Big Brother watching in UK

Stuff reports:

In Britain, Big Brother just got bigger.

After months of wrangling, Parliament has passed a contentious new snooping law that gives authorities – from police and spies to food regulators, fire officials and tax inspectors – powers to look at the internet browsing records of everyone in the country.

The law requires telecoms companies to keep records of all users’ web activity for a year, creating databases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers.

As I understand it there is no requirement in NZ law for a minimum period. Each ISP will retain records based on their own needs. Those records can be sought by government authorities of course.

Dom Post on three strikes

The Dom Post editorial:

A man who groped a prison guard’s bottom has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

This absurd situation has come about because of a harsh and misguided piece of legislation – the “three-strikes” law passed in 2010.

The law says that anyone who commits three crimes from a long list of 40 must be sentenced to the maximum possible penalty for the final offence.

Raven Casey Campbell is the first person to reach a third strike. His offence was plainly an indecent assault – and one that caused distress and humiliation to his victim. Yet equally plainly, it was far less serious than many crimes that bear the same name, and entirely undeserving of a seven-year jail term.

Three strikes is deliberately about the consequences of repeated offending, not about just the third strike in isolation to the previous two.

Against this, the law’s supporters argue that its escalating warnings deter criminals. In fact, this is hotly disputed. The Court of Appeal calls the evidence for such deterrence “equivocal at best”.

Well a 62% reduction in strike reoffending rates is pretty impressive. That’s hundreds of fewer victims of violent and sexual offending.

A final warning certainly did not deter Campbell from his offensive, brief and highly consequential act.

No but the consequences may deter others and overall the level of second and third strikes is massively below what was the case before the passing of the law.

A great speech from an 11 year old

A very well delivered and reasoned speech by 11 year old Florence Akauola at Mt Hobson Middle School. She spoke on gender stereotypes and some of her points were:

  • “What does it mean to be a girl? Am I defined by the colour pink, a tube of lipgloss and a pair of high heels? Should I pull out a sewing kit, bake some cupcakes and do the washing?”
  • She “loved to play sports, have sword fights and race around the playground”, and dress up as Spiderman and Batman.
  • People tell girls “what a pretty little princess we are”, she said: “You don’t hear people saying, ‘wow, you’re such a strong, smart girl’.”
  • “Does it really matter if little girls play with cars and trucks? Maybe one day she’ll grow up to be an awesome mechanic.
  • “Or what about little boys playing with dolls? At least we know he’ll be a loving and kind dad when he’s older.”
  • “Girl, boy, or other gender, you should be who you want, believe what you want, and love who you want, without being judged criticised or hurtful.”
  • “As for me I know my potential, I know my worth. This little princess will slay the dragon, rescue herself from the tower and definitely go down in history.”

Hollande at 4% approval rating

Le Express reports:

According to a survey conducted among 17 000 people for Le Monde, the head of state reached a new level of unpopularity, recorded since the creation of this investigation.

Between François Hollande and the French distrust is total. Only 4% of respondents declared themselves “satisfied” the action of the President of the Republic, according to a survey published Tuesday by Le Monde. In detail, 3% of respondents said they were “somewhat satisfied” and 1% showed “very satisfied” in this election survey of 17,047 people. 

This makes Donald Trump look wildly popular.

Hollande may be the first ever President of France not to seek a second term.

UPDATE: He has just announced he won’t. He will go down as arguably the worst President in recent history.

Smalley on Labour’s left lurch

Rachel Smalley writes:

Labour and National have increasingly nudged to the Left, and that’s largely the result of Labour’s deal with the Greens. I thought, some time ago, it was a good move – but it’s pulled Labour further to the left, instead of dragging the Greens further towards the centre. And Leggett has echoed the mutterings of many long-term Labour supporters, accusing the party of losing touch with working kiwis.

I suspect National’s centrist position and popularity is now very appealing to Leggett.

And look at the policies that National has effectively snatched out from under the nose of Labour. National will build more affordable homes but crucially, more social housing too. The party’s essentially introduced a capital gains tax — of sorts — on residential properties bought and sold within two years. And in terms of social welfare, last year National upped benefits for families by $25 a week. It’s easy to see why Leggett felt he could transition into a National party that’s positioned itself very much in the centre.

He’ll seek selection in the Porirua seat of Mana, for National. It’s a Labour stronghold but Leggett would have some support there after his time as mayor, but it’s still a bold move. At the moment Kris Faafoi holds the seat for Labour, with a big majority – 8000 or so.

But the greatest loss, I think, is that in losing Leggett the Left lose a potential leader. And they can ill-afford to do that. They lost Shane Jones too, remember. It’s likely he’ll re-emerge flying the flag for New Zealand First.

And Labour needs strong leadership, and to be developing a team of leaders. The party needs depth.

Labour has paid a high price for its agreement with the Greens. It’s allowed itself to move too far to the Left, and in doing so has greatly enhanced National’s appeal. And as we’ve seen with Leggett’s exit to the right, that’s a very high price to pay.

The major impact of the MOU seems to be Labour taking votes off the Greens and National and NZ First taking votes off Labour.

I’ll take a bet with him

Stuff reports:

He’s been called a doomsdayer and worse for good reason: He’s the guy who says all humans will be dead in 10 years. 

And since his arrival in New Zealand for a Hamilton talk about the end of the human species, climate change specialist Guy McPherson has seen hate mail pour into his inbox.

Climate change is real and significantly influenced by human activity, but this guy is a nutter who should be ignored. It is the charlatans like McPherson which lead to so many people thinking there is no issue at all.

The University of Arizona emeritus professor says in 10 years, humans will cease to exist. Abrupt rises in temperature have us on course for the sixth mass extinction – similar to one that happened about 252 million years ago that culminated in the “great dying”.

That event was the worst of the mass extinction events in our planet’s history and saw all complex life cease, leaving microbes and fungi to rule the planet.

“I think we are heading for something like that this time around, too,” McPherson said.

I have a proposition for him. I’ll give him say $1,000 now and if the world is not ended in ten years he (or his estate) has to give me $10,000 in return.


A UK poll on religious freedom and association

This UK poll gave respondents eight scenarios and asked for each of them whether they should be considered grounds for taking someone to court. In all of them only a small minority thought someone should be forced to act against their beliefs – even if t means denying someone goods or services.

In order of support for taking them to court, the scenarios are:

  1. A bakery run by Christians that won’t bake a gay marriage cake 16%
  2. A printing company run by Catholics that won’t produce pro-abortion adverts 15%
  3. A t-shirt company run by lesbians that won’t print anti gay marriage t-shirts 13%
  4. A bakery run by Christians which won’t make a Satanic cake 11%
  5. A Muslim printer who refuses to print cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed 11%
  6. An atheist web designer who won’t design a creationist website 10%
  7. An environmentalist marketing consultant who won’t work for a fracking company 9%
  8. A Muslim film company than won’t make a pornographic film 7%

Labour members quit over “dirty” deal in Nelson

TVNZ report:

Eight Labour members have quit the party in protest over a proposed electorate deal with the Greens in Nelson.

It includes one supporter who held membership for 30 years and the campaign’s coordinator is also understood to have walked away.

One of those who quit said the members had emailed in their resignations – and the reasons – to the party.

“They were eight core people and they’ve walked away. They expected us to help the Greens… we’re not going to work for the Greens, bugger that.”
The ex-member said supporters were unhappy about how they learned about the proposed deal.

“It leaked out at the [annual] conference. One of the candidates was told by Andrew Little… people here are really angry.

“It doesn’t make any sense, the numbers don’t stack up. NZ First will just suck up all our numbers.”

National learnt in 1999 that local members really don’t like it if you don’t stand a candidate. They can tolerate a campaign focused on the party vote only, but they really feel aggrieved if there is no candidate at all to support.

If Labour does stand aside in Nelson, I expect they’ll get more resignations.

Is Key the bulwark against a Trump effect?

Geoffrey Miller and Mark Blackham write:

Our research in April this year into the working experiences of our Parliament revealed that the political class is increasingly estranged from ordinary voters.

We commented presciently at the time that the success of Donald Trump owed a lot to voter dissatisfaction with the staid politics of professional politics. We predicted that his brand of rabble-rousing and pomposity-pricking would find healthy support.

It looks to us that the New Zealand political environment holds the same conditions that had led to Trump’s success. The only difference is John Key.

Mr Key is the exception that proves the rule. New Zealand’s political environment is now largely a professionalised machine. A whole generation of MPs can no longer truly emphasise with many New Zealanders.

A third of New Zealand’s MPs have only ever worked inside the government system. Another third built no real career before they tried to get into Parliament.

The common path for many is student politics, backbench MP staffer, ministerial staffer, a spell in a union and then become an MP!

When Mr Key leaves, the inadequacies in Parliament will become clearer to voters. His common touch and relative frankness have been a buffer between Parliament and the public.

Mr Key is our own populist politician. Like Trump, he is wealthy and not a career politician.

Mr Key’s inherent anti-political nature frequently motivates him to behave in ways which we would not previously have expected from a prime minister. Examples of this include mincing down the catwalk in a Rugby World Cup uniform, dancing along to Gangnam Style and last year’s unsavoury ponytail incident.

In some cases, such as in the ponytail affair, MrKey has gone too far and ended up apologising for his actions. But generally, his non-conventional style and willingness to make fun of himself have helped him to stay astonishingly popular – despite being eight years into the top job.

Moreover, Mr Key appears to enjoy a particularly enduring appeal with New Zealand’s “Waitakere man” working-class voters. These voters feel Mr Key is one of them.

When Mr Key leaves, his populist touch will go with him, exposing the public to a parliament awash with careerist politicians who play it safe, deal in slogans and spin and have no way to forge a genuine bond with voters as Key has done.

Maybe Key should go for a 5th term after all then!

Greens don’t really get property rights

This exchange is very telling. The Greens seem to think that a tenant should have greater rights to a property than the owner and his or her family.

For the avoidance of doubt yes a tenant does have less rights to a house than the person who actually owns it. That is why it is called ownership!!!

No young people are not abandoning democracy in droves

This graphic has been going around and generating a lot of angst. A typical story is here at Stuff.

I was interested enough in this to download the raw data into SPSS and look at it. Lots of fascinating results which I might come back to. But two interesting things on this graph which the reports do not highlight.

The stories just report how many saying it is is essential to live in a democracy. But what were the other options? Is it a binary question of essential and not essential?

In fact it was a 10 scale question where people pick a number from 1 (not at all important) and 10 (absolutely important). So those not saying 10 may still be saying 8 or 9 which is still saying very important. What happens if you group those saying 8, 9 or 10 together?

  • 1930s – 94%
  • 1940s – 95%
  • 1950s – 87%
  • 1960s – 79%
  • 1970s – 75%
  • 1980s – 64%

So still a decline but not as dramatic as the graph shows.

The more important figure may be how many are saying 1 to 4 – that democracy is not important?

  • 1930s – 0%
  • 1940s – 2%
  • 1950s – 3%
  • 1960s – 4%
  • 1970s – 5%
  • 1980s – 6%

And the other thing to remember is the age breakdowns have a high margin of error. There were 89 respondents born in the 1980s. That is a 10.4% margin of error (for a result of 50%).

So yes younger people are less likely to say democracy is essential, but I don’t think the represents some massive disillusionment that has infected younger generations. I think it just reflects that few younger people vote until they get older, settle down, have a family etc.

UPDATE: I’ve now gone back and looked through their 1998 data from an older survey (the latest data is from 2011). This shows much the same pattern – that young people then were less positive on democracy. So this is not a trend, just an established pattern I’d say. The question in 1998 was a four point scale that having a democratic political system was very good, fairly good, fairly bad or very bad.  Those saying very good were:

  • 1930s 64%
  • 1940s 56%
  • 1950s 55%
  • 1960s 56%
  • 1970s 34%

Those born 1970s were roughly in their 20s in 1998 so comparable to those born in the 1980s in 2011. Again there is possibly some change from 1998 to 2011 but it looks to be minor at best.

In the 2011 survey 30% of those aged in their 20s said democracy was essential on a 10 point scale, choosing 10/10. In the 1998 survey 34% of those in their 20s said democracy was very good on a four point scale. Not much change.

Little on brink of losing his own seat

I’ve blogged the latest Roy Morgan poll at Curia.

It has Labour at 23% which would see them get just 28 MPs in a House of 120. As they hold 27 electorates it means on that poll they would get just one List MP – their leader Andrew Little. If they drop just 1% more, then Little loses his seat. Alternatively if they pick up one more electorate seat then again Little loses his seat.

Other List MPs such as Jacinda Ardern and David Parker are toast on this result.

It is always useful to compare polls to the same time period in the previous election cycle. So how are National and Labour placed in November 2013 and November 2016?

  • November 2013 – National 44.5% and Labour 34.0% for a 10.5% lead
  • November 2016 – National 49.5% and Labour 23.0% for a 26.5% lead

A huge difference. This is the second lowest poll result ever for Labour in the history of the Roy Morgan poll.

Leggett to stand for National

Tracy Watkins reports:

Former Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett has quit Labour for National and is putting his hand up to run against his former party in Mana at the next election.

Leggett was controversially slated by Labour leader Andrew Little during the Wellington mayoralty after he ran as an independent against Labour’s handpicked candidate, Justin Lester.

Leggett told Fairfax on Wednesday Labour had moved away from its loyal voting base and was no longer in touch with working Kiwis.

He will seek selection as National’s candidate in the Porirua seat of Mana, a Labour stronghold for years.

Labour is slowly getting rid of all the moderates. Shane Jones quit Labour as he no longer felt home there. Labour is now operates much the same spectrum as the Greens.

There are reports a deal with the Greens to stand aside in Nelson has fractured the local electorate, with as many as eight people said to have quit the party in protest.

Labour sources suggested to Fairfax there were more.

A Labour -Greens memorandum of understanding earlier this year opened the door to electorate deals and has caused deep disquiet within parts of the caucus and wider party.

Some see it as dragging Labour further to the left and opening the door to rivals NZ First in heartland New Zealand.

Three years ago in the TVNZ poll National was at 45% and Labour 34%. Today National is at 50% and Labour 28% as Labour continues its move to the left. But their support has not gone to the Greens who are 2% below where they were three years ago. The winner is Winston who has gone from 4% to 10%.

So Greens are losing support to Labour and Labour is losing support to National and NZ First. Great strategy.

Leggett had a high profile as Porirua mayor and has long links with the Labour party. He had been touted as a potential future leader previously.

He said he grew up “with Labour burned deep into my DNA” and both sides of his family were supporters.

But the party’s activists, staffers and MPs had become distant from the party’s voting base.

“They take their heartland for granted and sadly fail to understand the ambitions and challenges of working New Zealanders,’ Leggett said.

The deal with the Greens had finally convinced him the party was moving in a different direction to him.

As a social liberal, he now considered that National’s policies and values better reflected his own.

There’s quite a few issues where I disagree with Nick. He supports the living wage for local government etc. He is not in any sense of the word a right winger as Andrew Little calls him. But unlike Labour which seems to take joy in evicting people who are not ideologically pure, I think Nick would make a good contribution to a National caucus and Cabinet. You don’t have to agree with someone on every issue to want them on your team.

Lusk praises Labour MP

Simon Lusk writes in HB Today:

Subscription political service Trans Tasman gives MPs an annual rating. It weights the way MPs work in Parliament, often ignoring the hard work electorate MPs do in their electorates.

It also struggles to understand that MPs are whipped. No matter how much they want to raise their own profile, the party leader gets all the publicity, sharing a little with a few of the other front benchers. Back benchers are not permitted to grandstand at the expense of their leader.

These two realities mean that Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri’s rating of 2/10 and comments show exactly how out of touch Trans Tasman is.

“Many outside of Parliament have never heard of her. Needs to change this, or she’ll be forgotten inside Parliament as well”.

Anyone who follows Meka on Facebook knows she travels huge distances in her electorate, which stretches from East Cape to Wainuiomata. She does the hard work in the electorate, meaning that her crucial constituency, her own voters, know her well. …

In world where Facebook is increasingly dominating as a news source, and may be the only news source many voters access that includes politics Meka is well known. She deserves credit for her hard work, advocacy for her constituents and her constant travel all over the electorate.

Even the briefest conversation with Meka shows she is a rare politician who thinks more than 36 hours ahead. She is well positioned for important portfolios the next time Labour is in Government, based on careful thought about the future.

Meka is a fine MP, doing the work many MPs shirk in her electorate.

Trans Tasman needs to get out into the real world a bit more to understand what makes a successful MP. It is doing the hard yards that gets you re-elected in your electorate. Meka has done this, and deserves the respect that comes from hard work in a large electorate.

There are not many MPs, let alone Labour MPs, that Simon would praise.

Vote Parmjeet and get Fia

Stuff reports:

A politician who believes in stigmata and thinks Donald Trump was “anointed” by God could have the most to gain from the Mt Roskill by-election on Saturday.

Labour’s Michael Wood and National’s Parmjeet Parmar will vie for the seat recently vacated by new Auckland mayor and Labour stalwart Phil Goff.

If Wood wins the seat, party numbers will remain unchanged in Parliament.

However, Parmar is already a list MP – so a win for her as an electorate MP means the next National list MP also enters Parliament. She is Mangere’s Misa Fia Turner.

National Party president Peter Goodfellow backed Turner and her beliefs as being suitable for Parliament.

In a statement, he said: “While Labour likes to attack people based on Chinese sounding names or exclude people with proud religious beliefs, like a lot of our friends in the Pacific community, National welcomes people of all ethnicities and cultures.”

Fia has strong religious beliefs, but National is a party that has wide diversity from devout Christians to staunch atheists.

Fia’s background is here:

Misa Fia Turner was born and raised in Samoa, and has lived in Mangere for nearly twenty years. She is a mother of four and grandmother of three.

She is the co-founder and Clinical Manager of ‘Malu I Uo Faatuatua Family Relationship Services, providing counselling, family therapy, clinical and cultural supervision, facilitation and mediation, training and mentoring. She is also Clinical Practice Manager for Genesis Youth Trust, a Police Youth Development Programme working with youth at risk and families with a focus on reducing youth crime and re-offending.

Amongst a wide range of community activities, Ms Turner is an active church leader and a member of the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network.

Another Labour e-mail gathering scheme

A reader e-mails:

Labour have started a petition for the 24/7 staffing of Geonet and Tsunami alert system.

What they don’t realise, and GNS were specific on this on the Radio, is that Geonet is already automated, and that the Tsunami Alert system is currently already 24/7, but a very manual task which is causing the confusion. What GNS want is to automate the Tsunami Alert system which ties it all together.

On top of that, Labour’s petition seems to be an email gathering scheme (again), where they make the “Hear more from Labour” really small and opt-out, which (again) is not standard best practice which should be opt-in.

So the petition misrepresents what the issue is!

Guest Post: You Just Don’t Get It, Do You?

A guest post by Mike Kirk:

The nice liberal minded commentariat just don’t get it.
Trump won because his voters (all 27% of the USA electorate) don’t care what respectable opinion says and they don’t bother with outraged, nancy-fied analyses of how terrible his rhetoric is. Trump voters felt that the Republican and Democrat parties had delivered bugger all to them, in terms of income gains, in the last 24 years.

The Democratic Party in particular suffered with “middle America” firstly because Clinton is unlikeable and also because they promise to support the working class (Americans call anyone not rich “middle class”) whilst undermining them by adherence to the same free market theocratic oath of the Tea Party. Globalisation ain’t popular any more.

The reality is, it never has been with most voters, most of whom would not be able to define what it means. People who don’t support free trade (read: free movement of capital across national borders plus Corporations right to move money and jobs to cheap labour spots with profits safe from nasty National taxation) are thought of as dinosaurs or called “populist.” Presumably this is because they appeal to the great majority in the USA (and Europe for that matter) who have seen the real value of their post inflation take home pay shrink for a generation.

The consequent deficit in consumer demand is the reason the Western world cannot break out of the post 2007 depression or what is referred to as “secular stagnation.” The gradual dawning on large swaths of the voters who find Trump appealing of the fact that the “system” is not working for them, has been a while coming. Trump ascribes blame to professional politicians, Corporations exporting jobs, Chinese cheating etc. But the reality is that governments in the USA have followed a consistent agenda favouring accumulation by Wall Street financialisation. Wage deficits have been filled by debt, and growth has become a function of ever growing debt.

Lots of Trump, Le Pen (in France) and UKIP voters (UK) are angry at what they see as governments favouring foreigners over natives, and political correctness.

Listening to my neighbour 18 months ago in the UK explain to me why she was going to vote Conservative, taught me a salutary lesson in why Left wing Parties no longer cut it. She complained bitterly about fellow workers shirking and benefit recipients who get help from the government when she was working her butt off. Notably, she did not complain about “the rich.” She had no ‘politics of envy.’
Trump won because he speaks plain English.. People in USA and Europe are sick of hearing nothing from politicians. “Nothing” meaning instantly forgettable, reasonable, evasive statements, a card-width different from what other parties say. The respectable Party spokesman are afraid to be honest and are totally out of touch with what 50% of their electorate believe. They have a code of having to be “correct” in relation to immigration, foreigners, Gay rights,etc. Many White folks are sick of being lectured on what is fair (equal opportunities etc) by those who are not competing with immigrants for work and not living in the same neighbourhoods. They feel that politicians favour the “other” over them and that when they complain, they are called racists. White male voters over 45 especially notice this: but remember Trump got 43% of white female voters too, despite media hoopla over his misogyny.

Trump is anti anyone who opposes whatever he is feeling from one day to the next. But he has an instinct for what the common man feels. No doubt he will do some flip-flopping in office. But he will spend more and tax less. USA debt will rise exponentially. This will (and has already ) raise interest rates in USA and world wide as more borrowing means more competition for debt funding . NZ rates were already rising before Trump won (not the OCR but what banks have to pay on the open market.) They are heading higher daily and stand 40% above where they were 3 months ago. The Reserve Bank cut the OCR last week (very bad timing.) The big 4 Aussie banks refused to follow and have been raising fixed rates for weeks. So the NZ Ponzi Auckland mortgage market will take the hit, whatever the soothsayers maintain.

However, the good news is that Trump will break the stagnation in the Western world economies and induce inflation, which of course is great for eroding debt (a subtle means of national default of course.) He might also decide to dethrone the Federal Reserve, which will no longer enjoy the obeisance of a US President who claims to represent voters. Trump wants to tear up-trade agreements. This will hurt China exports and knock NZ in turn. The nice commentators seem to think Trump will moderate in office. But Trump’s priority is the USA and stuff anyone else. Dictators don’t do moderation. Things are about to get very interesting.

GWRC wants taxpayer bailout!

Stuff reports:

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) chairman Chris Laidlaw has vowed not to let CentrePort fail and warned the government may be asked to invest money into the quake damaged port.

CentrePort saw extensive damage to its wharf assets in the November 14 earthquake, while the future of one of its major commercial properties, Statistics House, is unclear, after two floors partially collapsed.

No, no and no.

First of all the port company has not been concentrating on core business but has set itself up as a CBD rival landlord. Why should one landlord get a bailout over all the others?

Secondly there is no reason the port needs to be owned 100% by GWRC and Horizons Regional Council. Port of Tauranga is hugely successful without being fully Council owned.

If Centerport has made some bad decisions, then that is a matter for Centreport and their shareholders. If it needs more funding, then they should seek debt or equity from the private sector, not come running to taxpayers for a bailout.

A tale of two candidates

Interesting to compare the backgrounds of the two main candidates in Mt Roskill.

Parmjeet Parmar’s background is:

  • Bachelors and Masters in Biochemistry
  • a PhD in neuroscience
  • Scientist with published papers
  • Operations Director of a confectionery and natural health product manufacturing enterprise
  • Business owner
  • Worked as a broadcaster for 16 years
  • Chair of  NZ Sikh Women’s Association

Michael Wood’s background is:

  • Young Labour President
  • Labour local Campaign Manager
  • Labour candidate in Pakuranga, Botany and Epsom
  • Member of Puketāpapa Local Board
  • Member Labour Policy Council
  • Negotiator for Finsec union and Amalgamated Workers Union

Quite a contrast I thought.

What will the Maori Mana pact mean?

Richard Harman writes at Politik:

The Maori Party – Mana Party pact announced yesterday looks set to pave the way for Hone Harawira to return to Parliament.

At the same time the deal may threaten two of Labour’s brightest Maori stars — Kelvin Davis and Peeni Henare. …

Talking to POLITIK, Morgan said the aim of the two parties was to wrest all of the Maori seats off Labour.

That would involve each standing aside for the other in some seats.

He named Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauauru as two seats he believed the deal would bring to the Maori party while att he same time it is probable the Maori Party would not oppose Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

If that had been he case at the last election, and everybody who voted for the Maori Party instead votes for Harawira, he would have beaten Labour front bencher, Kelvin Davis, with an 1836 majority.

Similarly, if Man stood aside in Tamaki Makaurau where Peeni Henare is the MP and Te Tai Hauauru, then the Maori Party would have won both seats.

I’d be cautious of assuming that everyone who voted for the Mana Party candidate would have then voted for the Maori Party candidate and vice-versa. The Labour candidates would pick up some of those votes if one of the M parties was not standing.

I’d be surprised if Davis was at risk as he has had a high profile since returning to Parliament. But Labour could face issues in the other two seats.

Tony Alexander on if we have a NZ Trumpit

Tony Alexander from BNZ writes:

Could we see next year’s general election produce a very unexpected outcome, with voters gravitating strongly toward a party or candidate quite different from the incumbents and usual competitors?

Here are some arguments in favour of this not being the case in New Zealand. These are simply the thoughts of a macroeconomist and there are bound to many more points for and against an NZ parallel with Brexit and Trumpit that skilled sociologists, historians and political analysts could make.

Our labour market is strong with plenty of job opportunities. Not only is the proportion of the traditionally defined 15-65 working age population in work at a record high of 70.1%, it is massively above the US rate of 62.4% and the employment rate for Kiwis 65+ has jumped from 5.8% to 23.6% since 1998. Many people in the United States feel there is so little chance of getting a job that they are not even making themselves available for work. They are no longer part of the labour force. They have given up hope of advancement for themselves and their families and have felt disenfranchised by a leadership more focussed on issues of social equity than the economy.

That is a big difference – an extra 8% in the labour force.

We have a strong welfare system. In the United States they have food stamps, time-limited unemployment insurance, and minimum wages which range from $5.15 an hour to just over $10. The NZ minimum adult wage is $15.25. New Zealanders got rid of their perceived “nanny-state” government in the 2008 general election. Our MMP system for electing parliamentarians means disaffected voters can already gain representation. We do not have a society displaying the same depth of concern about immigrants – whether legal or not – as in the US and UK. It is virtually impossible for anyone to turn up in NZ unannounced.

There are some concerns over immigration settings, but unlike the US and EU we do have secure borders.