Wellington mayoralty

What’s up with Celia Wade-Brown pulling out of the Wellington mayoralty? Was she ever in it this year?

One the Celia for Mayor website:

Celia moving on after twenty years in local government

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has announced today that she will not be standing for election in the upcoming local body elections.

 “After 20 years of successful local government service, 6 years as Mayor and 14 years as a councillor prior to that, I am ready to move on and contribute to the community in a different capacity,” said Ms Wade-Brown.

She then goes on to praise herself and Wellington City.

After which there are a number of praising endorsements from a variety people that are more the sort of thing you would expect from someone campaigning for office.

This seems late for the incumbent mayor of a major city to decide not to stand for re-election.

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.

Have Green transport promises been costed?

The Greens have announced transport policies for the Wellington local body elections.

Newshub: Greens promise half-price buses for Wellington students

The party is promising a 25 percent discount on off-peak bus fares and a 50 percent discount for students.

Election carrots for students isn’t surprising as that’s a target demographic for the Green

They want more central city and suburban green spaces, free Wi-Fi in all transport hubs, modern electric buses within 10 years and light rail development.

Some of that sounds expensive. And how will they get more central city green spaces?

It’s part of the party’s local election campaign, launching tonight.

I wonder if they will provide details in their launch. Like, how much these policies will cost rate payers. Most students don’t pay rates directly so won’t be worried about local body rates.


Australian election

Australian national politics continues to swing all over the place with ongoing uncertainty. Yesterday’s election showed a big swing against the Government but Malcolm Turnbull claims he can still form a majority coalition government.

It appears that things will remain in limbo until the final count is known on Tuesday.

Number crunching the hung parliament prospect

Mathematically, the coalition and Labor are tied at 67 seats each. 76 seats are required to form a majority government.

There are 11 seats in doubt.  Labor is ahead in six of those and Liberals are ahead in 5. 

Which means there are five lower house crossbenchers who could decide the next government.

So where are we at?  Well we have the very real prospect of another hung parliament.   As The Age’s political editor Michael Gordon writes, “Malcolm Turnbull is facing the worse kind of win”

SMH: Australian federal election 2016: Voters walk away from Malcolm Turnbull, results on knife’s edge

Australian voters used the July 2 poll to deliver the rookie Prime Minister a stinging rebuke, with Liberal seats falling across the country and slashing government’s 90 seats in the 150 member lower house.

Malcolm Turnbull’s audacious double dissolution gamble looked to have backfired spectacularly on Saturday night as voters walked away from the first-term Coalition government in droves, raising the chances of another hung parliament and turmoil in Coalition ranks.

Mr Turnbull’s failure to secure a strong majority from voters represents a significant boost for Labor leader Bill Shorten, who campaigned strongly on the party’s traditional strengths of health and education, ran a fierce scare campaign about privatising Medicare and advanced an ambitious plan to cut negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

At the end of a dramatic night as the government’s fortunes appeared to slide sideways, Mr Turnbull waited until after midnight to appear declaring the Coalition was set to form majority government in the next parliament, while cautioning that voters would not know the final result until postal votes were counted on Tuesday.

The apparent loser claims victory: Shorten triumphant but Turnbull confident of a majority

Labor Leader Bill Shorten declared the Coalition had “lost their mandate” and “Labor was back.”

While Malcolm Turnbull took hours to appear.  When he eventually emerged from his Point Piper mansion he looked disoriented and stressed.

Looks like another ‘stuff the lot of you’ election where no clear mandate has been given by the voters.

Obsession with poll ‘predictions’

There seems to be an increasing obsession for media and pundits to view and use polls as predictors of the future.

When pollsters also become to focussed on the future then I have serious concerns about the purpose and usefulness of polls.

Ina guest post at Kiwiblog – Five Key Takeaways from Brexit   – KIA says:

5 – The polls were wrong … again
6 out of the 8 major polls picked a Remain result on the eve of the vote and the 2 that picked Leave had Leave only just winning versus the 4% eventual lead.

The polls weren’t wrong. They attempted to measure public opinion at the time they were taken. There is no way of measuring whether they were right or wrong.

I thought that polls were not designed to be predictors of the future sample measurements from the past.

If pollsters manipulate their polling and polls to try and match a future election or referendum then their margins of error should reflect this. The 95% probability is supposed to be based on their polling, not voting at a different time by a much bigger sample.

I can understand pundits and journalists trying to misrepresent what polls are, but if pollsters become obsessed with or feel pressured about who is supposedly the most accurate at predicting something in the future then I have serious concerns.

Polls aren’t wrong. They may be inaccurate at the time they were taken (and statistics and margins for error and being based on 95% probability account for this), but they don’t count votes on election day.

Pundits are wrong when they try to use polls to ‘win’ on future predictions.

No general election if Boris becomes leader

While the UK Labour Party self implodes in fear of an early election many believe Jeremy Corbyn cannot win the Guardian reports that if Boris Johnson takes over the leadership of the Conservative Party he would not call for an immediate general election.

That puts David Cameron in an interesting position.

No Brexit general election if Boris Johnson wins Tory leadership

Source in former London mayor’s team says he does not believe he needs a new mandate to start negotiating EU exit

Boris Johnson will not call an immediate general election if he wins the Conservative party leadership election and takes over as prime minister, it is understood.

A source in Johnson’s team said the former London mayor, who has been busy seeking the support of high-profile women in the cabinet, believed the result of last week’s referendum was sufficient for him to start negotiating an exit from the EU without seeking a new mandate.

But Johnson has to win the leadership first. He is gathering support.

MPs say Elizabeth Truss, the environment secretary, could throw her weight behind Johnson in the coming days, and that he has reached out to Amber Rudd, the energy secretary.

Rudd is also thought to be open to the idea of backing Johnson, despite clashing with him during the referendum campaign. In a televised debate, she described him as the “life and soul of the party, but he’s not the man you want driving you home at the end of the night”.

Johnson wants to demonstrate he can attract the support of remain campaigners and the liberal wing of the party, with early support from the skills minister, Nick Boles.

However there are other contenders and there could be a strong ‘not Boris’ resistance.

But a number of female MPs, including those passionate about the party’s modernising agenda, have revealed they plan to back Theresa May’s campaign.

One politician described May, the home secretary and remain supporter, as someone with the “work ethic of Thatcher” and said she was one of the few people with enough authority to carry the country into Brexit negotiations. Another said they never thought they would be taking her side, but were desperate to block a “Johnson coronation”.

There hasn’t been long for contenders to consider their chances and round up support – less than a week.

The leadership contest, which closes for nominations on Thursday, has triggered a frantic atmosphere, with MPs rushing around trying to secure the support of colleagues for their preferred candidate. May supporters are each trying to speak to a number of designated MPs in a satellite operation.

Several cabinet ministers are insisting they have still to make up their mind, with some saying they will seek meetings with candidates before deciding.

Rumours swirling around Westminster suggest Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister who campaigned to leave the EU, could be a key figure who might herself run, but is also being courted by various candidates including May.

One list appeared to suggest the home secretary had the edge with numbers, followed by Johnson, but also revealed support for both Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, who is considering her position, and Crabb.

Former defence secretary Liam Fox has already confirmed himself as a candidate, while Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is also canvassing support.

The chancellor, George Osborne, ruled himself out, saying it was clear he could not provide the unity the party needed.

The Conservative aim is to have a new Prime Minister by 2 September. That’s quite a while to have the leadership of the country in limbo in one of the most difficult times for the UK in the last half century.

Whoever ends up in No 10 will be faced with the task of extracting the UK from the EU, after Cameron said he would not initiate the process before handing over the reins, despite pressure from Brussels for a swift departure.

Extracting the UK from the EU will be the easy part. What happens after that will be a huge challenge for whoever becomes the new Prime Minister and whichever party wins an election that may or may not be held.

Someone on Twitter yesterday said that the UK was like a dog that had been barking at passing cars for a years and had finally caught hold of a bumper bar – and has no idea what to do with it.

Similar US polls, different headlines

Two presidential polls from the US with similar margins between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump but quite different headlines.

RNZ reports on a Reuters/IPSOS poll (and oddly doesn’t give the actual percentages):

Trump gains on Clinton after Orlando shooting

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump in the US presidential race has narrowed since late last week, according to the results of the first Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted since the Orlando shooting rampage on Sunday.

The poll, conducted from Friday to Tuesday, showed Mrs Clinton with an 11.6-point lead over Mr Trump, down from the 13-point lead she had in the previous five days.

A change of 1.4% is statistically barely significant.

The online poll included 1063 likely voters and had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of about 3.5 percentage points.

So the ‘narrowing’ is fairly meaningless. The margin of 11.6%  remains a healthy lead for Clinton.

CNN reports a similar margin quite differently.

Poll: Clinton leads Trump by double digits

Hillary Clinton has a 12-point lead over Donald Trump nationally, a new Bloomberg Politics poll shows.

Clinton has 49% support to Trump’s 37%, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 9%, according to the poll of 750 likely voters. The poll was conducted Friday through Monday and released Tuesday evening, meaning many of those polled were surveyed before the Orlando terrorist attack.

So a near identical margin deemed to have been relatively uninfluenced by the Orlando shootings.

It’s a much larger lead than Clinton held in national polls conducted in May and early June, prior to Trump’s accusation that the federal judge in the Trump University lawsuit is biased because his parents were born in Mexico and Trump is advocating a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

So Clinton’s lead has increased recently.

Particularly damaging for Trump: 55% of those surveyed said they would never vote for him, compared to 43% who said they’d never back Clinton.

Getting the last 5-10% he needs is going to be challenging for Trump.

The poll also asked voters to what degree recent Trump and Clinton controversies “bother” them.

Things that bothered voters about Trump:

  • 55% were ‘very bothered’ by Trump’sremarks
  • 72% were bothered by Trump’s accusation that the federal judge in the Trump University lawsuit is biased because his parents were born in Mexico
  • 71% say the Trump University lawsuits bother them
  • 67% said they’re bothered that Trump hasn’t released his tax returns
  • 81% are bothered by his attacks on women such as Heidi Cruz and Carly Fiorina
  • 66% said they are bothered by his attacks on Mexicans as “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists” and and his plans to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants
  • 66%, say they’re bothered by his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States

There’s a number of heavy negatives for Trump.

Clinton has her problems too.

  • 70% said they’re bothered by her use of a private email server
  • 73% said her paid speeches to Wall Street banks bother them
  • 72% say the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of foreign countries’ donations during her tenure as secretary of state bothers them

It’s not hard to see why the left prefer Sanders to Clinton.

“Clinton has a number of advantages in this poll, in addition to her lead,” pollster J. Ann Selzer, who ran the poll, told Bloomberg. “Her supporters are more enthusiastic than Trump’s and more voters overall see her becoming a more appealing candidate than say that for Trump.”

So that looks like a clear advantage to Clinton at this stage but the number and degree of negatives could prove damaging to either candidate.

This presidential election looks like the least worst candidate may end up not losing.

UK local elections

Missy has a brief round up of yesterday’s  UK elections:

  1. Scotland is the most interesting, Labour got a drubbing, and are for the first time the third party, and the Conservatives are now the leading opposition party. Most notable however is that the SNP did not win an outright majority (Scotland has Proportional Representation), the SNP have ruled out a formal coalition so will now rule as a minority Government. What this means is the Nicola Sturgeon’s assertion (despite everything promised 2 years ago), that Scotland will have a second independence referendum, is pretty much scuttled. She will not have the majority required to pass anything in parliament to force a referendum.
  2. Sadiq Khan is the new mayor of London.
  3. Despite the predictions, and a drubbing in Scotland, Labour did not do as badly as expected, but have still lost a number of seats. What may save Corbyn is that Khan won the London Mayoralty.

I haven’t read all of the results or analysis, but that seems to be the main highlights. I note today that a member of the shadow cabinet has said that voters do not see Labour as a credible party under Corbyn. Corbyn, however, is determined to hang on.

The Telegraph: UK local elections 2016: Labour are ‘not credible’ under Jeremy Corbyn says shadow minister – but he refuses to resign

Guardian: UK elections: Sadiq Khan ‘has won’ London mayoral race – live updates

UPDATE: Also from Missy:

Just looking at TS post on the UK elections, and there is of course the usual spin on how it isn’t that bad for Labour as predicted (of course the pollsters in the UK have shown that they really aren’t that great), but I did find this comment interesting from Whatever Next:

“Yep, Cameron has managed to alienate Scotland after 400 years of unity, nice work Dave, whataguy”

He seems to think that Cameron has alienated Scotland, yet the Conservatives have improved their representation in Scotland, and the SNP has decreased their vote and seats, surely if Cameron had alienated Scotland the Conservative vote would be even lower, and the SNP vote would have been higher to at least match – if not surpass – the record number of seats of 2011? Am I missing something with this guy – or is he just delusional?

Online voting trial ruled out

A planned trial of online voting in this year’s local body elections has been dumped.

Eight councils had been interested in trying online voting but Internal Affairs Minister Louise Upston has kicked it for touch, saying there is not enough time. It has been considered for years so I don’t know how time has now become a factor.

NZ Herald: Online voting not on the cards this year

The Government has pulled the pin on a trial of online voting in this year’s local body elections, saying it could not guarantee the security of the system in time.

Internal Affairs Minister Louise Upston announced the plan for some councils to trial online voting would not go ahead because time was running out for councils to prove voting system addressed concerns about security and vote integrity.

“Due to timing restrictions, preparations for the proposed trial have not yet met the legislative requirements and cannot guarantee public confidence in the election results.” She said security testing was planned but had not yet taken place. “Without seeing the results of testing we cannot be confident the systems are secure enough and the trial could not be authorised.”

Eight councils were interested in trialling online voting — Selwyn, Wellington, Porirua, Masterton, Rotorua, Matamata-Piako, Palmerston North and Whanganui.

Ms Upston said those councils which had signed up for the trial would be disappointed. However, the time pressures involved would increase the risks of any trial. “Maintaining public confidence and understanding of local electoral processes is more important than trialling online voting this year.”

The Government was open to looking a proposals for online voting in the future.

I doubt if it would be trialled in a General Election, so that’s another three years to wait until the next local body elections, unless it is tried in a referendum.

The Government first agreed to allow councils to trial online voting in December 2014 after a working party found online voting was feasible. It set out requirements to councils for a trial in November last year. That included full testing of the system, including testing to ensure votes could not be interfered with as well as an independent review. That work was to be done by June, but Ms Upston said it was clear that could not happen.

It’s difficult getting public interest in local body elections and online voting was seen as a way of improving that.

Online voting sounds good in theory but the practicalities are more of a problem.

Labour stuck between a Green rock and an NZ First hard place

The Labour Party is foundering in election and poll support and floundering between the Green Party and NZ First.

Up until and including the 2014 election Labour went it alone, hoping to get a high enough vote to cobble together a coalition.

Since then they have sent out signals that they have given up trying to be a major party in a head to head contest with National and instead hope to win back power with the support of both the greens and NZ First.

This in itself is a major shift in status.

Following their three election wins under Helen Clark’s leadership Labour formed coalitions with Alliance, Progressives, NZ First and United Future.

Greens were excluded, notably in 2005 when Labour chose to snub them to get Winston Peters’ support.

But now, after a poor 2014 election getting only 27% and continuing with similar levels of support in polls Labour has been forced into looking for pre-election alliances to try and convince voters they are a credible government-in-waiting.

Labour and Greens have shown some signs of working together and have made noises about forging some joint policy positions.

But Labour probably needs something like 40% to be able to succeed with only the Greens. Polls put the Greens mostly between 10% and 15% but they tend to rise when Labour recedes.

A Labour-Green government doesn’t look likely. And even if the two parties jointly looked like getting enough support there seems to be electoral resistance to a government

And Labour seems to accept they will have to depend on the support of NZ First as well as Greens if they are to form the next government.

But it’s well known that Peters doesn’t particularity like the Greens, and is unlikely to want to play third fiddle to Labour and the Greens in a coalition.

NZ First support is rising. If they beat the Greens in next year’s election Winston would be second fiddle, but he still may resist playing a similar tune to the Greens.

Another problem is that while the Greens are keen to present themselves alongside Labour as a joint alternative to National Winston has made it clear he won’t play along.

Stuff reports: Winston Peters says no chance of joint policy with Labour, despite Andrew Little’s claims

NZ First leader Winston Peters doubts it was “deliberate” but says Labour leader Andrew Little is wrong to say there are plans for the two parties to jointly campaign on policy.

Earlier on Sunday Little said he was talking with both the Greens and NZ First, separately, about issues where there is common ground that they could campaign on ahead of next year’s general election.

He said the public would know “well in time for next year’s election” where all three parties line-up and where there are differences.

“In terms of specific joint policy announcements, we’re certainly not there yet, but between now and the next election I certainly wouldn’t rule out (joint policy) with either of those parties.”

But Peters says his position not to discuss potential coalition governments, or joint policy, hasn’t changed in 23 years and he “won’t depart from that now”.

“We row our own boat and we formulate our own policy.”

One thing Peters has remained staunch about is not giving any indication which way NZ First might swing in coalition negotiations.

National haven’t needed to consider NZ First as an option after each of the last three elections. It is more likely they may need NZ First to successfully form a fourth term government.

Peters knows this well and will want to keep his options open right up to next year’s election.

So Labour can’t campaign as a Labour-Green-NZ First alternative.

Their difficulties don’t end there.

They are left trying to present a joint Labour-Green alternative, and have said they will offer joint policies.

But this pulls Labour left and towards the Greens, which will make them less attractive to both voters as a whole and to NZ First.

I very much doubt that Peters will want to be seen as a tack on to Labour-Greens.

So if Labour are to get a chance to form the next government they may have to throw out all their joint policies developed with the Greens in order to make any headway with NZ First.

Greens are determined to finally get into a meaningful position in government and won’t be happy with that at all.

On top of this Peters seems to look with disdain at party leaders who have barely been in Parliament for five minutes – and both Andrew little and James Shaw have only become party leaders this term.

Metiria Turei has been around for longer, first getting in to Parliament via the Green list in 2002 and becoming co-leader in 2009, but I haven’t seen any sign of a rapport between Peters and a former candidate for the McGillicuddy Serious or Legalise Cannabis parties.

Peters rightfully sees himself as an elder statesman but may think that that should equate to leading a coalition – and leading the country.

Little has a huge challenge ahead of him to try and negotiate this political minefield and present himself and Labour as a credible alternative.

It looks like Labour are caught between a Green rock and a NZ First hard place.


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