SpaceX launches two men up above us a bit

I’ve just been watching the launch of the SpaceX/NASA manned rocket that is the first time people have been launched into Earth orbit from the US since the shuttle programme ended in 2011.

After a few minutes the rocket, minor the largest stage that had successfully landed off the coast of Ireland, was orbiting Earth at 200 km and travelling at 27,000 kilometres an hour.

The capsule is now heading on a 19 hour trip to the Space Station.

“This is a historical day”. “A day for the history books”. “America is back”.

This is a big achievement. Any successful launch of people into Earth orbit is a big achievement.

But it shows how much rocket and expense is required to get a couple of people floating around our own planet. There are plans to get back to the moon again by 2024. There is talk of getting manned missions to Mars some time in the future.

And this is fifty years on from the original moon missions.

I happened to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time a couple of nights ago. That was from the 60s, before the first successful moon missions. It had large moon bases, and huge spacecraft travelling to Jupiter in 2001. But we are still nowhere near this.

It’s a big deal getting a small capsule just up above us a bit. They (US and Russia) gradually built up the Space station, but that’s only in Earth orbit.

It takes about 3 days to travel to the moon.

It takes 6-8 months to travel to Mars.

Fifty, seventy years after Mount Everest was first climbed there are lines of people queuing up to get to the top of the mountain each year,

The US had their original space flight missions, followed fairly quickly by their Apollo moon missions that began in 1961, made it with men to the moon in July 1969, and then continued with five more successful missions until 1972.

The Space Shuttle programme began in 1982 and continued until 2011, but that was only for earth orbit missions and the Space Station.

So this new phase, fifty years after the moon landing, is just a new beginning of significant but relatively modest space flight achievement.

Minor space flight seems to be almost at the limits of our technology and human ability. What has been done is marvellous, but by today’s standards quite modest.

Space flight science looks like mostly remaining fiction.

New Conservative Party launched

The Conservative Party was Colin Craig’s party. It was seriously damaged when Craig hit problems with ex-staff and multiple defamation actions, and Craig dropped his political ambitions.

The party has been repackaged and relaunched:


NEW CONSERVATIVE – BUILDING THE RIGHT BRIDGES

“New Zealand needs a viable coalition option before the 2020 election,” says Leader Leighton Baker at the launch of New Conservative.

Immediately following the 2017 election result, the impact of MMP politics and coalition governments highlighted the vulnerability for the major parties. The 1 News Colmar Brunton poll of 28 May 2018 again raised this question for the National Party.

“We recognise the importance to New Zealand of presenting real options for voters,” observes Baker.

“With several months to evaluate the political landscape, we appreciated how important the Conservative Party was for New Zealand, but we owed it to our members to build on our foundation with new energy and so New Conservative was born,” says Baker.

Established only six weeks before the 2011 election, the Conservative Party achieved over 2% and was well on track for the 5% threshold for the 2014 election before the well reported public fall out for the then party leader Colin Craig, who resigned from the party in 2016, and a rebuilding process began.

“Time worked against us for the 2017 election,” recalls Baker, “but we could not ignore the members who remain committed to the core values of the party.”

With sound policy, and a leadership with extensive experience in the areas that present most challenge for New Zealand, there is fertile ground for New Conservative.

“Our re-launch as New Conservative retains our connection to the solid foundation of our party values while allowing us to disconnect from a history that has nothing to do with who we are,” concludes Baker.


From their website:

WE STAND FOR

A belief in loyalty to a sovereign and united New Zealand, the supremacy of democratic parliamentary institutions and the rule of law.

A belief in the institutions of Parliament and the right of citizens to direct government by the democratic process including binding citizens initiated referenda.

A belief in the equality of all New Zealanders and that all citizens, regardless of race, gender or religion, have equal rights and privileges.

A belief in a decent society that values life, individual privacy, the freedom of the individual (including freedom of speech, conscience, faith and assembly), the right to defend one’s self and property and the importance of family.

A belief that it is the responsibility of individuals to provide for themselves, their families and their dependents, while recognizing that government must respond to those who require assistance and compassion.

It will be difficult for the New Conservatives to get media attention let alone anywhere near sufficient support to look like a viable option.

Via email:

On a wild and rainy Monday we managed to gather around 50 members and supporters for the launch of our new name, New Conservative.

It was an excellent time enjoyed by all and we left inspired that hope remains and that we are the Party that focuses on fixing the causes of the challenges we face as a nation, rather than throwing money or legislation at the problems.

The whole meeting was shown on Facebook Live and you can view the just over one hour long session here. After welcome and introductions, Elliot Ikilei spoke, followed by Leighton Baker.

The 5% threshold hasn’t been beaten by any new party yet under MMP. Craig’s millions and his quirkiness that attracted media coverage was not enough.

However there could be an opportunity in a changing party environment – voters may react against the move towards a virtual two party contest.

ACT campaign launch and education policy

The ACT Party has launched their campaign today and at the same time has announced new education policy – better pay for better teachers.

ACT announces better pay for great teachers

“Good teachers help children grow, develop, and reach their full potential which is vital to their future success,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Unfortunately, because of union contracts, teachers hit maximum pay after ten years, schools can’t reward successful teachers, and teaching is not regarded as a strong career choice for our brightest graduates.

“Right now the best teachers earn the same as the worst teachers. Graduates are deserting Auckland schools or deserting teaching altogether. Teachers can only earn more by taking on administrative work, and spending less time actually teaching kids.

“ACT says this is crazy. We want the best teachers to stay in the profession and in the classroom.

“With the current government surplus at $3.7 billion, ACT will give principals $975 million to pay good teachers more, without cutting government services or raising taxes. But the schools will only be eligible for this funding if they abandon nationally-negotiated union contracts. This will make it easier for principals to replace bad teachers with great ones.

“ACT’s Good Teacher Grants will boost teachers’ pay by $20,000 on average, and elevate teaching as a profession, to attract the best graduates to teach our children and keep the most capable teachers in the classroom.”

Speech and policy explainer : Pay Good Teachers More

ACT BELIEVES

New Zealand kids should be taught by highly skilled professional teachers. Education is the most important gift we can give our children, to give them a head-start in life.

It is wrong that the best teacher and the worst teacher are paid the same. Incentives matter, it’s wrong that the only way for teachers to increase their pay, in many cases, is to take management hours and spend less time teaching kids.

Teachers, as salaried professionals, are undervalued. To attract the best school leavers and graduates into teaching as a profession, we have to lift the overall salary range.

ACT’S RECORD ON EDUCATION

ACT’s proudest achievement is in introducing choice into education. We championed Partnership Schools which are seeing Iwi, Pasifika Groups, community groups and others running new-model schools which are changing kids lives. We don’t believe that one size fits all in education.

Our policy has been to increase support for independent schools – they save taxpayers money, and provide parents with choice in the type of education they get for their children.

OUR POLICY IS TO PAY GOOD TEACHERS MORE

This policy will add $1 Billion into the funding that is available for teacher salaries. On average we will increase teacher salaries by $17,700 per teacher. This will enable the best teachers to stay in the classroom, and elevate teaching as a profession.

The Government surplus sits at $3.7 Billion. That means this policy is affordable and we can deliver improvements in teacher quality alongside tax cuts, while maintaining all core government spending.

We will enable schools to opt out of union contracts. This will mean they gain the flexibility to recognise great teachers by paying them more and rewarding their achievement.

Schools will be able to pay more to attract teachers to fill specialist skills shortages – in areas like science, technology, Te Reo and international languages.

 

Aim: TOP dog on cross benches

It’s getting hard to differentiate between attention seeking stunts, a normal day in the campaign, and official party launches these days.

Gareth Morgan and the The Opportunities Party have been campaigning for Months, but they had their official campaign launch today.

Scoop:  Labour will need more than ‘Jacinda Trudeau’: TOP

“Quite clearly, Jacinda’s a great communicator, so that’s good,” said Morgan, who welcomed Labour’s resurgence as “great for New Zealand democracy”.

“It’s an issue of whether that’s sufficient for Labour: the Jacinda Trudeau Effect, I call it,” he said, referring to the impact a young, stylish leader has had on Canadian politics through its Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

On TOP:

While TOP’s plan was to “to be a 30 percent party by 2020”, he expected TOP to poll 10 percent at the Sept. 23 election, although modified that to “being realistic” 5 percent and six MPs in the next Parliament, enough potentially to help form a minority government led by either National or Labour.

TOP has polled 2 percent in three published polls and 3 percent in a UMR poll reported this week by Radio New Zealand.

The party hopes that means it has the momentum to make 5 percent by election day. As TOP expects to win no electorate seats, a party vote under 5 percent would be wasted as it would gain no parliamentary seats under New Zealand’s MMP proportional voting system.

Morgan insisted he did not want to become a Cabinet Minister and would look only to provide support to a government from Parliament’s ‘cross-benches’.

Rather than naming non-negotiable ‘bottom line’ policies, if TOP had a choice of partners, it would pick the one that promised to enact the largest number of TOP’s 15 main policies, said Morgan.

“Whoever gives us the most will get the nod.”

So Morgan wants to be TOP dog on the cross benches.

State of the campaign launch

Labour and Greens promoted Sunday’s event as joint ‘State of the Nation’ speeches from Andrew Little and Metiria Turei.

Mickysavage is more accurate at The Standard: The Labour Green 2017 campaign launch

Yesterday’s joint Labour Green state of the nation event was effectively a campaign launch for the 2017 election. And it went well.

It was clearly a campaign launch. It wasn’t about the state of the nation at all.

It was about the state of Bill English and the Government – crap.

And it was about the state of the Labour/Green union – fantastic.

it was all about their aims to change the government, but giving scant idea of what the proposed replacement government would look like.

Of course a lot depends on whether Labour in particular can grow their support between now and the election. To look like a credible lead party they really need to increase their support from the mid to high twenties to the mid to high thirties.

Unless Greens pick up the floating votes and increase their support to the 15-20% range, something they would really like to do, somehow avoiding decimating Labour too much because they need them to make it into power.

Mickysavage describes the campaign launch:

I attended the joint Labour-Green state of the Nation launch yesterday in Mt Albert and it was impressive.

It was a very comfortable event. There were many, many Auckland Labour activists in attendance. And there were many, many Green activists as well. I have spent a fair bit of time campaigning with both and to have them all in the same room at the same time was a very enjoyable experience.

It is clear that the senior staffers in both parties have put a great deal of planning and effort into the launch and it worked well.

it sounds like it did work well for the parties, the party leaders, and the party activists and members who attended.

The important thing will be whether it works well in the all important polls. Will the public warm to Labour-greens as a combined entity? We are yet to find that out, but there is no sign yet of it being the game changer that some hoped when it was first launched over half a year ago.

So the parties’ future are now linked.  In the past couple of elections suggestions by Russell Norman late in the campaign that the Greens could go with National in my opinion have hurt both Labour and the Greens.  The last time the parties campaigned together was in 2005, the last time that a progressive Government was elected.  Hopefully this year will repeat that event.

Is that a Freedian slip?

While Labour and Greens may have campaigned together in 2005, and successfully thwarted Don Brash and National, it didn’t turn out so well for the Greens.

Labour did a deal with Winston Peters that shut the greens out of government. A joint campaign ended up in Green pain.

This campaign launch joins Labour and Greens closer than ever – and Labour is in a much weaker position (they got 41.10% in 2005), and Greens have doubled their support from 5.3%.

The state of the campaign launch was good for the two parties.

The state of the election is what counts, and that will determine the state of the relationship when it comes to trying to form the next government.

I think the state of the response at The Standard is interesting. The Labour-Green-left supporting blog is hardly buzzing with enthusiasm. both comment numbers and comments seem to be relatively muted compared to past election campaigns.

The Labour-Green MoU launch

Greens have posted a video of the Labour-Green Memorandum of understanding launch at Parliament yesterday.

As well as media there was an audience of Labour and Green MPs plus staffers.

 

From Palino’s launch

First reactions via @tmurphyNZ from John Palino’s mayoralty launch:

Palino’s first answer to first question of his campaign: ‘I wasn’t the one who was found with his pants down in the Ngati Whatua room’

‘Whaleoil is NOT working for me. Why do you keep saying that??’ – Palino

‘We will not be running a smear campaign’ – Palino

Crosser and crosser…..

Palino melting down: shouting, voice wavering. ‘I care about these people – I don’t play dirty. What ya looking at me like that for Rebecca?

‘There’s an awful lot of corruption In this town. If you want somebody to step up and get rid of it someone who is gonna tell it like it is”.

Palino crowd heckling journos: ‘Wood from the neck up’ call at the esteemed David Fisher.

Okay so the raised voice, bellicose attack on the incumbent, the corrupt and the media has travelled from Tulsa to Takanini

$6!for a flat white at Palino’s cafe at the launch……

NZ Herald: John Palino joins Super City mayoralty race, promises 10% rate cut

Today, Mr Palino said Auckland ratepayers have faced massive increases forced on them by a wasteful council.

“Since the formation of the Auckland Council rates have risen from an initial increase of 2.9 per cent to last year’s unprecedented 9.9 per cent. Many ratepayers have had increases far in excess of these levels,” Mr Palino said.

“If elected I will institute a full review of council spending with cost savings passed on to ratepayers and redirected to essential ‘core’ spending,” he said.

“The waste and inefficiencies of present council operations mean that the council, following the 2016 election, will have a wide scope to reduce rates. Finding savings to allow a 10 per cent rates reduction across three years is very achievable.”

Auckland Now: Former candidate John Palino confirms he will stand again for Auckland mayor

Radio NZ: John Palino confirms push for Auckland mayoralty

Mr Palino today set out his pitch for the mayoralty, promising to cut rates by 10 percent in his first term.

It is his second attempt at Auckland’s top job, having lost to Len Brown by 50,000 votes three years ago.

He becomes the third centre-right candidate, alongside one-time National Party candidate Mark Thomas and businesswoman Victoria Crone, who is backed by Auckland National Party figures.

Veteran Labour MP Phil Goff launched his mayoral bid in November. Activist Penny Bright, rates campaigner Stephen Berry and former Green Party candidate David Hay are also standing.

It’s getting crowded on the centre right. Slightly to the left of that Goff must be smiling.

UPDATE: Tim Murphy has written a report of the launch at Spin off:

‘We need to look in the front-vision mirror’ – a very odd afternoon with John Palino

Very odd indeed.

And Slater has put up a fairly predictable post – he’s promoting John Palino!

NOW AUCKLANDERS HAVE A CHOICE…RATES INCREASES OR RATES DECREASES

They may be making their choices on a few more things than a promise that will be difficult to fulfil.

And Slater points out:

Other candidates like Goff and Crone announced their candidacy and promptly went on holiday with no policy to be seen as yet. That was a mistake and one Palino has capitalised on.

Palino may now wish he had gone on holiday today.

 

Freed from what?

What is Freed? Where is Freed? Freed from what?

According to Cameron Slater Freed is going to be a great new alternative media enterprise that will blow current media like NZ Herald and Fairfax away.

Announced on Whale Oil last July: CAMERON SLATER’S NEXT MEDIA VENTURE

We’ve been signalling that there is something in the wind that would see Whaleoil expand and grow without being specific about it.  The NBR reports:

[Cameron Slater] will start a news website before this year’s general election.

NBR ONLINE understands Instra managing founder Tony Lentino is funding
the news website which Cameron Slater says will have 10 staff.

Mr Slater will not confirm Mr Lentino’s involvement but says one private
investor has contributed a six-figure sum for the site.

He says the investor was motivated to act after being frustrated at the quality
of news and journalism in New Zealand.

Mr Slater refuses to comment on the business model for the news website
but says funding is sufficient for a year and advertising will not be needed.

Mr Slater’s associate, Regan Cunliffe, has registered a domain name,
freed.co.nz, but Mr Slater said this was only one of many options for the site.

Mr Cunliffe is the founder of TV website Throng.

Mr Slater says the Whale Oil site will continue at the same time and the sites
may break stories together.

At this stage we are not going to expand on any of the detail, suffice to say that instead of replacing Whaleoil, this new venture will implement similar strategies and draw on the same talents that is driving the unprecedented growth behind this site.  It will complement and run alongside Whaleoil, but is a completely separate venture focussed purely on “the news”.

It is time for a “New media” news service and a bit of a shake-up of the old media club.

It is not going to be right or left, but it is going to be a properly resourced new media venture with all the news, all the time.

The election last year was in September. Freed is not yet running.

In October Slater quoted Martyn Bradbury…

With Slater about to launch next year a new weaponised news media ‘Freed.co.nz’ complete with a drone operator, he will bend and push the boundaries of attack blogs into a whole new realm of horror. How will the left blogosphere compete with a $600,000 right wing attack blog is yet to be seen.

…and responded:

$600,000? That isn’t even 7 figures…WRONG again.

That’s not the only time a million-plus budget has been bragged about.

And while the launch (above) suggested “a properly resourced new media venture with all the news, all the time” in a post late last month – NZ HERALD EDITORIAL STILL NOT OVER IT – Slater hinted at an obsession with influence, which is at odds with news reporting..

One of the reasons the media has turned so poisonous against Whaleoil and me personally, is that I do still have influence. Trusted popular blogs have more influence. Blog operators are trusted by their audience. Blog operators are expected to be biased, wear it on their sleeves, and readers don’t feel like they’re being manipulated into being told to follow the corporate media line.

That last line is very ironic given Whale Oil’s reputation for being prostituted for money.

And the media are still in denial.

Wait until they have to cope with Freed in the market.   There will be job losses.   And it’s marketing 101:  you can’t tell your customers what they want.  They tell you what they want.

Whale Oil had a lesson on this when they banned a large number of commenters, often for very trivial reasons,which quickly resulted in a significant downturn in activity and what now often appears to be a comments section  that’s little more than a Whale Oil/Freed PR exercise.

The only thing I can not get my head around is the institutional failure by the boards of these media organisations to start putting shareholders ahead of their employees needs to play political games.  Poor leftie anarchists don’t buy subscriptions, and they have the least amount of disposable income to use on their advertisers’ products.

Long may they remain in denial.   Freed is stepping into a huge hole in the media market where we are going to deliver what people actually want.   Hardly radical.

Whaleoil is popular because?   Because we tell people what they must think?   Or might it just be because what is written here actually makes sense to an increasing amount of people?

Slater keeps linking Freed closely with Whale Oil. That’s a big risk for a big financial venture.

So what of Freed beyong Slater and Whale Oil? Their website doesn’t seem to have changed since this:

11/11/2014 – Interview details for applicants will be announced shortly.

We’re hiring! Here are some of the vacancies we need to fill:

News Editor
Chief Reporter
Production Editor
Filing Editor
Political Editor (Wellington based)
Senior Reporters
Junior Reporters
Data Journalists
Sports Reporters
Drone Operators
Video Editors
Camera Operators
Office Administrators
Receptionist
Personal Assistants
Graphic Designers
IT Support

No vacancy for Dirt Merchant – maybe that one has already been filled.

I don’t know how big a job market there is for experienced journalists who are prepared to work with Slater. They risk being tainted similar to how Laila Harre was with her Dotcom/Internet party association.

Chris Keall at NBR reported on October 11 – Tony Lentino’s ‘Whaleoil 2.0’ site back on

After a Dirty Politics lull, it looks like the online news site bankrolled by Tony Lentino is back on, or at least back in the spotlight.

A quick trip to DNC.org.nz reveals that Freed.nz is indeed registered to Lentino’s Instra Corporation, with another of his companies, Springhall Estate, listed as the contact. And Freed.co.nz, which clones Freed.nz, is registered to Throng co-founder Regan Cunliffe, one of those in orbit around the new news site.

Earlier, a person associated with the project told NBR it would be “much more than Cam” and “not Whaleoil 2.0”.

It’s not immediately clear how “Drone operators” would fit into the picture.

They seem to have been practising in Whale Oil comments.

Seriously, it all looks pretty high-tech. But if Cam figures large on Freed, the new site’s challenge could be more low-tech: over-coming the Dirty Politics allegations that he’s taken money from lobbyists, without disclosing it, to push various corporate interests.

It seems to be dominated by Slater. If Freed does eventually launch it will start encumbered by skepticism of Slater’s motives and ‘corporate interests’, and his recently practiced Goebellian control of comments at Whale Oil.

I guess ‘Freed’ is more marketable than ‘Heavily Censored’.

There’s been a little activity on Freed’s Facebook.

29 October: The CV’s are coming in thick and fast so if you’d like to be part of the next chapter of journalism in NZ, it’s time to let us know…

5 November: After being inundated with CVs we’re nearly ready to begin conducting interviews. It’s not too late to apply though.

7 November: Rehearsing traffic reports in the Freed chopper

9 December: What an incredible day of interviews yesterday.

But no word of launch plans or a date. Slater posted last week (January 7): NEWS IS DEAD, LONG LIVE NEWS!

Netguide’s onto it

More Kiwis are reading newspapers online, according to a survey on the use of digital media.

The survey, conducted by local PR firm Impact PR, shows more than two-thirds of Kiwis have read a newspaper online, or on a smartphone or tablet app, during the past year.

While uptake of electronic newspapers was high across the board, over three-quarters of those surveyed aged from 35 to 44 years old had read one online, and 61% of those aged over 65 had also done so. One in five Kiwis expects to read newspapers online or via an app in the next 12 months, according to the survey.

“What is heartening to see from this survey, is that Kiwis still have an appetite for news and want to be informed on what is happening around them,” says Fleur Revell, Impact PR director.

Of course they do.  There is an innate need for gossip and story telling that is very much part of being a human being.

“Clearly the emergence of online newspapers is something that Kiwis have taken to quickly and I think this growth is likely to continue as the convenience of digital media becomes even more ubiquitous through smart devices.”

Despite the popularity of digital newspapers, and many people expecting to increase their use of digital media when it comes to reading both newspapers and books online, there are widespread concerns about how this will affect literacy.

“Over half of those surveyed believe the increasing digital media consumption in New Zealand will have a negative impact on literacy levels here,” says Revell. “Even the 18-24 year olds who have grown up in a digitally-savvy world are concerned, with 47% believing this will have a negative result.”

While newspapers have a strong digital uptake, consumers appear to prefer their magazines printed, with just 25% of people saying they have downloaded or read an electronic magazine in the last year. Most consumers also don’t intend to seek out magazines in a digital form either – with 41% of those surveyed not intending to download or view an e-magazine in the next 12 months.

The time is indeed right for a New Zealand internet-delivered news service that doesn’t have the infrastructural, administrative, financial and political problems to bog it down.

A fresh start.

The promises of a fresh start are starting to get stale.

It will be interesting to see Freed when it eventually launches, how it might operate and whether it succeeds. Slater’s shadow looks like looming large.

It’s worth asking – Freed from what?

The Internet Party’s ‘Action Agenda’

The Internet Party has launched it’s website and member recruitment campaign. As promised it has ten items on an ‘Action Agenda’. Policy details are promised “in our upcoming manifesto”.

At first glance white text on a dark background is not the easiest to read.

A party that will give you faster, cheaper Internet, create high-tech jobs, protect your privacy, and safeguard our independence.

Generic points but in a unique cluster.

Cheaper, Unlimited Internet

Deliver cheaper, unlimited, high-speed Internet for everyone.

The Internet Party will put an end to the bandwidth monopoly, and stop the overpricing and limitations that are harming New Zealand’s digital future. We will make Internet connectivity 50% cheaper and universally available to all New Zealanders, including rural areas. We will take direct action to expand New Zealand’s infrastructure by building a second submarine cable, offering citizens opportunities to take part in the digital economy. 

Who will pay? There must be up front costs at least. If it’s Government subsidised then we pay by different means.
“Universally available to all New Zealanders” is a big promise, but vague. The internet is available to everyone now, with different degrees of accessibility and cost.
“Including rural areas” – user pays or subsidised?

Innovation and Jobs

Boost innovation and high-tech jobs in New Zealand.

The Internet Party’s policies about the digital economy and the environment will bring more innovation, investment, and high-tech jobs to New Zealand. We will double the research and development investment in New Zealand from businesses with incentives and benefits. The Internet Party will support skills development and bridge the digital divide to help everyone connect to and benefit from the Internet.

Very vague and little different to what other parties promise.

Spying and Net Freedom

Stop the government from spying on citizens.
The Internet Party will fight against mass surveillance, removing its legal basis in New Zealand. We will establish better oversight of spy agencies to make sure privacy rights are respected. We will progress a Bill of Digital Rights to ensure that freedoms are appropriately protected online. All New Zealanders have the right to interact and communicate online, securely and privately

Few would argue with that in general. Putting it into practice in a country that’s part of a very interconnected world via communications, politics and trade will be challenging.<

Independence

Strengthen New Zealand’s independence.
From the anti-nuclear movement to women’s voting rights, New Zealanders aren’t afraid of doing what’s right. Our independence must continue. We must not sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement unless it ensures New Zealand’s continued ability to shape our own future and be free from undue foreign and corporate influence. The Internet Party will push for a review of our national security arrangements to ensure they reflect New Zealand’s future interests.

Independence always has to be balanced against inter-dependence, we can’t cut ourselves off from the world, so this will be a lot harder than it sounds. Anything like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement  has to involve trade-offs. The “national security arrangements”  statement means little.

Copyright Reform

Reform copyright laws.

The Internet Party will draft a modern copyright law that ensures safe harbour for Internet service providers, promotes fair use, and compels global content creators to make their products available here without the usual delays. We will advance a balanced system that rewards creators and benefits the public, which in turn will attract innovation and new businesses. Free and open access to knowledge and research is a key requirement for New Zealand’s digital future. 

New Zealand, like any country, can’t make “global content creators to make their products available here without the usual delays”.

“Free and open access” – compelling information providers to do it for free? Some? All?

“A balanced system that rewards creators and benefits the public” sounds good but could be very difficult to achieve, especially as it has to deal with a complex situation already in place.

Digital Currency

Introduce a government-sponsored digital currency.

The Internet Party will support the introduction of a New Zealand-sponsored digital currency that is safe, secure and encrypted, providing for instant international transactions at minimal cost. By becoming a digital currency leader, New Zealand can become a key hub for a growing financial sector.

Sounds a good ideal in theory. Can it be put into practice?

Responsive Government

Make government work for its citizens, not the other way around.

The Internet Party will make government more efficient. Today’s government is disconnected from the public, while citizens regularly experience frustration when accessing government services. We will make the government work for the people. Citizens will be able to give feedback on performance, and we’ll ensure that faster and better government service is delivered as a result. 

Another very good in theory ideal. Similar has been proposed for as long as I can remember.  Government after government has found that it isn’t easy to change a very well established public service organisation.

Will it grow government services? Or will efficiencies reduce the number of jobs required.

 Modern Schools

Modernise schools and the education system.

With our vast knowledge and experience with technology, we are committed to improving New Zealand’s schools. We will ensure high-speed Internet connects every classroom in a safe and teacher-led environment, and that teachers and students are provided with the necessary tools to succeed. The Internet Party pledges to fix the unacceptable Novopay debacle as a priority.

Sounds good. Radical changes in education have often been difficult to get accepted let alone implemented.

How will it be done and HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST?

Environment

Encourage green technologies and protect our environment.

The Internet Party supports a clean energy future. We support investing in clean energy technologies that minimise our impact on the environment and promote sustainable development. We will push for New Zealand to become a world leader in green technologies and smart homes and cities. The Internet Party will work to build green data centres in New Zealand and attract global online companies.

Most of this would be agreed to by all parties. On John Key’s recent trip to China agreements were made to promote green technologies between the countries.

How much will investments in green technologies cost? Will there be a good return on the investment?

And More…

The Internet Party will nominate candidates who are experts in important areas of social policy and reducing social inequalities. We will lead identification of successful global examples, and adapt them to New Zealand based on data-mining, evidence and data-led policy development. Party members and experts will play a direct role in the formation of the Internet Party’s policies.

First they have to attract candidates who are experts. All parties have difficulty in attracting top calibre candidates especially parties with doubtful chances of success. The Internet Party has shown it can recruit people to administrative roles – being apparently well financed helps – but top people may need to see a reasonable chance of electoral success before committing themselves.

There can only be one candidate with the best chance of succeeding. There will only be some people at the top of the party list.

Most of this sounds fine and most people would see little wrong with it – if it could be achieved. But it’s mostly vague and virtually all parties could claim something similar for themselves.

This is a reasonable first up effort – it takes a lot of time to develop substantial policy, and you need a party to do that. Until today there were no members, and until it is registered there is no party – at best several weeks away.

It’s time consuming but not difficult to write up fine sounding policies.

But most people don’t vote for policies, they vote for personalities, they vote for people who they think can do a good job in Parliament.

Until detailed policies are developed and especially until a credible party leader and candidates are known this is an ok early stages work in progress.

This isn’t really an Action Agenda, it’s a starting point. A lot of substantial action will be required.

 

Internet Party Thursday launch on track

The Internet Party is on track to launch this Thursday.

The Party chief executive Vikram Kumar says that apps have been approved for members to sign up via their iphones, ipads and Macs Party, as well as Android and website registration.

For the first time it will be based on online registrations with electronic signatures in a process approved by the Electoral Commission.

NZ Herald reports in Dotcom’s Internet Party app approved:

“What we did with them was to try and understand what the requirements were”, Mr Kumar said.

“We then found a way to meet those requirements, then showed them both through a concept stage then took them through a prototype and they were happy with that and they’ve approved the use of that.”

How this works will be of interest to other parties who want to register members. Last year UnitedFuture’s re-registration was delayed because the Electoral Commission insisted on paper applications signed by party members. There is now a fully electronic option.

Prospective members will be able to use a touch screen, mouse or track pad to sign the necessary declaration after filling out the membership form on the Apple or Android app or on the party’s website.

“Whatever people have it works for everyone. Essentially you’ve signed it as a document.”

It will be interesting to see how this works in practice, especially signing by mouse.

Kim Dotcom said recently he hoped to get the required members signed up in a day. Kumar is more realistic about it.

While the ability to sign up members online will speed up the process of getting to 500 members, Mr Kumar was unsure how long that process would take.

“There hasn’t been a way of trying to gauge interest. We’ve had a lot of people contact us, people working for the party and Kim directly asking how they can sign up. There’s definitely substantial interest. That has to be converted to people signing up and paying $1.29.

“I’m reasonably optimistic it will happen quickly.”

Expressing interest is different to providing personal details, signing up and paying up.

The cost of downloading an app for smartphones will count as payment for membership. That simplifies payments, but presumably website sign-ups will require a payment facility.

It’s also unknown what effect the talk of doing a deal with the Mana Party will have. Being able to take advantage of a sitting MP with a good chance of retaining their electorate seat is a practical benefit as it removes the 5% threshold hurdle,  but there have been eyebrows raised about the unlikely partnership between parties with very different attractions.

An alliance has caused concerns within Mana, notably from Sue Bradford who said she would walk away from Mana if it happened.

It may also make Hone Harawira’s chances of retaining his Te Tai Tokerau seat. Labour have indicated that Kelvin Davis will contest the seat again. Davis has been reducing Harawira’s majority over the past few elections.

And David Farrar blogs about this in The defence of the Mana Dotcom deal quoting Harawira’s press secretary saying “Ok so we would be helping a fat white rich prick with a bunch of money, but it would obviously help MANA to!” Reaction indicates major reservations.

NZ Herald refers to divisions in Mana confirms Dotcom talks.

The Internet Party won’t have much of substance to offer at launch time.

Mr Kumar said some “high level policy” would be discussed but party spokesman John Mitchell said there would be no information about candidates as they would be drawn from members once the party was registered.

Policies and people are what drives party support. Having vague policy details and no candidates seems to make it difficult to present a case for prospective members to join immediately.

We will see on Thursday if the party launch comes up with some compelling carrots.