‘Coward’s punch’ law

Winston Peters announced last week that a ‘one-punch’ assault should be subject to a separate law.

‘King Hit’ Sentences Far Too Light

Perpetrators of “King hits” should be sentenced to a minimum of eight years if their victims are killed, says New Zealand First.

“We want to send a message. Land one of these cowardly punches, take a life, and you’re behind bars a long time,” New Zealand First Leader and MP for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters said in a speech to the Police Association in Wellington today.

“There have been too many cases of innocent people dying from a ‘King hit’. Good people have been killed. Families and friends are suffering.

“The ‘King hit’ punch will be defined in law as ‘an event  that is unexpected and unprovoked but of such force to the head that it is likely to cause incapacitation, injury or death’.

“New Zealand First will ensure the length of the sentence will send a message that society will not accept this level of violence,” says Mr Peters.

Calling this type of assault a ‘king hit’ is a mistake. It’s a very cowardly sort of attack.

Is a special law for it necessary, beyond trying to appease a populist support base?

Manslaughter can already result in up to a life sentence, although now sometimes shorter sentences are given. Recently an Invercargill sentenced a ‘man’ to 22 months in prison. Would a longer sentence achieve anything?

Singling out one sort of assault could lead to anomalies in charging and sentencing.

Why is one punch worse than two punches? Two punches followed by a few kicks in the head? Driving a vehicle into a crowd?

Are one-punch sentences too light relative to other assaults? Or is singling them out a  knee-jerk reaction, or trying to appeal to the ‘lock-em-up crowd?

The Otago Daily Times looks at this policy in today’s editorial The full force of the law?

Mr Peters’ king-hit policy must be viewed with eyes wide open, however. This is already election season and the promises, baits, bribes and face-savers are coming in thick and fast: everything from more police, more houses and more affordable houses to less immigration and tax cuts. Crime and punishment is a favourite, and it is all too easy to promote policies which prey on fear and highlight retribution in order to make political mileage.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of one-punch laws as a deterrent. Is our current legislation really not up to the task? There is undoubtedly debate around sentencing in some cases, but there are also serious questions over whether a one-size-fits-all hard-line approach is desirable. And, if attitudes towards alcohol and issues with anger are at the root of the problem, is such a policy anything more than an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff?

It is clear something needs to be done about alcohol-fuelled violence within our society. For years this newspaper has carried headlines which clearly show the prevalence of the problem, where nights out have resulted in bar fights and street brawls. Indeed, it sometimes seems this is the point of a night out for some.

Although a “quick fix” may be desirable, surely a holistic approach is more sustainable. Populist policy may tick the punishment box, but it doesn’t address the cocktail of other factors driving these crimes: alcohol availability and price, our culture of excess and permissiveness, our “hard-man” image, our focus on rights over responsibilities, and our latent anger and aggression.

All must surely be part of the mix if we are to make a meaningful difference – and help save lives.

Alcohol abuse and violence, especially when combined, is a very serious problem in New Zealand. It is deep rooted in our society, complex and  and difficult to deal with. Singling out one very narrow and infrequent type of assault may attract some votes but it is a very narrow, lazy, populist approach.

It will take a lot more than increasing sentences on specific occasional crimes to address mindless violence and alcohol abuse. Cowards who get pissed don’t care about the consequences for either themselves or their victims.

The message that Winston is sending will do little if anything to improve a problem. It looks like a cynical message to potential voters, not to thugs.

Immigration tweaks announced

Immigration minister Michael Woodhouse has announced some tweaks to immigration numbers.

The “planning range for residence approvals” has barely moved to 85,000 – 95,000 (down from 90,000 – 100,000).

Points required for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category have changed appreciably, up from 140 to 160.

And the number of places for the capped family categories has been reduced significantly, from 5,500 down to 2,000.


NZH: Failure to pay way prompts halt for parents of migrants wanting to move to NZ

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said concerns parents of migrants were not meeting commitments to financially support themselves had prompted the decision to temporarily close the parent category of migration.

The Government announced today it was trimming the number of migrants getting residency.

The changes included temporarily closing the parent category to new applications and reducing the number of places for family members of migrants from 5500 a year to 2000 a year.

To enter under the parent category, a person must prove they or the child sponsoring them to come to New Zealand has enough income to support them financially.

“I have been concerned about the quality of some of parent category visa applications and the commitments that have been made by both them and their children about support, wherein after gaining residency they are not in a position to sustain themselves,” Woodhouse said.

This addresses one particular issue of concern.

Winston Peters says it’s a knee jerk reaction but barely scratches the surface.  So what does he want, sticking both boots into immigrants?

I would have thought that the immigration rules should be frequently reassessed and tweaked where necessary.

Press release from the Minister:

NZRP changes to strike the right balance

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced changes to the Government’s New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) for the next two years.

“Migrants make a valuable contribution to New Zealand both culturally and economically, and the Government periodically reviews all our immigration settings to make sure they are working as intended,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“While we are confident our immigration settings are working well, the NZRP is reviewed every couple of years to ensure we have the right number and skill mix of people gaining residence.

“As part of that review, today I am announcing a small change to the total number of people gaining residence.

“We will also be making some changes to better manage the Skilled Migrant and Family Categories at a time when demand for gaining residence under these categories continues to grow.”

“Increasing the points required to gain residence from 140 to 160 will moderate the growth in applications in the Skilled Migrant Category and enable us to lower the overall number of migrants gaining residence.“Changes to the Family Category, including temporarily closing the Parent Category to new applications, will also reduce the total number of migrants being granted residence.

“Raising the points will also prioritise access for higher-skilled SMC migrants, ensuring we strike the right balance between attracting skilled workers that allow companies to grow and managing demand in a period of strong growth.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government is taking a responsible, pragmatic approach to managing immigration.”

Note to Editors:

The New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) sets a planning range for the total number of people approved residence over a multi-year period, and determines the proportion of residence places allocated to the different residence streams in order to balance economic and social benefits.

The NZRP is not a hard cap as within each stream there are both capped and uncapped categories. The three residence streams under the NZRP are Skilled/Business, Family, and International/Humanitarian.

The largest single category is the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) within the Skilled/Business stream, which makes up around half of the entire residence programme.

Sanders/Trump/Brexit syndrome in NZ?

In the US and UK where there’s a lot of disillusionment with politics and parties, as illustrated by strong levels of support for alternatives like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn.

Volatile polls suggest there could be a large lump of disgruntlement in New Zealand too, but there is one significant difference here – no political alternative has appealed as much.

NZ First has picked up some of the protest support, but Winston Peters is hardly a breath of fresh air on the political scene here.


Waiting for the top job…

None of the other alternatives have popular appeal – Andrew Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw don’t have the maverick attraction of Sanders, Trump, Corbyn.

However Brexit may have a parallel in our flag referendum,

There may be a groundswell of disgruntlement but here there is no one to attach it to.

Brash targeting Peters with racial sledgehammer

I doubt that Don Brash is deliberately being devious with his Hobson’s Pledge ‘anti-separatist’ campaign. It looks like a resurrection of his  claim to infamy from his Orewa speech in 2004 – that sparked a recovery in National party support but National have now dismissed this brash attempt at stirring up race debate again.

NZ Herald: Brash’s new campaign dismissed by political leaders

There is no longer any appetite in New Zealand for a race-based campaign led by former National Party leader Don Brash, political leaders say.

Both National and Labour dismissed Brash’s latest bid to put an end to “preferential treatment” for Maori in New Zealand.

Even the Act Party which Brash used to lead did not endorse the new “Hobson’s Pledge” campaign, which Brash is fronting.

The campaign echoes Brash’s infamous “one law for all” speech at Orewa in 2004 and the Iwi/Kiwi billboards used when he was National Party leader.

National Party campaign chairman Steven Joyce said today that times had changed, and he did not see the new campaign as a threat.

“The difficulty in what he’s focusing on is that most New Zealanders realise we take a very balanced approach to these issues.

While some issues hidden amongst Brash’s rhetoric deserve discussion his sledgehammer approach is a hopeless way to try and achieve anything but elevating angst and anger.

Brash sees one possible ally in Parliament – Winston Peters and NZ First.

Brash said that could put him in the unusual position of donating money to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who was once a sworn enemy.

“As it stands at the moment, the only political party which is making an issue of this is New Zealand First,” he said.

“Someone with my particular background is not wildly enthusiastic about that.”

Peters probably won’t be wildly enthusiastic about Brash stealing his thunder. Brash is far from being his favourite political activist.

Media have sought a reaction from Peters but so far there seems to have been no response.

Is Brash doing NZ First a favour by highlighting one of Winston’s hobby horses? Or is he going to damage NZ First support?

It’s hard to see whether Brash is trying to deliberately or inadvertently impact on NZ First.

Brash effectively trashed ACT when he hijacked the party in 2011. David Seymour has distanced himself from Brash:

Act Party leader David Seymour said there were aspects of Hobson’s Pledge that he agreed with. He opposed the creation of specific Maori positions within local government and Resource Management Act proposals which give iwi a new role in consenting decisions.

But Act’s position on Maori issues were changing, he said.

“If you look at where Act’s going today … partnership schools have been overwhelmingly endorsed by Maori.

“If it came down a choice between scrapping Maori seats and reforming education so that people have real choice … I don’t need to tell you which is Act’s priorities these days.”

What’s more effective in politics, pandering to populist racial intolerance, or achieving actual results?

Despite a support surge after his Orewa speech Brash ended up failing in 2005, and he nearly destroyed ACT in 2011.

Working with Maori on positive education initiatives, as Seymour is doing, seems to be a far better approach than inflaming and dividing – an ironic but inevitable effect of Brash’s blunt ‘one people’ ideal.

Stuff: John Key: Kiwis uninterested in ‘broken record’ attacks on Maori favouritism

Kiwis are not interested in Don Brash’s “broken record” of attacks on Maori favouritism, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key says he is unworried by the launch of an “anti-separatism” campaign fronted by the former National Party leader, intended to pressure politicians into opposing preferential treatment of Maori.

Key said he was not worried about the campaign, which was part of the democratic process, and believed most Kiwis “want to live in a harmonious New Zealand”.

“It’s sort of pretty much a broken record from Don, but I think New Zealanders have seen in the last decade what’s taken place, they’ve seen that ultimately as Treaty partners, Maori and the Crown have to work together and actually we’re a stronger country for doing that.”

Key did not believe there was separatism in New Zealand, but said the Crown had “legal obligations” to Maori which it had to follow.

“They have certain rights which are bestowed upon them and we have to honour the court rulings for doing that…if we don’t do that, the courts rule against us.”


Peters v The Speaker cont.

The ongoing spat between Winston Peters and Speaker David Carter has continued in Parliament this week, with Peters thrown out two days in a row. With him it’s hard to know if it is deliberate grandstanding, or if his frustration at the Speaker’s rulings or a lack of impact in the House is getting the better of him.

After yesterday’s ejection Peters said that Carter was a bully – perhaps that’s another attempt to try and tap into the populist issues of the day.


Newshub: Parliament’s Speaker is a bully – Winston Peters

The first was for uttering the word “crap” – which he doesn’t think is that bad.

“Crap is not a swearword,” he said.

And he says the reason he was thrown out was because he thinks Speaker David Carter is bullying him.

“Don’t get up there and think you’re going to bully me out of my fundamental rights,” was his message to Mr Carter.


…Mr Carter said the use of the word wasn’t the issue, it’s Mr Peters’ behaviour – and his second turfing of Mr Peters showcased it. 

“Whilst on my feet he actually yelled out for me to sit down while he wanted to speak. You cannot run Parliament with Members of Parliament showing that little respect for the Speaker.”

I’ve seen Peters getting petulant and trying to tell the Speaker what to do before.

And here’s the transcript:

Whānau Ora, Minister—Statements

9. DARROCH BALL (NZ First) to the Minister for Whānau Ora: Does he stand by all his statements?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Minister for Whānau Ora): Āe, i te wā e kōrerohia ana.

[Yes, at the time it was being discussed.]

Darroch Ball: Does he stand by his answer on measures of effectiveness provided to justify the increase in funding to Whānau Ora, that “The increase in funding for Whānau Ora … was subject to a cost-benefit analysis consistent with other Budget 2016 social sector initiatives.”?


Darroch Ball: How could he possibly use the cost-benefit analysis as justification for an increase in funding, when that cost-benefit analysis clearly states that the “benefits achieved through Whānau Ora are difficult to capture using cost-benefit analysis.”?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Arā anō ngā momo toronga o Whānau Ora.

[Whānau ora has other forms of extensions.]

Tracey Martin: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can we confirm that there is a translation going on?

Mr SPEAKER: Certainly—[Interruption] Order! There is a translation, and it would be helpful if members listened to it.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: E tika ana kia whai ahau ā-Minita nei i tēnei kaupapa o te cost-benefit analysis. Kua eke a Whānau Ora ki tērā taumata, kāre he rere kētanga ki ētahi atu Tari Kāwanatanga. Ko taua āhua anō, ka whakamātauria ia tau, ia tau, ia tau.

[It is proper that I, as a Minister, follow due process in this matter about cost-benefit analysis. Whānau ora has achieved that standard; it is no different from any other Government department. It is that situation again, there is an annual audit each year.]

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This Minister was asked as to how he could make that statement, given that he had on record, from a Government department, a statement about the impossibility of a cost-benefit analysis in the way it was being put in his answer. He was asked how he could say that against that official information that he got, and he did not in any way try to answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, the question was not as the member has now summarised it; it was somewhat different, and, as I listened to the answer, the answer addressed the question that was asked.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. So, just to clarify your ruling, are you saying that what I heard from the Minister was not what he said?

Mr SPEAKER: No, let me try to clarify for the benefit of the member. The question that the member, Winston Peters, suggested was asked was not exactly the same as Darroch Ball asked. I listened to what Darroch Ball asked, and I have ruled that the answer given by the Hon Te Ururoa Flavell has addressed that question. That is the end of the matter. There is not much point in continuing on.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, I helped draft this question, so I know what is in it.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat. [Interruption] Order! I have ruled that the question has been addressed. The member does not have to agree with that, but he has to accept it. We will move to further supplementary questions; otherwise I am quite happy to move to the next question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am certainly not going to entertain a further point of order from the Rt Hon Winston Peters contesting my ruling, and if he does so, I will be asking him to leave the Chamber.

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

Mr SPEAKER: Point of order. Can I just—[Interruption] Order! [Interruption] Order! The member will resume his seat. I just want to be—[Interruption] Sit down. Resume your seat, please. I just want to be absolutely clear—[Interruption] Order! I want to be absolutely clear. I have given the member a warning that I am not prepared to tolerate him continuing to raise a point of order that is challenging a ruling I have just given. If the member wishes to seek a fresh point of order on a completely different matter, that is a right that he has, and I will listen to it, but if I—[Interruption] Order! If I detect for—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Oh, Mr Speaker, sit down and let me—[Interruption]—put my point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will leave the Chamber—[Interruption] The member will leave the Chamber.

Rt Hon Winston Peters withdrew from the Chamber.

Post-truth, or the diss-information age

‘Post-truth’ is a term that has come to some prominence. It’s a lie – or more accurately, a lot of deliberate lies told by politicians.

The heralded age of information seems to have morphed into the disinformation age, or alternately the diss-information age.

From Art of the lie at The Economist – “Politicians have always lied. Does it matter if they leave the truth behind entirely?”

CONSIDER how far Donald Trump is estranged from fact.

Mr Trump is the leading exponent of “post-truth” politics—a reliance on assertions that “feel true” but have no basis in fact. His brazenness is not punished, but taken as evidence of his willingness to stand up to elite power. And he is not alone.

Winston Peters stands out as a long time maker of assertions that “feel true”but have scant basis in fact, or that he has no evidence for, or that he doesn’t provide any evidence of.

Most of the time Peters gets away with it, aided and abetted by an often willing media and sufficient gullible voters to keep him in Parliament. Sometimes it backlashes on Peters, for example when Tauranga voters rejected him in 2005 – although NZ First was still in a position to decide that Labour and not National or the Greens would be in Government with them.

And in 2008 when Peters tried to take the Tauranga electorate back and lost to Simon Bridges by 11,742 votes, and NZ First failed to make the threshold getting just 4.07% of the votes.

But Peters came back in 2011 and is now widely expected to again dictate which parties will govern after next year’s election. His bull continues, with a brazenness that is not punished, but is taken as evidence of his willingness to stand up to elite power.

Stacey Kirk shows that Peters is far from alone in New Zealand with brazen bullshit in Personal prejudices the fuel of a political post-truth era

There’s dealing in grey, and then there’s dealing in unashamed drivel. 

The latter is becoming the norm, though thankfully not on a Trumpian scale – just yet. 

Dipping their toes into the post-truth waters however, New Zealand’s politicians are trying the mantle on for size, seeing how flows and gaining surety in it as they walk. They’re dissembling through their teeth and embarrassingly, a significant group of New Zealanders are lapping it up. 

Kirk lists some examples:

  • Government politicians claim income inequality had not worsened, contrary to official reports from both MSD and Statistics NZ.
  • Finance Minister Bill English was forced to admit he used incorrect figures to veto an extension to paid parental leave, despite the correct figures being written in the veto certificate he himself tabled.
  • Education Minister Hekia Parata was caught out making up an official body, to support changes around special needs education when she claimed she had the support of the “Special Education Association”. What association was that?  “All those who are involved in the delivery of special education with whom I have had these discussions”.
  • NZ First MP and anti-1080 campaigner Richard Prosser claimed cats, rats, and native birds had “coexisted” for more than 200 years, yet accused the Government’s “Predator Free by 2050” of being based on “unsubstantiated” science.
  • Trade Minister Todd McClay was publicly rebuked by his own Prime Minister for being economical with the truth, over what was known about fears of Chinese trade retaliation.
  • Auckland Mayoral candidate John Palino has claimed iwi leaders were holding building consent-seekers to ransom for $50k a pop.

Even the ‘clean’ Greens indulge in blatant bull.

  • More children will suffer under a re-elected National government because it’s “in denial” over the reality of child poverty in New Zealand, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says.
  • “The New Zealand Government makes all sorts of promises on the international stage in relation to children’s rights, but when it comes to policy at every stage they fail our kids,” also from Turei.

And these sorts of assertions are taken as evidence by many of the willingness of the Greens to stand up for the poor kids.

There is a problem with bald faced bull, in New Zealand at least – the US has major problems, not just potentially with Trump, but also with Clinton (both Bill and Hillary) and it’s politics in general.

Greens have solid and loyal followers who think John Key doesn’t care about or hates kids, but they seem to have hit a ceiling of support.

Labour’s assertions that they finally have a leader who can look Prime Ministerial seem to have a limited gullible audience too.

But Peters seems to be on a roll, with NZ First polling far better at this stage of a term than they have for yonks.

Yet the masses fall into line based on what “feels” like it might be true. 

And I get it, voting is an emotional experience as much as it is logical. Even the most well-researched voters can’t block out that gut-feeling when they’re faced with a ballot paper – the option that they feel is the right one.

Many Americans (and some Kiwis) are convinced that Trump is ‘the right one’. And it seems a growing number of New Zealand voters are buying Winston’s bull and bluster.

That politicians deal in lies is not new. What is, is the way the truth has become secondary to reaffirming people’s latent prejudices. 

Pandering to prejudices and entrenched misconceptions is not new either (Peters has done it for decades) but it seems to be growing.

Politicians lie, media do call them out on it, but they double down and repeat. Why? Because they’re not trying to convince anyone that requires it of anything. They’re consolidating a mob – Us vs Them.

Yes, they are pandering to mob mentality. But do the media call them out on it? Sometimes, but they are also guilty of feeding it. That’s how Trump got within a whisker of the White House.

And here Key and his Ministers and their PR teams play the media. Peters is an expert at extracting maximum bang for his bull from the media. The Greens are hardly held to account by the media.

The only party that is failing with the media and the gullible voters is Labour. Are they the worst liars – or the worst at lying?

This is a two-sided game, and this kind of politics only works if people are buying it.

New Zealanders have a right to expect evidence and be given information that can and should be used at the ballot box, next year. 

For that to happen, we all need to check our own biases first.

A lie is only effective if you fall for it.

This could be as true for media as it is for voters.

PR churn is a major problem. Giving bullshit from politicians the headline, not always holding them to account, giving counter claims secondary exposure, giving politicians the opportunity to keep repeating their misleading and false assertions – this is a problem accentuated by the Internet, where clicks are the revenue makers.

Social media, with many more ways of lying and a myriad of competitors for eyeballs and eardrums, has just made an old problem worse.

Forums for debate are largely ineffective. Try arguing about socialism or climate change or Islam or any of a wide range of topics, and you will find that most participants start with entrenched views regardless of the facts and are more likely to end up with their views reinforced rather than challenged.

We must stop using fossil fuels or the planet is doomed. When Muslims get to 5% of the population a country is doomed. If people with different languages or customs or religions emigrate our country is doomed.

If these sorts of assertions are repeated often enough – and there are parties and lobby groups and activists who go to great lengths to keep repeating assertions to try and make them stick – then there are significant numbers of people who will believe them, regardless of the facts.

Post-truth, lies, unsubstantiated assertions, smearing hit jobs, none of these a re new but  they seem to be becoming more prominent and powerful.

Post-truth is a lie. A lot of what politicians and media perpetuate are lies, or untruthful claims, and assertions, or smears. Or a mixture of bullshit.

The only thing I’m not sure about is how much is deliberate lying, and how much is ignorance of people who actually believe their own lies.

The age of the Internet, the information age, seems to amplify the worst and seems to have become the disinformation age.

And where negative attack politics seems to rule, or at least try and rule, the diss-information age, where false information is deliberately used to attack, smear and discredit.

Are we doomed?


New party welcome to try

Two editorials on the rights of New Zealanders to start up political parties versus the rants of people who oppose new parties.

NZ Herald: An Asian political party would be welcome if migrants feel they need it

A new political party aiming to represent Indian and other Asian immigrants ought to be welcomed by all New Zealanders. Our electoral system has been designed to give a voice to minorities. Oddly, the “People’s Party” has not been welcomed by Winston Peters, an enthusiast for MMP who exploits its fragmented politics at every opportunity. “No country is going to progress if we have political parties accentuating their differences,” he said, probably with a straight face.

It is a daring move to form a distinct political party. Newcomers to a country are naturally unsure of their right to assert themselves in its decisions. They know there will be many like Peters, who calls it “an extraordinary demand”. If they elect their own party it might confine itself to issues of particular concern to migrants. That would be a pity.

It is a strength of this country that it has a place in its politics for minorities and it is not for others to tell them how they are represented.

A key aspect of a health democracy is participation, something that New Zealand has a growing lack of.

So more parties and more options for representation should be welcomed by those who value democracy rather than their own narrow self interest.

Dominion Post (Stuff): New party welcome to try for Parliament, but the task will be difficult

The New Zealand People’s Party aims to have its first candidate ready for a by-election in Auckland’s Mt Roskill, if current MP Phil Goff leaves to become the city’s mayor.

Not surprisingly, NZ First leader Winston Peters is agitated. “A whole [lot] of New Zealand people are getting sick and tired of people who think they can walk into our country and now demand to have a say in the political system,” he says.

This is typically gutter-level stuff – “our country” and the fight to protect it from uppity outsiders who “demand a say”. No need for the dog-whistle here.

It’s nonsense. Those who live in New Zealand as residents or citizens are New Zealanders. This is their country and they don’t need to demand a say: they have it as of right.

Yes, it is everyone’s right, including the 25% of New Zealand residents or citizens who were not born in this country but have chosen to live here. And a lot more are children of immigrants – the population of our country is built on immigrants.

Political representation is part of the deal. If a party wants to pitch its tent as a voice for minority communities that it believes are often ignored, then that is fine and no-one should be troubled by it.

An entirely different question is whether it will be successful.

Success will be very difficult to achieve if their aim is to get seats in Parliament, but publicity given them by Winston Peters’ dog whistling may help.


No early election – but what about two?

Very unsurprisingly John Key has said he has no intention of precipitating an early election. There is currently no good reason for one, and the Government would be nuts go there.

Newstalk ZB: Key shoots down prospect of early election

Prime Minister John Key has shot down Winston Peters’ prediction that there will be an early election next year.

The NZ First leader said on Monday the government wouldn’t last a full term and would have to call an early election because it was having a bad run and had made too many mistakes.

Mr Key doesn’t think so.

“There’s nothing I can see that would indicate an early election, and on the basis of that it will be in the back half of next year.”

Mr Key says he’s likely to announce the date early next year.

That’s standard practice for Key, as it should be, with plenty of prior notice of the next election expected.

There’s been speculation and posturing about the possibility of an early election, but I think two elections are more likely, one near or at the end of the term as it should be, and another soon after if Peters holds the balance of power and proves too difficult to deal with (and Greens unwilling to support a national government).

If negotiations after next year’s election reach a stalemate due to National and Labour+Greens refusing to accept Winston’s terms for a governing arrangement then we may have to go to the polls again.

That could backfire on NZ First if they are seen as the cause of inflicting another election campaign on the public so soon after an extended barrage of bull.

It would also be very difficult for Labour in particular to finance another campaign.

I hope we don’t get a double barrelled barrage through two elections, but I think there’s more chance of that than an early election.

Voters (enough to make a difference) may choose to avert this, as they have done for the last few elections.

Another NZ First donation controversy

Last week Winston Peters blasted the announcement of New Zealand People’s Party being set up by immigrants. He claimed they were a front for the National Party. But Peters has been busted by NewsHub.

Revealed: Winston Peters in $3k Indian donation controversy

The headline is inaccurate, it wasn’t an ‘Indian donation’, it was made in New Zealand presumably by a new Zealand citizen.

Winston Peters is caught up in a donations controversy after his New Zealand First party took $3000 from the founder of the new immigrant-focused People’s Party.

Newshub can reveal the money was taken after Mr Peters met with Indian businessman Roshan Nauhria over dinner at Auckland’s India Gate restaurant in the days before the 2014 election

On Saturday, Mr Peters told TV3’s The Nation that the People’s Party was “a National Party front”.

“The person that was the spokesperson and the temporary leader for that party just at a recent raffle for fundraising for the National Party offered $20,000 in a bid for the Prime Minister to have breakfast at his place. He got beaten by a bid of $27,000. This is a National Party front,” Mr Peters said.

But Mr Nauria subsequently said he had given a donation to NZ First, accusing Mr Peters of hypocrisy.

Busted. But Peters is denying being involved in receiving the cheque (but hasn’t denied NZ First receiving it).

Asked about Mr Nauhria’s donation, Mr Peters initial response was to say: “Okay well, if that’s the case he’ll show you a receipt won’t he? Has he shown you the receipt?

The number one thing you need to do is show me the evidence not just come along and repeat an allegation and think you are going to slide past it like that – that won’t do.”

It’s worth repeating “The number one thing you need to do is show me the evidence not just come along and repeat an allegation and think you are going to slide past it like that” – that’s the sort of thing that Peters has often done. Except that he often fails to produce evidence, while Newshub have a copy of the cheque.

However, Mr Peters did not deny a donation was given, saying: “he may have given it to somebody else at the meeting and I have been to the restaurant, that’s true, and a group of Indian people wanted to talk to me, that’s a fact, but as for anything else – that would be in the knowledge of someone else but not me.”

Even if Nauhria is not correct in saying he gave the cheque personally to Peters (Peters has been found out in the past on fibbing about a donation from own Glenn) this is a bit awkward for Peters and for NZ First.


He wasn’t a happy looking chap.

NZ First succession

There was some odd talk about leadership succession in New Zealand First during their conference.

There was one bizarre snippet from One News in Peters ‘not interested in going on’ if not kingmaker after election:

If Mr Peters isn’t kingmaker next year, is his time up?

“Otherwise, I’m not personally interested in going on, and neither would my party be,” he said.

Without context it’s hard to know what he actually meant with that comment but he can’t be relied on to stand by it anyway.

He also said:

“Oh look, it’s in the good book, any man who sets his hand to the plough and then looks backwards is not fit for the kingdom of heaven,” he said.

He tried to explain that in his conference speech but he lost me. Does it mean he has been crooked but will just keep ploughing on regardless? Or does he think he’s on track to be God?

Peters is not the only NZ First leader who seems to have high estimations of their worth.

Deputy leader Ron Mark started his own speech by talking about succession.

He said he thinks about what would happen if he died in a car crash during one of many trips over the Rimutakas: “I’m always talking to the caucus – one of you has to be prepared to step into my shoes.”

Those are the shoes he wrestled off Tracey Martin, but this is an odd way to start a conference speech. That is from Nicholas Jonesd (NZH) in Shane Jones and New Zealand First, could it happen? Also:

There was also a strange tangent, when Mark said Labour’s recent criticism of Corrections came after it sought to cover-up the behaviour of a rogue prison guard “goon squad” when in government.

“Goon squad leaders were making their squad members put their penis on the bar so they could hit it with a beer bottle and show them how tough they are,” Mark told the hall. “That actually happened.”

Even for a speech to fire up party delegates it was a bit much detail. And helps explain the speculation swirling around Jones.

So what about the Shane Jones speculation? It’s nothing new, it has been talked about for years. Jones is apparently on a three year diplomatic contract until the middle of next year so it is likely to remain nothing more than speculation for quite a while.

But even if Jones stands for NZ First in Whangarei next year it’s far from a given that he would win. Then he would have an even bigger battle over Mark’s shoes.

Mark provided more evidence of why he would struggle to succeed Peters successfully. They are both political rogues but at least Peters is likeable to some.

And if Jones stands in Whangerei and wins, and Peters doesn’t become king maker and retires, and Jones manages to pull off Mark’s shoes, is he really leadership material? He had a shot at the top job in Labour but didn’t make it – and then wasn’t interested in going on with the party.

It’s hard to see Jones filling Peters’ shoes, which have trodden the country many times. Does Jones have that drive?

Speculation about succession is pointless while Peters is still on the NZ First throne anyway.