Politics on Facebook

If you want to follow New Zealand politics on Facebook – political party, and media information – a very useful list has been set up:

This should be a useful compilation of what’s happening for journalists and anyone interested in following politics in New Zealand.

It has been set up by Geoffrey Miller who has been compiling “all the MPs’ pages I can find, parties, interest groups etc. Anyone involved in NZ politics really who is worth following.”

It’s a work in progress but already works well and looks to be very useful.

There’s no doubt that Facebook has become a major forum for discussion on the Internet in general, and this applies to politics as with many other things.

I’ve seen political parties in New Zealand favouring their Facebook pages over their official websites for getting information out and for generating discussion. Twitter is just a pointer to what’s on Facebook.

Facebook has it’s strengths but a problem with it is that information is very scattered and easy to miss.

So the NZ Politics list on Facebook is an excellent aid to finding local politics if that’s what you’re interested in.

UPDATE: I have added a link to NZ Politics on Facebook on the right hand end of ther Your NZ menu to make it easy to find.

MPs split on flag choices

If voters are as split on flag choices as MPs the referendum result could be close and difficult to predict a winner.

FlagChoicesBridge

NZ Herald has asked MPs which flag they will vote for. Those who indicated a choice have done so along largely along party lines, except for some National MPs against changing the flag.

  • Current flag: 42
  • Silver fern flag: 50
  • Will not say: 10
  • Undecided: 11
  • Will not vote: 3
  • Did not respond: 5

They name each of the MPs:

Most National MPs are backing change (or Key), Labour are almost all against change (or Key), all NZ First MPs have fallen in behind Winston Peters while at least the Greens are allowed to think for themselves.

Interesting that both Maori Party MPs support change.

Greens on gender balance in Cabinet

The Greens have launched a campaign for gender balance in Parliament and in any future Cabinet that they will be a part of.

Co-leader James Shaw put out this media release this morning:

Greens will ensure gender balance in Cabinet

James Shaw MP on Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Green Party is today announcing that, in Government, it will ensure half of all Green Cabinet Ministers are women, and will call on other members of any coalition Government it is involved in to do the same.

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw announced to the CTU conference in Wellington today that the Green Party would put gender equality at the heart of any Government it is involved in, starting with equal representation in Cabinet.

“Our hope is that by leading by example, and ensuring gender equality at the Cabinet table, the Green Party can stimulate and support a wave of gender equity reforms for women who work,” Mr Shaw said.

“Just 30 percent of Cabinet positions are currently held by women, and only 32 per cent of MPs in Parliament are women. If political parties are serious about ensuring women across all workplaces are paid more and given the opportunity to take on senior roles, then political parties should start by getting their own houses in order.

“A Government with 70 percent of its Ministers men isn’t good for women and it isn’t good for New Zealand.

Ideally it would be good to generally see an approximate balance, but it’s more complicated than just insisting on equal numbers. Putting people onto party lists and putting MPs into Cabinet because of their gender alone is a bad approach.

Sure about 30% female MPs and female Ministers looks lower than it should be.

But I’d be interested in knowing what women overall think about this? Many women may be happy that men take more than 50% of the roles in Parliament and Cabinet. If not then more women should make sure that a better quality of female candidate and female MP is promoted.

“The idea that people are paid on merit, or appointed to senior roles like Government Ministers based on their abilities, doesn’t stack up. Women are paid less largely because they’re working in professions that are dominated by women, and they’re often not appointed to senior positions because of barriers that have nothing to do with ability.  It’s time to drop the idea that women are worth less once and for all.“Around the world countries are realising that gender inequality is holding them back and they’re committing to greater representation by women in many positions of power in business and politics.

“There are at least 28 countries which have a greater proportion of women in cabinet than New Zealand, including France, Canada, Germany, Israel and South Africa.

“By committing to a gender balance in Cabinet, the Green Party won’t immediately fix the inequalities women are forced to deal with at work every day, but it will show that we are committed to gender equality everywhere, starting with where we work ourselves,” Mr Shaw said.

Gender balance is a good ideal to aspire to but it isn’t a good rule to try and enforce.

And a Radio NZ report shows that not all women agree with the Green quota approach  – ‘You can’t enforce equality’ – executives

…head of Chartered Accountants New Zealand, Kirsten Patterson, said forcing the hand of employers would not fix anything.

“You can’t say you’ve reached equality if you’ve had to enforce a system for equality to occur,” she said.

“We’ll only truly get to equality if the systems are changed to the extent that people are appointed on merit across a wide range of characteristics.”

Ms Patterson said the problem went beyond the cliche of the old, sexist white man.

“All of us have unconscious bias and in some circumstances, female senior executives show a stronger predetermination towards male candidates,” she said. “Areas where organisations make a hard approach and commit to doing work in this space and backing it up with actions are where we think we can make the difference.”

And even Jacinda Ardern is cautious:

“Our starting point has always been making sure we’ve got the women who are in the position to move up the ranks. That goes right down to the women who are office holders, and then coming through the ranks into Parliament,” she said.

“Once you’re in Parliament, then obviously you’re reliant on your caucus and your leader enforcing a meritocracy.”

This is another case of a Green ideal that has some merit but not necessarily being practical, especially immediately.

I haven’t seen evidence that women in general want this.

Journalists, MPs least trusted

A lot is surmised about why people are turning away from voters and turning off politics. There’s also a lot of comment on why there are diminishing audiences for news and current affairs.

A repeat of a trust and confidence survey may give some idea of why.

Journalists and MPs are a clear bottom of the trust and confidence pile. NZ Herald reports Trust survey results revealed: MPs, journalists least trusted.

Trust and confidence in members of Parliament has increased, but in the public mind MPs are still second-to-bottom of a list of 10 types of jobs and organisations.

MPs rank slightly ahead of journalists, the least-trusted group, and behind local council members, lawyers and civil servants, who are all below the half-way mark in a survey of public trust and confidence.

At the other end of the scale – the occupational groups and organisations which inspire the greatest public trust and confidence – are the ambulance service, the Fire Service, doctors and nurses, the police and school teachers.

Can we trust this report? It is based on a media release from Research New Zealand and the numbers support it.

These are public perceptions only but it is not a good look for our democracy.

Research New Zealand asked 500 adult telephone survey respondents to order the work groups and organisations from zero, those in which they had no trust and confidence, to 10, full trust and confidence. The survey results report the percentages of respondents who scored each group or organisation between 7 and 10, which the researchers considered was the range between which a group could be said to have the trust and confidence of the public.

The question was first asked in 2013 and repeated in a survey last month amongst other topics

That’s a relatively small sample size with the margin or error for results 20-30 of +/- 4% but they are clearly at the bottom of the trust pile.

I wonder where bloggers would rate in a survey like that.

Research New Zealand survey media release.

Rating 24 new MPs – Stuff

In Rating the new MPs Stuff reviews their maiden speeches in Parliament but doesn’t really rate them, they list a Best Quote, a Highlight and offer some constructive criticism.

Twenty-four new Members of Parliament have given their maiden speeches over the past fortnight. Blake Crayton-Brown checks out the good, the bad and the indifferent.

It’s interesting enough but there’s not much to judge the MPs on from one speech, there’s a lot more to being an MP than speaking ability (although it does help). Time will tell how well they contribute to Parliament over the next three years.

National have 8 new electorate MPs and 6 new list MPs.This is proportionally slightly more than than their vote and shows that National are moving non-performing MPs on.

Labour have 3 new electorate MPs, only a half of their vote proportion so not good for renewal.

NZ First have 4 new list MPs, partly due to an increase in their vote and partly due to them expelling (Brendan Horan) or demoting (Andrew Williams) MPs.

Greens have 1 new list MP (James Shaw). This isn’t much renewal for Greens but Shaw is predicted to make a significant impact.

The Maori Party has their first list MP (Marama Fox) – until this election they always got more electorate MPs than their party vote.

Act have 1 new electorate MP (David Seymour) following John Banks problems last term.

Dotcom and 12 MPs

Michael Parkin has tweeted, presumably from the Internet Party launch:

Dotcom says he has met with 12 mps.

There’s no problem with MPs meeting anyone, but with Kim Dotcom’s claims of having electorate MPs interested in jumping waka to the Internet Party this list is of interest.

  1. Winston Peters
  2. Russel Norman
  3. Clare Curran
  4. Shane Jones
  5. Hone Harawira
  6. John Banks?

Who else?

There’s one big question mark over John Key, not as a waka jumper but a denier of knowing Dotcom prior to the raid.

Dotcom will have briefly met MPs when he attended a select committee at Parliament but I presume this refers to substantial meetings.

 

Labour MPs lukewarm support of forest/wood policy

Labour’s promotion of it’s forest/wood policy yesterday was mixed from the party and David Cunliffe – see Labour’s forest/wood policy on social media.

How well was it supported by Labour’s caucus? Some did their bit but most didn’t join the promotion. Overall the caucus support was underwhelming.

Deputy leader David Parker doesn’t operate his Twitter account and doesn’t seem to be on Facebook.

Grant Robertson supported the policy on Facebook…

Great announcement from David today. Forestry and the wood sector is a great example of how Labour’s economic approach will differ from National. We want to get alongside the sector and ensure that we don’t just export logs, but add value here in New Zealand and create secure, sustainable jobs.

…and on Twitter…

@grantrobertson1 

Labour will support move from volume to value to create sustainable jobs with decent wages- starting with forestry https://www.labour.org.nz/economic-upgrade/forestry-and-wood-products …

…but gave more attention to his ongoing attacks against Judith Collins.

Annette King is only an occasional user of Facebook. She tweeted three times yesterday but they were unrelated niggles.

Shane Jones was quiet on it apart from a re-tweet a backbencher MP:

@RinoTirikatene 

@NewstalkZB I went along to tautoko @DavidCunliffeMP and @matuashane . It’s a sound policy. Tax breaks, techno innovation, more logs #nzpol

That suggests Jones attended the event. Whether under orders or not staying quiet may have been wise for him.

Jacinda Ardern was quiet on Facebook yesterday. She tweeted several times but on unrelated things.

Clayton Cosgrove rarely uses Facebook, the last time in June last year, and while he has a Twitter account he has never tweeted.

Chris Hipkins was on Facebook…

I’m sick of seeing raw logs shipped off overseas when we should be putting Kiwis into work. David Cunliffe has announced an excellent package of measures that will boost our timber industry and create local jobs. We won’t get rich as a country by constantly increasing the volume of raw products we export. We need to add value to them first.

…and on Twitter he retweeted Cunliffe’s promotion and followed up with two tweets with links to the policy:

@chrishipkins

I’m sick of seeing raw logs shipped off overseas when we could put Kiwis to work here at home. Labour will fix that.

Forestry is a great example of the opportunity NZ industries have to move from volume to value.

Nanaia Mahuta hardly uses Facebook. She was active on Twitter yesterday but on other matters.

Sue Moroney posted National attacks on Facebook on Tuesday but was inactive yesterday. She tweeted once and retweeted once yesterday but nothing related to the policy launch.

Phil Twyford was active politically on Facebook on Tuesday but only changed his profile pic yesterday. He was also active on Twitter on Tuesday but not yesterday. This silence is curious – Twyford is spokesperson for Housing which must have some interest in the timber industry.

Maryan Street is inactive on her Facebook page and hasn’t tweeted since last week.

David Shearer is inactive on Facebook and barely active on Twitter.

Su’a William Sio was active on Facebook on unrelated topics. He doesn’t seem to be on Twitter.

Phil Goff is inactive on Facebook and doesn’t seem to have a Twitter account.

Louisa Wall is inactive on Facebook and doesn’t seem to have a Twitter account.

Andrew Little posted a parliamentary speech of his on Facebook. His two tweets were unrelated to the policy launch. He is spokesperson for Labour but was quite on a policy promoting “Better jobs. Higher wages”.

Moana Mackey was quiet as usual on Facebook and her only tweets yesterday were digs at Bill English and John Key.

Damian O’Connor doesn’t seem to be on Facebook or Twitter.

David Clark linked to the policy on Facebook, saying…

Great announcement. Otago saw-millers can look forward to a more promising future and higher-value jobs for the region.

He also retweeted and tweeted:

Labour’s Forestry policy announcement great news for the regions @nzlabour @matuashane

MT “@NZStuff: Labour: good for the regions; good for Otago

@keith_ng something about square pegs in round holes? #WoodFirst

English can’t see the wood for the trees #nzqt #WoodFirst

He’s the only person to use the #WoodFirst hashtag.

Iain Lees-Galloway has sometimes promoted Labour on Facebook but not yesterday. Two unrelated tweets.

Kris Faafoi posted something unrelated on Facebook but hasn’t tweeted since last week. He has a media background and is Spokesperson for Broadcasting and Associate Spokesperson for Communications and IT, but doesn’t seem to practice what he is supposed to preach.

Carol Beaumont hasn’t posted to Facebook since last week. She tweeted once yesterday but only on home ownership.

Megan Woods doesn’t seem to be on Twitter but linked to the policy from Facebook and said:

Innovation critical to making this happen.

Darien Fenton was active in Facebook but on unrelated political matters. She retweeted the Labour announcement of the forestry policy.

Ross Robertson is inactive on Facebook and doesn’t seem to be on Twitter.

Trevor Mallard posted something unrelated on Facebook. He was active on Twitter but nothing related to the policy.

Ruth Dyson had two unrelated tweets but posted a link to the policy on Facebook and said:

New Zealand keeps exporting raw logs instead of creating value-added exports which create jobs and better living standards for everyone.

Labour’s investment, innovation and industry approach to the Forestry and Wood Products sector will make a real difference in upgrading the whole country’s economy.

Clare Curran hasn’t posted to Facebook since Monday. She retweeted Cunliffes link to his speech.

Rajen Prasad had two unrelated posts on both Facebook and Twitter.

Raymond Huo hasn’t posted to Facebook or Twitter since last week.

Rino Tirikatene hardly uses Facebook. He tweeted:

@RinoTirikatene

@NewstalkZB I went along to tautoko @DavidCunliffeMP and @matuashane . It’s a sound policy. Tax breaks, techno innovation, more logs #nzpol

Meka Whaitiri rarely uses Twitter but posted a link to the policy on Facebook and said:

Labour’s Economic Upgrade policy focussing on Forestry and Wood Products will create real sustainable jobs in Ikaroa Rawhiti.

Poto Williams is not active on her Facebook page and was inactive on Twitter yesterday.

While there was some support of the policy launch from Labour MPs most did not promote it. This was not a team effort and overall was lukewarm and underwhelming.

McCarten’s MP rankings

In his Sunday Herald column Matt McCarten ranks MPs in Battle of the egos in seat reshuffle.

  • The MPs who win marginal seats rank highest in status
  • Followed by the other electorate MPs
  • List MPs from the Greens and NZ First, which got over the 5 per cent threshold, deserve their legitimacy.
  • But list MPs from the two main parties are just voting fodder.
  • And list MPs who should have won an electorate seat but didn’t have an unspoken pariah status for letting the team down.
  • Maybe the lowest rated are the small-party MPs gifted their seats by National in the hope they’d bring at least one other MP, but who then didn’t deliver. Their self-important strutting irritates everybody.

Why do some list MPs deserve legitimacy and others don’t? That seems inconsistent.

But the most bizarre thing about this is McCarten’s lowest of the low MPs – like John Banks and to a lesser extent Peter Dunne. Banks was not expected to win so his chances were marginal, as were Dunne’s. McCarten may taking them out of his top rank and trashing them at the bottom based on nothing other than his dismay at which major party they happen to be in coalition with.

McCarten has been heavily involved with a number of parties, including the Alliance and Maori parties and now Mana. Mana are trying to work together with the Maori Party to help both their chances. Would Mana turn down assistance from Labour in tactical electorate arrangements?

Labour MP disgrace

The warfare within the Labour caucus is disgraceful. It’s a disgrace to the Labour Party, it’s a disgrace to Parliament, and it’s a disgrace to New Zealand.

Members of Parliament are elected to represent electorates, and they are elected to represent parties. They create, debate and modify legislation that is important. They lead the running of our country.

Members of Parliament should set an example for responsible and honourable behaviour.

But the behaviour of some MPs is disgraceful, as evident by current problems within the Labour Party.

Symptom of a bigger problem

The current disruption and dispute in Labour is a symptom of a bigger, wider problem. Some MPs believe that disruption of Parliament is part of a game. They believe that the destruction if the careers of other MPs is a legitimate aim. They believe that the disruption of Government is a legitimate aim. They believe that bringing down the Government is a legitimate aim, by any means.

They claim they are holding other parties to account. They claim they are holding Government to account. But it goes way beyond reaasonable holding to account. It is deliberately destructive behaviour, attempting to score political points and attempting to win political wars.

It drags down the standard of Parliament into a perception of disgrace and disrepute.

To some MPs a poor standard of behaviour is accepted as normal and even necessary.

Many people – and some MPs – are fed up with this behaviour, but they don’t do enough about it.

Turning on their own

Most of the time the destructive behaviour is directed at opposing parties and opposing MPs.

But this learned and accepted (by some) behaviour sometimes erupts within a party. That’s what is happening within Labour at the moment. They are reaping what they have sown, and it is blowing up in the face of their caucus and their party.

It has become very ugly, and it reflects very poorly on MPs, on the party and on Parliament.

Nastiness, disruption and destructiveness is not normal

No other group, organisation or business would accept anything like the levels of poor behaviour displayed by MPs. So why do parties permit and promote it?

MPs are paid very well. The country should expect very good performance for that. We appear to get very poor value for money from some MPs who are more interestd in their own selfish ambitions and egos than they are in the good of their parties, of Parliament, and the country.

Becoming an MP is not a free pass to do whatever they want, it is a responsibility to serve and to represent the people of New Zealand. This should be a given, it shouldn’t need to be pointed out to MPs. But obviously it does.

Decent MPs need to stand up and speak up

One reason why nasty and destructive behaviour persists is because not enough is done about holding to account the poor behaviour of some MPs. But it’s time to stand up to political thugs and bullies, and to challenge selfish ambitions and disputes.

All parties, all MPs, all journalists, and us

All parties should demand far better behaviour from MPs, and far better behaviour in Parliament. Journalists are also sometimes complicit in the destructive political game, better behaviour should be demanded of them. The voting public should be more active in demanding much better standards.

Labour caucus

Today Labour is having a caucus meeting on their leadership crisis. This needs to address the disgraceful behaviour of some of their MPs – on both sides of the internal war.

Other Labour MPs, decent MPs, need to speak up and demand respectful and reasonable behaviour from their colleagues.

Labour is currently in a major mess of their own doing. It’s going to take a conceretd effort – and a large amount of currently absent respect and cooperation – to recover.

If Labour leadership and Labour MPs make it clear they won’t accept destructive behaviour and will hold to account any MPs or staff who behave poorly and dishonourably within their party and in Parliament then they may go some way to earning some respect from the voting public.

Instead of continuing to self destruct Labour MPs could start to set an example, for Parliament and for the country.

People of New Zealand

Some MP behaviour is unacceptable disgraceful.

Speak up and demand reasonable behaviour and performance from your MPs and political parties.

Labour’s 40-40-20 split

Labour have anounced a new way of choosing party leader.

Unions gain Labour leader vote

Under the current rules, only MPs vote on the leader, but under the proposed rules – due to be signed off at the party’s annual conference in November – MPs will hold 40 per cent of the vote, members 40 per cent and affliates 20 per cent.

In general I think this is a good proposal. It is the result of extensive consultation and discussion.

There are potential problems with leadership selection (there always are), but it may work fine, and it will only be proven over time. And if the balance isn’t right they can look at tweaking it..

It’s odd for Stuff to promote Unions in the headline, certainly they have gained a significant say (as affiliates), but so have party members.

But degree of union influence is contentious, both within the party and with potential voters – it wouldn’t look good if it appears as if  a big barking union tail wags the party dog.

I think the key to this is how the union portion of the vote is decided. If it looks like a few union officials have a disproportiate amount of say I think that will be negative.

But if affiliates/unions can be transparent and show that their portion of the vote is based on wider democratic principles it should be fine.

Labour review links:

17 July 2012

The New Zealand Council of the Labour Party has now endorsed a wide range of important changes for our Labour Party organisation.

Click here to read the one-page summary

Click here to read the review recommendations

Click here to read the constitutional ammendments – (and click here to download a current copy of the constitution)