NZ First $4.6b student bribe

A significant factor in the 2005 election was Labour’s campaign promise of interest free student loans. They won the election. This policy was later projected to cost about $0.5b per year.

NZ First has a much bigger campaign promise – to wipe loans for students who stay and work in the country. They say it will cost $4.6b a year – but that may not take into account the likely increase in student numbers.

Stuff:  Winston Peters promises to wipe student loans

New Zealand First is promising to wipe student loans for new students who stay and work in the country for five years, and it says that it will only cost $4.6b a year.

People who bond themselves to regions in need of workers or study for less time could wipe theirs even faster.

Under the proposed scheme, the universal student allowance of about $200 a week would cover living costs while the government would cover all of student’s tuition fees upfront.

Every year of study would bond a student to one year of work in New Zealand. So a student who completed a three-year BA would only need to work for three years in New Zealand to pay off their entire loan.

However these fully-funded places would not be guaranteed, with industry groups and a reinstated Careers NZ setting a number of jobs they would need when the degree ended. There would be competition for fully funded places, but also safeguards to preserve diversity.

The policy would only apply to new students.

Martin said the scheme would cost $4.63b a year – only about half a billion more than the Government currently spends and 1.86 per cent of GDP – but both Labour and National said it was fiscally unachievable.

They can’t do it without either National or Labour support and neither could afford that sort of budget without having to significantly cut elsewhere.

She said it was more likely that she could negotiate the scheme in a coalition government with Labour, as the National Party and ACT would likely be philosophically opposed. Labour agreed – broadly.

“If we’re in a position to negotiate with other parties, then obviously more funding for education is something that we are going to be happy to talk about,” Hipkins said.

I expect Labour will have their own budget bribe priorities, and National won’t want to give up their tax cuts and family support package.

Bill English “outlined his vision”

At the National p[arty conference Prime Minister Bill English outlined his vision for New Zealand in the 2020s as he launched the party’s election campaign.

This is National blurb.


English sets vision for New Zealand in the 2020s

National Party leader Bill English today outlined his vision to take New Zealand into the 2020s and his key priorities for the next Parliamentary term – including further raising incomes and reducing taxes.

“National’s New Zealand is open to trade, open to investment, happy to have Kiwis stay home and embraces growth because it delivers more jobs, higher wages and greater opportunities for New Zealanders,” Mr English told the Party’s annual conference in Wellington.

“We’ll work for a New Zealand where innovation and hard work is recognised and rewarded, a New Zealand that looks after the most vulnerable, and helps them change their lives.

“Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First, on the other hand, would shut down growth because they’re not up for tackling the challenges success brings.

“Well National’s up for it, and New Zealanders are too.”

To deliver on this vision, Mr English set out the priorities National will taking into the 2017 election.

“The economy will be front and centre of everything we do. Because we have to keep the economy growing before everyone can share the benefits.”

A growing economy and improving public finances will allow the Government to focus on the following key areas:

  • Delivering an ambitious programme to invest $32.5 billion in schools, roads, hospitals and broadband – the next stage of which is allocating the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to help build tens of thousands of new homes faster.
  • Further lifting incomes and cutting taxes to help hard-working New Zealanders get ahead and reduce the pressure on families most in need.
  • Protecting the environment for future generations, and growing the value of New Zealand’s clean green brand, by investing extensively to clean up our lakes and rivers and ensuring all significant waterways are monitored.
  • Delivering better public services for all New Zealanders, with an increasing focus on tailoring services to individuals’ needs, including:
    • Investing further in education – with a focus on ensuring our children have the maths and digital skills to thrive.
    • Ensuring all our young children have a healthy start to life, by reducing hospitalisations for preventable illnesses like asthma and dental conditions.
    • Rolling out programmes to target gangs, organised crime and drugs to reduce the harm they cause, as well as delivering an extra 1125 police staff.
    • Improving the lives of the most vulnerable by applying social investment tools to all government social services.

“We can all be proud of what we’ve achieved in recent years – with more jobs, higher wages, more police, better roads, better broadband, less crime, less unemployment and 60,000 fewer children in benefit-dependent households,” Mr English says.

“But we’re just getting started. We’re doing so well as a country, but we must grasp this rare opportunity to do so much more.”

Also PM Bill English’s speech to the 2017 National Party Conference

More on the Barclay saga

As with many political rifts and public blow-ups there is quite a bit more to the Todd Barclay saga than bad Barclay and Bumbling Bill.

There’s not doubt that Bill English stumbled and fudged, and Barclay did some stupid things over a period of time, but those involved in the employment dispute, making complaints and going to the media are not beyond criticism either.

A number of MPs seem to have been very supportive of Barclay, this week at least. And there has also been support for him out in the provinces.

Glenys Dickson. There is no excuse for the other main person involved, Glenys Dickson, being recorded (possibly illegally), and the lack of honesty and forthrightness from both Barclay and English will understandably have annoyed some people.

Stuff: Former National staffer Glenys Dickson says MP Todd Barclay should have resigned immediately

The woman at the centre of the scandal around ousted National MP Todd Barclay says he should have resigned immediately rather than wait until the election.

Dickson said he should have gone earlier.

“I feel the honourable thing to do perhaps was to just resign immediately.”

She said she felt “quite sad” for Barclay.

“He had a very bright future ahead of him and he just let himself down.

“There actually isn’t any joy in me for going through this process.”

I’m sure it hasn’t been joyful, but she has put quite a lot out into the public domain.

There has also been some fairly strong criticism of Dickson.  Like this comment in social media:

Well, today’s media has really confirmed what I have always thought. My former colleague Glenys Dickson is a really nasty vindictive bitch.

And:

This bitch is not the victim. Karma is a wonderful thing and I hope it bites you right in your fake sanctimonious arse. The truth has a horrible habit of coming out eventually and it will – there are a hell of a lot of people who will make damn sure it does. Tick, tock ………

There’s some ill feeling down this way, both ways.

After the frenzy there has been a very good summary of it all from Tracy Watkins at Stuff:  ‘This is not how we do things’: How National’s composure was shattered by the Todd Barclay affair

Barclay is one of a tight circle of close knit MPs in the National caucus – a group that includes the senior whip Jami-Lee Ross, Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, and back benchers including Paul Foster Bell and Brett Hudson.

Mentors like his former boss, Hekia Parata, were counselling him that his position had become untenable.

His friends were shattered. And they were deeply, deeply angry.

Barclay, 27, inherited the Clutha-Southland seat from English.  They are chalk and cheese. So it’s not surprising Barclay immediately rubbed up English’s old staff the wrong way.

Here is where accounts differ of who was most to blame.

But where there is agreement is Barclay’s refusal to follow the advice being offered him.

Depending on who you ask,  it was either youth and inexperience that did for him, or a combination of arrogance and narcissism. People hold deeply polarising views about the young MP.

Even now, feelings run high. Party insiders spoken to by Stuff say they were  “disgusted” on Barclay’s behalf at the way people were briefing against him.

“Disgusting” is a word used by more than one Nat. But the sympathy is not universal; another insider spoken to by Stuff says Barclay treated his staff “appallingly”.

So there are strong feelings on both sides.

It will be difficult repairing the damage in Clutha-Souhland.

And time will tell how much this has damaged National.

Hobson’s Pledge versus National

The Hobson’s Pledge campaign is targeting the National led government. From Reddit:

Meet the people behind Hobson’s Pledge Trust:

Andy Oakley , Casey Costello , David Round , Don Brash , Fiona Mackenzie , John Bell, Kevin Moratti , Larry Wood , Mike Butler , Mike McVicker , Peter Shirtcliffe , Sarah Taylor , Tom Johnson , Wendy Clark

Why are they attacking National and Bill English? If they lose the election and Labour+Greens get in then they are less likely to get any changes they want.

The answer may be Winston Peters.

If NZ First hold the balance of power in a new government Peters is unlikely to concede on any ‘Hobson’s Pledge’ issues, and may demand changes that Hobson’s Pledge want, whether he goes with National or with Labour-Greens.

Someone else trashing National and English and promoting Winston Peters is Whale Oil.

Is there any connection Hobson’s Pledge and Whale Oil?

Earlier this month on WO: Why are only Maori being helped to get drivers licences?

This quotes Hobson’s Pledge and then comments:

This is clearly a racist policy, why is the government promoting it other than as a bribe to the Maori party?

Last month:  Hobson’s Pledge questions why we are revisiting the Foreshore and Seabed issue

This quotes Hobson’s Pledge, including:

The National Government in effect put coastal claims back on the table as a sop to the Maori Party when it helped repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act in return for support, Ms Costello said.

Prime Minister Bill English has uttered soothing words that few of these claims would succeed.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that some groups will be awarded such rights.

The Prime Minister is yet to explain why some New Zealanders will be awarded property rights far beyond those exercised in 1840, with the ability to exclude all other New Zealanders should they so wish, Ms Costello said.

‘Cameron Slater’ adds:

Bill English can barely put a sentence together, so explaining this will be difficult.

It’s almost like Bill wants to lose….or is bending over backwards to help Winston take his vote.

Like Hobson’s Pledge, Whale Oil seems to very much want Bill English to lose, and appears to be bending over backwards to help Winston take National’s vote.

Is Whale Oil just using Hobson’s Pledge to help promote it’s political agenda?

Slater’s motives seem to be a mix of monetary, spite and trying to settle old grudges. I guess he also has some political and policy aims as well.

Are Hobson’s Pledge or anyone behind them working with Whale Oil?

They both seem to have very similar aims.

Rebooting Clutha-Southland campaign

Clutha-Southland is one of National’s safest electorates so it would be unthinkable that they can lose it, but they have to quickly come up with a credible candidate to replace Todd Barclay.

They have just suffered a very bitter internal dispute with an outcome that will have greatly displeased some of the party members, so the candidate selection could be challenging.

Simon Flood, the candidate who lost to Barclay last year, could try again but that would probably be contentious.

Ideally they need to come up with someone who both factions can live with – because they may have to live them for many years.

Winning the candidacy for Clutha-Southland is an opportunity for a job in Parliament potentially for decades, as long as you don’t cock up like Barclay did.

Eileen Goodwin broke the story of staff strife in Clutha-Southland last year. She writes in the ODT: Fears of damage to PM

The Otago Daily Times revealed last March that Mrs Dickson’s resignation involved claims of a secret recording.

A new selection process will begin ”very shortly” in the Clutha-Southland electorate after MP Todd Barclay’s announcement yesterday he is quitting Parliament, the National Party says.

Yesterday, National Party general manager Greg Hamilton said the party board would consider the matter soon so the new selection could start.

Mr Barclay was re-selected last December after a bitter contest.

A group of party members who believed he needed to go backed a challenge from former funds manager Simon Flood.

Mr Hamilton confirmed the party board would consider a complaint from a group of members about the selection contest. It is understood to involve claims of delegate stacking to skew the outcome.

So National will be investigating a complaint about the last selection process at the same as a new selection process.

Party member Maeva Smith, a friend of Mrs Dickson, said the party needed to take some responsibility for its handling of the problem. ”We didn’t want any damage to [Mr English] – that’s something that we didn’t want. We’ve got a great deal of respect for him.”

Significant damage has been done.

Mrs Smith said she would be working on the campaign to elect Mr English as prime minister in September. She hoped the electorate, which has up to 1500 party members, would rebuild.

”In some ways it’s cleared the air”.

For those who wanted Barclay dumped it may have, but it’s hard to imagine everyone comes out of this happy to move on.

An Otago Daily Times reporter who visited Gore yesterday to speak to people in the street said the feeling was that Mr Barclay’s decision to stand down was correct.

One woman said there was a general feeling around Gore that Mr Barclay was too young for the role.

RNZ has reported similar sentiments from elsewhere in the electorate.

Regardless, the situation now is that Barclay is not standing and National have to find someone else for a plum electorate which could be virtually for life.

Once the selection has been made one plus for National is that as the saying goes, a swede could win the electorate as long as it was blue.

How badly is English damaged?

Bill English had an awful day on Tuesday as the Barclay story emerged, with English complicit in a shoddy electorate civil war in Clutha-Southland.

English did much better yesterday as Todd Barclay was clinically removed from National’s candidate list, although he took a battering in Parliament transcripts of all of that here.

There is no doubt that English has been badly damaged by this. The big questions are how much damage, and how will this affect the election.

The story may have just become ready to publish this week, or it may have been deliberately timed to precede National’s conference this weekend.

The Clutha-Southland contingent at the conference are likely to be stressed, but unless journalists manage to dig something out that will be kept as quiet as possible.

More important than ever is how English handles himself. It is an opportunity to put the mess behind him and step up – and he needs to step up quite a lot. Plodding along isn’t going to deal to the damaging week adequately.

We will see whether English has what is required to look like a strong leader going confidently into an election campaign, or if the stress of this week looks like it has worn him down.

English can never undo all the damage done by self inflicted internal ructions, but he has to appear as if he can deal with adverse situations and continue leading the country.

What can English do now?

In the wake of the Todd Barclay mess a lot of suggestions have been made about what Bill English should do.

Andrew Little said on RNZ: ” Barclay is causing chaos, and that it’s totally unacceptable that Bill English hasn’t insisted he cooperate with the police”, but it would be totally inappropriate for English to insist that Barclay do something he isn’t legally required to do.

There have also been calls (not by Little as far as I’m aware) for English to dump Barclay from standing again in Clutha-Southland .

This may not be easy or advisable as @MatthewHootonNZ explains.

  1. Those asking to announce he is cutting loose need to read r115-116 of constitution.
  2. You can find it here: https://www.elections.org.nz/sites/default/files/National_party_rules_0.pdf
  3. Then ask yourself what happens if just said “nah”.
  4. Then ask how long it would take for the necessary decisions under rules 115 and 116 to be made.
  5. Take into account that each of those decisions are subject to judicial review.
  6. Then ask whether it really would be a good example of leadership for to make the bold demand for his resignation sought.

Here are rules 115 and 116:

Withdrawal of Endorsement

115. If it appears to the Electorate Executive that formal withdrawal of Party
endorsement of a selected constituency candidate is in the interests of the
Party, and the candidate is unwilling to withdraw his/her candidature, the
following procedure shall apply:

(a) Approval shall be sought by the Electorate Executive through the
Regional Chair from the Board for the Board to undertake a meeting
to consider withdrawal of endorsement;

(b) If such approval is given by the Board, then at least two days prior
notice of the Board meeting at which the withdrawal of the Party’s
endorsement of the candidate is to be discussed, and the fact that
such withdrawal is to be discussed, shall be given to the Board
Members and to the candidate; and the chairperson of the electorate
and the Regional Chairperson who shall be entitled to attend the
Board meeting.

(c) The candidate shall be invited to attend the said meeting and prior
to any motion being put to the meeting to withdraw the Party’s
endorsement of him or her, he or she must be informed of the reasons
for dissatisfaction with his or her candidacy and given an
opportunity to state his or her case; and

(d) A resolution of the Board withdrawing the Party’s endorsement shall
be effective immediately if passed by a majority of those present and
voting.

116. If it appears to the Board that formal withdrawal of Party endorsement of
a selected constituency candidate is in the best interests of the Party as the
actions of the candidate are prejudicial to the interests of the Party and the
candidate is unwilling to withdraw his/her candidature, and the Electorate
Executive has determined not to initiate withdrawal in terms of Rule 115(a),
then the following procedure shall be apply:

(a) The Board shall convene a Board meeting with the Chairperson of the
Electorate concerned and the Regional Chair of the Region concerned
to consider withdrawal of the endorsement;

(b) If a meeting is convened, then at least two days prior notice of the
meeting as which the withdrawal of the Party’s endorsement of the
candidate is to be discussed and the fact that such withdrawal is to
be discussed shall be given to the Electorate concerned and to the
candidate;

(c) The candidate shall be invited to attend the said meeting and prior
to any motion being put to the meeting to withdraw the Party’s
endorsement of him or her, he or she must be informed of the reasons
for dissatisfaction with his or her candidacy and given an opportunity
to state his or her case; and

(d) A Resolution of the Board withdrawing the Party’s endorsement shall
be effective immediately if passed by a majority of those present and
voting.

There are good reasons why it is deliberately difficult for a Prime Minister to dump MPs. Candidates are chosen by electorates, not by the party leader.

Little’s lame response

Opposition parties will have been very happy about yesterday’s revelations impacting on Todd Barclay, Bill English, National and the Government.

But Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little has been a bit lame in capitalising. He had an opportunity in Question Time in Parliament yesterday:

2. ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he believe that the moral standards he sets as Prime Minister are high enough?

@robhosking responded:

this is a daft scattergun, kitchen sink attack from Little. Needed a surgical strike, not a widely aimed rant.

RNZ:  PM and MP’s conduct in question over recordings

The Labour leader Andrew Little says Barclay is causing chaos, and that it’s totally unacceptable that Bill English hasn’t insisted he cooperate with the police.

Barclay, like anyone, has a legal right not to speak to the police if being investigated. Barclay says he acted on legal advice in not speaking to the police.

I think it would be totally inappropriate for English to have insisted how Barclay dealt with the police.

Little:

“It looks to me like that all the way along, Bill English, Todd Barclay, and possibly others, have done everything the can to play this whole thing down.

“Look, it’s a classic lesson in politics. So often it’s not the original transgression, it’s the cover up that kills you, and that’s what’s happening now.”

The original transgression, an MP allegedly illegally recording an employee in the workplace, seems serious enough to me. But that’s just a back bench MP, not the PM.

The media are hard out holding Barclay and English to account. Little doesn’t need to do much, but his contribution has been lame.

UPDATE: Little has just been interviewed on RNZ. He says that Barclay should resign. That’s probably a fair call, many are suggesting that is an appropriate action, but Little called for another MP to resign a day or two ago so that reduces the impact of this call.

He said he wouldn’t go as far as saying that English should resign.

Transcript from Question Time:


2. ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he believe that the moral standards he sets as Prime Minister are high enough?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH (Prime Minister): Yes, but we can always do better.

Andrew Little: Is it one of his moral standards that Minister who become aware of a breach of the law by a high-ranking public official should report it to the police; if not, why not?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: I would expect any Minister who became aware of possible breaches of the law to bring it to the attention of the authorities.

Andrew Little: Why has he left it until today to confirm that he himself gave information to the police about one of his MPs and an allegation of unlawful conduct on the part of that—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Can I just ask the member to reflect very quickly on that question, and I am going to read four Speakers’ rulings that I think are relevant. Speaker’s ruling 172/2: “The Prime Minister and Ministers are responsible for only those matters that fall within their responsibilities as Ministers, not as leaders of parties. That [applies to] all parties in the House.” Speaker’s ruling 172/3: “The Prime Minister is answerable for any statements made as Prime Minister. But the Prime Minister is not answerable for actions taken in a non-ministerial capacity, whether as Leader of the Opposition or as leader of a political party.” Speaker’s ruling 173/1: “The Prime Minister is not responsible for funding provided through the Parliamentary Service to the party.” Speaker’s ruling 173/2: “The Prime Minister has no responsibility either for what occurred at a select committee or for a member of the caucus.” I invite the member to consider his questions very carefully, but he needs to keep those four important Speakers’ rulings in mind as he proceeds with his line of questioning.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I understand that the comment that the Leader of the Opposition was questioning the Prime Minister about was made at a prime ministerial press conference. Therefore, he must be able to be questioned about it in the House.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, no. I do not think that is—[Interruption] Order! I do not think that is necessarily the case, particularly when I look at Speaker’s ruling 173/2: “The Prime Minister has no responsibility … for a member of the caucus.” So if it is a ministerial responsibility—[Interruption] Order! I am only relating what are the precedents that have been established in this House. The member might not agree, but she does not need to disagree with me while I am reading what is a Speaker’s ruling. I am not ruling any question out at this stage. It is going to be a difficult issue for me to negotiate my way through. I will do my best, but I am asking the member to carefully think of those four Speakers’ rulings as he frames his continuation of questions.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In making those decisions about which questions should be in order or not, one of the important distinctions that we ask you to consider is that the Prime Minister is responsible for the conduct of Ministers and what Ministers do with information that comes into their possession, including whether that information was received whilst they were in a current or in a previous role. So the Prime Minister, as Prime Minister today, may have received information in a previous ministerial role. As he is now the Prime Minister, he can still be questioned about when he knew that and what he did with that information.

Mr SPEAKER: I think that is absolutely true, and if you consider the first supplementary question advanced by the Leader of the Opposition, it fell into exactly that category. Andrew Little—to continue his supplementary questions.

Andrew Little: Was the then Minister of Finance behaving ethically on 1 March 2016, when he told media that he had not directly talked to his former staff about Todd Barclay’s alleged illegal recordings, when in truth he had directly contacted both Glenys Dickson and Stuart Davie about it?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: The then finance Minister, I presume, was answering questions about a matter that was in the media and under investigation.

Andrew Little: Is the Prime Minister standing by the conduct of his then Minister of Finance when being asked whether he had direct contact with people associated with the allegations involving the then MP—and still current MP—for Clutha-Southland, and went on to say he had had no direct contact with anybody involved in those affairs, which we now know to be untrue?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, and I understand there was some further explanation of that this morning.

Andrew Little: Does he agree with his statement that “It’s not leadership to cover up and hope it all goes away?”; if so, why is he covering things up and hoping they will just go away?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: I disagree with that. I think a statement to the police is not a cover-up.

Andrew Little: In light of his conduct in relation to not only Todd Barclay but also Alfred Ngaro threating housing NGOs who criticise the Government, Nicky Wagner disrespecting people with disabilities, Simon Bridges attempting to unlawfully withhold public information, why has the Prime Minister always chosen to defend their conduct rather than defend the moral standards Kiwis expect?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: In the first place, I dispute a number of those statements. Secondly, I think Ministers have demonstrated their adherence to much higher standards than previous Governments because they recognise their mistakes and apologise for them quite quickly. That is how you maintain standards. People will always make mistakes; the question is what you do to fix them.

Andrew Little: If the conduct of Todd Barclay, Alfred Ngaro, Nicky Wagner, and Simon Bridges is OK by him, how can he possibly claim to have any moral standards at all?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: Again, I disagree with some of the member’s statements, but the conduct he refers to was dealt with by the Ministers who recognised for themselves that their conduct did not reach the standards required by this Government, and they corrected those mistakes pretty quickly.

Andrew Little: Given today’s new revelations about Pike River, which contradict his Government’s repeated claims, is it morally acceptable for him to delay and frustrate the grieving Pike River families’ desire to see justice and get their men back?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: I certainly understand the distress of the families, particularly as these matters have been drawn out in a way that must have some of them reliving the tragedy regularly. All the matters that have been raised by the families were dealt with by a royal commission. It is not a matter of what the Government thinks; it is a matter of what the royal commission did, where the families were fully represented. Rather than delaying and frustrating the families, we are actually working with them now on a plan, which is about to be implemented, for a safe, unmanned investigation of the drift.

Andrew Little: How did his Government’s morals come to include bullying staff and critics, covering up its mistakes, refusing to cooperate with the police, all the while ignoring New Zealanders who are desperate for mental health care, desperate for a warm, dry home, and desperate for a place to call their own; and is it not, after 9 years, time for this Government to stop governing in the interests of the National Party and govern in the interests of all New Zealanders?

Mr SPEAKER: The Rt Hon Prime Minister—the first part of that question is in order.

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: As demonstrated by the recent Budget, which Labour voted against, we focus on the issues that matter, such as raising the incomes of the lowest-income households in New Zealand. In fact, it is because Ministers deal with their issues quickly, recognise mistakes, and move on that we have been able to stay focused on the issues that matter.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Did he check out the facts when he conveniently forgot his involvement in the Barclay affair or his involvement with the Prime Minister’s budget going towards Barclay’s staff—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Again, we are in the same territory where we have already been. There is no prime ministerial responsibility for a member of Mr English’s caucus.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister’s budget is the relevant point, with respect, that brings this question inside the ambit of the Standing Orders.

Mr SPEAKER: No; that is exactly the reason it is no longer in line with the Standing Orders. I refer the member to Speaker’s Ruling 173/1: “The Prime Minister is not responsible for funding provided through the Parliamentary Service to the party.” This question is out of order. [Interruption] Order! I have dealt with the matter.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I am seeking a point of clarity.

Mr SPEAKER: What is it?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: You are saying it is the Parliamentary Service budget. This, of course, came from the Prime Minister’s office. Are you saying it is the same thing?

Mr SPEAKER: No, it is exactly the same as the leader’s budget.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I will put the question again, then.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, the question has been ruled out of order. If the member wants to ask a fresh supplementary question and have another go, he can do so.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, I am reframing the question.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The question has been ruled out of order. It is lost. It is gone. If the member wants to have another—[Interruption]. Well, then, the member rises and asks for another supplementary question. Supplementary question—the Rt Hon Winston Peters. [Interruption] Order! The member will resume his seat. I am not putting up with this behaviour from a very senior member of this Parliament. He either starts to behave himself or he will be leaving the Chamber. If he wants a supplementary question, he rises to his feet and asks it.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Am I entitled to ask my question in silence, without the backbench barraging me?

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, the member is totally entitled to, but when he rises to his feet he gets on with the question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can I ask the Prime Minister whether he conveniently forgot his involvement in the Barclay affair, and how come he told the media one thing that demonstrably is not true?

Mr SPEAKER: As far as there may be some prime ministerial responsibility I am inviting the Prime Minister—if he wishes to address it, he can. [Interruption] Order! The question has been asked. It was a very marginal question. I left it there. The Prime Minister does not have to rise to answer it. [Interruption] Order! If a member wishes to leave the Chamber—that is completely unacceptable parliamentary language. The member will now stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Chris Hipkins: I withdraw and apologise.

 

 

 

 

Calls to reopen police case, Barclay admits “misleading”

A double whammy for Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay this afternoon, following revelations this morning – Politicians, police, and the payout –  with Newsroom also reporting  Southern Nats call for police to reopen Barclay case

Dozens of National Party members are calling for police to re-open the investigation into Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay’s covert recordings of a former staffer.

About 50 members of the National Party’s Clutha-Southland branch have called for police to re-investigate allegations Todd Barclay secretly recorded his former electorate agent, Glenys Dickson.

Mavis Smith, a National Party member of more than 20 years told Newsroom the case has upset southern members.

“We have discussed it as a group and if the investigation can be reopened then it should be. It was never finished, was it?

“All of us are long standing members and we would never do [anything] against the National Party. We are used to the party dealing with its own dirty linen so to speak, but this just hasn’t happened here.”

Police said the evidence to prosecute Barclay was not strong enough.

Earlier this afternoon David Farrar seems to have tried some damage control at Kiwiblog in About Todd Barclay:

  1. Todd ruffled more feathers than was necessary when he became the candidate and new MP.  Some of the criticism was unfair (some were unhappy that he chose to live in Queenstown instead of Gore, that he has a social life) and some was justified.
  2. For reasons unknown he and his senior electorate staffer fell out quite badly.
  3. The staffer started publicly and privately criticising Todd (as mentioned in this Newsroom article), and as I understand it actively working against him.
  4. Todd presumably heard that one of his own staff was using his own office resources and time to bad mouth him, and/or spread rumours about him. It seems (I have no first hand knowledge) he may have left a dictaphone running in the office to gather proof of this. It goes without saying he should not have done this and doing so (if he did) was a serious error of judgement.
  5. Since then a small group within the local party have been campaigning against Todd. They tried to get elected to the electorate committee and challenge him for the nomination. They failed massively, with Todd receiving the overwhelming support of the members.

But “about 50” and “dozens” sounds substantial compared to “a small group”.

Barclay has just made a statement to media which concedes that English was right, which means his statements this morning were not just “misleading”, he appears to have lied.

Support for ‘Family Incomes Package’

A Newshub/Reid Research poll shows that a majority of people support the Government’s $2 billion Family Income Package that was announced in the budget last month.

‘Two thirds’ of voters  support the policy and ‘just over 25%’ oppose it (they don’t give exact overall numbers).

Results based on party preference on: Do you support National’s ‘Family Incomes Package’?:

  • National voters: 88% yes, 7.2% no
  • Labour voters: 48.3% yes, 41.7% no
  • Green voters: 48.4% yes, 40.1% no
  • NZ First voters: 48% yes, 43.7% no

So even with National mentioned in the question more Labour, Green and NZ First voters supported than opposed the package.

Poll: Labour voters like National’s family package

I do wonder how many people who were surveyed have a good understanding of what was in the package.

The Family Income Package includes:

  • Tax Thresholds: Increases the $14,000 income tax threshold to $22,000, and the $48,000 threshold to $52,000. This provides a tax reduction of $11 a week to people earning $22,000 or more rising to $20 per week for anyone earning $52,000 or more.
  • Family Tax Credit: Increases the maximum credit for the first child under 16 by $9 a week, and for each subsequent child under 16 by between $18 and $27 a week. Also increases the abatement rate to 25 per cent, and reduces the abatement threshold to $35,000.
  • Accommodation Supplement: Increases the maximum payment rates for a two person household by between $25 and $75 a week, and for larger households by between $40 and $80 a week.
  • Accommodation Benefit: Increases weekly payments by up to $20 for students to reflect increasing housing costs for students.

The Family Incomes Package will benefit 1,340,000 families in New Zealand by, on average, $26 per week from 1 April 2018. Around 750,000 superannuitants and around 41,000 students will also benefit from the Family Incomes Package.

– See more at: https://www.budget.govt.nz/budget/2017/family-incomes-package/index.htm#sthash.RUywmMHt.dpuf