Steven Joyce leaving New National

Steven Joyce is retiring from Parliament. He has been a list MP since 2008, and has been a significant part of  National’s leadership along with John key and Bill English.

This isn’t a surprise after Joyce missed out on becoming leader after English’s retirement.

This leaves Simon Bridges to establish a ‘new generation’ leadership and a new look National Party before the 2020 election. That’s an opportunity that may or may not work out well, but they can have a go at it.

National:  Bridges pays tribute to Steven Joyce

National Party Leader Simon Bridges has thanked retiring MP Steven Joyce for his service to New Zealand and the National Party.

“Steven has made a huge contribution during his 15 year political career, including in the last decade in Parliament. In that time he has proven an exceptional minister, colleague, advisor and political strategist.

“As a minister, Steven has played a major role in helping create a stronger New Zealand, particularly in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.

“Among his many successes, he oversaw the rollout of the ambitious Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, ensuring New Zealand is one of the most digitally advanced economies in the world.

“As Science and Innovation Minister he worked with the private sector to substantially lift investment in R and D, helping pave the way for some of the world leading science and business initiatives we are seeing and benefiting from today.

“And as Transport Minister he helped make New Zealand’s roads safer and more resilient, through initiatives like the Roads of National Significance.

“He was someone both John Key and Bill English turned to for advice and to get things done. That meant he was given some tough tasks but he consistently rose to those challenges. And I will also continue to use him as a sounding board as the National Party looks to 2020.

“He played a major role in rebuilding the National Party, leading the past five elections and helping turn National into New Zealand’s largest and most popular political party.

“Steven is a huge loss to Parliament and to the National Party and I want to thank him for his immense contribution to New Zealand, and his wife Suzanne and their children for sharing them with us. We wish him all the best.”


One observation with reaction to this news – I am again shocked at how petty and nasty many people are in politics. Joyce has played a significant and successful role in governing New Zealand over the last decade. Some people just don’t seem to be able to help pissing all over people with different political leanings.

Simon Bridges, new National Party leader and LOTO

Simon Bridges is replacing Bill English as National Party leader and Leader of the Opposition (some media and politicians say that is the hardest job in politics but I call bull on that, PM, Ministers of Finance, Health, Social Welfare, Corrections all have far more difficult jobs).

Just two ballots were required. That suggests that Bridges was close to having the numbers in the first vote, and picked up enough after the least supported candidate dropped out to get a majority on the second vote.

Paula Bennett was chosen to stay as deputy leader – not a big deal position unless the leader quits just before an election.

I wasn’t a fan of either Bridges or Bennett, but that’s who the national caucus have chosen, so I’ll give them a chance to see if the step up, especially Bridges, who has a couple of years to make a mark before the 2020 election campaign.

This puts a very different look on the National Party after the John Key/Bill English era which began when Key rose to the top of the party in 2006, just over 11 years ago.

One think I will give the National caucus credit for is their willingness to try a quite different looking ‘new generation’ leadership. They haven’t fallen into the trap Labour made falling back on an uninspiring ‘same old’ Phil Goff replacement for Helen Clark (and followed that with three more unimpressive middle aged males, Shearer, Cunliffe and Little).

Bridges fronted up ok yesterday after taking over the leadership, he looked much better dealing with PR and media than he did when he started his leadership bid, and he did a good job in his first sting in Parliament as LOTO – see Simon Bridges versus Jacinda Ardern: round 1.

Now Bridges needs to get up to speed with broad issue and policy knowledge, he needs to earn the confidence of his caucus, and he needs to hope that National won’t dip in the polls too much while he finds his feet and becomes known to the general public.

This will take time and effort, and perhaps a bit of luck.

Bridges needs to be visible holding the Government to account without overplaying his hand, opposition politicians often have difficult avoiding barking dog/passing car syndrome.

He also needs to be smart in picking policy battles – his main aim will to be to appeal to the large centre, and to not bother to much about the griping from the right fringes and the perpetually dissatisfied.

The single most important piece of advice I would give Bridges (or any political leader) is to be himself, back his intellect and knowledge and sound like his brain and his mouth are connected.

Many leaders fall into a trap of sounding like their ears and mouths are connected with little input from their own thoughts. They get pushed into poliparrot palaver by PR coaches, and the resulting bland recitals probably turn more voters off than anything in politics.

Bridges needs to be himself, good attributes and  warts and all, and sell his abilities to the country, because that’s what most voters want to see from a leader.

It will take a few months to see how well Bridges steps up, and what the polls decide about this National Party change of leadership and change of guard.

As with any new leader I’m prepared to cut them some slack and give them a fair go.

National caucus choose new leader today

The National MPs will choose a new leader today, and also a deputy leader.

This is done by secret caucus ballots – it is predicted that several votes may be required before one person has a clear majority.

That person not only becomes National Party leader, they will also become the Leader of the Opposition – a challenging role for a first term in opposition, especially with the media frenzy that seems to be getting worse over Jacinda Ardern and her personal life.

It will take time for whoever takes over to establish themselves and give the public a good idea of their aims and abilities – choosing a party leader is always a punt.

 

National party leadership contest

After a lot of initial media attention the contest to become the next National Party leader and Leader of the Opposition seems to have become more of an in-house affair. This isn’t surprising given that the contenders only need to convince enough of the 56 National MPs top vote for them.

It is now expected no deal will be done and it will go to a vote in Caucus next Tuesday.

Most indications point to Amy Adams and Simon Bridges being the front runners, but both short of a majority.

Judith Collins seems to be popular amongst party members, or at least has successfully created that impression, but has few supporters in caucus.

Steven Joyce may have some powerful allies, but too few.

Mark Mitchell must have a hard task, unless his aim was to raise his profile with an eye to the future.

There is no point in trying to out-Ardern Jacinda Ardern. Her situation in rising to leadership was quite different, and her mastery of media muppets is unlikely to be matched. In addition, none of the candidates looks likely to become pregnant.

However National should be mindful of the fact that Ardern has pulled quite a bit of female support from other parties, including National.

Joyce and Mitchell are unlikely to swing that back. I have no idea whether Bridges would attract female votes but I doubt it.

Collins may get some female support but deter others.

And the Slater effect shouldn’t be underestimated. Collins has been associated with Slater in the past, and that led to a major hiccup in her political career – Slater ended up limiting the damage by claiming he had ’embellished’ stories that looked bad for Collins.

Mitchell used his services to get nominated for a safe electorate but now distances himself – however his inclusion in the leadership race has revived ‘Dirty Politics’ claims. Most of the wider public probably know or care little about Slater, but it is likely all of the 56 National MPs are well aware of his past, and his personal agendas and feuds. He looks politically toxic.

That leaves Adams. She could compete with Ardern as a successful female politician, but she can also differentiate on experience in actually achieving things. She was a high performing Minister in the last Government.

Any of Joyce, Bridges or Mitchell could provide a good balance as deputy to Adams. Joyce is way ahead on experience there, but if National want to show they are intent on rebuilding and looking forward one of the other two may be a better bet.

Adams as leader and Collins as a strong deputy would be an interesting combination, if they could work together. A double female team may be a step too far for National though.

Much may depend on how well the new leader can manage the National caucus, and keep it from splitting into factions. The MPs who choose will be wanting someone they feel they can prosper under.

Most predict at least two votes will be required, and possibly more until a clear leader is decided on.

The ‘largest party’ argument

Although The Standard has just lost stalwart author Anthony Robins they have gained another, Matthew Whitehead, who has previously commented there and has had the occasional guest post. While he is openly a Green supporter he will provide some good input at The Standard.

His first post is an intteresting Critiquing A Modest National Party Proposal

I’m going to be focusing on the suggestion, floating around National Party supporters on social media, that the largest party (“plurality winner” is the technical term for being largest without necessarily winning a majority) after an election should have some enshrined constitutional right at the first shot to form the government offered to them by the Governor General.

The obvious first thing to discuss here is that such an arrangement would favour National forming the government except in the most Labour-slanted circumstances, as right-wing votes tend to be much more concentrated towards the largest party when they feel like National is doing well, making them the most significant beneficiaries of the “come back to mother-ship” effect that both of the two largest parties benefited from this election.

Under the current mix of parties it may favour National but that situation may change. Obviously Labour were the biggest party when they were able to form the Government in 1999, 2002 and 2005.

Given that it is almost exclusively National supporters suggesting this change, we should probably fall back on the principle of electoral reform’s purpose not being to outright advantage any particular party, and count this as a strike against the idea.

That’s silly. Of course National supporters will be dwelling on why they lost power and the process that led to Winston peters decision to go with Labour, while Labour, NZ First and Green supporters are more likely to be rejoicing and looking forward to the new term. That’s not a good reason to “count this as a strike against the idea”.

…it’s simply a constraint on freedom of association for minor parties. It goes against democratic principles and constrains political speech to have our head of state direct coalition talks, and it rules out parallel talks which are simply more efficient and leave the country waiting less time.

It’s not necessarily restraining small parties from associating. It could be a simple guide to beginning negotiations.

It would have been useful for the Greens to officially rule out dealing with National up front in the recent process. But perhaps all parties should make it clear before the election what they would consider to properly inform voters.

It might not be a bad idea for parties to agree to some fair norms around coalition talks and Parliamentary reforms, but I think that’s a discussion that needs to be had on a more consensus basis between our four largest parties.

Why just between our four largest parties? That doesn’t sound very democratic. It should involve all parties in Parliament, any parties not in Parliament that wish to have a say, and the public.

If Greens had missed making the threshold I doubt that Whitehead would be suggesting “a more consensus basis between our three largest parties”.

Overall failing on every major point, this idea seems to be a non-starter, and is instead perhaps intended as just another front for National to attack MMP on, after it has tried and failed twice to defeat it at the ballot box- if they succeed in getting the measure through, they slow down and make coalition talks far less popular.

Questioning whether our current way of doing MMP could be improved is an important democratic process. Dissing it as “just another front for National to attack MMP” could be described as just another front to attack an idea Whitehead doesn’t favour.

They need to instead move on and accept that they can’t rely on strong plurality results to govern without eating up the electorate-based parties that support them, and perhaps even consider splitting into multiple parties themselves for more differentiated campaigning, as National has always been an informal coalition of urban right-wing liberals, right-wing conservatives, and a significant rural support base of many ideological flavours, and arguably could earn more of the Party vote under MMP by campaigning separately to each group.

But that might require them modernizing, an idea which is always deeply unpopular with the National Party, who still have no direct democratic impact on important decisions like electing leaders.

“An idea which is always deeply unpopular with the National Party” – that’s a ridiculous claim and hints at Green arrogance. It’s possible for parties to modernise without being just like the Greens. It would be alarming if parties didn’t modernise in their own ways.

A party in power for none years is always going to tend towards sticking to what succeeded, as long as it works.

I’m sure if Steven Joyce remains he will modernise his campaign strategies, but he is unlikely to favour a modern kamikaze attempt to outmanoeuvre their MoU partner party leading into the campaign, like Metiria Turei and the Greens did. They came close to not being one of the largest parties in Parliament.

Whitehead will no doubt be happy with the outcome of the election and how that came about. But the situation could be quite different after the next election, as it has been after each of our eight MMP elections. It could be the Greens that fall apart as a small party in Government.

Considering whether we can do our democracy better should be encouraged, not blown away because what is being suggested wouldn’t have suited your favoured party’s current situation.

We have just seen a situation where three parties stood back, allowing one small party dictate how negotiations would be conducted, and putting themselves in a position where they made the key decision and the key announcement.

Surely there is a better way of doing things, the public tends to not like tails calling the shots while the dogs cower.

We don’t need hard and fast rules, but if we had accepted guidelines (arrived at by consensus of course) for how post-election negotiations and decisions are made I think the public and the media would be happier with the process of forming a government.

Eight Mile Style v National Party

A summary of the copyright case Eight Mile Style v National Party was released today.

The Court found Eight Mile Style is entitled to damages on a “user principle” basis in the
sum of NZ$600,000, with interest, from 28 June 2014.

The National party have indicted they will make a claim against the supplier of the music they used.


What the case is about

The key issue for determination by the Court was whether a “sound-alike” production track, called Eminem Esque, used by the National Party in its 2014 election campaign advertising, is sufficiently similar to the 2002 music of Eminem’s hit song, Lose Yourself, so as to constitute a breach of copyright.

Lose Yourself was composed by Marshall Mathers III (Eminem), Jeffrey Bass and Luis Resto (all called Eight Mile Style) in 2002. The composition is regarded by Eight Mile Style as the most valuable work in their catalogue and has only rarely been licensed for use, and never as part of a political campaign.

Eight Mile Style, who own the copyright in Lose Yourself, sought damages against the
National Party after Eminem Esque featured in Party advertisements played on television, the internet and at a Party conference in the lead up to the 2014 election. Between 20 to 30 August 2014, the advertisements, with Eminem Esque synchronised to them, were played 186 times on New Zealand television. Eminem Esque was also played eight times during a 15 minute opening broadcast on TV1, occurring on 23 August 2014.

This proceeding is being heard in two parts. The first, a hearing to determine the liability of the National Party and the quantum of damages, if any, was held in the High Court at
Wellington over eight days between 1 May and 12 May 2017. The second part concerns a
separate hearing to determine third party liability, if any.

This decision deals with the first hearing only, namely, the issues of liability and quantum against the National Party as the alleged publishers of the infringing work. The third-party liability hearing awaits the outcome of this trial.

The Court’s key rulings

Is Lose Yourself an original work capable of protection under the Act and were the
elements of Lose Yourself referenced in Eminem Esque also original?

The Court found that copyright does subsist in the musical work Lose Yourself as it meets the definition and low threshold of being an original work under the Act.

Although Lose Yourself met the low threshold of an original work under the Act, the Court was also required to determine how original the work is and whether there are features in the work that are not original. To establish infringement, there must be substantial copying of the original parts of the work. Any copying of a part of the work, which by itself has no originality, will not normally be protected.

Cull J found Lose Yourself also met the higher threshold of an original work in the case law. Her Honour concluded:

[154] The distinctive sound of Lose Yourself is not limited by a “melodic” line, but is a
combination of the other instruments, particularly the guitar riff, the timbre, the strong hypnotic rhythm and the recurring violin instrumentation and the piano figure. It is no coincidence that Lose Yourself received the 2003 Academy Award for Best Original Song. I find that Lose Yourself is a highly original work.

Was there copying of Lose Yourself?

The Court found Eminem Esque was a copy of Lose Yourself for three reasons.

First, Cull J determined Eminem Esque has substantially copied Lose Yourself. The
differences between the two works are minimal; the close similarities and the indiscernible differences in drum beat, the “melodic line” and the piano figures, make Eminem Esque strikingly similar to Lose Yourself. Eminem Esque substantially reproduces the essence of Lose Yourself. The parts of Eminem Esque used in the National Party’s campaign advertisements also substantially reproduce Lose Yourself.

Second, Eminem Esque is objectively similar to Lose Yourself as there are minimal
discernible differences. The inquiry into objective similarity is a test of hearing and ear recognition; Eminem Esque sounds like a copy and is a copy of Lose Yourself. Eminem Esque was designed to “sound like” Eminem and Lose Yourself as production music and a sound-alike track.

Finally, there is a causal connection between Lose Yourself and Eminem Esque. It was no
coincidence that the works sounded the same and the undeniable inference to be drawn from the evidence is that the composer of Eminem Esque had Lose Yourself in front of him at the time of composition. The similarities between the works overwhelmingly support a finding of copying. The original title Eminem_abbr; the title of Eminem Esque; and the fact that Eminem Esque is a sound-alike track, reinforces the finding that there is a causal connection between the two works, supporting a finding of copying.

Did the copying constitute a breach of the Act?

The Court found the National Party committed three restricted acts amounting to copyright infringement.

The National Party communicated a copy of Lose Yourself to the public without licence;
authorised the copying of Lose Yourself; and authorised the use and/or deployment of the relevant advertisements and opening broadcast.

Was Eight Mile Style entitled to damages?

The Court found Eight Mile Style is entitled to damages on a “user principle” basis in the
sum of NZ$600,000, with interest, from 28 June 2014.

This sum was determined under the user principle, being the hypothetical licence fee that would reasonably have been charged for permission to use a copy of Lose Yourself in the National Party’s campaign advertising.

The relevant factors considered in assessing this hypothetical licence fee included that Eight Mile Style have retained exclusive control of licensing and rarely grant permission to use Lose Yourself in advertising; the purpose for use in the present case was political use in an unassociated country, which is not what Eminem or Eight Mile Style would endorse; the use was confined over 11 days, with 186 television viewings, as well as being uploaded to the internet; and the National Party wanted the sound of Lose Yourself or an equivalent.

Although copyright infringement did occur, the National Party’s actions were taken after
receiving professional, commercial and media advice and were not reckless or contumelious of the rights of the copyright owner. No additional damages are awarded.


Media Release

This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document.

Full Judgment

This judgment of the High Court includes links to audio and video files that were adduced in evidence by the parties during the hearings. They are made available to assist in understanding the judgment. The re-use, capture, storage, re-editing or redistribution of this footage in any form is not permitted.

 

 

National’s education policy

National launched their campaign today and also announced their education policy.

$379m package to prepare our children for the future

National will provide New Zealand’s young people with the skills and language training to succeed in a globally-connected, high-tech world, Prime Minister and National Party Leader Bill English says.

The next National-led Government will invest $379 million to provide school students with stronger maths, technology and languages skills, as well as updating National Standards to give parents and teachers better information about how students are performing and where they need more support.

“Now that the government books are in surplus, we want to invest more to help our young people embrace the tremendous opportunities New Zealand has through the next fifty years,” Mr English says.

“Opportunities from new technology, new ideas and ways of working, and stronger international connections.

“Nothing can replace the thousands of motivated, professional teachers. But we can improve the tools they use and the support we give them to lift educational standards.”

National will roll out a four-point education package to:

  • Provide every primary school student the opportunity to learn a second language
  • Improve the maths skills of primary school students by upskilling teachers, providing additional classroom resources like digital apps, and delivering intensive support for students who need it
  • Create Digital Academies and Digital Internships to give year 12 and 13 students practical, work-based learning opportunities that are a springboard into careers in the IT sector
  • Extend National Standards to provide much more detailed information about how our kids are progressing right throughout the year – information that can be accessed immediately online by children and their parents

“National Standards provides a valuable snap-shot of how your child has performed across the year,” Mr English says.

“National Standards Plus will build on this by allowing you to track your child’s progress in more detail, online, as it happens.

“I want our children to be confident about their future, open to the world and ambitious for themselves and for our country.

“Our teachers and schools work so hard to create opportunities for our children and these measures will further help more of our kids reach their potential,” Mr English says.

The new funding is made up of $354 million of ongoing funding over four years, plus a $25 million one-off investment in systems to extend National Standards.

Nikki Kaye is Minister of Education so is likely to have played a part in this, probably an attempt to show that National can come up with innovation from relatively young female MPs to compete or contrast with Ardern.

Patrick Gower thinks this is a good move: Bill English goes with blinder idea rather than bribe

Bill English has played a blinder by coming up with a policy to give all Kiwi kids the chance to learn a second language.

Who saw it coming? It is original, it is ambitious, it is symbolic – and at $160 million it doesn’t cost that much.

It is not compulsory – kids can learn Te Reo, French or Mandarin if they want under National’s policy.

It will be very appealing to parents – and as a pitch to those crucial centre  voters, it is a blinder of an idea.

It is there to show that Bill English is not just about the economy and that he is not out of ideas.

It fits with National’s brand that it is open to the world.

Coupled with National’s other plans to enhance digital learning and improve National Standards it creates a good wedge with Labour, which announced its education policy weeks ago under Andrew Little to little fanfare. Labour is also tied to the unions when it comes to policy and wants to scrap National Standards.

So instead of a bribe it is a blinder of an idea by Bill English.

Bold education policy is certainly outside the normal big ideas box from National. Whether it will appeal to voters or not is another story, and we won’t know the end of the story for another month or so.

National Party campaign launch

National have made sure they have showed that Bill English can pull a crowd with a big campaign launch today.

Stuff:  National launches official campaign with $379 million education bid

National has officially opened its election campaign to chaotic and noisy scenes as thousands of supporters crammed a West Auckland stadium.

English said National had always known the election would be close. It was now a clear choice for voters.

“National’s plan is to keep New Zealand moving forward – a confident plan for a confident country,” he told supporters.

“A strong National team energised by new ideas. A team that’s open to trade, open to investment, and knows how an economy works.

“Or an unstable, untested group on the left that would risk it all with unpredictable and unclear policies.”

Text: Bill English’s campaign launch speech.

Q+A: Steven Joyce and National’s campaign

Q+A this morning: “Our political editor Corin Dann talks to the National Party campaign manager Steven Joyce about how National will respond to Labour’s rise in the polls.”

On Ohariu – Joyce says they have been doing numbers there too and it’s closer but he said Dunne has it all ahead of him. he gives a big plug for Dunne due to his contribution to stability in government.

He makes the point that voting choices tend to be made quite late in key electorates involving large amounts of tactical voting.

Joyce downplays the strength of Winston peters and New Zealand First.

He concedes that National are about 3% shy of where they want to be, confirming recent public polls that have National in the mid forties.

On the Jacinda effect? No more worried than in any election. Elections are won and lost on small margins, ‘it’s slightly different’, he says similar to 2005 (in which NZ First called the coalition shots).

National’s Clutha -Southland candidate selection

National has announced it’s selection process for a candidate to replace Todd Barclay in the Clutha-Southland electorate. This is a very safe seat so is likely to be sought after by people wanting a relatively secure political career.

NZ Herald: National re-opens selections for Clutha-Southland seat

National has re-opened selections for the Clutha-Southland seat and already there are three names in the mix -including the man who unsuccessfully challenged Todd Barclay for it a few months ago.

The National Party’s Southern Region Chair Rachel Bird said nominations will close on July 18 and the candidate will be selected in August – leaving the new candidate between 4-7 weeks to campaign.

There are already three names in the mix.

Hamish Walker, 32, has confirmed he will seek the selection after standing for National in Dunedin South in 2014.

Walker has family in the electorate. Before moving back to Dunedin in 2014, he had a property management company in Auckland.

I’ve heard he may have an association with people on one side of the rift, if so he will have to manage that.

Barclay was from the electorate but had obvious difficulties dealing with established identities in the electorate (long standing staff) and with both Queenstown and Gore constituencies.

Simon Flood, an ex-Merrill Lynch investment banker, is believed to be considering it again after challenging Barclay for the seat last year.

He seems another odd option in a mostly rural electorate. Empathy and connections with high flying Queenstown are important, but so is a connection with the farming community.

Gore District Councillor Nicky Davis has also confirmed she is considering it.

She has tried before – she was a nominee when Barclay won the candidacy in 2014.

The person at the centre of the Barclay staff dispute, Glenys Dickson, is also a Gore District Councillor. Davis will need to be seen as either neutral or able to work with both sides of the bitter dispute if she wants to get support for the candidacy. She looks very much a Gore person so I don’t know how she would be seen around the largest general electorate in the country.

Whoever gets selected by National will havea lot of repair work to do in the electorate and for the party as a whole.