Little and Labour’s fresh approach

Andrew Little with Labour’s first campaign advertisement.

Promoting candidate or party?

Interesting to see the candidate most prominent on that hoarding. Under MMP the party vote is what really counts.

In past elections, 2014 in particular, Labour electorate candidates had inconsistent approaches. Some virtually hid their Labour connections and promoted their own interests. It will be interesting to see if they are more consistent this time.

So it looks like ‘a fresh approach’ is going to be the Labour campaign slogan.

Their website features this:

LabourCampaignAFreshApproach

That seems to be promoting people more than party as well.

 

NZ First campaign launch speech

Winston Peters launched NZ First into the election campaign with a speech in the weekend.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.

Interesting to see “It’s time for a change” in there. That’s similar to what Greens and Labour have been campaigning on (they say ‘change the government’ or ‘campaign for change’).

Full speech:


The regions – Together, for New Zealand

It has been an explosive week in politics.

A week that will go in the history books as the time two Prime Ministers covered up a crime and were party to a payout to buy off a witness.

We have heard the people of Clutha-Southland feel hurt, fragile and let down.

They have every right to be.
While The Barclay Debacle revealed the corrupt inner workings of the National Party machine, it told us also that National Party takes the regions for granted.

One television commentator said National could stand a blue sheep in Clutha-Southland and it would still win the electorate.
The sheep would also be more honest. On television yesterday Mr English said in excusing his behaviour, “I am not a lawyer”. He conveniently forgets the adage, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

This is a sad state of affairs.

“Defibulators” – for National

The National Party Cabinet are into spin, downright deceit and Fibs. As Mr English displayed alongside Paula Bennet and others, they simply can’t tell the truth. So as part of our Heath Policy this election we’re going to order up a whole lot of defibulators and send them to their offices. Every time they tell a lie this machine will give them a shock. It might be painful but that’s what it will take.

Men like Keith Holyoake must be rolling in their graves.
Not only that – National has no sound policies to progress all of New Zealand.

They have let the wealth get sucked out of our regions with little payback.
They have let much of our assets and land be sold off to foreign buyers.
They have under-funded regional roads and hospitals.
They have no coherent plan for our regions just as they have no coherent economic plan for this country.
And they’ve have turned their backs on our young people.

They’ve allowed the situation to descend to the point one economist has said some of our provincial centres are “zombie towns.”

We’ve got zombies alright – but they’re not in our provinces.
They’re in the Beehive.

It is the regions that produce by far most of our country’s wealth.

Our biggest export earners, the sectors that pay our way in the world, are tourism, dairying, meat, and forestry.

We have Queen Street farmers but what are they doing for the wealth of this country?

Within a few years experts tell us more than half of New Zealand’s population will live north of Taupo.

Thats because of a lack of political vision and a contempt for the real wealth creators of this country.

National is most at home when they are in Wellington, among all the shiny suits and bureaucrats, adjudicating on New Zealand from their ivory towers.

Mr English has just finished his speech to the National Party conference. Bereft of ideas and excuses, all he could promise after nine years of National was increased incomes and lower taxes by 2020. Surrounded by all manner of deficits, Canute like he promises surpluses and tax cuts.

The Regions and Reserve Bank Reform

Fundamental to a successful economy – and thriving regions over the long term – is an exchange rate that supports exporters and the regions.

Our Reserve Bank Act is out of date.

We have an overvalued NZ dollar that has been a bonanza for financial speculators and traders but not exporters.

Despite the relatively small size of our economy our dollar is one of the most heavily traded international currencies

We need an exchange rate that serves real economic goals like strong and growing regional exports

The Bank’s outdated focus on inflation must be ditched.

As a small open economy New Zealand is dependent on a competitive exchange rate.

NZ has a persistent and chronic balance of payments deficit – and this shows the New Zealand dollar does not reflect the underlying reality.

Risks abound in the global economy and New Zealand is highly exposed and vulnerable to any volatility.

NZ First is committed to reforming the Reserve Bank Act as a vital step in safeguarding our economic future –and the future heath of regional New Zealand.

The Regions and Small businesses

Small businesses are the engine room of New Zealand’s economy and are critically in regions such as Manawatu.

Ninety seven per cent of all businesses in New Zealand are small businesses. They employ over 2 million people and produce 27 per cent of GDP per year.

By helping more businesses become profitable, sustainable and competitive will ensure they are in the best position to hire new employees and create jobs.
To boost small businesses New Zealand First will in this Campaign, set out its policies, to really help them start and grow by:

•  A wage subsidy for small business that take on job seekers and provide work experience.

•  Real incentives for small businesses to help disengaged youth become work ready and support mature age job seekers back into work.

•  Immediate Tax deductions for every new business asset costing under $20,000

•  Immediate Tax deduction for professional expenses when starting a business, and by

•  Streamlining business registration for those planning to start a business

• And we are going to get Nationals Ninny, Nosey Nannie state off your back.

Virtually overnight, New Zealand’s oldest licenced premises at Russel, The Duke of Marlbourgh Restaurant had to pull a burger that is a cornerstone of its menu –because it offended MPIs food preparation guidelines by the meat being “pink and raw”.

“Basically the Ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food”, said the good people at the Duke.

In Wellington now more tedious bureaucrat’s regimes of food preparation are being dreamt up requiring small businesses to pay thousands of dollar to comply or shut down.

You vote for New Zealand First and we’ll put a leg rope on them whilst reminding these bureaucrats who pays their wages.

The Regions and Student debt

Palmerston North is a university town.

Let’s face it there are a lot of hard-up students here, wondering how they’re going to get by with the weight of massive debts on their shoulders.
New Zealand First will get rid of the student loan for Kiwi students staying and working here in NZ after they finish their studies.

The only requirement is that they work for the same number of years as they have studied.

So three years in tertiary education requires three years in the workforce – five years tertiary means five years in the workforce.

But if they leave for a big OE, and decide to work overseas, they will have to pay back the cost of their tertiary education.

Where they have a current student debt then the system changes to our dollar for dollar policy.

For graduates with skills required in the regions, like teachers, nurses, doctors, police and other much needed regional skills, we plan to use a bonding system.

We will also introduce a universal student allowance.

These are our practical solutions to the huge debt students have to grapple with.

Our policies will also address many of the skills shortages we have in our regions.

The Regions and Infrastructure Deficits

If you were at the National Party conference you would have heard the sound of coughing and spluttering. That’s the sound of their Auckland delegates choking under the sheer weight of numbers due to a reckless and irresponsible open door immigration policy.
Billions are being spent to address Auckland’s chronically overloaded infrastructure.
Last weekend marked the official completion of the Waterview Motorway Tunnel in Auckland – the bill $1.4 billion.
The Auckland City Rail link is underway – there will not be any change out of $3 billion when that project is completed.
Yes Auckland’s infrastructure deficit is plain to see.
But what about regional New Zealand?
Regional infrastructure is the poor cousin – it is being overlooked and put at the end of the queue when it comes to funding.
And this is despite the massive growth of tourism – the costs of which fall primarily on regional NZ
The government boasts of a tourism bonanza, which is based in the Regions, and yet gives almost nothing back to the Regions to fund the cost of it.
We have 30,000 Kilometres of unsealed roads, single lanned bridges and a serious lack of toilets, parking and basic infrastructure.
In this campaign New Zealand First will detail how we are going to return the full GST from Tourists back to the regions in which they spent the money. The data, easily accessible which measures this spend already. You make the money here and you’re going to get your fair share back.
NZ First is committed to a massive campaign to seal local roads, improve overall road quality and double-lane bridges where sensible.
The Regions and Rail
Rail has a valuable role to play in the development of regional NZ.
But the National Government has run the railway network down to a neglected and parlous state.
NZ First will give rail a real role in regional NZ by properly investing in the rail system.
And we will stop the made conversation to diesel from electrification.
We will stop National’s Luddite behaviour.
Broadband
Regional NZ also has to deal with the unreliability of cellular services and patchy broadband.
This is another illustration of where the government’s heart lies and it’s not in rural and regional New Zealand.
Regional NZ needs massive infrastructure improvement – urgently.
That will take substantial investment and NZ First is committed to making that happen.

The Regions and Stopping the Selloff of our Country
New Zealand under the old parties has been a soft touch for foreign buyers.
The wealth generated in regional NZ is increasingly flowing into the pockets of overseas owners.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is a facade – a token exercise intended to give the impression that someone actually takes the national interest into account before foreign buyers get the green light.
The losses of land into foreign ownership are staggering 460,000 hectares alone last year.
The deals invariably get the usual Overseas Investment Office rubber stamp.
There is no requirement on foreign buyers to invest locally in downstream production or new technology.
Under our policy the rules would be strict – there would need to be clear, unequivocal and quantifiable benefits to New Zealand before foreign ownership was allowed.
The Regions and Water
A few years ago the Manawatu River was rated the most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere.
Three hundred rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand were assessed.
And clean, green NZ came up with the worst river of the lot.
Most of the Manawatu River’s was due to nitrogen runoff from farms; but treated sewage discharged by councils was also a major contributor.
No doubt councils and most farmers would accept such degradation of waterways around New Zealand is not acceptable.
New Zealand First is calling for the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management to be reviewed.
We cannot allow our rivers and waterways to descend to the level of cesspits.
New Zealand Frist would ensure that only the sustainable taking and use of water for commercial purposes is permitted by developing a national water use strategy.
Legislation must be in place to make sure that the granting of RMA consents is consistent with the proposed new national policy statement and the Strategy.
But we are going to properly finance rural New Zealand into environmental recovery because we are all in this together.

Royalties to the Regions

NZ First has a Royalties for the Regions Policy.
Under this policy, 25% of royalties collected by the government from enterprises such as mining, petroleum and water stay in the region of origin.

As an example, the government collects over $400 million in royalties.

Under our scheme over $100 million, year on year, would remain in the regions for investment.

That money would help to regenerate regional New Zealand.

It is demonstrably wrong that companies like Coca Cola, Suntory Holdings, Oravida, Fiji Water – can take our water for a pitiful token fee while they make millions of dollars from it.

National says no-one owns the water – so foreign companies can come in and take it.

Do you think that is right? No. And nor does New Zealand First.

National arrogance

As we said at the start, National have been a major disappointment, not just to the wider population of New Zealand but to their own faithful followers.

Arrogant National MPs –  Alfred Ngaro acting like a Mafiosi heavy telling the Salvation Army to shut up or else.

Nicky Wagner tweeting frivolously and insulting the disability community.

Simon Bridges blocking information being released on KiwiRail in reply to an OIA.

And now hush money and a prime minister donkey deep in a cover-up.

The true economic reality

In spite of all the pixie dust Mr English and his colleagues come up with, there is not a lot to be optimistic about.

The government says we have GDP growth rate of 2.8%.
But New Zealand’s population has been growing at 2% annually, mostly from overseas.

So, 2% has to be deducted from GDP numbers before any real growth can be claimed.

The real barometer of prosperity, GDP per person is pitiful – less than 1 per cent a year.

We have homelessness.
Growing inequality.
Thousands of young New Zealanders aimlessly going nowhere.

Record net immigration has now shot up to another record of more than 73,000.

And the government tells us they’re skilled workers and we need them.

Most of them aren’t skilled.

We have a director general of health who can’t get his sums right and a health minister who is so obsessed with taking a hatchet to health, he didn’t notice the funding blunders until it was too late.

Fourteen DHBs overpaid and six under-paid.

This is banana republic stuff.

95% of the NZ banking system is held overseas

NZ’s net debt to the rest of the world has soared up to $156 billion.

We have regions running on empty.

We have unacceptable delays from the Electricity Authority sorting out their pricing methodology creating uncertainty and preventing business owners investing in the regions.

Law and order has fallen apart in many provincial areas with fly-by policing and empty police stations.

These are facts.

The Regions and Personal Security

In the last eight or nine years new Zealanders have been told that crime is falling. It’s a lie of course hidden by the Governments catch and release policy – catch criminals but warn them and not charge them. That’s how National has got lower crime figures but their deceit has been exposed and they’re trying to cover it with and extra 880 police over the next four years. And that’s 1000 short of what’s needed.

New Zealand First will recruit 1800 extra front line police in the next three years. Just like we recruited 1000 front line police the last time we had the power to.

Restoring hope

New Zealand First wants to restore hope in our young people.
Hope so that a job is achievable for them.
Hope so that they can one day own a home of their own.
Hope so they don’t see despair, but a future for themselves, their families and their communities.

And hope in our regions and our whole country.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.

 

Comey ‘probably cost Clinton the election’

An analysis of polls and media coverage by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight makes a strong case in support of the claim that The Comey Letter Probably Cost Clinton The Election

It may well have been the final nail in a poor campaign. Trumps campaign was also poor but it succeeded where it mattered, with the help of Comey.

But Silver also makes a strong case for the influence of the media and their denials of the impact they have.

And this applies to New Zealand as well, on a smaller scale.

Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28. The letter, which said the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into the private email server that Clinton used as secretary of state, upended the news cycle and soon halved Clinton’s lead in the polls, imperiling her position in the Electoral College.

The letter isn’t the only reason that Clinton lost. It does not excuse every decision the Clinton campaign made. Other factors may have played a larger role in her defeat…

But the effect of those factors — say, Clinton’s decision to give paid speeches to investment banks, or her messaging on pocket-book issues, or the role that her gender played in the campaign — is hard to measure.

The impact of Comey’s letter is comparatively easy to quantify, by contrast. At a maximum, it might have shifted the race by 3 or 4 percentage points toward Donald Trump, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida to him, perhaps along with North Carolina and Arizona. At a minimum, its impact might have been only a percentage point or so.

Still, because Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 1 point, the letter was probably enough to change the outcome of the Electoral College.

And yet, from almost the moment that Trump won the White House, many mainstream journalists have been in denial about the impact of Comey’s letter.

It hasn’t just been journalists who have been in denial about the effect of Comey’s letter. Trump chooses to ignore it and promote his own greatness, but that is what he does.

Many Trump supporters seem to want to think he won simply on merit and don’t want to consider he wasn’t that great, he just ended up being slightly less ungreat than Clinton in a few key states.

Why would the media want to ‘forget’ about the Comey letter effect?

The motivation for this seems fairly clear: If Comey’s letter altered the outcome of the election, the media may have some responsibility for the result.

The media were as poor throughout the campaign as the Clinton and Trump campaigns, and as with other issues they over-emphasised the Comey letter, helping make it a game changer. The whole campaign debacle was an appalling advertisement for democracy.

One can believe that the Comey letter cost Clinton the election without thinking that the media cost her the election — it was an urgent story that any newsroom had to cover.

But if the Comey letter had a decisive effect and the story was mishandled by the press — given a disproportionate amount of attention relative to its substantive importance, often with coverage that jumped to conclusions before the facts of the case were clear — the media needs to grapple with how it approached the story.

Is the media likely to examine and grapple with how it handled the election? That’s probably as likely as Clinton examining and accepting her own shortcomings, or as likely as Trump becoming modest about his win and his presidency.

If I were advising a future candidate on what to learn from 2016, I’d tell him or her to mostly forget about the Comey letter and focus on the factors that were within the control of Clinton and Trump. That’s not my purpose here. Instead, it’s to get at the truth — to figure out the real story of the election.

The real story is that the Comey letter had a fairly large and measurable impact, probably enough to cost Clinton the election. It wasn’t the only thing that mattered, and it might not have been the most important. But the media is still largely in denial about how much of an effect it had.

That applies to the whole campaign.

Modern media plays an integral part in elections. They are a major influence on what voters learn about candidates.

And media has moved far to far from being reporters, investigators and informers, and they have become far too much political activists and promoters.

This is not just true of the US.

In New Zealand the media have become tools of political campaigns because it generates headlines and stories, and some in media have become virtual political activists, their egos driving their coverage more than balance and perspective.

This is likely to continue because the media are excused by the majority, those who win, those who get favourable outcomes, those in power, in part due to the campaign influence of media.

The media probably cost Clinton the election as much as the Comey letter did, but the media had also contributed significantly to Clinton – and Trump – being the eventual candidates. Two very flawed candidates in a very flawed political system dominated by a very flawed media.

Social media has a growing influence, but in large part that is due to the deficiencies of the ‘mainstream’ media.

Putin linked to plan to sway US election

The controversy over how much Russia tried to influence the US presidential election last year continues with the claim that two documents link Vladimir Putin to attempts to help Donald Trump’s campaign and to attack Hillary Clinton.

Reuters reports: Exclusive: Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election – documents

A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.

They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.

The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.

The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.

It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.

A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election.

For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.

The documents were central to the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia mounted a “fake news” campaign and launched cyber attacks against Democratic Party groups and Clinton’s campaign, the current and former officials said.

“Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute to draw him a road map,” said one of the sources, a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Four of the officials said the approach outlined in the June strategy paper was a broadening of an effort the Putin administration launched in March 2016. That month the Kremlin instructed state-backed media outlets, including international platforms Russia Today and Sputnik news agency, to start producing positive reports on Trump’s quest for the U.S. presidency, the officials said.

Several specific examples of the Russian news agencies involvement:

  • Russia Today and Sputnik published anti-Clinton stories while pro-Kremlin bloggers prepared a Twitter campaign calling into question the fairness of an anticipated Clinton victory, according to a report by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election made public in January. [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
  • Russia Today’s most popular Clinton video – “How 100% of the 2015 Clintons’ ‘charity’ went to … themselves” – accumulated 9 millions views on social media, according to the January report. [bit.ly/2os8wIt]
  • Russia Today and Sputnik “consistently cast president elect-Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional media outlets.”

Sounds a lot like the Trump campaign. Who followed who’s lead?

Titanic campaign by Clinton

A book review describes Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as like the Titanic, she should have been unsinkable against a candidate like Trump but headed full steam for icebergs.

NY Times Books: Shattered’ Charts Hillary Clinton’s Course Into the Iceberg

In their compelling new book, “Shattered,” the journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes write that Clinton’s loss suddenly made sense of all the reporting they had been doing for a year and a half — reporting that had turned up all sorts of “foreboding signs” that often seemed at odds, in real time, with indications that Clinton was the favorite to win. Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in “Shattered” — and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating, sure to dismay not just her supporters but also everyone who cares about the outcome and momentous consequences of the election.

In fact, the portrait of the Clinton campaign that emerges from these pages is that of a Titanic-like disaster: an epic fail made up of a series of perverse and often avoidable missteps by an out-of-touch candidate and her strife-ridden staff that turned “a winnable race” into “another iceberg-seeking campaign ship.”

It’s the story of a wildly dysfunctional and “spirit-crushing” campaign that embraced a flawed strategy (based on flawed data) and that failed, repeatedly, to correct course.

There was a perfect storm of other factors, of course, that contributed to Clinton’s loss, including Russian meddling in the election to help elect Trump; the controversial decision by the F.B.I. director, James Comey, to send a letter to Congress about Clinton’s emails less than two weeks before Election Day; and the global wave of populist discontent with the status quo (signaled earlier in the year by the British “Brexit” vote) that helped fuel the rise of both Trump and Bernie Sanders. In a recent interview, Clinton added that she believed “misogyny played a role” in her loss.

I doubt there was any significant misogyny involved but (I don’t know what’s this is called) there was a lot of prejudice against a badly flawed and poorly performing candidate.

“Shattered” underscores Clinton’s difficulty in articulating a rationale for her campaign (other than that she was not Donald Trump).

She seemed to think she could win simply by letting Trump lose, but when hit by the Comey thunderbolt she had nothing alternative to combat it with.

In chronicling these missteps, “Shattered” creates a picture of a shockingly inept campaign hobbled by hubris and unforced errors, and haunted by a sense of self-pity and doom, summed up in one Clinton aide’s mantra throughout the campaign: “We’re not allowed to have nice things.”

Clinton stuffed up big time. The climax of her political career is losing to what should have been an unelectable candidate.

State of the campaign launch

Labour and Greens promoted Sunday’s event as joint ‘State of the Nation’ speeches from Andrew Little and Metiria Turei.

Mickysavage is more accurate at The Standard: The Labour Green 2017 campaign launch

Yesterday’s joint Labour Green state of the nation event was effectively a campaign launch for the 2017 election. And it went well.

It was clearly a campaign launch. It wasn’t about the state of the nation at all.

It was about the state of Bill English and the Government – crap.

And it was about the state of the Labour/Green union – fantastic.

it was all about their aims to change the government, but giving scant idea of what the proposed replacement government would look like.

Of course a lot depends on whether Labour in particular can grow their support between now and the election. To look like a credible lead party they really need to increase their support from the mid to high twenties to the mid to high thirties.

Unless Greens pick up the floating votes and increase their support to the 15-20% range, something they would really like to do, somehow avoiding decimating Labour too much because they need them to make it into power.

Mickysavage describes the campaign launch:

I attended the joint Labour-Green state of the Nation launch yesterday in Mt Albert and it was impressive.

It was a very comfortable event. There were many, many Auckland Labour activists in attendance. And there were many, many Green activists as well. I have spent a fair bit of time campaigning with both and to have them all in the same room at the same time was a very enjoyable experience.

It is clear that the senior staffers in both parties have put a great deal of planning and effort into the launch and it worked well.

it sounds like it did work well for the parties, the party leaders, and the party activists and members who attended.

The important thing will be whether it works well in the all important polls. Will the public warm to Labour-greens as a combined entity? We are yet to find that out, but there is no sign yet of it being the game changer that some hoped when it was first launched over half a year ago.

So the parties’ future are now linked.  In the past couple of elections suggestions by Russell Norman late in the campaign that the Greens could go with National in my opinion have hurt both Labour and the Greens.  The last time the parties campaigned together was in 2005, the last time that a progressive Government was elected.  Hopefully this year will repeat that event.

Is that a Freedian slip?

While Labour and Greens may have campaigned together in 2005, and successfully thwarted Don Brash and National, it didn’t turn out so well for the Greens.

Labour did a deal with Winston Peters that shut the greens out of government. A joint campaign ended up in Green pain.

This campaign launch joins Labour and Greens closer than ever – and Labour is in a much weaker position (they got 41.10% in 2005), and Greens have doubled their support from 5.3%.

The state of the campaign launch was good for the two parties.

The state of the election is what counts, and that will determine the state of the relationship when it comes to trying to form the next government.

I think the state of the response at The Standard is interesting. The Labour-Green-left supporting blog is hardly buzzing with enthusiasm. both comment numbers and comments seem to be relatively muted compared to past election campaigns.

Labour’s negative campaign

For about a decade Labour have tried to defeat National by attacking John Key, without success. Now they seem to be trying to repeat the same tactics against new Prime Minister Bill English.

labourversusenglish

It doesn’t mention the name of who they they think ‘it’s time’ to be Prime Minister. Are Labour hedging their bets about who might be leading them at the election?

What are Labour’s values? Dredging up old stuff to attack opponents?

There is nothing positive about this. Repeating past mistakes is a very questionable strategy.

I don’t see how this negativity will appeal to many voters, let alone people who might consider joining ‘the campaign’.

I hoped Labour would have hit election year promoting themselves and showing how they can be different. Same old is a bad start.

By the Trump, for the Trump

The US presidential campaign is getting tedious, mostly more of the same from Donald Trump, and more of the little as possible from Hillary Clinton.

The polls still don’t look great for Trump. The RealClear Politics rolling average has closed up a smidgen to 5.9%, but the FiveThirtyEight ‘chance of winning’ trend is barely changing.

538trend23october

This takes into account popular vote as well as key battleground states.

Trump seems to have tried to model himself on Abraham Lincoln with his own Gettsyburgh Address, which did include some policies that are likely to be popular

Details he announced included:

  • restrictions on White House officials becoming lobbyists after they leave office;
  • term limits for members of Congress;
  • the cancellation of all payments to UN climate change programmes and the redeployment of those funds to fix US infrastructure;
  • the start of the process of “removing the more than two million criminal, illegal immigrants” – and the denial of visa-free travel to countries who refused to take back their citizens

USA Today: Trump’s Gettysburg address outlines first 100 days

In a building named forDwight Eisenhower and on the land forever tied to an Abraham Lincoln speech, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump aimed to join their ranks as the 45th commander in chief with a policy speech outlining his first 100 days in office.

With two-and-one-half weeks left in the 2016 election and behind in the polls to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump focused his speech on specific plans to ramp up support in a crucial swing state Saturday at the Eisenhower Complex in Gettysburg.

The speech included Trump’s ideas for cleaning up government corruption, such congressional term limits and bans on lobbying practices in Washington, D.C.

“This is my pledge to you,” Trump concluded. “And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government, of, by and for the people. We will make America great again.”

But this was undone with more of Trump’s antagonistic and divisive rhetoric post election legal threats.

Trump called Lincoln’s presidency an instance of great division in the country and repeatedly referenced the “of the people, by the people, for the people” line in the Gettysburg Address throughout his remarks.

“It is my hope that we can look at (Lincoln’s) example to heal the divisions we are living through right now,” he added.

Given that the Republican Party appears to be hopelessly divided due in part to Trump’s candidacy it’s hard to see how he can lead a healing of divisions.

Before laying out his plans, Trump listed the obstacles he says he is facing in a “rigged system,” including allegations of voter fraud, Clinton’s eligibility as a candidate and the “dishonest mainstream media,” topics that garnered cheers from the audience.

Trump also acknowledged the women who have recently come forward to allege sexual misconduct against him.

“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” said Trump, adding that he plans to sue them after the election.

One of the biggest divisions Trump has driven is between himself and women.

He plans to sue al women (about eleven to date) who have claimed sexual misconduct, he plans to investigate and imprison Clinton, and he plans to break up the media conglomerates who claims have been biased against him – and without whom his campaign would never have gained traction. Plus there are growing rumours he plans to set up his own media conglomerate.

The campaign continues to be all about Trump, with Clinton appearing determined to keep out of out of sight and out of (any more) trouble.

Nate Silver says that early voting numbers are favouring Clinton and the Democrats in Election Update: Trump May Depress Republican Turnout, Spelling Disaster For The GOP.

One needs to be careful about drawing too many inferences from early-voting data. There are a lot of states to look at and a lot of ways to run the numbers, and we’ve seen smart analysts trick themselves into drawing conclusions that didn’t necessarily hold up well by Election Day. But it seems fair to say the data is mostly in line with the polls. Democrats are seeing very strong early-voting numbers in Virginia and reasonably encouraging ones in North Carolina, two states where Clinton has consistently outperformed Obama in polls. They also seem set to make gains in Arizona and Colorado, where the same is true. But Democratic numbers aren’t all that good in Iowa or Ohio, where Clinton has underperformed Obama in polls.

The problem for Trump is that taken as a whole, his polls aren’t very good — and, in fact, they may still be getting worse.

…you can easily see how the worst-case scenario is firmly on the table for Trump and Republican down-ballot candidates, where the bottom falls out from GOP turnout. Consider:

  • Trump is getting only about 80 percent of the Republican vote, whereas candidates typically finish at about 90 percent of their party’s vote or above.
  • Furthermore, the Republicans missing from Trump’s column tend to be high-education, high-income voters, who typically also have a high propensity to vote.
    Voters are increasingly convinced that Clinton will win the election, and turnout can be lower in lopsided elections. (Although, this presents risks to both candidates: complacency
  • on the part of Democrats, despondency on the part of Republicans.)
    Republicans and Trump have a substantial ground game deficit, with Clinton and Democrats holding a nearly 4-1 advantage in paid staffers.
  • Trump’s rhetoric that the election is rigged could discourage turnout among his own voters.
  • Trump’s base is relatively small, especially if he underperforms among college-educated Republicans.

The nightmare scenario for the GOP is that high-information Republican voters, seeing Trump imploding and not necessarily having been happy with him as their nominee in the first place, feel free to cast a protest vote at the top of the ticket. Meanwhile, lower-information Republican voters don’t turn out at all, given that Trump’s rigging rhetoric could suppress their vote and that Republicans don’t have the field operation to pull them back in.

The ‘Government by the Trump, for the Trump’ is looking like a shaky prospect.

Givealittle can’t be used for campaign fundraising

In what seems to be another example of the Electoral act clashing with the modern world of politics the fundraising site Givealittle has been ruled out for raising campaign funds.

Wanganui Chronicle: Givealittle not for politicians on the campaign trail

A Whanganui local body election candidate has learned that anyone hoping to use crowd funding site Givealittle to raise campaign funds this year will have to go elsewhere.

The site, run by the Spark Foundation, cannot be used for election fundraising because the time it takes to pay users does not comply with the Electoral Act.

Horizons Regional Council candidate Nicola Patrick set up a page last week and received $960 in donations before Givealittle shut down the page after receiving legal advice.

The Electoral Act requires any party collecting funds on behalf of a candidate to hand over the money within 10 days.

Givealittle only pays out once a month.

Maybe Givealittle could pay out more often for campaign fundraising? I think they are now are getting a cut (5%)  of funds raised so it would be in their interests as well as catering for the needs of customers.

“I don’t blame them but they are following the letter of the law.”

There’s other ways of following the letter of the law – like complying with it. But that’s up to Givealittle.

Givealittle chief giving officer Tom Beyer said the site’s donation and payment processes are not compliant with the Electoral Act 1993 and the Local Electoral Act.

“Under the Acts Givealittle would be considered the transmitter of funds, which means we need to comply with a number of regulations,” he said.

It had received legal advice regarding the matter, Beyer said.

“Unfortunately our current processes aren’t compliant so in the interests of ensuring a trusted and safe service for all we can’t support this kind of fundraiser.”

Beyer did not rule out changes to its site in the future.

“It is something for consideration for future electoral campaigns but there is not sufficient time to implement these changes for the 2016 local body elections.”

So they may adapt.

There is not sufficient time for the Electoral Act or the Electoral Commission to modernise either, but neither does their appear to be much inclination  to catch up with the twenty first century.