Government at risk of revolt against the TPP?

There were large protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership when the then National Government passed the agreement through Parliament. Labour was vocal in it’s opposition to the TPP, and some of their MPs were actively involved in the protests.

It wasn’t clear how much of their opposition was just political opportunism and trying to make things difficult for National. It’s also not clear (to me at least) how much Labour was involved in organising the protests and supposition.

Then in November in Vietnam the now Labour Government worked on getting a revised CPTPP agreement between the eleven countries (Trump had pull the USA out).

And last month an agreement was reached, with NZ First also switching to support of Labour, but also needing National’s support. The Greens remained opposed, but their protests have been conspicuously muted.

Jane Kelsey immediately complained, but it has taken a while for other TOP opponents to start to complain.

John Minto at The Daily Blog in 100 days and the first broken promise

In their first 100 days Labour has offered us “not-National” policies but little else – unless a Woman’s Weekly Prime Minister is considered in the common good.

I’d like to be able to offer well-deserved praise to the Labour-led government but their policy offerings from their first 100 days have been uninspiring.

In each case the issues involved are central to the public interest and the new government is acting quickly and firmly to mop up the previous government’s failures.

In each case the public support was already assured for each announcement so there was no chance of serious kickback from National or its vested interests.

On the other hand, three crucial decisions of the new government will have a wider impact on the country and in each case Labour has failed the public interest in favour of vested corporate interests.

TPP:

Having done their best, before the election, to pretend they were opposed to the TPP and the secrecy around its negotiation, the new government has simply helped repackage the agreement with a few cosmetic changes to make it seem more palatable. It isn’t. It’s the same old bill of rights for foreign corporations to plunder our economy that its always been.

Minto and his fellow protesters were happy for Labour “to pretend they were opposed to the TPP” when it suited, but now they have woken up to being duped – although it had been obvious that Labour was milking as staunch opposition some fairly minor points of disagreement.

Political activist and trade unionist Elliot Crossan wants the Greens to actively oppose the CPTPP rather than whimper and roll over, to the extent that he thinks they should threaten to drag down the Government.

Against the Current: IT’S TIME FOR THE GREEN’S TO PLAY HARDBALL ON THE TPPA

Was the movement against the TPPA just protesting the National Party, or was it about a broader opposition towards control of Aotearoa by business elites no matter which party is in power? If the answer is the latter, what do we do to stop this corporate stitch-up of an agreement once and for all, now that Labour and New Zealand First have betrayed us?  

With Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her coalition government intending to  sign the reheated agreement on March 8, Elliot Crossan says its time to play hardball.

It cannot be understated just how crucial it is to any progressive vision of Aotearoa that we stop TPPA. TheInvestor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms were the main catalyst for concern around which the opposition movement mobilised.

But Labour and the other countries now call the agreement the Comprehensive and Progressive TPP!

LabourNew Zealand First and Green politicians turned up to our marches against the TPPA, and made political capital from voicing their concurrence with the demands of our movement.

Then-frontbencher Jacinda Ardern said of TPPA that “it is unlike any free trade agreement we’ve been party to before”, and that “it wasn’t just state to state, it was corporate to state.” The Labour Party’s minority submission in the Select Committee concluded with the statement “the TPPA will have ramifications for generations of New Zealanders.

Winston Peters went so far as to write a piece for theDominion Post entitled “With the Trans-Pacific Partnership, New Zealand is signing a blank cheque”, and opining that “being a beacon of free and fair trade is what New Zealand once claimed it stood for.

Barry Coates, who was one of the leaders of the campaign against the TPPA, briefly served as a Green MP, and was highly placed on the party’s list going into the election; the Greens were sounding alarm bells about TPPA as far back as 2010, and of the three parties in government, have the most consistent record of opposition.

The Greens have been consistently opposed, but not consistent in how actively opposed they are. A roar has become a whimper.

Now that they are in power, both Labour and New Zealand First have decided to support what campaign group It’s Our Future are calling “the Zombie TPPA”, the revived agreement minus the United States.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade Minister David Parker are desperately insisting that their sudden shift of stance is “nota u-turn”, while Winston Peters is claiming that “the deal is not the deal inherited, it’s different … with substantial changes with the types that the Canadians were holding out on as well, that we both have seen changes that mean we can support this deal”.

Only the Greens remain against it, with new MP and trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman maintaining staunch opposition and outlining how the Greens believe that disagreement and protest within government, including on the TPPA, are essential to the Green vision.

Ghahraman has voiced some opposition, but her party doesn’t seem to care much about reviving the protest movement they were an active part of.

Here lie two essential questions. Was the movement against the TPPA just protesting the National Party, or was it about a broader opposition towards control of Aotearoa by business elites no matter which party is in power?

It was both, sort of. There was staunch probably not very broad  “opposition towards control of Aotearoa by business elites”, including the Greens. But Labour used this to build broader protest against the National Party.

If the deal goes to a vote in the House, then National, ACT, Labour and New Zealand First will vote for it, with only the Greens opposed. It will pass 112 votes to 8. But the opposition to TPPA must not melt away quietly, resigned to defeat. It may be that we cannot stop the deal now, but there is no question that we have to try with all our might to bring it down.

So what  is to be done? Firstly, we need to educate people on how the “CPTPP” is no different from the deal National tried to sell us. Jane Kelsey is going on a speaking tour to this purpose this month—you can find your local meeting here.

When the TPP protests were being supported by Labour Kelsey had a speaking tour then too, and I went to her meeting in Dunedin. Now Labour minister but then Labour’s trade spokesperson David Clark attended, and spoke at an anti-TPP rally in the Octagon see Labour’s Mad McCarten Moment? and David Clark on the TPPA.

Secondly, we need to organise to hold demonstrations as big if not bigger than our protests against the original TPPA. We should not tone down our resistance when so-called progressive parties are in power—we should be angrier!

Would it be any more than Twelve Angry Activists?

Thirdly, we need to mobilise forms of protest which show the threat people power can pose to those who seek to govern us. The unions should strongly consider strike action to demonstrate the high political price any government will pay if it tries to serve the interests of profit over looking after the wellbeing of the people and planet.

Union strikes against the union supported Labour led government would be interesting.

 

Perhaps unions could threaten to withdraw their financial support of the Labour Party, and threaten to withdraw from Labour’s leadership selection arrangement.

I make my fourth argument as someone who has been a member of the Green Party for three years and served in 2017 as the Co-Convenor of the Young Greens. The Greens only have eight MPs, three of whom are Ministers outside of Cabinet—apart from the areas agreed in our Confidence and Supply agreement, the party has little to no power over government… other than the power to bring the government down in a situation desperately important enough. And I would argue that TPPA presents such a situation.

The founding document of the Greens simply cannot be implemented within the structures TPPA would entrench. This poses an existential threat which cannot be ignored to the hopes and dreams that Greens, and progressives in general, have for the future of Aotearoa.

Bringing down the government is a drastic move to make, especially so early in its term. There are few things which could necessitate such a play being made, but TPPA is, in my view, undeniably one of them. There is simply no alternative if we are serious about creating a better future.

What would the effect of the Greens withdrawing Confidence and Supply be? Given it is far too late now for Winston to make a u-turn and support National, and given the Greens would never prop up National, neither National or Labour would have the confidence of the House. This would mean Ardern would have to choose whether to concede to the Greens, or to call another election.

Withdrawing from the Confidence and Supply agreement would likely remove any doubt that the Greens would be a liability to any government and could not be trusted. The Greens must have known the likely outcome of the TPP when they chose to support Labour and NZ First into government.

What would happen in another election?

Polling taken in 2012 through 2016 indicates a broad public opposition to TPPA. An election held on the basis of the agreement would favour the Greens well, as long as the party could effectively communicate the gravity of the threat posed by the agreement, and hammer home that we are the only party who have never wavered in our stance against it. Given their u-turn on the trade deal so many of its members and supporters despise, Labour would be at risk of losing its progressive base to the Greens.

There would be a far greater risk of:

  • Green support plummeting and never recovering due to being viewed as too radical and unreliable to be in Government or in Parliament.
  • NZ First support remaining where it currently is according to the latest polls, below the threshold.
  • Labour support dropping, dragged down by anti-TOPP activists and punished by voters for trusting the Greens.
  • National would likely win a forced election and become a one-party government.

The CPTPP would be already signed so nothing would be achieved except political chaos and a strong swing rightward.

Perhaps a compromise is in order. Given the fact that Labour and New Zealand First went into the election opposing TPPA, and given that it permanently removes democratic rights from New Zealanders, the very least that the government should do would be to allow a binding referendum to take place before agreeing to the deal.

A referendum on the CPTPP could not be forced and organised before the signing next month. And it would be quite undemocratic for a small minority to force a delay and referendum when a huge majority in our representative Parliament supports it progressing.

There could not be anything more destructive to the Greens than to allow a trade deal to pass through parliament which would allow corporations to sue governments.

Yes there could – Greens self destructing, destroying the Government and putting National back in control.

Even if the Greens succeeded in turning Labour against signing the CPTPP this would likely confirm people’s concerns about the Greens being in Government, damage the Government significantly, and consign it to a single term, if it lasted that long.

I also question Crossan’s assertions about the degree  the CPTPP “would allow corporations to sue governments”, but that’s another story.

Awards and choking on a Minto

There’s been a lot of frothing over the New Year honours.

‘Natwatch’ at The Standard: Sir Lynton Crosby and Dame Paula Rebstock

The British Conservative Government and the New Zealand National Government have both rewarded their friends with titles.

Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog: Honours List is dishonourable – TDB Honours list 2015

We need a ‘People’s Honours’ list for those who have challenged the state – not those who have acted for the State.

And John Minto at The Daily Blog: What’s that? – choke, splutter! – Dame Paula Rebstock???

If you choked on your muesli at the news Paula Rebstock has been made a Dame in the government’s New Year’s Honours list then join the club.

Rebstock’s award is confirmation of the highly political nature of our national honours system.

In giving an award to Rebstock John Key is giving the finger to us all.

A look through the main awards shows a vastly disproportionate list of addresses from Remuera and Parnell and other well-to-do suburbs. National is hard at work rewarding its biggest supporters.

It’s curious that there have been no comments on Minto’s post and only two on Bradbury’s.

It may be true that the main party in power tends to favour people on it’s side of the political spectrum with honours.

But what we don’t know is who turns down honours offered to them, we only get to find out about people who are offered honours and accept them.

It may be that people from “from Remuera and Parnell” put more value on status symbols like flash properties and titles so are more likely to be offered them and accept them.

Bradbury lists his own ‘TDB Honours list 2015’ which includes:

  • Helen Kelly for services to humanity, cannabis reform, worker rights and being an incredible human being.

I think it would be fair enough for Helen Kelly to get some sort of honours recognition. I don’t know if she was offered anything or not but it wouldn’t surprise to me if she had greater priorities at the moment.

And I wonder if Bradbury, Minto, and others complaining about those who they think were deserving of honours missing out, nominated anyone. That’s how people get to be considered for honours.

Here’s how it works: NOMINATIONS FOR HONOURS

Nominations may be made by any person or persons by completing a nomination form.  Nomination forms and information on the honours system are available from the Honours Unit, Members of Parliament and Electorate Offices.

Minto’s letter to Dotcom – everyone else’s fault

John Minto has posted an Open letter to Kim Dotcom at The Daily Blog – wishing Dotcom luck in his extradition case and blaming everyone else for everything that’s gone wrong.

He prominently promotes the revolution that failed:

images

Kia ora Kim,

Good luck with defending the government’s extradition case against you this week. Whatever the outcome in the District Court I’m sure it will end up in the Supreme Court eventually so there’ll be a lot of water to go under the bridge yet.

You are facing the wealth, power and wrath of corporate America because you provided an efficient means for people to share files on line which allegedly included some copyrighted songs and movies as is done on many internet platforms.

A class struggle. The poor people should be able to take what they like.

But instead of taking a civil claim against you Hollywood’s corporate moguls want to make an example of you. They want you in jail forever as the modern-day equivalent of the body left hanging on the scaffold for the vultures or the severed head on a pike… Don’t mess with us is their Mafiosi-type message.

A fairly extreme comparison. It’s possible (but is currently unproven) that Dotcom and his company profited from the encouraging of illegal downloads.

The political environment in which your case is heard is more critical than what the law says. A case of alleged copyright infringement has no basis for extradition hence the desperate claims of “conspiracy” and “racketeering”. If our courts have honesty, courage and backbone they will toss this out as a corporate-inspired abuse of legal process.

I’m not sure that’s how extradition law works. Conspiracy theories don’t count unless backed by evidence.

The truly embarrassing aspect is just how our GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) and police fell over themselves to help out corporate America with their keystone-cops raid on your home. That’s an issue which will be addressed only when New Zealand withdraws from the five eyes network and develops an independent foreign policy. It won’t happen tomorrow but it will happen.

Off on a hobby horse tangent.

Your millions and uber-capitalist lifestyle are a turnoff to me but during the election campaign I was impressed with what I took as your genuine commitment to the progressive policies of Internet MANA.

A commitment by providing his millions – noted by many as an embarrassing contradiction for Mana.

Had you wanted us to change MANA policies – even with a single comma – we wouldn’t have had a bar of any relationship with the Internet Party. From our point of view your campaign donations that came with no strings attached were welcome. In contrast Labour and National’s very existence depends on corporate money which in turn depends on them adopting corporate-friendly policies.

Money from multiple donors to National and Labour bad. Millions from one donor with obvious self interest good. Good grief.

I have always disagreed with your analysis of the election outcome. It was not your so-called “poisonous politics” which defeated Internet MANA or lost Hone Harawira his seat as MANA MP. In fact the strategy MANA adopted in our decision to go into a strategic alliance with the Internet Party was a successful strategy. Hone gained more votes in last year’s election than he gained in the previous 2011 election and Internet MANA gained significantly more party votes than MANA received by itself in 2011.

(Hone’s vote in Te Tai Tokerau increased from 8,121 in 2011 to 8,969 in 2014 while the MANA vote in the Maori electorates increased from 25,889 to 29,207. The Internet MANA party vote increased by roughly 50% from the MANA 2011 party vote – up from 24,168 to 34,094)

The strategy failed. Harawira lost his seat and Internet-Mana failed to reach the 5% threshold by a long way. That’s not successful.

What lost Hone his seat was the political establishment of right-wing Labour MPs, the Prime Minister, National Party, Maori Party and Winston Peters all urging their supporters to back Labour MP Kelvin Davis. For most of the Labour Party leadership the highest priority at the election was to drive MANA out of parliament. Had Labour been able to get close to government it would have needed the extra seats Internet MANA could have brought to a Labour-Green-Internet MANA government. However Kelvin Davis preferred to be a backbench MP in a losing party than be part of a winning team to change the government.

Blaming Davis for campaigning hard and winning Te Tai Tokerau on merit for himself and his own party instead of rolling over for Mana and Dotcom is politically very naive.

Despite the election outcome I remain proud of the risk MANA took in the relationship with the Internet Party. We did so with our eyes open and as I said that aspect of our campaign was successful.

Failure is not success for most people. Perhaps for Minto it is.

I think where the Internet Party made a serious error of judgement was in the handling of the “moment of truth” meeting at the Town Hall a week out from the election. It was a “moment of truth” in its revelations of mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the US National Security Agency but this was buried in the media’s expectation of a more detailed revelation of John Key’s knowledge of your case much earlier than he claimed.

I agree on that, Dotcom’s grand campaign killer blow strategy was a disaster.

In any case that issue was never going to go far. Key has lied and dissembled so often about his memory on a whole range of issues that he would simply have shrugged his shoulders and most media would have accepted it and moved on quickly.

Fixated as they are on trivial political sideshows the mainstream media ignored the issue of mass surveillance and launched a tsunami of negative publicity – led by the Herald and TV3 – which swamped the Internet MANA campaign and dropped the party vote to less than two percent when it had been up to four percent a month earlier.

Blaming failure that was supposedly a success on everyone’s scapegoat, the media. An essential part of politics and election campaigns is managing media. Internet-Mana failed at that too.

Fixated as they are on trivial political sideshows the mainstream media ignored the issue of mass surveillance and launched a tsunami of negative publicity – led by the Herald and TV3 – which swamped the Internet MANA campaign and dropped the party vote to less than two percent when it had been up to four percent a month earlier.

The media did cover mass surveillance to an extent but it was sideshow amongst many election issues. Hoping to succeed in an election on a single issue that most people don’t care about is failure.

Your case has already been of importance to this country in helping reveal the extent of lying and illegal mass surveillance of New Zealanders conducted by the GCSB.

To an extent, yes.

This week it will be important for another reason. It will be a litmus test not of yourself and your internet activities but of just how independent our courts are.

Every court case is a test of the independence of our courts. Cases with well funded PR campaigns involved in particular.

Going by the way Minto has blamed everything and everyone else for Internet-Mana’s election failure there’s a high chance that if Dotcom fails to avoid extradition our courts will be blamed along with the evil USA and big business.

Minto is like others on the far left fringe thinking their cause is so just that if everyone was informed properly they would have their revolution – failure is success that is everyone else’s fault.

Police versus The Daily Blog, free speech and censorhip

A clash between bloggers and business, with claims of heavy handed attempts at censorship – from a blog renowned for censoring comments.

On Thursday Martyn Bradbury posted overdramatically The NZ Police would like to have a word with me.

In this media landscape where progressive voices challenging authority get strangled off on a near monthly basis, hearing that the NZ Police are suddenly looking for you gives one a slight cold shiver up your spine.

I’ve just been contacted by friends that the NZ Police are keen to speak to me*. A Detective no less. I’ve been asked to meet with the Police tomorrow at midday to discuss this blog by John Minto.

Mr Talley and his rich friends certainly seem to have a lot of pull to be able to get Detective’s to contact blogs wanting a chat about negative coverage.

I will state here so there is no confusion, I will not censor or remove John’s blog from this site.

I  won’t be intimidated or threatened or pushed around by monied industries who make workers lives a misery.

I will explain that in polite language to the Police tomorrow.

If you don’t hear from me after midday Friday, I’m guessing it will be because I’m under arrest.

Welcome to the new world of intimidation.

Welcome to Bradbury’s same old dramatics.

He refers to another Daily Blog post, by John Minto, where he refers to someone as “butcher of meat and workers” and repeat’s a Mike Treen comment accusing a company of being “reactionary corporate murderers”.

And Minto calls on a boycott campaign.

Consumer products from South Africa were targeted. Companies importing South African wine were picketed and normal business disrupted while people were urged to boycott the likes of South African guavas and dried apricots.

Consumer boycotts themselves are difficult to make economically effective but coupled with a little bit of creative shopping their effect can be dramatically multiplied.

People would go into supermarkets with their car key and quietly puncture the bags of dried apricots and scratch the labels on the wine bottles to make them unsaleable. People would also take packets of dried apricots from the shelf into their supermarket trollies and deposit them at the bottom of the deep freeze under the frozen peas.

Small acts of civil disobedience like this are an appropriate response to the vicious attacks on workers’ rights.

So the aim is to sabotage products with an aim to sabotage a company. I don’t know how valid their complaints against the company – Talleys – is but this looks a bit like the campaign against TV3 for reducing current affairs by canning the John Campbell show. Sabotaging TV3 would significant;y reduce television diversity and coverage of current affairs.

Then yesterday Bradbury poisted again: NZ Police request Minto blog be removed or censored 

I have spoken with the Detective handling this case. He has asked me to remove or censor John Minto’s civil disobedience blog for public safety reasons.

I asked under what law the Police were asking me to do this and the Detective replied no law, they were just asking me to do so.

I asked if there had been an official complaint, the Detective said no, the blog had just ‘come to their attention’. I asked if the Police regularly monitored blogs to see if they were breaking laws he said no but this one had.

The Detective again asked if I would remove or censor the blog, I told him that no I would not as the principle of free speech was one I took seriously.

The Detective said I would be contacted next week.

Talley’s is a company with a well known track record for maiming their own workers, adopting hunger to starve 5000 kids as a negotiating tactic and Union busting work conditions. The only public safety issues here are the way Talley’s treat their workers, not activists intent on resisting the cruelty Talley’s operates under.

The Police should be arresting Talley’s, not demanding I censor blogs.

If Minto, Treen, Bradbury and accomplices manage to drive Talleys under that puts more than 5,000 people’s jobs at risk. Those workers may not appreciate campaigns against their livelihood.

From what Bradbury has said the Police didn’t ‘demand’, he describes it elsewhere in his post as ‘requested’ and ‘asked me’.

Involving the Police in trying to moderate blog posts does seem heavy handed by presumably someone associated with Talleys.

But the accusations and language used by Treen, Minto and Bradbury are quite extreme and could be legally actionable.

Many of the comments on both posts are also extreme.

One comment, by unionist and ex Labour MP Darien Fenton is more calm and chilling.

Next thing you’ll get a legal letter threatening you with defamation. So will John. You can add it to the pile they’ve already sent to the MWU.

There seems to be a flurry of threatening legal action to try and shut down commentary, with Colin Craig still promising multiple defamation actions and Jordan Williams yesterday actually filing against Craig.

There’s serious issues here involving free speech rights and responsibilities.

People with the financial or legal means of challenging online speech could be reasonably protecting themselves from damaging and false accusations. Or they could be using an imbalance of power to threaten and intimidate to clamp down free expression.

And people like Minto, Treen and Bradbury could be bravely holding corporates and rich and powerful people to account. Or they could be maliciously trying to damage businesses and threaten jobs.

It could be a mix of all of those things.

I don’t think taking conflict to extremes wil do either side any favours.

What should Talleys do when they don’t like the ‘free speech’ of Minto and Bradbury at The Daily Blog?

They could do what many people do on blogs – respond in comments and state their own case. They could also submit a right of reply. But Bradbury and the Daily Blog are notorious for filtering comments – that’s their own way of censoring.

Which makes “The Police should be arresting Talley’s, not demanding I censor blogs” rather ironic.

Bradbury is standing up against enforced editing, fair enough for that, but censors his blog himself, I’ve experienced that myseklf and many others have claimed comments submitted to The Daily Blog never get pass moderation.

On a supporting post at The Standard – Williams sues Craig and Bomber takes on Police – this comes uip in comments:

Mike the Savage One 10

Again, I tried commenting on TDB, from a different computer, again, it is blocked, that site has been seized by the cops, I bet, perhaps with GCSB assisting.

All Progressives out there, this is damned SERIOUS, we are being ATTACKED by state authorities, this is NO joke!

  • The Fairy Godmother 10.1

    No comments on this topic on the DB since 2:53 so I guess the site may have stopped comments due to legal advice. That’s my pick.

  • Anne 10.2

    They have a technical problem MtSO. It’s been going on for about a week now. Comments are ending up somewhere in space.

It’s been going on since The Daily Blog started – comments often end up “somewhere in space”.

Talleys are understandably annoyed at comments made about them which may be defamatory.

Bradbury is understandably annoyed at the Police becoming involved in asking for the editing of posts. But complaining about attempts at ‘censorship’ when he is renowned as a heavy handed censor himself is more then a little hypocritical.

Free speech is being drowned out here by a cacophony of extreme action and extreme overreaction.

The New Zealand media dictatorship

That’s the headline at News Mana which features:

John Minto: We Need Kiwi Socialism

Hone Harawira: The fight never dies

Is this a spoof site? A recent post:Waitangi a ban on Burgers not Burkha Mana News editor Joe Trinder

At Waitangi this year  Kingi Taurua the paramount Chief of Ngati Rahiri at Te Tii Marae has come out saying David Rankin has misheard the announcement there is a ban on Burgers not Burqa especially triple cheese burgers with fries. The leadership at Waitangi want better food choices but are willing to consider burgers if they are healthy

And now: The New Zealand media dictatorship

Eleanor Catton has managed to reveal the mechanism of the National party media dictatorship this could be extremely dangerous for the survival of our democracy. According to Sean Plunkett you are not permitted to criticise the National government its unpatriotic and against the people of New Zealand.

Too many reporters within journalism have intimate relationships with the national party that are a conflict of interest designed to mislead the New Zealand public.

These reporters are holding back real journalists like Andrea Vance.

It is unnatural for the press gallery to be uncritical of a seven year old government. The Prime minister office is pouring to many resources into dirty politics and controling the media and little effort to tackle the housing crisis or poverty reduction.

ManaMediaConspiracy

The New Zealand Herald is a strong part of the National party media strategy.

Spotted at Kiwiblog: Mana’s conspiracy theory

Is Mana News competition for The Civilian?

Media mauls Minto moans

John Minto’s moans about media coverage of the election were countered strongly on The Nation yesterday.

Minto was interviewed by Lisa Owen on a panel including former TV news executive Mark Boyd (who’s completing a PhD in media coverage of the election), Internet Mana candidate John Minto and Sunday Star Times and Sunday News editor Jonathan Milne.

Minto’s moans were mauled from all directions.

Internet-Mana got a huge amount of media coverage relative to their resulting vote compared to other small parties, especially the Maori Party who got more party votes.

Lisa Owen: The election campaign has been described as chaotic, surreal and the grubbiest in living memory. In the midst of it all, the right hammered the media for its supposed obsession with Dirty Politics. And now those on the left are saying journalists are falling for National’s spin cost it the election. So how did the media do, really? Well, I’m joined this morning by former TV news executive Mark Boyd, who’s completing a PhD in media coverage of the election; Internet Mana candidate John Minto; and SundayStar Times and Sunday News editor Jonathan Milne. Good morning to you all.
John Minto: Good morning.
John Minto, if can come to you first. Can you explain how did the media cost the left the election?
Minto: Well, I think if you look at the clip of Pam outside the campaign launch and you looked at what happened on TV3 that night, the entire coverage was devoted to what Pam had said and how she had behaved. And inside that launch, we had the most important— I think the biggest jobs policy that the country has had for several decades, where full employment was the objective, and we spelt out very carefully how that was going to funded and how it was going to lead to a dramatic change and, you know, giving everybody a stake in the future of the country. But that was not even mentioned on the TV3 news. Now, I can understand that being reported, but the fact is that jobs package was just completely lost and I think across most of the media that night.
Owen: Yeah, that—
Minto: That’s a good example of—
Owen: That outburst was obviously on a number of number of media outlets, but that’s a single incident, so in the bigger picture, what went wrong, do you think with the media, in your view?
Minto: Well, I think in the bigger picture, we have the news people receive is dominated by television. And I think we’ve got this culture developed in New Zealand where TV journalists see their job as catching journalists— sorry, catching politicians out. And, I mean, I’ve got no objection to journalists having political opinions. I’ve got no objection to them expressing those opinions. But when their personal opinions drive the narrative that the public receive as the news, then I think we’ve got a serious problem. And I think in TV3, for example, right from the get go, their chief parliamentary reporter, Duncan Garner— Patty Gower, was hotly opposed to the link-up between Mana and the Internet Party. And I think that drove the way the TV presented the news all the way through the election.
Owen: Is that not the job of political reporters to ask questions which you might not find particularly palatable?
Minto: I think it is. Absolutely it is, and journalists should be really drilling down, and they should be enhancing the idea of an election as a contest of ideas. And they should put every politician on the spot. They should really drill down, but this idea of we’re going to have an interview and the purpose of the interview is actually to catch you out, rather than what the up-front reason given for the interview.
Owen: Okay, let’s bring Mark into the conversation here. You are crunching the numbers. Have you seen so far any evidence of, say, a right-wing bias in the coverage of the election?
Mark Boyd: Absolutely not. I mean, this is just fantasy on the part of the left. You know, let’s go back to what John just said about Pam Corkery’s outburst. That wasn’t provoked by the media. The media didn’t put words into Pam Corkery’s mouth. Pam just lost it, and that was covered. And also that night, the National Party had a launch as well, but that was the second story in both bulletins. Look, in this campaign, and I’m analysing in detail both television and newspaper coverage in cooperation with Dr Babak Bahadorat Canterbury University. I’m about halfway through the campaign so far, up to day 18 of a 31-day campaign. The media coverage in those first 18 days — there was a lot more coverage than 2011, both on television and in newspapers. It was a lot more negative. There was a lot less policy. But that was mainly because of Dirty Politics. So the left can’t claim that there was a right-wing conspiracy when, certainly, in the first two weeks of the campaign, all of the media were absolutely hammering the Government and hammering John Key on Dirty Politics.
Owen: Well, if the—
Boyd: And it led to the resignation of a Cabinet minister, and that hardly ever happens in New Zealand.
Owen: If there was a disproportionate coverage of Dirty Politics, was it warranted? Were those issues legitimate?
Boyd: It was not disproportionate. It was absolutely proportionate. It was a legitimate issue. It wasn’t a policy issue, but it was a legitimate issue. It raised some very serious questions about accountability and credibility at the highest levels of government.
Owen: John—
Minto: And yet we’ve still not seen an interview with Jason Ede. You know, we’ve not seen that whole—
Boyd: The guy keeps running away.
Minto: Yeah, he does. He does, indeed.
Boyd: He put up a sign in his front yard saying, ‘Implied consent to enter is denied to media.’ So, you know, that’s—
Owen: Let’s bring Jonathan Milne in here. Was there an appetite for policy with your readers, and did they get that policy?
Jonathan Milne: I believe— I can only go only go on gut instinct here. I don’t have hard numbers to back this up, but I certainly felt towards the end of the campaign that people had had enough of a lot of the toing and froing of Dirty Politics, that they’d had enough of the mudslinging and the personality politics. We’ve learnt— We’ve been told for the last, going on 20 years now, isn’t it, in MMP that it’s all about presidential personality politics, but I think in this election, and I think this was really good, that towards the end of the campaign, people really did start saying, ‘Tell us what the parties actually stand for. Tell us what the policies are.’ Certainly in the final week of the campaign for myself, I interviewed the Prime Minister and David Cunliffe at length. We focused entirely on their policies because by that point, we’d kind of had enough of Judith Collins and everything else. As far as Internet Mana’s claim that the media was somehow out to get them, I really do think that’s utter nonsense. And we saw the rest of the left actually blaming Internet Mana, saying, ‘They got all the air time. They sucked up all the attention. They got too much attention, and that’s why the left’s going down.’ And that’s one of the things that we’ll be looking at very closely in this Sunday’s papers.
Minto: Internet Mana didn’t get the attention at all. The policies of Internet Mana didn’t receive that sort of coverage. What received coverage was Kim Dotcom, and he received—
Owen: Hang on, John—
Boyd: John, you got about 8% of the coverage I’ve counted so far. Now, admittedly, a lot of that was negative, but that was because of Kim Dotcom.
Minto: I know. I know—
Boyd: His brand was poison.
Jonathan: John, I don’t think I received a single policy press release from you guys. So if you’re not even—
Minto: Oh, look—
John Minto—
Minto: Can I say this? I put out a number of media releases. I’m one of the spokespeople. And throughout that entire campaign, the six weeks of that campaign, I had one journalist send me one email to clarify one aspect of our policy. I never received any coverage whatever for any of the policies that we were promoting. Instead, there was all this—
Owen: You were on an economics debate with us. I had—
Minto: Yes, you were. Yes, sorry, early on, I was.
Owen: Okay, well, just on the Kim Dotcom question, though, that now infamous outburst from Pam Corkery was because she was annoyed at the fact that journos were asking for an interview with Kim Dotcom. But I want to put this to you, John, if you fund a party and you fund a campaign and you publicly state that your aim is to get rid of the sitting Prime Minister—
Minto: Yeah, change the Prime Minister, change the government.
Owen: …aren’t you trying to influence the outcome of an election without accountability, because you’re not allowing yourself to be interviewed, to be questioned? You’re dodging that.
Minto: Oh, heavens above. Look, Kim Dotcom was interviewed numerous times. Multiple times. And all the way through the election campaign, he was prepared to front up. But what became clear to us was—
Owen: He cancelled— He was due on this programme for a long-form interview, and he cancelled.
Minto: Oh, look, there’s been so many interviews he’s done. So many interviews over such a long period of time that we were concerned that his presence was swamping things, and we wanted to get the policies out. I mean, an election should be this battle of ideas. Instead, there was this—
Owen: But was that your mistake, John, going into coalition with him as such?
Minto: Sorry?
Owen: Was that your mistake? You say you felt his image, his presence was swamping the campaign. You chose to run on a ticket with him.
Minto: We did, and we realised it was a big risk. We’ve said that.
Boyd: It was a big mistake.
Minto: It was a big risk—
Boyd: …to blame in that case.
Minto: No, it was a big risk. We realised there was a risk. We went in with our eyes open. And to be frank, I’m really proud of the fact that we took that risk.
Owen: A mistake in the end?
Minto: Yeah, it turned out to— Obviously, it didn’t turn out well, but I’m proud of the fact that we did it. If we hadn’t, we would have been stuck around 1% in the polls, as we are at the moment.,
Boyd: But you still are stuck at 1%.
Minto: I know we are, but the thing was— No, no, no, listen. The coverage of Kim Dotcom — I mean, in the last week of the campaign, The Herald just poured scorn all over him—
Boyd: Because he didn’t deliver. He had this—
Minto: He did deliver.
Boyd: He had this big revelation he did not deliver.
Minto: He did deliver. He delivered that—
Boyd: He had an email which appears to have been falsified.
Owen: Just in the couple— Gentlemen, just in the couple of minutes that—
Minto: Where did you get that evidence from, Mark?
Owen: In the couple of minutes I’ve got left—
Minto: How do you know it’s falsified?
Boyd: The media looked at it expertly. Got experts to analyse it.
Owen: Look, the blogger Keith Ng has written recently that journalists covering the campaign were not lazy, nor were they biased, but they have failed, he said, essentially because the claims around Dirty Politics have been neither proven or disproven. Is that fair comment? Because, you know, we don’t know who sanctioned— Do we know who sanctioned snooping in the computers? Do we know what Judith Collins’ role was? You mentioned Jason Ede. We haven’t got to the bottom of that.
Minto: Well, we haven’t got to the bottom of all of it by any means, but it’s certainly— The premise of Nicky Hager’s book, and I’ve read the book, and the evidence is there that we had, you know— that the National Party used this vicious right-wing attack blog to do their dirty work for them and this two-track campaigning where John Key could be the man stepping aside and having the lovely public image, while behind the scenes in the office two doors down from him, Jason Ede was feeding stuff to right-wing bloggers.
Owen: All right, last word to Jonathan Milne. Do you—?
Jonathan: You’re right. There’s still work to be done, and Keith is right. You know, we’ve still got to dig further into that. But, look, Judith Collins quit as a result of an investigation that the Sunday Star Times did into Dirty Politics. We have made some real progress there. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been accused by the left or the right of pandering to one side or the other, I really would be the corporate lackey that you accuse me of being.
Owen: So, Jonathan, in a word, was this election different from any other that you’ve covered in terms of coverage? Yes or no?
Jonathan: I think we worked harder, and I think we tried to be really fair, and I think we succeeded.
Owen: All right, thank you very much for joining me this morning, gentlemen.

Source: Scoop
Transcript provided by Able. www.able.co.nz

Seeking the youth vote

The Internet Party and MANA Movement is seeking votes from youth currently not interested in voting.

…enrolling and encouraging to vote as many new and current non-voters as possible, specifically (but not exclusively) targeting the young, Maori and Pasifika individuals.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-OsCSmT5K89LUwxOExmUjJpN2c/edit?usp=sharing

The messengers look a bit out of synch with their target constituents. The presumed top four on the Internet Party and MANA Movement:

1. Hone Harawira (MANA leader)

Hone HarawiraBorn 1955 – 59 years old

2. Annette Sykes (MANA Party)

Annette SykesBorn c. 1961 – about 53 years old

3. Laila Harre (Internet Party leader)

Born 1966 – 48 years old

4.  John Minto MANA Party

Born c. 1953 – 61 years old

Photos obtained were as recent as possible.

 

 

Minto on Mana/IP alliance pros, cons and questions

John Minto has posted at The Daily blog about the conference debate on the proposed alliance between the Internet and Mana Parties. It gives a good outline of party thinking and lays out how he sees the pros and cons.

Mana and the Internet Party – strategic alliance or wtf? 

The proposal for some sort of electoral relationship arose from a meeting between Mana leader Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom earlier in the year. The first benefit to both Mana Movement and the Internet Party – and the country for that matter – is to ensure all votes cast to get rid of the National government are counted. Under current law a party which falls short of the 5% threshold has its votes wasted – potentially up to 130,000 anti-National votes not counted.

This fundamentally undemocratic aspect of our MMP system is a result of pressure from National and Labour to keep parliament as a cosy duopoly and disenfranchise thousands of voters in the process.

So the AGM debated at length whether to proceed to formally explore a possible alliance. It was a riveting four hours as speakers spoke for or against the idea.

As part of the discussion I was asked to present what I saw as the “pros” and “cons” of a possible “strategic alliance” with the Internet Party.

Here’s what I came up with:

Pros

1.    Increased profile for Mana and as we are seen as more relevant with a larger combined party vote with the Internet Party.

2.    Creation of interest and even excitement among many younger voters and non-voters.

3.    A greater likelihood of getting Mana Movement list MPs through a combined party vote.

4.    Greater resources to fight a party vote campaign.

5.    Greater resources to help inspire and enrol current non-voters and get them to the polling booth.

6.    There is already some areas of strong policy agreement with the Internet Party to: stop GCSB spying, withdraw from the “five eyes” spy alliance, provide internet privacy rights and cheap/free access to the internet, provide free tertiary education and oppose the TPPA.

7.    Ensuring that the Internet Party and their supporters are committed to changing the government.

8.    MANA brand remains in Maori electorate campaigns which are a key focus this election.

Cons

1.    Damage to the public perception of Mana:

  •  Mana may lose respect as a kaupapa Maori movement and damage our chances in the Maori seats.
  •  Mana Movement may lose respect as a movement for the poor and dispossessed if we have an alliance with a high-profile wealthy partner.
  •  Mana Movement may be seen by some as compromising our principles for money (irrespective of the truth of this)

2.    A potential watering down of our policies to create a joint Mana-Internet Party vote campaign.

3.    A potential loss of control of Mana policy and direction to a new joint venture.

4.    A risk of ending up with fewer seats than we would have on our own.

The three key questions which arose from this are:

1.    Would an alliance enhance or damage Mana as a kaupapa Maori movement?

2.    Would an alliance enable us to gain greater parliamentary representation without compromising our policies or principles?

3.    How would we retain our integrity, and be seen to retain our integrity, in such an alliance?

 All speakers recognised the risks to the movement and to the individuals involved – we all value our integrity – but after four hours a clear consensus emerged that we should take the step to see if an arrangement agreeable to Mana can be reached. (Each of Mana’s seven rohe supported the decision to keep talking with the Internet Party).

Mana Party members agreed to “move forward in negotiations” (NZ Herald):

The Mana Party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

Minto:

We are withholding judgement till we see what emerges from further discussion. At that point any possible agreement will be discussed by Mana rohe and branches before a final vote is taken. 

However Hone Harawira seems to have decided already and intimates it won’t be decided by a party vote…

Asked whether he thought the deal would go ahead, Mr Harawira said: “I’d certainly like to think so.”

And while the party is consulting the executive (led by Harawira) will decide.

Mr Harawira indicated the final decision would be made by senior party figures rather than a wider vote.

“It will probably be made by the executive in the final analysis.”

See  Harawira’s way or the highway.

In the meantime opposition continues – Dotcom a neoliberal millionaire who sounds like John Key – Mana’s Sue Bradford

  The Internet Party leader did not manage to seal an alliance with Mana when he visited the party’s AGM on Saturday (although talks will continue). And his charm seems to have singularly failed to winover one of Mana leader Hone Harawira’s key lieutenants, Sue Bradford.

Instead, Bradford hardened her opposition, and walked out of the meeting before the key vote – creating a schism Mana can ill-afford given Labour candidate Kelvin Davis is polling ahead in Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) seat.

“Getting into bed with a neoliberal millionaire who’s facing legal challenges is quite a curious proposal for a party like Mana that has stood so strongly and staunchly on its reputation for fighting for those who have less … and for standing up against the neoliberal agenda that John Key that others are running,” Ms Bradford told Firstline this morning.

“It’s not compatible and undermines everything Mana has achieved over the past three years … When I heard him speaking on Saturday, it was like listening to John Key,” Ms Bradford said.

It could be a challenging time for the Mana Party over the next month of consultations and decision making.

In the meantime the Internet Party remains in limbo, leader-less, candidate-less and alliance-less.

John Minto: “how vile is Paula Bennett?”

John Minto, co-vice-president of the ‘Mana Movement’ and Auckland mayoral candidate for Mana, has written at The Daily Blog On a scale from one to 10 how vile is Paula Bennett?

He writes about he drug testing policy and then concludes:

On the vile scale I’d put her at nine. Am I being too harsh?

This invited a number of comments about Bennett.

Molly: “To my mind not harsh enough…”

George Ryde:”I give her 11 out of 10″.

Linz: “I’ll raise it to 9.5.”

John W:

Poorla gets my 10.5

What sort of role model is she.
She is above being a bitch, yes much further up the scale, and up herself.

Small minded, mean, vindictive, petty, spiteful puppet of Corporate largess treating NZders as fools manipulated to contribute to the transnational investors coffers

Karen H McGregor: “Paula Bennett is the biggest hypocrite walking this earth and should be struck from Parliment!!! She shouldn’t be representing people in need as she is too full of her self (self serving) and arrogant!!!”

Neeks: “I would say the rating is accurate!”

Ovicula: “9 is possibly a bit lenient. I’m trying to think how bad a 10 would be. Michael Laws springs to mind, but is she any better than him?”

Rosey McVay: “All I can ask is, what would she have to do to score 10, actually eat beneficiaries babies? She’s as ten as they get imo. ”

Lionel: “heartless fat bitch”.

Lily: “Bennett holds true to the old adage that power attracts the corruptible. She deserves a 10.”

Rachael Goldsmith: “10/10 – utterly vile. She honestly makes me feel ill. ”
– Goldsmith is a Daily Blog author and “found sanity in adulthood and a family in the Green Party of Aotearoa NZ. She is on their Policy Committee, and is the immediate past candidate and current spokesperson for Clutha Southland.”

Mary A: “Mr Minto, you are far to generous in your rating of Paula “work will set you free” Bennett. She’s a 10 for sure, possibly with a plus added as well!”

EmmittBrownBTTF1: “She’s somewhere between a stink beetle and supperating gangrene.”

Corokia: “Paula gets a 9 from me too John (she’s probably got a few tricks up her sleeve to lift that score though) .”

Pip: “I give her an 11 for vile.”

Abuse like this is common on blogs (and Minto attracts a fair bit) but it’s less common to see prominent political aspirants initiating and encouraging it like this.

Minto attacked Mandela in 1995?

John Minto has been openly critical of post-Mandela governmet in South Africa and it

There’s been a lot of comment in the leftie blogosphere about whether John Minto should be in New Zealand’s official delegation to Nelson Mandela’s funeral, due to Minto being a prominent anti apartheid and anti Springbok tour activist.

There’s even a Petition To Support John Minto’s Attendance At Mandela’s Funeral but keep in mind that that is being promoted by the Mana Party  orientated blog The Daily Post (where Minto is an author).

John Key says the delegation is appropriate but David Cunliffe thought Minto should have been included.

PM says delegation for Mandela service has the right mix

John Key will lead a small delegation to South Africa that will include Labour leader David Cunliffe, former Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Don McKinnon, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.

Mr Cunliffe has suggested Mr Minto should have been part of the delegation but John Key says the labour leader never raised the matter with him.

Cunliffe doesn’t say if he would have offered Minto his place.

Pita Sharples says he protested in 1981, he will represent protesters at Mandela funeral in Minto’s absence.

Danyl at Dim-Post adds  Being on the wrong side of history is awkward:

If Key takes John Minto to Mandela’s funeral it means swallowing the gigantic rat that Minto – who they regard as the epitome of left-wing idiocy – was completely right, and the National Party was completely wrong. So no trip for Minto.

A comment from ‘Dave’ is critical of a claimed Minto attack on Mandela when he was in New Zealand in 1995:

I was at St Matthews in the City in 1995 when Mandela went there (during his CHOGM visit) to meet the 1981 protesters. Minto berated him for not introducing communism to South Africa and attacked him for allowing capitalist companies to stay in business. A near-speechless Mandela responded: “But who do you think will employ our people?”

Until that moment I had thought Minto was an anti-racist of high principles. I then realised he was an extreme Marxist.

Minto also refused a South African honour from Mandela’s successor, attacking South Africa for retaining capitalism.

And ‘several other comments:

“Minto is on record as being strongly opposed to the contemporary South African government, ironically.”

“Minto has a history of failing to recognise the difference between ‘solemn formal occasion’ and ‘political protest’. “

“Who actually thinks he wouldn’t do something overtly political if he was over there?”

Dim-Post is a generally left/Green leaning blog.