More on ‘Kiwi values’ and NZ First and MPs

One of the things to come out of the NZ First conference last weekend was a call for legislation to ensure immigrants comply with some vague ‘Kiwi values’. There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm for it from Labour, Greens and National, but they weren’t the voter demographic that NZ First would have been targeting.

Danyl Mclauchlan (The Spinoff):  Whistling on migration yet leaving migration high: what’s Winston playing at?

But here’s the thing about Peters’ perennial race-baiting – given airing most recently following a remit at the party’s 25th birthday over the weekend. He campaigns on the immigration issue every election, but Peters has been in the powerbroker position in government three times now, and each of those governments has seen very high levels of net migration of what his supporters and voters consider “the wrong sort” of people.

There are a few reasons for this. Most populist, anti-migrant politicians believe what they say about “our values” and “preserving our way of life”, and at least attempt to reduce migration when they get into office. Trump has his Muslim-ban; the conservatives have Brexit. But Peters’ statements about migrants appear to be as meaningful as so much else he says, ie nothing. It is useful for him to race-bait by grandstanding about immigration but never useful for him to ever do anything about the issue.

He could probably make the government reduce its intake of non-white migrants, if he was so inclined: we’ve just seen the passage of the waka-jumping bill; it appears that Peters can get Labour and the Greens to do pretty much anything. But so long as his voters and the true-believers in his party never figure out the nature of his MO there’s no incentive for him to act.

If Peters actually forced a significant reduction in immigration it would remove one of his campaign tools – attacking immigrants to attract votes from suckers.

…New Zealand First’s donors in the fishing and forestry sectors rely on high levels of migration to preserve a low-wage workforce working in high risk conditions. Maintaining those conditions is core business for Peters and Shane Jones. The people who pay for the party, who occupy the boardrooms of the fishing industry, are far more exacting than the suckers occupying the TV rooms of the retirement villages, who vote for it.

And talking about values, Andrea Vance (Stuff):  NZ First MP campaigning for ‘Kiwi values’ was ruled unfit to run a pub

The NZ First MP behind a “values” bill which could expel migrants was once judged unfit to run pubs because of his criminal record.

Clayton Mitchell wants new migrants to sign up to a cultural “code of conduct” that includes a commitment not to campaign against the legality of alcohol.

Mitchell is a former publican – but his licence to run a bar was cancelled after a series of incidents. They included a suspended prison sentence for assault – which a judge called an act of serious violence – and a dangerous driving conviction.

Two years later, Mitchell won back his certificate –  supported by a reference from former police officer Brad Shipton, who was subsequently disgraced over a rape conviction.

Those values have been under a lot of criticism lately, with #meto and the controversy over the appointment of Wally Haumata as Deputy Police Commissioner – Haumata has what looks like close links with Peters and another NZ First MP, Fletcher Tabuteau.

A couple of ex-MPs joined the discussion on Twitter:

 

Perhaps we need better vetting of the values of party list MPs before we worry too much about immigrants.

Oh, and talking of MP values, this is what Mitchell said when informed Vance was investigating his past:

The second term MP initially didn’t want to be interviewed by Stuff. “Is this one of your dirty little stories? You better get your facts right, because I tell you what, you better get your facts right or you’ll get yourself in a hell of a lot of trouble,” he said.

Taht sort of threat ois more likely to get Mitchell in trouble, but that’s unlikely with Peters who often attacks and threatens journalists.

Vance hopefully got these facts right.

In a subsequent response to emailed questions, however, he acknowledged:

* A conviction of assault with intent to injure in what a judge described as an “act of serious violence on your part.”
* A conviction for dangerous driving.
* A conviction for a “lock-in” at one of his bars – allowing customers to drink outside of the licensed hours.

They came from Mitchell so they should be accurate.

 

 

Ardern does not support NZ First’s ‘Kiwi Values’ bill

I guess NZ First got the publicity they wanted over promoting some sort of legal requirement for conformation with ‘Kiwi Values’ for immigrants – see NZ First want to make immigrants ‘respect’ stipulated values – but politically it should be a non starter.

Jacinda Ardern has said she doesn’t support the concept and thinks that Labour would not support it either.

So it looks unlikely to be a government bill – unless NZ First make it a bottom line that they use to negotiate power again in 2020.

Ardern said “Literally put it in a ballot”.

As a Members’ Bill it would go in the biscuit tin lottery. If drawn it would have to get the support of either National or Labour+Greens. I think both of those options would be very unlikely – especially if NZ First MPs want to define what compulsory ‘Kiwi values’ would be.

RNZ – NZ First’s Kiwi values plan: ‘How do you actually test people?’

New Zealand First’s proposal to ensure migrants respect Kiwi values has been labelled “dog-whistle politics” and has won little support within Parliament.

The plan – raised at the party’s conference over the weekend – would require new arrivals, including refugees, to sign up to beliefs such as gender equality and religious freedom.

Other values include respect for “all legal sexual preferences” and a commitment not to campaign against alcohol consumption.

The Green Party has also pushed back, although it won’t go as far as accusing its government partner of “dog-whistle politics”.

“It’s not for me to say [NZ First’s] motivations,” Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said.

Ms Ghahraman said new arrivals should be treated with trust rather than presumed to be problems.

Immigrants are already pre-vetted on a range of things. promising to vote for Winston should not be added as a requirement.

National leader Simon Bridges told TVNZ’s Breakfast the proposal was “headline-grabbing nonsense” to distract from problems with the Government.

“Of course we’ve got our unique set of values – whether it’s tolerance or a fair go and so on,” he said.

“But the immigrants I meet, they actually very quickly become passionate, patriotic New Zealanders and they don’t need to go through some course or sign a document.”

ACT party leader David Seymour said he supported the proposal, but feared it was an empty promise.

“[NZ First] claim to have had a version of this policy for 25 years, then they say it’s new, and yet they haven’t done anything about it.”

It’s a dumb idea as far as a bill goes. It is really just an attempt by NZ First to appeal to a minority voter demographic to try and prop up their support.

 

NZ First want to make immigrants ‘respect’ stipulated values

Respect is usually earned, not imposed, but somehow want to make immigrants respect values that they want to stipulate.

What next – making non-immigrant New Zealanders adhere to prescribed values?

RNZ: ‘Their values do not necessarily match up with our values’

The obvious point to make here is that ‘our values’ are quite diverse.

New Zealand First is one step closer to campaigning on a law that will force immigrants and refugees to sign up to a set of core values.

They already have to do something that none of us who were born here have to do – pledge allegiance to the Queen. That’s a value I don’t put much weight on – I’m glad I haven’t been made to pledge to that.

The remit, which passed with some opposition, was hotly debated by party supporters at the 25th annual conference in Tauranga at the weekend.

If enacted the Respecting New Zealand Values Bill would require new migrants to respect gender equality, “all legal sexual preferences,” religious rights, and the legality of alcohol.

Respect the legality of alcohol? Would that disallow disrespecting the huge amount of problems caused by alcohol abuse?

Wairarapa NZ First supporter Roger Melville said the law could not come soon enough.

Mr Melville described the attitudes he had encountered from immigrants throughout the North Island.

“Arrogance, downright ignorance of putting people down and forcing their ways and means.”

Former NZ First MP Mahesh Bindra also supported the remit.

Born in Mumbai, Mr Bindra came with his family in 2002 and was the party’s ethnic affairs spokesperson.

“We do have certain cultures, or subcultures coming into the country, and their values do not necessarily match up with our values.

“There are certain practises – I don’t want to name any religion – that are not conducive to our way of living.”

That fairly obvious swipe at some religions seems at odds with respecting religious rights.

Pita Paraone, another former NZ First MP who dropped out of Parliament at the last election, is also a fan of the proposed policy.

“I think the fact there’s discussions about young girls being married off at a young age or being betrothed to older men is certainly something that runs against the New Zealand psyche.”

While probably largely historic has he not heard of the New Zealand psyche of shotgun weddings? Threats of having a baby taken away if you don’t get married?

But the youth wing of the party was not convinced.

William Woodward said it was good to have debate but it was not a policy that was needed.

“Speaking form a young NZ First point of view, New Zealand as a free first-world country has all of those avenues for people to be able to express their religion, to express their freedoms in a very free and safe way.”

Good on him for speaking up, but I think that in NZ First the youth voice is a fairly small minority.

Party leader Winston Peters said the law was needed.

“If someone’s over here who wants to change this country and doesn’t want to support this country’s law … who thinks women are cattle and second-class citizens, that person should not be here, sorry.”

What about politicians who see other politicians as second class? What about parties who bring in laws to make MPs not just second class but evict them from Parliament if they don’t agree with their party leader?

What about all the journalists who Peters has made clear he thinks are worse than second class?

I wonder if one value they would consider would be the value of politicians being open and honest with the public and not refusing to give straight answers.

This proposed law trying to impose some sort of conformity is both dumb and dangerous.

The only good thing about it is it is unlikely to get wider support. Labour and National should reject any attempt to set standards or values for immigrants or any group of people here beyond laws for everyone to adhere to – ‘one law for all’. Surely the Greens at least would stand up against it on principle.

This proposed law looks like pandering to intolerant minorities.

Would NZ First want something like determining acceptable values to the people via a referendum?

Or do they only want people who agree with their defined values to decide what values everyone should be forced to abide by?

Respect can’t be forced by law.

NZ First 2018 convention

Stuff: “Just over 200 members were gathered at Tauranga Racecourse for the party’s annual conference.”

So far at least there is not much detail on the NZ First website about the convention they are having this weekend, apart from notices about it.

Convention & AGM 2018 – Tauranga

On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to invite you all to the 2018 Convention & AGM to be held at the Tauranga Racecourse on the 29th and 30th of September. The Convention and AGM is New Zealand First’s largest gathering and networking event of the year. It will be a pleasure to see you all again as we mark an important milestone in our Party’s history – 25 years.

The Convention weekend will be fun filled and energetic as make the big decisions that will define our party for the next 25 years. Since the last election New Zealand First has had a significant role in shaping the Government of our country and I am proud of the work the Rt Hon Winston Peters, our Ministers and our MPs have been doing.

Make the decision to join the other movers and shakers in our Party and if you have any issues please get in touch with our Convention organising team.

Yours thankfully,

Brent Catchpole

Leader’s Message

On 18 July, New Zealand First celebrates its 25th anniversary. No other new political
New Zealand First was formed to represent the views of New Zealanders concerned
about the economic and social direction of our country after the radical market
reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s. At our founding, we set out 15 Fundamental
Principles which guide us as we negotiate common-sense policy outcomes for the
betterment of our people and our country.

The 25 year milestone is a result of us remaining steadfast in our principles and
enthusiasm for a better New Zealand, whether we are in government, or on the
opposition benches.

Our record precedes us: free health care for our children, a more dignified life for our
elderly, workers receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, safer communities,
and many other achievements that have impacted lives of everyday New
Zealanders.

Today, our mission in Government is restoring lost capacity after nine years of
National neglect, regenerating regional New Zealand, the lifeblood of the country,
and putting the interests of all New Zealanders at the forefront of government
decision-making.

We could not have embarked on this mission without your support and contributions.
On the 29th and 30th of September, we will be holding our Annual Convention and
AGM in Tauranga. I urge you to join me, and my parliamentary colleagues, as we
celebrate our 25-year anniversary and look toward the future.

There is some coverage from Stuff. NZ First’s 25th birthday bash a chance to push right into the culture wars

Party conventions serve many purposes. The base of diehard supporters – who you need to enthuse so they can volunteer at the next election – have to be kept happy. But there are also a lot of TV cameras and mischievous journalists there – so the party must project itself as sensible, coherent, and able to win over any voters who have faded away since the election.

And while polling of NZ First between elections is notoriously bad, the party does need to win some votes back. Most of the recent public polls put it below the all-important five per cent threshold, and it seems most of the internal polling has it below there too, with the Greens still above the line. You can’t be the kingmaker if you are outside of Parliament, as Peters knows well from his stint in the wilderness after 2008.

Behind all the blustering there is one large question that faces NZ First: who does the party turn to when Peters finally retires? It could happen in a few years, it could happen in ten, but the MPs behind him have been maneuvering like it could happen tomorrow. Shane Jones has his billion dollar fund and high media profile, putting him solidly in the lead. But don’t count out the very charismatic Fletcher Tabuteau, who won the deputy leadership and will deliver a caucus report speech on Sunday morning, ahead of Peter’s speech in the afternoon. Sometimes a little bit of anonymity goes a long way.

NZ First conference takes aim at banks with several remits

NZ First members have voted for several remits aimed at the banking sector, including a $50m levy to keep banks open in small towns.

The remit seeks to levy $50m from the banking sector that was redistributed to banks as a subsidy to keep banks in small towns open and for longer hours.

Other remits aimed at promoting the Government’s use of New Zealand-owned banks, buying back shares of KiwiBank from the Super Fund and ACC were also passed with no opposition.

However, accepted policy remits from the conference have a long road to becoming actual Government policy, including the caucus policy committee of NZ First and Cabinet itself.

NZ Herald:  Boxer Joseph Parker surprise speaker at NZ First’s annual convention

Boxer Joseph Parker was the surprise speaker at New Zealand First’s annual convention in Tauranga today. What probably made it more surprising is that he is the nephew of National MP Judith Collins.

Parker played down any conflict though, saying he supported everyone.

“I feel like my aunty knows where my heart is. It’s just about going about there and saying something that we hope can inspire and motivate others and help others.”

Parker said he had a close relationship with Peters.

There will be more from the NZ First convention today, but I may not have time to post on it.

The most damaging effects of the waka jumping law will be invisible and immeasurable

It is difficult to know what the effect of the ironically named Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill that passed it’s final vote in Parliament this week. We may never know for sure.

We do know that it has made Labour look like Winston’s patsies, especially Andrew Little who had to front the bill as it went through Parliament. And it showed the Greens as far less principled than they had made out for so long while out of government – this could be damaging to them in the next election.

However Audrey Young says that the most damaging effects will be “invisible and immeasurable” in Winston Peters wastes hard-won power on wretched law.

…the party-hopping bill passed in Parliament ahead of the party’s convention can barely be called an achievement, let alone qualify as a proud one.

It has been Parliament at its worst – indulging a powerful politician with an obsession with defectors.

The law is a fetter on dissent, and Peters’ decision to demand its passage as the price of power stands in contradiction to his own history as a dissenter and maverick.

The law will enable a caucus to fire a duly elected MP not just from the caucus but from Parliament if they decide that MP no longer properly represents the party.

The hypocrisy is galling. Peters built New Zealand First on party-hoppers such as Michael Laws, Peter McCardle and Jack Elder.

In those days, Peters was upholding the freedom of any MP to leave a party without having to leave Parliament if their conscience demanded it.

Self-interested hypocrisy is nothing new for Peters.

It was only when party-hoppers left New Zealand First rather than joined it that the notion became objectionable, to Peters. It was only after MMP that what the voters decided on election day suddenly became sacred to Peters.

Essentially, the new party-hopping law is based on self-interest disguised as principle.

It is a draconian solution to a problem of defection that has not existed since those formative days of MMP.

And Labour and the Greens went along with this and enabled it.

New Zealand First did not campaign on party-hopping at all last election but then put it up as a bottom line in coalition talks, while the vast number of bottom lines actually enunciated by Peters in the campaign were surrendered in the horse-trading of coalition talks.

The law does not have the true support of the majority of the House but the Greens have been blackmailed into supporting it against the alternative – a toxic relationship with Peters.

Electoral law changes should have wide support of any Parliament but the law was railroaded through by a party with 7 per cent of the vote because it held the balance of power at the election.

Will Greens learn from being backed into a corner by Peters and then painting themselves in? They could perhaps gain back some of their credibility on being principled it they  don’t campaign next election on a status quo governing arrangement leaving Peters in a dog wagging position.

The most pernicious effect of the new law is not the actual expulsion of an MP from Parliament. Rather, it is the chilling effect it will have on strong, independent thought and voice of MPs within parties and within Parliament. In turn that will have an impact on the selection of MPs.

The most damaging effects of the law will be invisible and immeasurable.

It was the impact on dissent that drew the harshest criticism from Green luminaries Jeanette Fitzsimons and Keith Locke.

Did Green support of this bill go to party membership for a decision? They used to claim that their membership played a part in any important decisions. Surely they must have done that, especially given that it was a change to electoral law, and it had an obvious impact on the party ethos and integrity.

It has been sad to see a raft of new Labour MPs kowtowing to Peters to convince themselves that the law will enhance democracy when it is really a management tool for Peters to keep potentially difficult MPs in check.

One could wonder what threats or promises were made between Peters and Labour and Green leaderships to make both parties roll over on this for Peters.

Dissent has been a strong theme throughout Peters’ career.

He talked about in his maiden speech in 1979 when he lambasted people whom he saw as destructive critics who criticised for the sake of it: “Opposition, criticism and dissent are worthy pursuits when combined with a sense of responsibility. They have a purifying effect on society. Areas in need of urgent attention can be identified and courses of action may be initiated. However embarrassing to community or national leaders, the results are enormously beneficial to the total well-being of the community. The critic I am [condemning] has no such goals. He sets out to exploit every tremor and spasm in society, the economy or race relations, seeking to use every such event as a vehicle to project his own public personality.”

An unkind person might say that Peters has gained power in New Zealand politics by becoming the sort of critic he so despised in his maiden speech.

It is a remarkable achievement to have built a party, and sustained it, and to be at the peak of his political power when most people his age are checking out retirement villages.

It is also remarkable that Peters should be wasting that power on such a wretched law.

And that Labour and especially the Greens have wasted their integrity by enabling the wretched law to pass with barely a whimper.

 

 

 

 

Waka jumping bill passes third reading

All Green MPs have voted with Labour and NZ First to pass the  Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill (commonly referred to as the waka jumping bill), so it will now become law.

Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill passes third reading

The Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill has passed its third reading in Parliament and will become law, Justice Minister Andrew Little said.

“The Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill is about enhancing public confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.

“The Bill ensures that it is the voters, not politicians or party leaders, who decide the proportionality of parties in Parliament,” Andrew Little said.

The Bill’s passing fulfils the Government’s coalition commitment to introduce and pass a ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill in this term of Parliament.

It has been challenged by some as ‘an attack on democracy’. It is unlikely to actually have much effect, but it will be difficult to know if it has a chilling effect on any MPs who oppose what their party does.

The most notable aspect of the bill is the Greens voting in support of it while strongly opposing it. This has somewhat dented the party’s integrity.

It has also raised questions about Andrew Little’s integrity in promoting the bill on NZ First’s behalf.

The bill is unlikely to make much if any difference to Winston Peters’ control over the NZ First caucus and MPs, but supporting it has been damaging to both Labour and the Greens.  Perhaps that is success for Peters – before Jacinda Ardern took over the Labour leadership last year Peters fancied NZ First’s chances of taking over from Labour as the second largest party in Parliament.

 

 

Labour lacking in gender balance – and female capability?

Labour is going backwards with their ideal, gender balance, especially in their senior ranks.

In October 2017 (just after she became Prime Minister) Ardern vows to improve Cabinet gender balance

Women would hold just six of Labour’s 16-strong Cabinet posts, and just one of its five ministerial roles outside of Cabinet.

Ms Ardern said that was not good enough and she was vowing to bring more women up to the top level.

“I’m going to make sure that we continue to work on bringing through more of our team”.

“We set ourselves a goal as a Labour Party that we would bring more women into our caucus. When we set that goal we set it at 50 percent, and we came very close to achieving that this election and I’m proud of that”.

“We’ll continue to make sure that we try to see that reflected in our membership as they come up through roles and responsibilities through both our caucus and through our Cabinet.”

That’s not happening yet – in fact it’s deteriorating.

With the resignation of now ex-Ministers Clare Curran and the sacking of Meka Whaitiri there are now:

  • 8 female of 26 ministers
  • 6 female ministers of 19 in Cabinet
  • 3 female ministers on the front bench (top 10)
  • 5 female Labour ministers

As a comparison, the last National-led line-up (April 2017):

  • 9 female of 27 ministers
  • 7 female of 22 in Cabinet
  • 2 female ministers on the front bench
  • 9 female National ministers

In the Labour-led government, NZ First and Greens balance each other out. NZ First has 1 female of 3 ministers, while Greens have 2 female of 3 ministers.

Labour now has just Jacinda Ardern (1), Megan Woods (6), Carmel Sepuloni (9), Nanaia Mahuta (12) and Jenny Salesa (15) – five out of fifteen.

And there’s not many stand outs there, yet at least.

Gender balance in Parliament and in Cabinet are great ideals, but to achieve that requires enough quality female candidates standing for Parliament, and enough of them capable of handling roles as ministers and in Cabinet.

Both failures as ministers have been Labour MPs.

While I think that most people would like to see approximate gender balances in Parliament, I think that most voters – male and female – would choose competence over tokenism and making up the numbers with MPs not up to the job.

‘Labour has been outsmarted and outmanoeuvred’

Discussion on the Labour versus NZ First power struggle in Government continues.

John Armstrong: ‘Labour has been outsmarted and outmanoeuvred’ by Winston Peters

Don’t listen to those who dismiss the current muscle-flexing by Winston Peters as nothing more than the standard fare of MMP politics.

It is anything but.

Were there a handbook covering the mechanics of forming and running a coalition government, the New Zealand First leader would currently be writing a new chapter—one which would be without a happy ending for Jacinda Ardern, her coalition managers and the rest of the Labour Party.

The latter should be worried — very worried.

What began as an isolated case of New Zealand First thwarting Labour’s desire to eradicate a hardline law and order statute — namely the three-strikes law — has become what looks suspiciously like a carefully orchestrated campaign which has the junior partner in the coalition making ever more frequent raids deep into territory where Labour would insist it has the right to call the shots.

Labour can tolerate having to keep living with the three-strikes law. It can tolerate not being able to raise the annual refugee quota.

After all, prior to a National government-instigated rise in the quota which took effect this year, the quota had been held at 750 for the previous 30 years, believe it or not.

What Labour cannot accept is its coalition partner blocking its long-promised legislation rolling back some of National’s so-called “reforms” in the industrial relations arena.

If Labour is not seething over that, it should be. The dominant partner has to bite its tongue, however.

Laura O’Connell Rapira (from ActionStation) has concerns about the lack of action.

https://twitter.com/laura_oc_rapira/status/1039991246435934208

Is Labour failing to deliver, or is Winston not letting them?

There has been a flurry of news and commentary lately on what the Labour led Government seems to be reneging on, and what Winston Peters’ influence may be in preventing Labour from doing what they ‘promised’ (election ‘promises’ are selling points that I think most people know may never be delivered due to governing arrangements or reality).

Labour (Andrew Little) had already three strikes repeal rug pulled from under them by NZ First, and then last week Winston Peters pulled the refugee quota rug out from under Jacinda Ardern.

I don’t know if this is just Tax Working Group being luke warm on a Capital Gains Tax, or not able to recommend one within the limitations Labour put on it, or whatever, but Cullen confirms CGT will not be addressed in interim TWG report.

Also yesterday (Newshub): Unions worried by NZ First’s ‘dominance’ in Jacinda Ardern’s Government

Labour is under fire from the most unlikely of critics – its staunch allies, the unions, are raising concerns about the rising dominance of New Zealand First.

Two of the biggest unions, FIRST Union and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU), fear the Government’s employment law reforms could be hijacked by Winston Peters.

The Labour Party and the unions were bedfellows from the beginning, which is why Wednesday’s comments from FIRST Union’s Robert Reid are so surprisingly scathing.

“We are a bit worried in the union that the dominance on a number of issues that is coming from New Zealand First,” he told The AM Show.

CTU is also worried, concerned New Zealand First will hijack planned employment law changes.

“It’s a real concern if Labour, who stand for working people, are having trouble with their coalition partner on this,” president Richard Wagstaff told Newshub.

That clearly shows “worried” and “concern”. Reid did respond via twitter:

Reid can think that the sun shines out of Ardern’s magazine style coverage and at the same time be “a bit worried” that “the dominance on a number of issues that is coming from New Zealand First”.

Also yesterday (RNZ):  NZ First pull support for Labour-led initiatives at last minute

The government was forced to halt a planned announcement about its Crown/Māori Relations portfolio after New Zealand First raised last minute objections.

Media were briefed and invited to attend an announcement by Crown/Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, where the new agency was set to be unveiled following sign-off at Cabinet.

But Ms Ardern and Mr Davis had to roll back the announcement after NZ First refused to support it.

Instead it was used as a symbolic display of the consultation process and brought together Māori leaders who would be pivotal in helping shape the partnership between Māori and the Crown in the future.

NZ First was not at the watered-down announcement with its ministers all claiming to be busy with other meetings.

It’s the latest disagreement between the coalition partners.

Ardern can claim this is just coalition government in action, but there is a risk that she be seen as a puppet leader doing the  fluff stuff with Peters calling the serious shots.

Ardern and her PR team can promote all the soppy celebrity coverage they like, but there is a growing perception that Ardern is lacking in the real leadership department. She seems to be losing credibility with political journalists, and also in social media.

No Right Turn (left leaning but willing to be critical of the left): Labour isn’t delivering

Labour was elected on a platform of hope and change. But in office it doesn’t seem to be delivering much of either. In addition to the two backdowns highlighted above, its also refusing to eliminate 90 day trial periods and may not even abolish youth rates. Its dawdling on doubling the refugee quota and looks like it will keep on grovelling to farmers on climate change.

But if they’re not going to change anything, then people might just decide to vote for the other lot – because at least that way they won’t suffer the bitter taste of disappointment.

Comment on this at Reddit: Labour was elected on a platform of hope and change. But in office it doesn’t seem to be delivering much of either.

bobdaktari:

NRT makes a good point, Labour are if anything pragmatic and vastly more conservative than those like myself would like – this isn’t a national lite govt its a Clark lite one – saying that I still have hope that things will be at worst slightly better for a shitload of kiwis thanks to the change of govt

Left wing neoliberals.

Rather than push for actual social and economic change they used the good economic times to subsidise business with stuff like working for families – which while helpful to those that get it doesn’t address the problems – problems like underpaid teachers

dbuckley:

It’s full National, but with a bit of of soft side, a bit more social responsibility. Hated by the left, hated by the right, but exactly what the voters that count wanted.

That’s a bold claim. Ardern has had a difficult return to the Prime Minister’s office, and Peters seems reluctant to let go of the power he had when in charge for six weeks.

Some like ElSavo say that good things take time:

It certainly doesn’t help that NZF are forcing them to drag their feet a bit and the Greens are seemingly tagging along for the ride.

I mean, change does take time but if people we’re expecting MAJOR change in one or two terms then they’ll be sorely mistaken.

The problem is if the first term isn’t seen as good enough Labour may get dumped before they can make significant changes.

d8sconz:

It’s too soon for any real change, but we’re not getting any indication that change is even being considered. That’s Labours failing to date. I know they’re doing stuff, like tea and scones and gas-bagging. But if anything meaningful is going on there (capital gains tax?) then they’re doing a piss poor job of communicating it.

Ardern needs to step up on substance or she will keep being seen as subservient to Peters, who seems to think she should be  in her kitchen away from his Parliament.

Image result for ardern kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for winston peters

Surprise NZ First support of Maori seat entrenchment bill

NZ First want a decision on Maori seats to go to a binding public referendum, and believe that wil be helped by them supporting the Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill that went before Parliament for it’s first vote yesterday.

NZH: Bill to entrench the Māori seats passes first hurdle with support from opponent

A bill entrenching the Māori seats into New Zealand electoral law – requiring a 75 per cent majority of Parliament to get rid of them – has passed its first reading in Parliament because it was supported by New Zealand First, which opposes the Māori seats.

The Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill in the name of Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene would have failed at the first hurdle if New Zealand First, Labour’s coalition partner, had not supported it.

New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball said the party believed the issue of the Māori seats should be put to a binding public referendum and the bill was an opportunity to do that.

He said later that the referendum would be on entrenching the seats or abolishing the seats. If the party could not get that amendment passed it would not support the bill.

So NZ First’s ongoing support is dependent on an amendment that that is unlikely to be agreed on by Labour and the Greens – unless there’s another back room deal done on this.

I’m not sure whether some of NZ First’s supporters will understand the logic. Winston Peters has played the ‘abolish Maori seats’ card in election campaigns, although his actual stance has been more complicated.

July 2017:  Winston Peters delivers bottom-line binding referendum on abolishing Maori seats

Winston Peters promised “explosive policy” at his party’s convention on Sunday but it was a tried and true pledge of referenda on abolishing the Maori seats and reducing the number of MPs that he delivered.

A binding referendum on the two matters would be held on the same day in the middle of the next election term.

Peters said both issues were “explosive” but in particular the Maori seats because “Maori progress economically and socially has been massively sidetracked, detoured and road blocked by the Waitangi industry”.

“How could that possibly happen when we’ve got all these new members of Parliament coming from the Maori world?”

Peters said he wouldn’t use “silly phrases” like “bottom lines” but he made it clear the referendum wasn’t negotiable.

“My strategy is to tell everybody out there that you won’t be talking to NZ First unless you want a referendum on both those issues at the mid-term mark of this election.”

It wasn’t negotiated in the Coalition agreement with Labour, but Winston had already wiggled.  28 September 2017 (just after the election) – Winston Peters leaves wiggle room on Māori seats

Asked by Sky News whether Labour’s non-negotiable stance on a referendum could affect his promise, Peters said he initially wanted the people to decide.

“It was written up as Peters’ opposed – he’s going to abolish the Māori seats – that’s not true. I said let’s have a referendum and let the people decide, and apparently some people don’t like democracy,” he said.

“The Māori Party itself are a race-based, origin of race party who got smashed in this election and it’s gone.

“So some of the elements on which the promise was made have just changed, that’s all I can say.”

So from ‘non-negotiable’ to ‘have just changed’.

July 2018 – Winston Peters wants ‘two-part referendum’ on Māori seats

New Zealand First campaigned on holding a binding referendum on whether to abolish the seats.

At the time as Labour leader Jacinda Ardern ruled out a referendum, saying that would break faith with Māori voters.

Mr Peters said he still believed the matter should be put to the public.

“If you want to make changes to the electoral system, you should go to the country, not just do it unilaterally,” he said.

“The entrenchment to 75 percent looks good, until you can remove the entrenchment provision with an appeal and you’re back to 50 again,” he said.

New Zealand First would not support the bill as it stands, Mr Peters said, but would reconsider if an amendment was made in the committee stages to include the referendum.

“If they put an SOP [Supplementary Order Paper] in for referendum, then it will be all on.

“That’s when we put all our cards on the table as to whether there should be Māori seats and, if so, should they be entrenched.

“There should be a two-part referendum,” he said.

That signalled the NZ First position yesterday, voting for the bill at it’s first reading to try to flip it from an entrenchment of Maori seats to a binding referendum on scrapping or retaining them.

That’s such a major change in the intent of a bill it must have little chance of succeeding – if Labour hold their ground of course.