Leader’s responses

Andrew Little was quick to respond to John Key’s resignation announcement via Twitter:

That’s a gracious and respectable off the cuff reaction. And on Facebook:

Although we have our differences on policy, John Key has served this country generously and with dedication. I called him this afternoon to wish him and his family the best.

Metiria Turei put more politics and herself into her response.

A more considered response from Greens co-leader James Shaw:

Green Party statement on resignation of the Prime Minister

The Green Party wishes to extend its best wishes to the Prime Minister, following his resignation today.

“On behalf of Metiria, the Green Party MPs and the Party, I would like to thank John Key for his eight years of service as Prime Minister,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“No matter your political allegiance, you have to respect someone who chooses to make the personal sacrifices required to be our country’s Prime Minister.

“I would like to pass along our best wishes to him for whatever his future holds, and to his wife, Bronagh, and children Stephie and Max as well, who I’m sure have made many sacrifices of their own.

“Being the leader of a major political party, and indeed the country, is not an easy job; Mr Key should be applauded for his commitment to public service and to New Zealand,” said Mr Shaw.

Māori Party acknowledges John Key

Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell
Māori Party Co-Leaders

The Māori Party will always be grateful to John Key for making a space at the table of his Government for a kaupapa Māori Party.

“It has been under the leadership of John Key that the Māori Party has been able to secure gains for Maori and advance kaupapa Māori over the past eight years,” said Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

“We may not have agreed on everything but we’ve always maintained a respectful relationship with the Prime Minister and he with us,” said Mr Flavell.

“We’ve had some tough talks on many issues but at the end of the day, respect for each other prevailed and that’s why he has always seen us as a party that governments can work with,” said Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

“We’re all about whānau in the Māori Party, so we understand and support Mr Key’s call to return to his family and be with them more.”

Both co-leaders were confident that the new Prime Minister would continue the mana-enhancing relationship between the National Party and the Māori Party.

“It’s up to the National Party to decide who will lead them now. The Māori Party will work with anyone to advance kaupapa Māori.”

The Act Party:

And a press release:

ACT congratulates John Key

“The ACT Party congratulates John Key on eight years as Prime Minister, and the noble way he has bowed out,” says ACT Leader David Seymour

“Under John’s leadership, the Government has steadfastly maintained New Zealand’s policy settings.  As a result, we remain at the top of almost every international league table for good policy settings. In the long term, all Prime Ministers are judged for the policies they leave behind, and John will be judged well.

“It is a reality of MMP that ACT has played a vital role helping John to become and remain Prime Minister. He thanked me for that this morning. I’d like to thank him on behalf of ACT and its previous leaders for the constructive way we’ve worked together over the past eight years.

“We also extend our warmest regards to Bronagh as the Keys get their lives back after a decade of service to the country.”

Peter Dunne (United Future):

“I’m gonna miss him”.

“I got a call from the Prime Minister about 12.20 this afternoon to inform me and he gave his reasons, as I understand it family, time to move on, time to give a new leader a good chance with the run-in to the election next year etc.

“I admire him for having the courage to make that call, it would have been very easy if his mind was somewhere to have simply carried on for the sake of the party. It’s a huge decision and it’s one I think that no one in their wildest dreams would have imagined happening.

“The test will be just who the new leader is, how that beds down, and what the reaction of New Zealand is. I think most New Zealanders will take a day or two to absorb this, and then they will make a judgement based on what they see the likely new line-up looking like.”

Ex Prime Minister Helen Clark:

 “John Key has worked tirelessly to promote New Zealand and its interests over eight years as Prime Minister. I am personally highly appreciative of the support he has given me as a New Zealander in the international system. I respect his decision to stand down now and spend more time with Bronagh and his children, and I wish him all the best for whatever the future holds.”

Bill English:

John Key’s intelligence, optimism and integrity as Leader of the National Party and Prime Minister of New Zealand means he will be judged by history as one of New Zealand’s greatest leaders, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says.

“On behalf of the National Party, the Government and New Zealand I thank John for his years of dedicated and outstanding service to our country.

“Through good times and bad, his strong leadership has been steadfast and this is a more confident, successful and self-assured country because of his contribution. He has truly made a difference.

“I thank Bronagh, Stephie and Max for the sacrifice they’ve made to enable John to be an extremely successful and effective leader.  We are deeply appreciative.

“While the gap he leaves is huge we understand and respect his decision to step down from a job from which there is no respite.  We wish John and his family every success with their life out of the public eye.

“Under John Key’s leadership the Government has worked alongside New Zealanders to ensure our country is one of the most desirable places to live, work and raise a family in the world.”

The National Caucus will consider the implications of the Prime Minister’s decision and how to ensure New Zealand stays on course to continue building a strong economy, increasing opportunities for our families and businesses, rewarding enterprise and effort, while protecting the most vulnerable.

“It is a tribute to the Prime Minister’s outstanding leadership that he will leave behind a united team with plenty of talent to take New Zealand forward and build on his legacy,” Mr English says.

The worst for last – Winston Peters:

Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today that he is to stand down cannot be credible , or for any reasons he has given, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The fact is that the economy is not in the healthy state that the Prime Minister has for so long claimed, and there are other issues which have caused this decision as well.

“The New Zealand public should have been informed of this a long time ago.

“Clearly the Prime Minister does not believe the superficial polls any longer.

“Contrary to certain perceptions the Prime Minister and his Finance Minister are unable to muddy the waters anymore.”

Is he just a bitter old twit, or does he really think that will attract support for NZ First?

Shaw avoids electorate question

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

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

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

Wellington Central would have to be on that list.

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

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

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

Nelson electorate deal denials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greens are also now denying a deal has been done.

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

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

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

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

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

Turei on landlord v. tenant rights

In Parliament today Green co-leader Metiria Turei asked a contentious question about landlord family’s rights versus tenant family’s rights.

Metiria Turei: Is the Minister arguing that a landlord’s family has more rights to that home than the tenant’s family, who may well have been living in that home for many years, built their lives around the schools and working community there—that those tenants have fewer rights than those other families?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, we believe in property rights. The landlord owns the property, and if they wish it for themselves or their family then they have to give only 42 days’ notice, so yes.

Either the landlord or the tenant giving notice to vacate a rented property has been fairly common through my lifetime.

I don’t know if it is happening elsewhere but in Dunedin 12 month tenancy agreements have become common, tying them in with annual turnover of student accommodation.

I believe the Greens are pushing for virtually lifetime guarantees for tenants.

Full transcript:


Residential Tenancies (Safe and Secure Rentals) Amendment Bill—Support

5. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister for Building and Housing: Ka tautoko ia ia taku Pire e hoatu nōhanga wā roa ana, ngita ana, tū roa ana i runga i tana tohutohu ki te hunga hoko whare tuatahi, ko nāianei, “probably not a good time for a young family to buy”; i tētahi whare i Akarana?

[Will he support my bill to provide more secure and stable long-term tenancies, given his recent advice to first-home buyers that now is “probably not a good time for a young family to buy” a house in Auckland?]

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Housing) on behalf of the Minister for Building and Housing: Although we certainly respect what the member is trying to do as far as tenants’ rights are concerned, we will not be supporting the bill, with the reason being that we are genuinely concerned that it might drive up compliance costs and actually end up harming tenants more than it ends up actually helping. The Government, however, is open to reforms that would encourage longer-term tenancies, and work is under way on setting up a stakeholder group on these very issues.

Metiria Turei: If the Minister is telling first-home buyers now not to buy a house, because homes are too expensive, will he at least support better tenancy rules that will create transparency around rent rises, given that rents are increasing at twice the rate of wages and families cannot afford that level of increase?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: The first part of the member’s statement, I believe, is taken a bit out of context, and we are certainly not telling first-home buyers not to buy. In fact, we are seeing the opposite happen, and even in my own electorate of Hobsonville Point you can see many new homeowners buying there. However, in relation to the transparency and to some of the clauses in the bill, as I say, I think they need careful consideration. We have concerns on this side of the House about unintended consequences and those not being positive for the tenant.

Metiria Turei: If the Minister is encouraging people to stay renting because housing is so expensive to buy, will he give renters more security in their homes by removing the 42-day eviction notice, which is leading to increased levels of homelessness?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I do not support the first statement by the member, but in relation to the second statement, 90 days is actually the norm and there are exceptions that can be the 42 days. The exceptions to the 90 days are where the landlord’s family or themselves want to move in, or an employee, and then in the cases of where they might have sold. Where it is sold, it is when there is an unconditional agreement actually signed and the new owner wants a vacant property. It is 42 days from then, not from when it goes on the market or anything else, so, actually, 90 days is the norm.

Metiria Turei: Is the Minister arguing that a landlord’s family has more rights to that home than the tenant’s family, who may well have been living in that home for many years, built their lives around the schools and working community there—that those tenants have fewer rights than those other families?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, we believe in property rights. The landlord owns the property, and if they wish it for themselves or their family then they have to give only 42 days’ notice, so yes.

Metiria Turei: Has the Minister talked to the Minister of Education about the effect on children from having to move schools every year because their parents cannot afford stable long-term tenancies in homes because of rent increases and 42-day notices?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Yes, I have, and actually we agree with, and share, her concerns around those who are moving a lot and not actually getting settled in their communities. That is why we have a number of things that are in place that are leading towards that—whether it is around social housing, whether it is around the work that is going on via schools and social workers in schools and other sorts of programmes. What we are concerned about is that some of the policies that the member is trying to put through, in her bill, potentially could have landlords withdrawing houses for tenants and, as a consequence of that, we think that that of course will mean fewer homes and actually lead to more disadvantage for those very people whom she is trying to help.

Metiria Turei: Does the Minister not understand how irrational it is for the Minister of housing to be telling families not to buy a house because housing is too expensive and yet to stay in rental accommodation when renting is, as she has said, insecure, unstable, and expensive?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I know it is hard for the member to appreciate, but actually I think that there is probably agreement across the House on what we want to see as the outcomes for these people. What we disagree on is actually the venue and the vehicle for doing that, and the member’s bill, at the very worst, is actually careless and could lead to more actual vulnerability for those very families whom she is trying to help. We have said that we are looking at setting up a stakeholders’ advisory group where it can be carefully considered and we can make sure that we have got the interests of the tenants foremost in those views. We already made changes to the Residential Tenancies Act earlier this year, which I think go some way towards protecting some of the tenants’ rights—

Metiria Turei: No, it doesn’t.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: —well, they do, actually—and that is what we will continue to do, but it will be in a careful and thoughtful manner that actually leads to better outcomes.

Little denies electorate deals

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

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

Good morning, joins us soon with exclusive details of backroom deals between Labour and the Greens ahead of next year’s election

‘In Nelson the Greens feel like they can pick up a lot of votes’ on backroom deals between Labour and Greens.

Green’s won’t stand a candidate in Ohariu, paving the way for a Labour candidate to battle with United Future’s Peter Dunne.

Green’s co-leader Metiria Turei will run in Te Tai Tonga, Labour candidate Rino Tirikatene told by party not to run.

They reported that Turei informed Tirikatene.

But Andrew Little denies any deals have been made.

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

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

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

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

From the Labour-Green Memorandun of Understanding:

2. Working Together

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

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

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

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

Little has been caught very flat footed.

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

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

It looks like a power play by Turei.

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

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

Has Turei jumped the gun? If so, why?

Earthquakes, tax cuts and crazy politics

Politics generally kept away from the earthquakes last week but parties have gone plain crazy on them now.

John Key said from Peru that tax cuts may be still in the mix of Government policies offered in next year’s election bribes – see ‘Tax and family’ package planned.

Andrew Little has responded saying that talk of tax cuts was ‘plain crazy’.

But both Labour and Greens have come out in support of expensive sounding housing policies.

NZ Herald: Key says earthquakes could dent Government options for tax relief, but not forever

Key said the cost of the earthquake and resulting economic conditions could affect the Government’s ability to offer tax cuts in the short term “but probably not in the medium term.”

That suggests that any “tax or family package” as he termed it, might be promised in the 2017 Budget take effect only if National wins a fourth term.

Key was answering questions at Apec in Peru about the cost of the earthquake and its affect on income tax cuts.

Key was responding to questions asked by media.

Labour leader Andrew Little said talk of tax cuts was “plain crazy” when debt levels were high, superannuation costs were rising and the government had the cost of the disaster to meet.

Little said that to suggest there was still some room for tax cuts show that Key was out of touch.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said any talk of tax cuts was “weird” when the damage was still being assessed.

So Key should have refused to answer questions about possible tax plans in relation to substantial earthquake costs?

The unknown costs of the earthquakes hasn’t stopped Labour and Greens promoting the spending of more money.

On Saturday Metiria Turei announced:

Green Party launches plan to get more low-income Kiwis into their own home

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei has today launched a progressive ownership plan to provide up to 10,000 new homes for lower-income Kiwis to own, and to empower community housing groups with new financing models to help fix the housing crisis.

“Up to 5,000 new, energy efficient homes will also be available for the community housing sector to purchase using progressive ownership.”

That will presumably cost a substantial amount of money.

Also on Saturday Labour backed the Greens housing spending policy:

Green policies support Labour’s housing plan

The Green Party’s housing package is a welcome complement to Labour’s plan to fix the housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“The Greens’ rent to buy scheme complements Labour’s KiwiBuild policy to build 100,000 affordable homes for families to buy.

And yesterday Green MP Jan Logie: Govt needs to make funding more available for children with disabilities

So it’s ok for the Labour and Green parties to promote policies involving more spending but Key is crazy for responding to media questions about tax cuts as a part of a ‘family package’?

Who is out of touch?

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Green ‘progressive ownership plan’

Metiria Turei announced some new housing policy for the Greens today that well help up to 10,000 lower income people into home ownership – “home for life” – and will “empower community housing groups’.


Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei has today launched a progressive ownership plan to provide up to 10,000 new homes for lower-income Kiwis to own, and to empower community housing groups with new financing models to help fix the housing crisis.

The plan was launched at the Habitat for Humanity conference in Rotorua, and builds on the Green Party’s Home for Life policy, which was first launched before the last election.

“Our Home for Life plan is about giving more New Zealanders a fair shot at owning their own home – even when the market’s stacked against them,” said Mrs Turei.

“Building more houses that people can actually afford to buy is a critical part of solving the housing crisis.

“Our progressive ownership model will help to make the home ownership dream a reality for people who are locked out of the market right now because they can’t afford a deposit or a normal commercial mortgage.

“We’re also going to make sure the community housing sector has the finance and political support they need to drive their important work.

“Up to 5,000 new, energy efficient homes will also be available for the community housing sector to purchase using progressive ownership.

“Investors who want low-risk, socially responsible investment options, will be able to use their money to help fix the housing crisis – they’ll be able to buy into the building of thousands of affordable houses for Kiwis who need them.

“The Green Party will empower the community housing sector to play a big part in ending the housing crisis, with low-interest loans funded by housing bonds.

“Community housing providers, including iwi, have the skills, experience, and expertise to help more New Zealanders into homes and we will work with them to develop new models of housing for New Zealand,” said Mrs Turei.

Read more about the plan here.


No indication of how this would work alongside Labour’s housing policy, which includes a plan to build 10,000 houses a year for ten years.

NZ lessons from US election

There’s a lot to be learned from the US campaign and election, including here in New Zealand.

Andrew Little is nowhere near being seen as an establishment alternative, and Labour+Greens are campaigning on being a different flavour of same old. Metiria Turei and especially James Shaw don’t stand out as the alternative the masses want.

Winston Peters is trying hard to ride the Trump wave here, and he does have a maverick aspect, but you can’t get much more “same old” and part of the political establishment as Peters.

And while Peters says a lot how much has he actually done this century apart from benefiting from a few baubles and giving pensioners free transport in some areas (not in the regions he claims to champion).

Peters achieved a lot in winning the Northland by-election, but what has he achieved there since? He can hardly campaign there next year on being something different for the far north.

But if National wants to hold their edge in next year’s election they need to do far more than sit on their comfortable economy.

There is growing dissatisfaction with the growing disparity between low and middle income earners. The Prime Minister and all MPs have just had another pay rise of 2.5%, backdated to July – who else gets backdated pay rises these days?

Last year MPs received an increase between 3 and 4 percent after a law change aligning their salaries with public sector pay rises.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/317620/mps-given-2-point-5-percent-pay-rise

This is well ahead of ordinary people’s wage growth. It is indexed to high earners rather than average earners. This indicates the wage gap is widening.

The Government ignores this and other growing areas of dissatisfaction at their peril.

Incremental ‘steady as she goes’ has been rejected in Britain and in the US.The people of the Western world are becoming increasingly restless and increasingly annoyed at ‘the establishment’.

Are Key and English capable of being bold reformists? Or will they dice with danger and bank on being returned because they might be a bit better than the other lot?

Once dissatisfaction with the incumbent government sets in it can be very difficult to combat.

Greens versus Donald Trump

In Parliament today on behalf of the Prime Minister Steven Joyce moved a motion in support of the election of the President of the United States.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I move, That the House convey its congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump on his election as the next President of the United States, and to Vice-President-elect Mike Pence on his election, and in doing so express our desire to work with the incoming Trump Administration to continue building on New Zealand’s already strong relationship with the United States.

New Zealand will seek to build on this already-strong relationship with the incoming Trump Administration in order to advance our shared interests. In closing, I would also like to pay tribute to the outgoing administration led by President Barack Obama. President Obama has been a good friend to New Zealand, and we wish him all the best in the future.

Hon ANNETTE KING (Deputy Leader—Labour): The Labour Party congratulates Donald Trump on becoming the 45th President of the United States. I also want to congratulate Hillary Clinton, who achieved much in her public life, and who has been a good friend to New Zealand. There is no doubt, over the year-long divisive presidential campaign, that many Americans have been left fearful and concerned as to where they fit in their county. I call on Mr Trump to follow through on his words and pledge last night that it is now time for America to bind the wounds of division, and that he will be the President for all Americans.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): A week ago today I was honoured to speak in winegrowing territory in Marlborough, to its chamber of commerce. In a speech entitled “The grapes of wrath”, I predicted what so many experts did not…[lengthy speech along the lines of how what Trump has done should be called ‘doing a Winston’]

MARAMA FOX (Co-Leader—Māori Party): I had three words in mind and they were not those ones. I think they were pot, kettle, and black. Ha! We are here today to offer congratulations to the President-Elect, Donald Trump. Although I find it a little bit difficult, there was a collective sigh this morning and a girding of the loins for the next 4 years across the world. I am a pragmatist at heart. I like to see the silver lining around the clouds.

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): On behalf of the ACT Party, I would like to join with other leaders who have supported the motion congratulating the 45th President-Elect of the United States, Donald Trump. That happens in the context of a long friendship between our two countries and our two peoples. I think it is important that we respect the will of the American people.

In contrast Metiria Turei took a different approach:

METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green): “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” These are the words of one of the truly great Americans, Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday’s result in the US elections has left me and the Green Party even more determined than ever to fight for the values that we believe in. We have generations of families living in poverty; people who face uncertain futures, without proper housing or healthcare or education; and people who do not believe that being involved can make a difference. That is something that we can—that we must—change.

We must use the Trump election as a powerful motivator, a motivator to stay involved in the governance of our country, and to include others in that process; to organise; to be strong; to listen to each other; to speak truth to power; to find hope; and to be kind to each other—to be kind.

So, no, I will not support this motion to congratulate Trump, and neither will the Green Party. We vow to fight the climate change denial, the misogyny, and the racism represented by Trump. We will not let hate triumph. Thank you.


Full transcript: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20161110_20161110_08

The motion congratulating Donald Trump passed by 106 votes to 14 (the Green MPs).

The Greens are in to making stands based on their principles, and they can say what they like about the incoming president, and snub him if they choose.

But there is a well established democratic principle that even when you disagree with or don’t like political candidates if they are elected by their people then others need to accept this process and attempt at least to engage with and work with whoever leads other countries.

Perhaps this reflects the Greens’ lack of experience in that practicalities of governing situations.

You could shun half the country and half the world on principles, but to successfully govern the reality is you have to be prepared to accept whoever represents other countries and work with them.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama accepted that Trump had won the right to govern and Obama pledged to work with Trump to make his transition to power as seamless as possible, as he should.

If Greens became part of a government I wonder who it would work. They seem to not want to associate with many leaders and countries, including some of our biggest trading partners.

Child poverty target versus targets

There has been an ongoing argument in Parliament this week about how to target child poverty after the Children’s Commissioner suggested an overall target of reducing it by 5-10% in a year.

1 News: Key shuns Children’s Commissioner’s child poverty target

A target promoted by Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft  to reduce child poverty has been rejected by Prime Minister John Key who says it’s not as simple as that.

The new Children’s Commissioner says politicians should put aside politics and agree to reduce child poverty by five to 10 per cent next year.

Debate on this continued yesterday in Question Time, with Metiria Turei pressing John Key on a single target, while Key insisted it was far more complex than that and that the Government had a number of poverty targets.

Draft transcript:

Prime Minister—Government Policies

2. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Ka tū a ia i runga i te mana o ngā kaupapa here katoa o tāna Kawantatanga?

[Does he stand by all his Government’s policies?]

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister still believe, as he said in this House yesterday, that it is better and more effective for the Government to set individual targets on components of child poverty rather than a specific child poverty reduction target?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.

Metiria Turei: When the Prime Minister talked yesterday about the Better Public Services targets, like rheumatic fever and early childhood education, did he know that the expert advisory group on child poverty provided a comprehensive list of 51 child poverty – related indicators, including both of those?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, but that is exactly the point, is it not? Last week the member was saying that the target should have 17—today she seems to be saying it is 51. For the last while she has been saying that the number of children is 360,000 and then she said yesterday that she wanted to accept that the Government’s number of 85,000—or at least, 60,000 to 100,000—was correct. She is all over the map, and that is the point. The Government is far better to approach—

Metiria Turei: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He has not addressed the question, and has instead talked about a Green Party position, which he has no authority over.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No. When the Prime Minister rose to answer the question he addressed the question immediately. He certainly has gone on to enlarge on that answer, which is probably unnecessary, but he certainly answered the question immediately.

Metiria Turei: When the Prime Minister committed to his Government using individual indicators and targets to address child poverty, did he mean that he would adopt the expert advisory group’s recommendations for a comprehensive list of child poverty – related indicators?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What the Government did—and, I think, quite correctly—was to say that poverty is a very complicated issue, but that there are some individual component parts which, if the Government focuses resources on and gives attention to, can make significant gains. We are doing that in terms of rheumatic fever. We are doing that in terms of the number of children being immunised. We are doing that in terms of the number of children having access to early childhood education. We are doing that in terms of the number of teenage pregnancies, with young mums on the equivalent of the domestic purposes benefit. I think it is far more sensible for the Government to approach this issue in a systematic and thorough way, dealing with each of these issues, rather than the member spending, as she wants to, her lifetime dreaming up some dodgy number that she knows is wrong.

Metiria Turei: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That was an unnecessary and personal attack—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I could not hear correctly what the point of order is.

Metiria Turei: I take personal offence at that personal attack on my integrity, and I ask him to withdraw and apologise.

Mr SPEAKER: I do not think that the final part of the answer was helpful to the order of the House; I accept that. But I hardly think it was a personal attack on the member.

Metiria Turei: So will the Prime Minister expand the Better Public Services targets to include all of those other indicators that experts have said contribute to child poverty, such as household crowding, infant mortality, self-harm and suicide by children, and serious skin infections?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I doubt we would have an individual Better Public Services target for each one, or there would be so many individual targets that it might lose some of its meaning. All of those issues are on the Government’s radar, and all of them are getting attention.

Metiria Turei: When the Prime Minister is refusing to establish official measurements of child poverty, and also will not set targets for a comprehensive list of child poverty – related outcomes, is he not really telling the country that he will avoid any attempt to identify, to measure, or to reduce child poverty in New Zealand?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Quite the opposite. This is the first Government in the history of this Parliament that has had a list of Better Public Services targets and has been quite happy to be measured against them, and has set those targets in quite challenging areas. The Government produces a raft of different measures and reports in relation to poverty and income, including the longitudinal study by Bryan Perry, which shows that income inequality is not getting worse. The reason the member does not quote it is that she does not like it, because it does not suit her arguments.

Metiria Turei: So what has changed since 2012, when the Prime Minister said: “If you don’t measure, monitor and report on things, I don’t think you can make progress.”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Absolutely nothing, and that is why the Government has these individual targets and has a range of different measures. But it is not this Government; there has been longstanding advice from officials that one single measure of poverty in this country would be an inappropriate way of dealing with it.