Archive for October, 2008

Young calls Clark out

October 31st, 2008 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Oh dear Helen Clark has done what John Key once did, and accused Audrey of getting it wrong. And Audrey isn’t wrong:

The Prime Minister got it badly wrong on Newstalk ZB this morning.

She said the Herald got its story about Labour’s promise for a job search allowance wrong.

It did not. The allowance will be available only to a person made redundant whose spouse is working. We said that.

It will not be income-tested against the working spouse’s income. We said that. …

The Prime Minister’s office has been unable to state this morning where the Herald got it wrong. …

The Herald did not get it wrong.

The Herald did not take the same angle that some other news outlets did that all people who lose their jobs will get the allowance.

That may have the impression the PM was trying to convey but that is not correct.

So the Herald interfered with the spin. Bad Herald.

National’s Transitional Relief Package

October 31st, 2008 at 3:14 pm by David Farrar

National has released its transitional relief package, to be funded out of the deposit guarantee to banks. Details:

  • Assistance will be available until they get another job and their circumstances improve, or for up to 16 weeks (Labour is 12 weeks)
  • National’s relief package will initially be available for two years (Labour’s is permanent)
  • Targeted at people who lose their jobs, and as a result either go on to a benefit or rely on the income of a relatively low-paid spouse or partner, in contrast to Labour’s relief package, which includes payments to people who are made redundant yet have a well-paid spouse and limited outgoings.
  • If a family loses eligibility for the Working for Families in-work tax credit ($60 a week for most families) due to redundancy, then they will be able to keep it for 16 weeks. This means that you don’t ave both your wages disappear and your WFF reduce at the same time.
  • Also the maximum Accommodation Supplement will be increased for eligible families by $100 a week for 16 weeks.

National has given three examples of how different families would do under National and Labour’s packages:

Low paid sole parent of $35K with one child

Current Weekly Net Income $712 a week
Redundant under National $541 a week
Redundant under Labour $425 a week

One income family of $70K with two children

Current Weekly Net Income $1,077 a week
Redundant under National $778 a week
Redundant under Labour $618 a week

Two income family of $200K with no children

Current Weekly Net Income $2,684 a week
Redundant under National $1,342 a week
Redundant (one not both) under Labour $1,649 a week

So National’s package will help the sole parent family on low income and the mid income family with two children, while Labour’s will not help them at all. And in contrast National won’t help the couple with no kids who are still on $100K, while Labour will give them over $300 a week.

If the calculations are correct (and they are taken from National’s policy paper) then I would say National has targeted it a lot better.

By popular request

October 31st, 2008 at 12:36 pm by David Farrar

A mexican standoff?

October 31st, 2008 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

Roar Prawn blogs:

The money markets are chattering over the Mexican stand off with the Big Banks who have, in an unprecedented move joined forces to talk turkey with Treasury, over the deposit guarantee scheme. The Banks want some changes. Treasury is staring them down. The banks are staying firm – they want changes to clauses they think could give non banking institutions an advantage.

Could get interesting.

Mood of the Boardroom

October 31st, 2008 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

I attended the Mood of the Boardroom Breakfast in Auckland organised by APN. The results of a survey of CEOs was presented, and then we had speeches from and questions to Dr Cullen and Bill English.

Now some may say why survey CEOs only? Well a CEO can and does have a massive impact on the sucess of a business. Just like a great principal can turn a school around, so can a great CEO. CEOs are where the buck stops. And the CEOs of our top businesses probably have more impact on our country’s economic prosperity than most Ministers.

The Herald reports from the survey (all scores are on a 1 – 5 scale so 3 is average):

  • Key 3.5 vs Clark 3.0 on overall campaign performance (Clark did better than Brash last election in the same survey  so CEOs tend to be quite fair while reflecting their backgrounds)
  • Clark leadership is 3.9 to 3.6 for Key
  • Vision and strategy has Key 4.0 to 2.5 for Clark
  • On trustworthiness Clark is 2.6 and Key 4.0
  • Put’s NZ interests over party has Key 3.8 to Clark 2.3
  • On experience Clark 4.4 vs Key 2.9
  • Economic management Clark 2.5 to 4.2 for Key
  • Overall 90% prefer Key to Clark (last time it was 72% Brash to 28% Clark)

Cullen spoke first and got a great laugh when he said “Welcome to both of my supporters in the audience, even if I had to pay your airfares to be here.”

He then spoke about the three Is and three Ss that he says are crucial:

1. Innovation
2. Infrastructure
3. International Connections
4. Skills
5. Savings
6. Sustainability

On the deposit guarantee scheme he said he doesn’t like doing it, in fact that it was the second worst option. But the worst option was to do nothing. He is worried about the moral hazard it creates.

Mentioned (ever so casually) that US Secretary of State Condi Rice would be calling him later that day to brief him on what is planned for the G20 meeting. The US incidentally is playing a real leadership role – even the US Federal Reserve is doing a $15 billion cash-swap facility with the NZ Reserve Bank – something not covered in much detail in the media considering how extraordinary it is. Uncle Dubya is helping Helen out 🙂

Cullen did have a little snipe at some of the business leaders telling them that it was no time for the “top end of town” to be lecturing Government, when the Gordon Browns are bailing out the Gordon Geckos. Went on to say they need to work together, and wants to sit down with business groups after the election re the planned December mini-budget.

English started off with a scathing attack on Labour saying look at the front page of Herald as to whether Government is qualified to lead. That instead of focusing of helping economy they are working on smearing the Leader of Opposition by innuendo and influence. Said it was a disgrace and why Labour are not qualified, despite Dr Cullen’s best efforts.

Bill also asked what sort of strategy is it to say trust us and after the election we will tell you what we will do.

He said that National trusts business to innovate and to get through recession as they have previous ones.

He gave Cullen credit for include the Opposition in briefings on financial stabilisation and shares Cullen’s misgivings. He said the Australian guarantee is unravelling a bit and they should learn from that.

He said a National Government is not going to whip out rug from under people as we go into recession – people need security. Also that it was important not to over-react to fiscal outlook. The key is to get through the recession and lift long term prospects for economy.

He said the combined tax cuts would be the largest fiscal stimulus in 15 years.

Highlighted how Clark has said National’s borrowing for infrastructure was reckless, dangerous and gambling with future and then two weeks ago announced similar policy to National’s.

English said changes in attitude as important as policy and that having Key as PM will be important. Said he is the most relentlessly optimistic person Bill has ever met and that is why hundreds turned up in Invercargill to meet him (Winston got 50).

Bill concluded “That is why I’m voting National.” Cullen offered response and quipped “Well I’m not voting National.”. Was very funny.

Bill also called Cullen only economically literate member of the Labour Party.

Someone asked for a grand coalition and Dr Cullen said a recession is no reason not have give people a choice, and it is one of a moderate centre-left or a moderate centre-right Government. Nice to have him confirm National as moderate centre-right.

Herald Economic Editor Brian Fallow asked a great question to English on why this recession is different from previous recessions that one needs to intervene for people who have ignored all the warnings about inflated house prices, and don’t take on a mortgage you can’t afford. His column yesterday makes the same point.

He also asked what is the point of ghettoizing the Cullen Fund? I thought Bill was rather unconvincing in his reply to both points – probably because he somewhat agrees with Fallow privately – but in politics you never get the luxury of agreeing with 100% of your party’s policies – not even the Leader. Holyoake once said he only agreed with 80% of what his Government did. Mind you with Muldoon it might have been 100% 🙂

Cullen said that once you break that line of non involvement in the Super Fund, you have no defence to further involvements. Highlighted how the Greens support National’s policy on the Super Fund and they would like to invest it in many pet projects – none of which probably have much of a rate of return.

English did well though on Fast Forward and he had even Cullen nodding as he said the private sector is yet to commit a dollar for fast forward. English said the fast forward fund is borrowing money to then reinvest it in bonds. The structure is stupid. He supports actual research and National will put more money into fast forward projects, but not through the structure of a dedicated fund.

Overall both did very well I though. Both knew their stuff, agreed with each other on a bit but also exposed the weaknesses on both sides.

Who paid for the lawyer and court fees?

October 31st, 2008 at 10:54 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner blogs:

The H-fee fiasco hasn’t blown up. Well it has – but it’s a minor smoke bomb and it’s exploded in Labour’s face.

Labour had hoped that Key signed off on the $66m Elders – Equiticorp foreign exchange scam in 1988. It would ha ve been gold wouldn’t it?

The signature looks the same – but it’s not Key.

Labour’s President Mike Williams spent a few days in Melbourne last week pouring over the 24 kilograms of papers. But he couldn’t access to the court documents easily.

He had to use the Australian Labour Party’s top lawyer to get a court order – through a judge – to get to the documents.

So who paid for the top lawyer and who paid the court filing fees? Was it the Labour Party?

Cactus Kate rates the female candidates

October 31st, 2008 at 10:45 am by David Farrar

Cactus Kate has blogged her Dom Post column rating the female candidates. But she is not rating them on looks:

It is a challenging column to write as I could over-excite the male readership in having them believe that I find women attractive, empirical evidence proves this actually does little harm to a woman’s chances with the opposite sex. But refusing to engage in faux celesbianism, I shall analyse from the perspective of how women choose their men in New Zealand, not solely for physical attraction, but power, status and general usefulness at home.

So who does Cactus declare the hottest candidate:

The worst part of this column was going to be declaring that the winner of the hottest female candidate has to be Helen Clark. She’s been the most powerful person in the country for nine years, has interfered in your lives, told you not to smack your children, stole a third of your income, given some of it back and expected thanks then persuaded with minimal charm and maximum control to get you to vote her in once and back for two more thrashings. Not content with that she has the “charisma” to turn around and call the other guy untrustworthy, controlling and a domestic bully.

So Helen wins!

The chilling effect

October 31st, 2008 at 9:02 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett in the NZ Herald has some examples of what the Electoral Commission has called the “chilling effect” of the Electoral Finance Act”

  • Martin Taylor, chief executive of HealthCare Providers, said the lack of clarity meant he had to pull out of running his main election ads.
  • Family First’s Bob McCroskrie faced the same problem and said he was being careful in case ads he did not believe were election advertising were later found to be so. His group had to shelve an initial plan for a pamphlet for every household because the cost was twice that of the $120,000 spending cap.
  • There are no (as third parties) business advocacy groups, no Maori groups, and major lobby groups such as Federated Farmers, Grey Power and the Sensible Sentencing Trust have steered clear of the new regime, opting for more muted campaigns on “issues”.
  • The Cycling Advocates’ Network has a website and email-based campaign, including posters for download urging people to “make your vote a vote for cycling”. Spokesman Stephen McKernon said it would add an authorising statement to its website and change some of its content after the Electoral Commission told him political parties would have to give written approval of claims they were ‘pro-cycling’.
  • The Employers and Manufacturers Association was referred to the police for an advertisement opposing a law change to stop employers giving more pay in their pay packets to non-KiwiSaver members.
  • “In newspapers, there is next to no interest-group advertisements and usually this is their one chance to get their say in. I think it’s an enormously dangerous development.”

Remember if the Labour-NZ First-Green axis gets re-elected, then not only will they retain the Electoral Finance Act – they will make it worse. They will keep all the restrictions on people’s ability to campaign against parties and candidates, but make it much easier for parties to use taxpayer funding to drown out their opponents.

The Progressives

October 31st, 2008 at 8:46 am by David Farrar

Two interesting statements from the Progressives:

The Herald reports:

Progressive leader Jim Anderton made an unorthodox and brazen pitch to the elderly yesterday for New Zealand First voters to back him.

He made the bid on the basis that the New Zealand First leader Winston Peters might not be re-elected to Parliament after a series of inquiries into donations to his party.

So Jim is saying Winston is goneburger, so vote for me.

But the real quote that needs more attention comes from Deputy Leader Matt Robson, appearing on Back Benches.

They were talking about the US election and Obama and McCain. Wallace Chapman mentioned that McCain was around the same age as Jim Anderton, and Robson’s nasty littlre retort was:

But Jim can put his hands up over his head and claim victory, McCain can’t do that

How disgusting is that? To denigrate a man who is crippled due to years of torture as a prisoner of war? From Wikipedia:

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours.

Some of the injuries came from his initial treatment when shot down:

Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him.

Now this is a war crime and against the Geneva Conventions. Robson has spent a lifetime going on about the Geneva Conventions, and war crimes, but then shows his real colours, by justifying the torture of McCain (after Paul Quinn pulled him up for his offensive comments), and bayoneting of a wounded surrendered solider on the basis that McCain had taken part in a war that killed a lot of people.

People should look at the video at the link above (just after halfway in chapter one) and see how gleeful Robson is in mocking McCain’s injuries and how unrepentent he is when challenged on it.


October 31st, 2008 at 8:05 am by David Farrar

This week’s Dispatch from Helengrad at NBR is called Boom. The teaser:

A neutron bomb differs from other nuclear devices, in that damage is more focused on biological material than on material infrastructure.

For large strategic neutron bombs, the idea is it kills your enemies but doesn’t wipe out the countryside, allowing the victor to then take over easily.

The smaller tactical neutron bombs are designed to kill armored opponents who prove resistant to blast and heat. It is in this context that Labour spent months whispering of the neutron bomb that would finally succeed where all their other assaults had failed.

Sadly for Labour, they failed to find the neutron bomb and instead found Acme explosives left behind by Wile E. Coyote. And as any Roadrunner fan can testify, these tend to hurt poor old Coyote far more than the target Roadrunner.

The full column is readable at the link above, and feedback and comments can be made there also.

Some answers to the 12 questions

October 31st, 2008 at 6:38 am by David Farrar

Did Helen not notice her party president – the Labour Party Campaign Chair and Manager, was out of the country trying to dig up dirt on John Key from 20 years ago?

Yes – she has confirmed she knew what Williams was up to.

Did no one notice he was absent from the daily campaign meetings he normally chairs?

Possibly not, since Helen appointed herself chief political strategist instead of Mike.

Why were taxpayer funded members of Labour’s Parliamentary Research Unit also in Australia with Mike Williams trying to smear John Key?

Helen says none of them flew over, but they were assisting Williams.

Who paid for all their travel?

Well either Helen or Williams are lying here. Helen says WIlliams paid himself. Williams says the Labour Party paid.

Does the head of the research unit still report unofficially to Heather Simpson?

Yes. And there is no way they would have been authorised to work on the smear campaign without Heather’s sign off.

Is the Batman who posted documents anonymously to Dominion Post reporters the same Batman who is an author on The Standard and posted on the H-Fee earlier this month?


Why did The Standard delete the previous post from Batman?

They did not delete it, but changed it from being an author to being a guest post and put up a disclaimer that they do not know who Batman is.

Does this not link The Standard to Mike Williams and the Labour Parliamentary Research Unit?

They claim they do not know who Batman is (despite giving him or her posting rights temporarily).

Is it not time that Labour fronted up and revealed how many of the 15 Standard authors are parliamentary and ministerial staffers?

And is Batman one of them?

Who from Labour told Winston about the smear so he could refer to it on Alt TV?

My guess is Pete Hodgson

Doesn’t it undermine Helen’s claim she had nothing to do with it, when her parliamentary strategist Pete Hodgson is trying to beat it up?

And continues to try and beat it up.

Is Helen just pretending she knew nothing about the attempted smear, or has she lost control of her party, her party president and her own research unit?

I don’t think she has lost control. She is in contact six times a day with Mike Williams. If it had not blown up in their face, she would be fronting the issue.

Key rules Hide in

October 30th, 2008 at 2:10 pm by David Farrar

John Key on Sunrise said that he was confident that Rodney Hide would be in Government with National, and be a Minister in a National-led Government.

While in one sense this is not surprising, it is I think the first time John Key has explicitly said that Hide will be a Minister.

Second CTU ad

October 30th, 2008 at 1:35 pm by David Farrar

A second ad from the CTU. Very funny and much better than the official Labour ads.

NZ Votes

October 30th, 2008 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Maxim have put together a nice election resource at NZ Votes.

They have a useful graphic guide to the various sites such as decision08, TVNZ, Scoop, Voteme, etc with what you can find on each site. Also links to all the political parties, and details of upcomings forums.

Well worth a check out.

Blog reveals Key prostitution scandal

October 30th, 2008 at 10:54 am by David Farrar

A blog that has absolutely no conection to the Labour Party has revealed John Key’s role in the prostitution industry and how he plans to become NZ’s biggest pimp. Their story (now deleted) is:

This week Slippery John Key announced that if he deludes enough people into voting for him, he will appoint himself Minister of Tourism.

This appears on the surface to be innocent, but documents obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald quote Prince Philip (married to NZ’s Head of State) as saying:

“tourism is just national prostitution”

This means that Slippery John wants to become Slippery Minister of Tourism so that he can control New Zealand’s prostitution industry. Slippery John (have we mentioned how slippery he is) wants to be New Zealand’s biggest pimp.

This blog would like to reassure readers that if this story doesn’t hold up, it is not being handled by the Prime Minister at all.

That John Key – both NZ’s biggest ever fraud mastermind and NZ’s biggest pimp. When does he get the time to sleep?

Un-PC Lesbian on the female candidates

October 30th, 2008 at 10:32 am by David Farrar

Cactus Kate has been rating the male candidates in her Dom Post column. To help her out she asked un-PC Lesbian to rate the female candidates. A unique perspective!

The biggest drop ever

October 30th, 2008 at 10:08 am by David Farrar

It has recovered to 59c today, due to action in the US but that has to be the largest and steepest drop since the dollar floated.

12 Questions

October 30th, 2008 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
  1. Did Helen not notice her party president – the Labour Party Campaign Chair and Manager, was out of the country trying to dig up dirt on John Key from 20 years ago?
  2. Did no one notice he was absent from the daily campaign meetings he normally chairs?
  3. Why were taxpayer funded members of Labour’s Parliamentary Research Unit also in Australia with Mike Williams trying to smear John Key?
  4. Who paid for all their travel?
  5. Does the head of the research unit still report unofficially to Heather Simpson?
  6. Is the Batman who posted documents anonymously to Dominion Post reporters the same Batman who is an author on The Standard and posted on the H-Fee earlier this month?
  7. Why did The Standard delete the previous post from Batman?
  8. Does this not link The Standard to Mike Williams and the Labour Parliamentary Research Unit?
  9. Is it not time that Labour fronted up and revealed how many of the 15 Standard authors are parliamentary and ministerial staffers?
  10. Who from Labour told Winston about the smear so he could refer to it on Alt TV?
  11. Doesn’t it undermine Helen’s claim she had nothing to do with it, when her parliamentary strategist Pete Hodgson is trying to beat it up?
  12. Is Helen just pretending she knew nothing about the attempted smear, or has she lost control of her party, her party president and her own research unit?

A story of two Helens

October 29th, 2008 at 8:25 pm by David Farrar

Labour’s “Two Johns” attack ad has just been ruled misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority.  John Key laughed it off and National said they will not respond.

However You Tube allows anyone to respond, and Whale Oil has put together a nice little one minute 20 second response, called the story of two Helens. The total cost of production was $0.00.

Enjoy it. It is the first in a series. Helen has done so many flip-flops that there is enough material for at least three ads. The next one will focus on her calling a plan to take debt to 22% of GDP as reckless, and then upon finding debt will hit 30% of GDP, stealing the very policy she attacked to borrow more for infrastructure!

Feel free to send through other flipflops.

Labour’s attack ad ruled “misleading”

October 29th, 2008 at 8:08 pm by David Farrar

Now this is a serious case of egg on face. You run an ad on TV, radio and the Internet about how John Key can’t be trusted. And the Advertising Standards Authority finds that in fact it is the advertisement that can not be trusted as it is misleading.

What is interesting is that the TV and radio ads are governed by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (appointed by the Government) as “election programmes”. But because Labour placed it on You Tube, it meant the online version could be scrutinised by the Advertising Standards Authority (industry appointed).

The reason the advertisement got pinged was because Labour claimed John Key was cutting KiwiSaver in half, and the ASA found this is not factually correct. Only the employer contribution has been reduced from 2% to 4%, but the employee tax credit remains, as does the initial $1,000 and help for home loans etc.

Labour now has to decide whether to pull the advertisement from television. They do not legally have to do so, but it won’t be a good look to keep running an advertisement that has been officially found to be “misleading”.


October 29th, 2008 at 7:45 pm by David Farrar

Let me see if I have this right.

Helen Clark claims she can’t remember when she was first briefed on Owen Glenn’s wishes to be made Consul – a relatively recent event, and a pretty significant issue.

While Helen is also claiming there is something sinister about the fact that John Key may have got wrong who paid for a meal 20 years ago when he was 26, and the date he left a job.

Let’s first deal with what is an undisputed fact – John Key had nothing to do with the H-Fee. Here is what the then SFO Director said:

Mr Key was simply one in a “vast array of innocent people, potential witnesses, in a massive fact-gathering exercise. I feel compelled to fully support the reported comments of John Key in relation to the H-Fee transaction. It should not need to be said that John Key was completely innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever. For any politician to hint or suggest otherwise would be absolutely rubbish and pure mischief-making’

Also from the same story last August:

Yesterday Labour Ministers were denying any knowledge of the H-Fee rumours and Labour Party president Mike Williams said the news was “a bolt from the blue” for him.

This is the same Mike WIlliams who is reported today:

In a drive to pin down Mr Key’s involvement in the case, Labour Party president Mike Williams took time out from the heat of the election to fly to Melbourne last week to search documents relating to a court case over the H-Fee.

So get this. The Labour Party President – a man paid almost $200,000 a year by the taxpayer for his multiple board appointments actually flew to another country to search through 20 year old court documents in a desperate attempt to smear John Key. This is Labour’s plan for the future.

And the best he could find was inconsistency over who paid for dinner.

Also worth remembering the SST last year:

Former Equiticorp boss Allan Hawkins and Australian-based expat and former Elders Merchant Finance executive Ken Jarrett have both confirmed Key’s claims he had nothing to do with H-Fee.

So there is no proof at all that Key was in any way involved. It is an attempted guilt by association smear.

So what is this so called neutron bomb. At best it is three minor inconsistencies. Let’s take them one at a time:

Date of Departure

Yes John Key originally said he left in 1987,and in fact it was 24 June 1988. But the Herald themselves had the correct date in their 15 page profile on him in July 2008. So the correct date was already out there.

Before or after the H-Fee

Key said he left before the NZ H-Fee, which was on 7 Sep 1988. This is correct regardless of whether he left in 1987 or June 1988.

There was an earlier H-Fee in Jan 1988 for A$40m. Yes Key still worked for Elders then – but that earlier fee took place in Australia and Key was working in New Zealand. In his own words:

Mr Key says the Labour Party’s desperate attempt to link him with this issue again now appears to revolve around an earlier H-Fee transaction which took place in Australia while he was working for Elders in New Zealand.

“I was not involved in, or even aware of, that earlier transaction. Labour is clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel and will stop at no lie or innuendo.”

And remember that *everyone* says Key was not involved – the SFO, the then head of Equiticorp and the then finance head for Elders where the 26 year old Key was working.

This is again an attempt at guilt by association.

Who paid for the meal?

Mr Key told the Herald last year that Mr Jarrett had denied being in the country when that meeting took place. He said in the interview last year he was able to back-up Mr Richards’ story that Mr Jarrett was in the country because he – Mr Key – had paid for the lunch and had the credit card bill to prove it.

In fact, the court records show that Mr Richards paid for the lunch, not Mr Key.

Oh my God a dispute over who paid for lunch 20 years ago.

Mr Key said today that he always held the belief that the credit card used was his, but conceded it could well have been Mr Richards’.

Oh God Key may have been wrong on some details of a meal 20 years ago when he was 26. This is far far more serious than Helen Clark claiming amnesia over when she was first lobbied to make Owen Glenn Consul.

Finally for those who are going to try and make a capital case out of the fact there were some inconsistencies between people at the lunch, I quote from this e-mail sent to me by a lawyer a few minutes ago, quoting a standard summing up from the crown:

Reminds me of crown summing ups – “now the defence will no doubt point out to you that there are inconsistencies in the stories told by the crown witnesses.  We accept that, of course there are inconsistencies.  It’s human nature.  People can only give their memories, their recollection and such things are never perfect.  Indeed, if the stories were exactly the same there would be cause for concern.  That would suggest collusion.  No, what you have heard is unvarnished recollections.  What is important is that there is clear agreement on…”

I really hope someone asks Mike Williams who paid for his dirt digging trip to Melbourne.

Jordan’s election scorecard

October 29th, 2008 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Jordan Carter is helpfully blogging a daily analysis of the campaign, and which party won the day. The summary is:

Day 1: Labour
Day 2: Labour
Day 3: Mixed
Day 4: Labour
Day 5-8: Mixed
Day 9: no rating
Day 10: Labour
Day 11: Labour
Day 12: Labour
Day 13: Labour
Day 14-15: Labour by a nose

So in Jordan’s world, National hasn’t won a single day of the campaign. Oh the rose tinted spectacles must be surgically attached.

Why would you blog a daily contest just to declare the party you are a candidate for the winner (or mixed) every day?

No tag for this post.

New Green billboards

October 29th, 2008 at 3:10 pm by David Farrar

The Greens have a facility to create your own Green billboard. I have not used it, but a reader has been, and sent me these:

I’d say Blanket Man is definitely a Green voter.

What may happen if Keith Locke is Minister of Finance in a Labour-Green Government!

So if the one on the right is meant to represent Jeanette, does that make Russel the one on the left?

Chapman Tripp on entrenching the Maori Seats

October 29th, 2008 at 2:58 pm by David Farrar

Andy Nicholls, a Public Law specialist and partner at Chapman Tripp has sent through the following article as an Op Ed:

Maori Party faces big hurdles to the entrenchment of the Maori seats

By Andy Nicholls, Partner, Chapman Tripp, specialising in Public Law

Even if the Maori Party is king-maker after the elections with all the leverage that would confer, entrenchment of the Maori seats will still be beyond its grasp.

Entrenchment would require an amendment to the Electoral Act 1993. Some features of our electoral system are already entrenched: the three year term of Parliament, provisions relating to the setting of electorate boundaries, the voting age and the method of voting.

To change any of these features requires either a 75 per cent majority in the House or a majority of the votes cast in a public referendum.

All the other provisions in the Electoral Act, including the provisions dealing with the Maori seats, can be amended by a simple 50 per cent plus one vote.

The Maori Party has a policy of entrenching the Maori seats (and has the support of the Green Party for that proposal). This is a “bottom line” for the Maori Party in any post-election negotiations with National and labour.

However, to add the Maori seats to the list of entrenched matters will require more than a majority vote in Parliament. When entrenching something new, the Standing Orders and our constitutional conventions come into play.

The Standing Orders state: “A proposal for entrenchment must itself be carried in a committee of the whole House by the majority that it would require for the amendment or repeal of the provision to be entrenched.” In other words, a proposal for entrenchment can only be passed by the super-majority it proposes – in this case, 75 per cent.

The entrenchment rule was introduced by the non-partisan Standing Orders Committee following a review of Standing Orders in 1995. The rationale for this rule, of course, is that it is “inequitable” for a Parliament to pass a law under a simple majority vote that seeks to bind future Parliaments and generations by requiring them to assemble larger majorities to amend or repeal that law.

In constitutional terms, this is one of our important checks on majority decision-making. Minor parties like the Maori Party and the Greens will be alive to the importance of this constitutional rule.

On current polls, a 75 per cent vote in the next Parliament will require getting both National and Labour into the “ayes” lobby.

What this means for the Maori Party, even if it is in the position post-election to decide who gets to lead the next government, is it will have to somehow persuade both the suitor it is accepting and the suitor it is rejecting to support it.

That’s a big ask. Referendum anyone?

The second to last paragraph is the key one for me. The Maori Party would have to get both National and Labour to agree, if they want the Maori seats entrenched. That is a big ask indeed. And it also means that it can’t be used as leverage to play one major party off against another as it needs them both.

Thanks to Chapman Tripp for making the Op Ed available to help further public debate and understanding.

Two questions for the Greens

October 29th, 2008 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

1) You have said you will not support a National-led Government, but also have said this does not mean you will automatically support a Labour-led Government. What will you do if you hold the balance of power and can not agree with Labour – will you force a new election, or will you abstain on supply and confidence and allow the biggest party/bloc to form a Government?

2) Several Green MPs have said they are not keen to work with Winston, and would have problems doing so. Having campaigned so long and hard of transparency of donations, and bearing in mind the finding of the Privileges Committee, that Winston lied about the $100,000 Owen Glenn donation, will the Greens rule out supporting a Labour-led Government that continues to have Winston Peters as a Minister?

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