Winston Peters ‘a dangerous old man’

On Friday in a speech at a business breakfast in Waipu – transcript here – Winston Peters said under WHAT NZ FIRST WILL DO:

  • To battle this problem New Zealand First will lower the age of criminal responsibility.
  • We will change social welfare to demand parental accountability.
  • We are not going to spend taxpayers’ money on parents who won’t keep their side of the deal.
  • We will make sure there are far more police – 1800 more as soon as they can be trained.
    After all, the last time we had a chance we trained 1000 front line police in three years flat.
  • We will return this country to what other generations knew: That crime doesn’t pay.
  • We are going to repeal the anti-smacking law which doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children.

Anti crime, which presumably means anti-violent crime, but pro smacking.

Peters/NZ First also put out a media release titled ‘We Will Return NZ To: Crime Doesn’t Pay’

To battle widespread criminal behaviour by young people socially DNA-ed for destruction as seen in Kaikohe last weekend, New Zealand First will, among other measures, repeal the anti-smacking law.

“We live in a ‘PC age’ where there are more rules on the teachers and the police than young offenders and their parents,” said Mr Peters in a speech at Waipu this morning.

“We no longer hold these little ‘tow-rag’ offenders responsible for their actions.

“Instead we hear 100 different reasons why it’s not their fault.

“That’s rubbish.

“They’re old enough to know exactly what they’re doing.

“They know they will get away with it and that there will be no repercussions.

”Meanwhile, the old parties in parliament want the age of criminal responsibility raised.

“Many of these politicians have no idea how the other half live and don’t venture into the real world.

“Besides repealing the anti-smacking law, which doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children, New Zealand First will lower the age of criminal responsibility; change social welfare to demand parental accountability and will make sure there are far more police on the frontline – 1800 more as soon as they can be trained.

“We will return this country to what other generations knew: That crime doesn’t pay,” said Mr Peters.

Calling young people toe-rags and encouraging the bash may appeal to populist votes but it is unlikely to solve youth crime.

Does Peters have any evidence to support his claim the the anti-smacking law “doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children”? He has habit of making unsubstantiated claims.

Sue Bradford has called Peters a ‘dangerous old man’:

Winston Peters has been labelled a “dangerous old man” who’s “really past his prime”, after vowing to repeal the so-called anti-smacking law.

Sue Bradford, the former Green MP behind the law, told The AM Show on Monday she was “horrified” by his recent comments.

“What he’s advocating is the return of the legalising of assault on our children, which is the last thing our kids need and the last thing the kids of Northland need.”

Ms Bradford said: “He’s talking about this on the back of the incident up in Kaikohe recently with the young people rampaging.

“Those kids probably see far too much violence I’d suggest in their lives already, far too much poverty, unemployment, a lack of opportunities for their families in their part of the country.”

The 2007 law change removed the defence of “reasonable force” in cases where parents and caregivers were being prosecuted for assault on children.

“It’s helped massively to change the idea that actually parents and other adults responsible for children are legally entitled to use physical punishment on their kids, that sometimes led to quite serious assaults,” said Ms Bradford.

Repealing the law would send the wrong message, she believes.

“We’ve got ‘it’s not okay’ campaigns about beating our partners, our wives, but on the other hand, children don’t matter?”

Conservative lobby group Family First says there have been massive increases in child abuse in the decade since the law began, but Ms Bradford says repealing the anti-smacking law won’t fix that.

“As the truly dreadful levels of family violence in this country continue, they cannot be laid to this law. No law can stop that.”

Massive increases in child abuse in the decade since the law began? That seems like a massive exaggeration, and I’d be surprised if they have evidence of a direct connection between the law change and levels of violence against children.

Family First have always strongly opposed the law change. They have put out a media release in support of Peters: NZ First Repeal Of Anti-Smacking Law Welcomed

This makes some claims about violence levels.

Police statistics show there has been a 136% increase in physical abuse, 43% increase in sexual abuse, 45% increase in neglect or ill-treatment of children, and 71 child abuse deaths since the law was passed in 2007. CYF have had more than 1 million notifications of abuse and there has been a 42% increase in physical abuse found by CYF since 2007.

But that does nothing to prove cause and effect. There are alternative claims that a greater awareness of violence against children has led to greater levels of reporting of abuse, which may be a positive effect rather than a negative effect.

In the past excessive smacking (more than a tap on the bum) and bashing tended to get swept under legal and social carpets.

I think that it’s very difficult to prove the effects of the law change on offending rates.

I believe that any moves to encourage less violence, and less smacking while encouraging effective alternatives, has to end up being better for children in general in the long run.

Peters may get some votes from his support of smacking law repeal, but I think it will come to nothing more than that.

I think it is very unlikely that there will be enough votes in Parliament to just repeal the smacking law. The old version was seriously flawed.

The only chance of change is if someone comes up with an improvement to the also flawed current law – but at least it signals that violence against children should be reduced.

No indication from Peters whether he would add smacking law repeal to his list of coalition bottom lines.

No more party election broadcasts

Parliament voted 108-12 yesterday to end the political party broadcasts that clogged up prime time TV and radio for little useful purpose. NZ First opposed.

I have tried to watch a few and they were hard going and I think largely ineffectual.

Newstalk ZB: Prime-time party election broadcasts axed

MPs voted last night to get rid of the wildly unpopular compulsory party television broadcasts at election time.

Parliament heard the final reading on the Broadcasting and Electoral Amendment Bills yesterday evening, voting 108-12 to axe the messages which air around four weeks out from the election on state-owned networks TVNZ and Radio New Zealand.

The 12 against were the NZ First MPs.

Justice Minister Amy Adams pointed out that the opening statements which aired on TVNZ before the 2014 General Election saw the channel’s viewing figures drop by 25 percent.

They were not popular with viewers as well as parties.

The Labour Party’s Chris Hipkins told the House the broadcasts were outdated, too long, and expensive to produce.

“The idea that we should lock that into law, and lock political parties into spending some of their broadcast allocation to do that simply doesn’t make sense,” he said.

The law change means political parties will be allowed to spend their campaign budgets on other platforms, including online.

It’s significant that parties chose more choice and flexibility over prime time broadcast opportunities.

Denis O’Rourke from NZ First disagreed:

I really want to spend most of my time on the Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Bill, because claims that the broadcasting of the opening and closing addresses have become unpopular are grossly exaggerated.

The truth is that TV ONE and Radio New Zealand have been lobbying for years so that they do not have to perform their public duty of broadcasting these opening and closing addresses free of charge. No doubt they could get a bigger audience if they were free to broadcast something else instead. That is not the issue.

The issue is that they are public broadcasters and they have a public duty to do this. Many people, in fact, still so watch those, especially people who are not much interested in the digital media. So that should still happen.

…the other reason why New Zealand First opposes this particular bill and that is that the Minister and the Government have chosen not to review and change the criteria for the allocation of those funds, and they should have done so.

The Minister wrote to all of the parties asking whether they supported her proposals. New Zealand First said it would not do so unless those criteria were, in fact, reviewed and, hopefully, changed. There was no effort put into doing that at all, therefore, there is no consensus, as Mark Mitchell claimed, no consensus at all, because New Zealand First is very definitely opposed to the proposal, unless those criteria have been changed, because they are quite simply unfair to smaller parties.

There is no problem, I guess, for the National and the Labour parties, but they are unfair to the smaller parties, and I want to explain why that is.

All other smaller parties voted for ditching the broadcasts.

There is no consensus. This bill should not be proceeding, for those reasons, and New Zealand First will therefore definitely vote against it.

No consensus, but a large majority – all parties other than NZ First, voted to scrap the compulsory broadcasts that turned viewers off.

 

Labour’s commitments “can be funded out of existing tax revenue”

Labour leader Andrew Little says that any Labour policies can be funded out of existing and forecast revenues and tax rates won’t be changed.

In an interview on The Nation Little made commitments of sorts on not raising taxes:

We are not planning on any tax changes for the 2017 election. We will finely calibrate what we do once we see what the Government does in its foreshadowed tax changes, which we assume will be in this year’s budget, but who knows?

They are not planning any tax changes now but who knows what they might plan after the budget?

So we are focused and we are talking to New Zealanders about and I will make commitments to New Zealanders about the problems that are here and now. And the commitments that we’re making – all of them – can be funded out of existing tax revenue. That’s what we’re focused on. That’s we’re campaigning on.

So we will have to wait and see how Labour proposes to finance it’s policies. They have already talked about:

  • Resuming contributions to the Super fund and leaving the increase in costs of Super as they are.
  • Funding more police.
  • More health funding.
  • More education funding.
  • Increase social housing and state housing
  • Kiwibuild will build 100,000 new houses over 10 years (eventually self funding)
  • Labour said it would bring in three years of free post-school education over a person’s lifetime costing $1.2 billion a year by 2025 (the first year funded from money earmarked by the government for tax cuts).

So if National announce tax cuts or threshold adjustments Labour would overturn them or use them to fund policies?

Also:

Lisa Owens: Another thing is the Children’s Commissioner. He wants the Government to commit to a target of lowering the number of children in severe hardship by 10% over a period of 12 months. Will you commit right now to meeting that target?

Andrew Little: Ye—Two things we’re going to do. We will have a child poverty measure that we’re going to commit to, and I’ve already said every budget we will report on how we’re going against that measure, and we are absolutely determined to reduce child poverty in the way that the Children’s Commissioner is talking about.

…Yeah, because I think his figure is roughly 150,000-odd, and lowering that by 10% – I mean, yeah, if we can’t do that and we’re not prepared to commit to that – and I say we are – then, you know, we’ve got something seriously wrong going on.

That hasn’t been costed yet.

And it has to be remembered that Labour will need at least NZ First or Greens (or both) to form the next Government. They will want some of their own policies in the mix. Policies that are likely to cost extra money.

Any policy costings by Labour are pointless on their own. The cost of a change of Government needs to include likely NZ First and Green policy costs on top of Labour’s own.

It’s even possible that Labour will put forward a “no tax increase” policy but then ditch that in post-election negotiations with NZ First and Greens.

Financial credibility is likely to be a major election issue. Little will have to have some good answers to the inevitable questions of affordability of policies of a Labour led coalition that Labour may only have half the voting power in.

 

Opposition short of Cabinet experience

Fran O’Sullivan points out in Jacinda Ardern needs to put in the hard yards (and yes, Ardern does need to show she can do the hard yards in major spokesperson roles):

There will be only three former Cabinet ministers left in the Labour caucus at election time: Parker, Ruth Dyson and Trevor Mallard.

Wow. A party is bound to loose experience when in Opposition for none years but that’s a paltry remainder. Plus:

  • Mallard wants to be Speaker so if Labour form the next government he won’t be in Cabinet. And going list only he is at risk of not making it back into Parliament unless Labour improves it’s support.
  • Dyson is currently ranked 24 with minor spokesperson roles so will struggle to figure in a coalition Cabinet involving at least one and probably more parties.

And there are none in the Greens caucus.

Not only is there no Green MPs with Cabinet experience, none of them have been in Government before. If they succeed this election it will be a huge learning curve for them.

And if NZ First are added to the mix only Winston Peters has Cabinet experience amongst them. Ron Mark was Senior Whip in the 1996-1998 coalition with National, so there is scant experience there too.

If Labour+Greens or Labour+NZ First or Labour+NZ First+Greens form the next government it would have to be the least experienced line up for a long time.

 

 

English on Peters

 

Seems to be a thing in media today to check out Bill English’s views on how National might work with Winston Peters after the election.

In the latest Colmar Brunton poll National were on 46% and NZ First remain high for them this far out from the election on 11%.

That’s a pragmatic position to take at this stage of election year.

1 News: ‘No’ – Bill English stands firm on chances of a pre-election deal with Winston

Prime Minister Bill English says there is no chance of pre-election talks with Winston Peters, but if New Zealanders want Mr Peters in Parliament, National will work with him.

There’s very likely to be no chance Peters would have pre-election talks with any other party, at least not that the public would find out about.

New Zealanders get to say who they want in Parliament but they don’t get to say who they want in Government. That is left to party wheeling and dealing after the election.

Mr English, speaking this morning to TVNZ’s Breakfast programme, said there had been speculation around Mr Peters’ role at the last few elections, but National is not looking to make a deal if he becomes kingmaker.

“He’s signalled it’s unlikely with him either,” Mr English said.

That’s confusing (from 1 News).

However, should voters put him into Parliament, Mr English said National is quite capable of working with him.

“If you needed to, you can work with anyone if that’s what the voters tell you is needed for stable government, and the way the world is, I think that’s what is needed here,” Mr English said.

So English is leaving his options open, as he needs to do.

I think that English may be more likely to try to do a coalition deal with Peters if that is what is required to form the next government.

Key would have more easily walked away from an unpalatable arrangement – perhaps this is what he has done.

But English will presumably be keen to be Prime Minister with an election mandate. He is currently a party appointed mid term replacement.

NZ First response to PM’s statement

NZ First leader Winston Peters’ response to the Prime Minister’s statement.


Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): They say that body language is everything. I want to congratulate the gallery for staying awake and for their stamina. I want to say that the events thus far put me in mind of nothing so much as a guy stepping up to kick a ball 80 metres—80 metres—over the goal line to get a penalty to win the game. All his supporters and colleagues are sitting there breathless expecting that he might just get it over, except they know in their mind’s eye that he does not have a hope in Hades and nor have they. I have never seen so many nervous Nellies on the backbench. The only thing that the National Party backbench agree on is that despite its party’s blatant, awful economic and social mistakes, we are still somehow a country of opportunity. Do members know how it determines that? It determines that by looking at its front bench. Have a good look at this tired, old, uninspiring, visionless man in the main. Nick Smith makes me look young. It is unbelievable. They do not have any idea at all. They are just hanging on for dear life. Talk about unity! Eighteen members are going.

Ron Mark: How many?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Eighteen. That means that the Government must have chosen some bums the last time around—that is what that means.

Two things happened today: first, the Prime Minister put out a statement this morning; and, second, the Governor of the Reserve Bank said that he was going to join John Key and quit. That is what happened today. They know that the game is up for them.

It is time for some truth on our economy. This Government has a serious inability to address the problems that it and its policies have created. No amount of spin, hype, and grandiose talk will dispel the fact that as we go into the 2017 election, it is on a hiding to nothing. All Government members know it. They are trying every dirty little tactic behind closed doors. They are financing the Māori Party; they fund it. They are propping up the guy in Epsom. Now, I do not want to say these things, because they can be misconstrued. Have you ever seen cuckold politics? What is the other one? Ōhāriu. How can any self-respecting party—[Interruption] Oh, yes, the Maori Party—I know. Boy, is it big on tino rangatiratanga. Oh, is it big on that. Until it comes to standing on its own two feet and showing a bit of old-fashioned Māori tribal pride. [Interruption] Oh, no, no, no. Yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full! That is its policy. Talk about tino rangatiratanga. It would not understand the concept. To stand on one’s own feet, like this party is, the hope and salvation for this country is not easy. It’s not easy.

New Zealand is not an economic success story. Do members know what the old Māoris say about a hen making too much noise like a rooster? What do they say? What do the old Māoris say about a hen making the noise of a rooster? I cannot say that today. The fact of the matter is that this is not economic success. The rock star economy that Bill English constantly touts, as he did today, is a fiction. If we look at some of the facts, we will see how easily his plans are dispelled. If we strip out population growth, it is at a record high—almost four times that which saw Brexit in the United Kingdom, which saw Donald Trump win the election in the United States, and which saw a dramatic change in the Australian election last year as well. We are also seeing a dramatic change in Germany, France, and Italy. If we strip out this massive population growth, what do we have? We have a very boring economy performing below 1 percent growth. All the rest is immigration.

Therefore, New Zealand’s productivity performance is amongst the lowest in the OECD. How do I know that? Because in the old days a guy called John Key—no, not John; John would say anything. A guy called Bill English used to say things like that. If we strip out population growth, our GDP per capita is below the OECD average. With the export of goods and services and our total economic output around 30 percent by international standards, we are not an export-driven economy. This country is export-dependent for its survival and prosperity. It is amazing, you know; the Government used to have a target to increase the contribution of exports to the economy from 30 percent of GDP to 40 percent by 2025, and they have dropped it. They have dropped it. It has gone from their targeting. They know they cannot do that, and we have a staggering net liability internationally of $163 billion, and in the House today he releases a statement saying he is getting on top of debt. He is getting on top of debt, at $163 billion, and a chronic balance of payments deficit. There is no prospect of repaying our debt. What do you think a balance of payments deficit is? Well, for those untutored people over there, it is called debt. That is where we have got ourselves.

On jobs, well, they fling open the door for immigrants at record levels—a net influx of 70,000 a year—and unemployment is going back up. Another 10,000 unemployed were added to the jobless in the latest quarterly household figures released last week. Let me tell you about the deceit of those figures—and New Zealanders need to know that. You go, under the National Government, from being unemployed to employed if you get one hour’s work a week. Just one hour, or two hours, or five hours—they say now you are employed, you are off the unemployed statistics. It blows away the phony optimists who have been predicting the unemployment would be falling throughout 2017. The insanity of having record immigration whilst they have got almost 140,000—mainly New Zealanders but many of them are new immigrants—officially unemployed is obvious to all Kiwis now. Of course, the headline figures, the tip of the much bigger iceberg, are those who are in part-time work and cannot get nearly enough work to keep their families and themselves going.

The latest unemployment data confirms what New Zealanders have long suspected, and that is why the National Government is in trouble in 2017. As for their puppets, well, they are all going to go out. Their puppets have not got a hope in Hades. When they realise that their so-called guardsman is not up to it, then the public will send them on their way.

The real aim of open-door immigration policy is to suppress the wages of ordinary New Zealanders. The real objective of mass immigration, at almost four times the level of the UK—far greater than Australia and far greater than the USA—is to drive down wages and drive up competition. Migrants are soaking up entry-level and basic jobs around the country. Having Kiwis fearful of their jobs from new migrants desperate for work is a disgraceful unemployment policy, and that is why we are going to cream the floor with you in this campaign. That is why we are going to go around the country, pack the halls, and take you guys to the cleaners, because you do not deserve to survive, and you have not got the brains or the skills anyway.

Talk about the Green leader: the Green leader forgot the fact they are so bad at business, they gave South Canterbury Finance $800 million and did not cap their guarantee, so it blew out $800 million further—a blowout of $800 million. They gave Rio Tinto hundreds of millions. They gave Skycity Casino $42 million extra a year. They dish money out like an eight-armed octopus and then go down to Rātana as the Prime Minister did and say: “We have got no more money we cannot help you.” And what did the two Māori Party members say?

Hon Member: Oh yeah, is that right.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Is that right?

Hon Member: Nothing. They said nothing.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, they said: “Amen, brother.” They said: “Amen, Brother.” They were quite religious. Unbelievable—no wonder they are so desperate. And if you have got Tuku at the head of your party, you have got trouble. Ha, ha! You have got serious trouble.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, last week Bill English went to Auckland to a rotary club. They must have been desperate, because they invited him. There he gave a speech about the “state of the nation”. And guess what? In the city with the fourth worst housing crisis in the whole, wide world, he never mentioned the house price debacle. How do you like that? He goes to Auckland and talks about the state of the nation, and the number one thing glaring in his face is the housing crisis of Auckland, where your people cannot buy a house, where generations are being shut out, where they cannot now rent, where teachers are saying “Well, I might be qualified, but I’m getting out of here because I can’t afford to stay here and practice my profession. I’ve got to go somewhere else.”—he did not even mention the house price debacle. That’s an utter mess.

Marama Fox: Is that like when you go to Rātana and don’t mention the Treaty?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: I want to tell that Māori Party member, who makes far too much noise, that 75,000 Māori just want a house—75,000 Māori want a house. I want every Māori out there looking for a house, looking for a chance to do what great parties once delivered, to know that we have got in this Parliament two Māori members trying to over-talk another one who is far more experienced than them, and that as far as these two members go, they would rather keep their ministerial home than get the Māori people a home. Yes—unbelievable. They would rather keep their ministerial home than give the Māori people a home. Seventy-five thousand—and just to make sure that 75,000 Māori cannot get a home, they back mass immigration. To make sure that Māori cannot get a job, they back mass immigration. In fact, do you know what that party said? They said we should not be criticising this mass immigration; we should be going to the airport to give them a pōwhiri. Now, a pōwhiri is a welcoming message.

That is how dysfunctional these sociology-trained academics in the Māori Party are. They are totally devoid of the condition, economic and social, of the people in places like Moerewa, Kawarau—all around the country. No, no—when I go down there and I say to the Māori people “Have you got a snapper from this Māori Party? You got one inch of land from this Māori Party? You got anything from this Māori Party? Do you know what Whānau Ora is doing for you? Is it uplifting your life?”, they say to me: “Brother, we don’t know what you’re talking about, because we’re getting nothing.” The sooner we get some real representation that understands the condition of Māori the same as the condition of Europeans in this country—people in this country want four things. They want First World housing that they can afford; they want a health system they can access, be it for their child or their grandmother or grandfather; and they want an education system that keeps the escalators going so that they can progress regardless of their race.

They want First World jobs and First World wages. That is what Māori want. Come to think of it, that is what everybody in this country wants and one party understands that and you are talking to it—only one party. We are going to shock you guys in this campaign and we are going to shock you guys as well. We are going to turn your polls into confetti. I would have thought from the Brexit campaign and the campaign in Australia and the campaign in the United States that you in the gallery might have learnt that your polls are dribble.

I thought you might have learnt it from the Northland by-election. The man over there said I did not have a dog show and we won over 17,412 and busted them in 4 weeks flat. Got you worried? Yes, I know your knees are knocking; they should be. That is going to be a very short ministerial post. Do not get too used to the cars. Do not get used to the house. Do not get too used to all of those places, because I will tell you something: it ain’t going to last much longer. When we get down there in the South Island and start spreading the word, it will be all over for you—it will be all over for you.

Jacqui Dean: You don’t even know where it is.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Oh, yes. Unlike your former leader, I live in my electorate. [Interruption] And they hate it. I know what they are saying up there. They are going around and saying: “He doesn’t even live up here.” Everybody in my village knows they are lying. They have seen me travelling those dusty roads, going over those single-lane bridges, trying to go out on the water to get my phone going because the Government are not delivering the services, speaking to people in Kerikeri because they have not got ultra-fast broadband like they were promised—Paula fooled us. No, they know all about it, and also they decided they are going to put a cop up. That is three in a row. How do you like that? Bit stupid are they not? But anyway, back to my point.

You know it became very clear today what Bill English intends to do. Do you know what he is going to do? He is going to blame the public service. He is going to go to all those desperate provinces, like the North, like Gisborne, like Rotorua, because they have got such a terrible collapsing environment there. The three mayors of these three areas are all saying that they are pushing for anti-poverty tools. They are asking for a chance to take over the agencies and help their local people, but they do not realise that it is not the agencies fault when they are massively underfunded.

And the Government’s clear and transparent line is that it is going to blame the agencies: “I know what we will do, we will tell the people of Rotorua and Northland and down the East Coast and Gisborne that their condition is brought about by the public service!” How do you like that? Unbelievable. They, the provinces—and the North is a good example of it—are in the top half of the export-earning electorates, and down at the bottom of everything else. Our job is to expose people who would keep them there, like the Māori Party, like the ACT Party, and like the party that has been around for so long it calls itself the National Party. It should be up for false pretences.

There is nothing national about the National Party. It is a globalist party. It is the party that believed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). It is the party that when we said a year ago: “It’s dead on the water.”, it ignored us, and yet they are the first over there to talk to Donald Trump. What a joke that is. And the media write that they are going to get a free-trade agreement with the UK, with the EU, and with Donald Trump. Meanwhile they collapsed our chance of getting a decent deal with the second-biggest dairy and beef importer in the world, namely Russia. What a bunch of clowns in a diplomatic China shop. One disaster after another. What is Tim Groser doing in Washington? Pray tell me what is he doing but having a few red wines all the time? He has got no purpose to be there. Nobody is going to talk to him over there?

Ron Mark: TPPA’s dead.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: TPPA is dead on the water—dead on the water.

Ron Mark: He’s unemployed.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: He may as well be unemployed. Why do you not bring him home? And they say, of course, now and again “We’ll make more progress.” At least we can talk to them. At least we can talk to them.

Can I just say one thing on the Police: the National Party claimed for 8 long years that crime was falling. Every criminal lawyer in this country was saying “Look, they have got a catch and release policy.” Why they can say that is that they are catching people, but they are not charging them, they are warning them. And they kept it up for 8 long years under successive Ministers. This is how deceitful they were. They capped the Police numbers so the Police per thousand dropped dramatically.

We had hundreds of stations in this country with nobody on at night and nobody on at the weekend. People rang up Dunedin, as I did one time in Dunedin. I rang up Dunedin and guess what I got? I got Auckland: the Auckland Police station. And I thought—excuse the language—but if I have been on there for an hour, guess what Joe Bloggs is going to be put up with? But no, no, the Government kept it up and then it thought: “Hang on. New Zealand’s not falling for this. We’ll go and get some extra police people over the next 4 years.”, but 800 front-line men and women does not even cut it. That is not even half the number that is required—1,800 places to get back to where we were going in 2008, and he had the temerity to get up in Auckland and say that the security of the citizens on the streets is his number one priority.

That is what Bill English said. Well I can say, Bill, I do not think you are going to last very long. I think your campaign in 2017 is going to be about as successful as it was in 2002—as successful as it was in 2002. The only common thing between those two campaigns is one party was as ready in 2002 as we are going to be in 2017. That campaign, we started it with the polls saying we were on 1 percent and after 4 weeks flat we almost made 11 percent. That is about to happen again 2017. Then look at the political scenery at that point in time and stop writing this dribble about who was going to be the next Government. You are looking at it. You are looking at it.

I know, Gerry, being a patriot is sometimes—even he hopes it is going to happen. I know in his heart of hearts he wants to know that he can retire with somebody running the economy that can keep it going soundly. I know he knows what retirement looks like, but he wants to be able to know that we could even afford the parliamentary retirement fund. And the only chance of him getting that is if we make it. The only chance of him getting that is if we make it.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: The member’s the only one left on it.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, no, no.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: He’s got the gold-plated pocket. Oh yes, he has.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: I walked out of Parliament on a matter of principle and sacrificed 35 percent of mine.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: No one believes that.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Yes, I did.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: No one believes that.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Yes, I did. These people do not remember that, but I do, because keeping our word and having integrity and principles is what one party is famous for. And again you are looking at it.

Can I just say in closing, we are looking forward to this campaign. When they announced that it was going to be on 23 September, it ticked every box of our planning, down to every branch of our candidates, the launch of our campaign—I cannot tell you where; but I know it is the most exciting news for you—and also our AGM and what city it is going to be in. So I can promise New Zealanders right now something very, very significant. I know things are difficult and troubled and I know it has been very hard for you, but hang on, because help is on its way.

The Alternative Maori Party?

The Green Party used to be known as an alternative party promoting environmental betterment and social goodness.

Under Metiria Turei’s leadership it is putting a lot more emphasis on Maori things.

Yesterday on Facebook:

Top of the billing is the Treaty of Waitangi, something not mentioned by Andrew Little at all in his ‘state of the nation’ speech last week.

In the past Turei and the Greens have only used electorate contests to push hard for the all important party vote, but their are signs of that changing, with Julie Anne Genter having a testing the waters in the Mt Albert by-election, and Chloe Swarbrick challenging to contest Auckland Central saying she wants to win an electorate.

Turei is switching from a quite un-Maori electorate, Dunedin North (where she has been very successful at growing Green support), to the Te Tai Tonga electorate.

I suspect that given her increasing emphasis on Maori she fancies winning a Maori seat.

Are the Greens morphing into an alternative Maori Party?

Labour seems to think it deserves Maori votes due to historical electoral habits, but the Maori vote looks like being hotly contested with five parties with the Maori Party, Mana, Greens and Labour all competing for traditional Maori votes, plus  Winston Peters and Shane Jones looking like going hard out in Northland as well.

Shane Jones and NZ First

Shane Jones has been close to Winston Peters at Waitangi today, raising speculation that he may be about to announce that he will join NZ First and stand for them in this year’s election. But there is opposition within the party.

Patrick Gower goes as far as saying Shane Jones launches political comeback:

Former Labour MP Shane Jones has appeared at a public speech by Winston Peters in what is a clear sign he is planning a return to politics at this election.

Mr Jones and Mr Peters shook hands before the speech at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Paihia, with Mr Jones then taking a front row seat as Mr Peters addressed New Zealand First supporters about race relations.

It is a sure sign Mr Jones, who is currently employed as an ambassador for fisheries in the Pacific, is going to stand for New Zealand First at this year’s election.

Asked earlier on Friday if he would be making a comeback, the answer was very political: “Shane Jones in May will have completed his [ambassador] contract … In May, I’ll make a choice as to what I’m going to do.”

Paddy may know more, or he may be jumping the gun.

However if Peters wants to fast track Jones into the party and up the ranks it won’t go down well with some in the party.

Stuff: Never Shane: NZ First members oppose political return of Shane Jones

Shane Jones’ rumoured political comeback with NZ First has faced a setback, with party members setting up a “Never Shane” group to protest his potential candidacy.

Jones’ return to politics as an NZ First candidate has been tipped for some time, with suggestions he may announce his plans at his annual Waitangi barbecue on February 4.

However, a Facebook page described as “a network of NZ First members and supporters opposed to Shane Jones” has been set up ahead of a potential announcement.

NZ First member Curwen Rolinson, the group’s founder, said many party members were concerned about the possibility of Jones standing at the September 23 election and ruining what could be “a watershed year”.

“His personal background as a politician is so diametrically opposed to our values in NZ First, we just don’t see how he could conceivably fit in.”

“To top it all off, he abandoned his own party in its hour of need…to basically feather his own nest as a South Pacific ambassador for the National Party.

“Really, we just can’t trust him, that’s our perspective on it.”

The group had started a letter-writing campaign to NZ First’s board of directors, which would need to approve Jones’ candidacy given he did not appear to be a party member.

So there’s dissent in the ranks before Jones announces his intentions.

There may also be some less than enthusiastic NZ First MPs, especially deputy leader Ron Mark, who appears to be positioning himself to be Winston’s successor as leader.

The Never Shane Facebook page (currently 184 likes).

And Rolinson, who has been an author at The Daily Blog for some time, has posted there on it: #NeverShane

This has not been an easy piece for me to write. Watching in mounting horror as somebody – or something – you love and care deeply about gears up to do something self-destructive is never easy. And yet, that’s the apparent position which quite a few of us dedicated New Zealand Firsters appear to be in right now.

Unless you’ve been living on the dark side of the Moon for the past few years, you’ll most likely be aware of the swirling rumours that Shane Jones intends to mount a Parliamentary comeback at this year’s Election with New Zealand First. The media have consistently been reporting this notion for much of the last two years, in line with tips disseminated by a certain figure in NZ First’s Leader’s Office. And, for that matter, supported by things seen with their own eyes – Jones appearing with Winston at the latter’s Northland victory party, for instance; or Jones’ now-wife acting as Winston’s campaign manager for the same race.

But up until relatively recently, I was mostly content to dismiss speculation of Jones’ political necromancy as being empty media stirmongering. A sensationalist impulse looking for a story’s spine to shiver up. And not least because it appeared so self-evidently stupid for NZ First to even think about running Jones as a candidate.

That all changed late last month when I received independent confirmation from a number of different directions of Jones gearing up to announce his (NZF) candidacy.

I don’t know how Winston will take dissent in the ranks.

TOP heading for the bottom?

Is Gareth Morgan’s taking his TOP party campaign to the bottom of the political muck heap?

This morning I thought i would ignore his taunts directed at Winston Peters at Ratana and look at what new policy had been announced. But going to the TOP website I found that Morgan has chosen to highlight his attention seeking spat with Peters.

This is disappointing, I thought policy was the TOP party’s strength, not shit fighting.

In ‘Latest news and updates’ Morgan’s Ratana speech is featured…

The Opportunities Party Ratana Speech

Last time I was at Ratana I accepted the challenge to honour the Treaty of Waitangi. I now challenge Maori to help me deliver on this promise by voting for The Opportunities Party

…but he has followed up with a detailed attack of Peters and New Zealand First.

Uncle Tom? – Your Call

Here’s the definition of an “Uncle Tom” – one who works against the interests of his own people, sometimes pretending that he is not. Used particularly in the context of a people who are enslaved or do not enjoy the full rights they should.

So no policy from TOP at this stage.

Giving Peters an opportunity to get in the spotlight in a spat is more likely to benefit NZ First rather than TOP.

The MoU paradox

Vernon Small brings up a reminder of the paradox of the Labour-Green Memorandum of Understanding in the aptly headlined Ready or not, it’s election year and the annual theatrics have started – a key aim of the MoU is to present Labour and Greens as a joint ‘government-in-waiting’, but it terminates on election day, before the haggling over coalition arrangements begins.

But the two parties are sailing into a paradox that will only be made more stark by their closer co-operation.

If they are a presenting themselves as a “government in waiting” why does their memorandum of understanding (MOU) formally expire on election day?

We all know why, of course. Because as much as the Greens would like a more enduring pact, Labour does not want to indelibly ink a deal ahead of polling day for fear that will ostracise Winston Peters and NZ First – and give him reason to opt for National if he holds the balance of power.

It makes the sales pitch of a two-party government in waiting too cute by three quarters.

It is a contradiction the parties ought to resolve before election year gets very much older.

Perhaps Labour have indicated a resolution may be coming – Andrew Little attacked Winston Peters over his theatrics over Pike River.

Labour has to compete with NZ First for votes, especially any that National might shed, but Labour will also be keen to get back support that NZ First has been picking up.

The union of Labour and Greens will be emphasised in a week with their joint ‘state of the nation’ act.

While Greens will be pleased with this arrangement, according to Small some in Labour are not so sure.

But the most significant move yet has been that decision by Labour and the Greens to step up the momentum of their agreement to cooperate, with a joint “State of the Nation” event in Auckland next week.

There were misgivings in Labour over the move, with some questioning the wisdom of doubling down on their memorandum of understanding, which had already seen leader’s speeches at their respective annual conferences.

The concern is that greater and greater efforts to present as “one Opposition, two parties” will alienate centrist Labour-leaning voters who are spooked by the Greens – and to be frank there are those inside the Labour caucus who would rather not tie the party to the Greens, full stop.

Labour’s problem is that their support has slipped so much they have a couple of choices:

  1. Concede major party status, accept that they can’t compete with National on their own any more, so semi-join with another party.
  2. Revitalise, rebuild and make a determined effort to be the best supported party again.

They have tried the latter a number of times – including trying four leaders – without any  success.

So last year Labour chose the former, hence the MoU. It is too late to change before this year’s election.

The MoU paradox is still there, despite the Peters attack and the planned joint ‘state of the country’ speeches.

The latter could give us a better indication about the state of the parties, the state of the MoU, and whether Labour is prepared to stop trying a bob each way on NZ First versus Greens.

It would be a nonsense if Labour and Greens campaign together as they are, with the degree of togetherness that next week’s speech emphasises, but to leave prospects of a Labour-Green coalition  up in the air as a maybe, if it suits Labour at the time.

It hasn’t been the game changer some predicted, but Labour is harming their prospects if they buy into Winston’s ridiculous persistence in refusing to let voters know in advance what coalition arrangements they rule in and rule out.

We know that the Greens have to go with Labour if they want to be a part of Government unless Green Party members have a major change of heart about dealing with National.

Perhaps we will get clarity on Labour’s post-election aims from Little’s speech next week, alongside Metiria Turei.

If not the paradox will keep highlighting Labour’s duplicity.