ACT on Honesty for Taxpayers

July 21st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Jamie Whyte has proposed:

On this policy, regulatory impact statements, cabinet submissions and ministers’ introductory speeches for Bills in parliament will need to state clearly that “but for this proposal, your income tax rate would be X percentage points lower”.

When taxpayers visit the website of any government agency or local council and any programme of that agency, they should have a clear idea of the price of that agency in their taxes or rates.

Government departments and agencies should be required to declare on their home webpage “but for this agency, your income tax rate would be X% lower”.

Similar rules should apply to local governments. They should be required to reveal how much lower rates would be if not for a particular new policy proposal or existing service of the Council.

If a minister, department, agency or local council believes that the programmes it administers do indeed offer value for money to taxpayers, they should be proud to say how they are putting taxes to work in the clearest way taxpayers can understand.

For example, the government should be keen to alert taxpayers that, without Working for Families:

·      the 17.5% income tax rate would be 12.5% OR

·      the 10.5% income tax rate would be 3.5%.

The Minister for Tertiary Education should be keen to remind everyone that, if not for interest-free student loans

·      the 17.5% income tax rate be would 16% OR

·      the 28% company tax would be 25% OR

·      the 33% top income tax rate would be 30%.

That’s a great idea. The public will be able to judge the worth of spending programmes more effectively, if they know the opportunity cost of the spending – the reduced taxes they won’t be getting.

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Monday Motivator – Lower Mclean Falls

July 21st, 2014 at 10:40 am by Richard Hume

Monday Motivator 28
Lower McLean Falls, Catlins Forest, New Zealand

I love The Catlins and have visited many times. On this occasion I found Lower McLean Falls in full winter flow and the low light conditions allowed me to capture the image with a long exposure showing the flow of the water nicely.

Seeing this now makes me want to get back down to explore more of The Catlins very soon.

Click on the image for a larger view of this photograph.

Cheers

Richard [richardhume.com]

YouTube: Timeless – A Panoramic Journey

 

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Hide on Harre’s hypocrisy

July 21st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide wrote at NBR:

I am worried about Laila Harré: having dropped any pretence of principle she now finds hypocrisy addictive. There’s no other explanation. She should have OD’d by now, but no, she just keeps loading it up.

Her latest dose is to assert property rights in Green Party policy.

That’s right. That’s her response to criticism of her announcing Green Party policy as hers just hours ahead of the Green’s release. Ms Harré was working for the Greens. She then decamped to lead the Internet Party taking Green Party policy with her. No wonder the Greens are little annoyed in their touchy-feely, caring way.

But as she explains it, “Look, I contributed huge intellectual property to the Green Party in the 15 months that I spent working for them.” So what’s theirs is also hers.

That’s a bellyful of hypocrisy. Remember this is the Internet Party. Her party’s founder, funder, paymaster and visionary is fighting to avoid facing copyright infringement charges. Intellectual property doesn’t mean that much to Mr Dotcom.

For his proxy leader to be defending herself by spuriously claiming intellectual property is breathtaking hypocrisy. Intellectual property matters to Ms Harré – but only when she’s claiming it as hers. No one else’s appears to matter. …

Mr Dotcom is not the top 1% that Ms Harré complains about. He’s more like the top 0.0001%. But he’s okay because his money is useful to her.

Oh and here she is the hard-core, all-controlling, lefty pushing for the internet. It’s not the central committee that produced the internet: it’s capitalism. Internet commerce is a fine example of anarchy. We don’t need or want central control. The hypocrisy of the Left pushing for internet freedom is gobsmacking.

The Left oppose freedom and their system of economic control is the internet’s antithesis.

I think it is fair to conclude that Rodney will not be voting for the Mana-Internet Party.

It got me thinking that if we had a true Internet Party, Rodney would be a very good leader of it – someone who is passionate about fighting state control.

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Cunliffe meets sex offender with name suppression

July 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

David Cunliffe says his Queenstown ski holiday has left him “recharged” and ready to take the battle to Prime Minister John Key in the two-month countdown to election day.

But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”

This is staggering in its incompetence.

You go to rape crisis, apologise for being a man, talking about the rape culture in New Zealand, and then go out to dinner (my understanding, or at least meet with) with a man who pleaded guilty in court to forcing himself onto a woman and got name suppression because of his status.

The identify of the Queenstown resident is not a closely guarded secret. It has even been published in Australia. Rodney Hide has been campaigning for the identity of the man to be published in Parliament.

One can only take David Cunliffe at his word that he didn’t know, but I find it impossible to believe no one on his staff knew. The identity is an open secret. Either the meeting/dinner was not arranged through his staff, or there is something very very wrong in his office.

Here’s the report of the offending:

Over a three-year period, he visited their home half a dozen times, but always with someone else.

On the day of the incident, she was about to leave to do some shopping with her daughter, she said.

While her daughter went to get the mail from the end of the long drive, the man followed her inside and “he just grabbed hold of me from behind”, she said.

“He was tall and towered over me. I said: ‘What the hell are you doing?’

“And he said: ‘But you are so lovely’. It was horrible. His hands were all over me,” the woman said.

“He kept pushing his tongue in my mouth, pulling my head back and sticking his tongue down into my mouth and I was trying to push him off.

“His hands were all around my back, his hands down the back of my knickers.”

He confessed he had always liked her.

“I was totally shocked. It took me by surprise. But I wasn’t scared because I knew my daughter was about.

“I was trying to push him off and he took my hand and put it on his what’s-it and he said to me: ‘This is what you are doing to me’.

The offender, who has political links, was given name suppression. He should not have got name suppression.

Even the offender says his identity is an open secret:

Despite name suppression, the man said everyone in his home town knew he was the “prominent man” in the paper. “It has taken away all my livelihood,” he said.

“Even with name suppression I got fired from a job because a guy had heard it was me,” he said.

He believed he was unfairly targeted because he was a household name.

Again I find it almost beyond belief that David Cunliffe or his staff did not know. And they were also meeting the local Labour candidate.  How could she not know? Again, this was an open secret.

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General Debate 21 July 2014

July 21st, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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The discipline issue

July 21st, 2014 at 7:19 am by David Farrar

Danyl blogs at Dim-Post:

It’s been a shambolic couple of weeks for Labour. They had their congress and launched a major education policy, carefully designed to attack National where they were vulnerable and attract centre voters back to Labour, and they’ve spent every day since then talking about either Moas, or banning cosmetics, or Cunliffe’s ‘man apology’, or changing the burden of proof in rape cases, or Kelvin Davis’ support for the holiday highway, or te reo in schools – with some Labour MPs supporting this and some opposing – ie they’ve been talking about pretty much anything other than the huge new policy they just launched.

That is a good summary. Labour has been in the news almost every day for a fortnight, but on a different issue – and generally a negative one.

Sounds like Labour are finally working this out, as Stuff reports:

Yesterday’s frontbench meeting is understood to have settled on a radical rethink of strategy for the remainder of the campaign, with Labour set to focus on fewer key policies and messages.

This is sensible. What is alarming is that such a common sense approach is thought to be a radical rethink.

But will the party keep to the script?

MPs are also under orders to be more disciplined. Cunliffe is believed to have had words with veteran MP Trevor Mallard about his plan to revive extinct moa, which grabbed headlines on the eve of a Labour Party conference that was supposed to showcase the leader.

Others singled out for criticism for going “off reservation” include Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta and Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis, who have both taken opposing views to party policy on issues in their areas.

A senior MP said the latest poll ratings were a concern.

“We have to be bloody good at what we do, we’ve got to be very tightly focused and on message.

“We’ve got good policy, got a good campaign plan, we know we’ve got the troops on the ground, we can pull this up.”

There was an acknowledgement that the public was confused by the number of different signals coming from Labour, and that was blamed on “trying to do too much too quickly”.

“Then there’s another level with people saying things that are completely off the script.”

That included Cunliffe himself, for his apology “for being a man” to a Women’s Refuge conference.

But will Labour be disciplined enough. I doubt here. Here is Sue Moroney campaigning for free Moroccan cooking classes:

And it gets better. Sue also wants free Photoshop classes. Presumably for Labour Party staff.

Do you really think this is a Labour Party that could achieve surplus and run a balanced budget?

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A stupid and unaffordable policy

July 21st, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First has announced a plan to remove GST from food, as part of several policies announced at its party conference.

This is incredibly stupid. Our GST is the envy of much of the world for its lack of exemptions. When you start doing exemptions, then you get gaming of the system. Does food include fast food? does it include pre-packaged meals? Does it include caviar? Does it include dining at top restaurants? Does it include drinks?

Peters said the policy was estimated to cost $3 billion a year, and would be funded by a clamp down on “tax evasion and the black economy”, which it estimated to cost $7 billion a year, and what Peters said was “drawing on the projected surplus of billions in the years ahead that result from running a sound economy”.

This is just intellectually dishonest. Basically this policy would blow the deficit out by $3 billion a year. There is no magic wand you can wave to locate and tax the black economy. The reality is that if you want a $3 billion a year tax cut, then you need a $3 billion a year spending cut.

 

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Lorde parody

July 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Not a bad parody of Lorde by “Weird AL” Yankovic. The tinfoil hats seems politically relevant at the moment!

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Hamas encouraging its own citizens to get killed

July 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

William Saletan at Slate writes:

Hamas seized control of Gaza seven years ago. Its reign has been disastrous. Unemployment and poverty are around 40 percent. The government is bankrupt. Israel’s control of Gaza’s borders has played a huge role in that. But Hamas has done everything possible to tighten Israel’s grip and delegitimize Palestinian resistance.

And the latest:

The vast majority of the damage in Gaza has been inflicted by Israel. Yet Hamas has contrived to make the carnage worse. It has encouraged Gazans to stand in the way of Israeli missiles. When Israel advised 100,000 Gazans to evacuate an area targeted for invasion, Hamas instructed them to ignorethe warnings. It added: “To all of our people who have evacuated their homes—return to them immediately and do not leave the house.”

Unbelievable. They actually are encouraging their own citizens to try and get killed, so they get propaganda from it.

That’s what Hamas is doing. It’s trading Palestinian blood for political ambitions it foolishly expects to achieve through war. No amount of suffering in Gaza has persuaded it to stop. During the war’s first week, there was vague talk of a cease-fire, with each side reportedly holding out for further demands. Netanyahu declared that “no international pressure will prevent us from operating with full force.” Israel looked like a belligerent bully. On Monday, when Egypt announced acease-fire proposal based on ideas sketched by Abbas, all Hamas had to do was say yes. The proposal entailed no concessions. It was just a break in the bloodshed, followed by talks.

The gist was simple. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, both sides would stop shooting. Then they’d start talking, through Egypt, about a truce. The discussions would include Hamas’ demands for easing Israeli control of Gaza’s borders. Egypt’s foreign ministry emphasized that the proposal was “aimed at stopping the killing of the Palestinians.”

The Arab League embraced the plan. Abbas issued a statement that “urged all parties to comply with this truce in order to stop the shedding of Palestinian blood.” Israel accepted it and announced that, as of 9 a.m., it had stopped shooting. For six hours, Israel held its fire.

But Hamas kept shooting. Rockets continued to fly from Gaza into Israel—nearly 50 in the next six hours—and Hamas took credit for them.

People need to understand how this makes the chance of there ever being peace minimal. When Israel agrees to a cease-fire, and Hamas fires 50 more rockets off, you’d have to be bonkers to think Israel will then do another ceasefire.

Hamas didn’t just reject the cease-fire. Its spokesmen mocked Israel for agreeing to the plan, calling this acquiescence “indicative of Israel’s weakness.” They “condemned international and regional support for the ceasefire initiative.” They derided Egypt, scoffing that “the Egyptian initiative is an attempt to defeat us” and that “those who ignore the Palestinian resistance should not be dealt with.”

Anyone who equates Hamas and Israel is basically an Israel hater.

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A potentially cunning move by Peters

July 20th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

NZ First Leader Winston Peters is taking the fight to Colin Craig by refusing to rule out standing against the Conservative Party Leader in East Coast Bays.

Mr Peters said many people had suggested he stand in East Coast Bays given the “outrage” of a potential deal between Mr Craig and National.

“I think it’s an exciting thought… we’ll wait around and think about it.

“I’m not ruling that out.”

That’s quite cunning. If National didn’t stand, who would win the seat? It would also give NZ First a lot of publicity.

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Craig demands binding referenda

July 20th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he would not form a Government with National unless it agreed to introduce binding referenda.

Mr Craig confirmed the party’s bottom line for potential coalition talks at its annual meeting in Auckland this afternoon, attended by around 120 delegates.

In his keynote speech, he said: “We are not playing a mystery game. We are being upfront with the electorate.

“The thing that we want, that will be required if a party wants our support, is that they are going to need to agree to a change whereby that the people of this country have the right on those rare occasions … to tell the government where to go and what to do.”

One can try and lay down bottom lines but it isn’t that easy. What do you do if say the Conservatives hold the balance of power and National won’t agree to binding referenda. Presumably Labour won’t agree to them either, so Colin Craig them has three choices:

  1. Make John Key Prime Minister
  2. Make David Cunliffe Prime Minister
  3. Force a new election

It is unwise for any party to try and lay down bottom lines before an election. One should indicate priorities. But what you get in any negotiation will be a factor of how many seats in Parliament you get, and whether you are necessary or just desirable for forming a Government – and if you can credibly form a Government with the other major party.

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Labour at 15 year low in Herald Digipoll

July 20th, 2014 at 11:16 am by David Farrar

Another day, another rogue poll. At what point will Labourites accept they are polling well under 30%?

The Herald reports:

Labour’s support has slumped to its worst rating for 15 years in the latest DigiPoll survey, putting critical pressure on leader David Cunliffe.

Its 26.5 per cent support is a slide of four points since June.

With just two months to the election, Labour could slip into the disastrous territory held by National in 2002, when it polled 20.93 per cent in the face of the highly popular Labour Government.

On this poll of decided voters National would be able to govern alone comfortably and gain another 10 MPs.

National has jumped 4.5 points to 54.9 per cent. A Stuff/Ipsos poll earlier this week also put support for National at 54.8 per cent.

Prime Minister John Key is more popular than he has ever been, scoring preferred prime minister on 73.3 per cent, compared with Cunliffe on 10.5 per cent and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters on 5.5 per cent.

Its a good result but with MMP the guy preferred with 10.3% can beat the guy preferred by 73.3%. Labour could poll in the 20s yet still form a Government. There is no room for complacency. Every vote is important.

Labour’s total support is down from 30.5 per cent in June, but it is disproportionately down among male voters, with only 23.9 per cent of men backing Labour, compared with 29.1 per cent of women.

I apologise for polling so badly as a man.

Political commentator Chris Trotter said the poll indicated Labour was “more or less bereft of hope”.

“Labour is in an extremely parlous position, and the situation is deteriorating.”

I never regard someone as dead until I have chopped the head off, put a stake through the head and burnt the corpse. A lot can still happen in 62 days.

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Caucus anger at Cunliffe

July 20th, 2014 at 9:51 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour MPS are disgusted by leader David Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider has told the Sunday Star-Times.

As Labour hit a new polling low of just 23.5 per cent in the latest Stuff/Ipsos poll and data suggested those numbers would climb quickly if its leader quit, Cunliffe took a week’s leave to go skiing in Queenstown. That decision has infuriated a significant number of Labour MPs, the insider claimed.

I think Labour MPs need to think more carefully about this. According to the Fairfax/Ipsos poll Labour will do better if Cunliffe remains on holiday and is not out campaigning for them!

Labour MPS are disgusted by leader David Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider has told the Sunday Star-Times.

As Labour hit a new polling low of just 23.5 per cent in the latest Stuff/Ipsos poll and data suggested those numbers would climb quickly if its leader quit, Cunliffe took a week’s leave to go skiing in Queenstown. That decision has infuriated a significant number of Labour MPs, the insider claimed.

To be fair it is important to have your leader recharged and in full fitness, ready for what will be a gruelling campaign.

“We will be having a talk to David at caucus about his work ethic on Tuesday. We’ll be letting him know he’s got two months to turn this around, and we’re backing him and right behind him but he’s got to lift his game.”

The insider believed up to 20 of the 33 Labour MPs were deeply unhappy with Cunliffe’s leadership, but had accepted that an attempt to dump him this late in the term would backfire.

Those numbers sound right to me, and the key word is deeply. This is not a small level of concern.

Instead, he said some, especially those whose places in Parliament were now at risk because they would not be returned on the Labour list on present numbers, would run increasingly individual campaigns focused solely on regaining their seats. Clayton Cosgrove, eighth on the list, and Kelvin Davis, 18th, were deviating from party line, as seen by Davis’ public backing – against party policy – of the Puhoi-Wellsford SH1 “holiday highway” upgrade.

“Clayton knows at 23.5 per cent he’s not back on the list, so if he doesn’t win his seat, it’s the end of his career. And he also knows his career is very closely tied to the political capital of David Cunliffe.”

The insider believed Cunliffe’s decision to go on holiday showed he didn’t have the qualities to become prime minister.

Would be interesting to know who the insider is. My guess is it is an MP. Insider is a term commonly used to describe MPs. However to be fair it has been used for me in the past.

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General Debate 20 July 2014

July 20th, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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The good old days

July 20th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The slow rise of Wellington’s BNZ Centre came to represent the power of militant unions in the 1970s – and Con Devitt’s name would forever be associated with the protracted construction of the black monolith.

Myriad delays meant that, although the 103-metre-high building was designed in the late 1960s, it wasn’t occupied until 1984.

The Devitt-led Boilermakers’ Union claimed the exclusive right of its members to weld the structural steel, as industrial action added six years to the project.

Among the more memorable boilermakers’ stoppages was one prompted by union delegate “Black Jock” McKenzie’s dissatisfaction with his company-issue boots.

The industrial strife was so bad that New Zealand architects were deterred from designing future buildings in steel.

The BNZ Centre, now called the State Insurance Building, finally opened at a cost of $93 million – more than four times over budget.

The glory days for some on the left.

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Rock Enrol and the unions

July 19th, 2014 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

I blogged previously on Rock Enrol, and noted it is difficult to be seen as non-partisan when the band you are trying to get for your concerts is infamous for hating John Key and National, and singing obscenities about them.

I support their aim of increasing youth enrolments, but remain skeptical about their desire to have young people enrol if they are right wing.

I’m not sure if it is intentional, but they have put their 80 day campaign on Google Docs and have it set for public view. A few interesting points. They say their aim is:

Hold the government to account on behalf of the YouthVoter block through effective advocacy, political pressure & campaigning

Which looks more like being a lobby group, not a neutral enrolment service. There is no one set view from young people so no group can represent the youth voter bloc. They can only represent the people who agree with them.

CTU, NZUSA, NZNO & Unite Unions to assist with access to calling software ($11.5k), office spaces (nationwide) + volunteer mailing list

So the unions are effectively funding them. Now that’s fine, but this sort of information should be public, that they are union funded.

A commitment to share data with ActionStation and Oxfam to aid long-term strategy

Both very left-wing groups

CTU are paying for Amicus Calling software. CTU & PSA to train 5000 volunteers for GOAV calling (mid Aug – Sep 20). RockEnrol data to be entered into database to be called as well during this time. RockEnrol + Generation Zero volunteers will also call data

Generation Zero is also a left-wing group. Now there is nothing wrong with that again, just the Electoral Commission should be aware that this is not a non-partisan group, no matter how much they claim to be. They are not party political, but they are a left group.

Reach 4500 18 – 24yo through civics programme (approx. 150 workshops nationwide through PSA, NZUSA, ACE & PPTA)

A different set of unions, but basically all their collaboration is with unions – which to a man are dedicated to the defeat of National.

GOTV: Volunteers to have over 20,000 one-to-one conversations

Now this is interesting. It’s one thing to get people enrolled. But another to be calling them on election day, and urging them to vote – an activity normally done by political parties. Will they be calling people in Epsom urging them to vote, or only in strong Labour areas?

Partner with organisations that have underused volunteer networks (NZUSA, PSA, VSA, CTU)

The Young Nationals have around 5,000 members. But Rock Enrol never approached them until there was publicity about it.

In August (1st – 20th), we will run a PledgeMe campaign for $5000. This will be matchfunded by Derek Handley and one other well-known businessman or possibly ActionStation/CTU (??)

So they may also get funded directly by the CTU.

They also have a script for an ad:

Announcer: Voting only takes 30 second. Learn who to vote for at yvote.co.nz and be prepared for Election Day.

Now it gets even more interesting. Again they are not just enrolling people, but will be encouraging them to go to a website they run which will advise them on who to vote for.

I wish Rock Enrol every luck at getting those who agree with their politics to get people to enrol and vote. That is what democracy is about. But I think National MPs and candidates (and others) should be very cautious about giving support to a union backed group whose mission isn’t just to get people to enrol, but to turn into a lobby group that will advocate on behalf of the left.

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Netflix for NZ

July 19th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Netflix is declining to comment on an Australian report that it plans to launch an online television service in New Zealand and Australia by the middle of next year.

Netflix’ California-based corporate communications director Joris Evers told Fairfax Media today Netflix had no comment on rumours it was coming to New Zealand. It had not made any announcements regarding the market.

Australian film-industry website  Inside Film reported that Netflix had made firm offers to major United States studios for the Australian and New Zealand streaming rights for “a wide range of first release and library movies and television content”.

Inside Film quoted two unnamed Netflix executives as saying a launch in the middle of 2015 was on the cards. However, the initial offers Netflix had made to studios for local content rights had not been viewed as “the most desirable”, it said.

About 30,000 New Zealanders and at least 100,000 Australians are estimated to have found workarounds that have let them subscribe to Netflix’ North American service.

I’m a subscriber to Netflix. It took a bit of effort, but I wanted to do everything I could to pay for the overseas content I want to view. It would be nice if I could subscribe without having to alter my IP address and zip code.

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West Coast miners furious at EPMU for donating to the Greens

July 19th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Greymouth evening Star reports that West Coast miners who are EPMU members are furious at the EPMU for donating $15,000 to the Greens, when they want the mining industry in NZ to die out. Over a dozen miners have complained.

You can imagine how galling it would be to have your union donate a portion of your salary to a party that wants to close down the industry you work in, and effectively put you out of a job.

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Conservative and NZ First policies

July 19th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Some of the Conservative Party’s key policies are so similar to New Zealand First that leader Colin Craig has been accused of plagiarism.

The two parties will outline their vision for New Zealand and their election plans this weekend at their annual meetings in Auckland.

The Conservatives have begun laying their election platform in a series of billboards and leaflet drops over the past month.

The four key planks of their campaign will be tougher penalties for criminals, a tax-free band below $20,000 of income, making referendums binding and scrapping Maori entitlements.

A few of their priorities so closely resembled New Zealand First’s manifesto that leader Winston Peters said they appeared to be stolen.

It is true that the Conservatives and NZ First have many similar policies – they are both competing for socially conservative and economically conservative voters. That’s not plagiarism, just a reality of where they are on the political spectrum.

Both parties want to end asset sales, stop the sale of farmland to foreigners, scrap the Emissions Trading Scheme and introduce tougher sentences for criminals.

Mr Craig told the Weekend Herald it was inevitable some of their policies would be similar because they were both competing for a similar pool of centrist voters. But he emphasised key points of difference.

Conservative is more radical on Maori issues, saying it will scrap the Maori parliamentary seats, repeal the foreshore and seabed legislation, and wind down the Waitangi Tribunal while not allowing any new claims.

New Zealand First says it is up to Maori to decide whether Maori seats remain.

Which is my policy also. Gulp.

Conservative is also more sceptical about climate change. Mr Craig has not prioritised reducing carbon emissions, while New Zealand First says it is important to switch to cleaner fuel and introduce environmental “bottom lines”

So some differences, but a lot in common. I suspect most voters will decide between them on the basis of what they think of their leaders.

Both parties are hardline on law and order issues. New Zealand First would introduce a 40-year minimum non-parole period for murder, and a “castle doctrine” law which allowed deadly use of firearms by homeowners against burglars.

40 years non parole is too much, even for me.

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Watkins on Cunliffe

July 19th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

Private enmity rarely trumps personal ambition. If Cunliffe had delivered on the promise of a more sure-footed leadership, a more organised Opposition, and a clearer direction, the doubters would have become converts.

But Cunliffe has often been his own worst enemy. He has been too loose with details too often and he has tried to style his leadership around American and British-style political oratory. In the New Zealand context, where we are used to our politicians being of the plain Jane variety, there is a fine line between soaring oratory and coming across as fake.

Can Cunliffe use the final few weeks to turn things around? He has to use them to embark on a massive charm offensive with the New Zealand public.

Policy is not the problem. Labour has released a wealth of policy which shows it has a credible alternative plan for government. But voters either don’t know or don’t like David Cunliffe.

Winning now comes down to one simple recipe. Cunliffe has to show them that he is someone they can like and trust.

That is possible, but it takes time. His biggest opportunity is probably the leaders debates, but I suspect he’ll go very aggressive and try and paint Key as an uncaring rich prick, which ironically may hurt him more.

The other issue is that after 15 years he hasn’t been able to convince most of his colleagues to like or trust him, so can he get the public to do the same in 63 days?

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The answer is to sell the Interislanders, not have an inquiry

July 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First leader Winston Peters wants a full ministerial inquiry into KiwiRail’s “mishandling” of the Aratere saga, after revelations the company plans to fit two new propellers to the ferry next year.

Peters said he was staggered such a scenario could even be contemplated, given that Aratere had had two prolonged visits to Singapore dockyards over the past three years, both of which included propeller fittings.

The 2011 extension of the Aratere cost taxpayers about $50 million, and this year’s refurbishment had resulted in additional across-the-board costs to KiwiRail of about $30m. “After all that money, they still have not fixed this lemon,” Peters said yesterday.

This is a classic case of why taxpayers should not own competitive companies.

If the Bluebridge makes a bad decision on a ferry, and loses money on it, and has delays – we don’t care one iota.

Likewise we should not care about the Interislander, except that we own it.

The Government’s focus should be on ensuring we have competition on the Cook Strait route, which we do. Now on owning ships, and doing a bad job of it.

 

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12 questions with Bob Jones

July 19th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones does the 12 questions in the Herald. Most answers are amusing, but especially this one:

I don’t set out to charm women, but I’ll tell you one thing they like laughter, but they don’t like pranks. I quite like women and permanent relationships but it never lasts that long. They last about seven or eight years but we all stay great friends and holiday together. I’ve never understood monogamy. It seems to be unnatural for me. Variety is the spice of life. Blondes. Brunettes. That sort of thing. I’ve had all sorts of races and that. Girlfriends everywhere. Am I good to them? Of course I am. I’m good to everyone. Absolutely, women keep you young. Having it off all the time does. It’s absolutely critical.

Bob Jones is a youthful 75!

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Patrick Leyland on Labour’s lack of message

July 19th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Patrick Leyland blogged:

NZ Labour’s woes are well documented. The latest round of polls – both with Labour sub 25, are frankly, disastrous. On these numbers Labour will be lucky to get deputy leader David Parker re-elected, and the prospect of any new list MPs just looks like a fantasy.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. From my distant perspective, it looks like Labour is running some excellent on the ground campaigns. Some of the MPs look like they’re making great visits (David Shearer and Chris Hipkins seem to have had a really sucessful visit through the regional North Island). Kelvin Davis is getting good media from his work helping flood victims in his electorate.  I’ve heard that some electorates are smashing their voter contact targets. The fact that they’ve even managed to agree to targets at all amazes me (I have previously sat in a Labour meeting where the idea of targets was quite literally dismissed as “boss talk”).

And as Phil Quin pointed out on the Q+A panel the other week, Labour do have some very good policy positions. Chris Hipkins really needs to be commended for the work he continues to do with education – their school donation and class size policies are really solid vote winners.

Unfortunately, Labour seems to have since dropped them like a lead balloon.

Using Facebook as a sample of Labour’s external comms*, let’s have a look at what they’ve done with the education announcements… 

10 July – A week after the key note speech a video of it is posted online. Without any mention of the policy. You have to watch the 36 minute video to discover that Labour wants to reduce class sizes.

10 July – Chris Hipkins launches Labour’s excellent education manifesto. It’s a beautiful document that really easily sets out some great policy. Does Cunliffe or the Labour Party mention it? Nope.

Number of mentions of Labour’s education policies after they’re announced: 0. Number of times David Cunliffe has mentioned that they are reducing class sizes on Facebook: 0.

Hell, it’s even depressing to look at a Facebook feed of all Labour candidates and party pages. The last time anyone from Labour talked about education was Grant Robertson three days ago.

I think this was a useful highlight of Comms 101. A party that thinks it will win by just releasing a policy, mentioning it once, and then moving onto the next policy, will not get its message across.

A party should have three to five core messages such as “Labour will reduce class sizes” and repeat it ad nauseum for weeks and months. That is how you get it into the consciousness.

The fact that no one in Labour seems able to do even basic comms must be alarming for supporters like Patrick.

In a week where Labour committed hundreds of millions of dollars to make worthwhile and significant changes to education, candidates should not be posting videos of ice water challenges. There are enough distractions from Labour’s core messages thanks to donations scandals, Kim Dotcom etc etc, Labour shouldn’t be using Facebook to create even more diversions.

And by totally going to ground and refusing to go out and sell Labour’s policy, David Cunliffe doesn’t even look like he wants Labour to win.

Rather amusingly within hours of Patrick blogging, Labour then did a flurry of educational posts and graphics to Facebook.

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Dover on why he is not voting Labour

July 19th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former Labour minister Dover Samuels says he won’t be voting for the party at the election.

He cited the party’s opposition to the Puhoi to Wellsford extension and Leader David Cunliffe’s “prima donna grandstanding” over the issue of sexual violence.

The former Maori Affairs Minister who now serves on the Northland Regional Council confirmed the Herald this morning he did not intend giving his party vote to Labour.

“Labour’s moved away from me, I’ve never moved away from Labour. I’m as staunch of the principles of Labour as I ever was, since the days of Mickey Savage.”

They’ve lost Shane Jones also. There is a pattern here.

“Winston Peters has been somebody that certainly has been an advocate of the regions and I’m a regional councillor and I find that spokespersons for the Labour Party have really turned their backs on some of the initiatives that the Northland Council have been advocating.”

He pointed to Labour’s plan to indefinitely postpone the Puhoi to Wellsford extension which it derides as “the holiday highway”.

” I don’t know where they got that from but the Puhoi road is integral to Northland’s economic future.”

Everytime Labour calls it the holiday highway, a Grey Lynn liberal applauds, and a local in Northland gets furious.

Mr Samuels said his advice to Labour was “come back to the grass roots principles”.

“I was a minister and a Member of Parliament under Helen Clark. She recognised you never become Government if you don’t take middle New Zealand with you.

“Shane Jones saw that and unfortunately this idea of “rich prick” and this idea of “I’m ashamed to be a man” and all of this kind of prima donna grandstanding does not actually resonate well with middle New Zealand at all.”

Mr Samuels said he was hearing many Labour Party supporters of long standing asking “what is happening to our party?”.

Their support base appears to now be reduced to the unions and people who comment at The Standard.

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General Debate 19 July 2014

July 19th, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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