Election – the money or the bag?

Is the election going to be as simple a few bucks in the hand versus a lot of other people getting more?

Toby Morris portrays it as a simple choice in The money or the bag?

As the parties reveal their priorities for September’s election, voters are starting to see the choices they’re facing.

Labour has released its alternative budget, which would put $17 billion more towards health, education and family incomes over four years.

And the Green Party pledged to raise core benefits and the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, National set out tax cuts in the Budget in May – though it also boosted Working for Families and the accommodation supplement, and put some extra funding towards health, including mental health, and education. Labour would scrap the tax cuts to pay for its programme.

eight_col_money_or_the_bag

I don’t know that voters will see it as simple as that sort of a choice.

Green belief in change of Government

After their annual AGM in the weekend the Green Party believes it has what is required to change the Government.

RNZ: Greens and Labour cement plan to oust National

The Green party believes it has the money, members and momentum to finally change the government at the next election.

They believed that in 2014 too.

But there are two or three vital things missing from that list.

Votes.

The Labour Party, an essential for Green success, appears to be short of money, members and momentum.

And probably, Winston. NZ First will probably be required to make up the numbers, and will also have to choose Labour over National despite Labour presumably having significantly lower support than National, and even if NZ First chooses Labour over National that could be on the condition that Greens are left out in the cold, as happened in 2005.

The Greens can’t change the Government on their own. Despite targeting 15% in 2014 they failed to increase their vote in 2o014 (it reduced slightly) and may have hit a Green ceiling.

By symbolically joining with Labour in an agreement (that expires before coalition negotiations begin) Greens may feel they have strengthened their position but it could just as easily play against them, or at least play against Labour as it makes them look weaker.

The Labour-Green alliance has accentuated the Winston elephant in the room.

It’s a bold move by the Greens to define fights against both National and NZ First at the same time.

Money – Greens do well with fund raising but money doesn’t buy success in politics, as Colin Craig and Kim Dotcom and Hone Harawira discovered in 2014.

Members – Greens say they have significantly increased their membership but also admit a high level of churn – they also lose many members.

Momentum – the Greens are trying to create a perception of momentum but herere there is a disconnect with reality. Momentum hasn’t been evident over the past few years, and there is no sign of it in anything other than their rhetoric at the moment.

Belief is one thing – and the Greens have had no shortage in belief in their ideals and their attractiveness to voters. In ways they are like a cult religion.

Getting enough people to share their beliefs – in their policies, in their abilities, and just as critically in their partner party or parties – is a big challenge for the ambitious and determined (and largely reliant on labour and probably NZ First) Greens.

The Greens may think the MoU now has them and Labour facing in the same direction in their campaign row boat, but no matter how frantically the Greens row if Labour continue to catch crabs and have slackers the Green boat may continue to circle in frustration.

Another online scam

There seems to regularly be stories about online scams, and a number of these seem to be playing on relationships and ‘love’. Preying on the vulnerable and the gullible is dirty but some people don’t care about the personal damage the do.

There has been two high profile New Zealand drug mule cases. There are often stories off lesser scams, but they can still have a devastating impact, financially and emotionally, on the victims.

In this week’s local community newspaper (The Star) there’s an Online scam warning for women (not easily accessible online).

A woman started communicating with an American on Facebook.

“Within a day he said that he loved me and could see a future with me”.

That carried on for two weeks before he told her he had sent her a parcel with valuable gifts in it, and gave her the track and trace number.

She then received emails from a courier company in Malaysia asking for $2,500 in tax.

She got out a loan and paid the $2,500.

The courier company emailed again saying she would have to pay $15,000 for insurance – so she called the man who told her there was $600,000, a diamond ring, a watch, some jewellery and an iPhone 6.

“He said please, please, please and I’m the type who will do anything for anyone so I went to the bank to get another loan”.

This time the lady at the bank got her to go to the police, but nothing could be done about the $2,500 as it had left the country.

It’s mind boggling how gullible some people are.

It ‘only’ cost this woman $2,500 before someone helped her out of the scam.

A more elaborate scam could have cost Anthony Melmanche his life. He is serving a 15 year prison sentence in Bali.

Can gullible people be helped from their stupidity? Should they be?

Your assistance?

I’ve had a wide range of funny emails over the years along similar lines to this – offering oodles of cash – but this is the first one purportedly from Canada, and one of the funniest.

Subject: Your assistance?

Hi dear,

I’m Nora Thomas, a Canadian married to an American in need of your investment assistance in your country.

I’m announcing to you the wonderful news about my husband’s TRUNK OF MONEY because i finally found a friend who paid my air tickets to arrive in this country to get the trunk personally.

And all glory to God, i was able to recover it successfully but afraid on how to cross the airports with the luggage. However, i want you check and see if you can join me here so that we can find solution together and get everything done in order that we get this US$6.3 MILLION DOLLARS out of this country to your country for good investments.

I may have a solution, if i open the trunk, i’ll send you about US$10,000 to come over for our meeting or you use the money to open special accounts where the rest of the funds will be transferred to. Is this solution good?

Please answer me immediately.

Regards,

Nora Thomas.

That’s from a yahoo.ca email address.

How much does money matter?

How much does money matter in politics? Do well financed parties attract more media attention? Being seen in media is an essential to attract votes.

Kim Dotcom is a media magnet for different reasons, including his wealth and political expenditure. He has been getting major media coverage and his party doesn’t exist yet – a launch is planned for tomorrow.

Colin Craig has spent millions getting a political profile and getting votes. Being able to afford to dedicate time to the party and being able to employ staff dedicated to promoting the party must help, but Craig also attracts media coverage. The media aren’t paid by politicians, but they pay some of them a lot of attention.

The Internet and Conservative parties have been gifted more media exposure than parties in Parliament. Without the connection with Dotcom it’s unlikely the Mana Party would be in the spotlight. Apart from guaranteed coverage of Hone Harawira on Waitangi Day Mana mostly fly beneath the media radar.

The Maori Party, Act and UnitedFuture have had less coverage combined this year than either of the Internet or Conservative parties.

And there’s other parties that are mostly or totally ignored by media.

The Alliance and New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit Parties have featured in past elections but are unheard of by most people. They don’t offer anything new or newsworthy, and they don’t have controversial leaders. And they don’t have rich leaders. Stephnie de Ruyter, Kay Muray and Kevin Campbell are unknown.

Focus New Zealand was registered as a party on 29 January this year. Who? They don’t seem to have a party leader but they have a ‘team” and an online presence. But Google finds scant media interest.

Ordinary New Zealanders involved. Not rich people. And nothing of current interest for news coverage.

There’s one party that has contested every election since 1996, and had a candidate get more votes than the ACT candidate in the recent Christchurch Easy by-election. They are actively promoting themselves online, and have a motto of Truth, Freedom, Justice.

Not topical? Their main policy focus (and related issues) is on something of significant current interest in New Zealand. It is of topical interest around the world where a number of states and countries are making significant law changes with major social and legal implications.

But despite social media promotion and putting out press releases the mainstream media seem uninterested in the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party or Julian Crawford.

Is it because they’re just a bunch of poor stoners who have no hope of getting into Parliament? If the media keep ignoring them they do have no chance.

And if the media similarly ignored Colin Craig and Kim Dotcom they would have no chance of success either.

The media may not be able to pick political winners but they play a major part in sealing the fate of losers. Poor parties, poor coverage.

Money and media can make or break parties.

The Conservative and Internet Parties have been chosen as contenders this election. Other parties seem to have already been discounted. Money does seem to matter.

Money munting mana

The so-called asset sales issue (MOM share floats), particularly of Mighty River Power has mixed up money with mana.

There appears to be legitimate claims (or at least claims worth giving consideration to) regarding customary Maori ‘guardianship’ of waterways. That involves Maori mana.

That appears to have been overshowed, almost overwhelmed, by media coverage of the leveraging of the Treaty of Waitangi to try and get special shares in Mighty River Power in compensation for water rights.

Opportunism and greed are being claimed as a result. The money mob seems to be munting Maori mana.

And the Maori money mob may munt Mighty River.

To deal with this properly and reasonably money and mana have to be separated so we know exactly what is being dealt with.