RNZ poll of polls

‘Poll of polls’ average out poll results but with the small number of polls in New Zealand they can fluctuate nearly as much as the two polls being done, Colmar Brunton and Roy Morgan. CB is polling every three months, RM monthly.

RNZ: Poll of Polls: Labour regains support, National strong

RNZ’s latest Poll of Polls up to mid-February gave Labour an average of 28.5% through January and the first half of February, with just seven months to run until the election. This was 2 points up on its late-2016 average of 26.4%.

But it is well below its 32.5% average at this time in the 2014 election year, from which it dropped to 25.1% in the election.

Any rise will be welcomed by Labour (and Greens) but Labour are still in poor shape…

The Greens latest average is 11.5%. That gives a combined Labour and Greens score of 40%.

…and Greens appear to have hit a support ceiling.

Set that against National’s latest average of 46.7%, close to where it was in November before a 2-point boost after the smooth changeover in December from John Key to Bill English – and very close to its 2014 election score.

The switch to English has had a negligible effect on polls so far.

The trends give an overall picture.

eight_col_nat_v_lab_green_17feb22

It’s still seven months until the election in September and a lot can and no doubt will happen.

Roy Morgan should be due to release their February poll which will add a bit more to the poll picture.

Green list selection

Martyn Bradbury is now advising the Greens on how to organise their party list – Green Party Members Special: Ranking the top 20 Green Party candidates. I presume this is on a voluntary basis.

I doubt many Green Party members will take his advice too seriously given his record with promoting party success, but he has some interesting information on how the Greens advise their own members in ranking their list.

greenlistguidelines

Bradbury writes:

This process is more important than ever before for the Greens because in September there is a real chance to change the Government so these candidates won’t just be representing the Party, they will probably be in Caucus, so selection based on merit, talent and diversity are more important than ever.

Of course there is a real chance to change the Government in September, just like there was in 2014 and 2011 where the votes for government change just came up short.

But suggesting “they will probably be in Caucus”is a tad optimistic at this stage of election year.

Then Bradbury does his own Green list – here are abbreviated comments.

1 – Metiria Turei – She just gets better and better.

But her (and Green Party) appeal to voters appears to have plateaued so that doesn’t reflect in polls.

2 – James Shaw – Look, I’ll be blunt, I’m not a James Shaw fan. He’s pretty invisible most of the time and I’ve never warmed to the bloke, but the incredible skill and talent Shaw does bring is that he calms business and industry the fuck down.

Shaw is yet to live up to expectations. I doubt his lack of impact so far, plus continued  concerns about Green policies, are likely to have changed business and industry views.

3 – Marama Davidson – As far as I’m concerned, she’s the Beyonce of the NZ Political world. All hail the Queen.

I’m not sure that New Zealand’s political world wants a Beyonce. Davidson hasn’t been in Parliament a full term yet (she replaced Russel Norman off this list).

4 – Jan Logie – Jan is a political superstar.

Jesus Christ.

5 -Gareth Hughes – The guys is just such a brain. You need a clever policy wonk like Hughes at the Cabinet Table if you want to effect real policy change.

Hughes has never had much impact and his brain seems more interested in family now he’s a father.

6 – Julie Anne Genter – The Greens always do incredibly poorly in Auckland, and they desperately  require an Auckland personality who can champion their cause. Genter could be our smartest Minister for Transport we’ve ever had in NZ history.

But Bradbury has already ranked Beyonce at 3 on the list, Davidson is also from Auckland.

7 -Barry Coates – Thrusting Bazza up this high is a nod to his huge activist support base and the incredible work he has done fighting TPPA.

Coates became an MP in October last year so could do with a tad more parliamentary experience. While large TPPA protests were organised they did nothing to change New Zealand’s stance on the trade deal.

8 – Mojo Mathers – Mojo’s own hearing impairment gives her true insight into disability issues and makes her a leader in Parliament. She and the electorate she represents deserves recognition.

But is she really ministerial material? She is a useful advocate but there is no Minister of Hearing Impairment (yet).

9 – Chloe Swarbrick – Chloe should be in the top 10 folks, the woman is a political event.

She will have to prove herself within the Green Party first and probably has a long way to go on that let alone as a potential MP.

10 – Damon Rusden – He has guest blogged on The Daily Blog many times and his intellect and creative mind are surprisingly refreshing and he shows a worldview well beyond his 22 years of age.

I keep an eye on The Daily Blog and haven’t heard of him. Neither he nor Swarbrick are anywhere near ready to be ministers but even if they got in  at 9 and 10 on the list (they won’t) Greens won’t get that many ministers unless they double their vote.

11 – David Clendon – David is an old hand and has enough experience behind him now to act as one of the Party’s internal guardians when it comes to process.

He is currently ranked 10 in the Green line up.

12 – Eugenie Sage – Very intelligent and smart on the environment, but just hasn’t built enough of a profile to the wider electorate.

Which Green MPs have built enough of a popular profile in the wider electorate? Approximately none.

13 – Golriz Ghahraman – Has there been a more perfect candidate?

According to Bradbury, yes, as he has ranked 12 others higher including two with very little experience at anything apart from growing up.

14 – James Goodie – Interesting guy, has huge networks of influence in Auckland.

Haven’t heard of him.

15 – Robert Stewart – Huge networks in Dunedin where he has serious support.

Will he take over from Turei in Dunedin North where Greens have done very well? He is pushing for it – It wasn’t all a waste of time – having stood for Internet Mana in 2014.

16 – Sam Taylor

17 – Julie Zhu

18 -Dr Elizabeth Kerekere

19 – Stefan Grand-Meyer

20 – Jo Wrigley

I haven’t heard of any of them. Having Zhu ranked 17 isn’t very representative for the Asian demographic.

Current MPs missing from Bradbury’s list:

  • Catherine Delahunty (not standing again)
  • Kennedy Graham (currently ranked 7)
  • Denise Roche (she beat Chlöe Swarbrick to stand for the Greens in Auckland Central)
  • Steffan Browning (not standing again)

Greens currently have 14 MPs and on current polling might struggle to get that again this year.

Bradbury has chosen 12 females which isn’t balanced.

 

Deal or no deal?

There has been argument over whether the Green Party decision not to stand a candidate in the Ohariu electorate constitutes a political deal or not.

Some are adamant it is not a deal because it is different to what National and Peter Dunne, and National and ACT (in Epsom) do.

Call it what you like, it is the pragmatic putting aside of party principles to maximise a party’s chances of winning what they want. It’s politics.

Weka at The Standard: What’s the deal? There isn’t one.

There is no deal. The Greens appear to have made a unilateral decision for the good of the party’s own goals and for NZ. What I like about the MoU between Labour and the Greens is that they kept their independence. Labour are still free to act in the ways they see fit and likewise the Greens. The Greens have acknowledged that they’re not that keen on one of Labour’s candidate choices, but they’re behaving as if it’s not really any of their business. Which it isn’t. This is how adults behave when engaged in respect.

They’re acting freely while engaged in respect? This sounds like trying to claim the political high ground while doing what parties have done for a long time, made campaign decisions that play around with our system of MMP.

The Greens have been standing candidates in electorates with no intention  of winning, and have often nodded and winked at Green voters to vote for Labour candidates. Greens stand aiming deliberately not to win the battle in order to win the war, the all important party vote.

Not standing a candidate at all in an electorate, as Greens have decided to do in Ohariu, is a risk, because it will be harder for them to convince voters to give them their party vote.

In 2014 in Ohariu The Green candidate Tane Woodley got 7.25% of the electorate votes (actually up 1.65 on the 2011 election) but the Greens got 15.01% of the party vote, significantly higher than their nationwide 10.7%. It will be interesting to see what party vote they get in Ohariu this year.

I think that the Greens are so determined to get into Government for the first time that they will be prepared to risk losing some votes in order to achieve their goal.

However if Labour fails to lift their vote significantly overall it may all be in vain.

In a neighbouring electorate: No Green deal for Labour Party in Hutt South battle

Labour will have to win Hutt South without help from the Green Party in the September election.

There has been speculation the Greens would do a similar deal to Ohariu, where they agreed to step aside to give Labour a clear run against United Future’s Peter Dunne.

Constitutional lawyer and Green Party candidate Susanne Ruthven  said the situation in Hutt South was different.

Ruthven stood for Rimutaka in 2014, where she was fourth behind New Zealand First, but this time was standing in the electorate she lived in and was looking to do well.

It’s unclear whether that means to do well with the party vote or the electorate vote.

On her website she says:

It’s about our Community
Hutt South is where I belong. It’s where I was born. It’s where I grew up. It’s where my children are growing up.

It’s where the people are that I want to represent.

That sounds like she wants to represent the electorate. However it’s not unusual for Green candidates with electorate ambitions to be pulled into line by their party strategy and to effectively campaign on ‘vote for the Greens for party vote buit for the Labour candidate for the electorate vote’.

Stuff:

Dunne was likely to be needed to help National form a government and unseating him would help Labour.

That was not the case in Hutt South, which would see  a close battle between National list MP Chris Bishop and Labour’s Ginny Andersen.

In the last election Trevor Mallard defeated Bishop by 709 votes, with Green candidate Holly Walker third with 4966. National won the party vote by just under 7000 vote.

Andersen said there had never been an expectation that the Greens would not contest Hutt South.

If Green voters wanted Hutt South to remain Labour they had to vote strategically.

“I am saying to Green voters give me your candidate’s vote if you want to keep Hutt South Labour.”

She planned  to push the message that if Green voters wanted a change in government, then they needed to vote Labour.

That doesn’t make sense. It’s not clear whether she means vote Labour in the electorate – that will make no difference to whether the there’s a change of government or not.

So is she going to ask Green voters to party vote Labour? While the Greens ask voters to vote for Labour in the electorate but for Greens for party vote?

This confusion won’t help. Without a consistent approach in electorates voters are going to wonder what Labour and Greens want them to do.

Perhaps Labour and the Greens need to do some sort of deal about their approach here, otherwise the different nods and winks in different electorates will end up with voters blinking in confusion.

Wheeling and dealing is a normal part of politics. What Labour and Greens need to try and do is get all their wheels turning in the same direction.

Labour’s candidacy troubles

When someone like Gordon Campbell slams both Labour and the Greens on candidacy issues then one could suspect that the Labour-Green left may not be in great shape.

Scoop: Gordon Campbell on Labour’s candidacy troubles

So its official. Greg O’Connor will indeed be Labour’s candidate in Ohariu and – as also signaled well in advance – the Greens will not be standing a candidate in the electorate. At this point, you have to question the validity of the Greens’ excuse – “we need to change the government” – for tagging along.

Arguably, by bringing the likes of Greg O’Connor and Willie Jackson on board, Labour is choosing to “broaden its electoral chances” by pandering to the oldest, whitest and angriest part of the electorate.

Ouch.

Meaning: if they roll over this readily now, what treatment can the Greens expect to receive from Labour if and when Labour finally gets its hands on the levers of power? Is it possible now to conceive of anyone that Labour could put up as a candidate in a marginal electorate that the Greens could reject, on principle? Evidently not.

It is obvious that the Greens are so focussed on getting into government that holding their nose on a few things is a necessary compromise. It was always obvious that they would be comprosed by their Memorandum of Understanding with Labour.

Yes, Labour certainly does need to improve its party list vote. Willie Jackson wants a high position on the party list. At this point, its hard to see how his candidacy is going to motivate many of Labour’s activists to go out and work their butts off door to door, in order to bring the likes of Jackson onto Labour’s front bench.

Campbell is also scathing on Labour in Ohariu:

At this point, any social liberals left in Ohariu face something of a dilemma. Do they vote against Dunne in order to change this government’s dismal policies on health, education, the environment, welfare and the economy – or do they vote tactically for Dunne, to try and prevent O’Connor from becoming this country’s next Minister of Police?

Ultimately, they’ll probably vote for O’Connor, but with gritted teeth.

Somehow, Labour’s head office has managed to make Peter Dunne look like a principled underdog. That’s quite some feat.

But Anthony Robins applauds Greens rolling over for Labour in Greens stand aside in Ōhāriu:

Bravo to The Greens.

Putting aside misgivings for the sake of the greater good is a mark of political maturity which many politicians and commentators could learn from.

Of course Robins is all for the greater good of Labour. They will learn in due course what lessons can be learned from this ‘political maturity’.

And in the interests of reciprocity, hey Labour – ball’s in your court.

Bounce, bounce, bounce.

There’s a variety of comments on this at The Standard.

Infused:

Dirty deals are ok when the left do it then? That’s pretty funny.

 Anthony:

And once again Infused pretends not to understand the difference between gifting a seat to a loser to create a pretend support party, and standing aside in a seat you can’t win to strengthen a formal coalition. That’s pretty funny.

It would be funny if Labour started standing aside in seats they can’t win to strengthen a formal MoU (it’s not a coalition as it ends on election day, before coalitions are haggled over).

Greens not standing candidate in Ohariu

There have been reports and claims for months that the Greens would do a deal with Labour in the Ohariu electorate to improve Labour’s chances of winning the electorate.

A few days ago Labour confirmed that Greg O’Connor would stand for them – something also predicted months ago. Now the Greens say they won’t stand a candidate in Ohariu to try to increase the chances of changing the government, but they say they will still campaign for their party vote in Ohariu without a candidate.

One News from 29 November 2016

Good morning, @avancenz joins us soon with exclusive details of backroom deals between Labour and the Greens ahead of next year’s election

‘In Nelson the Greens feel like they can pick up a lot of votes’ @avancenz on backroom deals between Labour and Greens.

Green’s won’t stand a candidate in Ohariu, paving the way for a Labour candidate to battle with United Future’s Peter Dunne.

Green’s co-leader Metiria Turei will run in Te Tai Tonga, Labour candidate Rino Tirikatene told by party not to run.

See also: Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election

This has now been confirmed as an election strategy by the Greens.

Stuff: Greens step aside in Ohariu to help Labour’s O’Connor – despite misgivings

The Greens have dropped any plans to run a candidate in the Ohariu seat in a move aimed at giving Labour’s Greg O’Connor a better chance of winning the marginal seat – despite Green misgivings about his past views.

Green co-leader James Shaw said the decision was taken in the interests of changing the Government, which was the party’s  priority.

“We have been very clear with our supporters and the public about that since we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour last year,” he said.

“Not standing in Ohariu increases the chances that we will be in a position to change the Government in September – it’s as simple as that.’

But in a statement released to Stuff confirming the decision Shaw made no comment about O’Connor himself.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has said in the past she does not agree with many of his stances.

Principles can become flexible when politicians and parties seek power.

The call was made “after many discussions” in the party, which would still campaign strongly for the party vote in Ohariu.

Greens have operated on the basis of using electorate candidates to campaign for their party vote. Without a candidate they will still be able to advertise for their party and put up party billboards, but they won’t have a candidate at campaign meetings or feature in candidate based media coverage.

The 2014 Green candidate Tane Woodley won 2764 votes compared to 13,569 for Dunne and 12,859 for Labour’s Virginia Andersen. National’s Brett Hudson won 6120 votes, with many National supporters swinging in behind Dunne.

National won 50.4 per cent of the party vote in Ohariu against 23.5 per cent for Labour, 15.07 per cent for the Greens and just 0.73 per cent for Dunne’s United Future.

It will be interesting to see how National deals with Ohariu now.

Greens ‘key to ending child poverty’

The Green Party continues their ‘change the government’ approach  in response to the Salvation Army’s 10th ‘state of the nation’ report.


The latest Salvation Army report reinforces the need for a new Government committed to action on the biggest issues facing New Zealand, the Green Party said today.

The 10th State of the Nation report from The Salvation Army, Off the Track, released today shows entrenched rates of child poverty, the highest prison muster ever, and an alarming lack of safe and affordable housing.

“The barriers that many New Zealanders are facing to living a happy life are not being addressed by this National Government,” Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said.

“Child poverty has become ‘normal’, prison numbers are up, and putting a roof over your family’s head is becoming harder and harder. This isn’t the New Zealand we know and love.

“The Green Party has the solutions to ending child poverty in New Zealand, by increasing incomes, ensuring secure housing, having school lunches available for the kids that need them and many other policy initiatives.

“The thousands of children growing up in poverty right now can’t wait any longer; their health and education is seriously impacted by inadequate standards of living, leading to huge downstream costs for us all.

“John Key said he wanted to address child poverty this Parliamentary term, but failed to. Now the challenge to Prime Minister Bill English is to do better by our kids.

“The progress of a country cannot be measured just by GDP growth; it has to be measured by living standards that enable people to reach their potential and participate in our society. At the moment, lots of us aren’t.

“National’s refusal to implement the solutions needed is leading to skyrocketing emergency financial support, with more and more New Zealanders struggling to keep food on the table. The sheer amount of last-ditch financial assistance that people are having to rely upon is scary, and exemplifies runaway inequality.

“Millions of New Zealanders care about the lives of children and know that we are all in this together. The Salvation Army State of the Nation report is evidence that New Zealand works better when it’s working for everyone,” Mrs Turei said.

Green response to PM’s statement

Green co-leader James Shaw’s response to the Prime Minister’s statement.


JAMES SHAW (Co-Leader—Green): E Te Māngai o Te Whare, tēnā koe.

I would actually like to start by congratulating the Prime Minister on his speech, which successfully disguised how dull the statement was that got distributed this morning. It contained a whole bunch more half measures and a sort of pointless tinkering around the edges that will not—will not—fix any of the long-term challenges that this country is facing, whether it is housing affordability, or whether it is homelessness, climate change, child poverty, and so on. He did say that he will encourage more oil exploration, but has he not noticed that all of the big oil companies are actually abandoning their explorations here in New Zealand? It is like he is a salesman of fax machines. Nobody is buying them any more. He says he is going to crack down on multinational tax evasion. Well, what has he been doing for the last 8 years? Tell me that. He is going to continue to flog his hyper-targeted vulnerable children’s strategy, ignoring all evidence that no dent is going to be made in child poverty until incomes start to rise.

Today’s statement to Parliament showed, if anything—like last week’s state of the nation speeches—one thing: we have got the vibe and they have got the shivers. The Greens’ and Labour Party’s state of the nation—[Interruption] I am just getting warmed up, Todd. I am just getting warmed up. The Greens’ and Labour Party’s state of the nation speeches last week showed that New Zealand has a well-organised, a stable, a ready, and an energised Government-in-waiting, a Government that has values and a vision—a vision of a country that is prosperous, that is inclusive, that is compassionate, that is innovative, and that is productive.

In his state of the nation speech, Mr English announced that if re-elected, this Government will make a commitment to having more police in New Zealand, thus matching other parties’ commitments to restoring vital public services that have been run down by his Government—that was it. Providing his assessment of the state of the nation and his vision for the country, the best that he could say was: “Me too.”

A day before that, he announced that on 23 September, the Government will change, and I would like to thank him for continuing his predecessor’s convention of announcing the election date early in the year. When the county does finally get a proper written constitution, I do hope that it will include a fixed election date. Christmas has a fixed date, and the turkeys did not have any say in it.

When he announced the election, the Prime Minister said that this election would be all about growth. He said it was going to be all about growth. Well, let me tell you what is growing. You have got growing greenhouse gas emissions. You have got growing water pollution. You have got growing endangered species lists. You have got a growing house price bubble. You have got a growing cost of living. You have got a growing dairy farm debt. You have got growing unemployment. You have got the kind of growth that, if it was growing on your body, your doctor would pack you off to a specialist pretty darn quick.

Under this National Government—

Hon Member: Probably that homeopathic stuff though.

JAMES SHAW: How’s it going?

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

JAMES SHAW: Are you having fun? Under this Government—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The level of interjection coming from my far right is now excessive. It will cease.

JAMES SHAW: Under this Government, we have growth without prosperity. I get irritable whenever anybody says in passing that National is somehow the “party of business”. A long time ago, I worked for one of the world’s largest accounting firms. I co-founded a small business, which is still growing strong today, and I have worked with people and with projects in about 30 different countries around the world. Can I tell you that nowhere before have I seen contracts that are as badly written as the ones that these guys write.

Last week we found out that they put $9 million into a fund and got bought out for $10.2 million, which sounds pretty good, because it means that they made a cool $1.2 million profit. Meanwhile, their business partner, US tech billionaire Peter Thiel, invested $7 million, which is $2 million less than the Government invested, and he made $23 million profit—minus a $1 million donation to charity—and Peter Thiel’s citizenship papers came with a $22 million upside. It is a bit of a surprise that Peter Thiel does not believe in Government, given how well he has done out of this one. He has actually done twice as well as that Saudi sheep farmer, who only got $11 million out of this Government, in return for, um, uh—oh, no, nothing at all. It was in return for nothing at all. Maybe we should have thrown citizenship papers in to sweeten the deal. That way, he and Peter Thiel could have cleared customs quickly together, and then caught a cab to SkyCity. Give me a break, “party of business”.

I do want to talk about some businesses that are doing some good in the world—businesses like Taupō Beef & Lamb, founded by Mike and Sharon Barton. It is one of the leading environmentally-friendly farms in the country. It is not only not polluting the water, it is actually cleaning up Lake Taupō while it does business. It is making a heck of a profit and it is struggling to meet demand. It is doing well by doing good.

Samantha Jones and Hannah Duder of Little Yellow Bird make organic-cotton fair-trade uniforms in India for clients here in New Zealand, but their business model actually supports girls from the Indian communities in which they work to stay in school, supports women to get trained for the workforce, and they extend microcredit loans for women to start businesses. Sam and Hannah are building a sustainable, ethical clothing brand that their customers here in New Zealand want to be a part of. They are doing well by doing good.

Eat My Lunch—set up by Lisa Wong and Michael Meredith—operates a “buy one, give one” business model, where the lunch that you buy yourself pays for another one for a hungry kid at school. It is supporting 40 schools with over 1,300 lunches every day. It is doing well by doing good.

Zealong Tea Estate, which converted a Waikato dairy farm into New Zealand’s organic tea producer, is selling tea to China at a huge premium—a premium that it can charge only as long as it can demonstrate that the tea is “100% Pure New Zealand”, organic, pesticide-free, and grown with pure water, clean air, and rich soil. It is doing well by doing good.

It is not just start-ups and entrepreneurs that are doing well by doing good. Airways Corporation has helped reduce carbon emissions from airlines by 37,000 tons every year. It estimates that that saves its customers $16,000 in fuel costs. It is doing well by doing good. Z Energy—currently the No. 1 retailer of concentrated dinosaur juice—has invested $21 million building the country’s largest biodiesel plant, turning the agriculture industry’s waste fat into low-carbon fuel. It is doing well by doing good. Interface is one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers, making nylon carpet from discarded fishing nets that are clogging up the reefs and the ocean floors of the Philippines. It has actually doubled its revenues in the past 20 years through its mission of becoming the world’s first fully sustainable enterprise anywhere in the world and showing the world how it is done. They are doing by doing good. These are the innovators and the social entrepreneurs and the pioneers who are showing the way.

And, I hear my friends on the other side of the aisle saying in response to all of this: “Seeing as the private sector and the communities and the charities are doing so well all by themselves, why does the Government need to act? The invisible hand of the market seems to be doing just fine.” And if that were true—if the invisible hand of the market was resolving all of our challenges for it—why is it that New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased 19 percent since 2008, which is when this Government came to office? Why is it that you still cannot swim in 62 percent of our rivers without the risk of catching some horrible disease? Why are people all over the country now worried that the 5,000 people who were poisoned in Havelock North represent some kind of canary in the mine, and maybe we cannot even trust the water that comes out of our taps anymore? Why is it that around a third of all plant and animal species in this country are at risk of extinction? Why is it that Auckland is the fourth most unaffordable city in the entire world to live in? Why is it, in a time of record low inflation, that living costs for families are higher than their ability to meet them? Why is it that kids are still hungry or living in cars?

Well, it is because those people—the innovators and the social entrepreneurs—do not have a Government that backs them or the future that they represent. The Prime Minister’s statement today once again shows that we have a Government that looks to the past. It looks to flog enough dead horses to fill an entire animal graveyard: more offshore oil exploration; new coalmines; high intensity, high pollution, low-value commodity agriculture—a Government that by its own admission has reached the limit of what it thinks that it can do to lift its own people out of poverty and into greater opportunity.

Just as there are businesses that are showing what leadership looks like, so too are other Governments around the world showing us what leadership can look like. Ireland will be the first country in the world to divest all public money from fossil fuels; National will not go there. Dutch trains will now be 100 percent powered by renewable wind energy. In New Zealand we are actually ditching electric and aiming for 100 percent diesel freight trains. Canada has put a $53 per tonne price on carbon emissions; National is too timid to go there and to put a proper price on pollution. The UK introduced a mere 5p charge on plastic bags and within 6 months there was an 85 percent drop in plastic bag use in the United Kingdom. The Japanese passed a recycling Act in 2001—16 years ago—that means that they now send only 5 percent of all waste to landfill. They actually recycle 98 percent of all their metals—metals that are valuable commodities in industry. New Zealand? Tumbleweed thing.

In Germany—the fourth largest manufacturer of motor vehicles in the world—you will not even be able to buy a fossil fuel powered car there after 2030. In the Netherlands and in Norway you will not be able to buy a fossil fuel powered car after 2025, which is only 8 years from now. And in New Zealand? In New Zealand, the National Government’s goal is to get nearly 2 percent of all vehicles to be electric by 2021—nearly 2 percent. Wow! Such vision. Many ambition. Very leadership.

As the former Saudi oil Minister once said, the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end before the world runs out of oil. But we have a Government that is stuck in the Stone Age: too timid, too ignorant, or too scared of the vested interests that it represents to put in place policies that have been proven to work in other countries—and, I might add, policies that were often put in place by conservative parties that are the brother and sister parties of this National Government and they are too scared to follow. The Prime Minister’s predecessor famously once said that at least when it came to climate change, New Zealand should not be a leader but a fast follower. This Government is not even following, let alone fast. Because it does not want New Zealanders to be leaders, other countries are taking advantage of what could be the greatest economic opportunity of a generation—the opportunity of a sustainable, smart, green economy that works for and includes everyone.

Kiwis want to be leaders. I am inspired by the huge crowd of people who came together to fund the purchase of Awaroa Beach and add it to our national parks. While we are on national parks, I am inspired by those who forced the Government to abandon its plans for mining in the most precious parks a few years back. As Ricky Baker’s buddy Hec said, New Zealand is majestical and New Zealanders want to keep it that way.

I am inspired by the people who forced the Government to accept even a handful more of those displaced shell-shocked refugees from Syria last year in the midst of the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II. I am inspired by those innovators and social entrepreneurs who are building a better world from the ground up. That is why we need to change the Government. New Zealanders deserve a government that backs them to be leaders. Today’s statement by the Prime Minister just shows how stuck in the past this Government is. It is time to change the Government, and change is coming.

The Alternative Maori Party?

The Green Party used to be known as an alternative party promoting environmental betterment and social goodness.

Under Metiria Turei’s leadership it is putting a lot more emphasis on Maori things.

Yesterday on Facebook:

Top of the billing is the Treaty of Waitangi, something not mentioned by Andrew Little at all in his ‘state of the nation’ speech last week.

In the past Turei and the Greens have only used electorate contests to push hard for the all important party vote, but their are signs of that changing, with Julie Anne Genter having a testing the waters in the Mt Albert by-election, and Chloe Swarbrick challenging to contest Auckland Central saying she wants to win an electorate.

Turei is switching from a quite un-Maori electorate, Dunedin North (where she has been very successful at growing Green support), to the Te Tai Tonga electorate.

I suspect that given her increasing emphasis on Maori she fancies winning a Maori seat.

Are the Greens morphing into an alternative Maori Party?

Labour seems to think it deserves Maori votes due to historical electoral habits, but the Maori vote looks like being hotly contested with five parties with the Maori Party, Mana, Greens and Labour all competing for traditional Maori votes, plus  Winston Peters and Shane Jones looking like going hard out in Northland as well.

TOP to stand in Mt Albert

Despite Gareth Morgan saying his The Opportunity Party would be list nly and would not contest electorates, yesterday he announced that his chief of staff Geoff Simmons will contest the Mt Albert by-election.

Stuff: Gareth Morgan’s party to take on Jacinda Ardern in Mt Albert by-election

Millionaire economist Gareth Morgan has confirmed his party will take on Labour MP Jacinda Ardern in this month’s Mt Albert by-election.

However, Morgan himself will not run. Instead, his Opportunity Party chief of staff Geoff Simmons has put his name forward to run in the February 25 by-election.

Speaking in front of a van promising to “Make New Zealand fair again” Morgan said the decision of several parties not to contest the by-election meant there was “an opportunity here to do something for the people of Mt Albert”.

When was New Zealand fair before now?

It looks like Morgan sees an opportunity to have a practice campaign at electorate level and build some party profile.

Simmons, an economist with a regular interview slot on RNZ, had been responsible for a lot of the policy work at the Morgan Foundation and was “extremely literate in all that material”.

With the TOP emphasis on policy Simmons could make the campaign interesting if he challenges the cosy Labour-Green plans to promote themselves jointly.

It will be good if Simmons can test Jacinda Ardern’s policy mettle and force her into doing more than play her photo-op magazine style of campaigning.

In a reference to Ardern and Green Party candidate Julie Anne Genter, Morgan said Simmons would act as “a thorn between the two roses”.

TOP are unlikely to get close to threatening the outcome by it will be good to see Simmons  challenging the cushy co-party arrangement.

There’s a real risk to Labour here – that Simmons and Genter will overshadow if not overwhelm Ardern in serious policy debate, unless the show pony can prove she can tackle the hard stuff as well.

O’Connor confirms Ohariu bid

This has been well signalled but now Greg O’Connor has confirmed he is seeking the nomination to stand for Labour in Ohariu.

NZ Herald: Former police association boss Greg O’Connor seeks Labour Party nomination

The former head of the police association is seeking the Labour Party nomination for Ohariu, a seat held by Peter Dunne for more than 30 years.

Greg O’Connor today confirmed he wanted to be the Labour candidate for the Wellington electorate in this year’s general election.

He said as a long-time resident and active community member standing as a political representative was a natural fit.

“I have a strong sense of social responsibility, and the ideals and ethos of the Labour Party, which demand a fair go and opportunities for all New Zealanders, made the decision to join them a natural one.”

O’Connor has said that he was approached by Labour to stand, and Andrew Little has indicated he supports O’Connor’s bid.

Something being arranged in Ohariu was hinted at when Labour’s candidate in 2014 switched to the Hutt South electorate where she was selected.

Greens have tried to help Labour beat Dunne (who has been helped by National) in past elections but if O’Connor is selected that could get interesting. Metiria Turei is not a fan and may have trouble giving him too much help.

Labour and Greens have also announced they won’t make electorate arrangements to help each other this year. Greens use electorate campaigns to get party votes so will presumably stand a candidate in Ohariu again. It will be interesting to see what sort of candidate that is.

Going by reactions to O’Connor at The Standard he may not be widely supported within Labour either.