Greens plan to lower house prices by 50%

July 28th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Radio NZ report:

A declaration by the Green Party that Auckland house prices should be deliberately dropped over the longer term has been met with strong resistance from its political ally, Labour.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has said prices should be gradually lowered by up to 50 percent over a number of years, in order to avoid a market crash.

Labour leader Andrew Little said such talk was irresponsible.

“It’s not going to happen under the next Labour-led government.

“Our plan is about stabilising house prices by building more affordable homes, and then secondly by taking the overseas speculators out of it by putting restrictions on non-resident foreign buyers.”

Labour and the Greens recently struck a co-operation agreement including a no-surprises policy but Mr Little said Ms Turei had not raised any plan with him, or others in the party, to deliberately push down house prices.

The Greens have clearly violated the agreement. Not off to a good start are they.

As the Greens basically oppose making more land available for housing in Auckland (they only want to build up, not out), they of course have no chance of stopping house price inflation, let alone reducing it.

But I look forward to them campaigning that they want to reduce the worth of Auckland homeowners by a total $300 billion or so.


Frog Blog bans comments

July 27th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A reader writes in:

I don’t know if you bother reading some of the other blog comments but there is strange goings on at FrogBlog  I go there  to post occasionally.

About a week or go, Gareth made another post on domestic solar energy.   A fact check showed that he had left a word out of a quote that changed its meaning. One  their staffers recognised this in the comments and corrected the quote but without putting in an update postscript on the main post. Gareth never acknowledged his mistake but that is par for the course. 

Then several days later Ms Davidson put in a post  The first responder with a name like Kiwi@NZ   rubbished her post with statements like it was bit of NZ history – this is NZ not Aotearoa blah blah blah. More stupid than aggressive or abusive.  I didn’t note any personal attack in his rant but then maybe I’m a bit thicker skinned. After a day, the comment was deleted. Other regular commenters noted this and started piling it on – nothing really bad, just pointing out the censorship. All those posts were then deleted.

Then this post came out      saying they weren’t going to have comments any more because people didn’t play fair.

Looks like a free and fair society is being redefined.

So the Labour Party blog has closed down and the Green blog no longer allows dissent. Sad.

We don’t need another portfolio!

July 22nd, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Greens announced:

Greens will establish a Minister for Manufacturing in Government

The Green Party announced today that it will establish a Minister for Manufacturing in Cabinet, to better represent the interests of manufacturers and ensure they thrive.

The Minister will be inside Cabinet and have responsibility for the long-term interests of the manufacturing sector.

The last thing we need is another portfolio created.

This is almost as bad as having a Minister for Racing.

Shall we also have a Minister for Retailers? A Minister for Wholesalers? A Minister for Importers? A Minister for Service Industries?

My view is we need fewer portfolios, not more. In April 2011 I blogged:

My future would be:

  1. Ministry of Internal Security – Crown Law, Corrections, SIS, Justice, SFO, Police
  2. Ministry for Environment – Environment, EPA, Conservation, Biosecurity
  3. Dept of Administrative Affairs – DIA, LINZ, Building & Housing, Customs, Stats
  4. Ministry for Economic Development – Labour, MAF, MED, Fisheries, MORST, Transport
  6. Education – Education, ERO, TEC
  7. Ministry of External Relations & Security – GCSB, Defence, MFAT,  NZDF
  8. Treasury – Treasury
  9. Incomes – IRD, WINZ
  10. Culture – Culture & Heritage, Nat Lib, Archives, NZ on Air
  11. Health – Health
  12. Social Policy – Pacific Island Affairs, MSD, CYF, Youth Development, Community Sector, Senior Citizens, Families, Women’s Affairs, TPK
  13. Parliament – Parl Serv, Min Serv, Office of Clerk, PCO

This means you could have a cabinet of 12. The Speaker looks after Parliament, and one Minister per major agency.

Left politicians seem to think having a new ministerial portfolio is necessary to actually do stuff. Hence they think a Minister for Children will reduce child abuse etc.

The Government doesn’t (for example) have a Minister for Open Data, yet it has done some great things in opening up Government data, led by Bill English. Rather than create a portfolio, he’s just got on and done it.

Wellington Greens in fantasy land

July 19th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Cheaper bus fares, slower speed limits, free Wi-Fi and a renewed push for light rail in Wellington are among the election carrots being dangled by the region’s Green Party local body candidates.

Party-affliated councillors from across the region have revealed what will the top of their agenda if re-elected in October.

Greater Wellington regional councillors Paul Bruce and Sue Kedgley said they would push for a 25 per cent discount on off-peak bus fares as well as a 50 per cent off-peak discount for students. …

Kedgley said introducing light rail in Wellington and replacing the city’s “polluting, noisy diesel buses” with modern electric buses within a decade would also be a top priority.

A previous story from 2013 reported:

The cost of a light rail system for Wellington has skyrocketed to nearly a billion dollars, with Mayor Celia Wade-Brown now conceding it looks unrealistic in the near future.

A detailed business case for light rail between Wellington Railway Station and Kilbirnie was made public for the first time today.

It put the cost of building the network at $940 million, largely because it would require its own tunnel through Mt Victoria.

This is the problem with the Greens. They never let reality get in the way of their ideas.

Rational people would say sure we’d love light rail but the cost is unaffordable.  Their fantasy would cost $10,000 per household.

Even worse the light rail proposal would produce very low level of benefits, compared to a bus rapid transit system. The benefit cost ratio for light rail is a minuscule 0.05 or a benefit of $1 for every $20 spent.

This is what the Greens are demanding for Wellington. Spend $1 billion to get a benefit of $50 million. Per household that is take $10,000 per household and get a benefit of $500 back!

Greens know better than 107 nobel laureates

July 5th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Green Party says it will not soften its anti-genetic modification stance despite a plea from some of the world’s top scientists, who say opposition by green groups is blocking GM foods that could help reduce disease in third-world countries.

In an open letter published last week, 107 Nobel laureates urged environmental groups to end their opposition to genetically modified food, saying that there was no evidence of risks to human health and their stance was based on emotion and dogma. The scientists singled out Greenpeace, saying it had led opposition to Golden Rice, a crop which is genetically modified to provide Vitamin A and which has the potential to reduce disease and death in third-world countries.

The open letter prompted Act Party leader David Seymour to call on the Green Party to abandon its “outdated” position on GM.

“The Green Party needs to catch up with science, and modify its position on genetic modification, especially when Golden Rice has the ability to give sight to thousands of babies struggling with a lack of Vitamin A,” he said.

Green Party GM spokesman Steffan Browning said the party re-evaluated its GM policy regularly, but it would not be making any changes as a result of the open letter.

Of course not. Who do 107 nobel laureates know. They’re the sort of nutters who who also poo-poo treating Ebola with homeopathy.

Greens against getting more people in social housing

July 4th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Newshub reports:

Green Party co-Leader Metiria Turei is defending Housing New Zealand (HNZ) after Newshub revealed thousands of three-bedroom state homes are being occupied by a single person.

Now the logical thing to do is move these people into smaller state homes. But Labour and Greens oppose moving a tenant out of a state home, no matter how their circumstances change.

This means that fewer people get into a state house.

Ms Turei believes many of the tenants in the apparently under-occupied properties have family staying with them, but can’t tell HNZ because they’re too scared they’ll be kicked out.

Now think about the implications of this. Turei is saying that tenants actually have many more people living in them, but not telling HNZ because if they did their income level would be too high to qualify.

So again the Greens support state homes not going to those most in need, but just those who happen to already have one – and tough luck to those who have greater needs.

Another Green maths fail

June 22nd, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Nick Smith released:

Claims by the Green Party on contaminated sites expenditure expose how poorly they understand economics, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“Their claim the Government has underspent on contaminated sites clean-up by $32.6 million involves basic accounting errors that raise serious questions about their economic competence.

“It is a nonsense for the Greens to claim that the transfer of $11.3 million for the Tui mine clean-up from the annual appropriations to a multi-year one is a cut. The funding is identical but a multi-year appropriation recognises a particular project may be spread over a number of financial years.

Maybe we should crowd-fund a Treasury secondee for the Greens so they don’t make such basic errors.

The MoU and the Art of War

June 8th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Liam Hehir writes:

Labour and the Greens have signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” ostensibly committing both to cooperation in the service of changing the Government.

As the news buzzed around social media, you could be forgiven for thinking the Treaty of Waitangi had just been signed. That very night, Simon Dallow declaimed on the 6pm news that this “joint party power play is already changing the political landscape”. According to some cheerleaders of the Left, John Key’s fate is now all but sealed.

The thinking seems to be that Labour and the Greens are like Ross and Rachel, with the great voting public waiting eagerly for the resolution of the “will they or won’t they?” storyline. Now that Labour has finally committed to the nice guy Greens, a delighted electorate will finally be ready to make their own commitment to changing the Government.

Others think the agreement is a potentially serious blunder. In this narrative, the relationship upgrade with the Greens is an effective spurning by Labour of bad-boy Winston Peters. Because it’s generally considered that Labour won’t be able to govern without Peters’ support, the party’s decision to go with its heart and not its head may cost it dearly.

And in fact, Winston Peters does not seem particularly impressed with what Labour and the Greens have done, grumbling that his party doesn’t “like jack-ups or rigged arrangements behind the people’s back”.

As an aside, this argument is incoherent. By publicly announcing an intention to work together, Labour and the Greens are doing the opposite of going behind the people’s backs. What they are doing is arguably a lot more transparent than the standard New Zealand First method of refusing to state a preference until all the votes are cast and the backroom baubles auction is completed.

Hehir is right that Winston’s argument is incoherent.

So has Labour saved or doomed itself? Actually, the safer money is on the Memorandum of Understanding itself making zero to little difference one way or the other.

The One News Colmar Brunton poll shows that support for National and Labour went up and Greens and NZ First went down after the MoU was announced. But a one off poll change is not what matters – it is the long-term trend, and I doubt we’ll see much of an impact.

If the last half-decade or so has taught us anything, it’s that voters are about as indifferent to political minutiae as commentators are obsessed with it. As if to confirm this, the Greens themselves hailed the agreement as a “game changer” – a prediction that’s been wrongly affixed to any number of events and happenings since 2008 that were supposed to, but didn’t, bring about the end of the John Key era.

Issues that matter to voters are jobs, wages, schools, hospitals etc. MoUs far less so.

Greens claim on Waitara River baseles

June 8th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Green Party claims that the Waitara River is so polluted it is unsafe for bathers have been described as “baseless” by councillors.

Over the Queen’s Birthday weekend the Greens released a list of 10 rivers around the country that they claimed were now unsuitable for swimming.

The 10 included the Waitara, which the party said was affected by raw sewage spills.

So what are the facts:

“The Green Party’s facts are totally misaligned with reality,” council chief executive Basil Chamberlain said. 

“It’s sad for the community of Waitara who can right now swim in their river 95 per cent of the time.”

So that is 345 days out of 365 it is fine for swimming.

The council’s director of environment quality, Gary Bedford, said he could find “no factual base to the Green’s claims”.

Strong words.

“We test the Waitara River every week during peak bathing season and have found it swimmable for 95 per cent of the time,” he said. 

Bedford stressed that the council’s water quality data was publicly available and audited by Niwa to ensure its accuracy.

So who do you trust?

Greens want to ban new dairy farms

June 7th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

In February, Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy released a consultation document on new measures to improve the management of New Zealand’s rivers, lakes, aquifers and wetlands.

Among the proposals were national regulations to get stock out of waterways, strengthening requirements on councils to set nutrient limits, standardised water permit conditions on the efficient use of water and minimising nutrient loss, and improved iwi involvement in council development of water plans and water conservation orders.

Smith said today, that the Greens were “late” to the party. 

“Our Government has done more than any in our history to improve water quality of our lakes and rivers. We introduced the first National Policy Statement on Fresh Water in 2011 and the standards framework in 2014.

“We have ramped up investment in river and lake clean-up from the $29 million spent between 2000 and 2008, under the Labour government, to $115 million between 2008 and 2015 and committed a further $100 million in Budget 2016,” he said. 

He said the Greens proposal for a blanket, nationwide moratorium on dairy conversion was a “blunt approach that will punish regions”.

“The more sophisticated approach, where limits are set on nutrients, addresses the environmental issue without blocking growth in exports and jobs.

“Dairy conversions are, under this Government, being declined for the first time in areas such as Southland and Canterbury, where they would exceed the newly established limits on nutrients.

The Green Party policy to ban every rural landowner in NZ from being able to convert their land to dairy is a totalitarian policy.

One of the marks of a free society is you can choose what to do on your land. It is in totalitarian countries that the Government decides for you.

Now if in specific areas, there are issues of water quality, then local authorities can deal with that by declining specific applications (which is occurring) or requiring any new dairy venture to have no impact on water quality. That is called a balanced approach.

The Greens however want to ban every rural landowner in New Zealand from being able to establish a dairy farm. They hate dairy, and they think they should decide for everyone how their land is used.

It’s a great reminder of how dangerous their policies would be, if they ever made Government.

So which one is the village idiot?

June 6th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Paul Little writes in the Herald:

On a brighter note, Labour and the Greens are hooking up. Analogies to a marriage were quickly drawn at this exciting news, and they couldn’t be more apt. It was like when you hear that your cousin who everyone had given up on ever seeing hooked has finally got engaged, and then you find out it’s to the village idiot.

So which party is the cousin everyone had given up on and which party is the village idiot?

My pick is the Greens are the dateless cousins, as they have never got into Government. and that makes Labour the village idiot by default?

Shaw and Turei already disagreeing

June 5th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Newshub reports:

Metiria Turei appears to be at odds with her Green Party co-leader James Shaw on whether they would work with National, under questioning from Paul Henry.

Less than 24 hours after announcing a marriage of convenience with Labour, Mr Shaw and Ms Turei have given differing opinions on cooperation with National, should it get them into power.

Mr Shaw says the party’s first preference is Labour — hence yesterday’s show-and-tell of the two parties’ memorandum of understanding.

“When we’ve cooperated, both of our polls have actually gone up — and when we haven’t cooperated, we’ve tended to take votes off each other,” he told Newshub this morning.

“Preference” is the key word here — Mr Shaw wouldn’t rule out National altogether, saying it’s up to the membership.

But Ms Turei says it is “absolutely definitive” the party is committed to removing National from power.

“Our 100 percent commitment is changing the Government because they are so terrible for this country,” she told Paul Henry this morning.

So Shaw says it is up to the members while Turei says it is up to her and no way.

O’Connor not keen on Greens alliance

June 3rd, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor won’t say whether he supports the new agreement between Labour and the Greens.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday. They’ve agreed to work together to change the Government, to co-operate in Parliament and to investigate a joint policy and/or campaign.

Mr O’Connor would not answer “yes” or “no” today when asked – seven times – whether he supported the memorandum.

I think we can take that to mean a no.

Gower’s Labour-Greens-NZ First Cabinet

June 3rd, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Patrick Gower looks at what a Labour-Greens-NZ First Cabinet may look like.

  1. Andrew Little, PM
  2. Winston Peters, Deputy PM, Econ Dev, Immigration, Racing, Senior Cits
  3. Metiria Turei, Co-Vice-Deputy PM, Social Development, SIS, GCSB
  4. Annette King, Co-Vice-Deputy PM, Health
  5. James Shaw, Co-Vice-Deputy PM, Climate Change, Environment, Conservation
  6. Grant Robertson, Finance
  7. Phil Twyford, Housing
  8. Jacinda Ardern, Justice, Arts
  9. Shane Jones, Foreign Affairs, Trade, Fishing
  10. Chris Hipkins, Education
  11. Kevin Hague, ACC
  12. Kelvin Davis, Police, Corrections, Maori
  13. Ron Mark, Defence
  14. Carmel Sepuloni, OSH, Pacific
  15. David Clark, Tertiary Education, Science
  16. Fletcher Tabuteau, Primary Industries
  17. Julie-Anne Genter, Transport
  18. David Shearer, Tourism, Consumer Affairs, Commerce
  19. Tracey Martin, Local Government, Women
  20. Gareth Hughes, Energy, SOEs

So that is 10 Labour Ministers, five NZ First and five Greens.

Greens want Deputy PM

June 3rd, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar


Stuff reports:

The Green Party has an eye for the role of deputy prime minister, if it finds itself in such a bargaining position, after the next election. 

And that would “almost certainly” fall to Metiria Turei, her co-leader James Shaw said.

Why not co-deputy PMs? You could have three of them – Grant, Metiria and James!

Speaking on Wednesday, Shaw said it was “entirely normal” the biggest party in a coalition would hold the roles of prime minister and finance minister. 

Not at all. There have only been two full coalitions – National/NZ First and Labour/Alliance. One of those had the finance role go to the junior party/

He denied speculation the move to confirm only Robertson’s portfolio in a potential Labour-Green government was to give the public an assurance the Greens would not be in charge of New Zealand’s finances.

Of course it is. The sad irony is that often Julie-Anne Genter makes much more sense than Grant Robertson on the economy. I’m not sure NZ businesses will be very reassured.

Based on current polling, however, any Labour-Green coalition Government would still likely need the support of Winston Peters and his NZ First party. 

Peters refused to say who he would back before the election. On Tuesday, he rubbished the agreement, calling it a “jack-up”. 

But he did reject the idea of playing “third fiddle” to Labour and the Greens. 

He does not sound keen.

On Tuesday, however, Labour leader Andrew Little was clear the party alliance was “not a monogamous relationship”. 

He would welcome any other party committed to changing the Government and advancing progressive policies.

But he refused to say whether he would leave the Greens out in the cold and form a government with NZ First if it had the numbers and Peters insisted.

Turei said the Greens worked well with NZ First and she had no concerns about being elbowed out.

These were different times, different parties and different leaderships than when Peters blocked the Greens from governing with Labour.

You keep repeating that long enough and you might start to believe it.


Trevett says deal may have handed National the next election

June 2nd, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett writes:

It may indeed be historic but the agreement between the Green Party and Labour today may also effectively have handed the 2017 election to National on a platter.

Labour’s leader Andrew Little was at pains to emphasise the new memorandum of understanding between the two parties was “not monogamous”.

The trouble is that the one man needed to form Little’s Big Love government is NZ First leader Winston Peters and Peters prefers monogamy. …

It is certain there was some resistance in Labour’s own crew to the development. Little has made claims of supporting ‘middle New Zealand’ in recent times and the perception Labour is aligning too closely to the Greens risks undermining that.

There was a grin on Peters’ face after the announcement for a reason. Labour’s support base includes a significant chunk of working class voters who identify more with Peters than the Green Party. Peters will be betting he can scoop up some of that support from Labour. He has already begun, accusing both Labour and the Greens of selling out their supporters.

It is no secret Peters – and some Labour MPs for that matter – think the Green Party is toxic for Labour’s chances of Government. Nor is it any secret that if a Government can be formed with him alone, that is exactly how he likes it.

The only person who will be most delighted by today’s turn of events is one John Key, Prime Minister, whose chances of retaining that title just increased without him having to lift a finger.

Peters has recently said that he has never supported putting the Greens into Government, and isn’t about to start now. The best the Greens can hope for is a Labour-NZ First Government that throws them a few policy crumbs.

Watkins on the Labour-Green “deal”

June 1st, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

Is the Labour-Greens deal what they call the political equivalent of friends with benefits?  The agreement to join forces up to and including the next election campaign apparently comes with no strings attached. The deal foreshadows areas of joint cooperation and policy formation, and maybe even a joint campaign come the next election.

But once the votes are in, all bets are off. The Greens wore their heart on their sleeve at Tuesday’s announcement and talked up the certainty of a political marriage post-election. But with a resurgent Winston Peters lurking in the background, Labour leader Andrew Little was not prepared to commit.

The best reaction to the “deal” was from Steven Joyce:


On that basis, Tuesday’s announcement may make sense. Voters now know that Labour plus the Greens adds up to more than Labour plus none. Labour is hoping that will be the game changer.

Yes, a real game changer that the Greens support Labour over National. This is a shockingly new development, just like it was in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.

But Labour and Green voters probably had that equation figured in their head anyway. The voters who didn’t are more likely swinging National and NZ First voters. Little may have given them a powerful reason not to tick Labour any more. 

It paints Labour as going further left.


A non agreement

May 31st, 2016 at 4:37 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour and the Greens have announced a memorandum of understanding, to work together to change the Government.

Labour leader Andrew Little said it was time for a change.

“Labour and the Greens have reached agreement, common ground,” he said.

Labour’s relationship with the Green Party was strong and had reached a level of maturity that allowed this step, Little said.

He confirmed he would speak at the Green’s annual conference next weekend.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei said change was on the way.

The Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] would provide crystal clear clarity that was lacking at the last two elections, she told a joint press conference.

A joint approach would change the Government, Turei said.

The MOU included an agreement to co-operate in Parliament and investigate a joint policy and/or campaign.

Little said Grant Robertson would be finance minister in a Labour-Green government but no other discussions had been held over any other roles.

This is a Claytons Agreement. It has nothing of substance, or that isn’t already happening. The key thing is what isn’t in there – any commitment to have Green Party MPs as Ministers. And that isn’t there because they know Winston would veto it, and it is most unlikely they can govern without him.

The MOU is here. Basically it just says they don’t like National. The six commitments are:

  1. waffle on good faith
  2. co-ordinate in Parliament – already happens
  3. investigate joint policy or campaign – meaningless, as no actual commitment to do so
  4. No surprises policy – should already be the norm
  5. co-operate for local body elections – has been happening for last decade anyway
  6. meet monthly – already happening

Again there is absolutely no commitment to there being any Green Ministers at all.


Even Greens support scrapping Auckland’s RUB, but Goff doesn’t!

May 20th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Bernard Hickey reports:

Green Co-Leader and Housing Spokeswoman Metiria Turei said the Greens were also open to Labour’s package of relaxed city limits, relaxed density controls and new infrastructure financing, as long as it included integrated planning with public transport and protection of special land.

“That deals with a lot of our general concerns about just freeing up land on the rural boundary to allow for more sprawl. On the face of it, it looks like something we could consider and support because it has all of the parts of the puzzle integrated. The devil is in the detail always, but we’re certainly interested in their proposal,” Turei told me, adding she was also open to the infrastructure funding idea.

“If this is a measure to help with the affordability question, then this is a measure that should be given some serious thought. With the housing crisis as it is, every idea needs to be explored. We can’t afford to dismiss any idea outright.”

Wow, not quite a total endorsement, but a real sign that that the facts are winning through in this debate – if you don’t allow for more land, then nothing else will work.

Auckland Mayoral candidate (and favourite) and Labour MP Phil Goff stopped short of endorsing Labour’s proposal for the abolishment of the RUB, saying other measures would have to be put in place to control growth or fund the subsequent higher infrastructure costs of housing developments well beyond the fringes.

“If you abolish them you’ve got to put other measures in place,” Goff said, referring to the bulldozing of farm land he had seen near Kumeu which he did not approve of.

“You have to have controls. You have to have a situation that if somebody wants to build way out of the city, the developer and therefore the property purchaser, will pay for the internal infrastructure — the streets and the water supply — but the Auckland ratepayers pay the cost of getting infrastructure to that area and the further out you go the more expensive it is,” he said.

“And unless you’ve got a user pays system in place there you can’t have open slather.”

Goff, as usual, won’t commit to anything at all. As other candidates release detailed policies, he seems to have none.

John Palino some weeks ago explicitly advocated scrapping the RUB. Labour has now endorsed Palino’s policy. But Labour’s Mayoral candidate will not.

Another Green-CDU coalition

May 12th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

DW reports:

Talks in Stuttgart have finalized Germany’s first Greens-Christian Democrats regional government. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives will be junior partners in Baden-Württemberg’s coalition.

The Green party state premier for Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, and Merkel’s conservative stalwart Thomas Strobl said their seven weeks of talks resulted in a deal, adding that they would present their cabinet on Monday.

Ministers were not named on Sunday, but they said it would comprise five Greens and five conservative Christian Democrats (CDU). The line-up will be finalized by May 12, when Kretschmann is due to be inaugurated in the Stuttgart assembly.

Hard to imagine this happening in NZ, not while the Greens have a policy that they will only ever support Labour.

Party donor named in Panama Papers – for the Greens!

May 11th, 2016 at 6:56 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Green Party donor has been listed in the database of the Panama Papers documents leak.

Kiwi rich-lister Forbes Herbert Elworthy was named in the offshore leaks documents, associated with a Singapore trust and entities in the British Virgin Islands.

Elworthy donated $15,000 to the Green Party in 2011 during the election campaign.

Now imagine if Mr Elworthy was a donor to National. The Greens would be indignant and decrying Mr Elworthy and saying that National is funded through people who use tax havens and avoid or evade tax, Labour would agree, and the media would all write long columns about how awful a look this is for National and John Key.

Shaw made clear the party were not against Kiwis having trusts overseas, they just wanted more transparency and disclosure on their details.

But Andrew Little says they are of no value and should be banned entirely.

“It’s not whether someone’s got a foreign trust, it’s whether they’re doing anything illegitimate such as tax avoidance, money laundering of anything like that,” he said.

First of all tax avoidance is not illegal. The Greens promote tax avoidance. Their policy to exempt electric cars from fringe benefit tax would lead to massive tax avoidance. They think that is okay so long as it tax avoidance for something they approve of.

Deborah Morris-Travers appointed Green Party chief of staff

May 6th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Former NZ First Minister, now national advocate for Unicef Deborah Morris-Travers has been appointed chief of staff for the Green Party. 

She’ll fill the role left by the resignation of long-time staffer Andrew Campbell, who said he was departing to try something new. 

Campbell’s resignation was the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the party.

This is a good appointment by the Greens. Deborah was a good and effective Minister, and since leaving Parliament in 1999 has proven skills in the wider political arena.

Her biggest challenge may be internal, not external. Losing your three most senior staffers within three months is not a coincidence. Staff are frustrated with the decision making process within the Greens.

A third senior Green staffer departs

April 27th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Green Party has lost its third senior staff member in as many months after chief of staff Andrew Campbell announced his resignation, saying it was time for “fresh legs” to take over his role after two elections.

Mr Campbell has held critical back-room roles in the party for the past five and a half years, first as chief press secretary and then as chief of staff after James Shaw took over the leadership from Russel Norman after the 2014 election.

It follows the resignations of chief press secretary Leah Haines for family reasons, and former communications director David Cormack who left after just six months in the role to set up a public relations company.

This will be a loss to the Greens. Andrew is very respected can capable. His move into Chief of Staff was seen as a good one.

Mr Campbell denied the string of resignations was due to discontent in the Green camp. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I love politics, I love elections but you get to a point where you need to take a break from it. That’s it in a nutshell.”

He did not yet have another job lined up but had made it clear to the Green Party after the 2014 election that he intended to leave, partly because he felt it was time for ‘fresh legs’ to take on the role after seeing the party through two elections.

Regardless of how you spin it, it’s not a good look to have your Chief of Staff resign less than a year after he takes up the role.

I don’t think it is due to internal discontent, more a realisation that the chance of the Greens getting into Government is pretty bleak. Even if there is a Labour-led Government, they’ll need Peters and he’d veto the Greens being Ministers.

Greens are the biggest jet setters

February 29th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

David Seymour has pointed out:

ACT Leader David Seymour is astonished to learn that the Greens have the highest expenditure on flights.
The figures come from the fourth quarter parliamentary expense reports.  It excludes ministers who have a much heavier workload, for example the Ministers of Health and Education must visit hospitals and schools, and are reported separately.
In October, November, and December the average Green MP spent $8,562 on air travel.  By comparison the average Labour MP spent $7,790, the average National MP $5,933 and the average New Zealand First MP $6713.
Sole Maori Party list MP Marama Fox spent $13,571, less than the Greens’ James Shaw ($14,425) and Metiria Turei ($13,852).
“Green MPs’ expenditure on air travel is extraordinary for several reasons,” said Mr Seymour.
“These are the MPs who regularly tell us that climate change is the crisis of our time and we must reduce our emissions.
“It is also extraordinary that they do not even have to serve electorates, as the Greens are all list MPs and have not won an electorate since 1999.  As an Auckland electorate MP I have to see constituents on Monday and be in Parliament on Tuesday, and back in the electorate Friday, practically every week. 
“As list MPs the Greens have far more potential to minimise their carbon footprint by flying less, but not only have they not done so, they are the most frequent flyers.
“Co-leader James Shaw loves to tell the story about how, as a consultant, he helped companies reduce their use of air travel.  The Green Party must be his toughest client.”
The Greens say they offset the carbon footprint of their flights but that is still less than pure, as they criticise others for relying on offets rather than actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
As a party entirely made up of List MPs, you would expect their use of air travel to be far less than electorate MPs.

Greens maths

February 26th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government has struck back at claims that controversial state-owned asset sales have cost more than $1 billion.

Green Party energy and resources spokesman Gareth Hughes said the party had not ruled out buying back Mighty River Power, Genesis and Meridian.

Oh good. A policy of asset confiscation will be just the thing to get National a 4th term.

The latest dividend figures showed the Crown had missed out on $945 million in dividends since listing, with a further $96m spent on the sales programme, he said.

The Greens are confusing foregone income with costs. They are not the same thing, as any stage 1 accountancy student would know. Also it is not foregone income.

Cameron Burrows, a spokesman for Finance Minister Bill English, said the Greens’ comments confirmed they did not understand how business worked.

“The share offer programme has brought valuable private sector discipline to public assets,” he said.

The Government now received more in dividends than it did when it owned the companies outright.

“For example, dividends from Genesis in the decade before the float averaged $32m,” said Burrows.

“This year, as a 51 per cent owner, the Government received $83m in dividends from Genesis.”

Yes, the Government is receiving more in dividends now with 51% than it did with 100%.

The Greens think ownership doesn’t matter and that 100% public ownership would have resulted in the same level of profitability and dividends. The history of the world is that ownership does matter. It is ridiculous to assume this level of profitability and dividends would have occurred under fully public ownership.

Hughes said it would only be a few more years before the total costs eclipsed the money raised.

No the Government is receiving more money now from its 51% share than it did from 100% share. It has more dividends, and reduced debt. A win-win.

National won the 2011 and 2014 elections despite the campaign against partial asset sales. The Greens think that somehow people will care in 2017?

“As ordinary Kiwis open their power bills this winter and see the price rising again, they’ll be asking, ‘how has the power company sell-off benefited me?'”

Electricity prices went up 64% or 7.1% a year under nine years of a left wing Government.

In the last three years electricity prices have gone up only 2.45 a year.

So in summary:

  • Smaller price increases than previously
  • More dividends to the Government
  • Less debt for the Government
  • More dividends for investors such as KiwiSaver funds

Looks like a great success story to me.

The Greens and Labour were criticised for releasing their NZ Power policy just before the companies were listed, which some commentators saw as an act of sabotage.

The resulting fears may have reduced final sale prices by hundreds of millions, meaning a substantially reduced return for taxpayers.

“That’s for commentators to speculate, and play hypotheticals on,” Hughes said.

It was an act of economic sabotage. But it backfired. While some investors were scared off, those who did invest (like me) made a large capital gain after the election – all thanks to Labour and the Greens.

Mighty River Power is trading at a 4 per cent premium to its $2.50 float price, despite touching $3.50 a year ago.

Genesis Energy has also pulled back from last year’s highs, but remains 21 per cent above its $1.55 float price.

Meridian Energy has been the star performer of the three, up 57 per cent from its initial price of $1.50, which investors paid in two instalments.

I purchased in all three. I invested for the dividends but thanks to the Greens and Labour I made a good capital gain also.