Poverty not black and whyte

Poverty in New Zealand is examined again, this time by ex ACT leader Jamie Whyte in Poverty statistics suffer from paucity of common sense (NZ Herald).

There is no poverty in New Zealand. Misery, depravity, hopelessness, yes; but no poverty.

The poorest in New Zealand are the unemployed. They receive free medical care, free education for their children and enough cash to pay for basic food, clothing and (subsidised) housing. Most have televisions, refrigerators and ovens. Many even own cars. That isn’t poverty.

Why then do we keep hearing that more than 20 per cent of New Zealand children live in poverty? Those who tell us this do not mean by “poverty” what most people do. They have a statistical definition: you live in poverty if your household’s income is less than 50 per cent of the national median (after tax and housing costs, and adjusted for the number of adults and children in the household).

For example, the Herald recently published an article by Susan St John, spokeswoman for the Child Poverty Action Group, that claimed 220,000 children live in poverty because they “fall under the stringent 50 per cent after-housing-costs poverty line”.

Alas, the measure is not stringent; it is ridiculous.

Whyte goes on the explain why he thinks the claims of poverty in New Zealand are ridiculous.

Why would anyone use such a preposterous definition of poverty? Interviewed byThe Guardian, British poverty campaigner Peter Kenway defended it on the grounds that “it is a simple and reliable statistic which has played a huge part in propelling poverty up the policy agenda.”

It is far from reliable, and what it “pushes up the policy agenda” is not really poverty but inequality, which, in rich countries, is not the same thing. Poverty statistics based on this measure are misleading anyone who believes them.

Or the so called poverty statistics are being misused by people promoting an agenda with hints of socialism.

David Farrar agrees at Kiwiblog in Whyte on poverty.

And there is both strong criticism and agreement in a discussion at The Standard.

Weka:

Good grief. Couldn’t get past the first paragraph. Since when has there been free ‘medical’ care in NZ? What a dick.

Quite a bit of medical care is free for quite a few people in New Zealand.

Lanthanide:

Looks like a pretty reasonable article, to me. He eventually does at the end say the statistic is measuring inequality, not poverty, which I think he should have mentioned much earlier (short attention spans and all that). Also his sudden overuse of the word ‘pauper’ was strange.

Yes, Whyte’s repeated use of the term ‘pauper’ was odd, it seems as out of place in a New Zealand context as ‘poverty’.

This exchange illustrates part of the problem with the poverty campaigning.

maui:

I think what the poverty campaigners are trying to highlight is the people going without proper housing and proper food (amount and quality). In the 1st and 3rd world’s I would say this is a pretty good definition of poverty.

Lanthanide:

Then they should talk about that, instead of talking about the number of people who live in a household with less than 50% of the median household income.

But even defining poverty as “going without proper housing and proper food” can invite debate over what is judged proper housing and food.

The poverty debate is far from black and whyte.

Inevitable change of ACT leader

Jamie Whyte quietly resigned as leader of the ACT Party on Friday afternoon. This was not a surprise, it was inevitable. As widely expected MP David Seymour has been appointed as the new leader.

There was quite a bit of criticism of ACT for appointing Whyte as leader and separately appointing Seymour as Epsom candidate. It’s impossible to know whether any other arrangement would have helped ACT’s election chances but I doubt it would have made much difference.

Seymour performed very well campaigning for Epsom and comfortably won the seat. He did this with help from National but also through hard work and ability. It’s hard to see how being leader would have made any difference in Epsom.

Whyte’s performance was much more mixed. He made some early mistakes in media interviews – that was part of a sharp learning curve. His (and ACT’s) problem was that he failed to connect enough with potential voters.

He came across too much as an academic/intellectual, too theoretical. He didn’t impress journalists who usually don’t do ACT any favours anyway. And there was little sign of any favourable impression in social media.

It was a tall order trying to build ACT Party vote up after a series of disasters, especially the Don Brash takeover followed by the installation of John Banks and his subsequent legal problems, plus a sustained targeting of him by political opponents.

Whyte did not step up enough so ACT failed to come close to get enough party support to get Whyte into Parliament alongside Seymour.

If Whyte had got in the arrangement could have made sense, with him concentrating on party organisation and leadership while Seymour has electorate as was as parliamentary duties.

But Seymour is in sole charge with a massive workload – he has to set up electorate staff and employees as well as set up a parliamentary office for ACT with staff virtually from scratch after Banks’ early exit. On top of this Seymour has to learn the parliamentary ropes and National have also given him under-secretary and committee duties.

And Whyte will probably quickly fade into failed political history.

ACT media releases:

Jamie Whyte Resignation Statement

“Today I announce that I have tendered, and the Board has accepted, my resignation as Leader of ACT New Zealand.

“Clearly I make this announcement with regret, however the election result is clear, and I must now turn to my career and my family.

“I stood to lead ACT because I believe in the party’s ideas.  I will continue to advance these ideas both inside and outside the Party.  I do not rule out returning to a substantial role with ACT in the future.”

President Release re Jamie Whyte Resignation

“Today the ACT Party Board announces with regret that it has accepted Jamie Whyte’s resignation as Leader,” said ACT President John Thompson.

“Jamie has proven himself a principled and clear-headed advocate of ACT’s values of smaller government and greater personal responsibility.  Under his leadership, the Party has been rejuvenated and membership has swelled.

“We are proud to have had Jamie serve as Leader, and hope the New Zealand public has not seen or heard the last of him.

“The ACT Party Board has appointed David Seymour, the ACT MP for Epsom, to succeed Jamie Whyte as the Leader of ACT.”

Leadership Acceptance

“I am honoured to lead the ACT Party, I look forward to the challenge and relish the opportunity.

It has been a privilege to work with Jamie Whyte. I want to acknowledge his tireless efforts through the past nine months and during the campaign.  Through his efforts the Party was rejuvenated and our membership increased.  It is a substantial achievement and on behalf of all the members and supporters of the ACT Party, we thank you Jamie.

Once again the ACT Party, with the support of Epsom voters, is contributing the vital extra seat that will assist a National-led government to implement the policy changes which will boost growth and prosperity in New Zealand.

The principles that drive ACT are timeless – freedom, opportunity, choice, competition, personal responsibility and compassion.  ACT believes in small but efficient government, and a low tax burden to encourage and reward hard work and creativity. Only with low taxes will individuals and families be able to get ahead from their own efforts.

The successful New Zealand we know today is significantly due to the policy reforms of the founders of the ACT Party. Those reforms are why we are consistently rated as amongst the freest economies in global surveys. It is this environment that has freed the energy we now see in New Zealand innovation and entrepreneurship. We see it in business, in sport, in the arts, and in science and technology. Cutting red tape and reducing the tax burden further will unleash that energy.

The celebration of entrepreneurship is core to ACT values – it is what drives our economy and incomes forward, creating new industries, new jobs, and higher incomes.

I am excited by the opportunity I have as Leader of the ACT Party, as the MP for Epsom, as well as my Parliamentary Under-Secretary roles in Education and Regulatory Reform.

I look forward to ACT contributing to a stable and successful National-led government, and to expanding our presence in Parliament in 2017.

David Seymour

Act candidate resigns over race relations policy

Otago University’s student news Critic has announced ACT candidate for Dunedin North resigns.

ACT Party Board member and Dunedin North candidate Guy McCallum has officially resigned and withdrawn his candidacy as the result of “the development of a race relations policy” that “blindsided” him.

This resignation comes in the wake of ACT leader Jamie Whyte’s shock speech at the ACT Waikato Conference, which called for the elimination of race-based legal provisions. “Maori are legally privileged in New Zealand today, just as the Aristocracy were legally privileged in pre-revolutionary France,” Whyte claimed.

When asked what the aforementioned race relations policy entailed, McCallum noted, “quota systems at universities would be abolished, co management arrangements would be repealed, Maori Television would be scrapped, as well as ending the Race Relations Commissioner role.”

“In fact, I didn’t know the Hamilton speech was coming,” claims McCallum. “Jamie was in Dunedin for a small gathering of ACT supporters on the morning of 20 July, and he mentioned to me that he was in search of a ‘stunt … because you know, the polls.’ A week later ACT rolled out a controversial and obviously unprepared race relations policy.”

McCallum claimed Whyte’s call for Dame Susan Devoy’s resignation was “the final straw … People criticising Jamie for One Country, One Law have only been met with derision; either they haven’t read his speeches, have ulterior political motives, or are, by him, wrong.”

“ACT’s policies are about reminding you of scary burglars, zealous bureaucrats with a hidden green agenda, and resentful Maori of taking an equal placing. This is the imagery the vague words are designed to create. Liberals and libertarians are getting a rough deal from ACT. The positive ideals they represent are used as currency to hedge conservative influence, like the Tea Party. A lot of libertarians have avoided ACT for these reasons. For wanting to change that, I find myself in present circumstances.”

“I have spoken to other members of the Party who are becoming concerned that ACT is focusing more on fear and prejudice to gain votes.”

McCallum has been active in ACT on Campus since 2010. He stood the Dunedin North candidate in the 2011 election (I got to know him then as I was also a candidate).

He became the ACT on Campus Vice President in 2012, and for the past two years has served on the ACT Party Board as a regional member.

McCallum organised the southern regional meeting referred to as “a small gathering of ACT supporters” – I was invited to that and attended as an interested observer (I have no connecting with the Act Party). I talked to him about the upcoming election and  McCallum appeared to be looking forward to standing in it.

This may harm Act – internal divisions are not a good look for a party.

On the other hand it could help Act. The race/Maori gambit played by Whyte was presumably deliberately designed to provoke race debate and attract attention to a party struggling for political oxygen.

This has resulted in a surge of Maori bashing amongst a minority which Act see as potential votes.

A down side is already obvious, media response to Whyte’s attack on Maori ‘privilege’ shows that political journalists are not exactly looking favoiurably on the tactics of the Act leader.

It’s another make or break election for Act. Stirring up racial prejudice is very risky campaign strategy which could get a few votes but time will tell whether it’s enough.

This may also not be helpful for National.

What would “one law for all” be?

If we had one law for all what would that law be?  Thou shall not hurt anyone else? Thou shall not tell fibs (especially in politics)?

ACT Party

Act Party leader Jamie Whyte has stirred up a race debate by promoting one law for all.

He means that one race (Maori) shouldn’t have separate laws or privileges or Parliamentary seats to anyone else. That’s fine in theory, but very contentious and controversial in practice, as Whyte is finding out.

But it’s having the desired effect, raising Whyte’s and Act’s profile on the potential constituency that matters for them to start to make an impression in the polls. See comments at Kiwiblog in Jamie Whyte on race based law.

Conservative Party

This is also one of the Conservative Party’s key policies (from very sparse offerings).

OneLawForAll

One Law For All is one of four very brief policy statements on their Issues page.

Another is the Conservative’s ‘bottom line’ policy “On Our Watch Referendums Will Be Binding’. In the unlikely event that they have a watch in Parliament they won’t get support for this, an issue that seems inspired by Craig’s obsession with getting the ‘smacking’ law repealed.

Craig wants one law for all if it involves Maori ‘privilege’, but he wants parents to have a different law than children when it comes to being hit. One could agree with Craig that there’s some crazy thinking here.

Another of their policies is YOUR FIRST $20,000 TAX FREE THEN A FLAT TAX. Act at least have some consistency, wanting one tax rate for all instead of no tax for those earning under $20,000 and then tax whack the rest of us.

NZ First

NZ First seem to stake a claim to the ‘One Law For All’ slogan but it doesn’t stand out in their policies. Their website doesn’t have a page for ‘Winston Peters Rhetoric’ but their is plenty of that elsewhere, for example in Budget in Reply Speech – Winston Peters.

We believe in one law for all – irrespective of ethnic background.

Not the crumbs of tokenism from the Cronies Club Tables!

New Zealand First believes that we must train, skill, educate and employ our own people first.

There’s no excuse for the hiring of cheap labour from overseas when so many are on the unemployment scrap heap back here.

On the issue of foreigners speculating on housing in New Zealand – we’ve had the courage to say it for years but successive governments have refused to act.

Ok, one law for all as long as you’re one of “our own people” and not “from overseas” or a “foreigner”.

NZ First and one law for all seems to be contradictory.

One Law 4 All Party

There is also a party set up and now registered to address this issue – One Law 4 All.

To keep faith with 1Law4All supporters from across the political spectrum, we have the one bottom line – that of legal equality of all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or religion.

Should we win a position in government, 1Law4All will take a middle-of-the road position on all other issues or proposals by other parties. Should this be difficult to define or involve highly controversial legislation, we will seek a majority public consensus and vote accordingly. We will not have personal conscience votes.

Legal equality is a bottom line but on anything else majority public consensus will enable the overruling of minority rights and needs.

Several Questions For All

‘One law for all” and legal equality sound fine in theory, but life and legislation can be more complicated than that. How would the above parties answer the following questions?

  • One assault law for all or separate law for parents?
  • One tax for all or different tax rates?
  • One property law for all or ‘one of us’ versus ‘foreigners’?
  • One immigration law for all regardless of race, religion, age, skills?
  • Can anyone put flashing lights on their car and run red lights and speed?
  • No age limit for marriage, sex, voting, firearms, driving, alcohol?
  • Superannuation for all?
  • Early childhood education for all?
  • Domestic Purposes Benefit for all?

And what seems to be at the centre of all the ‘one law for all’ posturing is the Treaty of Waitangi. Should New Zealand declare all treaties invalid – one treaty for all or no treaties for anyone? There’s quite a few, for example see Treaties and International Law.

Or just selected ones?

Back to Act

While Act want no legal or other privileges for Maori…

Treaty of Waitangi and Race Relations

ACT supports the vision of a free society and would seek to remove all race-based appointments in parliament or any other branch of government.

…they sound more reasonable regarding the Waitangi Tribunal:

We would work towards ensuring the Waitangi Tribunal process ends on the basis of full, fair, and final settlements.

But a quick scan through their other policies suggests they support some targeting and don’t propose universal rules for everyone.

ACC: “The one-size-fits-all compulsory, government-owned monopoly insurance provider is failing New Zealanders.” So they don’t support one insurance provider for all.

Crime and Justice: “ACT supports tough, appropriate sentencing for all offences including burglary (three strikes you’re out), livestock theft (weapon and vehicle confiscation) and murder (sentenced by degree).” Selective application of three strikes, which is targeting some offences and offenders differently to others.

One law for all, unless getting tough on (some) crime will get more votes.

‘One law for all’ is a simple political slogan in a very complex real world.

Act Policy – Honesty for Taxpayers (yeah, right)

ACT Party leader Jamie Whyte announced a new policy yesterday that would require the Government to clearly state what policies would cost relative to potentially reductions in tax.

They want the public to be able to judge the value of proposed bills by ensuring they know the tax repercussions of new policy costs – ACT proposes an Honesty for Taxpayers policy.

For example, the government should be keen to alert taxpayers that, without Working for Families:

  • the 17.5% income tax rate would be 12.5% OR
  • the 10.5% income tax rate would be 3.5%.

The Minister for Tertiary Education should be keen to remind everyone that, if not for interest-free student loans

  • the 17.5% income tax rate be would 16% OR
  • the 28% company tax would be 25% OR
  • the 33% top income tax rate would be 30%.

I doubt that the Ministers would be keen to do that. Hence the necessity to require it.

On this policy, regulatory impact statements, cabinet submissions and ministers’ introductory speeches for Bills in parliament will need to state clearly that “but for this proposal, your income tax rate would be X percentage points lower”.

When taxpayers visit the website of any government agency or local council and any programme of that agency, they should have a clear idea of the price of that agency in their taxes or rates.

Government departments and agencies should be required to declare on their home webpage “but for this agency, your income tax rate would be X% lower”.

Similar rules should apply to local governments. They should be required to reveal how much lower rates would be if not for a particular new policy proposal or existing service of the Council.

If a minister, department, agency or local council believes that the programmes it administers do indeed offer value for money to taxpayers, they should be proud to say how they are putting taxes to work in the clearest way taxpayers can understand.

If you do not know what something costs, you cannot know if it is worth the price. Good decision-making depends on good information. In a democracy, this means that voters must be reminded of how much they are paying for government activities.

Politicians from the big spending parties will oppose this policy. That shows what a good idea it is. The bureaucracy will also resist it, because voters will be surprised to realise that much new spending is generated by bureaucrats. MPs and councillors will be more reluctant to just wave through spending when the information is publicly available.

By using the tools of the information age ACT seeks to make our elected representatives more accountable and allow citizens to participate in a more meaningful way.

Act would need to ensure that one of the favourite political cost covering lies is not able to be used, as done by Winston Peters in the weekend.

Tax dodgers, GST on food top NZ First hit list

New Zealand First would take GST off basic food items and rates bills and would target tax dodgers to fund the expensive policies, leader Winston Peters said yesterday.

Mr Peters said his policy would save New Zealanders but cost the Crown a whopping $3 billion a year or thereabouts.

Labour recently said to fund policies they would “clamp down on tax avoidance by multi-national corporations because we believe that everyone should pay their fair share.” From their Fiscal Plan:

Labour will close off tax advantages that promote speculation and clampdown on tax avoidance, particularly by multi-nationals.

Labour will set a target of reducing tax avoidance by $20 million a year in 2015/16, rising to $200 million a year in 2018/19.

Governments have been trying to “clamp down on” and minimise tax avoidance for yonks. The current government has been continually trying to reduce avoidance and evasion.

At least Labour has a relatively modest target of $200 million. NZ First look to be blatantly dishonest claiming they can cover $3 billion by targeting ‘tax dodgers’.

Act may find it difficult imposing honesty on government, but they think their small idea could end up being highly influential.

ACT has a new proposal to make our democracy more accountable. The proposal may seem small but it could be the most significant idea in this election.

Policies such as the one I am announcing today, which change the behaviour of politicians, have greater long term effects than any particular proposals for this or that government activity, such as giving school children laptops, subsidising solar panels and the rest of the little tax-funded bribes the other parties trade in.

A proposal to reform New Zealand’s government accounts was hardly noticed in the 1993 election campaign. Yet the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1994 has had a profound effect on how New Zealand is governed. Government accounts are now transparent and neither Labour nor National wants to be responsible for a deficit. The Fiscal Responsibility Act is probably the real reason why the government books will be back in the black by next year.

ACT’s fresh idea could be as influential as the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

It could be influential – but it’s not easy making politicians and governments more accountable, especially when it comes to honestly justifying increased spending.

Different impressions of Jamie Whyte

Contrasting impressions of ACT leader Jamie Whyte in recent interviews.

Brian Edwards said on on Firstline this morning he thought Whyte was “particularly unimpressive as a leader”.

‘Wyndham, George’ commented at The Standard:

Jamie Whyte is shyte. He was interviewed by Michael Wilson on TV3 and was a blithering stuttering mess!

A comment closer to home (from someone who has never backed ACT and is never likely to):

He sounds very thoughtful.

After pointing out some hesitancy in Whyte’s responses:

It looked like he was having to think through questions he wasn’t prepared for, but spoke honestly about what he thought. Not political, no bland bull.

Wyndham, George is a political opponent of Whyte. Edwards trains politicians to speak to the media.

The other opinion was an ordinary person outside of the political arena.

On ACT’s 3 strikes for burglars policy

ACT leader Jamie Whyte has announced more detail on his party’s three strikes for burglars policy. NZ Herald reports Jail burglars after third offence, says Act.

More than 2000 families will have returned home from the Easter break to find they had been burgled, and Act says it is the only New Zealand political party offering a serious solution.

Party leader Jamie Whyte yesterday outlined a three-strikes policy, under which burglars will spend at least three years in prison if convicted of the crime a third time.

Fewer than 2 per cent of burglaries resulted in a term of imprisonment last year, Dr Whyte said, and the Act policy would change this.

“Burglary is a problem that requires strong political leadership. Act is the only party with a policy that can significantly reduce this blight on our society.”

There’s been a wide range of opinions expressed at Kiwiblog in ACT proposes three strikes for burglaries including ‘FE Smith’ with a warning for ACT.

It is sad that a right wing libertarian party has to adopt the policies of the most authoritarian UK government in 100 years, and a Labour one at that, in order to be relevant.

I seem to remember that ACT was doing its best in the polls when it concentrated on economic issues, which is why I have generally supported it.

The Herald summarises ACT’s three strikes:

• Offenders will be sentenced to three years in prison without parole if convicted of a third burglary offence.

• Juvenile offenders will not have their convictions treated as strikes unless they are convicted of a further offence in adulthood.

• The third-strike penalty may be overruled by a judge who believed there to be extreme hardship in sentencing the offender to three years in prison.

PaulL covers the main policy points at Kiwiblog and makes some comments:

Gee, there’s a lot of people talking crap on here today. Luckily some nuggets in there, which include:

  1. The policy only applies to those over 18 on getting their third strike
  2. The policy as proposed is retrospective. That’s a bad idea, and needs to be changed, we don’t want some political parties getting the idea that we agree with retrospective law changes
  3. The policy as proposed can catch someone for three offences all in one go, rather than needing a warning, then a repeat, then a warning, then a repeat. That’s probably also a bad idea and needs changing.
  4. A policy like this is no use without also increasing the clearance rates for burglary investigations. Is it a case of increasing police resourcing, or do they actually know who did most of the crimes and don’t have time/inclination/laws to deal with it? I seem to recall some suggestion that 80% of property crimes are committed by a very small group of people (the ones this law would hopefully lock up)
  5. We also need some attempt to address some of the prompters of crime. That is to say, many people commit crimes to feed their (illegal) drug habit or due to mental health issues. – so both decriminalise drugs, and provide better treatment options for drug and mental health issues.

That would be a reasonable and comprehensive policy. Where’s Jamie Whyte on that?

One comment was that “Three years in jail equals about $270,000” – would that sort of money be best to go towards more and longer sentences, or towards prevention, apprehension and conviction under the current laws?

ACT links:

Lawyer Graeme Edgeler has added:

I don’t agree that the policy is retrospective.

The law change being proposed is that those with the prior convictions for burglary must receive a sentence with a non-parole period of at least 3 years. The burglary for which this is imposed must be a burglary committed after the law enters into force.

There is no retrospectivity in this proposal.

Not saying I support it, and you could argue everyone should get at a formal warning, like the three strikes for violent offending regime, but it’s not retrospective.

Bradbury’s right, journalists can be ‘tricky’

In Tricky Patrick Gower at The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury makes several points claiming Patrick Gower has made too much of his story about David Cunliffe’s late declaration of an investment trust.

This second trust issue is minor for Cunliffe albeit of some interest among the other issues of the week, Cunliffe’s leadership campaign trust, his flash house hypocrisy and the sending IT policy stuff-up.

I can’t work out what is happening with Patrick Gower. He seems to either be conducting a live job interview to be John Key’s next Press Secretary or the National Party have a few of Paddy’s family held hostage somewhere under threat of grammar lessons with Chris Finlayson because this story about Cunliffe’s ICSL Trust is bullshit.

I don’t think it should be ‘Tricky Cunliffe’, I think it should be ‘Tricky Paddy’.

That’s a bit of typical Bomber hyperbole plus a bit of humour, and I don’t think Gower is favouring Key nor National, but he is making a story more dramatic than it warrants. It’s what he does regardless of what party the target belongs to.

It is the manufactured framing by Gower that is the issue here, the attempt to validate that narrative by musings on values is deceptive at worst and useful idiot at best. 

I agree with Bradbury on this.

Some journalists try to have too much influence on news and politics, and they are not accountable to voters. It can adversely affect any politician or party who gets in the firing line.

Political careers can soar or crash and burn at the whim and heavy handedness of the media. Cunliffe is copping a lot of flak, mostly brought on by his and his party’s ineptitude. ACT leader Jamie Whyte learned how brutal the media spotlight can be.

Our top politicians need to be examined and held to account and the media take a lead role in this.

But when they over do things it can have  a corrupting influence on our democratic process.

Journalists need headlines like politicians need votes. Both sometimes ignore decency and democracy when trying to achieve their respective targets.

Both sides of the media battle can get a bit too tricky with the truth.

Jamie Whyte an interesting ACT to follow

New ACT leader Jamie Whyte discovered how shallow, petty and brutal social media and main-stream media can be following his philosophical musings on the Government role in incest.

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff gives Whyte an opportunity to explain himself on that and a range of issues in  ACT leader Whyte can’t be grey.

It’s very refreshing to hear a political leader who is prepared to think things through and explain his way of thinking. Most politicians present as carefully packaged PR puppets.

This doesn’t mean I support or back the ACT party – but I do support openness and honesty from politicians. This leaves them vulnerable to media misrepresentation and opponent attacks but if Whyte sticks to his principles I think he’s worth watching.

“The problem is being a philosopher, I have some bad habits. I kind of felt obliged to answer.”

To the contrary, politicians should be obliged to give open and honest answers.

“I’m not apologising for what I think.”

But apologising for talking about it? That seems odd.

In reality, he claims, acts of corporate charity were really just a marketing tactic. “In a way, if it’s fake, it’s okay. If it’s genuine, it’s robbery.”

In a way he’s quite right.

He had described Christianity as a “mixture of wilful ignorance mixed with an air of assumed moral superiority”.

There’s some of that but most Christians in New Zealand are just ordinary people mingling amongst the rest of us.

Despite believing his clearly thought out views would be a virtue, he admits it may count against him that everything is written down. “That may be the sort of thing that people like in a politician, but it seems it isn’t. I get trashed for this, and everyone else gets away with being vague and woolly. Why don’t you go out and trash them for that?”

Good point – but it may be a forlorn hope. The media tend to pick up on trivial things and blow them up, especially when misled and pushed by political opponents. And they often ignore detail and subtleties.

But if Whyte sticks to his principles and his openness it could define him as a refreshing addition to our political mix. It may take time to get through to the media (maybe not, Rutherford seems to get it already) and won’t be without risks but I hope Whyte stays true to his words.

Imperator Fish crosses the line

Satire pushes boundaries, even shocks to impact. But this from @ImperatorFish is a nasty, disgraceful attack on Jamie Whyte and the ACT Party.

Politics Explained: It’s all about the kids (I won’t repeat the details here).

Imperator Fish is a satirical blog run by Scott Yorke, who is active in the Labour Party. I think the post should be withdrawn and an apology be given.

UPDATE: Scott makes it clear he doesn’t think he needs to retract or apologise to ACT and Whyte, to the contrary he continues to promote his post:

Latest post: Politics Explained: It’s all about the kids http://wp.me/p3SauF-252

And on Kiwiblog:

SBY (115 comments) says: 
February 28th, 2014 at 9:06 am

Thanks for the blog traffic this morning, Pete. Much appreciated.

Keep that outrage going.