Green Party list changes

May 27th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar


I thought it would be interesting to look at the Green Party list changes over time.

First the 2014 final list compared to the draft list is interesting. Mojo Mathers was rated much higher by the members than the initial ranking group. And James Shaw (sadly) rated lower. She went from 14 to 9 and Shaw from 10 to 13. Also of interest is David Kennedy shot up from 28 to 19.

Comparing 2014 to 2011, the big movers are Genter up five (deserved), Mathers up five, Clendon down three, Roche down three and Browning down five (deserved).

Looking at trends over time, I note:

  • Hague is locked in as No 3 and is the obvious next male co-leader (which could be a good thing)
  • Hughes continues to rise (deserved)
  • Delahunty and Graham have peaked and now starting to slip down

The Greens will need to get 16% to get their top 20 MPs in. I doubt they will do that – but if Labour vote continues to decline, they could get close. At the lower end of the scale, they could dip slightly below 10% as their supporters often do not turn out to vote as much as other parties. At 9% they’d get around 11 MPs – losing Walker, Roche and Browning.

In other news, Metiria Turei again makes a case for both her and Russell to be Deputy PMs:

Dunedin-based Ms Turei, who retained top spot, said there was ”no reason” two MPs could not share the deputy’s role.

This would enable Dr Russel Norman and Ms Turei’s strengths, the environment and inequality/poverty respectively, to achieve equal billing in the next government, she said.

I suspect Winston may have some views on that!

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The final 2014 Green Party list

May 25th, 2014 at 5:47 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A shake-up of the Green party list sees older MPs plunge in the rankings.

Second-term MPs Kennedy Graham and Catherine Delahunty slide down the list, leapfrogged by Julie Anne Genter, Mojo Mathers, and Eugenie Sage, all elected in 2011.

Gareth Hughes scales two places into the top five. The biggest loser is agriculture spokesman Steffan Browning, plummeting five places to the 15th spot.

It may see him struggle to return to Parliament if the Greens don’t increase their share of the vote in September’s election. Denise Roche falls two places, overtaken by Wellington Central candidate James Shaw.

Co-leaders Metiria Turei and Russel Norman take out the top two spots. Co-convener Georgina Morrison said there were six new faces in the top 20, with 10 men and women and four Maori.

A draft list was put together by candidates and delegates and issued in March, and then voted on by members. Shaw, Logie, Roche, Delahunty and Hutt South-based Holly Walker were all ranked lower by the rank and file.

Somewhat annoyingly the article doesn’t give actual rankings for candidates, so one can’t tell exactly where everyone is placed. It sounds like the changes from the draft list are relatively minor. Of course even a change of one ranking though can be critical for those on the cusp.

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Do as we say, not as we do

May 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

The Green Party is demanding transparency of political donations – but will hold a closed door auction to raise funds later this month. …

However, the Greens are coy about their own fundraising methods. An agenda for next weekend’s annual day meeting shows the media are barred from a pre-lunch ”party fundraising session” on the last day of the three-day conference.

A spokeswoman explained the half-hour meeting is an auction for party members. It was a ”fun” session closed so guests could ”let their hair down.”

Co-leader Metiria Turei has crocheted a blanket which will be offered for sale. ”It’s not $10,000 a pop,” the spokeswoman said, referring to National’s fundraising events.

So the Greens are saying it is okay to sell yourselves, so long as you sell yourselves cheaply?

I of course think there is nothing wrong with MPs attending fundraising events. But the Greens are the ones who keep claiming it is wrong.

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Greens do want taxpayers to lose 96% of their funds also!

May 13th, 2014 at 12:18 pm by David Farrar

The Green Party has announced:

The Green Party will establish a Green Investment Bank as a first step in accelerating New Zealand’s transition to a smarter greener economy, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman announced today.

The Green Investment Bank will be an enduring, government-owned, for-profit bank partnering with the private sector to fund new projects ranging from renewable energy and biofuel production to new clean technologies.

I blogged a couple of days ago on how the Greens had lost 96% of themoney they invested into Windflow, which they trumpeted as a sustainable green investment.

They now want to raid taxpayer funds and throw millions and milliosn of taxpayer dollars into trendy investments they approve of.

I say no no no.

Let them invest their own money in whatever companies they want.  But I don’t want them taking my taxes to throw away on their pet projects. This is the Green equivalent of the Development Finance Corporation which was initially Government owned and had the same mandate – funding new projects etc.  The DFC collapsed in a heap, owing over $1.8 billion.

This is their plan for the future – another DFC – but with them in charge and only their pet projects being deemed suitable for funding.

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Are the Greens still investors in Windflow?

May 12th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Embattled Windflow Technology may have to tap again its expat Kiwi investor for more capital to survive.

Whether ex-Wellington and Windflow investor David Isles, who lives in New York, needs to inject capital or lend more money to Windflow depends on how many wind turbines the Christchurch manufacturing firm manages to sell in its target United Kingdom market.

On the sales front progress has been very slow in the past three years and the company has had to raise capital several times to stay afloat, with Isles the main contributor.

Yesterday Windflow forecast a $4.4 million loss for the year to June 30 2014, after posting a half-year loss of $2.8m for the six months to December 31, 2013.

The half year loss was almost 50 per cent higher than the previous half year of $1.9m.

It shares were steady at 6c with no trades yesterday.

A significant investor in Windflow are or were the Greens. In 2001 they announced:

Green Party energy spokesperson and co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, and the Green Party’s Superannuation Fund have joined the growing list of investors in local wind power company Windflow Technology. …

“Our superannuation fund has a policy of ethical investing. Windflow Technology fits with our policy because it brings together local manufacturing and sustainable energy. As such, it is quite a unique investment opportunity in New Zealand and we are pleased to be able to invest at this early stage.”

British environmentalist and investor, Teddy Goldsmith, is the company’s largest investor so far.

Windflow Technology is offering two million shares at $1.50 each. The offer closes 1st June.

So the shares have lost 96% of their value. No wonder the Greens keep pushing policies to favour wind power.

I don’t mind the Greens losing money in sharemarket investments, but be aware they want the NZ Government to invest millions or billions in what they call green jobs, green growth, green tech.

So when the Greens go on about investing in green jobs, what they really mean is losing 96% of your money.

UPDATE: Kevin Hague says the Greens Super Fund was wound up in 2009. Useful to know, but doesn’t change the fact that this was an investment they trumpeted as sound – and is the sort they insist that the NZ Government should be making.

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A Green City Council

April 28th, 2014 at 1:18 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Mail reports:

Welcome to the Green Republic of Brighton and Hove.


Starting with just one councillor in 1996, the Green Party’s rise to power in Brighton has been unprecedented and rapid. In 2010  there was the election of Caroline Lucas as the MP for Brighton Pavilion – the party’s first Westminster seat – and then came the capture of the city council just a year later.


A clever mix of protest, pavement politics and promises of change proved popular with residents, many of them families forced from London by soaring house prices, students, or those attracted by the city’s liberal approach to life.


In 2011, the Greens ousted the Conservatives to become the largest group on the council with 23 seats. According to their leader Jason Kitcat, this was to be the future of British politics.

So what have the Greens done once they finally gained power? In Tasmania, the result was a Government so bad they got wiped out at the polls, and Labor vowing never to deal with them again. How has it gone in Brighton?

‘Winning was the worst thing possible for them,’ said one opposition councillor privately. ‘You can see they still want to be popular the whole time and dislike responsibility.’

The Green honeymoon was short-lived. Take the surreal story of an elderly elm tree.

First the Greens voted to upgrade a roundabout in the city called Seven Dials, but then found that there were protests to protect the 170-year-old tree beside the site. Eco-warriors camped out in the branches and pinned poems to the trunk. The national media showed an interest. So the Greens switched sides, joined the campaign to spare the 60ft elm from the chop and then spent a small fortune altering their own traffic scheme.

Then there was its manifesto pledge for ‘Meat-free Mondays’, which would have banned bacon rolls and beef pies from council-run staff canteens. It led to complaints from manual workers and the proposal was ditched.

Residents were similarly  surprised at Green plans to introduce livestock to one of the main routes into the city  as part of a ‘speed reduction package’. The scheme was deferred after protests.

If we do manage to end up with a Labour/Green/Winston/Mana/DotCom Government it will be very amusing for political pundits. Less so I suspect for voters!

The governing party is fatally split with, inevitably, divisions erupting into the open. Unlike other political parties, Greens do not ‘whip’ members into line to get policies passed, and meetings can descend into rows more suited to the Punch and Judy shows down on the beach.

A slim majority of moderates under amiable council leader Mr Kitcat have fought ceaseless challenges from a cabal of hard-Left councillors led by his deputy Phelim Mac Cafferty, a prominent gay activist.

The different factions are known  as ‘mangos’ (green on the outside yet yellow, like Lib Dems, in the middle) and ‘watermelons’ (green on the outside but red in the middle). The groups sit apart in the chamber during council meetings.

So serious are their differences that outside mediators were reportedly called in to reconcile the two sides. Mr Kitcat narrowly survived the latest attempt to depose him only last month – thanks to the support of his Polish-born wife Ania, a fellow moderate on the council.

And as an example:

When refuse workers went on strike against efforts to stop long-standing Spanish practices in working hours and to harmonise pay with female council staff, they were supported by the watermelons – Mr Mac Cafferty and eight colleagues.

According to one councillor, some  of these staff earned more than £50,000 a year by manipulating allowances and overtime payments. ‘They must be the highest paid bin drivers in the country,’ he said.

The strike last June led to the strange sight of the council leader telling binmen to get back to work, while his deputy joined the picket line as rubbish piled up in the streets.

That’s almost as bad as having a country’s foreign minister campaign against the Government’s trade agreement with China!

A 74-page report on ‘Trans Equalities Strategy’ to eliminate discrimination and avoid discomforting transsexuals asked for gender- neutral toilets and transgender-only sports sessions. Doctors were also urged to stop identifying patients according to gender on forms at GPs’ surgeries.

Residents are being offered the category ‘Mx’ (for Mixter) alongside Mr, Ms and Mrs on council forms. This prevents ‘an unnecessary sense of exclusion and frustration to be forced to accept a title  that doesn’t reflect someone’s gender expression.’

Focusing on the big issues.

They might heed the words of one Brighton shopper I met.

‘They seemed to have so many fresh ideas,’ she told me. ‘Now we just roll our eyes at any mention of the Greens – they’ve turned out even worse than the others.’

Now I’m not saying the NZ Greens will end up the same way, but it is fair to point out that the Greens have never had to actually govern – and governing involves compromise. The Alliance fall apart in Government because they could not reconcile the wishes of their activists with the reality of being in Government. Some Green parties have managed to successfully work in Government – such as in Germany. But others have failed – such as in Tasmania and Brighton.


Jones says Greens are anti-industry

April 27th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Shane Jones has taken another shot at the Greens, labelling them anti-industry. And when asked whether a Labour-Greens government would be preferable to a National government, he avoided the question.

Mr Jones will leave his job as a Labour MP in a month and it seems until then he will take every opportunity to attack Labour’s closest ally, the Greens.

“I just felt the Kaupapa the Greens were bringing forward, I always felt it was too anti-industry,” he says. “I’m just not going to fight that fight anymore. If that’s the way they want to run the country then I’ve had enough of it.”

Steven Joyce has pointed out they’re against the dairy industry, farming, oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, free trade agreements and international investment!

Mr Jones says he still supports Labour, but when asked twice whether he would prefer Labour-Greens government over third-term National government, he did not give a clear answer. 

I think the lack of answer speaks volumes.

Shane Jones knows deep down that a Government with Russel Norman as Minister of Finance or Economic Development will actually be against economic development.

Also in an HoS profile:

Pumipi says he should have gone with National. Jones is more oblique: “I will never admit to having joined the wrong party. But I admit to the fact that I have sounded consistently like a guy who doesn’t belong to the modern Labour Party.”

Jones’ political career is not over. Certainly, he is done with Labour. “I’m not naturally left-leaning,” he admits. He does not believe it can win this year’s election if Cunliffe continues with the current strategy, cosying up to the Greens.

Yet on Tuesday Labour will announce they have effectively adopted the Greens’ monetary policy, after fighting against it for 25 years.

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Jones cites Greens influence as factor in departure

April 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett reports:

Departing Labour MP Shane Jones’ antipathy for the Green Party went so deep he once told Labour’s leadership he would not be a minister if he was “second fiddle” to Green co-leader Russel Norman as deputy prime minister or in a senior economic role. …

Asked whether David Cunliffe had tried to keep him by promising a ministerial post if Labour regained the Government benches, he said he had told Labour’s leadership some time ago he would struggle to be a minister if Mr Norman or other Green MPs held senior posts.

“The Labour Party I came into is a party of New Zealanders. Some are on the left, some are on the right. The sweet spot is in the centre. I’m not interested in ever campaigning for the Green vote or going out there promoting Labour as only being able to govern if it has some sort of Green organ transplant.”

The reality is that Labour’s policies are all veering quite hard to the left. I’m going to do a more detailed blog post on this, but when you compare their policies today compared with say the Clark-Cullen Government – they have moved to the left in almost every case – and most of their new policies are Green party policies.

Stuff reports the response from the Greens:

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei hit back this morning, calling Jones sexist and questioning the amount of voter support he brought to Labour.

“It’s probably a good thing that he’s going, he’s very much a 19th century man in a 21st century world, and I’m not sure he’s going to cope with the changes that need to come,” Turei said on Firstline.

“I think there’s been real issues around with Shane and his sexism. I think the comments he’s made and the very derogatory statements he’s made about women in the past, in particular women in authority, has been a real problem.”

She denied Jones had appeal to working class men.

“He’s claiming he’s got lots of support, but not enough that’s kept him in Parliament. I don’t know that he has a great deal of support in his caucus either because that hasn’t kept him inside Parliament.

“At the end of the day, he’s leaving. The Greens are staying. He won’t be part of government, he won’t be a minister and the Greens are intending to be so after the election on September 20,” Turei said.

The problem for the Greens is they have little chance of being in Government, unless Labour also does a deal with NZ First.  And in a piece I do agree with, Tim Watkin states the reality:

Labour and the Greens simply aren’t a viable two-party government as the polls stand, which makes New Zealand First simply vital to any potential change of government. While New Zealand First has left its options open re coalitions and there’s plenty of smart money on Winston Peters’ preference for backing National-led – or at least incumbent – government, any path to a change of government currently looks to lead through New Zealand First.

Labour’s going to have to do some serious growing to find another path to government. So as it stands, if New Zealand First tells Labour it wants a formal coalition (something history tells us Peters prefers), but it will only consider a coalition if the Greens are excluded, well, Labour will have to exclude them.

Yep. Because what else can the Greens do?

When this scenario was put to Greens co-leader Metiria Turei on The Nation she said “if they [Labour] need us for confidence and supply, they need us to be government” and if the Greens are needed, “we, the Greens, are in a very strong bargaining position”.

Except they’re not. At all. If New Zealand First said they would only go with Labour if the Greens were sidelined and Labour bowed to that demand, the Greens would have two choices: Give confidence and supply to that government, or opt out and let a National-led government stay in power. Surely they couldn’t let the latter happen, so they would have to allow themselves to be sidelined. Again.

The Greens can not abstain on supply and confidence, because then Labour and NZ First would not be able to govern.  There would either be a new election or a National-led Government.

And considering how close Jones and Peters are, can anyone imagine Peters will let the Greens become Ministers, when their influence is what drove Shane Jones out of politics?

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The Greens’ Internet Rights and Freedom Bill

April 23rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Greens have released a crowdsourced bill – the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill. It’s a serious and valuable contribution to politics and the Internet. There are three major aspects to their proposal.

  1. Ten Internet rights and freedoms
  2. Creation of an Internet Rights Commissioner within the Human Rights Commission
  3. Creating a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for the NZ Government.

The ten proposed Internet rights and freedoms are:

  1. Right to Access
  2. Freedom from search, surveillance and interception
  3. Freedom of expression
  4. Freedom of association
  5. Right to privacy
  6. Right to encryption technology
  7. Right to anonymity
  8. Right to a safe and secure Internet
  9. Freedom of innovation
  10. Freedom from restriction

The full bill is here.

While I don’t agree with everything in the bill, there’s a lot I do agree with, and I think it would be an excellent bill to pass first reading and go to select committee for feedback.

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Why just two co-deputy PMs?

April 20th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

The Greens could share the deputy Prime Minster role in a coalition with Labour, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman last month said he was keen on the role.

Ms Turei said she would like to be deputy Prime Minister along with Dr Norman.

“There’s no rules that stop there from being more than one deputy Prime Minister,” she told The Nation.

“Russel and I have had a co-leadership role in the Greens that’s worked very well for the Green Party. I think something similar would work very well for the country as well.”

Why stop at just two?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were five co-deputy Prime Ministers?

David Parker, Russel Norman, Winston Peters, Metiria Turei and Hone Harawira could all be co-deputy Prime Ministers. They could rotate being Acting PM between, whenever David Cunliffe is overseas.

I guess Kim Dotcom can’t be an official sixth co-Deputy Prime Minister, but maybe as a consolation prize they could make him the Secretary of Justice?


Deputy Prime Minister Russel Norman

March 30th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman wants to be deputy prime minister if Labour and Greens become government after this year’s election.

Any cabinet formed after the September election should be proportional, and the deputy prime minister role would certainly be on the table, Dr Norman told The Nation today.

“Obviously it depends on the size of the vote,” he said.

It would. On current polls if there was a Labour/Green Government you’d expect Labour to have 70% of the Cabinet and Ministry and Greens 30%. If you assume a Ministry of 28, then you’d have 8 Green Party Ministers. Based on their draft list ranking they would be:

  1. Metiria Turei
  2. Russell Norman
  3. Kevin Hague
  4. Eugenie Sage
  5. Catherine Delahunty
  6. Gareth Hughes
  7. Kennedy Graham
  8. Julie Anne Genter

I presume Norman and Turei would be co-Deputy Prime Ministers.


Shorten says never again to the Greens

March 26th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Labor, which suffered a swing against it of about 9.5% to leave it with 27.4% of the vote, has also pointed to voter dissatisfaction with the power-sharing arrangement in Tasmania.

The federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said Labor’s formal relationship with the Greens was marked down by Tasmanian voters. Shorten said he could “foresee no set of circumstances that in the event that Labor was elected to government nationally, that we would go into a formal alliance with the Greens”. 

That’s a very strong statement, but reflects how deeply unpopular the alliance in Tasmania was.

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Labour’s problem with the Ladies

March 19th, 2014 at 3:05 pm by Jadis

* a Jadis post – DPF has made his way out of the bush but is still analysing his data for his travel blog extravaganza

Cunliffe’s Labour has a problem with women.  This week’s Herald-Digipoll highlighted that Labour is losing support from women.  The reasons for loss of support aren’t simple.  And while much of the support is crossing the aisle to National, it is also redistributing itself to the Greens.

But why is Labour losing the female vote?

  • Is it the way that Cunliffe appears smarmy and a little creepy when he talks to camera or uses rehearsed lines?
  • Is it because Cunliffe pretends he is ‘middle New Zealand’ while living in a multi-million dollar house with a combined family income over $500K?
  • Is it because Cunliffe patronises women with his suggestion that he bought the multi-million dollar house so that his wife could pop home to breastfeed?*

Sure, all those perception issues matter but I think we need to unpack a little more.  Some of Cunliffe’s policy is also turning women off.

The ‘baby bonus’ has backfired dramatically.  Women who I’ve previously known to be Labour voters are  surprised that Labour thinks a family with a $150K income needs as much help as their $50-$70K earning family.

Labour’s paid parental leave policy has also backfired.  Women aren’t idiots.  They too recognise that while it might be wonderful to have more paid parental leave it also needs to occur within the available budget.  Many of the women I know run their home finances.  They know how to live within their means and how to scrape together a bit more when the washing machine breaks down.  They know that they are coming out of a tough time and they are still being careful with their own and household spending.  So when Bill English suggests that yes at some point a modest extension to PPL could occur dependent on the budget then these women are much more likely to believe that than Cunliffe and Moroney’s “all and everything” approach.

Labour are also losing votes on Education. It is amazing this is even possible when National were doing such a good job of shooting themselves in the foot on Education and then the whole Novopay saga.  Hekia’s recent announcements to fund quality teaching and leadership is pulling parents back to supporting National on Education.  More importantly, Labour spent a whole lot of time on attack and have filled that opportunity for their alternative Education policy with… well, nothing.

I cheekily asked a few of my left-leaning friends why they thought Labour had a problem with attracting female voters. One response struck me: “I personally think Labour men are just as smarmy as National men, but the reason I am turned off by Labour is their women are, by and large, much more ineffectual than National women.  For all their baggage, Collins, Parata, Kaye and Tolley on the front bench kicks Labour’s offering of Ardern, Mahuta and Moroney.”

So it seems it is not all about Cunliffe but that the women in Labour’s caucus need to either ‘step up’ or be replaced with some ‘new blood’.  Oh, that’s right… Labour don’t believe in new blood.   And a ‘man ban’ is unlikely to help this wee problem.

Most of all, Mr Cunliffe, stop patronising us womenfolk.

* this is not an attack on breastfeeding.  It is an attack on a silly politician thinking women get won over by that sort of rubbish AKA patronising and just a little paternalistic.


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The Greens provisional list

March 18th, 2014 at 9:48 pm by David Farrar

The Greens provisional list is:

1 Metiria Turei (n/c)
2 Russel Norman (n/c)
3 Kevin Hague (n/c)
4 Eugenie Sage (up 2)
5 Catherine Delahunty (down 1)
6 Gareth Hughes (up 1)
7 Kennedy Graham (down 2)
8 Julie-Anne Genter (up 5)
9 Jan Logie (n/c)
10 James Shaw (up 5)
11 Holly Walker (up 1)
12 David Clendon (down 4)
13 Denise Roche (down 2)
14 Mojo Mathers (n/c)
15 Marama Davidson (new)
16 Steffan Browning (down 6)
17 Barry Coates (new)
18 John Hart (new)
19 Jack McDonald (up 11)
20 Richard Leckinger (down 3)

Readers may recall that I published an unofficial draft list that someone in the Greens passed onto me, claiming it reflecting the thinking of someone in the parliamentary wing. That list was denounced as fake, yet I find it interesting certain similarities.

Here’s what the unofficial list had, and how it compares to his official draft:

  1. Russel Norman 1
  2. Metiria Turei 2
  3. Kevin Hague 3
  4. Eugenie Sage 4
  5. Catherine Delahunty 5
  6. Julie Anne Genter 8
  7. Gareth Hughes 6
  8. Kennedy Graham 7
  9. Denise Roche 13
  10. Jan Logie 9
  11. Marama Davidson 15
  12. Holly Walker 11
  13. Mojo Mathers 14
  14. Aaryn Barlow
  15. James Shaw 10
  16. Steffan Browning 16
  17. David Clendon 12

Certainly not identical, but the unofficial list I was given did correctly pick the top five, that Genter would be prompted to top 8, and that Browning and Clendon would be demoted. That tends to indicate whomever the author was, did have a good understanding of current sentiment in the Greens.

It will be interesting now to see how the final list ranked by the members goes.

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Mr Cunliffe the poll trend doesn’t lie

March 18th, 2014 at 3:33 pm by Jadis

*Jadis post as DPF collecting info for a travel blog piece.

Audrey Young has a fascinating opinion piece today that calls out David Cunliffe’s spin on today’s demoralising Herald-Digipoll for Labour – that precarious drop into the 20s.

It was disappointing to hear David Cunliffe suggesting today’s Herald DigiPoll survey putting Labour at 29.5 per cent is off the mark.

On the one hand he said he accepted that Labour’s polling has suffered from him using a trust for donations to his leadership campaign.

The next thing he is touting his party’s own internal polling which apparently puts Labour at 34 per cent.

The fact is that if Labour’s own polling is 34 per cent, it is at odds not just with DigiPoll, but with two other recent polls: Roy Morgan on March 6 which had Labour at 30.5 per cent and the Ipsos Fairfax poll a month ago which had Labour at 31.8 per cent.

The DigiPoll result of 29.5 is not much lower in reality but falling into the 20s from 30 is like falling into a canyon and is devastating for any party with designs on Government.

I am wondering if Cunliffe, his closest advisors and others have only been presenting some of the truth of Labour’s predicament to caucus.  You see that ’34 per cent’ that Cunliffe talks about is entirely possible if we add in the ‘prompted’ voters.  A prompted result is where a voter who says they are undecided is asked who they are most likely to vote for.

Today’s report on the Herald-Digipoll result very clearly states that the 29.5 per cent result is of “decided voters only”.  The decideds are what matter at this point of the cycle and Cunliffe knows that.  If I were in his caucus I’d be asking to see the decided or unprompted numbers.

If I was in Labour’s caucus I’d also be asking why Labour is becoming less attractive to women and Aucklanders.  Two groups that are pivotal to the quest for the undecided vote.  If you aren’t picking up decided voters from those groups now then you are very unlikely to pick up votes from those groups closer to the election.

A 29.5% result is a big deal.  One public poll in the 20s sends the caucus and party activists into a bit of meltdown.  As Whaleoil points out electorate MPs run back to their seats, and activists only focus on MPs or candidates they think can win a seat. A 29.5% result also means that a 25% result is not that far away… and that is frightening.  A 29.5% result means that Matt ‘Game Changer’ McCarten hasn’t worked his magic (the way Bomber talked him up it sounded like we’d see a result day 2).

In all this National also has to be a bit careful.  National needs to retain women and Auckland voters and ride very high in the polls due to a lack of support partners.  National can chortle a bit and I am sure Bill English Is thinking “so much nice being this side of the result’ but National cannot get complacent.  It needs to defend its fine batting total and bowl Labour out.

Labour can get away with some low polling if the Greens also shoot up (as they have) so that the Left vote is still high or near to National’s vote.  If they can do that then it is still a close run race.  A true decimation is less likely on the Left as Labour has (and I think it will continue to) fragment into distinct parties or collections of interests.  We are seeing a re-organisation of the Left.  Yes, Labour could drop into the mid 20s but the Greens and possibly Mana will shoot back up.

The Right needs to continue to look at the total Left vote vs the National (plus two seats) scenario.  Right and Left need to run two very different strategies.

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A Green policy with some merit

March 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Greens have announced:

The Green Party has announced a new policy to make walking and cycling to school safer.

We will invest $200 million in new transport infrastructure so kids can cycle and walk to school safely and to ease congestion on New Zealand’s roads.

Our aim is to get most kids walking or cycling to school again by making it a safe and pleasant experience.

A generation ago, most kids walked or cycled to school. Today, only a third do When kids walk or bike or ride their scooter to school, it’s good for their health, it’s good for their learning, it eases congestion and it’s good for the environment.

I agree with the aim of the policy. Far better to tackle obesity by making it easier for kids to cycle to school, than trying to ban large easter eggs and tax certain foods.

Allocate $50m a year for four years to build modern, convenient walking and cycling infrastructure around schools: separating kids and other users from road traffic, giving a safe choice for families

The $50 million a year seems a figure plucked out of thin air. I’d rather a smaller sum spent on say a couple of dozen schools and measure the impact it has on cycling rates before committing to a larger spend.

The latest research shows that we can get up to $20 of gains for every dollar spent. That’s a billion dollars of gains for each year’s $50 million investment.

First of all it isn’t 20 to 1. Eric Crampton points out they’re comparing benefits in 2051 to the cost today, not taking into account the cost of money over the next 40 years.  At even a 5% discount rate $1 today is $7 in 2050. And the benefit to cost ratios they cite range from 6:1 to 20:1 so in fact they may not provide a net benefit. As I said, it could well be beneficial, but if it really was a 20:1 benefit – would have happened by now.

A key is whether the rate of kids cycling to school will increase as they have assumed. Best to test it, before you spend $200 million.

The other issue is paying for it. They say they’ll divert money from roads. They should be more specific and say explicitly which current road project they will scrap. To be credible it has to be one that has not yet started construction.

But overall not a bad policy.

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It’s like a teen drama!

March 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stacey Kirk at Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has dismissed suggestions of a cooling in relations between his party and the Greens, saying the Greens would be the obvious first choice for Labour to strike a coalition with.

Yesterday, Cunliffe refused to say whether he would negotiate with the Greens before NZ First.

But today he appeared to back down from those statements, dismissing speculation that tension had arisen between the two allies.

Well Cunliffe not only distanced himself from the Greens, but described Winston as a good guy. That’s a great deal of enthusiasm for him. I guess he regards lying to the media, public and Parliament over his knowledge of the Owen Glenn donation doesn’t stop him being a good guy.

The backdown comes after the Greens lodged an official complaint with Labour over outspoken MP Shane Jones’ attacks on the party.

Yesterday, Cunliffe said he would work with whatever cards the voters delivered after the September 20 election.

“That may indeed quite likely be with the Greens, it may well be with Winston first … NZ First.”

But he would not say the Greens would be his first choice, saying there was “no preordained order”.

This morning, he told Firstline talking with the Greens first was the logical step, if in a position to form a Government.

The Greens are somewhat terrified that Labour will lock them out of Government if Winston demands it as the price of his support. And what could they do about it? Vote for a National-led Government? Of course not. They’d have to just swallow the butter medicine.

The reality is that it looks incredibly improbable that Labour and Greens will have enough seats by themselves to form a Government after the election. Even a bauble to Hone won’t get them over the line. They’ll need Winston and as he has the option of going with National (which the Greens do not), he has all the power.

UPDATE: And looking even worse for the Greens, as Peters says they can’t win without him and his policy is to rule them out:

Winston Peters doesn’t think a Labour/Greens coalition can win the September 20 election.

Chris Trotter thinks they can’t win also. Back to Peters:

Mr Peters says Labour’s strategists must be worried because they must know they can’t win with the Greens.

“They know full well that those two parties can’t get up in this election,” he said on Radio New Zealand.

“Some people should get their hard hats on, because together they won’t make it.”

Before the 2005 election Mr Peters ruled out working with the Greens in a coalition government, and says his position hasn’t changed since then.

But he didn’t rule it out.

“We are six months out from an election and from what we have heard thus far our position has not changed from 2005 on the Greens,” he said.

“However, they’ve got six months in which they might make changes, so you can’t rule that out.”

The Greens are not going to change their policies in the next six months to appease Peters. So if he holds the balance of power, he will block the Greens from Government as a price of support for Labour.

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Fighting on the left

March 11th, 2014 at 3:10 pm by David Farrar

Vernon Small writes:

The Greens have lodged a formal complaint with Labour over outspoken MP Shane Jones’ attacks on the party.

They’ve complained because an MP from another party criticised them? Who is being thin skinned now?

It comes as the Northland-based list MP faced a ticking off from leader David Cunliffe this morning over his anti-Green comments as well as for straying into other MPs’ areas of responsibility.

It is understood the Green’s chief of staff Ken Spagnolo invoked the official mechanism for airing disputes with Labour’s new chief of staff Matt McCarten and it will be on the agenda of the next top level meeting between the two allies.

Good to see them focusing on the big issues. Again, imagine how they’ll be going running a Government!

Green co-leader Russel Norman said he imagined the matter would be dealt with at chief of staff level.

But he said Labour was obviously had some “internal issues” to deal with.

Just a few!

”There’s clearly some people like Shane Jones within Labour who are uncomfortable about protecting the environment and embracing our clean energy future. but … the Greens know what we are doing and why we’re here.”

Wait, isn’t this a personal attack on Shane Jones? Maybe Jones should complain also through their dispute process!

Meanwhile NewstalkZB report:

Labour leader David Cunliffe says the Greens won’t necessarily be the first cab off the rank if he’s in a position to form a Government after the election.

The translation is he’ll sacrifice them for Winston if Winston asks for it. Poor Greens – 18 years in Parliament and no baubles for them.

There was another oops in David Cunliffe’s life earlier this morning when he referred to his possible coalition partner New Zealand First as ‘Winston First’.

“Winston’s a good guy but I’m not doing coalition negotiations before the vote and we will work with whatever cards the voters put on the table. That may indeed quite likely will be with the Greens, it may well be with Winston First.”

I’m very pleased to see the official Kiwiblog term for New Zealand First catching on!!

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Former Labour energy minister slams Labour/Green power policy

March 6th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A former Labour energy minister has slammed the party’s proposed power policy, saying it would mostly benefit the rich while damaging the renewable energy sector.

David Butcher, who now runs a consulting firm, was one of four speakers debating the merits of NZ Power at the Downstream energy forum in Auckland. …

Butcher said the proposal would overturn 25 years of collaborative market development for an “untested and very flawed model”.

“I think it would largely destroy the renewables industry, or at least set it back five or six years,” he said.

Butcher said that before deregulation in 1990, power prices were rising by about 20 per cent a year.

Today, 72 per cent of new generation was renewable, there was private investment in renewables and there were no blackouts, he said.

Butcher said the benefits of the policy would largely go to rich people with high power usage and companies like Rio Tinto, which runs the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

Of their many bad policies, I rate this one the worse.

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Greens trying to fundraise on back of defamation case

March 5th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Greens have announced:

The Green Party has launched an appeal to cover the costs of defamation action being taken against the party by Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.

Or is it!

The fine print:

You should know that any funds not used in the court case will go towards the Green Party’s work to create a smarter, cleaner, more compassionate New Zealand for all of us.

So actually it is a plea for campaign funds. You see it is highly likely that the Greens will use the taxpayer funded leader’s budget to cover Norman’s legal costs. They have every right to do that, but don’t be surprised if they use that fund to cover most of the costs, and then pocket all the donations for their election campaign.

On Facebook, a Green party member, Alan Bell, comments:

Totally misguided and somewhat deceitful. Nothing to do with free speech. Russel could well have spoken about Green policy without referring to Craig. Does the Green party so underestimate our intelligence as to infer we are unable to evaluate Craig for ourselves? Do the Greens plan to repeal the Defamation Act? Will the Greens introduce policy that means access to the courts is available to all rather than only the wealthy? Russel made his bed and should lie in it – his political stunt backfired. As a paid up member of the Green party I expect my representatives to stand up for the rights of all NZers including women and homosexuals and respect my ability to gauge for myself the policies of other parties. Craig has a right to defend himself against defamation – I despise the man and hope his case falls over. But I also think positing this as a defence of free speech and LGBT and womens’ rights is a load of bollocks and a stain on the integrity of the party. MPs are are on far more than “middle income” (as Cunliffe should know) so you lot can pay for it.

Another person, Graham Hooper comments:

Rusell could have made a speech defending the rights of Women and Gay people without mentioning Colin Craig. Why give the Guy any News coverage? You MPs get a Good pay. if You feel that you should waste money on Paying Lawyers then your Choice but there is an election coming up why not just say sorry and put the money towards an election

So sounds like some unrest with members and supporters.

Hat Tip: Pete Goerge

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Green Party member who stood for leader suspended

February 24th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Greens have announced:

The Green Party has suspended David Hay’s membership for one year following an investigation into misconduct.

A panel found Mr Hay’s behaviour breached party rules, and recommended he be suspended for one year.

The panel’s recommendations are contained in a report (attached) released to the party’s executive and Mr Hay today.

The report recommended a “cooling down” period of one year, after which Mr Hay may reapply for membership.

Suspending a member is very rare. Unless the member does something such as stand for another party, it is rare for disciplinary action to reach this level.

While the report makes clear Hay has acted unwisely with some of his actions, they also find that he has a genuine grievance. Also of interest is they say:

We made it very clear that any member is entitled at any time to challenge for the leadership or any other position but asked if he had considered the effect on the party and the campaign of doing this in election year.

Which suggests that his decision to stand for leader, did play a part in the decision to suspend him. David Hay has done a release stating:

“For my part, I don’t resile from the statements I made in public, nor apologise for them. In summary these were:
• The Green Party is too weak in Auckland: it should have a co-leader based here, and at least 1/3 of the Green Party caucus should be Auckland-based.
• I was removed from the candidate pool because of a dirty smear campaign, led by senior members of the party. I concluded that the party co-leaders must have known about about this and approved of it, which is why I called for them both to resign.
• The main “smear” made against me was that I campaigned for the electorate vote in Epsom in 2011, contrary to party instructions. That allegation is untrue and is not supported by any evidence.”
“The Green party vote in Epsom increased from 6.93% in 2008 to 12.03% in 2011, and Epsom was one of only four electorates in Auckland that exceeded the national party vote of 11.1% for the Greens.”

Hay goes on to say he will not rejoin the Greens under its current leadership.

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Greens want to be in the PM vs Opp Ldr debate

February 24th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

The Green Party has lobbied the television networks to take part in prime-time televised leaders’ debates during the election campaign alongside Labour’s David Cunliffe and Prime Minister John Key rather than being lumped in with the minor parties.

I’m all for Labour and Greens taking turns at being the Leader who goes up against Key, but the reality is these debates are about showcasing the two people who may be Prime Minister after the election.

Andrew Campbell, the Green’s communications director, confirmed it had put in a formal request to both networks to debate National and Labour rather than the smaller parties because it was in a much stronger position in the polls.

“It seems ridiculous to put a party with a genuine strong support base, a significant portion of the electorate, in the same debate as people who can’t even win their own seat without the help of another party. Why would we debate a person who can’t even win it’s own seat without help?”

Why would a party on 51% debate a party on 8%, using the Green’s own logic?

I do understand where they are coming from to a degree – that they and NZ First are medium sized parties compared to some of the “minnows”. Maybe the solution is to just have a medium sized leaders debate between a Green co-leader and Winston. That would be entertaining.

National’s campaign chair Steven Joyce said National wanted to keep the one-on-one debates but that did not necessarily mean Russel Norman would miss out. “We will be very happy to debate with the leader of the largest Opposition party at the time. You never know, maybe the Greens will get there. They’re not that far behind.”

They’re a fair way behind now, as Labour’s campaign strategy appears to be to take votes of the Green at the same rate as they lose centrist voters to National.

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Have Labour and Greens broken the CIR Act?

February 21st, 2014 at 3:01 pm by David Farrar

Whale blogs:

Back in March last year David Farrar asked if the Greens, Labour and the Unions might break the Citizens Initiated Referendum Act.

On top of that leaked documents showed that they intended to work together on the referendum, utilising taxpayer funds to do so.

Those documents clearly show it was a co-ordinated campaign working together.

S42 of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act states:

Every person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 who, either alone or in combination with others knowingly spends, on advertisements published or broadcast in relation to an indicative  petition, more than $50,000

And the election returns show:

  • Service and Food Workers Union – $26,269
  • Labour party - $45,382.95 
  • Public Service Association – $3987.18
  • The Green party  - $39,541.49
  • The NZ Council of Trade Unions - $523.20
  • First Union - $23,356.08
  • The NZEI – $547
  • NZ Nurses Organisation – $556

Whale points out:

Total Spend  by Unions, Labour and the Greens is $140,162.90

Labour and the Greens by themselves breach the act, with combined spending of $84,924.44

Will be very interesting to see what the result of a complaint would be.

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The solar numbers

February 18th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The head of New Zealand’s largest renewable energy company is dismissing the economics of home-based solar, saying he “can’t follow” the numbers put forward by proponents.

Last week, ahead of the Green Party announcing a major loan scheme to subsidise solar installation through low-cost loans, Meridian chief executive Mark Binns said he could not understand why people installed them.

“I can’t follow the economics that are put forward by proponents of household solar in terms of returns as an investment,” Binns told Parliament’s commerce select committee.

“On our numbers, in our analysis, it is still probably not viable if you went to an accountant.”

Greens energy spokesman Gareth Hughes, who is part of the committee, defended the economics, asking Meridian management “it’s still cheaper than buying from a retail provider, isn’t it, over the lifetime of the solar panel?”

Binns and Meridian chairman Chris Moller replied simultaneously “no”.

While Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the major obstacle for people investing in solar was the up-front cost, Binns said the major challenge posed by solar was that after 25 years the panels were worthless.

“The thing people don’t realise is that [if] you invest in solar facilities, you get nothing back at the end of 20 or 25 years,” Binns said.

So you need to be pretty certain the savings from electricity will be greater than the cost of both the capital and the interest.

An academic is also cautious:

University of Canterbury engineering lecturer Dr Alan Wood said there were 1250 New Zealand households with solar panels installed, with predictions this would increase to 30,000 by late 2018.

Whether there was a benefit in cost-savings to the consumer depended on how they used the solar-generated power, Wood said.

“Early adopters should be people that consume electricity during the day.

“For them it does stack up but only just.”

Wood thought the Green Party’s predicted savings to households of $100 a year were over-estimated.

“They have assumed you use all the power yourself, which is not the case.”

I’m willing to bet a very large amount of money that even if the Green Party policy is implemented, there will not be 30,000 new solar installations in three years. A 1.9% reduction in the interest rate on a loan saving $2 a week is not going to increase take up by 2000% as they claim. Their numbers are more dodgy than a used car salesman.

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Will a $2 a week saving increase uptake by 2000%?

February 17th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Green solar energy policy of a slightly lower interest rate on loans for solar power would reduce loan repayments by around $2 a week.

I am very sceptical that a huge number of people will decide to take out a $10,000 to $15,000 loan to save $2 a week.

But let us be generous. Let’s say that the $2 a week saving will result in twice as many people deciding to install solar power. What sort of increase is that?

Well currently there are 40 to 50 installations a month. So we will be generous and say an extra 50 a month or 600 a year.

Yet the Greens claim there will be an extra 10,000 a year. Yes they claim their $2 a week reduction in interest rates will result in a 2000% increase in solar panel installations.

If you believe that, I have a bridge for sale.


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