targeted by Whale Oil over his criticism of Winston Peters.

Last week:  Winston Peters criticised for telling Islamic communities to ‘clean house’

Winston Peters has told Parliament New Zealand’s Islamic communities “must clean house” and it “should start with their own families”.

Mr Peters was criticised by the next speaker, ACT leader David Seymour.

“There will have to be a more serious and wider debate about when and whether such an event can happen here,” he said.

“And it will have to be a debate without naked political opportunism, as we have heard from New Zealand First.”

Whale Oil has picked up on this. They have been campaigning against every party except NZ First, and frequently have anti-Muslim posts, some of them tending towards the extreme.

Cameron Slater has griped about National since he was cold shouldered after Dirty Politics, and he seems to have held a grudge Bill English for a long time.  Yesterday in  This election the choices are stark:

I can’t and won’t support a party led by Bill English. Not after the UNSC 2334 debacle, not after intransigence on immigration, and not for personal reasons.

One of Slater’s biggest difficulties as a political activist is he gets too personal, with long standing grudges and many burnt bridges resulting in ongoing flaming. He frequently attacks all parties – except NZ First.

For some reason Whale Oil has become very pro-Winston Peters – quite a turnaround from the past. And Peters’ anti-Muslim stance fits with the Whale Oil campaign – they often have several anti-Muslim posts a day, under the names of ‘Cameron Slater’ and ‘SB’ (Slater’s wife).

After Seymour’s criticism of Peters  Slater has switched his  attacks to Seymour and ACT.

On Saturday:  According to David Seymour it is Winston Peters who causes radicalisation and terrorism

Another email to David Seymour from a reader:

To: David Seymour
From: [Redacted]

An anonymous email which just happens to sound as contrived as many Whale Oil posts.

Dear Mr Seymour,

My party vote for 2017 was up for grabs after being a National voter since 1975. However, you blew it by castigating Winston Peters over his speech warning us that radical Islam is on our doorstep.

When you are a bit older, you might gain some sense about what the world is all about. Sadly, it appears that you are merely a product of mushy university-think and your actions re Winston Peters reveal that you are completely out of touch with the real problems of the real world.

You came tantalizingly close to getting a new voter but you have now revealed that your right-centre stance is fake.

That’s funny. Whale Oil has previously ran a number of posts purportedly from voters deserting National because of a handful of issues that happen to coincide with the Whale Oil campaign focus that is largely pro-Israel and anti-Muslim.

Dirty Politics alleged that Whale Oil was paid to promote certain lines. And there is some evidence of this in the past.

Stuff in 2014:  Blogging, money and blurred lines

The man at the centre of the Dirty Politics firestorm sits on a leafy street in Tel Aviv, Israel, just a block from the shores of the Mediterranean, sipping a blended mint lemonade.

Cameron “Whale Oil” Slater is bleary-eyed, having spent 24 hours on a plane, and now finds himself in a war zone during a ceasefire. It’s Friday in Israel; Saturday back home.

He’s one of a group of international journalists invited to visit by the Israeli government, which has been earning bruising international condemnation over the civilian death toll in the Gaza conflict.

The Israeli embassy approached him about the trip, he says, and covered some costs, but he is paying for a significant portion of his travels. He has posted anti-Hamas and pro-Israel stories on his blog in the past.

The arrangement may sound vaguely familiar to anyone who has read certain chapters of Nicky Hager’s controversial new book Dirty Politics, which is based on thousands of emails stolen from Slater’s computer.

Besides his central claims that National used Slater’s Whale Oil blog as an conduit for “dirty” attacks on its political enemies, Hager also says Slater took cash in exchange for running stories for a range of commercial clients.

That trip, paid at least in part for by the Israeli government, awkwardly coincided with the Dirty Politics implicating Slater as a mercenary blogger.

Seymour responded to the anonymous Whale Oil ‘reader’:

To: [REDACTED]
From: David Seymour

Date: 7 June 2017

There are 46,000 Muslims in NZ, 1 per cent of the population. The best way to make sure the few radicals amongst them do some thing stupid is to have an idiot like Winston persecuting the whole community for political gain.

Your vote, however, is your own,

David

‘Cameron Slater’ reacted to this:

A few?

David Seymour needs to understand some basic math. If just 1% of Muslims are radicalised then there are around 500 of them running around NZ spreading hate and plotting. That is a low percentage, a more realistic number would be 10%, that means there are 5000 of them…and it is thought that the actual percentage is much higher if you believe Pew Research…and I do.

It’s not so much basic maths that are absent, it is basic facts. There are none.

Slater needs to understand what Seymour actually said.

Seymour:  “There are 46,000 Muslims in NZ, 1 per cent of the population”.

Slater: “If just 1% of Muslims are radicalised then there are around 500 of them running around NZ spreading hate and plotting.”

That’s an assertion unrelated to what Seymour said, and not backed by any facts.

Slater continued:

That is a low percentage, a more realistic number would be 10%, that means there are 5000 of them…and it is thought that the actual percentage is much higher if you believe Pew Research…and I do.

A more realistic thing for a journalist to do would be to base their assertions on facts, but Slater is obviously not wearing is journalist hat here.

He mentions ‘Pew Research’ as some authority for his escalating 1%, 10%, “much higher” assertions but lacks basic facts.

A Pew Research from last month:  Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

There is no reference to ‘radical’ or radicalized’ anywhere in the report (there are some in comments).

There is no mention of New Zealand (nor Australia except a couple of times in comments).

Slater also showed an appalling grasp of maths and facts in this post:  Muslims will outnumber Christians in New Zealand in 60 years – Pew Research that quotes RNZ:

There will be more Muslims than Christians in the world in fewer than 60 years, new research shows – and New Zealand is one of eight countries that will lose their Christian majority in that time.

The number of countries with a Christian majority is expected to decline from 159 to 151 by 2050, with the proportion of Christians in New Zealand slumping from 57 percent of the population at present to 44.7 percent.

At that point, according to the study’s projections, the largest religious category in New Zealand will be “unaffiliated” at 45.1 percent.

He takes two projections…

  1. There will be more Muslims than Christians in the world in 60 years
  2. The proportion of Christians in New Zealand slumping from 57% of the population at present to 44.7% by 2050

…and claims from that that there will be more Muslims than Christians here.

But he ignores or fails to notice “the largest religious category in New Zealand will be ‘unaffiliated’ at 45.1”.

So Pew estimates there will be about 90% Christians plus ‘unaffiliated’. Muslims and all other religious affiliations are estimated be only 10%, so Muslims alone will be nowhere near a majority.

Currently there are more Hindus (2.11%) and Buddhists (1.5%) in New Zealand than Muslims (1.18%), with ‘other religions’ and ‘Spiritualism and New Age religions also totalling 1.35%.

The Slater and Whale Oil attacks on Muslims, and on Seymour and Act, are based on bull – whether it is deliberately wrong or based on ignorance doesn’t matter.

I think it is fair to be very sceptical of the comments on the all the activist campaign posts at Whale Oil too. I think it’s well known that Whale Oil ‘moderates’ out comments and commenters that don’t fit with their messages.

And I think there’s a good reason to be very suspicious of who some of the commenters actually are. I know that some of those associated with Whale Oil have a habit of using multiple IDs.

It’s easy to guess why Whale Oil is campaigning against ACT/Seymour and it is obvious why they are campaigning against National and Bill English.

Why they have become a NZ First promotion blog is less obvious, but the open support for them and their strong bias against other parties and MPs is farcical for a site sometimes claiming to be ‘media’ and ‘journalism’.

And hugely hypocritical yet again given their attacks on other media as being ‘the media party’.

I’m not sure that al this will help NZ First. ‘Whale Oil for Winston’ is more likely to be a toxic association than a vote winner.

ACT response to Labour’s housing policy

David Seymour has responded to Labour’s housing policy.

Labour puts Envy Politics over Economics

“The Labour Party’s policy of ring fencing and negative gearing will only pass costs onto renters in a tight market,” says ACT leader David Seymour.

“As renters well know, the rental market is a tight one, it is a landlord’s market.  Renters have few options, so landlords can pass costs on to tenants easily.

“Labour’s policy is unbelieveably stupid, because it pushes up costs without generating more homes. It is a recipe for rent hikes, putting the most vulnerable out on the streets.

“Unfortunately the Labour Party is still driven by envy first and economics second, it is highly disappointing.

“The only way to improve conditions for renters to increase the overall supply of housing, creating a renter’s market where it is the renters who have the options.

“ACT advocates serious policy reform that would do just that. Replace the RMA in cities, and fund infrastructure by giving councils half the GST on construction that they consent. This policy would get homes built and improve tenant’s options, whereas Labour’s policy will only price more people out of the market as landlords pass costs on to them.

Bradbury does dirty

This morning Martyn Bradbury posted

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Massive online ACT Party data breach

The Daily Blog has been contacted with information that the ACT Party database has been left open online…

…we’ve had a look, and they are right. There is a huge data base of members and donors on the list, alongside a fascinating document from Franks/Ogilvie to the hard right NZ Initiative outlining their hatred of Maori gaining any power under the new RMA.

As far as I can see the entire database of donors and members are just open on this and I estimate there maybe about a 1000 names there.

To protect their privacy we won’t publish any of their details, but ACT might want to hire someone to make their database secure.

If ACT did have insecure date publicly accessible on a website that’s embarrassing for them and fair enough to point it out and to score a political hit.

But beyond that Bradbury has acted in an inexcusable, despicable way, as did the person he claims alerted him to it. This looks to be as dirty as when Cameron Slater went far to far when someone found insecure data on a Labour Party website.

This is as bad as finding an unlocked building and entering and rummaging through cupboards and drawers, and taking copies of information and publishing it.

Bradbury published information that could reasonably expected to be not intended for the public to see.

The person who enabled Bradbury to breach privacy like this is more culpable.

If the data was still insecure when Bradbury publicised it that put it at great risk of other people finding and copying data and information.

Again, going online publicising an unlocked door is highly unethical.

As per the Slater-Labour breach, fine to publicise lax security, but accessing and searching and publishing information is inexcusable and possibly illegal.

The proper thing to do would be to advise the owner of the data that it was insecure, and after it was secured then fair enough to go public.

What Bradbury has done here is admit himself to the dirty politics hall of infamy occupied by Slater.

Bradbury promotes The Daily Blog as a shiny new alternative to mainstream media (similar to Slater and Whale Oil). Very sadly both operate in the social media gutter.

This makes him more like a sensation and attention seeking scummy dirty blogger. D

It’s hard to believe how irresponsible Bradbury has been here – more so than whoever was responsible for insecure data.

Other contributors to The Daily Blog should be concerned and embarrassed by this.

Literacy leap for prisoners – non-partisan leap for MPs

Mike Williams is Labour ex-president and a staunch party supporter. He is now CEO of the Howard League and is a staunch promoter of penal reform.

In an unlikely alliance he has joined with ACT MP David Seymour in suggesting a policy that should improve dire prisoner literacy rates and potentially improve the prospects of ex prisoners and reduce recidivism.

And Seymour’s suggestions have also got some support from Prime Minister Bill English and from Labour’s Justice spokesperson Kelvin Davis. Whether Seymour retains his Epsom electorate or not this year, and whoever forms the next government, it would be good to see his policy make some progress.

Williams writes: Literacy leap for prisoners. Some background:

 Howard League president Tony Gibbs and I have been running a long-term programme of raising awareness about the inability of a majority of prisoners to read and write sufficiently well enough to function as a normal human in modern society.

To this end we have been inviting politicians and other influential public figures to attend our Howard League prisoner literacy graduation ceremonies.

Many of our political leaders have never visited a jail or talked to a prisoner and most have no concept of the malign results of illiteracy.

Last year we had a graduation at Rimutaka jail and were very fortunate to attract Bill English, then deputy prime minister, as guest speaker.

Tony Gibbs has known former Act party president John Thompson for many years and through this connection, we also invited David Seymour, the sole Act party MP.

The Seymour experience:

At the Rimutaka graduation he chatted with a number of prisoner graduates and talked to the tutors who were there to see their students get their certificates.

Rimutaka jail is one of New Zealand’s largest prisons and can accommodate more that 1000 inmates, and David Seymour asked me why, if two-thirds of the men there were statistically likely to be illiterate, were we graduating only eight prisoners.

One answer to this question is that many prisoners have such negative self-images that they do not seek to improve themselves when there appears to be no reward for doing so.

The Seymour response:

David Seymour suggested that if prisoners were offered a discount on their sentences this might be the circuit breaker that not only inspired prisoners to get the basic skills needed to get work and “go straight” on release, it might eventually reduce prisoner numbers and start addressing the serious overcrowding problem that bedevils our jails.

These thoughts plus a lot of research turned into a new Act party policy which Seymour announced at the conference I attended.

He said: “It’s called Rewarding Self-Improvement in Prisons. This proposal would provide incentives, in the form of reduced sentences, for prisoners to complete basic programmes in literacy, numeracy, and driver licensing.

“Those prisoners who are already functionally literate, numerate, and licensed to drive, can still benefit from Act’s policy. They would earn credits for training as a mentor, and then teaching other prisoners.”

Seymour didn’t just learn from his prison visit, he researched solutions and looked for success with similar approaches overseas:

In the US, states that have Earned Credit Programs in prisons report a lower recidivism rate than states that do not have one. New York saw a 20 per cent lower recidivism rate among prisoners who earned early-release.”

Such a strategy is also likely to be financially attractive as David Seymour went on to point out.

“They save money. A model student serving a two-year sentence could, under Act’s proposal, shave 12 weeks off their sentence and save the taxpayer $14,000. And if their learning prevents future imprisonment, the saving could enter the $100,000s, which could be reinvested in educational programmes.

“And that’s just for one prisoner.

“The New York Corrections Department saved $369 million in a decade thanks to their earned credit policy. A proportionate saving for New Zealand’s population would be $113m for Corrections.

“The savings would be far higher if you include individuals, families, and businesses that would no longer have to face the costs of crime.”

Non-partisan support:

The Prime Minister said that it was worth considering and Kelvin Davis MP endorsed the idea on behalf of the Labour Party. Even the “tough on crime” Sensible Sentencing Trust supported the policy.

This amounts to a great leap ahead and a triumph for common sense.

It’s also a good example of how politics can work positively in a non-partisan way.

But why has it taken so long? Peter Dunne issued this media statement in 2006: Literacy another failure for Corrections

United Future leader Peter Dunne has called on the Government to address the issue of illiteracy amongst New Zealand’s prison population.

“One of the most effective ways of preventing inmates from re-offending is to teach them the necessary skills to get a job and make a contribution to society when they get out. That is a hard thing to do if they lack the most basic literacy requirements.”

Literacy education is provided within prisons; however only if a prisoner is motivated enough to address their own illiteracy issue can that prisoner be referred for literacy tuition.

The larger parties are unlikely to make addressing prisoner illiteracy a priority, so it may take an election win for Seymour and some vigorous lobbying to get some progress on his proposal.

ACT could make it a bottom line for supporting a National led government again – and National should be receptive to accommodating the policy.

If Labour lead the next Government it may take some pushing from Seymour and some help from Davis.