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.

Reactions to Labour’s immigration policy

Labour announced their immigration policy yesterday – see Little announces Labour’s immigration policy.

Greens are usually quick to respond to political news of the day but have nothing on their website about it yet.

NZ Herald:  English says Labour’s immigration ‘breather’ would stall momentum in the economy

Prime Minister Bill English’s strenuous opposition to Labour’s proposed “breather” in immigration draws a clear battle-line in the election.

Labour leader Andrew Little wants net migration cut from the current 70,000 a year by up to 30,000 – mainly targeting overseas students – saying it will relieve pressure on Auckland road by 20,000 cars and 10,000 houses annually.

But English says Labour’s policy is based on a misunderstanding of the export education sector – 70 per cent to 80 per cent of such students left New Zealand at the end of their study, the students did not buy houses and not many had cars.

English also said the cut would stall the momentum in the economy which was producing 10,000 new jobs every month.

RNZ:  Labour’s immigration policy could ruin colleges – industry

Up to 70 percent of private training colleges could collapse if Labour’s new immigration policy is implemented, an organisation representing the industry says.

The Labour Party’s policy targets international students on low-level courses, in a bid to cut down migration by up to 30,000 people a year.

Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand, which represents the industry, predicts up to 70 percent of the sector’s business could collapse.

Chairperson Christine Clark said targeting private training establishments (PTEs) would not solve the problem.

She said Mr Little had confused low level with low quality, and the policy sent a message that people who studied at PTEs were low-level people.

“By saying low level, he’s also targeting the providers who are training the chefs and training the barristers and the technicians and the horticultural people and the farmers and the caregivers.

“New Zealand actually needs those people.”

Dave Guerin from Ed Insider, a company which gives advice to tertiary education groups, said polytechnics would also be in trouble.

“Polytechnics are heavily reliant on the Indian and Chinese market. In some places they make up 80 to 90 percent of their international students.

“I’ve just gone through most of the polytechnic sector’s annual reports. Most of them are seeing growth in international students and declines in domestic students, so if they see a decline in international student then they’ll be in the red financially.”

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman said about 20 percent of its workers were on student visas.

Mr Chapman liked Labour’s idea of a visa system which would help people get more jobs in the regions, but said the overall policy did not promote growth.

“The whole policy needs to recognise that we do need skilled workers in this country, be they Kiwis or [through] immigration. We need that balance.

“Any policy that pushes down and stops growth is not assisting the industry going forward.”

RNZ:  ‘Pandering’: Rival MPs criticise Labour immigration plan

United Future leader Peter Dunne…

…said Labour’s plan was “really all about race and pandering to a certain section of the vote”.

“It’s a nod and a wink to try to get New Zealand First on side.

“But frankly it’s going to have a detrimental effect on a number of tertiary institutions in terms of their funding [and] also in terms of the skillset coming into New Zealand.”

ACT leader David Seymour…

…said it was a sad day when “the major opposition party starts beating the race drum”.

“They’ve clearly been watching the UK election. They’ve seen UK Labour do well from the collapse of UKIP [United Kingdom Independence Party]. They’re getting desperate.

“They think that maybe they can engineer something like that by moving into New Zealand First’s territory.”

The Green Party…

…is worried some might see the policy as a pitch to xenophobia, but has come to Labour’s defence.

Co-leader James Shaw said he did not think that was where Labour was coming from.

“They’ve done a lot of work and they’ve come a long way from where they were in this debate.

“My sense is that they are trying to reframe the debate as one about how we manage this for the sake of the people who are coming here.”

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters…

…said Labour had finally seen the light.

“But when we were saying it, we were being dumped on by all and sundry, and now all of a sudden the lightbulb’s gone off.

“They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and that’s about the size of it.”

Andrew Little has just been asked on RNZ what endorsement of Labour’s immigration policy by Peters meant. Little said he was happy to get support for the policy from anyone.

 

 

‘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.

Dunne, Seymour, Flavell on euthanasia bill

Three minor party leaders were asked about their positions on the End of Life Choice Bill that was recently drawn from the Members’ ballot in a joint interview on The Nation yesterday.

Obviously ACT leader David Seymour supports his own bill.

Mr Seymour, I want to bring up your bill that was pulled from the ballot this week – euthanasia. Is it good timing for you, or could this end up being a bit too controversial for an election year?

Seymour: Look, I think it’s an important issue, and I think that the fact that it’s come up in election year is probably the best time for the bill, because MPs are overwhelmingly out of step with public opinion. I think that there are a majority of MPs that will support it, but nowhere near as close as the overwhelming support—70%, 80% of New Zealanders want this change.

From a 2015 post here:  Two polls strongly support euthanasia

One News/Colmar Brunton:

Should a patient should be able to request a doctor’s assistance to end their life?

  • Yes 75%
  • No 21%
  • Undecided 5%

3 News/Reid Research

Should law be changed to allow “assisted dying” or euthanasia?

  • Yes 71%
  • No 24%
  • Unsure 5%

Stuff:  Most Kiwis support euthanasia for those with painful, incurable diseases

  • Support: 66%
  • Neutral or unsure: 21.7%
  • Strongly oppose: 12.3%

Total response 15,822 in a University of Auckland study taking it’s results from the 2014-15 New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) survey, which Lee said provided “reliable demographic and personality differences in support for euthanasia”.

You have quite a conservative voter base, though. What do they think? Is this party policy for Act?

Seymour: I think that people in the Act Party are in favour of freedom and choice. The Act Party board blessed me putting this bill into the ballot.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell:

Te Ururoa, you’re not keen on passing this bill, are you?

Flavell: No, and I suspect that many of our own people are. There’s some issues around whakapapa that are hugely important here. And the decision-making – actually, who has the decision-making right at the last minute, the ability of whanau to have an influence in the decision—

So is it a definite no for you?

Flavell: At the moment, it is leaning towards no, but we’re led by our people, and I’m pretty sure that that’s the feeling of many Maori.

If your people tell you otherwise, will you vote for this?

Flavell: We have to give it consideration. I mean, it’s a conscience vote, so we’ll cross that at the time. But certainly, this is one of the major issues that you’ve just got to go back to the people on.

That’s what all MPs should do on conscience votes – they should represent to conscience of their constituency.

United Future leader Peter Dunne:

Dunne: Well, I think you’ve got to respect the rights of people who are terminally ill to make their own decisions and to have those upheld by those around them. But I think—

So you’ll vote for this bill?

Dunne: No, what I’m saying is I think this is an issue where we’ve got to be very careful that we have a very clear sense of where the community stands. I’m going to do a lot of listening over the next few weeks, because this bill is not going to come before parliament – probably in the life of this parliament – but I want to hear what people say, because I think this is—

But as Mr Flavell says, it will be a conscience vote, so what does your conscience vote?

Dunne: Well, I’ve told you where I’m tending, but what I’m saying is that this is a decision that will have very widespread ramifications whichever way it goes. It’s important that we take the bulk of the population with us and we understand what their concerns are, and that’s why I’m going to do a lot of listening and not a lot of talking.

Again the right approach, but leaving how he might vote uncertain at this stage.

It seems unlikely the bill will go to it’s First reading and first vote before the election so not all current MPs will get to decide for us on this.

While I think it’s likely Seymour and Flavell will keep their seats it is less certain for Dunne.

It’s likely most Green and Labour MPs will support this bill at least past the first reading. I don’t now how NZ First MPs might vote. Most National MPs may vote against it.

But a lot may depend on who returns to Parliament after the election.

Bill English opposes euthanasia but if National lose power he may well resign.

The Nation – support parties

This morning The Nation looks at the support parties and  their leaders, Peter Dunne, David Seymour and Te Ururoa Flavell – ” what have they got out of their support arrangements this term?”

And “What have National done well and badly this term?”

Name one area where the Government is excelling?

Peter Dunne – economic development, but now need to move on to social investment.

Te Ururoa Flavell agrees with that assessment.

David Seymour says they are excelling in education and partnership schools – which happens to be ACT policy.

To Flavell on poor Maori statistics – they want more and have huge expectations, but he says they need to influence from the side. Biggest achievement? Whanau Ora.

How many families have benefited? 11,000 in the last year.

Is National governing too far to the left? Seymour says yes, the budget is a good example,  and likens policy to Labour policy – and then switches to ACT’s tax policy promotion.

The people who benefit most from tax cuts will be the highest earners – Seymour concedes on that.

Dunne says he would address housing with a ‘national housing summit’. Just more talking?  He cites from yesterday in Auckland with a development blocked as an example that things aren’t working.

Seymour jumps in and says we have to free up more land for building on.

Is the euthanasia bill good timing or awkward? Seymour says it’s the best timing as he says that MPs are out of step with public opinion on it.

Flavell is not keen on the bill, leaning toward no but will be guided by his people.

Dunne says you have to respect the rights of those who are dying and their families, he says he is tending that way, but wants to hear what people say before making a decision on a vote (if he is still in parliament when it comes up).

On the medical cannabis bill he says he has problems with Julie Anne Genter’s bill but wants to talk with her about it.

Seymour supports the cannabis bill, Flavell supports it getting past the first reading so it can be looked at in detail with input from the public.

Seymour says there is no such things as an electorate deal, but expects an endorsement from National.

Dunne says people in Ohariu aren’t happy with “what has happened” and he is getting more support than before.

Flavell says that Labour keeps throwing Maori under a bus and doesn’t expect them to work with them, and that National has been prepared to work with them.  “The leadership of the Labour party have declared they don’t want to work with us, which is a problem”.

Seymour takes issue with the intro that said the Maori Party is most likely to increase their number of seats. He predicts they will repeat their 2008 performance (they got 5 seats).

Has Dunne got confidence he could work with Labour? To many policy differences so it is a remote chance.

Dunne says NZ First is likely to be disruptive.

Flavell says they are prepared to try and work with any party.

Seymour says there is no way he would work with NZ First after the election.

In the panel discussion Jane Clifton said that Seymour will just do what he is told, which is very condescending and ignorant from her.

End of Life Choice Bill

David Seymour’s ‘End of Life Choice’ Bill was drawn from today’s Members’ ballot. It is unlikely to be debated before the election, so a new intake of MPs will get to decide whether it progresses through Parliament.

I hope that it at least passes the First Reading vote and goes to select committee for consideration and for public submissions. From there it will depend on what form the bill ends up taking, in particular what safeguards are included, and then it should be up to conscience votes.

End of Life Choice Bill

This bill gives people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying.

It is a controversial subject and will no doubt be keenly debated, and there is likely to be  a lot of lobbying.

From ACT: Campaign to legalise assisted dying begins now

The End of Life Choice Bill has been drawn from Parliament’s ballot.

“The campaign starts now,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“We are long overdue for a compassionate response to the anguish faced by the small but significant minority of grievously and irremediably ill, or terminally ill, people. Current law leaves them no choice but to endure intolerable suffering and loss of dignity in the final days of their lives. The End of Life Choice Bill would allow people who so choose and are eligible to end their life in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones.

“Polling consistently shows strong support for allowing assisted dying for those with terminal illness or who are grievously and irremediably ill. It’s time to translate this support into action. This issue will likely be decided by a conscience vote, so I encourage all supporters of this cause to write to their local MPs and urge them to support the Bill at first reading so that the issue can be thoroughly considered through the select committee process.

“This is a debate which will take place around the country, not just in the media, but online and at homes and churches. I hope people respectfully engage in the discussion with friends and family, and also submit on the Bill as it reaches select committee stage.

“A copy of my Bill, together with further information including answers to common questions and criticisms, can be found on the campaign website, lifechoice.org.nz.”

ACT on ‘Labour-lite’ housing policy

Yesterday the Government announced plans to build about 25,000 extra houses in Auckland over the next ten years – see National’s Auckland housing policy.

This looked a lot like a partial Labour ‘Kiwibuild’ policy. Despite this Labour MPs slammed it.

Andrew Little belittled the policy:

Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis

National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“National can’t now credibly claim to be tackling the housing crisis four months out from the election when, for nine years, they’ve ignored the plight of first home buyers and families in need.

“This Government has long rubbished the idea of building houses. Time and again it’s failed to deliver any significant increase in housing supply.

“National cannot be trusted to do anything meaningful for the thousands of first home buyers in Auckland who have been denied their shot at the Kiwi dream.

“Amy Adams has fudged the figures. How many of these houses will actually be affordable? What does ‘affordable’ mean? How will that give hope to first home buyers when speculators can buy these houses too?

“It’s just more smoke and mirrors from a Government that’s failed miserably. It’s a mish-mash of old and new housing programmes. Many of these houses have already been announced.

“Auckland currently has a shortfall of 40,000 houses and growing. This plan won’t address the shortfall, let alone build the extra houses needed to keep up with demand.

“This last minute announcement just won’t do enough. National has had its chance. It’s time for a fresh approach.

“Labour will build 50,000 houses in Auckland people can afford to buy and we’ll increase the supply of state houses; we’ll crack down on speculators; and we’ll invest in warm, dry homes.

“National hasn’t a shred of credibility left. The evidence keeps mounting:

• It promised a big increase in emergency housing beds in the last six months, and hasn’t delivered.
• It’s Special Housing Areas promised an extra 39,000 homes, fewer than 2,000 have been built.
• Housing New Zealand has failed meet its building targets and reduced the number of state houses by 2,500.

“This cynical announcement by National should be seen for what it is – an election year fudge to paper over the cracks of its failure in housing. It’s time for Labour’s plan,” says Andrew Little.

However it was ACT’s David Seymour who went into detail with his criticism.

National need to think bigger than Labour-lite

National needs to do more than just adopt tunnel-vision Labour policies, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“If the goal is to close the housing shortfall, this is a step in the right direction, but it won’t be enough. The proposal will add 25,000 homes when what we need is another 500,000.

“We can only achieve this by fixing the underlying problem: that regulations and infrastructure pressures prevent private developers from building homes.

“The Government will have to loosen up land use rules if it wants to get 34,000 homes built on a few scraps of Crown land. Why not just follow ACT’s plan to replace the Resource Management Act for the whole city, letting private developers do the building for us?

“The Government will also struggle to build houses at an affordable cost under current construction regulations. ACT has a policy for this: we’d replace construction red tape with an insurance requirement, letting developers cut costs in risk-free ways.

“The other problem the Government will face is pressure on infrastructure. Fortunately, ACT has a plan for this too. ACT will allow Councils to use half of the GST from construction projects to fund local infrastructure.

“The Government is right to say we need more homes. But if we want to see these homes built on anywhere near the scale required, we’ll need a stronger ACT to make the government enact substantial reform, instead of Labour-lite tinkering.”

National has failed in it’s attempt to substantially reform the RMA this term and even if they get the chance and try again next term that would talk some time, they would probably need the support of NZ First or Labour, and in the meantime Auckland’s (and New Zealand’s) housing shortage will get worse unless a lot more houses and flats are built.

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.

Controversial RMA reforms passed into law

Yesterday the third reading vote passed the controversial RMA reforms into law but 1 vote.

National have been determined to get the RMA through this term. When David Seymour (ACT) and Peter Dunne (UF) had objections to some parts of the bill National turned to the Maori Party to get it over the line.

But RMA reforms causing tensions over race relations

Tensions over race relations have been to the fore as the Government’s managed to pass its RMA reforms into law thanks to backing from the Maori Party.

ACT leader David Seymour said the reforms won’t do nothing for housing affordability, nor will it do nothing for land supply and the building of new dwellings, but it will be close enough to nothing.

“It will be close enough to nothing that he has wasted two and a half years of his ministerial time and much of this houses time bringing a bill that is two steps backward for each one step forward.”

Labour MP David Parker’s slammed the Government for using the housing crisis to drive its RMA reforms, calling it dishonest.

“Blaming the RMA and planners for the tax biases and the inequality that’s driven home ownership in New Zealand to the lowest level since the 1950s for over 60 years is just wrong.”

I thought it is widely understood  that the housing shortage is in large part due to RMA restrictions on new subdivisions and building. It has become too easy for people to oppose building, and getting resource consent can be time consuming and expensive – and at risk of failing.

Most parties supported RMA reform, including Labour, but didn’t support the full package that National wanted.

New Zealand First’s maintained a vocal opposition to new iwi participation measures in RMA rules with party deputy leader Ron Mark arguing one law for all should apply.

“We are all created equal in God’s eyes and nothing in legislation will ever change that no how many flip flops Mr Nick Smith makes.”

An odd comment from Mark that was smacked down by Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox:

“I find that last contribution quite ironic from the man who was the chief treaty negotiator for Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.”

National have defended the result of their collusion with the Maori Party by slanging back.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has accused those of opposing the Bill of doing the country a disservice.

“They quibbled at the edges, they tried to manufacture myths, but they’ve been unable to amount any credible argument against the substantive reforms in this bill, in fact they barely mentioned them.”

But, although reform was widely supported, others had serious concerns about some of the quibbly edge bits.

Smith would have to be one of the worst Government negotiators ever.

While the RMA reforms may or may not bother most voters (more likely not) the deal making done by National is likely to be used to slam the Maori Party in the election campaign,

English (National) opposes cannabis law change

Bill English has confirmed that he and National by association oppose cannabis law reform, speaking to Duncan Garner this morning on Newshub’s morning programme:

NZ doesn’t want ‘marijuana industry’ – English

“We don’t want an official marijuana industry. We’re not going to be legalising it.”

The headline says ‘NZ doesn’t want’ but I think the ‘we’ that English is referring to is the National led Government, which means the National Party opposes any law change.

English is less staunch in his position on medical cannabis.

Speaking to The AM Show on Monday, Prime Minister Bill English said there’s already a “compassionate” and legal route for patients to get cannabis products – if they need them.

“The minister’s just changed the rules so that’s a little bit easier, with the Ministry of Health now approving it instead of each one going to the minister.

“As far as we can see, that’s going to work pretty well and we don’t want to take it any further.”

He fears increasing access to medical products based on cannabis will increase recreational use.

“We just think the long-term damage of large-scale use of marijuana is pretty bad.”

The ‘we’ again I think meaning ‘National’ – or at least a  majority of the National caucus. Younger National MPs like Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop are likely to have a more pragmatic and progressive view.

The minister that English refers to is not a National MP, it is Peter Dunne, who has pushed medical use as far as he probably can within the current laws. And…

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says he would welcome trials of other products here in New Zealand, but our market is too small.

“We need manufacturers with product to say ‘we would like to trial these formulations in New Zealand’, and the sad truth is that for many of those manufacturers they do not see New Zealand as a sufficiently large market to make it worthwhile,” he told The Nation.

“It’s the same story we have for clinical trials generally, but there’s no prohibition for sourcing cannabis for medical trials in New Zealand.”

That’s all he is able to do, promote possibilities under current law.

English and others in National won’t allow any law changes.

It will require either a change of Government or a change of generation in the National caucus to get any cannabis law changes.

Unless Dunne and David Seymour are able to negotiate a coalition deal with National that sorts out a mess of a cannabis situation