If Greens reduce cow numbers by 30%…

…farmers have a solution.

Greens have often said they want to reduce cow numbers by up to 30%.

Farmers rallied in Morrinsville on Tuesday, concerned about what may happen if Greens and Labour get into government and force a reduction in cow numbers.

But they threatened a response – if they have to reduce cow numbers they will increase the size of cows.

mcgiven-small-under-cow-768x465

A spokesperson for Federated Farmers unveils a genetically modified cow that will enable dairy farmers to reduce cow numbers significantly.

 

A full of bull election

This election campaign has been full of bullshit – there has been a lot of deliberate misinformation, and many false and misleading claims. All the larger parties have been guilty of this.

Some of the biggest bluster has come from National, and it continues. Newshub:  Steven Joyce still backing Labour’s alleged $11.7b fiscal hole

Steven Joyce is still backing his claim of a gaping fiscal hole in Labour’s budget, despite numerous economists saying his $11.7 billion calculation is wrong.

The National finance spokesman told Three’s The Project on Tuesday evening that nobody disagrees the opposition’s numbers don’t add up.

“Everybody’s agreed there’s a hole… the only debate is about how big it is and Labour are trying to fill it with their seven taxes,” he said during a bickering match with Labour deputy finance spokesman David Clark.

But Mr Clark called that “rubbish”.

“[Mr Joyce] has dug a big hole and he’s thrown his credibility into it.”

But:

Mr Clark says Labour is being nothing but transparent.

“So we’re more transparent than they are and the big challenge to Steven is to lay out his account because Labour has been ridiculously transparent.”

That’s ridiculous nonsense. What will Labour do with tax?

Stuff:  Jacinda Ardern tells Kelvin Davis off over capital gains tax comments

Ardern said she was “absolutely clear” on the fact Labour would hold a working group, but refused to answer how far Labour was intending to go with its conclusions and suggested tax changes were more likely to occur in the first term.

“I’ve absolutely maintained our right, and my right as leader, to make sure when that tax working group reports back that I am able to act in Government in the best interests of New Zealand to try and address the housing crisis.”

Yes Labour were ‘transparent’ about their intention to form a tax working group, but absolutely unclear on what would eventuate.

So unclear Ardern changed her mind about when anything coming out of the working group would be implemented, deferring any changes until 2021.

Muddying this even more was James Shaw’s elevation on Sunday of Capital Gains Tax to a priority in Green negotiations.

Patrick Gower raises the bullshitometer:  National guilty of biggest campaign lie

It has been deliberately spreading misinformation that “Labour is raising income tax”.

This is not true.

The reality is that Labour has actually ruled out raising income tax.

What Labour has done is say that it will cancel National’s tax cuts that are due to come into force next year.

Yes, National has over-egged ‘Labour will raise tax’, but Labour (and Gower) are bordering on bullshitting here too. It depends on semantics.

Many income earners will pay more tax under a Labour government than under a National government – tax cuts of up to $1000 a year from next April are in the statute books, and Labour say they will change the law, effectively raising tax from what is currently legislated for.

Greens have put themselves on an honesty and integrity pedestal, but desperate to save themselves from falling below the threshold they have been promoting some major bullshit too.

They have added a banner to their billboard that I drive past each morning. It says something like:

‘The only way to get a progressive Labour+Green government is to vote Green’.

And of course there is the veteran bullshitter.

From The Spinoff:  Tinkerbell the pretty communist and other things the dairy farmers said

Peters harangued the crowd in that stabby way of his, telling them the National Party had “secret deals with the Māori Party” and a “secret deal with iwi around the country”, and that straight after the election we were going to learn that National, like Labour, was going to introduce a water tax.”

Peters later told media he had “a letter in my briefcase over there” (though he didn’t ask anyone to go and get it).

Several others tried simple straight questions, and Peters ducked and dived on every one of them. He didn’t seem to mind. He wasn’t there to win the crowd, he was there to use the event to dominate the news that evening.

Scott Smyth, a dairy farmer from Karapiro, asked Peters whether, if he was in government with Labour, he would stop the water tax. Peters wouldn’t say.

Peters claims he knows of a ‘secret deal’, implied he had evidence, but as he often does he didn’t produce any. and he woukldn’t commit to stopping a water tax either.

Peters may or may not be king maker after the election but before it he wears the bullshit crown.

The dishonesty of all parties in this campaign has made it an election full of bull. Voters are poorly served by these levels of dishonesty.

Green Party ‘fully costed policy manifesto’

Greens have published a ‘fully costed policy manifesto’, but this doesn’t tell us what any coalition deal that combines election promises would cost.

The Green Party today published its fully costed policy manifesto along with an independent analysis of its fiscal implications.

The independent fiscal analysis, by economics consultancy Infometrics using Treasury data, shows that in government the Greens will be able to deliver real action on climate change, cleaner rivers, and significant poverty reductions while running surpluses and paying down debt, as per the party’s Budget Responsibility Rules.

“This fiscal plan ties together everything we’ve promised this year and provides the substance that makes the Green Party’s promises 100 percent credible,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Our three priorities during this election campaign have been climate change action, ending poverty, and cleaning up our rivers, and the plan I released today lays out in detail how we will achieve those goals in government.

“In government, the Greens can be trusted to know what we want to do, how we will do it, and how we will pay for it.

“Think of this as a solid business case for where New Zealand should be heading, and an independently audited plan to get us there.

“The operating allowances and significant surpluses forecast under our plan will provide plenty of elbow room to meet new challenges as they arise.

“All political parties should submit their policy manifestos to independent economists to be costed, as the Greens and Labour have done, which is why we’ve proposed an official Policy Costings Unit that would do exactly that,” said Mr Shaw.

It’s good that Greens have gone to this amount of effort and detail on it’s policy costings.

But the problem with this, and Labour’s fiscal plan, and National’s campaign policies interspersed with already announced and new Government spending, is that we are unlikely to end up with any one of these packages.

Coalition negotiations could blow all these proposals out of the fiscal water, as each party in a proposed agreement will want to get policy wins – which is likely to blow the individual budgets.

The greatest risk would be the possibilities of  combined demands of Labour+Green+NZ First coalition.

The elephant in the fiscal room is NZ First. They have proposed many expensive policies, they haven’t provided detailed costings, and they won’t indicate who they may go with in  coalition or what their spending priorities will be.

Voters are left having to guess what possible coalition arrangements may eventuate and what the likely fiscal impact of those will be.

This could be why Greens and NZ First have slumped in polls as voters start to worry about how expensive they could be if they have to much influence in a Government.

Dodgy ‘poll’ in Nelson

The Greens seem to be getting a bit dodgy in their attempt to get electorate votes in Nelson.

Patrick Gower: Desperate Greens drop fake news ‘poll’ in Nelson

The Greens have released the results of some phone canvassing which they’ve referred to as an “internal poll” that claims to show them ahead in Nelson.

But it is not a poll just like there wasn’t a fiscal hole.

It’s a set of numbers Green volunteers have gathered, with no way of checking them and media should be ashamed of reporting them as a “poll”.

It is not scientific, they have not released the raw data or methodology.

The first “question” is particularly dodgy: “Which candidate, between the Greens’ Matt Lawrey & Labour’s Rachel Boyack, do you think will beat Nick Smith?”

Now obviously this does not give voters the option of saying “Nick Smith will win” and is more of a push-poll.

It is actually “fake news” from the Greens.

It is a blatant bid to get publicity and get Labour voters to vote tactically and try and get Lawrey over the line to give them a lifeline in case they don’t make 5 per cent.

This certainly sounds dodgy, but there’s a certain amount of irony here.

Gower accusing someone of using a poll for “a blatant bid to get publicity” is a bit rich.

Greens will push Labour to advance CGT

James Shaw has just said that the Greens would push Labour to bring forward a Capital Gains Tax in post-election coalition negotiations, in an interview on Q+A.

This came just after Jacinda Ardern reiterated her back-flip on pushing any possible CGT out until after the next election in 2020.

Shaw said that the CGT would be one of a couple priorities in coalition negotiations.

This won’t help alleviate uncertainties about what a Labour led government might do on tax next term.

This also highlights the uncertainties voters face when presented with individual party policies when what we end up getting is negotiated compromises – or small party policies are potentially used as an excuse to sneak in different policies.

In a following interview Winston Peters stated that CGT would be off the table as far as NZ First was concerned.

Have the Greens given up on Metiria?

Since resigning as co-leader and withdrawing from the Green list Metiria Turei has been out of the political spotlight.

She gets a glimmer of attention from Newshub in Decision 17: One week to go:

Green Party MPs Marama Davidson and Metiria Turei are also in Otara at a rally against poverty.

It will be one of Ms Turei’s first public appearances since her resignation in August, after public scrutiny over her admission of benefit fraud.

“She represented a politician finally talking about the truth about their realities in their everyday lives,” said Ms Davidson.

“There’s no way that I could have this poverty rally without her strength and her bravery represented.”

But in a Green Party Campaign Update Newsletter yesterday Turei was ignored.

Lots of people have been asking about strategic voting. How do we ensure a left government with a great green heart? It’s simple.

If you vote Green and want a Labour-led government then voting Green will not split your vote. Every Green vote adds to every Labour vote.

The number of party votes the Greens get is the deciding factor between Labour forming a coalition with NZ First (let’s not let that happen!) or the Greens.

Party vote Green for a strong, Labour-led government with a compassionate green heart. 💚

You should cast your electorate vote for the candidate you most want to represent your electorate. If that’s Nelson, we hope it’s Matt Lawrey! He’s been doing great work there and we think he is in with a shot to unseat long-standing National MP Nick Smith.

Lawrey is the sole MP who is being promoted for an electorate vote.

Turei’s only chance of getting back into Parliament is to win the Te Tai Tonga electorate, but the Greens aren’t mentioning let alone promoting that.

Has Turei given up on trying? Or have the Greens given up on her?

The James Shaw interview

It is James Shaw’s turn to be interviewed by Guyon Espiner on RNZ this morning. It is a big contrast to yesterday’s with Peters.

Greens will have been encouraged to be uop a bit (to 7%) in the latest Colmar Brunton poll, but it has been a hard campaign for Shaw since Metiria Turei left him leading alone with a big mess to recover from.

Drip fed policies adding to the confusion

This has been a maniacal election campaign that has been punctuated by some major changes, with three party leaders stepping down, and one new leader turning the election upside down.

That has created a confused political landscape, but also contributing to the mayhem has been the perpetual drip feeding of policies.

With just eight days until election day parties are still drip feeding policies – with significant adjustments as recently as yesterday (by Labour) and possibly by Winston Peters but it’s hard to know with him due to his bluster and vagueness.

Feeding the uncertainty on a daily basis is the drip drip drip feeding of policies and positions on issues. National, Labour and the Greens are all guilty of this. They are all announcing new or rehashed policies

In reaction to pressure and polls Labour made a major backdown on their tax policy yesterday – see Labour lose their nerve on tax.

That was on top of a regular policy of the day announced by Jacinda Ardern:  Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity

Labour’s regional development plan for the West Coast will build on its strengths in engineering and tourism, while delivering a much-needed upgrade to the Buller Hospital, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.

“Labour’s vision is for a thriving regional New Zealand, where people from all around the country know that they are valued, and know that they can make a valuable contribution to New Zealand’s social and economic life.

A fairly vague vision but that’s typical of Ardern’s campaign, a lot of icing but in reality not much cake.

National were still in bribe overdrive yesterday, still abusing their position of being the incumbent government – they have often dressed up normal government spending as lollies in the scramble for votes. Their announcements yesterday:

$44,000 to help support school teens play sport

Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has awarded a number of grants to enable high school students around the country to play sport. “Participating in sport is a key…

That looks like a clear conflict of interest, using Ministry funds in a campaign.

$2 million to make cycle trails safer

Associate Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner today announced a funding boost of more than $2 million for safety improvements on four Great Rides in Waikato, East Coast, Hawke’s Bay and West…

Another conflict. Ministerial announcements should be banned from the campaign period.

New Antarctic Science Platform announced

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee and Minister of Science and Innovation Paul Goldsmith have today announced that Antarctica New Zealand, in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and…

More abuse of a Minister’s position.

National will invest in the East Coast’s future

National will re-invest $24 million over 10 years in Gisborne’s road network to support strong growth in the district’s forestry sector, Economic Development and Transport spokesperson Simon Bridges says. “National…

And more.

Young farming families able to buy Landcorp farms

A National Government will help young families into their first farms by allowing young farmers to buy state owned farms after they’ve worked the land for five to ten years….

One actual policy announcement plus four bribes by Ministers.

Greens don’t have a media announcement from yesterday, their latest is from Wednesday:

Green Party announces a better deal for students

The Green Party announced today that, in government, it will provide genuine support for students by bringing in a universal post-graduate student allowance and increasing allowance rates for all students.

That’s a major announcement at a late stage of the campaign. Claiming “in government, it will provide” is fanciful, if Greens get into government (if they even get back into Parliament) they will first have to get Labour and possibly the Maori Party or NZ First to agree.

The only certainty is Greens won’t get to implement anywhere near all of their policies. Labour have already committed just about every available dollar for their own policies, NZ First have ‘promised’ many more, so there is simply not enough to pay for all their largesse.

NZ First had their promises exposed in The Peters-Espiner interview.

Winston Peters was in Dunedin: SPEECH: After the election the old parties will forget you – we won’t

Winston can’t even remember his own policies or costs of policies.

I’ve generally given up trying to keep up with the deluge of policies and bribes being drip fed daily, still.

Advance voting has already probably about 200,000 people who have voted, and they don’t know what they are voting for.

This campaign has been a mad large scale confusion, and this has been added to by the daily drip feeding of policies.

It all seems designed to feed the media, chasing the daily headline. Most people just see a mess of mediocrity. No wonder the polls aren’t settled.

I am in no position to judge the parties on their packages of policies. I have given up trying to keep up.

I’m going to wait until next Saturday before I vote, and before I decide who to vote for.

I’ve just realised that I haven’t even looked at who my local candidates are and how they are promoting themselves. A presumably safe electorate gets next to no national attention.

I was over this election some time ago and am just hanging in until the end of the confusion.

 

Greens versus Labour

Tensions are rising in the Green camp with them hovering around the threshold in a number of polls.

There are efforts being made in social media to rescue the Greens from parliamentary oblivion. It’s common to see things like ‘if you want a Labour led progressive government volte Greens’. This is annoying some Labour supporters.

There are also tensions over Labour ‘stealing’ Green policies and also campaigning strategically to try to out manoeuvre the Greens.

The Memorandum of Understanding has become a sham, and of course each party wants to maximise it’s own party votes.

But frustrations and fears of failure are boiling over.

From The Standard (which has become more Green the Labour):

Jacinda Ardern in her interview with Espiner this morning wouldn’t even indicate a desire, never mind a preference, to have Green MPs in Cabinet.

If NZ Labour can go into coalition with NZF, they will. (Ardern held that out as a possibility).

If you merely want National gone, then vote for NZ Labour or the Greens or NZF or the MP.

But if you want Liberalism challenged within the beehive, then the only way to vote is Green or MP.

The Spinoff: Greens anger at Labour seeps out in attack on ‘petty’, ‘half-arsed’ climate policy

At the Back Benches debate in Auckland last month, a Green Party supporter held aloft a sign that declared, on a green background “Campaigning against climate change since last century”. And, on a red background, “Campaigning against climate change since last weekend”.

That “last weekend” was, of course, the Labour Party campaign launch, where new leader Jacinda Ardern had told a smitten Town Hall that climate change is “my generation’s nuclear-free moment”. Ardern rejected suggestions that this was a tactical appeal to Green voters to decamp – climate change should be at the forefront of every party’s thinking, she said.

There was a Twitter spat between Green and Labour staffers.

It concerned the two parties’ climate policy unveilings, with Labour seen by some to have attempted to gazump the Greens’ big announcement on Sunday with their own on Friday, and began with Auckland Labour councillor Richard Hills’ exasperated tweet. “I love my Greens whanau,” he wrote. “But ‘Labour is stealing our policy’ one day, then ‘Why is Labour not in line with our policy?’ the next day.”

In response, Greens staffer Deborah Morris-Travers wrote: “Could have been collaboration that saw Greens announce climate policy and Labour welcoming it instead of trying to beat it with half-arsed version.”

Hills’ response: “That’s ridiculous. So the lead opposition party is not supposed to have a policy on the biggest issue facing our world?!”

Morris-Travers – who until recently was the Greens’ chief of staff – countered: “Of course they should but doing a rush job to try and get something out on Friday before the Greens on Sunday is petty.”

At this point Neale Jones, Labour’s chief of staff, leapt in. “Deborah, there was no rush job. I told Greens personally well in advance of our policy plans, as I always told you. Only change was venue.”

Morris-Travers: “Media perception was different to that. Either way, as I always said, Neale, mutual respect is necessary and I think people are right to question where Labour is at.”

Jones: “Media perception sure, but accusation could go both ways. Both parties had planned climate policies for same time, we discussed and were cool.”

Neale Jones has been venturing into Twitter quite a bit.

Labour’s approach to deep-sea drilling and coal mining has been attacked already by the Māori Party. Ardern’s refusal on RNZ this morning to rule out approving new developments in either was leapt on by Greenpeace. “If climate change is our nuclear free moment, then oil, coal and gas are the nuclear bombs. Today Jacinda had an opportunity to walk the talk, but she failed.”

That failure be Ardern to speak against mining and drilling got quite a bit of social media attention.

The ‘everyone for themselves’ seems to have reached the highest levels:

Poll trends

Polls are useful indicators, albeit backward looking. Trends are also worth keeping an eye on, but they can disguise sudden shifts.

David Farrar tweeted on a post at Kiwiblog:

This is quite misleading. I don’t know whether this is deliberate or not but the timing of this is questionable. August polls are already out of date. Farrar is National’s pollster.

There has been three public polls in September that add a lot to knowledge of poll trends.

Opinion polling for the New Zealand general election, 2017 is more up to date, and much more informative.

This shows that the dramatic Labour upswing has been sustained in September, and National support is diving.

It also highlights the Green dive in support, and shows that so far there is no sign of the  much touted late campaign improvement for NZ First.