Paddy praises Labour-Green vibe

Patrick Gower gives a glowing rteport of the vibe at the joint Labour-Green ‘state of the nation’ event yesterday.

Newshub: Labour-Green combo best Left vibe in years

If it is “all about the vibe”, then the Labour-Green alliance has nailed it from the outset of election year.

My first question after seeing them onstage together at the joint State of the Nation was, “What took you guys so long?”

The vibe at the Mount Albert War Memorial Hall was the best I have seen on the Left for years.

The leaders gelled, and so did the crowds. Labour benefited from the Green energy. And the Greens benefited from the extra size of Labour.

They both looked better together. But the most important thing was that it felt real.

The Green supporters liked Andrew Little. The Labour supporters liked Metiria Turei. They clapped each other like they meant it.

There’s no doubt the joint campaign is for real. Despite it looking like the game changer some hoped for last year Labour and the greens have doubled down and committed themselves to it being their main campaign focus.

Sure, there are lots of hard questions about the Labour-Green alliance. They will come.

The pundits and the public will ask more questions than the parties’ faithful.

But the way the two tribes came together is crucial. The reality is, that in the liberal left stronghold of Mt Albert, red and green are the same. This election they are together.

Today it did not look like a political marriage of convenience – it looked like the reality.

Sure there were no policy details, but today was all about the vibe.

And the vibe for the Labour-Green alliance was the best vibe I have seen in years.

But is it a vibe that voters warm to? Time will tell.

I have seen the vibe generated by Kim Dotcom at Internet-Mana meetings, and I have seen the vibe of Winston Peters at last year’s NZ First conference. That doesn’t make them government-in-waiting parties.

We should get a bit of an idea after two or three months of polls this year. If they don’t improve then the Labour-Green vibe could be under threat. If they do improve then their joint confidence could keep growing.

English favourite but not confirmed

Last night Patrick Gower called English as the next Prime Minister, citing a ‘senior MP’ claiming 45 MPs backed English.

I’m very sceptical about this – anonymous sources with vested interests in leadership contests, trying to push a majority five days before the caucus vote takes place, shoukld be viewed with extreme caution.

Yesterday afternoon:

Ok, no mucking around, Paddy Gower will name the new Prime Minister tonight on live at 6.

And Gower went full bore on his big scoop of 45 for English. Matthew Hooton has just called this ‘a big lie’.

RNZ is more factual and feet on the ground in Bill English appears front-runner in National leadership contest:

So far 14 MPs, including Mr Key, have publicly declared they are putting their weight behind the finance minister for the top job.

That’s about half what English needs – but there is no guarantee they will all stick with that public position.

National Party MPs will meet at Parliament on Monday to vote for a new leader and deputy.

It’s a secret vote.

Barry Soper remembers some history involving English in Support for English could easily become daggers of defeat:

Ironically it came when they were doing the numbers after his disastrous election defeat of 2002 when the dapper doctor Don Brash was sharpening his knife the following year.

Holmesy asked me if English was a dead man walking and I said no, more like a twitching corpse. Within minutes the phone was ringing and the invective flowed. When the torrent eased, he was told the numbers for him holding on to the leadership were stacked against him, but for a man who is obviously good with numbers, he insisted they weren’t telling him the same thing.

Later that day Don Brash was installed as leader and Bill English rightly felt cheated, he’d been lied to by some of his colleagues, and gave serious thought to calling it a day and going back to the farm.

The point is, those running for a political job determined by their colleagues can never know for sure of the support they’ve got until the scrutineers do the count, and even more so if the winner’s in the position to determine their future, like a Prime Minister contemplating his Cabinet.

More than half of National’s caucus are looking for favours, they haven’t had the call up for Cabinet and they’ll be sounding out the candidate who can offer them the most.

So it’s not a done deal until the votes are counted next Monday.

English is the front runner for sure, but there’s time for back bench discontent to grow, especially away from Parliament over the weekend.

There could be a backlash over what looks like a jack up – English as Prime Minister, Paula Bennett as deputy and Steven Joyce as Finance Minister looks like a small cabal at the top of National manipulating the leadership.

While they would probably be a competent rearrangement of the same old minus Key it is hardly a fresh new look.

And Brexit/.Trump – there is growing discontent with the political establishment in other parts of the world. Is there any chance of rebellion in the National caucus?

Monumental and colossal media

Containing the euphoria… my cartoon in today’s

czaksxuukaavepr

This is something the media dreads. They rely on controversy and sensation. A boring Bill English led government would not be good for clicks, nor for journalist self-aggrandising.

Ironically Patrick Gower wrote on Monday: John Key resignation: Patrick Gower says ‘this changes everything’

John Key’s resignation is a colossal and monumental moment in New Zealand politics.

The enormity can be judged by its impact: it changes everything.

I guess a Boring Bill led government would mean that Gower would have to change how he exaggerates things so much.

Right now, a political reset button has been hit. The force that has driven New Zealand politics for ten years is gone.

Key is not even gone yet. He’s going. Next week he steps down from being Prime Minister. Next year he will resign from Parliament.

But the other 58 National MPs remain, until next year’s election at least.

Especially if English takes over the Government is likely to continue steady-as-she-goes, which has been a characteristic English’s influence as much as Key’s for the last eight years.

It is a monumental and colossal way for John Key to exit. It was a monumental and colossal political career.

Key’s political career was successful, but it was most noted for that lack of monumental and colossal change.

The only monumental and colossal change in politics in New Zealand over the last decade was when Gower took over as 3 News political editor from Duncan Garner in 2012.

This was emphasised in a video clip in 2014 where Gower asserted his colossal and monumental importance:

Back to Gower on Monday:

And now, there will be monumental and colossal change in New Zealand politics.

Perhaps post-Key, especially if Boring Bill takes over, journalists will have to dig out and report on actual news of importance rather making sensation and themselves the focus of their stories in places like libraries and parliaments.

Now that would be a monumental and colossal change.

If Paddy really wanted to be a media person who the masses noticed he should switch to advertising fast food, cars and Christmas/Boxing Day/New years Day/Next day sales.

“We are the reporters…this camera in my hand”

An interesting article about the new power of social media in politics that features Patrick Gower.

“It was social media wot won it”

Trump bypassed mainstream media and won and there’s no coming back

By Peter Bale, President of the Global Editors Network

Donald Trump’s insurgent victory upends the media business and journalism as much as it does politics.

We were already worried about what Silicon Valley types call “disintermediation” — the destruction of traditional media networks and models by new technology — but he has shown that break is far deeper and dangerous than anyone realized.

At least half the American population chose not to listen to what the media was telling them: no matter how factual, passionate or full of the warnings of history.

It wasn’t a failure to get the message out. It was that the audience didn’t want to hear it.

The man was the message and the message was the man.

And this is illustrated with a story about Patrick Gower.

For me the determination of the audience to ignore the medias powerfully illustrated in a bizarre confrontation between a group of Trump supporters at a rally and a New Zealand television journalist who tried to interview them.

Paddy Gower, the unassuming and pleasant host of the Newshub show tries gamely to ask a couple of Trumpists what they think only to get this shouted reply: “I’m not talking to the Clinton media, you guys are sellouts. You’re part of the lying media.”

I’m not sure that everyone in New Zealand sees Gower as “unassuming and pleasant”.

Paddy vainly explains he is from New Zealand.“What’s Zealand?” one guy replies.

In the background, a Trumpist with a “The Deplorables” T-shirt on to mock Hillary Clinton’s unwise attack on those who hitched themselves to Trump, videos the whole incident on his iPhone declaring: “Social media is the future, the mainstream media is going downhill. You guys are like the newspapers of the 1980s. It’s almost over for you. We are the reporters…this camera in my hand.”

That is the reality of the failure this election.

What we don’t know is whether the social media revolution, something that has been predicted for years, will work the same in New Zealand.

Facebook is a dominant medium for sure here. And that presumably has the same flaws in feeding people news and false information that they want to hear – confirmation bias.

But we will have to wait until next year’s election to see how much effect this will have here.

Facebook is under increasing pressure to limit the use of ‘fake news’ as a deliberate campaign tool.

And as far as I’m aware New Zealand doesn’t have anything like the fake news sites that have become a major thing in the US. No doubt some will try, but New Zealand is a much smaller place and dirt and lie propagators may find it harder to gain traction.

The most prominent New Zealand website dabbling with Breitbart style bull and bluster to try mangle the message had it’s fins clipped in our 2014 election campaign thanks to Nicky Hager and his ‘Dirty Politics’ book.

That failed to swing the election, but it significantly diminished the influence of Whale Oil, and that will struggle to recover.

There was some dabbling in social media in this year’s local body elections, but the only candidate to get any traction, Chlöe Swarbrick, benefited when she was picked up and promoted by main stream media as a novelty in an otherwise boring Auckland mayoral election.

The current by-election in Mt Roskill seems to be attracting little public attention. It’s possible Facebook is flaming away but the main contenders there seem fairly old school with the back of traditional old parties.

And ordinary New Zealanders seem to be far less passionate about politics than Americans. Politicians are far more likely to be ignored than adored.

A political force may emerge in social media next year but it’s yet to be seen.

TPP a victim of US election?

It’s looking increasingly likely that the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement may be a victim of the presidential campaign in the US.

If the US doesn’t ratify the TPPA it fails.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both speaking strongly against the TPP in their campaign rhetoric.

President Obama’s hopes of slipping it through ratification in the lame duck session between the election on November 8 and the inauguration of the incoming president on 20 January 2017.

Patrick Gower has been attending both the Republican and Democrat conventions and writes: Opinion: The TPP is dead and gone

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal is dead and gone and it is thanks to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Trump is dead against it.

Sanders is dead against it.

I’ve actually been really surprised at the level of visceral opposition towards the TPP from both sides here.

Each time both Trump and Sanders have bagged the TPP, there have been huge roars from the Republican and Democratic Convention crowds. 

And the power of both the Trump and Bernie movements mean it would be political suicide for United States politicians to go against them right now and ratify the TPP.

Powerful sectors of both sides of politics are against it – and you never, ever hear anything from its supporters in either the Republicans or the Democrats.

The TPP has been burned on the political firestorm that is raging here.

Big numbers of Republicans are dead against the TPP.

And I can tell you that huge numbers of Democrats are against the TPP.

If Hillary wins, she won’t want to deepen the divisions with her party by passing it.

As for a Trump win, well – say no more.

TPP supporters will bang on about all the possible machinations but the simple fact is this: The politics in America is against the TPP – and politics always wins in the end.

Maybe an ‘adjusted’ deal will re-emerge but the TPP as we know it is dead and gone.

Perhaps the other eleven countries will have to do it without the US. It was always going to be difficult getting it ratified there due to huge commercial lobbying interests trying to protect their markets and subsidies.

But that will take a lot of time, if there is any appetite to restart negotiations.

It looks like the TPPA could be a dead duck, blasted by a double barreled election shootout.

Government ‘incompetent on housing’

There has been a lot of over the top and unsubstantiated nonsense spouted about the ongoing housing issues – property prices, state housing and homelessness – and there are complex issues involved, but regardless of that the Government handling of various aspects has been very  poor.

Patrick Gower calls them incompetent: ‘Diddly squat’ – Govt incompetent on housing

The Government is now officially politically incompetent when it comes to dealing with housing.

Its response to the crisis/challenge has been useless for a while now, but it has reached all new levels with Nick Smith’s claim there is “diddly squat” evidence that foreign buyers are a problem.

Today the BNZ joined ANZ and Westpac in putting restrictions on lending to foreign property buyers.

To use Nick Smith’s own bizarre language, the Government looks as if it is doing diddly squat on housing.

Its response is chaotic, and it appears out of ideas.

I have never seen this Government so out of sorts.

Nick Smith in particular and the Government in general have had difficult issues to deal with but they have looked incapable and incoherent. It’s not hard to see how it may look like incompetence.

We all know the housing issue is big and complicated. But instead of being honest with the New Zealand public and accepting there is a problem, the Government instead fudges and parries and denies. It looks dishonest — it looks as if it is making things up.

I agree with the Government that there is no silver bullet on housing.

So let’s forget about the philosophical issues about what exactly it should be doing, and look purely at the political approach where the Government’s normally slick communication is failing abysmally.

It appears to have a siege mentality when it comes to housing. It looks under siege and it acts as if it is under siege. It looks as if it has no plan; it acts as if it has no plan.

I agree to an extent at least with Gower.

I think housing issues are a much bigger threat to the popularity of the Government than a vague and impotent Memorandum of Understanding amongst a couple of opposition parties.

I think that national have to replace Nick Smith in the Housing portfolio, but there probably isn’t anyone else willing to volunteer.

Paddy’s flag crisis

Patrick Gower and Newshub seem to have concocted a flag crisis, claiming that the National Party is divided over it. It’s been obvious since the beginning and publicly known for months that National MPs have a variety of views on whether to change the flag or not.

Newshub ‘broke’ the news in dribs and drabs on Twitter.

Newshub Politics ‏@NewshubPolitics
BREAKING – National MPs hold crisis meeting over flag change

Newshub Politics ‏@NewshubPolitics
BREAKING – National Party leak about crisis meeting shows internal division over flag change

Newshub Politics ‏@NewshubPolitics 3m3 minutes ago
BREAKING – National Party leak shows numbers of MPs in support of flag change – and it is not good for John Key. More soon at Newshub

Newshub Breaking ‏@NewshubBreaking
#LEAKED: @maggiebarrynz’s emailed @NZNationalParty MPs urging them to join her for a meeting about a campaign to support changing the flag

Newshub ‏@NewshubNZ
.@patrickgowernz: Are @NZNationalParty MPs divided over @johnkeypm’s NZ flag change? http://bit.ly/249bIcI

That got a response:

Audrey Young ‏@audreyNZH
@NewshubNZ @patrickgowernz Yes, they are. See Isaac Davison’s poll on it. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11581277 …

That links to a January Herald article that details flag preferences of a number of MPs, including various preferences by National MPs.

After about twenty minutes Newshub linked to a news item:

Newshub Politics ‏@NewshubPolitics 24s24 seconds ago
National Party flag crisis meeting leak http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/leaked-nationals-flag-change-crisis-meeting-2016021714 …

This was initially very brief and was gradually added to.

Leaked: National’s flag change crisis meeting

Leaked National Party emails show its MPs are divided over John Key’s flag change and that a crisis meeting of MPs has been held to give the campaign a boost.

Of course key, Barry and other National MPs have denied there is any crisis, and it’s hard to see how it could be seen as a crisis.

An email obtained by Newshub shows that only 32 out of 59 National MPs were invited to a meeting about changing the flag today — meaning about 54 percent of Mr Key’s Caucus is in support.

It seems that most MPs were initially emailed and this email was to those who expressed an interest. Wow.

The email follows a Caucus meeting yesterday where the flag was discussed.d_maggie_email_17_02_new4

 

The meeting was later moved to Ms Barry’s office at the last minute.

d_maggie_2nd_email_17_02

(A 9.00 pm email for a 7.30 am meeting is hardly last minute).

Is it of public interest that some National MPs are having meetings about the flag? Slightly perhaps?

Is it a crisis? It’s very hard to see that. Ok, as Gower said on the 6 pm Newshub news it’s a bit newsy to political wonks that someone within the National caucus seems to have leaked him a couple of emails but he’s overdoing things somewhat.

The National caucus doesn’t even make any decision over the flag, MPs have no more voting power in the referendum than any of the rest of us.

Sure Key has a bit or a problem getting his flag change over the line with any sort of credibility. It was at best going to be close, neither he nor the flag panel have done great jobs, and opponents chose to make it a political shit fight rather than a genuine contest over flag change.

How can the National caucus be divided when there was never any claim or requirement for them to be united on the flag anyway?

Without a major shift in sentiment I think we will be stuck with drab old rag for another few decades at least, giving an important decision to people to decide has been hobbled by self interested parties and trashed by political activists. So those interested in a genuine democratic flag retention/selection opportunity have been shat on by those with political interests.

My take on this is that more direct democracy and power for the people is doomed due to the lack of responsibility and maturity of politicians and social media warriors.

People don’t deserve more power if they choose to trash opportunities to decide like adults like this.

The Herald have followed up Gower’s story with I don’t know what all this nonsense is about’ – John Key shoots down claims flag referendum is dividing caucus

Little still mixed on TPPA

Andrew Little still seems to have mixed positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Patrick Gower:

So Little is loudly saying he is opposed to the TPP one minute, and then the next minute he’s quietly admitting he’d vote for the good bits. It is a Jekyll and Hyde show where Little is Jane Kelsey one minute and Phil Goff the next.

He tried to gloss over the Goff/Shearer/Helen Clark/et al elephant in Labour’s TPPA room in his ‘State of the nation’ speech yesterday:

I’d also like to acknowledge Phil Goff.

It’s funny, Phil seems to be at every gathering in Auckland with more than three people for some reason. Phil, this is going to be a big year for Auckland, and I know you’ll do a fantastic job as Mayor.

Little  may be looking forward to Goff resigning from Parliament if he wins the mayoralty, so he doesn’t figure in next year’s election lead up.

He addressed the TPPA directly later in his speech.

The truth is, this government has given up on the future.

They’ve been selling us short.

There’s no better example of this than the TPP agreement the government will sign next week at Sky City.

You know, over the summer, I managed to work my way through large parts of that agreement.

It wasn’t the breeziest of summer reading, I’ll say that much.

But what the text of the TPP makes very clear is that this Government has traded away our democratic rights.

Under the TPP, our democracy is under threat.

New Zealand’s parliament will be constrained in its ability to pass laws in our — your, mine, our kids’ interests.

In fact, on issues like labour laws, and environmental laws, our government is now obliged to give the governments of eleven other countries — and their big corporate players — a say on the laws we make.

New Zealand MPs will no longer be solely responsible to the people who elect them.

And I cannot accept that.

Labour has been a champion of free trade for decades. But we have never been asked to pay the price of the erosion of our democratic institutions.

Binding future parliaments, making our government accountable to politicians and corporations overseas instead of voters here at home?

That’s not free trade.

That’s special rules for the powerful and privileged at the expense of the voters of New Zealand.

Last week Goff and David Shearer made it clear that they have quite different views on the TPPA, publicly confirming their support. Shearer will have to apologise to the Labour caucus for breaking their collective responsibility. Goff had been given a pass by Little.

However after the speech journalists asked Little about the TPPA and he revealed that he was still not totally against it.

Patrick Gower reports:

In his speech, he talked up Labour’s opposition to the TPP to cheers from the party faithful. Then he came over to journalists and admitted Labour would support certain laws that put some parts of of the TPP into action, confirming Labour would vote for legislation that reduced tariffs for Kiwi exporters, which the official advice shows will be required.

So Little is loudly saying he is opposed to the TPP one minute, and then the next minute he’s quietly admitting he’d vote for the good bits. It is a Jekyll and Hyde show where Little is Jane Kelsey one minute and Phil Goff the next. It is a political con-job aimed at keeping his own supporters on side by opposing it while emotions are running high with the signing next week, but not wanting to get caught out as being against New Zealand exporters when the benefits kick in down the track.

If Little really opposed the TPP, he would refuse point-blank to vote for any legislation that enables it. Until he does that his position lacks credibility, and that means the TPP is quickly becoming a big problem for Little. He’s got MPs Goff and David Shearer going rogue with their public support but — unlike him at least they are up-front and easy to understand.

Little and Labour still have a big problem over their mixed messages and clash of support on the TPPA.

 

 

Little’s legacy the retention of the Union Jack?

Josie Pagani made an interesting point in a RadioLive interview with Duncan garner about Labour’s and Andrew Little’s stance on opposing everything about the flag change despite it being contrary to party policy.

Patrick Gower had just talked about it being Key’s legacy policy followed by Garner suggesting yesterday Key almost seemed to be conceding on flag change..

Yeah he’ll be worried about cause you’re right Paddy, this is his legacy policy, and he can’t just be stuck with his war on weeds or his cycle pathway, you know he’s gotta have something a bit more iconic so he’ll be really worried.

Key’s known little for those things and far more for other achievements but that’s a side issue.

Personally I think he’s made a really good case for the change in the flag, and I think it’s a shame that the politics, the sort of gotcha politics between Labour and the Nats has sort of got in the way of this.

And Labour will be worried too, cause they don’t want their biggest achievement in Opposition to be preserving the Union Jack.

Both Garner and Gower agreed that that was a really good point.

If Labour succeed in helping retain the current flag it may be a long time before they can credibly try carry out their own policy to change the flag.

The Nation – David Seymour interview

ACT MP David Seymour was interviewed on The Nation yesterday.

While he has more freedom and time to rebuikld ACT at the moment as Under-Secretary he said it would be difficult to turn down a Ministry if offered one by John Key.

Edited interview:

What does David Seymour see as National’s weakness?

ACT’s David Seymour says his party can push National to drop company taxes, build more infrastructure and reform RMA.

Full interview:  ACT Party leader David Seymour

Transcript:

David Seymour, you know, you’re here as a wild card, but it has been a hell of a year for you, I will admit that. But let’s face it — ACT’s been a cop case; Epsom’s been a joke. How did you fix it all up?

Well, look, let’s just say we started with a defensive five metre scrum, and now we’re probably up to having a 22 drop out. We’ve got a lot of work to do from where we’ve come from, but I just try to show up every day and show that I can actually be a useful politician that represents voters’ views, and hopefully over the next couple of years, that will actually grow ACT’s support while I’m a good MP in Epsom and they will re-elect me too.

Now, rather populous views, really, because the Red Peak, pubs opening for the footy, these aren’t core ACT policies. I mean, it’s populist headline hunting, isn’t it? It’s getting yourself on the news.

Well, that’s what your channel chooses to cover. However, the most important thing in my daily work is actually Partnership Schools Kura Hourua. We’re going to open more of those. I visit those schools, and I see them innovating and actually allowing kids to feel good about themselves to get skills, qualifications, jobs, careers and so-on. That’s the most important thing. And we’re achieving more of Roger Douglas’ original ACT vision with Partnership Schools than ACT ever achieved, and I’m very proud of that.

Sure, and so will Sir Roger. Now, here is a hypothetical scenario for you about these pubs. Someone wants the pubs to sell them extra booze. There’s some big problem, something bad happens — will you take responsibility for that?

No, I won’t, because your question assumes that the state is responsible for everybody, and that if somebody does something stupid, it’s because the government didn’t make a rule to stop them. My view is that New Zealanders are free and responsible people on the whole, and we shouldn’t constantly be punished for the misdemeanours of the minority. Having said that, I hope that it’s going to be a joyous festival and that New Zealanders will show that the nanny staters and the naysayers were wrong. We can enjoy ourselves responsibly. I saw the Edinburgh pub just up the road opening earlier. It’s been fantastic.

Sure. You’re Under Secretary now. Do you want to be a minister this term? Because John Key’s kind of offered that. Would you take that up? Do you want to be a minister this term?

In a sense, it’s something, if you get offered, you can’t really refuse.

You can.

But I— Well, I’m not sure what the convention is. I enjoy being an under-secretary, because it allows me to get my hands on the tools of Partnership Schools and regular—

So if he offers you being a minister, you won’t refuse it?

It’d be difficult to refuse it. I understand that’s the convention.

All right. Now, where in your mind — and coming back to that drop-goal, that 22 metre drop-goal you’re talking about — where is National weak? Where can ACT take votes off National?

You saw Steven Joyce this morning ducking and diving around the economic figures, and I think that this Government actually needs to be more robust on the economy. I think that it can help National. So why can’t we drop company taxes when we have the highest taxes and capital in the OECD almost? Where has RMA reform gone? It’s missing in action. What about infrastructure, particularly around the top half of the North Island? What about indexing tax rates to inflation for families who are paying more and more every year as they stealthily creep into higher tax brackets? But also for younger generations. John Key said he’s not going to move on Super. Well, I’m sorry, but for our generation, you’re looking at five workers per retiree now; two workers per retiree by the time current university students retire.

You think there’s a genuine weakness around superannuation?

I believe that for our generation, there certainly is.