Political year review – the parties 2018

A lot of politics and politicians fly under the media radar. Some MPs make the headlines, because the have prominent jobs, because they seek publicity, or because publicity seeks them, or they cock up. Here’s a few of my thoughts and impressions on the 2018 political year.

Party-wise I don’t think there is much of note.

National and Labour have settled into competing for top party status through the year, with the poll lead fluctuating. It’s far too soon to call how this will impact on the 2020 election, with both parties having problems but still in the running.

Greens and NZ First have also settled in to competing for second level party honours. Nothing drastic has gone wrong for either, but they are both struggling to impress in the polls, and they keep flirting with the threshold. again too soon to call how this will impact on the next election.

ACT is virtually invisible, and unless something drastic changes will remain largely an MP rather than a party.

TOP is trying to reinvent itself without Gareth Morgan leading but Morgan is having trouble letting go of his influence. They have a lot of work to do to build a new profile with whoever they choose as new leader. As with any party without an MP they have an uphill battle with media and with the threshold.

The New Conservative Party is not getting any publicity, apart from their deputy leader posting at Whale Oil, which won’t do much for their credibility. The media seem disinterested, which is the kiss of political death.

No other party looks like making an impression.

With NZ First and Greens expected to struggle to maintain support while in Government (as have support parties in the past), one prospect is that the political landscape and the next election will be a two party race, with Labour and National competing to earn the votes to become a single party Government, which would be a first under MMP.

It’s too soon to call on this. A major factor could be whether voters are happy to see support parties fade away out of contention, or whether enough voters decide small party checks on power are important to maintain.

If the latter this may benefit the Greens IF voters aren’t too worried about a Labour+Green coalition who would have confidence in getting more revolutionary with a second term mandate.

For NZ First much may depend on how let down some of their support feels over a lack of living up to their promises on things like immigration and dumping the Maori seats. A lot may also depend on how Winston Peters weathers another term and whether he stands again.

Winners?

Labour have won back a position as a top dog party after struggling for nearly all of the nine years they were in Opposition.

National continue to win a surprising level of support as long as individual MPs aren’t trying to sabotage the party. The Ross rampage is unlikely to be repeated as other MPs will have seen it as little more than self destructive of an individual’s political future.

So joint winners, sort of but with no prize, and no party deserving of a runner-up place.

Why are so many party leaders resigning?

I don’t whether there are comparable times in the past, I can’t remember any, but we seem to have had a remarkably high turnover of party leaders this term.

Tracey Watkins: Politically Correct: The blitzkrieg campaign continues

Why are so many party leaders resigning?

Good question. Dunne’s departure leaves just Winston Peters and the Maori Party’s Te Ururoa Flavell standing from the 2014 election. In this term of Parliament National, ACT, Labour, the Greens and ACT have all had a change of leader.

Those party leaders who have stepped down this term:

  • David Cunliffe resigned as Labour leader on 27 September 2014, and left Parliament in April 2017.
  • Jamie Whyte stepped down as ACT leader in October 2014 after failing to get into Parliament.
  • Russel Norman announced he would stand down as Green co-leader in January 2015, and resigned from Parliament in October 2015.
  • John Key stepped down as National leader and Prime Minister in December 2016 and left Parliament in April 2017.
  • Andrew Little stepped down as Labour leader on 1 August 2017. He remains on Labour’s list for this election.
  • Metiria Turei resigned as Green co-leader on 9 August 2017, and also withdrew from the party list. She is still standing in the Te Tai Tonga electorate but her chances of returning to Parliament look slim.
  • Peter Dunne announced on 21 August 2017 he would not stand in the September election, retiring as a 33 year MP and United Future leader.

Leaders of five parliamentary parties have had leaders step down during this term. In addition:

  • Marama Fox became co-leader of the Maori Party in October 2014 after she became an MP through the party list.
  • Laila Harre stepped down as leader of the Internet Party in December 2014.
  • Colin Craig stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party in June 2015.

The remaining party leaders:

  • Winston Peters (NZ First)
  • Hone Harawira (Mana Party)

NZ First changed deputy leaders during the term, as did National and Labour.

This is a massive turnover of leadership. Why?

Dunne says he has not seen a more turbulent period in New Zealand politics since the Muldoon years. It all adds up to a volatile election and a sense that change is in the air.

And as Dunne also says: “No-one wants to outstay their welcome”.

Norman, Key and Dunne decided it was time to end their political careers.

Little and Turei were more pressured by circumstances.

And this may not be the end of leader churn.

If National lose the election it’s hard to see Bill English staying on.

If Hone Harawira loses again this election his political career must be just about over.

Winston Peters must be getting close to the stage of retiring, whether NZ First get into government or not.

This to an extent is coincidence of timing. Last term Labour changed leader twice, and ACT got a new leader, but otherwise parties were relatively stable.

 

Party prospects

What are party prospects leading up to next year’s election? It’s a long time in politics until we vote again so there’s many things that could affect the overall outcome and the outcome for individual parties.

Has Been and Never Been

The 5% threshold is making it pretty much impossible for a small or new party to get into Parliament on party vote. This is by design by the large parties, successfully keeping small parties shut out.

Mana Party

Mana took a punt on Kim Dotcom’s big money last election and crashed badly, losing their only electorate and failing to attract combined party vote. Hone Harawira seems to have disappeared from public view, and the Mana Party website seems to have also disappeared. Their chances of revival look unlikely, and their chances of success again are also unlikely.

Internet Party

The Internet Party had large funds and little credibility last election. Dotcom acknowledged afterwards that he was politically toxic. Without his money and presence and media pulling power the party continues – their website remains – but is ignored and will find it difficult to get anywhere, which is a shame because they had some interesting ideas on inclusive democracy.

Conservative Party

With heaps of money and media attention last election Colin Craig and his Conservatives could only manage about 4%. After last year’s major upheaval it’s unlikely they will get half that next time. Craig is severely damaged politically and socially and would struggle to lead the Conservatives to 2% next time. There is no obvious alternative leader.

The Strugglers

UnitedFuture

As a party UnitedFuture has faded just about completely. It is still operating but without a major input of money and new personal I don’t see any change. The only option for UF is for outsiders to see an opportunity to use an existing party to get a foothold in Parliament rather than start from scratch, but even then success would be dependent on Peter Dunne  retaining his Ohariu electorate. I think Dunne must be close to considering retiring, and if he does UF will retire or expire.

ACT Party

ACT have defied critics and survived the Don Brash and John Banks disasters due to the success of one person, David Seymour. I think Seymour is odds on to retain Epsom next year (deservedly) so ACT is likely to survive. National and possibly Conservative vote must be up for grabs, but it will depend on ACT coming up with additional electable candidates to make an increased party vote attractive. Jamie Whyte didn’t work out, but with Seymour anchoring the party they may attract strong candidates who would then stand a good chance of success through an improved party vote.

Maori Party

The Maori Party continue to be quiet achievers. They should be able to retain at Te Ururoa Flavell’s electorate seats and their first list MP Marama Fox has made a quick impact. They stand a chance of picking up ex Mana Maori votes so have some chance of getting more seats via their list. Further electorate prospects will depend on candidate quality. The Maori Party could also be impacted negatively by a Labour resurgence if that ever happens.

The Over Threshold Parties

New Zealand First

It’s difficult to predict NZ First’s future. It is very dependant on Winston Peters. He had a major success early last year by winning the Northland buy election but hasn’t dome much since then. He could just be pacing himself, rebuilding energy and drive for next year’s election campaign. Or he could be running out of puff – that’s been predicted before but so far he has managed to keep coming back.

Installing Ron Mark as deputy could be a problem for NZ First. The rest of the party has been generally out if sight, but Mark is an ambitious attention seeker, and the attention he gets is often uncomplimentary. He could deter voters.

But if Winston remains NZ First should remain after next year’s election. Peters may or may not retain Northland, but the party should be good for 5-10% party vote if he is still in the race.

Green Party

The Green Party have successfully weathered another leadership change. They had built their vote and presence but were disappointed to not gain ground last election despite Labour’s vote shrinking. Greens are assured of retaining a place in Parliament but may find it challenging to increase or even retain their current numbers if Labour recovers and increases their vote. And Greens need Labour to improve substantially to give them a chance of having their first stint in Government.

Greens should be able to stay above 10% but may be cemented as a good sized small party rather than becoming the growing force they have ambitions of being.

Labour Party

Labour have to improve their support significantly or it will either be difficult for them to get back into Government or it will be difficult for them to govern with Greens and NZ First pulling them in different directions, possible apart.

It would be unlikely for Labour to switch leaders yet again, that would be damaging, so they need Andrew Little to step up. That hasn’t happened yet. They are playing a risky strategy of keeping a low profile while they consult constituencies and rebuild policies. They really have to be looking like a possible alternate Government by the middle of this year. They need to somehow get back 5-10% support.

They are banking on Little growing into his leadership role. He can only be a contrast to John Key, but so far he looks more out of his depth rather than swimming competitively on the surface.

Labour are also banking on their ‘Future of Work’ policy development. It’s a good focus for a labour allied party, but a lot will depend on whether it results in something seen to be visionary or if it is perceived as a Union policy disguised by Grant Robertson.

Labour could get anywhere between 25% and 40% next election. It’s hard to tell what direction they will go at this stage.

National Party

National have been very successful since they won in 2008. They have increased their support since then, most parties in power bleed support. This partly to do with John Key’s continued popularity, and increasingly by Bill English’s capable management of finances in sometimes very difficult circumstances (GFC and Christchurch earthquake).

National’s support must fall at some stage but it’s difficult to judge when that might start happening. Left wing activists have been predicting it in vain for seven years. Much will  depend on whether Labour can step up as a viable alternative alongside Greens and probably NZ First.

Next election could see them get anywhere between 40% and 50%. Their political fate is in their own hands to an extent but also reliant on possible alternatives.

Two weeks – what can happen now?

A lot can happen in the last two weeks of a campaign, and this election has more drama than Shortland Street, absent the soap (things are still dirty).

It has been common in the past for significant moves to happen late. This campaign has been different with the early injection of the ‘Dirty Politics’ book and ensuing distraction. Political integrity is important but dropping a left handed grenade into a campaign has had unexpected results with an apparent firm up of support for National and Labour slipping.

Kim Dotcom is promising more drama in the final week (his town hall meeting is scheduled for Monday 15) but that may be too late and could as easily help National’s chances as score a hit. A fear of a government dictated to by Internet-Mana could be the Right’s best chance of retaining power.

National seem to have recovered from Dirty Politics (according to polls) but dropped back in the final run up to the last election. It’s expected they will struggle to match last elections record high of 47.31% and will almost certainly need some help from multiple parties to make it again. Polling about double Labour still puts National in the box seat.

Labour don’t appear to have been helped by Dirty Politics and are slipping in the polls. David Cunliffe seems to be failing to impress and was flailing over Labour’s Capital Gains Tax this week. Can Labour areest their decline or will their vote collapse as it did for National in 2002? Not a good position for them.

Greens have had occasional high (16%) and low (9%) poll results but seem to have firmed support around 12%. They will be mindful of their past drops from the polls to their election result but are likely to be excluded from any dramatics so just need to stick to their fundamentals (which they are good at doing) to do at least reasonably well.

Unlike the last two elections when the outcome for NZ First was in serious doubt it seems like they are pretty much assured of remaining in Parliament, although Winston Peters is in a battle with Colin Craig this time which complicates things. There’s a bigger question over whether Peters will be ‘kingmaker’ or will have to make do with sitting on the cross benches again.

Conservatives are very well funded by Colin Craig and are much better prepared than last election. They are improving in polls but the big unknown (until election night) is whether they will make the 5% threshold. It could be a close run result for them – and the outcome of this could make a big difference to coalition options available to National.

Internet-Mana are also very well funded and the initially made promising poll gains but seem to have hit a brick wall. Kim Dotcom looms large over the party and is both biggest benefactor and biggest liability. His final week splash may dent John Key’s chances but it could also see Internet-Mana flounder. They were always relying on Hone Harawira to succeed but also need a few percent to get more than Laila Harre into Parliament. Unless they have a fresh new trick they may be a bit of a fizzer.

Maori Party could be the quiet achiever of this election. They had been written off by some but look in a good position to retain a seat or two at least. It’s also possible they could get a list seat or two for the first time. New leader Te Ururoa Flavell has been a refreshingly candid and natural performer in minor party debates. They could benefit from voters disappointed with Mana’s links with Dotcom.

ACT look to be struggling outside of Epsom. Unless they find a new formula and attract party vote interest they look like they could end up in the unusual position of having a seat in parliament but their leader missing out. They might come up with something but there’s no sign of it yet.

UnitedFuture is more than ever relying on Peter Dunne retaining Ohariu, which looks likely. Otherwise the party is failing to rate. They keep targeting outdoors, hunting and fishing voters but that has been a very unreliable constituency for them.

The other parties are written off before they start by media so have a hopeless task other than to pick up a handful of loyal votes and perhaps some protest votes for parties like Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and The Citizen Party.

Incumbent parties have a significant advantage and that’s helped by media picking and rejecting losers and giving likely winners a big help.

The main factors in the last two weeks:

  • National securing it’s position as a reliable financial administrator and scaring voters off the alternative – balanced against whether a Key/Ede or Dotcom bombshell could be damaging.
  • Labour trying not to collapse (it’s hard to see them suddenly becoming popular)
  • Will Conservatives make the threshold (and to a lesser extent will NZ First survive thew threshold).

Greens are the least tainted and best organised party holding firm but look like being wholly dependent on other parties, and their biggest hope, Labour, may have already decided Green’s fate.

And possibly the biggest factor is which voters will turn out to vote and which ones will give up in disinterest or disgust.

Polls and election prospects

A number of recent polls have given pointers to where the parties stand with less than two months to go until the election.

National

National have been polling in the high forties through to mid fifties but are expected to drop back a few percent in the final count. They are aware of this and are trying to minimise that drop by playing as safe a game as possible.

They have had some hiccups with embarrassments through Claudia Hauiti (now withdrawn from candidacy) and Gerry Brownlee’s airport security slip-up. Hauiti was National’s lowest ranked MP so she won’t be a loss, and Brownlee has front footed the damage control with what appears to be genuine contriteness.

National have just announced their list with no real surprises. They will say this week what other parties they will be prepared to work with and give a nod to some potential support parties in electorates.

They have yet to reveal much about policies. There main plank seems to be more of the same, steady sensible management of the economy.

That will be enough to win the most seats by far but they are not expected to get enough to rule on their own so their fortunes may be dictated by small parties. They will be hoping Winston Peters isn’t the main dictator.

Likely result range 45-50%.

Labour

The polls have not been good for Labour with the last twelve results being in the twenties, as low as 23%.

David Cunliffe continues to fail to impress as leader. He says his string of apologies are behind him but he is dropping in preferred Prime Minister polls, the latest having him on 8%. Some hope he will show his mettle in leader’s debates but it’s unlikely he will do enough to shine over the seasoned Key.

Media are writing Labour off and talking more about how low they might go instead of how much they might get. There’s good reason for this, they look divided and disorganised.

Labour’s best hope seems to limit the damage and not get any lower than their record low in 2011 of 27.28%. A more common hope is probably that their vote doesn’t collapse.

Likely result range 20-29%.

Green Party

The Greens bounce around in the polls, usually in the 10-15% range.

They look to be the best organised party by a long shot, and seem determined to finally get into Government. They deserve it on their own efforts but they are relying on Labour who will be worrying and disappointing them.

Without Labour improving substantially Greens look like at best competing for attention and influence amongst a mish mash coalition but more likely being denied by Labour’s failure.

Many voters are happy to see Greens in the mix but one negative is there is a wariness (and in some cases fear) of Greens getting to much influence, especially on economic matters. Some Green good, too much Green scary is a common sentiment.

Likely result range 10-15%.

NZ First

NZ First have been polling from a bit under to a bit over the magic 5%.

Most expect them to lift a bit in the run up to voting as happened last year but National will be taking as much care as possible not to hand Winston Peters another opportunity like the cup of tea debacle.

Peters is a seasoned campaigner and the media help his cause because he is good for stories, but time will tell whether there is too much seasoning in the old warrior and too little substance in the rest of the party as the other MPs have failed to impress.

One thing that may make it harder is direct competition for attention  and votes with the Conservative Party.

Likely result range 4-6%.

Maori Party

Poll results have been low for the Maori Party. That doesn’t usually matter because in all elections they have contested so far they have got more electorate seats than their party vote would give them so it has been unnecessary. Last election they got 1.43%.

It’s tougher for them in electorates this time with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retiring. It will be challenging for them to retain their current three seats, with some suggesting they might lose most or all of them.

There will be strong competition from the Dotcom financed MANA Party, but they may be helped by Labour’s woes.

For the first time the party vote may matter to the Maori Party, especially if they only hold one electorate seat.

Likely result range 1-2%.

Conservative Party

Polls have been in the 1-3% range. It’s now looking unlikely National will help Colin Craig in an electorate so they may have to get 5% to make it. That will be difficult, especially if Winston Peters competes openly with them.

Formed just before the last election the Conservatives got 2.65% and hope to improve on that. They have had much more exposure but that may have lost as much support as it has gained. Craig still seems politically naive. He has tried to turn the ‘Crazy Colin’ meme to his advantage but that’s a risky strategy.

Conservative fortunes are relying on National’s decision this week but it’s not looking positive for them.

UPDATE: John Key has just stated that National won’t help Craig in East Coast Bays so Conservatives only hope is getting 5%, which looks a big hurdle.

Likely result range 2-3%.

ACT Party

Act has been polling poorly, often under 1%.

Act were in turmoil last election with a very Brash takeover and installing John Banks as Epsom candidate. Banks won to save Act but has had a troubled term.

Act have made a concerted effort to rebuild over two elections. They have split responsibilities between Jamie Whyte as party leader and David Seymour in Epsom. Seymour looks a good bet in Epsom but the political jury is still out on Whyte and Act.

Much could come down to how Whyte looks in the minor party debates. He is intelligent and has good political knowledge but can look to serious and too polite – he hasn’t been forceful enough in interviews.

Act may benefit from being an alternative to giving National sole charge.

Likely result range 1-3%.

United Future

UnitedFuture has been languishing in polls, as often on 0% as slightly above.

More than ever UF hopes seem to rest solely on Peter Dunne in Ohariu. His chances are reasonable there. He has held the seat for thirty years so is very well known. He hasn’t had the best of terms but seems determined to rebuild his credibility.

Dunne looks to have been helped by all the major parties:

  • National have a new candidate who looks likely to campaign for the aprty vote only and has been given an almost certain list position.
  • Labour’s Charles Chauvel resigned mid term and has been replaced by a relative unknown.
  • Green’s Gareth Hughes has withdrawn from the electorate to promote youth and party vote and has been replaced by someone.

Like last election voters are likely to return Dunne and ignore the party. The party seems to be virtually ignoring the party.

Likely result range 0.3-0.7%.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

ALCP rarely feature in opinion polls, but they manage to get votes in elections. In 2011 they got 0.52%.

They are under new management this time and are likely to get some stoner and protest votes but 5% is just too high a hurdle for the influential media to pay them any attention.

Likely result range 0.4-0.8%.

Internet Mana Party

As a newly formed combo IMP have been polling 1-2%. They have a huge budget so will feature in the attention seeking stakes.

And while Kim Dotcom can’t stand as a candidate his attention seeking will keep him to the forefront of party success or failure.

Dotcom is promising a town hall circus five days before election day – he thinks this will destroy John Key and National but it could just as easily backfire.

His personal crusade is to oust the National Government. He is more likley to fracture the left wing vote and scare people off a Labour let government.

IMP’s monetary might will gain them some party votes but may fail in the ultimate aim.

Likely result range 2-4%.

Summary

IMP could be pivotal in the final result but it looks most likely to be a failure for them and a win for National with a few small allies.

Blogs and party connections

Charles Chauvel raised the issue of parliamentary offices – see Chauvel accuses Whale and Kiwiblog:

In the case of the two better known right wing blogs those online sources are proxies for the present Government, and much copy is supplied to them directly out of ministers offices at taxpayers expense

What connections do blogs have with parties and parliament? Perhaps it’s worth laying this out on the table.

Kiwiblog “is the personal blog of David Farrar”. In The Chauvel valedictory Farrar makes it clear:

Some on the left always have these conspiracy theories about supplied copy. If only it was true. I recall once I did a comprehensive rebuttal of a Labour press release 60 minutes after it came out with links to all sorts of official sources. A blogger said I must have had the info supplied to me, and I facebooked my browser log for the last hour which showed my Google searches and references.

I am the only person who writes copy for Kiwiblog, unless I indicate it is a guest post.

Farrar is open about his connections (with National and others), a disclosure statement is here.

Whale Oil is run by Cameron Slater who has well known connections to National but obviously has many sources, and has openly publiocised that he is editor of Truth.

Whale Oil Beef Hooked is the personal blog of Cameron Slater. I set it up in July 2005 after several months of getting addicted to reading other blogs and finding their commentary boring. Prior to blogging, I used to shout at the television news and rant at talkshow hosts. I have had a political pedigree since I was in nappies.

All about Whale Oil here.

Like many bloggers I have sometimes been a source for both Kiwiblog and Whale Oil, they (very occasionally) pick up and blog on one of my posts.

Keeping Stock is another right-ish blog with National Party connections but author identity is not revealed.

What about political blogs on the left?

Red Alert is run by Labour and Chauvel himself has posted there.

These are the voices of Labour MPs on issues that we care about – and we’d like to hear what you think too. What you’ll read are the individual opinions of MPs. We won’t always agree with each other and sometimes our opinions may change.

Red Alert heavily censors and bans views it doesn’t like (it’s believed to be moderated by Trevor Mallard and Clare Curran).

Frog Blog is a Green party blog and Green MPs are the authors, along with an administrator:

I spend my time chewing flies around the green expanses of the Parliamentary Complex. Many people – including Green MPs, Green Parliamentary staff, and Green Party members – have my ear. I’d be horrified if anyone suggested my views represented official Green Party policy or comment, but I hope they act as a catalyst for discussion among members of public.

The Standard is the biggest blog on the left and strenuously claims to be independent of Labour.

We’ve a collective who saw a gap in the New Zealand political blogosphere and decided that we should have a go at filling it here at The Standard blog site. We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

We come from a variety of backgrounds and our political views don’t always match up but it’d be fair to say that all of us share a commitment to the values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement.

Authors include:

  • Lynn Prentice (lprent) – open about longstanding connections with Labour and a party member.
  • Mike Smith – works in David Shearer’s office.
  • Irish Bill – Labour party member
  • Anthony Robins (R0b) – loyal Labour Party member
  • ‘Eddie’ – various people believed to have used this pseudonym, all with obvious Labour connections, sometimes used for blatant political attacks, has been proven wrong
  • ‘Zetetic’ – this may be another multi-use pseudonym with perhaps union/Labour connections
  • ‘James Henderson’ – believed to work for Greens in Parliament (I’ve been given a real name)

That lineup makes Chauvel’s accusation about right wing blogs very ironic.

Imperator Fish:

My name is Scott Yorke. I’m a technology and intellectual property lawyer. I somehow find the time to run a blog.

I mostly blog about the news, politics and the law.

Disclosure

I am a member of the Labour Party. I am also fearlessly independent of all external influences.

The Dim-Post appears to have no identifier or discloser on the blog but is known to be authored by Danyl McLaughlan (danylmc). There is a link to Twitter:

@danylmc
I am Danyl.

Wellington

I don’t know much about him but there have been suggestions he is Green orientated and I’ve seen mentions that his partner works in communications for either Labour or the Greens.

Pundit is another collective of authors, all identified, with a variety of interests and angles.

Public Address is …

…a community of New Zealand-centric weblogs featuring Russell Brown’s Hard News, Damian Christie’s Cracker, Jolisa Gracewood’s Busytown, Fiona Rae’s Radiation, Graham Reid’s Random Play, Keith Ng’s OnPoint, David Haywood’s Southerly, Graeme Edgeler’s Legal Beagle, Emma Hart’s Up Front and regular guest contributors.

Those are what appear to be the busiest and most prominent political blogs in New Zealand.

My own disclosure

YourNZ occasionally feature’s guest posts (more are welcome!) but it currently pretty much my own blog.

I started it in June 2011 with a view to promote more discussion, but at the start it was mostly an anchor for information that I linked to from other forums I was active in. At that stage I had no conections with any organisation or political party.

It has evolved and grown (modestly) since then.

In August 2011 I was asked by United Future to consider standing as a candidate (I had already indicated I would stand as an independent), so I was a candidate in toe 2011 election for them.

Since then I have since maintained some contact with United Future, primarily with Peter Dunne. This is virtually all one way – if I want some information or a statement I contact Dunne and he usually replies. I clearly quote him when I do this. I do the same with MPs from other parties and sometimes get responses, which I quote.

I have not been and am not fed information by Peter Dunne, UnitedFuture or any other MP or party. I operate YourNZ independently. I fund it entirely on my own.

In the past I have commented on blogs under a pseudonym but haven’t done so for some time (since before the 2011 election).

I occasionally comment on news sites such as NZ Herald, ODT and 3 News, always under ‘Pete George’.

I occasionally comment on the Trade Me political message board under a pseudonym as they do not allow you to identify yourself there.

Apart from that I am open about my motives and connections in any communications and try to respond to any queries about them openly.

NOTE: If anyone has clarifications or corrections to make please advise and I will  update the above information.