Mallard to go list only

Trevor Mallard has announced he won’t stand in the Hutt South electorate next year, where he has been MP since 1993.

RNZ: Trevor Mallard won’t stand again for Hutt South

He will instead seek a place on the Labour list and said he had been given the nod from party leader Andrew Little that should Labour win the election he would be nominated for the position of Speaker of the House.

If Labour+Greens get to form the next Government and if Greens support Mallard becoming speaker and potentially if NZ First support Mallard becoming speaker.

Mr Mallard said it was up to Labour’s moderating committee to decide on list placements ahead of next year’s election.

This could be quite a risk for Mallard unless Labour improves it’s support. Last election Andrew Little only just squeaked back into Parliament via the list.

If Mallard gets back in on the list but doesn’t become speaker what will he do then? Mark time on the back bench.

Mr Mallard said his decision not to stand again in Hutt South had nothing to do with National’s Chris Bishop working hard to make some ground in the electorate.

“We’ve polled in Hutt South and I’m not convinced that Chris Bishop has made any more traction there than any other MP,” said Mr Mallard.

“In fact the local results very much parallel the national results with the significant increase for Labour since the election.”

Labour got 25% in the last election. They got 25.5% in the latest Roy Morgan poll and I didn’t see much questioning of this. They have polled in the twenties up to the low thirties since the election.

Bishop came within 709 votes of Mallard in Hutt South last election, down from 4825 in 2011. Mallard got a considerably higher vote (43.48%) than Labour (27.84%).

Bishop continues to work hard in the electorate. He recently opened an electorate office.

Mallard has put Labour into an awkward position.  He will continue to represent the electorate until the next election, so Labour’s new candidate will have to try and build a profile in his shadow.

However if Labour loses Hutt South it may give Mallard more chance of making it in via the list.

Has anyone positioned themselves solely to become the Speaker before?

Stuff earlier this month: Could ‘the everywhere man’ Chris Bishop win Hutt South off Mallard?

Reactions to predator free target

Some reactions to Government sets target to make New Zealand ‘predator-free’ by 2050

@rodemmerson:

Green Party conservation spokesman Kevin Hague…

…said welcomed the target, but said research showed it would cost $9b to make New Zealand predator-free. 

“The Government seems happy to once again put out the begging bowl to the private sector to fund what should be taken care of by the Government.

“We have real concerns over what will happen to this predator-free dream if the Government can’t attract private funding, or if that private funding dries up.”

The Greens are usually quick off the mark on policy issues but no media releases from them yet and nothing on their Facebook or Twitter.

ACT Leader David Seymour…

…has welcomed the announcement and said it echoed his own policy to sell off Landcorp and place the money it gains into a trust, so community groups and private enterprises can apply to operate inland wildlife sanctuaries.

“We’re interested in seeing how the Prime Minister plans to skip inland islands and eradicate pests from the nation wholesale.  It’s a laudable and ambitious goal, we look forward to seeing the detail.

A lot will depend on the detail.

Labour…

…is questioning the Government’s level of commitment. 

It’s far to soon to seriously question commitment. The target has only just been announced.

Predator Free New Zealand is a laudable idea but the Government has not committed any real money into killing New Zealand’s pests, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.

“The only promise is that the Government will ‘look’ to contribute one dollar for every two dollars from councils and the private sector.

“This lack of long term funding to kill our millions of pests has to be considered alongside years of funding cuts that have blunted the work of the Department of Conservation.”

Whether it’s feasible to become anywhere near predator free is being questioned.

While some think that it really is possible others have serious doubts.

But even managing to reduce rat, stoat and possum numbers by 50%, 0r 75%, would be a significant achievement – as  long as the reduced numbers were maintained.

Without continuous containment the numbers would increase again, as they have done when the predators were first introduced or introduced themselves.

Government details: Predator free by 2050

UK update

Missy’s UK update


Conservatives:

David Cameron followed tradition and did a list of resignation honours – essentially a pile of people getting honours or peerages as payment for their loyalty to Cameron. Interestingly some of the honours on his list have reportedly been blocked by Whitehall for ethical reasons. The list has not been released as yet, so who is on it, what they were in line to get, and the reasons for being blocked are all speculation.

This is seen by some as a move by the Cabinet Office, and others in Whitehall to try and reverse the view of the public of cronyism. It is yet another thing that has marred David Cameron’s exit from Downing Street.

As expected Hollande has indeed demanded that the UK trigger article 50 immediately, Theresa May has said the UK will not rush into it and will only trigger article 50 when the groundwork for Brexit has been completed. Of course this is taking much longer than it should because Cameron refused to let any Government department prepare any plans in the event of a Brexit vote.

Labour:

Corbyn is coming under increasing pressure in the media, and from his MPs today.
First an MP (sorry can’t remember his name at the moment) has tweeted several tweets accusing Jeremy Corbyn of trying to bully him by threatening to call his father to put pressure on him to fall into line.

The father of the MP in question was a Sinn Fein councillor, but is unknown to Corbyn, it is believed that Corbyn thought that as the MP’s father was Sinn Fein he would share similar political views and therefore agree to put pressure on the MP.

In the end Corbyn did not call the MP’s father, which is apparently just as well, as the MP in question said his father would not be happy about such a thing. Corbyn’s office denies this.

Second, 45 Female MP’s have written to Corbyn demanding he does more to stop the abuse from his supporters. They have asked him to sign a pledge to stop the rape threats, death threats, and other forms of intimidation they have suffered over the last few weeks. They have also said he has failed in his duty of care by opposing a secret ballot for a board vote, despite the female MP’s pleas after receiving intimidating messages.

It seems that Corbyn’s kinder, gentler politics is only for those that agree with him.

Lastly, Len McClusky (Unite Union) has gone conspiracy theorist by claiming that the threats being received by female MPs are actually from MI5 agents pretending to be Corbyn supporters in order to undermine him.

And as of about an hour or so ago the news is once again dominated by overseas events with the shooting in Munich.


The Munich shooting will be covered in the next post here.

Greens propose Minister of Manufacturing

Green co-leader James Shaw has announced that the green Party “will establish a Minister of Manufacturing in Cabinet”. They would need at least Labour’s support to do this and Labour has indicated they would back it.

A Minister for Manufacturing

To better represent the interests of manufacturers and ensure they thrive.

The Green Party will establish a Minister for Manufacturing in Cabinet, to better represent the interests of manufacturers and ensure they thrive.

This announcement is about creating well-paid, clean-tech jobs for the future, right here in New Zealand.

I wonder what their position would be on less well paid, less clean-tech jobs.

Manufacturing innovation is a critical part of our transition to a clean, low-carbon economy.

For manufacturing to thrive and take advantage of new technologies like 3D printing, we need leadership across the whole sector now. National hasn’t shown this leadership. We hear more from National about deep sea oil drilling and dairy farming than we do about clean-tech, high value-added manufacturing.

High-value manufacturers create well-paid jobs and enable us, as a country, to earn our way in the world.

Shaw gave more details in an email:

‘Made in New Zealand’ is a label that says a lot about quality and value. A strong and successful manufacturing sector is essential for a high-value, clean-tech economy – creating new jobs and raising incomes.

I’ve just announced that, when we’re in Government, we’ll appoint a Minister for Manufacturing.

Currently, manufacturing is the second largest sector in the country, employing 244,500 people and contributing $22.7 billion in GDP. And, it is an important part of our future. Aotearoa New Zealand’s ability to make the transition to a clean, low-carbon economy will depend on innovation in the manufacturing sector.

But this is also a time of huge risk to the sector. New technologies offer incredible promise but also carry the threat of displacing jobs on a massive scale.

Now, more than ever, we need leadership – at the top table – to get ahead of these trends, to take advantage of the opportunities and to manage the risks.

The National Government has got a Minister of Racing at the Cabinet table – but no Minister for Manufacturing. Around that Cabinet table, they have overseen the loss of 17,500 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

The Green Party will provide leadership in Government to turn this around and build up good, well-paying jobs.

The manufacturing sector needs an advocate at the highest levels of government, securing a fairer share of government resources, to ensure the sector thrives, diversifies, and adds value to our exports.

I believe that New Zealand can be an amazing place to do business and a great place to make great products again

Last term Greens with Labour (and Mana Party and NZ First)  had an inquiry into manufacturing that resulted in Manufacturing: The New Consensus A Blueprint for Better Jobs and Higher Wages(PDF)

There was union involvement in this, with E tū saying that they drove it:

In 2012 we drove the Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing, convened by Labour, the Greens, NZ First and Mana in response to the manufacturing crisis in New Zealand.

The final report recommended strong government action on the high New Zealand dollar at the time, buying Kiwi made and investing in research and development to drive innovation.

And the First Union applauds Green’s manufacturing announcement:

A union representing working people in the wood, textile and food sections of the manufacturing industry is applauding Green co-leader James Shaw’s announcement that the party will appoint a Minister for Manufacturing in a future government the party is a part of.

‘New Zealand needs a manufacturing industry that offers secure work and well-paying jobs. But the sector has been taking a hit after years of neoliberal policies. In the last few months our union has been dealing with dozens of redundancies in the textile industry,’ said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

‘A Minister for Manufacturing is good for working people and good for business. We need an economy that works for everyone and that means growing the manufacturing sector. Not everyone wants to be an IT consultant.’

‘FIRST Union has been advocating for a Minister for Manufacturing for several years, most recently at the Green, Labour and New Zealand First’s “Manufacturing Inquiry” in 2013.’

So the Green proposal seems to be a joint Green/Labour/union policy.

However at the time of the inquiry  manufacturing performance in New Zealand improved and has remained at some of the best levels for the past ten years according to the Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index for New Zealand.

The sector has been in expansion in almost all months since October 2012. Manufacturing PMI in New Zealand averaged 53.11 from 2002 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 62.77 in June of 2004 and a record low of 36.08 in November of 2008.

Here is the Manufacturing PMI for the last 10 years.

ManufacturingPMY10yrsJune2016

Why do we need a Ministry of Manufacturing other than to promote Green and Union policies?

.

 

A ‘quick’ UK update

Missy says this is “Time for a quick update before I head out.”


Theresa May & Brexit:

TM has visited Germany and is now in France for talks with the leaders. The two visits have shown the differences within the two most powerful countries in the EU.

Merkel supports Britain waiting and taking their time to trigger Article 50, though she has ruled out any talks before the triggering of Article 50 (despite a number of leaders from smaller EU countries indicating an interest to conduct informal talks).

Hollande on the other hand is expected to demand justification for the delay in triggering Article 50.

France has also said there will be no trade deal without free movement, the PM earlier today seemed to suggest that there will be high tariffs on UK products in the EU, whilst the UK will have no tariffs – I don’t think he truly understands what is meant by a Free Trade deal, it isn’t a deal where one side has free trade and the other doesn’t.

Whilst Germany have also indicated that free movement will have to be a condition of a FTA, I think what they will find is that Britain won’t sign a deal, which in the long run will cause issues for Germany and Merkel. The powerful Business Lobby group in Germany have already begun lobbying the German Government for there to be a FTA with the UK to avoid tariffs.

On the whole I think most of it – especially the French side – is just posturing. The French will be worried, they have an election soon (next year I think) and each terrorist attack means that the Far Right and Euro sceptic parties gain support, the chances of a new leader being elected that will hold a referendum on EU membership gets more real each time there is an attack. For the first time the other day Hollande was booed at a visit to the site of a terror attack, he is losing support.

Labour:

This has been the most interesting today.

Corbyn launched his leadership campaign, he claims to be a PM in waiting, and also that Labour are stronger under his leadership. He says that they can and will win the next GE.

He has also said that there should be a snap election, he seems to be more deluded each day about how popular he is. He takes twitter and Social Media popularity as being popular in the whole country, he seems to not realise that outside of the elite in London Labour are losing support.

Corbyn gets the prize for creepiest moment of the Labour leadership campaign, he launched his campaign surrounded by supporters – who all happened to be young women. It just looked really creepy to see this old man surrounded by adoring women, a bit North Korea like really.

Corbyn was heavily criticised by Owen Smith today for his performance at PMQs. Smith has said that Corbyn doesn’t have what it takes to go head to head with the Tories in the Commons.

Diane Abbott (a Corbyn supporter) claimed this morning that the reason Corbyn looked bad in PMQs is because the Labour MPs didn’t cheer loud enough when he came into the commons.

Angela Eagle has been told by the Police not to hold open surgeries – meetings where her constituents can just drop in to talk about whatever they want. This is due to safety, Angela Eagle has had death threats, and it is believed that there is a risk to her.

On that, Owen Smith has also had death threats for running against Corbyn, and Corbyn refuses to condemn these threats from his supporters.

Corbyn has also said all Labour MPs will need to be re-selected by their local parties for the next GE, effectively sacking them as most of the local parties are stacked with Momentum and Corbyn supporters, it is believed he is trying to stack the Labour MPs with his supporters to lessen the risk of trouble.

There have been a number of threats from Momentum members in social media, and one tweeted about killing all of the traitorous MPs who voted against Corbyn. It is getting really nasty, and Corbyn is doing nothing about it.

Update from the UK

Another welcome update from Missy in the UK:


First my apologies for yesterday’s brief bit, I had a work function, and typed it quickly on the way home – on my phone, so not sure if it was coherent! :)

Today shows that things – politically anyway – are settling a bit, and the news headlines have moved onto that very British of subjects – the weather – however, there has been some interesting matters.

Conservatives:

Theresa May had her first Prime Minister’s Questions, and by most reports she wiped the floor with the opposition, looking at the highlights she managed to get a couple of good hits on them, including suggesting Corbyn is an unscrupulous boss. The Telegraph refers to it as May going ‘full Thatcher’.

Remind you of anybody? At her first PMQs, Theresa May goes full Thatcher

After PMQs May headed to Berlin to meet with Angela Merkel, and in a boost for May, Merkel is reported as saying Britain is right to pause and wait before triggering formal Brexit talks. This won’t go down well with Juncker who wants the talks over with sooner rather than later, and is trying to bully the UK into getting on with it.

And a nice summary of Theresa May’s best bits from today:

As if Labour’s week couldn’t get worse, Theresa May uses Jeremy Corbyn as a punching bag at PMQs

Labour:

No change really – still a mess! I have heard nothing more on whether Corbyn will be going ahead with suing the NEC, but that may just be a back up plan if he loses the leadership election. I would say he is probably a little concerned now with Eagle pulling out, as he would be hoping that the votes against him would be split and he would win that way, but now they won’t be, it lessens his chances.

The Guardian did a survey of more than 100 constituencies across the UK, and the results show a cooling of support for Corbyn amongst Labour supporters, this could be of concern for his supporters if those surveyed are either members, or have signed up as supporters.

Labour supporters have cooled on Corbyn, Guardian survey finds

On the supporters thing with the Labour Party, as the cost was put up to 25GBP it was seen as too expensive for many Corbyn supporters, and so one of his supporters started crowd funding to raise money for those who joined within the last 6 months to pay the 25GBP and be able to vote. Unfortunately for her (and maybe Corbyn) it is against the rules of the Labour Party as it was seen as buying support for a candidate, despite the woman who started it claiming that those that used the money could vote for who they liked. Anyway, she now has to pay the money back and isn’t allowed to give it to anyone to use to join Labour as a supporter.

Brexit:

Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee have said Cameron’s Government committed an act of gross negligence by instructing Whitehall to not make any contingency plans for a Brexit vote. This will be another blow to Cameron over the EU referendum.

Cameron accused of ‘gross negligence’ over Brexit contingency plans

 

 

UK update

Missy has caught up with UK news after a busy weekend for her – and international news was dominated by the Nice attack and the attempted coup in Turkey anyway.


It has been a busy weekend for me, so I didn’t get a chance to provide any updates. However, from what I can tell it was all quiet on the domestic front as, yet again, international events dominated the news and politicians – this time the attempted coup in Turkey.

Quick rundown on the goings on over the last few days:

Brexit:

Last Friday Theresa May had her first meeting with Nicola Sturgeon, in the meeting she said she would not invoke article 50 until there was UK agreement, some in the media took this to mean Nicola Sturgeon would get a veto on the timing of Article 50, thereby giving the Government an out for not exiting the EU, since it is unlikely Nicola Sturgeon would ever agree to anything.

Yesterday in an interview Nicola Sturgeon also suggested that Scotland would have a veto saying that Scotland was in a very strong position with regards to the EU negotiations.

Today No. 10 has said that Scotland do not have a veto, and the Brexit would happen regardless of what Nicola Sturgeon wanted, also that it would be Theresa May who would decide the timing not Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon’s office has also admitted today that they don’t have a veto.

I think we can safely say that round was won by TM. Sturgeon is a bit of a chancer, and she also reminds me of a guy I used to work with who’s philosophy was that if you say something enough times it will happen.

Commons:

Today the Commons are voting on the renewal of Trident. This is big for the opposition especially. TM apparently stated that she would be willing to use Nuclear Weapons if need be.

Labour:

Well, as mentioned above it is the vote on Trident (Nuclear capability) today. The official Labour Party position is that they support Trident, Jeremy Corbyn does not. Earlier in the year he tried to make this a party vote, however, many MPs rebelled, mainly because it was against their official policy, so it is a free vote for the Labour Party. This means that a number of Labour MPs will most likely vote against their leader – one estimate is up to 100.

Also on Labour, there have been some suggestions Angela Eagle should step down from the leadership challenge in order to give a better chance to Owen Smith, however, she has refused, so it will be a 3 way fight.

And on the leadership of the Labour Party, I saw an article this morning that Corbyn was considering taking the NEC to court to overturn their decision last week that will mean all of the new members will be unable to vote in the leadership election – it is thought that this is because he doesn’t think he will win otherwise.

And the media have now moved onto the weather…

Breaking News: Further to above, the Deputy Political Editor of The Times has just tweeted that he has heard Angela Eagle and Owen Smith have agreed there will only be one candidate.

 

Democracy compared

Anthony Robins posted on Democracy vs efficiency  at The Standard:

Events in England really highlight the different processes of the two main parties. The Conservatives have completed their leadership transition, Labour’s contest has barely begun. Which model is best?

Nor surprisingly Robins thinks Labour is best.

I believe in the Labour model – both here and in the UK – as I think anyone who believes in democracy should.

It depends on what sort of democracy you believe in. Most democracies have some degree of representative democracy – where you elect people to represent you and make decisions for the people – and relatively limited options for direct democracy (where the majority of people make the decisions via votes) beyond occasional elections.

Two little say annoys the hell out of people, but too much say too often can bog down and even paralyse the functioning of a government.

Labour have barely started the challenge process in their (largely) democratic but cumbersome manner – an open selection, with real input from the members.

But there is no doubt that it is cumbersome, it paralysed (and will continue to paralyse) UK Labour at a time when it should have been moving decisively.

Robins understands the problems with a cumbersome democratic process (he doesn’t mention the game playing and manipulation of the processes going on with UK Labour).

There needs to be a counter-narrative. As the UK accepts the “democratic” Brexit vote, it should also accept and celebrate the democratic Labour process. Yes it’s cumbersome, but it involves we the people in politics, when it is obvious that the Tory “closed doors” model has been undermining democratic participation for decades.

This is naive inaccurate partisan bollocks.

Missy commented on Robins’ post yesterday:


I braved the swamp, and dipped my toe (figuratively, not literally) into The Standard. Anthony Robbins has done a post on the differences between the UK Labour leadership and the Conservative Leadership change.

His post however shows exactly how little he has either followed – or understood – the differences. He (naturally) extols the virtues of Labour’s way as being more democratic in that the members can vote, whilst the Conservatives did it behind closed doors quickly in an undemocratic manner (by inference, he didn’t actually state it was undemocratic). Anthony also seems to have overlooked the fact that of the final two candidates Leadsom dropped out, leaving only one candidate, which made it more efficient in terms of getting a new leader in place this time around.

Whilst he acknowledges the Labour party system is cumbersome, he doesn’t seem to think of what may happen if they have to run one of these leadership elections if they are ever in Government.

So lets look at the two ways (as I understand it) that these parties vote for their leaders. (disclaimer: I haven’t read the party rules on either of these parties, and therefore am getting my knowledge from how the media have reported it, so could be wrong on some facts).

Nominations:

Labour: Leaders are nominated to the NEC, requiring a certain percentage of support from the Parliamentary Labour Party, (in this case it worked out to be 50 MPs), so essentially they need to have some support to be nominated.

Conservatives: I am not sure how this happens, but from the way it was done this time it doesn’t look like they actually need to be nominated by anyone, they can just nominate themselves – or rather they declare an interest in standing.

Voting:

Labour: I am not sure exactly, but I believe that Labour run a one member one vote system, so there is no weighting like in NZ.

Conservatives: The Conservatives have a two part vote, the MPs get to vote on the candidates, and after their vote the two that are left go to the membership. This means that the MPs get a say in who their leader will be. I am not sure how many times the MPs vote, this time it was twice, but I am not sure if they would have more if there were more candidates, or less if there were less.

Keeping in mind the leader of the party is leading the MPs it seems eminently sensible that the MPs get a reasonable say in who may end up being the leader, the members after all do not have to spend all week with the leader, nor do they have to work for or with them. Based on this I think the Conservatives have a better system for the election of a leader in that the MPs get a say in who may be the leader, but the membership gets the final say.


 

There are different ways of doing democracy, some better than others, and which is the best may vary in different circumstances.

If a country is in chaos or crisis decisive leadership on behalf of the people can be a far better bet than trying to get thousands or millions of people to understand complex situations and make complex decisions.

 

Public inquiry into homelessness

Media release from Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party


 

Public invited to have say on homelessness

People who are homeless, those who were once homeless, those working with the homeless and concerned New Zealanders are being asked to share their experiences and solutions to this growing issue with the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry.

This inquiry was launched after National MPs turned down Opposition requests for a Parliamentary select committee inquiry into the issue.

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says many New Zealanders are shocked and saddened by the number of families being forced to live in cars and garages this winter.

“We want to hear from those families and the agencies working with them about the best ways to support them and reduce the reasons they lose their homes in the first place.”

Green Party Social Housing spokesperson Marama Davidson says homelessness is not confined to those who sleep rough on the streets.

“There are many, many families who have no choice but to sleep in overcrowded garages, or in their cars. It hasn’t always been this way in New Zealand, and it doesn’t have to continue like this.”

Māori Party Co-Leader Marama Fox says this issue is too important to use as a political football.

“Homelessness is a blight on our society and we need to work together to find enduring solutions. This is a valuable opportunity for us to hear more from whānau, experts and those most impacted.”

Submissions will initially be heard at four locations: Te Puea Marae in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch between the end of August and early September.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

1. Consider whether the official definition of homelessness needs updating, and recommend accordingly.

2. Assess the evidence on the current scale of homelessness, whether it is changing and how, and what the causes of that change might be.

3. Evaluate possible policy responses to homelessness, including international best practice, and recommend accordingly.

4. Consider how homelessness is experienced by different groups in society and evaluate policy responses that respond to that experience. For example, Maori experience of homelessness and Maori-led initiatives to respond

5. Hear public submissions and expert evidence, particularly from those directly affected by homelessness and their advocates, and issue a written report.

Submissions open Monday and will close on Friday, 12 August and can be sent to: Homelessnessinquiry@parliament.govt.nz

Submissions can also be made through the Labour and Green Party websites from next week.


A useful inquiry or futile political grandstanding?

Labour’s new co-leader

Perhaps this was a Freudian slip by Andrew Little’s office in a letter sent out by Labour and the Greens this week, announcing the parties’ joint inquiry into homelessness.

LabourCoLeader

A possibly unobservant Metiria Turei signed off as Labour Party Co-leader.

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