More poor NZ First maths

Some very questionable NZ First spokesperson maths were highlighted recently – see Predator Free would cost ‘trillions’.

In Question Time in Parliament yesterday NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark also indicated he may be challenged by numbers.

2. RON MARK (Deputy Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

Ron Mark: Does he stand by his statement that “every region of New Zealand is crucial to our growth and progress”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, in the context I made it.

Ron Mark: Why has the Government, then, given only $12 million over 4 years to councils for tourism infrastructure such as public toilets, when the Government took $630 million net surplus from GST on international visitor spending?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I think the member is wrong; the number is higher than that for GST. The Government has been investing very heavily in the tourism sector. It is one of the reasons why it is such an important part of the economy, and we saw 3.3 million international tourists come to New Zealand. What the Government is doing is—for the first time—providing that sort of support for councils. They are free to put in an application, and, I think, from the feedback that I have been getting both as Prime Minister and as Minister of Tourism, a lot of them are going to do that and be grateful. But to argue that that is the only thing that we are doing in terms of supporting tourists is a bit farcical. It includes the $140 million – odd every year we put into marketing. It includes the work we have done around black spots for mobile phones, ultra-fast broadband, and tourist facilities.

Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I specifically quoted the figure $12 million over 4 years to councils in respect of tourism infrastructure—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Can I have the point of order, please.

Ron Mark: My question is that he has not answered—I ask you to ask the Prime Minister to answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, there is absolutely no doubt that the answer addressed the question that was asked.

First, on the claim of “$630 million net surplus from GST on international visitor spending“. As Key suggests, the value of GST on visitor spending is higher than that.

The latest numbers from MBIE show that in the year to June 2016 visitor spending was $10,276 million. Presuming that is GST inclusive the GST portion of that is over twice the $630 million Mark claimed – $1,340 million. That’s an increase from $1,139 million in the year to June 2015, which is still nearly double Mark’s claim.

But Mark didn’t specify what period his GST number applied to, but tried to compare it to four years of expenditure. GST on visitor spending over the next four years is on track to be well in excess of $5 billion, which is quite different to $630 million.

Kudos to Key for recognising this discrepancy on the fly. A fail mark for Mark on visitor GST.

The second point Key made is on the claim that “given only $12 million over 4 years to councils for tourism infrastructure such as public toilets“.

Mark has mentioned expenditure on only one small tourism policy. Key mentions other areas of spending on tourism.

This MBIE page details these spending announcements from this year’s budget.

  • A new Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Fund of $12 million over four years will be established for smaller scale infrastructure projects that deliver tourism-related facilities(that’s what Mark referred to).
  • Budget 2016 also contributes an extra $8 million over four years for Tourism New Zealand to target key growth markets so New Zealand continues to diversify our visitor base.
  • There will be new funding of $25 million over four years that will enable the, enhancement and extension of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

This is just additional spending – clearly headlined as a ‘further boost’

Key was a bit off with his estimate of the “$140 million – odd every year we put into marketing”.  From Tourism New Zealand’s 3 year marketing strategy document:

Tourism New Zealand’s budget will increase $29.5m, from $83.8m to $113.4m, for the financial years FY14 and FY15, increasing to $115.8m in FY16 and FY17, enabling significant expansion on Tourism New Zealand’s current activity.

But he was in the vicinity (off the top of his head), and again this is just a part of what the Government contributes to tourism.

Another thing – it would be ridiculous to use all of the GST gathered from visitors’ spending on tourism.

We don’t reinvest all of the GST on other sectors back into those sectors. If that was how things were done there would be little money for New Zealand First to employ researchers (via Parliamentary Services) – but perhaps they don’t use researchers now.

If NZ First want to gain some credibility as being able to hold a crucial role in the next Government then they need to stop making claims that are easily ridiculed.

NZ First versus Labour (and the rest)

It looks increasingly likely NZ First may be in a deciding position after the next election based on current polls, by a margin.

Winston Peters simply won’t indicate which way he will go, with National or with Labour-Greens, if he sticks to past practice. He claims this is letting the voters decide first but it’s difficult for voters to decide if they don’t know what he might do.

Peters has attacked the Government and National a lot. But NZ First seem happy to also attack Labour – this isn’t entirely surprising as they will compete for votes with Labour.

Audrey Young writes NZ First’s salvoes hit home in war of words.

With every passing week, it becomes more likely that New Zealand First will decide the next Government.

New Zealand First attacks the National Government frequently.Until now, it has largely avoided open attacks on Labour in the 4 years the parties have shared the Opposition benches.

But for a party that will go into the election with no coalition preferences, it has to change that perception.

In that context it was significant when New Zealand First deputy leader Ron Mark publicly rubbished Labour twice this week, in the general debate on Wednesday, then again on Thursday in Question Time.

Winston Peters was away but he apparently has no qualms about it.

Mark’s salvoes represent a new phase for New Zealand First – a “no favourites” phase.

In General Debate on Wednesday:

RON MARK (Deputy Leader—NZ First): It is one of those days, is it not, when you come down to the House, you have got a whole bunch of speech notes and you are ready to deliver something that is prepared, and then someone stands up in the House and says something that rocks you in your shoes. That has just happened with Mr Iain Lees-Galloway’s speech on immigration.

Like one of the previous members said, the adjournment time gives us the chance to get out and take stock and listen to people. We have to say, in New Zealand First, we have to say we have travelled up and down the country. From Invercargill to Auckland, I have been everywhere, and the message we are getting consistently is that the public is actually tired of the type of speech that Mr Iain Lees-Galloway just gave. They are tired of one side of the House claiming that another party in this House, whose immigration policies have always been sane, sensible, and population-focused—is racist and xenophobic.

Now, suddenly, on the back of a poll that Mr Iain Lees-Galloway from Labour has seen, which tells him “Oh my gosh, 60 percent of the country agrees with the Rt Hon Winston Peters in New Zealand First that immigration policy is chaotic, is out of control.”, suddenly everyone should listen to Labour.

Let me tell you what people are saying out there: “Red or blue, there’s nothing new.” National and Labour are just the same. It is like Pepsi and Coke: tell me whether one can tell the difference. One comes in a blue package; the other comes in a red package, but everyone knows 90 percent of the people cannot tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke, and that is exactly what is happening right now.

We do not actually care about the argument that goes on between National and Labour on who put more police here, who has got a stronger focus on law and order, or who wants to get immigration under control—we see them both as exactly the same and so does most of New Zealand right now, who are all coming to that realisation.

We go down to Invercargill, down to Gore, and who is filling in my meeting? It is National Party farmers, who have had a gutsful.

Todd Barclay: Absolutely no one—no one is there.

RON MARK: Todd Barclay can stand up and rant but Todd Barclay should ask the listing committee of the National Party where his committee has gone. Where has his committee gone? People are looking at this Government as being no different from the last Government.

Then we have Mr Grant Robertson on Q+A telling the whole nation the trickle-down economy does not work. Hello! Mr Robertson, if you had not realised it, it was started by the Labour Party. It was called Rogernomics, and then National picked it up and called it “Ruthanasia”. The result was the same: devastation in the provinces and farmers out there being told they should get on and keep their chins up and handle the economic changes, whilst this Government, which trumpets free-trade agreements—which the Labour Party promoted as well—has done nothing to curb the excessive use of subsidies in these countries that they proudly proclaim they have established a free-trade agreement with.

Mr Speaker, you are a farmer from the Banks Peninsula and I know that you were raised like me in rural New Zealand, in the Wairarapa, and we know something that our grandparents told us a long time ago, and farmers down in Gore and down into Invercargill were telling us this as well: nothing is free—nothing. Do not come into this House and trumpet “Ruthanasia” policies or Rogernomics policies and tell us that the poor at the low end of the chain are going to benefit from that, because all the evidence shows, after 30 years of rampant neo-liberal experimentation—started by the Labour Party—that the gap between rich and poor is greater than it has ever been. It has actually reached the level where you may never be able to turn it back—well, looking at the housing situation.

By the way, we are getting to the stage in New Zealand First where we actually think we have got a security problem, because it seems that every second day Labour is picking up one of our policies and trumpeting it as its own. The thing that disappoints us more than anything is that the media print it. We would simply ask them: “If you want the original Rolex, come to New Zealand First—do not go buying a cheap, Singaporean model from the Labour Party.”

In Question time on Thursday:

Ron Mark: Is the Minister surprised that he has so many anti-immigration questions from Labour these days, given that previous Labour leaders have so viciously attacked New Zealand First and Winston Peters on the very same topic?

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I will hear from Mr Chris Hipkins.

Chris Hipkins: The Minister is not responsible for questions that the Opposition asks.

Mr SPEAKER: No, I cannot see that there is any ministerial responsibility, anyway. We are moving on.

Ron Mark: Is the Minister confused by reports from political parties that have formed a coalition recently, when we have questions such as this and he is being asked to answer questions such as this, and then the leader of the Green Party, James Shaw, goes on radio and says—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is no ministerial responsibility whatsoever. [Interruption] Order!

Young:

Mark: “Is the minister surprised that he has so many anti-immigration questions from Labour these days, given that previous Labour leaders have so viciously attacked New Zealand First and Winston Peters on the very same topic?”

The “vicious attacks” haven’t happened for years.

But Mark and Peters have long memories and can quote chapter and verse about who said what when as far back as 2002.

Despite their party supporting Labour in Government from 2005 to 2008, they hold a grudge.

So will the next coalition government be based on which party grovels about grudges the most to NZ First?

It sometimes seems Peters has a blanket grudge against the Greens so that could get interesting.

But for now Peters and Mark will be targeting votes. From ex-National voters who are tired of the current lot. From the big pool of voters who despair about Labour getting themselves sorted and looking capable of leading. And from the sizeable pool of potential voters who use NZ First and Winston as a protest vote.

That’s actually smart politics – votes are what count.

Then after the election Peters will smile at Key, and at Little and Turei and Shaw, and he probably won’t even have to use the word ‘grovel’.

Political tides flowing for Peters

Winston Peters has been touted as ‘kingmaker’ for a number of years, especially by story makers like Patrick Gower. NZ First came close to being in a pivotal position after both the last elections.

With it increasingly likely that National will slip some more and neither ACT nor United Future looking unlikely to be able to make up the numbers (although don’t dismiss ACT entirely), and it’s hard to see Labour or Greens growing their support enough to form a two party Government, it currently looks increasingly likely NZ First will be comfortably still in Parliament and holding the balance of power after next year’s election.

Vernon Small writes: The political tides are all flowing the way of ‘kingmaker’ Winston Peters

National was on 45 per cent, and Labour 33 and the Greens 11 – so 44 per cent together – while NZ First was sitting comfortably on 8 per cent. National’s minnow-party helpers were again gasping for air.

It had some on the Left celebrating the demise of John Key and the National Government. That begs the question how a poll that leaves both Left and Right reliant on Peters’ notoriously uncertain patronage can be parlayed into a loss for one side and a victory for the other. Because it can’t.

But if the possibility of Peters being the kingmaker is not new, the near certainty of it is.

At the moment it looks a near certainty but there’s over a year to go until the election.

Not much more than a year out from the election it is hard to construct a convincing scenario where he will not hold the balance of power – unless you believe there will be a sudden surge in minor party support or National will defy the odds and hold its support above 46 per cent. Either is possible, but the ebb and flow of political history argues otherwise.

So where to from here for Peters?

With so much of the political tide running his way, it’s hard to see how Peters will not at least hold, but more likely increase, his current support level.

Folks, he may be infuriating. He may not be your cup of tea – and with less than 10 per cent support that will be overwhelmingly true.

But like it or not, it’s time to stop asking which way Peters will lean if he wins the balance of power. It’s when.

Probably. If there is a backlash against Trump will that impact on support for Peters, who is seen as similar in some ways?

Will Labour finally find a way back to a respectable level of support?

Will National find a way of holding on to their support?

Will voters be willing or unwilling to hand the balance of power to Peters?

Trump supported as well as Little

Newshub tacked a question on to their Reid Research poll on support in New Zealand for the two main party US presidential candidates:

  • Hillary Clinton 76%
  • Don’t Know 15%
  • Donald Trump 9%

So Trump is around the support level of Andrew Little and Winston Peters for ‘preferred Prime Minister’.

Newshub says “the poll was conducted during the recent Republican and Democratic Conventions” – the timing may not make a lot of difference here but polling across both conventions could get uneven results if done in the US.

And Trump is most popular (perhaps that should be least unpopular) amongst NZ First supporters.

  • NZ First 23%
  • National 9.3%
  • Labour 5.7%
  • Greens 3.5%

But 23% of NZ First supporters is about 2% of all people polled, which is about the same number of Labour supporters, while a bit over twice as many National supporters also support Trump.

The poll of 1000 people was taken between July 22 and August 3 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent (but the margin of error will be much bigger for the smaller sample sizes for party/Trump support).

Source: Only 9pct of Kiwis want Trump as President

Mad voters versus markets

Rod Emmerson on voters who are mad:

A mad mad world – the rise of the UP YOURS vote – my cover for today’s

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Also at the Herald Liam Dann goes one mad more: It’s a mad, mad world

From Britain, to the US to Australia, voters are punishing politicians. Why the anger and what does it mean for markets?

Even after the shock result, financial markets could have shrugged off the Brexit vote, says Greg Peacock, chief investment officer for investment fund NZAM.

But despite what the stock exchange numbers might suggest, they haven’t. Instead, there is growing unease about what happens next as a new wave of political volatility spreads across the Western world.

The UK is in turmoil, Australia is in turmoil. Who is next? Donald Trump and the US elections are looming large. Then there is Italy, where Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has offered angry voters the chance to chuck him out with a referendum on political reform in October. And what about New Zealand – could we follow the trend?

“What we are seeing is a push back against, some would say, the whole post-World War II movement – globalisation and free trade,” Peacock says.

What does this mean in New Zealand? The deepening discontent doesn’t seem to have reached us yet to any extent, apart from a lift in poll support for NZ First.

Mark Lister, head of research at Craigs Investment Partners, says “the Brexit was a wake-up call for politicians and investors and I think we’ll see plenty more of it.

“It’s simply a reflection of the fact so many people feel like they are missing out on their share of the boom.”

We’re used to hearing this kind of thing from left-wing commentators and politicians. But neither Peacock nor Lister has a political axe to grind. Their analysis is matter-of-fact and born of concerns for investors.

So how will investors react? The property bubble is likely to at least plateau and possibly burst in the not to distant future.

Auckland University professor of macroeconomics Prasanna Gai has worked for the Bank of England, Bank of Canada and advised our Reserve Bank. Nearly 10 years on from the global financial crisis we are still suffering the fallout, he says. And there are echoes of the 1930s.

We have allowed central banks to “shoulder all the burden” and politicians’ failure to confront the big structural issues may be coming back to bite them.

“You’ve got a confluence of three factors,” he says. “Firstly, productivity growth everywhere is unusually low. That’s a consequence of a misallocation of resources in the boom which preceded the global financial crisis.”

Then there is debt.

“Global debt levels are at historically high levels … because debt has served as a substitute for income growth pretty much everywhere.” Then you have the central banks with very little room left to move and “a substantial rise in economic uncertainty as well as policy uncertainty.”

What we are seeing is “protectionist discontent”, he says.

So where to from here.

…people are looking for political leaders who promise to put their local interests first even if that might not be in their greater long-term interests.

…economic concerns lurk. We have already seen global trade declining for about 18 months, Peacock says.

There is a risk of political uncertainty extending and exacerbating that trend.
“So you look round the world and say which economies are vulnerable to global trade,” Peacock says, “China is top of the list.”

That is ominous for New Zealand, which is increasingly reliant on China. It’s a connection that has in many ways buffered us from the worst of the post-GFC economic mess.

So far in New Zealand, political revolt hasn’t been big a factor, Peacock says. “But if you saw NZ First rising in the polls it wouldn’t be a great surprise.”

NZ First has already risen in the polls and is abnormally high for this time of the electoral cycle – recently their support has surged leading in to an election.

Jennifer Curtin, University of Auckland associate professor in politics and international relations, points out that we have already seen one example of revolt with the Northland by-election – where voters handed the Government a resounding defeat.

“Peters is the perfect kind of centrist, protest party independent style candidate,” Curtin says. “He has the power of rhetoric and the charisma to draw people to him from both the Left and the Right.”

I doubt that there are many people who seriously think that Peters and NZ First can do anything significant about sorting out housing or the economy, Peters is simply adept at attracting protest votes – the ‘pox on all the parties’ vote.

But in the US, the UK and Australia people aren’t voting for who might be best able to manage things, as Emmerson shows it is the UP YOURS vote that is on the rise, even though people know it is promoting people who look like they are more likely to make things worse rather than better.

At the moment it is looking like Peters will be holding the balance of power after the next election.

But this is a relatively quickly evolving situation internationally, so how things look to voters now may be nothing like how they look to voters leading into the next election.

We will have seen perhaps a year of an Australian Government with teetering support.

And the US president will be the status quo establishment Clinton (that may want to rebel against) or the anything goes Donald Trump.

And the UK will have elected a new Government as well.

Lastly, will Peters last the distance? He is a shadow of his former self in Parliament. He may be waning, or he may be marking time saving himself for another big campaign next year.

At least we don’t have to worry about political upheaval here while the world goes mad around us.

Evidence of outcomes on Whānau Ora

Parliament can often be seen as a morass of mundicity punctuated by gross grandstanding and bursts of bull.

But occasionally it can be entertaining. Like question 11 on Thursday. It had some typical nit-picky points of order from Trevor Mallard and Winston Peters but the latter ended up being quietly outsmarted by Te Ururoa Flavell.

This interchange has an unexpected family twist in it’s tail. (Thanks for pointing this out Gezza).


Whānau Ora—Evidence of Outcomes

11. DARROCH BALL (NZ First) to the Minister for Whānau Ora: What evidence, if any, does he have that Whānau Ora is making any meaningful impact for Māori whatsoever other than anecdotal evidence and conversations he has had?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Minister for Whānau Ora): Actually, it is good to go and meet with the people who are actually benefiting from Whānau Ora, but I can advise the House that the evidence comes from at least 10 publicly available reports that all speak of the benefits and the outcomes achieved by the Whānau Ora approach. In phase one of Whānau Ora at least 9,400 whānau received whānau-centred services until June 2014. Since Whānau Ora commissioning agencies have been established, Whānau Ora commissioning agencies reporting on engagement and achievement as at March 2016 show that over 8,500 whānau have been supported through Whānau Ora in all sorts of ways, such as health outcomes, financial literacy, education, and economic security. There is plenty out there. I would table it, but I know that is against the Standing Orders.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It has become clear that there is a misunderstanding of the Standing Orders. The Minister can, of course, table any paper that he wants, at any stage—he is a Minister. Even if it is a public document, any Minister can table it. In fact, many of the documents Ministers do table are public. They do not require the consent of the House the way other members do.

Mr SPEAKER: And if the member seeks the leave, I have a discretion.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have got a list of 12 of those reports. I am happy to read all of them out in order to achieve—

Mr SPEAKER: No. No, I want the point of order.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: The point of order is: I wish to table these documents.

Mr SPEAKER: Are they publicly available?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: They are publicly available.

Mr SPEAKER: Then I am not going to put that leave.

Darroch Ball: Why has he not commissioned or released one single independent report or economic analysis on Whānau Ora since July 2014, instead of relying upon anecdotal evidence to measure progress and outputs?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I will start by saying that a number of reports have been commissioned and are available publicly. Let us start with the Productivity Commission. I will quote the Productivity Commission, which said in its report: “The Commission finds that Whānau Ora shows much promise to tackle long-standing issues for improving Māori wellbeing. Its kaupapa Māori approach is especially important to Māori wellbeing. It has many of the characteristics required for a devolved model to promote integrated services for families with multiple, complex needs and aspirations.” I have got another one—Office of the Auditor-General. I have got Ministry of Health—I have got them all.

Joanne Hayes: What announcements has the Minister made recently to support the economic outcomes for Māori?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I have more good news. Whānau Ora is committed to empowering whānau to achieve—one of its goals is better economic outcomes. Today, along with my colleague the Hon Peter Goldsmith, I was pleased to announce the allocation of $900,000—

Hon Members: Ha, ha! Paul!

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Sorry, Mr Speaker. Sorry, Paul.

Mr SPEAKER: Carry on, quickly.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Firstly, I offer my apologies to my colleague Paul Goldsmith.

Mr SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. [Interruption] That is not a point of order. Now quickly bring the answer to a conclusion.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I am just pleased to announce $900,000 to improve the financial capability—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How much?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: —amongst Māori. It is more than you have got, Mr Peters, for Māori communities—$900,000 more.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Point of order on two grounds: first of all, he cannot bring you into the debate; the second thing is I got $239 million—not like he got.

Mr SPEAKER: I am not interested in the second part of the—[Interruption] Order! I am not interested in the second part of the point of order, and for the first part I refer the member to Speaker’s ruling 31/3. If I am brought into the debate—and often it is accidental—I will intervene if I need to. It is my determination, not the Rt Hon Winston Peters’.

Darroch Ball: I seek leave to table a document that has been obtained through the Official Information Act and is dated 13 August 2015. The source is Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK), and it states there are no independent reports or economic analysis commissioned by TPK.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that particular document. Is there any objection? There is none. It can be tabled.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Darroch Ball: What evidence has he presented to the Minister of Finance for Whānau Ora funding when the Government’s social investment approach demands measurable data and measurable outcomes before continuing to spend taxpayers’ money?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: The Minister of Finance is available on the Whānau Ora Partnership Group and receives all of the reports from commissioning agencies on a quarterly basis. He receives those reports. Secondly, all of the reports from commissioning agencies are available online on the website and are public documents. Anyone can read them and there is plenty of evidence out there.

Joanne Hayes: How does the announcement support the Government’s national strategy on financial capability?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Last year the Government signalled that improving the financial well-being of all New Zealanders was a priority. The upscaling of these pioneering Māori pilot programmes reinforces our ongoing commitment to this goal. We know that the Government needs to provide three things in order to steer people away from getting trapped in the cycle of debt and poor financial decisions. The three things are effective legislation, proper enforcement, and improved education. This will certainly contribute to that.

Darroch Ball: When is going to realise that Whānau Ora is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money while it is not working for ordinary Māori when, for example, the number of homeless Māori in Auckland has increased by 10 percent this year alone, more than half of all homeless—

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, next week is Māori Language Week. My ears are little bit sore with “Maari”—I would ask the member to pronounce it properly as Māori.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister is starting to trifle with the Chamber. The question is a provocative question, it is likely to get a provocative answer, but it has been asked.

Darroch Ball: I have not finished my question.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, the member better hurry up and finish it. To be fair to the member, I invite him to start the question again as he has now lost his continuity.

Darroch Ball: When is he going to realise that Whānau Ora is a complete waste of taxpayer money while it is not working for ordinary Māori when, for example, the number of homeless Māori in Auckland has increased by 10 percent in this year alone, more than half of all homeless in Wellington are Māori, and 40 percent of those of all those on social housing waiting lists are Māori—

Mr SPEAKER: The question is too long.

Darroch Ball: —and Māori youth—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The question has been asked.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I will help the member. On reflection, I have a quote from a chief executive officer of at least one Whānau Ora provider from Northland who told the media in 2015: “Whānau Ora has made a substantive and positive difference to the way we are able to work with and align services”—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This Minister was asked “when is he”. It was not asked whether he could go somewhere else and seek refuge. It asked him for a personal answer, and he is not giving it.

Mr SPEAKER: The question, effectively, was “When is the Minister going to realise it is a complete waste of money?”. That gives a very wide ambit for the Minister to then answer the question. Members may not like the answer they are getting; I suggest they reconsider the type of questions they ask. The Hon Te Uruora Flavell—bring the answer to a conclusion.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Firstly, I say again I reject that allegation in the first instance. Secondly, I say again—

Darroch Ball: Where’s the evidence?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I will give you the evidence right now—from somebody involved in Whānau Ora. It is the chief executive officer of Whānau Ora, and they said: “Whānau Ora has made a substantive and positive difference to the way we are able to work with and align services to meet the needs of the people,” That person was Lynette Stewart, the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ sister.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am just waiting until I can hear it in silence because I am sure it is going to be interesting.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Every family has a member who loses their way.

Mr SPEAKER: And some families have more than others.

Joanne Hayes: What further reports has he had in relation to Whānau Ora’s success in Northland?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I have pretty much given the evidence. As the honourable member just said, there is evidence around, and the evidence is the statement I just gave to the House—that the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ sister was a chief executive officer of a provider of Whānau Ora.

 

“Abuse the hell out of them!”

Clare Trevett suggests that Labour should Be careful what you wish for

After five years as the Invisible Man’s doppelganger, Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene has finally broken out.

The trigger was the Budget tax on smoking. His chosen dance floor was Twitter. In person, Tirikatene is a shambling, genial, diffident character. It was akin to watching the Incredible Hulk hulk out.

Tirikatene came to athe attention, including me – see Rino Tirikatene on Twitter

He started by saying the Maori Party “are slowly turning Aotearoa into a kuia state”. On and on he went, using the hashtag #kuiastate (Nanny State) for each tweet.

He was only goaded further when Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox pointed out that Labour was in fact voting for this “kuia state” measure.

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The reason for the flurry was a prod from his leader to lift his game. He did it so effectively he ended up being told to rein it in again.

Labour might want to be careful what it wishes for. At the moment, the Maori Party is the enemy because it is in Government. Even worse, it is in Government with the National Party.

Yet the Maori Party could end up being the solution to a tricky problem for Labour. There are scenarios in which the Maori Party could give Labour and the Greens the extra numbers they need to get into Government without having to go to Winston Peters. Andrew Little could well find himself bracing to knock on the Maori Party’s door, come 2017.

The Maori Party could end up ‘holding the balance of power’, in which case it’s probably likely they would choose to go left rather than right.

But it could get complicated for more than Labour.

If both the Maori Party and NZ First were needed together to form a majority coalition would NZ First accept an arrangement like that? Would National or Labour?

Would NZ First accept being in a coalition arrangement with either the Maori Party or the Greens?

Many convolutions are possible come the election next year.

However Labour must have a very complicated strategy.

They want to wipe out the Maori Party and take them out of the coalition equation. And pick up their votes.

They want to take NZ First out of the coalition equation. And pick up some of their votes.

But they may end up having to go to either or both parties in order to put together the numbers that would enable them to form the next government.

Abusing the hell out of them now may make things quite complicated later.

False claims by Peters

In an interview with Katie Bradford on Q+A Winston Peters made claims that appear to be blatantly false.

This one may have been tongue in cheek but it is fairly obviously incorrect.

Winston Peters: Let me make one thing very clear. We have a very good relationship with everybody, as you well know, including New Zealand media.

The Speaker David Carter might well disagree with this. So might Peter Dunne, And David Seymour. Peters has had an acrimonious relationship with a number of journalists, unless it is all just an act. I doubt he has a good relationship with David Farrar or Cameron Slater.

The Maori Party has also been attacked by Peters. For example: Long, rambling and late: Winston attacks regular foes in speech

Peters said the Maori Party is “brown-mailing” National over the proposed changes to the Resource Management Act.

“It is obvious that National have been brown-mailed into making policy concessions to the Maori Party that doesn’t even get one percent of the vote.”

And his relationship with me is closer to very bad than very good. He’s one of a number of MPs who try to hide from me – “You are blocked from following @winstonpeters and viewing @winstonpeters’s Tweets” – and the only direct relationship I have had with Peters involved a threat of legal action.

Bradford asked Peters four times whether he had ‘a better relationship with the Greens, including:

Katie Bradford: Okay, but do you have a better relationship with the Greens now than you did in the past, and with Labour, for that matter?

Winston Peters: I mean, I never attacked the Greens in the past…

That’s obvious nonsense. Peters shut the Greens out of a coalition with Labour in 2005

In August 2015: Peters: NZ First will decide 2017 election

Mr Peters’ first job of the day was to hurl criticisms at the media – “your polls are crap”, “stop this nonsense” and “you ask some stupid questions”. Mr Peters also launched an attack on the Greens, saying it cost the Left last year’s election by attacking Labour, adding the Greens will be irrelevant by 2017.

It goes back, this from October 2000: Winston Peters accused of Gay-bashing

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been accused of gay-bashing after attacking Green Party co-convenor Richard Davies’ naked appearance on a website advertising his gay homestay near Takaka.

June 2005: Peters says Green Party has ‘sold out’

Mr Peters yesterday described Mr Donald as “a man who’s obsessed with being in Cabinet and will sell any principle down the drain”.

Very ironic.

“They [the Greens] are going off to political oblivion. They don’t actually stand for anything and won’t stand up for anything,” he said on the Paul Holmes television show last night.

September 2014: Winnie on Waiheke: A Day Out with Winston Peters

He can also get pretty weird. To another man, he says: “You’re a Green supporter. That explains everything. You don’t care about the economy, you care about flies and bees. And trees. Let me tell you, man is more important, and womankind too. It’s in the book. Remember the book? God gave man dominion over them.”

Peters has attacked the greens directly (September 2014): Alternatives In Election 2014

“Of late the Greens have been talking about being co-deputy prime ministers and wanting the finance portfolio.

“Does that mean when the Prime Minister is abroad we are going to have two acting prime ministers instead.

“This situation would be farcical.

“If the Greens think they are going to take over the levers of economic management they are assuming other parties are not watching their record.

“Voters need to be disabused of the view promoted by the Greens that we in New Zealand First would stand by whilst they promote extremist policies in government.

“This is not indicating a choice but the media seem to have overlooked one option entirely, a Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply.

“This emerged in 2005, has precedent, and it was a stable, successful government that delivered the greatest surpluses in recent years.”

That’s an attack that the Greens will keep in mind, especially as their Memorandum of Understanding with Labour expires just prior to the business end of next year’s election, negotiating coalitions.

Pushing a perception – gutsy or stupid

Going by the lines Andrew Little and Metiria Turei have been pushing, and others like JulieAnne Genter – see No NZ First aim – and Martyn Bradbury bombs on basic facts where he says “that new perception changes everything” it has become apparent what the strategy is.

There’s been a number of claims about ‘perceptions’ being all important over the last few months.

Labour and Greens want to to create the  perception in polls that Labour+Greens can compete head to head with National, and hope that will then become a reality.

They are deliberately leaving Winston Peters out of their MoU lines.

Andrew Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw in weekend interviews tried to divert from any mention of Peters or NZ First, and also in their speeches at the Green conference they repeated ‘change the Government’ and Labour and Greens over and over with no mention of the elephant in their election room.

They are working on creating a Labour+Green versus National perception, hoping to turn that into a reality.

Turei called it a game changer.

But if reality remains as it is, or if Labour or Greens or both take a hit in the next few polls, the opposite perception could become apparent – that there is no way they can make Government without Peters and NZ First.

Peters will be doing everything he can to promote the latter perception, and to pick up as many disillusioned Labour voters as he can to make his perception the reality.

Labour and Greens have effectively changed the battle they had and will now be fighting on two fronts, against Key and National, and against Peters and NZ First.

That’s either very gutsy or quite stupid.

Peters on Labour-Green MoU

Winston Peters was asked about the Labour Green memorandum of Understanding by Katie Bradford on Q+A yesterday.

First, does he now have a better relationship with the Greens?

Winston Peters: Well, look, first of all, this memorandum of understanding the Greens have had one with the National Party. And this one, I understand, expires on election night. So, frankly, I don’t know how it works. We’ve not been a part of any discussion. And so, I suppose you’re being presented with this option: ‘Us two have got married over here, and we want New Zealand First to join us even though they’ve not been part of any discussion whatsoever.’

Peters didn’t answer the question.

It’s hard to believe that there has not been any discussion whatsoever between anyone in Labour and anyone in NZ First about the Memorandum. I’ve seen claims that there has been.

Katie Bradford:  But did you really think they would come to you and talk to you? You wouldn’t have had a bar of it.

Winston Peters: The reality is that on some things we’ve cooperated with all sorts of parties. You know, on the Reserve Bank Act getting amended, we got within one vote of getting that done – twice. But the idea that you would go out there with a pre-arrangement on a deck of cards you’ve never read, we simply can’t see how that works. And if it’s going to end on election night, then what is it about?

He didn’t answer that question either.

Katie Bradford: You haven’t answered my original question, which was, ‘Do you have a better relationship with the Greens now than you have in the past?’ James Shaw said you and Metiria are good friends. Deborah Morris-Travers is obviously now the chief of staff for the Greens. She was a former MP of you. I mean, is this a good sign?

Winston Peters: It seemed he came to that interview to talk about New Zealand First, and I’ve just seen the interview. One party doesn’t go into those sorts of arrangements, because we don’t know how the cards will fall.

He didn’t answer those questions.

Katie Bradford: But I’m asking you about your relationship with the Greens.

Winston Peters: Let me make one thing very clear. We have a very good relationship with everybody, as you well know, including New Zealand media.

He didn’t answer the question again, and his response must be a joke. He smirked as he said it.

Katie Bradford: Okay, but do you have a better relationship with the Greens now than you did in the past, and with Labour, for that matter?

Winston Peters: I mean, I never attacked the Greens in the past…

Another question avoided and another laughable response.

Now, there’s no doubt about the Greens, if you look at their manifesto, for a parallel state. Now, we are not going to compromise our policies on critical things to do with this country’s social and economic advancement.

That looks like an attack on the Greens, in almost the same breath he says he has never attacked the Greens.

Katie Bradford: But you are saying, then, that perhaps on areas like immigration you would be able to work better than in the past. Who’s your favourite Green? If you had to name one, who would you prefer to go…?

Winston Peters: Now, what I’m saying to you is that I can’t understand why Labour did this, because it’s from a position of weakness, and the only beneficiary will be the Greens. And their supporters will find that out very quickly. That’s been my experience in politics.

He doesn’t answer the questions again.

Otherwise it’s hard to argue with his comment.

Katie Bradford: So you think Labour will suffer as a result of this?

Winston Peters: New Zealand First is not coming in from a position of weakness. We will grow this party seriously, and all the signs are saying that, all the polls say that.

He doesn’t answer the question. Otherwise his response seems reasonable, NZ First looks to be in a position of strength, particularly compared to Labour and the Greens.

Katie Bradford: The numbers show that. The numbers show Labour and the Greens would need New Zealand First if they were to govern. Therefore, would you not say to the voters, ‘Well, this is a viable option’?

Winston Peters: No, what’s viable is what is sound for the country economically and socially. If, for example — two things go with this — mass immigration continued and, for example, a parallel state where you’ve got a state within a state because of separatist racist laws, then we will not go down that path, and I’m saying it right now.

He answered a question!

He appears to state unequivocally two bottom lines but they are not clearly defined.

It’s highly questionable that ‘mass immigration’ applies to New Zealand.

And ‘a parallel state’ and ‘separatist racist laws’ are emotive but very non-specific, so there’s plenty of wiggle room there.

Katie Bradford: So voters next year, it’ll continue to be the line from you – wait and see.

Winston Peters: No, voters will have a choice. They’ll have a real choice with New Zealand First, because on some of these issues, the only party making a stand is us, and we’re the party that’s been proven right in so many areas now.

 

He answered another question, incorrectly and misleadingly.

Voters will have a number of choices of course, but Winston’s line has been ‘wait and see’ for many years, he refuses to state any possible coalition arrangements he would consider and discuss prior to an election.

Winston is adept at sounding like he is ‘making a stand’ but he never defines exactly what stands he is making. He is practised at sounding like he is making strong stands but when you look at what he actually says it vague and waffly and avoids answering simple questions.

And “we’re the party that’s been proven right in so many areas now” is highly questionable – Peters claims, insinuates and accuses but most of the time he avoids substantiating or backing up his assertions.

I think what we can most assume from this interview and his other responses to the Labour-Green MoU is that Peters will strongly oppose the Greens and this agreement and a number of vague aspects of immigration and the Treaty of Waitangi – unless it suits his interests to do otherwise.

Interview: Winston Peters dismisses Labour Green alliance

 

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