Shaw avoids electorate question

On The Nation this morning James Shaw was asked whether he had any ambition to win the Wellington Central electorate next election.

Shaw avoided answering this, diverting to the usual Green spiel about the party vote being all important – which it is.

But with Labour struggling so much the Greens must at least be considering going for some electorates.

Wellington Central would have to be on that list.

Metiria Turei’s desire to contest Te Tai Tonga is also an interesting change in focus for her.

Will Greens recommend voters give them the party vote but give Labour the electorate vote in these electorates?

Or will they at least quietly hope to pick up a seat or two beyond the list.

Nelson electorate deal denials

Mixed messages over Labour-Green electorate deals or no deals continue, with denials from both Labour and the Greens that there there will be no deal in Nelson.

In the original 1 News report Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election Andrea Vance said:

In Nelson the Greens fell like they can pick up a lot of votes and so they’re in talks with Labour at the moment to stand a Labour candidate aside so that the Greens can have a clear run in that seat in Nelson.

The reason the greens have chosen Nelson is because it’s a classically Green seat. Now they’ll campaign hard in that seat because they’ve been given a chunk of money by an anonymous donor who has specified it must be used in the campaign in Nelson and the West Coast only.

And so Labour found it easy to stand aside because the candidate there would go up against Nick Smith for the electorate vote who’s been there for years and years and years and there’s a strong incumbent.

There is some very specific information there. Someone must have given this to Vance. Metiria Turei and her plans to stand in Te Tai Tonga also featured in that item.

Little responded on 1 News’ Breakfast programme: “This is news to me, we have no agreement on any seat”.

A follow up from 1 News: ‘Bugger that!’ – Labour members leave party over proposed deal with Green Party in Nelson

Eight Labour members have quit the party in protest over a proposed electorate deal with the Greens in Nelson.

One of those who quit said the members had emailed in their resignations – and the reasons – to the party.

“They were eight core people and they’ve walked away. They expected us to help the Greens… we’re not going to work for the Greens, bugger that.”

The ex-member said supporters were unhappy about how they learned about the proposed deal.

“It leaked out at the [annual] conference. One of the candidates was told by Andrew Little… people here are really angry.

But Labour continues to deny any deal in Nelson. Stuff: Labour denies giving Green light for Nelson:

The Labour Party has denied suggestions it is standing aside in Nelson, despite media reports that it is engaging in strategic deals with the Greens ahead of next year’s general election.

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton said despite an agreement between Labour and the Greens to work together to change the Government there was no such plan for Nelson.

“We have a very strong party in Nelson and that won’t change. I’ve been impressed by how our members have remained committed to winning government next year,” he said.

“This is about how to work together under MMP to change the Government and get the economy working for all New Zealanders.”

A “no such plan for Nelson” denial followed by general poliwaffle.

Greens are also now denying a deal has been done.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said no decisions had been made about any electorate seats, including Nelson. He also said was wrong to suggest that there was any connection between this donation and its candidate selection process in Nelson.

“That is patently incorrect … no decision has been made about the Nelson electorate seat, or any others, and no donation, regardless of its size, will have any bearing on our decision-making process.”

The original report didn’t say a deal had been done, just that Greens were ‘in talks with Labour’, albeit implying it looked likely to happen.

And of particular note is that Shaw is doing the backtracking, not Metiria Turei.

This is a real muddle and doesn’t help Labour and Greens look like a cohesive government-in-waiting.

Labour slump in Roy Morgan poll

The November Roy Morgan poll has National on 49.5%, very similar to their recent Colmar Brunton result, but Labour has slumped to 23%, the lowest they have been since just after the 2014 election.

Greens have picked up a bit of Labour’s loss but combined they are on just 37.5% so their MoU looks like being a bad move (and this is backed by news reports that Labour members are deserting because of it).

  • National 49.5% (up from 48)
  • Labour 23% (down from 26.5)
  • Greens 14.5% (up from 11.5)
  • NZ First 8% (down from 10)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (no change)
  • Act Party 1% (up from 0.5)
  • United Future 0.5% (up from o)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (up from 0)
  • Mana Party 0% (no change)
  • Internet Party 0 (down from 0.5)
  • Other 1.5% (no change)

Polling from 7-20 November.

Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone, with a NZ wide cross-section of 858 electors in November 2016. Of all electors surveyed 6.5% (unchanged) didn’t name a party.

Remember that like any poll this is just an approximate indication of past preferences. Roy Morgan polls have tended to vary quite a bit – but there’s probably a lot of soft and shifting support at the moment.

National are ending the year at the higher end of their recent range.

Labour look dire, and Labour+Greens looks to be a failure that will be difficult to undo, they are committed until the election with their Memorandum of Understanding (or they will get rubbished if they dump it).

Greens have been on 14% or 14.5% in seven of this year’s Roy Morgan polls.

It’s interesting to see that NZ First haven’t benefited from Labour’s slide, despite Winston’s efforts to jump on the Trump bandwagon.

roymorgan2016nov

 

Little denies electorate deals

1 news has reported this morning that the Greens and Labour have agreed on some electorate deals, including giving Metiria Turei a free run at the Te Tai Tonga Maori electorate, and also deals are being done in Nelson (Nick Smith’s seat) and Ohariu (Peter Dunne’s seat).

The Greens have talked to Andrea Vance about this, but Andrew Little seems to have been surprised by the Greens going public on this. He has denied any agreements have been made and he avoided talking about specific electorates.

Good morning, 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’ 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.

They reported that Turei informed Tirikatene.

But Andrew Little denies any deals have been made.

‘This is news to me, we have no agreement on any seat’ on Labour doing backroom deals with the Greens.

‘We are committed to changing the government and that’s what that (MoU) agreement is about’.

‘We’re thinking about a campaign that means we get to win government and that means looking at the party vote’

Little diverted to his boilerplate campaign phrases. Has he been blind sided by the Greens? Or is he not aware of the deals Labour have been talking about with the Greens.

From the Labour-Green Memorandun of Understanding:

2. Working Together

d) We agree to a “no surprises” policy that means we give each other prior notice and the details of major announcements and speeches. This includes matters where we may disagree.

This means that Little is not being truthful, or the Greens have sprung a surprise announcement.

Andrea Vance is back on Breakfast now to respond to Little’s comments, she has confirmed that the Green Party has told her about these deals.

My guess is that the Greens have become alarmed and frustrated by the lack of traction in the polls for Labour and the Greens and want to try and push things along.

Little has been caught very flat footed.

Are the Greens deciding they have to do what’s best for themselves and stuff Labour?

It certainly doesn’t look like Turei and Little are together on this announcement.

It looks like a power play by Turei.

UPDATE: 1 News now online – Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election

Note that while Little says that no deal has been done the headline says that the deals are being worked on.

Has Turei jumped the gun? If so, why?

Gender balance in Cabinet

I think that most people would agree that having about half of MPs women and about half of Cabinet Ministers women would be a good aspiration, but I also think most people, including most women, would put ability and competence ahead of exactly equal numbers of each sex.

John Key was asked about gender balance in Cabinet on The Nation in the weekend.

Key told Nation host Lisa Owen “it would be stupid” to promise a gender-balanced Cabinet.

“I think if you went to our female ministers, of which we’ve got a tremendous group of talent – from Paula to Amy to Judith, you name them, Hekia, Anne Tolley, there’s just a bunch of very talented women in there – they are there because they’re immensely talented. Yes, it’s great that they’re women, and I think there should be balance,” he said.

Of the current Cabinet there are 7 women and 13 men. Of Ministers outside Cabinet there are 3 women and 2 men.

In total out of 25 there are 10 women and 15 men.

Labour aspires to MP gender balance but failed to achieve it’s goals due to winning less than expected seats. It gets tricky when most MPs are electorate MPs, ultimately the voters choose individual MPs and the gender balance is whatever it all adds up to.

Greens, the champions of balance, are more staunch on Cabinet ideals. They have male and female co-leaders, and their list is arranged so there is approximately the same number of female and male MPs – it’s much easier to achieve when all are list-only MPs.

Greens have a policy on gender balance in Cabinet, but it’s not clear exactly what they are going for. James Shaw put out this press release in July 2015:

Greens will ensure gender balance in Cabinet

How will the ensure that a Cabinet of Labour, Green and probably NZ First MPs will be 50/50 male/female?

The Green Party is today announcing that, in Government, it will ensure half of all Green Cabinet Ministers are women, and will call on other members of any coalition Government it is involved in to do the same.

“Our hope is that by leading by example, and ensuring gender equality at the Cabinet table, the Green Party can stimulate and support a wave of gender equity reforms for women who work,” Mr Shaw said.

That’s not ensuring Cabinet is balanced, it is ensuring the Green MPs in Cabinet are gender balanced (as long as there’s an even number of them) and a hope that the other parties in the coalition will do likewise.

“The idea that people are paid on merit, or appointed to senior roles like Government Ministers based on their abilities, doesn’t stack up. Women are paid less largely because they’re working in professions that are dominated by women, and they’re often not appointed to senior positions because of barriers that have nothing to do with ability.  It’s time to drop the idea that women are worth less once and for all.

Shaw leaps from an unsubstantiated claim that Ministers aren’t appointed on merit to a general spiel on inequality.

Women MPs are paid the same as males in equal positions, and Cabinet Ministers are also paid equally.

“Around the world countries are realising that gender inequality is holding them back and they’re committing to greater representation by women in many positions of power in business and politics.”

While more women in positions of power is a good thing if they are up to the task I would be interested to see evidence that less than half of MPs and Cabinet Ministers is holding New Zealand back in some way.

“By committing to a gender balance in Cabinet, the Green Party won’t immediately fix the inequalities women are forced to deal with at work every day, but it will show that we are committed to gender equality everywhere, starting with where we work ourselves,” Mr Shaw said.

Shaw finishes back where he started – committing to a gender balance in Cabinet.

But how would Greens achieve that? They can hardly force other parties to have gender balance in the MPs they have in Cabinet.

On current polling and using proportionality if Greens had four Cabinet Ministers then NZ First would also have four and Labour would have twelve.

In Labour’s top twelve MPs there are 5 women.

NZ First doesn’t seem to rank their MPs but they have 8 males and 3 females. Based on their 2014 list there was one woman in their top four.

If Labour put  5 women into Cabinet and NZ First 1 that’s 6, so would Greens agree to have all four of their MPs in Cabinet in women to ensure it was gender balanced?

Or would they refuse to go into coalition unless Labour and NZ First had a 50/50m gender split with their Cabinet MPs?

Or would they just hope their ideal is agreed to by the other parties?

It would be a good ideal to achieve, approximately, but with a multi party coalition it may not be easy.

And – do most women care? How many would prioritise gender balance over merit and competence?

Māori – Mana marriage?

The Māori Party and Mana’s Hone Harawira are talking about getting back together for next year’s election. The reconciliation is being brokered by Tuku Morgan.

RNZ: Māori Party and Mana Party agree to put differences aside

The Māori and Mana parties have formally agreed to develop their relationship ahead of next year’s general election.

The executives of both parties met in Whangarei today to discuss their future after they put their differences behind them in July.

Māori Party president Tukuroirangi Morgan said they would now focus on developing Māori politics, and doing what was best for Māori.

If Harawira and the Mana Party join forces with the Māori Party for next year’s election it raises some interesting questions.

Would this rule out Māori -Mana helping National form a government? Harawira has been staunchly against this in the past, while the Māori MPs feel they can do more good in Government rather than in Opposition.

And if Māori and Mana make arrangements about who will stand in each of the Māori electorates how will Labour manage that? Do deals with the Greens? Will that be enough to hold onto the six electorates they have regained.

Labour has been criticised in the past for taking it’s Māori seats for granted and not delivering much to the Māori constituency.

Labour have already sounded a bit like jilted brides when the Māori -Mana remarriage was mooted.

National MP challenge in Wellington Central

National list MP Paul Foster-Bell, who stood in Wellington Central last election against Grant Robertson and James Shaw, is being challenged by Nicola Willis, who appears to be backed by John Key.

Newshub: Prime Minister recruits corporate high flyer for 2017

If the headline is an accurate reflection then Foster-Bell’s chances don’t look great, if he doesn’t get the hint and pull out.

One of Prime Minister John Key’s confidants and former senior advisors is set to enter Parliament, with Newshub learning she is being lined up as National’s Wellington Central candidate.

Nicola Willis has launched a challenge against incumbent candidate and list MP Paul Foster-Bell for the party’s nomination, which opens in January.

When nominations do open, it is my intention to put forward my nomination and to stand for the candidacy,” she told Newshub.

“This is a decision I’ve come to after lots of conversation with my family. It’s up to the National Party members to decide who their candidate is, so it’s them I’ll be focused on,” says Ms Willis.

The Prime Minister says she’d be a welcome addition to Parliament if she successfully challenged Mr Foster-Bell.

“If Nicola decided to try and come into Parliament, and obviously that’s subject to her either having a seat or getting on the list or whatever that might be, but she’s extremely talented. She’d make a very fine MP,” he says.

Implying that he doesn’t see Foster-Bell as such a fine MP.

 

 

Wellington Central last election:

wellingtoncentral2014

A strong National candidate could make that very interesting.

It could create a quandary for Labour and Greens – will Shaw push hard for the best Green party vote again and wink-wink the electorate vote in Robertson’s direction? Or will he go hard out for an electorate win?

Both Shaw and Robertson are probably assured of winnable list positions (unless Labour’s vote crashes further), but there could be some importance on Wellington Central.

RM rains on Labour’s weekend

The Roy Morgan polls have been as variable as US presidential polls, but their October surprise probably won’t help the atmosphere at Labour’s 100th year conference.

  • National 48% (up from 41.5)
  • Labour 26.5% (down from 33.5)
  • Greens 11.5% (down from 12)
  • NZ First 10% (up from 8.5)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (down from 2)
  • ACT 0.5% (down from 1)
  • Internet Party 0.5% (up from 0)
  • United Future 0%
  • Mana Party 0%
  • Conservative Party 0% (down from 0.5)
  • Other 1.5% (up from 1)

Polling October 10-23, 2016

Labour+Greens+NZ First = National

Labour have crashed back from a term high in September to a more ‘normal’ level. They peaked at 33.5 last month but were 25.5 the previous two months.

National are about mid-range for Roy Morgan having bottomed (for this term) last month. They have varied 53-41.5 since the 2014 election.

The rest are normal-ish.

The Conservative Party has dropped to 0% and after the Colin Craig debacle are going to struggle to get back up.

roymorganoctober2016

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7039-roy-morgan-new-zealand-voting-intention-october-2016-201611041621

 

 

 

Too many white guys?

Yesterday Hekia Parata announced she won’t be standing again in next year’s election.

Patrick Gower opined in Hekia Parata gives John Key a ‘white guy’ problem:

Hekia Parata quitting might give John Key a space in Cabinet – but the problem is a massive queue of white guys lining up to join a line-up of white guys.

Parata’s resignation and Nikki Kaye’s health issues means there are now just five women in Key’s 20-person Cabinet. In contrast, there are 12 white guys – hardly representative of New Zealand in 2016.

As both a woman and a Māori, Parata gave the ministry a real point of difference. More importantly, she was there on merit too.

The inconvenient truth for Key is there is a dearth of females and ethnicities in his Caucus.

There are only 17 women out of the 59 MPs (by contrast, 12 out of 31 Labour MPs are female). And only six of the male National MPs aren’t Pakeha.

National’s gender balance improved slightly when Mike Sabin resigned from Northland and they lost the by-election (with a white male candidate).

When Tim Groser resigned he was replaced with Maureen Pugh as next on the National list.

If Parmjeet Parmar wins the Mt Roskill by-election National will get another woman off the list, Misa Fia Turner. That would only bring them up to 18/59, about a third female, but it will improve their ethnic balance.

If Labour’s Michael Wood wins Mt Roskill they won’t improve their gender imbalance of 12/31, nor their ethnic imbalance. If he loses it will improve both slightly.

Also yesterday Phil Goff announced that Bill Cashmore would be his deputy mayor. Penny Hulse was regarded as too closely associated with the Len Brown era, and it is claimed she didn’t get on well with some councillors. Cashmore is described at The Spinoff as “constructive and dependable, he is a kind of centre-right National-aligned twin to Goff, which should help the mayor secure majorities in council”.

A reaction from Twitter:

Goff won the Auckland mayoralty easily, with his closest rival being an inexperienced (in politics) woman, Vic Crone.

So is there a problem with white male politicians?

There are more white male candidates so it’s nor surprising there will be more white male politicians, especially when, like Goff, they are leading candidates.

Goff stood as an independent, sort of.

But parties choose their electorate candidates and their lists. Are they biased in favour of white men?

Often the successful candidate is determined by party selections prior to the election but ultimately it is the voters who choose electorate candidates, and via the party vote they give the only 50/50 gender party the Greens about a tenth of the vote. Other things seem to be more important to voters than gender balance.

Are white men inferior as politicians?

Or is there a lack of non-white, non-male candidates willing to put themselves forward?

It can’t be ruled out that a majority of females and non-whites prefer white male candidates.

Diversity in political representation is important, but competence, and choice of the voters, should still be given some weight.

‘Ending Homelessness’ report

The ‘Ending Homelessness in New Zealand’ report was released yesterday following a ‘cross-party inquiry’ involving Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party.


Executive Summary

The hundreds of submissions and pieces of evidence presented to the Cross-Party Inquiry into Homelessness show that the level of homelessness in New Zealand is larger than any other time in recent memory and is continuing to grow. The housing crisis is causing an extreme level of homelessness, particularly in Auckland, with families forced to live on the streets, in cars, and in garages.

While New Zealand has had an underlying level of homelessness for some time, there has been a substantial increase in recent years driven by a lack of affordable housing. Many of the problems causing homelessness track back over 30 years, but the current Government has exacerbated the situation by allowing the housing crisis to spin out of control. It has the power to fix it if it is prepared to take the necessary steps.

Homelessness is no longer dominated by the stereotypical rough sleeper with mental health issues and is now more often a working family with young children. Māori and Pasifika communities have disproportionately suffered, along with new migrants who also face substantially higher rates of homelessness. Submitters told us that the vulnerability of other groups such as people with disabilities, the rainbow community and people with mental health issues is exacerbated by homelessness.

The small steps taken by the Government so far are insufficient. To address the problem the Government needs to implement a comprehensive set of measures that address the housing crisis at every level. There needs to be a substantial scaling up of resources to tackle homelessness using Housing First and Whānau Ora approaches.

The Government must step in and address the overall housing crisis by cracking down on speculation in the property market and building significantly more affordable houses. An expansion of state and community housing to provide long term affordable rental accommodation is vital. Without an increase in permanent housing for the homeless to go into, the issue will not ultimately be addressed. We have also identified through the inquiry, a range of other practical measures to reduce homelessness. These steps make up the 20 recommendations of our Inquiry.

Fixing homelessness won’t be cheap. The proposals in this report, when fully adopted, would require significant investment. However this needs to be considered against the cost of doing nothing. Submitters told us it costs around $65,000 to keep a person homeless. When we have 4,200 people without shelter that is over $250 million a year homelessness is costing us.

To deliver all of this, the Government must develop a nationwide strategy to end homelessness. This needs to set out exactly what it will deliver and how to end the chronic levels of homelessness that New Zealand is now facing.

The submissions to the Inquiry showed that this issue is now more important than ever, and we call on the Government to act boldly and urgently.

Summary of Recommendations

1. Roll out Housing First as the primary response to severe homelessness.

2. Increase the State housing stock.

3. A systemic fix to the housing crisis: Build more affordable houses, reduce the cost of building a home, and tackle speculation in the property market.

4. Create a national strategy to end homelessness.

5. Support Kāinga Whenua housing and develop greater flexibility to recognise multiple owned property title.

6. Long term funding for Community Housing Providers to build houses.

7. Retain the Official Statistics New Zealand definition of homelessness and collect regular data on homelessness.

8. Expand housing for the elderly.

9. Income related rent subsidies for existing community housing tenants.

10. Greater security of tenure for renters.

11. Review the Accommodation Supplement.

12. Use vacant state housing stock for emergency housing.

13. Homes for people leaving state care.

14. Information sharing between agencies addressing homelessness.

15. Work with Pasifika aiga to create Pasifika homelessness services.

16. Permanently remove the Housing New Zealand dividend.

17. More support for homelessness workers.

18. Expand agencies able to undertake needs assessments and refer tenants to emergency housing. 19. Improve the quality of rental housing.

20. Increase youth housing and services.

Full Report: Ending Homelessness in New Zealand  (PDF)