NZ First 2018 convention

Stuff: “Just over 200 members were gathered at Tauranga Racecourse for the party’s annual conference.”

So far at least there is not much detail on the NZ First website about the convention they are having this weekend, apart from notices about it.

Convention & AGM 2018 – Tauranga

On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to invite you all to the 2018 Convention & AGM to be held at the Tauranga Racecourse on the 29th and 30th of September. The Convention and AGM is New Zealand First’s largest gathering and networking event of the year. It will be a pleasure to see you all again as we mark an important milestone in our Party’s history – 25 years.

The Convention weekend will be fun filled and energetic as make the big decisions that will define our party for the next 25 years. Since the last election New Zealand First has had a significant role in shaping the Government of our country and I am proud of the work the Rt Hon Winston Peters, our Ministers and our MPs have been doing.

Make the decision to join the other movers and shakers in our Party and if you have any issues please get in touch with our Convention organising team.

Yours thankfully,

Brent Catchpole

Leader’s Message

On 18 July, New Zealand First celebrates its 25th anniversary. No other new political
New Zealand First was formed to represent the views of New Zealanders concerned
about the economic and social direction of our country after the radical market
reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s. At our founding, we set out 15 Fundamental
Principles which guide us as we negotiate common-sense policy outcomes for the
betterment of our people and our country.

The 25 year milestone is a result of us remaining steadfast in our principles and
enthusiasm for a better New Zealand, whether we are in government, or on the
opposition benches.

Our record precedes us: free health care for our children, a more dignified life for our
elderly, workers receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, safer communities,
and many other achievements that have impacted lives of everyday New
Zealanders.

Today, our mission in Government is restoring lost capacity after nine years of
National neglect, regenerating regional New Zealand, the lifeblood of the country,
and putting the interests of all New Zealanders at the forefront of government
decision-making.

We could not have embarked on this mission without your support and contributions.
On the 29th and 30th of September, we will be holding our Annual Convention and
AGM in Tauranga. I urge you to join me, and my parliamentary colleagues, as we
celebrate our 25-year anniversary and look toward the future.

There is some coverage from Stuff. NZ First’s 25th birthday bash a chance to push right into the culture wars

Party conventions serve many purposes. The base of diehard supporters – who you need to enthuse so they can volunteer at the next election – have to be kept happy. But there are also a lot of TV cameras and mischievous journalists there – so the party must project itself as sensible, coherent, and able to win over any voters who have faded away since the election.

And while polling of NZ First between elections is notoriously bad, the party does need to win some votes back. Most of the recent public polls put it below the all-important five per cent threshold, and it seems most of the internal polling has it below there too, with the Greens still above the line. You can’t be the kingmaker if you are outside of Parliament, as Peters knows well from his stint in the wilderness after 2008.

Behind all the blustering there is one large question that faces NZ First: who does the party turn to when Peters finally retires? It could happen in a few years, it could happen in ten, but the MPs behind him have been maneuvering like it could happen tomorrow. Shane Jones has his billion dollar fund and high media profile, putting him solidly in the lead. But don’t count out the very charismatic Fletcher Tabuteau, who won the deputy leadership and will deliver a caucus report speech on Sunday morning, ahead of Peter’s speech in the afternoon. Sometimes a little bit of anonymity goes a long way.

NZ First conference takes aim at banks with several remits

NZ First members have voted for several remits aimed at the banking sector, including a $50m levy to keep banks open in small towns.

The remit seeks to levy $50m from the banking sector that was redistributed to banks as a subsidy to keep banks in small towns open and for longer hours.

Other remits aimed at promoting the Government’s use of New Zealand-owned banks, buying back shares of KiwiBank from the Super Fund and ACC were also passed with no opposition.

However, accepted policy remits from the conference have a long road to becoming actual Government policy, including the caucus policy committee of NZ First and Cabinet itself.

NZ Herald:  Boxer Joseph Parker surprise speaker at NZ First’s annual convention

Boxer Joseph Parker was the surprise speaker at New Zealand First’s annual convention in Tauranga today. What probably made it more surprising is that he is the nephew of National MP Judith Collins.

Parker played down any conflict though, saying he supported everyone.

“I feel like my aunty knows where my heart is. It’s just about going about there and saying something that we hope can inspire and motivate others and help others.”

Parker said he had a close relationship with Peters.

There will be more from the NZ First convention today, but I may not have time to post on it.

Now the conventions are over…

Now the US main party conventions are over there is still another three months of campaigning, so a lot could happen to change the presidential race.

Donald Trump got a poll bounce after the republican convention but it’s too soon to tell whether Hillary Clinton gets a balancing or beneficial bounce from the just completed Democrat convention.

The latest FiveThirtyEight election forecasts:

  • Polls-only: Clinton 53.3%, Trump 46.7%
  • Polls-plus: Clinton 61.7%, Trump 38.3%

Note that the US president isn’t elected by popular vote, it is decided by electoral college votes decided state by state.

ABC Australia explains: What happens between now and November 8?

Now begins just over three more months of stump speeches, town hall meetings and non-stop campaigning.

To win the presidential election on November 8, the Republican Mr Trump or the Democrat Mrs Clinton needs to win at least 270 electoral college votes.

Each state and the District of Columbia award electoral votes. If a candidate wins the majority in a state they take all of the electoral votes.

Small states like Vermont and Delaware get three votes, larger states like New York and Florida get 29, Texas has 38 and the biggest prize, California, is worth 55 electoral votes.

The winner needs 270 votes to claim the White House. Here’s where each candidate stands based on current polling:

  • Hillary Clinton leads in states with 202 electoral votes
  • Trump got a bounce from his convention last week. His total is now 164

We don’t know yet whether Clinton will bounce back on the back of the Democrat convention.

Some states have more importance than others.

Florida is a major prize and it has been decisive in two of the last four elections. It is a growing population which may favour Clinton, but it is tight.

Mr Trump has his eyes on the old rust belt of the industrial mid-west, from Pennsylvania to Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.

That is why you will hear him talking a lot about bringing jobs back from overseas, beating China at trade, making things in America and “making America great again”.

Clinton is a conventional establishment candidate, except that she is also playing the ‘first woman candidate’ card hard. That may or may not help her.

Trump is still an unknown quantity apart from surprising many about how well he has done so far. He is an anti-establishment candidate which has won him a lot of support but also strengthen opposition.

The election will in part be decided by how the two candidates perform over the next three months.

Voters may start to take a more serious look at what a win by either candidate would mean for them personally and for the US – a lot of Americans tend to not think much or care much about the rest of the world. But world events may play a part, especially terrorism and potential threats posed by other major powers.

So far the contest has been very unpredictable, thanks to Trump. Expect him to continue to try and cause upheaval.

But the result may come down to nuts and bolts campaigning. Clinton has a much better organised campaign across the country. Trump’s relatively disorganised and unconventional campaign has to try and catch up in that respect, or they may simply fail to get enough potential supporters to vote, especially in key states.

About the only certainty is that the attention seeking and attention getting will continue.

Democracy in the US may not look pretty – and often looks quite ugly – but that’s something the media thrives on.

Obama’s pessimistic convention speech

There has been some raving about the greatness of Barack Obama’s speech at the Democrat’s convention.

Like “That was incredible.”

I haven’t seen or heard any of it but haven’t been a fan of much of his speaking in the past.

I’ll watch some of it when I get a chance:

CNN: Barack Obama slams Trump, makes appeal for Hillary Clinton

President Barack Obama made a fervent plea for Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, casting the Democratic nominee as a custodian of his legacy while rejecting Republicans’ message as fostering anger and hate.

In remarks that demonstrated Obama’s lasting appeal to wide swaths of the Democratic Party, the President sought to describe country headed firmly in the right direction, despite the loud protestations otherwise by Donald Trump.

Obama said his former secretary of state is a better qualified candidate than even he or her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had been when they sought office.

“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” Obama said to a roaring crowd — and a belly-laughing Bill Clinton — at the Democratic National Convention.

Even as a pessimistic attitude pervades the presidential campaign, Obama attempted to harness the optimism that propelled him into office eight years ago.

“America is already great,” Obama insisted, rejecting Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” “America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”

In remarks that defended his own record as a progressive leader as much as they boosted the candidate who could maintain them, Obama argued that two terms of a Democrat weren’t enough to finish the work he started.

“I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands,” Obama said to scattered sighs among the delegates. “My time in this office hasn’t fixed everything; as much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do.”

An army of writers should at least make to content passable.

But Vox: Comparing Obama’s 2004 convention speech and his 2016 convention speech is depressing

 In 2004, a much-younger Barack Obama stepped onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention and gave a speech that literally changed the course of American history.

“There are those who are preparing to divide us,” he said, “the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.”

 

That was the Obama who thrilled an unsuspecting nation. He didn’t have a plan to heal the country. He had an argument that it wasn’t really sick. The impression of division, he said, was the work of “spin masters.” It was “the pundits” who liked “to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states.”

Then there was the Obama of 2008. In four short years, he had shot from state senator to presidential nominee. He had served in Washington. He knew the divisions were real. He had stopped blaming the pundits and spin masters.

Now he sought to convince both sides that the gaps, though real, could be bridged with new thinking, with a spirit of compromise. He warned that “Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past.” He said that what is “lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.”

The Obama of 2016 wrapped his speech in the language of hope. “While this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge,” he said, “I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America.”

But it was not a hopeful speech. Obama no longer suggests our divisions are illusory; he no longer proposes new thinking as a salve for old battles. Tonight, the choice wasn’t merely between red and blue, but between democracy and authoritarianism, between a public servant and a would-be autocrat.

The Obama of 2004 did not think it necessary to say Americans don’t look to be ruled. The Obama of 2008 was happy to say, “I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.” The Obama of 2016 was reduced to warning of “homegrown demagogues” and a “self-declared savior.”

“This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me,” Obama said tonight, “to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us.” Implicit in that cry was that 12 years after Obama gave his inspiring speech in Boston, our politics courses with more cynicism and more fear than ever. Donald Trump is campaigning for president — as of this moment, he is even leading in the polls — by summoning the worst in us.

Obama says he is more optimistic than ever about America’s future, and he may well be. But this was a speech that revealed a deep pessimism about America’s present, and correctly so.

Pessimistic about the present, and pessimistic about future possibilities.

Clinton accepts nomination

Unsurprisingly Hillary Clinton has been nominated as the presidential candidate for the Democrats and she has accepted at their convention.

They keep rolling out big guns to talk her up, including husband Bill.

It’s hard to get enthusiastic about her. A majority of Americans don’t trust her.

But she’s got a shot at the big job.

And we only have three months and a bit to go before the US election. Not much can happen in that time.

US politics seems as full of substance as the billion or so balloons they use at their conventions.

Wasserman Schultz’s resignation

Just before the Democrat convention that presumably would have tried to show they were less of a circus than the Republicans the Democrat National Committee ringmaster has resigned, in part due to embarrassing emails leaked by Wikileaks, but some feel this was just the last straw.

Jim Manley at The Wall Street Journal: Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s DNC Resignation and Headlines the Clinton Campaign Doesn’t Want During Convention

A few days ago I thought the Democratic convention in Philadelphia would be a boring and news-less event–a prediction blown apart by the fight over Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the announcement Sunday that she would resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee at the end of the convention.

With Democrats desperate to show a more united front than the circus on display at last week’s Republican convention, this could not be happening at a worse time. The congresswoman’s departure was forced by the WikiLeaks site’s release of more than 19,000 emails, some of which disclosed discussion and behavior of party staffers that appeared aimed at undermining the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as he competed for months against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s decision to step down and try to avoid fanning the flames was the right one–but a day late and a dollar short.

Sanders has said he still fully supports Clinton, who says she knew nothing about the one sided campaigning by Wasserman Schultz, but this all suggests the Democrats have their share of internal problems.

To many Democrats, some of Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s actions seemed to reflect her personal objectives rather than party goals. The leaked emails were not themselves decisive–politics is a blood sport–but for many they were the last straw.

After months of tensions, Ms. Wasserman Schultz has come to embody what some see as establishment efforts to undermine the Sanders campaign and ensure that Mrs. Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination.

With Sanders supporters sensitive to slights of their candidate and his agenda, allowing her to stay on through the convention and to address the hall is likely to be a bad decision. The Sanders folks smell blood in the water–they are all but certain to make her time at the podium a living hell.

While Sanders will presumably put party interests first many of his supporters have been very negative about Clinton already, and may now make their displeasure known at the convention.

What’s the chances of Gary Johnson being given a serious shot at the presidency by media? Probably bugger all.

But there must be an opportunity begging for an ‘A Pox on Both Parties’ campaign.

Trump staffer admits plagiarism

Meredith MvIver, a staff writer for the Trump Organisation, has taken responsibility for the speech plagiarism, but she won’t be fired (publicly at least).

There was a political furore after Melania Trump’s speech when it was discovered that some parts of the speech repeated verbatim parts of a  speech by Michelle Obama in 2008. This overshadowed what was otherwise seen as a good speech on the opening day of the Republican Party convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

See NBC News: Trump Campaign Struggles to Manage Melania Trump Speech Fallout

“Not paying attention to details — that costs elections,” a source close to the campaign, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told NBC News.

Top Trump aide Paul Manafort responded erratically to the news, framing the story as overblown, as unimportant to the candidate, and later as part of a partisan conspiracy targeting Mrs. Trump.

Manafort first told CBS News there was “no cribbing” of Obama’s speech and minimized the issue’s relevance.

In an interview with NBC News later that morning, Manafort said Mr. Trump was “very pleased with last night.”

Later, Manafort accused Hillary Clinton of manufacturing the plagiarism story.

Mr. Trump, who praised her “absolutely incredible” speech on Twitter last night, is unlikely to tolerate an error that cuts so close to his relationship with his wife.

But someone has owned up to the ‘mistake’ and it looks like they won’t be fired.

SO cn0q5uqweaqzplf

She says she wrote down phrases given to her by Melania Trump and included them in the speech. This means that Ms Trump was aware of where they came from. So it’s perhaps not surprising that MvIver is not being sacked because that would look awkward for Ms Trump.

CNN: Trump aide offers resignation in Melania Trump plagiarism incident

McIver said she “asked” to put out a statement because she was concerned about how the controversy was “distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation.”

The Trump campaign has refused to acknowledge the incident as plagiarism, instead slamming the media and insisting it was moving on, with no plans to fire any staffers.

Donald Trump, for his part, pressed forward with the strategy of attacking the media as late as an hour before the campaign statement Wednesday.

“The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary’s emails,” Trump said in a tweet.

McIver has served as a ghostwriter for the Trumps in the past, helping Donald Trump write some of his books, including “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire.”

The New York Times identified McIver as a former ballet dancer and English major.

There has been concern and criticism expressed about the lack of professionalism in the Trump campaign for months. Experienced campaigners, including Republicans, have said that plagiarism was a fundamental no-no in  political speech writing.

Yesterday Donald Trump was officially nominated as the Republican presidential candidate. He is expected to officially accept this at the convention on Friday.

“She plagiarized a statement about hard work”

The biggest thing to come out of the Republican convention today was Melania Trump’s speech – especially the parts that were Michelle Obama’s speech repeated.

She plagiarized a statement about hard work. Seriously. You can’t write this stuff.

CNN: Melania Trump’s speech plagiarizes parts of Michelle Obama’s
(a video comparison of the speeches via the link)

At least one passage in Melania Trump’s speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Side-by-side comparisons of the transcripts show the text in Trump’s address following, nearly to the word, the first lady’s own from the first night of the Democratic convention in Denver nearly eight years ago.

Fact checking the speeches

The controversy quickly overshadowed the speech, which was to have been her introduction to voters.

First noticed by @JarrettHill

TrumpvObamaSpeeches

Doesn’t look very flash for Ms Trump, nor for Mr Trump, and it has taken over most of the media coverage.

It’s truly fitting that 8 years of mockery of Obama’s teleprompter speeches should end in an Obama speech plagiarized at the GOP convention.

CNN:

The Trump campaign released a statement on the speech after the similarities were uncovered, but the statement did not mention the plagiarism charge.

“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success,” according to Jason Miller, the senior communications adviser.

Earlier in the day, Melania Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer: “I read once over it, that’s all, because I wrote it … with (as) little help as possible.”

Donald Trump’s week

It’s a big week for Donald Trump with his endorsement an expected formality at the end of the Republican convention being held in Cleveland, Ohio.

NBC News:

Welcome to Day One of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The city is set to welcome about 50,000 people for the week-long event that will end with the nomination of businessman Donald Trump according to the RNC, including 2,470 delegates, 2,302 alternate delegates.

Speakers for Monday include Melania Trump, wife of the presumptive GOP nominee, Ret. Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson and actor Scott Baio.

Politics is done on a very large scale in the US. There will be a lot of media coverage, and it won’t all be positive for Trump but he has achieved a lot more than many had predicted not that long ago.

One bit of news going around yesterday was that Mike Pence was not Trumps choice as running mate but was pushed on him as the Republican Party tries to put a semblance of reasonableness on his campaign. Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich will be feeling a bit disappointed.

There are likely to be many mixed feelings at the convention.

The Trump machine has left a lot of people GOP smashed.

Trump talks of/up riots

Donald Trump is widely seen as a very adept user of publicity and he has been successful at pushing political buttons and tapping into an angry electorate.

He is now talking of riots if he misses out on the republican nomination. Is he deliberately talking up riots?

NZ Herald: Donald Trump says he’ll skip debate, warns of possible convention riots

Fresh off three more primary victories, Donald Trump said he’ll blow off the next Republican presidential debate and warned of “riots” if power-brokers deny him the nomination at the convention even if he’s leading in the delegate count.

“I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but I can tell you, if we didn’t and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 cause we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically,” Trump said on CNN on Wednesday. “I think you’d have riots.”

“I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen,” Trump said, adding the outcome would “disenfranchise” his supporters.

While Trump appears to be carefully trying to distance himself blame of riots should they happen the fact that he is publicly suggesting them as a possibility – and a justified possibility – it’s hard to believe he isn’t deliberately talking up the threat of riots, if not suggesting and encouraging them.

It could easily be seen as an insidious political threat of or incitement for violence if he doesn’t get his way.

UPDATE: Newstalk ZB is more blunt- Trump: Pick me or there will be riots