Locke on Key

March 8th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key’s refusal to attend the funeral of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is a “mind-boggling political blunder,” a former MP says.

Former Green MP Keith Locke says Key is wasting an opportunity to rub shoulders with leaders in the increasingly influential region.

I’m really not sure how news worthy it is that a former Green MP disagrees with the PM. If it was a current MP, maybe.

I thought Keith Locke was against leaders who abuse human rights. I guess he thinks it is okay, when they are of the same ideological persuasion.

Farewell Keith Locke

September 29th, 2011 at 1:11 pm by David Farrar

Looking back I probably hated Keith Locke before I met him. He stood for everything I detested.  Famously he had welcomed the USSR “liberation” of Afghanistan. He was basically an avowed communist who openly talked about much better the world would be without the United States.

I still disagree with Keith on almost every issue. His opposition to Police tasers is woefully misguided, and I doubt we would agree on a single economic or foreign policy issue.

However Keith is a great example of someone where you can hate their views, but like the person. Some people can’t do that (and I used to find it harder) but I think it is a healthy thing to be able to do.

Keith is one of the nicest MPs that has been in Parliament. I can’t recall a time where he had made a personal attack on someone. His views, while extreme, are sincere. He is a product of his parents and upbringing.

My views on Keith are not unique to me. Many National MPs have said how much they like him on a personal level, and Keith has attended a fair few National parties and functions.

There are a couple of issues where I have agreed with Keith, such as republicanism, and have enjoyed working with him on those issues.

Keith used to get tormented in the House, especially by Winston Peters and Michael Cullen. Cullen once almost reduced him to tears. While I think it is quite legitimate to use MP’s previous utterances against them, the nature of some of the taunting was over the top.

Keith gave a witty valedictory yesterday, commenting how his SIS file will be very useful to him in writing the history book he is working on. I hope he enjoys his post-parliamentary career.

Dyer on Libya

March 30th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Gwynne Dyer writes:

So why is this “coalition of the willing” (which has yet to find a proper name for itself) doing this? Don’t say “it’s all about oil”. That’s just lazy thinking: all the Western oil majors are already back in Libya.

I remember nutters insisting the Iraq war was about oil. The cost of the war has been many many times more expensive than any oil pumped from Iraq – and regardless the US is paying the same price as everyone else for Iraqi oil.

Maybe it’s just about local political advantage, then. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the driving force behind this intervention, and he faces a re-election battle next year. Is he seeking credit with French voters for this “humanitarian” intervention?

Implausible, since it’s the right-wing vote he must capture to win, and saving the lives of Arab foreigners does not rank high in the priorities of the French right.

True. Having said that Sarkozy’s opularity has increased due to his leadership on this issue. but I don’t think that was the motivation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was the other prime mover in the Libyan intervention. Unless the coalition Government he leads collapses (which is quite unlikely) he won’t even have to face the electorate again until 2014.

And this will be long forgotten, unless the conflict is still ongoing in which case it will be very unpopular.

As for United States President Barack Obama, he spent weeks trying to avoid a US military commitment in Libya and his Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, was outspoken in denouncing the idea. Yet there they all are, intervening: France, Britain, the US and half a dozen other Western countries, strikingly unaccompanied by Arab military forces, or indeed by anybody else’s.

There is no profit in this for the West, and there is a high probability (of which the interveners are well aware) that it will all end in tears.

So why are they doing it?

So why have the Western countries embarked on this quixotic venture? Indians feel no need to intervene, nor do Chinese or Japanese.

Russians and South Africans and Brazilians can watch the killing in Libya on their televisions and deplore Gaddafi’s behaviour without wanting to do something about it.

Even Egyptians, who are fellow Arabs, Libya’s next-door neighbours, and the beneficiaries of a similar but successful democratic revolution just last month, haven’t lifted a finger to help the Libyan revolutionaries.

They don’t lack the means – only a small fraction of their army could put an end to Gaddafi’s regime in days – but they lack the will.

Indeed, they lack any sense of responsibility for what happens to people beyond their own borders. That’s normal.

What is abnormal is a domestic politics in which the failure to intervene in Rwanda to stop the genocide is still remembered and debated 15 years later.

African countries don’t hold that debate; only Western countries do. Western countries also feel guilty about their slow and timorous response to the slaughter in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Nobody else does.

Sad, but largely true.

Why is it only Western countries which believe they have a duty to intervene militarily, even in places where they have no interests at stake, merely to save lives?

My guess is that it’s a heritage of the great wars they fought in the 20th century, and particularly of the war against Hitler, in which they told themselves (with some justification) that they were fighting pure evil – and eventually discovered that they were also fighting a terrible genocide.

Of course not all in the West have this view. Keith Locke said in Parliament:

Five important Security Council members—Germany, Brazil, India, China, and Russia—did not support the UN resolution. They were reluctant to support military intervention in Libya, and the Greens share their concerns. Although we fully identify with the democratic forces in Libya and do not wish to see them crushed, we see a lot of problems with the military intervention as it is evolving right now.

They identify with the democratic forces, but won’t vote to use force to protect them from being slaughtered by Gaddafi.

Generally military force is the last resort. But it is a resort. With the Greens, they seem unable to support military action, no matter how noble the cause.

Locke retires

January 26th, 2011 at 10:08 am by David Farrar

Keith Locke has announced:

Green MP Keith Locke announced today that he will not run again at the next election, but promised a busy 12th and final year in Parliament. …

The 66-year-old said he was proud of his achievements as a human rights watchdog and peace advocate. “I’ll probably be remembered as the MP who most strongly resisted legislation inspired by the ‘war on terror’ which has eroded our civil liberties.

“Perhaps my efforts mean that our anti-terrorism and security laws are not so draconian as they are in some other Western countries.” …

Mr Locke also kick-started the parliamentary debate on whether New Zealand should become a republic: “Even though my Head of State Referenda Bill failed to get a majority in the House, I’m confident we will be a republic in the not-too-distant future.

“As an Auckland MP I’ve played a significant role in redirecting attention and finance into public transport. In 2006, working in tandem with Rodney Hide, I galvanised a successful campaign to stop the construction of an expensive and misplaced waterfront stadium.”

I wish Keith well in his retirement. He is the last of the original 1999 Green MPs to announce their retirement. After 2011, none of the originals will be left.

I can’t think of an MP I disagree with more on foreign and defence policy. And probably many other policies also.

However on a personal level, I’ve always found Keith very personable, easy to talk to, and engaging. I don’t agree with his views – but I do respect he has consistently advocated what he has believed. If anything, Keith is too consistent – his view on the United States have I suspect been fixed for the last 50 years.

Keith, and Rod Donald before him, have been most prominently associated with defending civil liberties (and on some of these issues, I have been in agreement), and it will be interesting to observe if any of the other Green MPs can step up to achive the same profile there.

Don’t call the terrorists names

October 14th, 2010 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

John Key announced on Tuesday:

New Zealand has designated a further seven international terrorist groups under the Terrorism Suppression Act, Prime Minister John Key announced today.

The entities are: Indian Mujahideen, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the military wing of Hamas (Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades), the Real Irish Republican Army, the Continuity Irish Republican Army, the New Peoples Army/Communist Party of the Philippines, and Hizbollah’s military wing (The Islamic Resistance).

“These designations help implement our international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, which is aimed at preventing the activities of terrorists,” says Mr Key.

“All seven of the entities have carried out various terrorist acts, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians.

Sounds entirely sensible. I mean who could object to that? No-one right?

I spoke too soon.

Enter the Green Party:

One of my aims, as a Green MP, has been to get New Zealand to specialise in international peacemaking, using Norway as a model.

Norway has used its good offices, and specialist advisers, to sponsor peace talks in Sri Lanka, Sudan, the Middle East, and the Philippines.

It has been able to play this mediating role because it has not declared any of the parties to the talks as terrorist organisations. …

Yesterday John Key followed suit, putting these two organisations on New Zealand’s terrorist list.

He also put six other organisations on the list, including the military wings of Hamas and Hizbollah. This is plain silly, when surely the main task of countries like New Zealand is to encourage peace negotiations between Israel and the governments in Gaza (Hamas) and Lebanon (where the government includes Hizbollah ministers).

Official statement from the Green Party. They are against sanctions (which is what happens when you designate an organisation as a terrorist activity) against terrorists, because calling them terrorists hurts their feelings.

Yep, don’t block access to their bank accounts, don’t try and stop weapons being sold to them. Because you may offend them, by calling them terrorists.

According to Wikipedia the Indian Mujahideen in seven bombings have killed 203 people and injured a further 703. Palestinian Islamic Jihad has killed 211 and injured 605 in around 20 attacks. The Real IRA and Continuity IRA are the lunatics still planting bombs in Ireland and England. Keith commie friends in the Philippines want to replace a democratic state with a Maoist one party state.

It may have escaped Keith’s notice that these organisations are not that keen on peace.

A good Green bill

September 2nd, 2010 at 3:45 pm by David Farrar

I have advocated for some time that the requirement for the Attorney-General to advise the House if a bill breaches the Bill of Rights, should be expanded so that such opinions are not just given for first readings, but also at second and third readings.

Keith Locke has a bill, which will do effectively that and more. I hope it gets drawn and referred to a select committee. The PR says:

It will require all legislation to be checked for consistency with the Bill of Rights, and it will enable Courts to send a report to Parliament where legislation is inconsistent with the Act. The Government will be obliged to respond to such reports.

“The bill will help protect our rights, by making it harder for a government to ignore conflicts between its legislation and the Bill of Rights Act,” said Mr Locke, Green party human rights spokesperson.

“My bill requires vetting of legislation for consistency with the Bill of Rights at all stages of the parliamentary process.

There is one aspect I am not sure about:

The bill also entrenches the Bill of Rights Act, by requiring a 75% majority of the House to change it.

It should only be entrenched if 75% of Parliament vote for it to be so. A basic majority should not be able to require a super-majority to over-turn it.

UN calls for no tasers

March 29th, 2010 at 11:06 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The Government is rejecting a call from the United Nations human rights committee to strip police of Tasers.

Justice Minister Simon Power has also hit back at suggestions by the international body that our criminal justice system discriminates against Maori.

The committee, which is made up of academics and judges, monitors countries that have signed up to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It issued its final observations on New Zealand after a process that included years of reporting, as well as testimony from Mr Power.

The committee said New Zealand should “consider relinquishing” the use of Tasers because the weapons could cause life-threatening injuries and severe pain.

As does a gun.

Green Party human rights spokesman Keith Locke supported getting rid of Tasers. “The Government should take heed of this esteemed international body.”

Yes Keith. Far better that criminals armed with baseball bats be shot to death like Stephen Wallace was, rather than tasered.

Locke on his Head of State Bill

December 30th, 2009 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

Keith Locke writes in the Dominion Post:

After a seven-year wait, my Head of State Referenda Bill, designed to let New Zealanders decide who should be their head of state, has finally been pulled from the members’ ballot.

I hope to win enough support in Parliament for my private member’s bill to send it through for select committee consideration.

Sadly National is voting against letting the people have a say. It may still pass though, if all the other parties support it. It would be the first time the people of NZ would be able to submit on what they think the process should be for resolving the issue of our head of state.

There are strong arguments for change, not least that we are now a confident, independent nation in the South Pacific. Having a head of state in Britain does not match who we are in the 21st century.

And our economic and trading future is with our neighbours, not Europe.

My bill provides a choice of three options – the status quo and two republican options. The most popular republican option is probably a directly elected president (selected by single transferable vote), but I have also included as an option a president selected by 75 per cent of Parliament. I wanted all the options on the table for people to debate before a vote.

If none of the three options gains 50 per cent support, the bill provides for a runoff referendum between the two leading options.

So it would probably be a run off between the status quo and the most popular republican option.

This separation of royal roles has produced an interesting constitutional dilemma for British politicians trying to change the rules of royal succession, so that they don’t give preference to male heirs. If the British Parliament made such a change, and the New Zealand Parliament did not, the king or queen of New Zealand could end up being a different person from the king or queen of Britain.

I always say that if we have to have a royal family, we should invite Princess Madeleine of Sweden to become our head of state!

Some New Zealanders worry that we might end up with the wrong person if we elect our head of state: perhaps a celebrity who doesn’t know much about politics or, at the other end of the scale, someone too politically aligned.

My view is that we can trust the people to elect a head of state acceptable to the nation, as Ireland has in election after election. Former Irish president Mary Robinson went on to do well as the UN high commissioner on human rights.

The other thing you can do is ban any current or former MP from being elected President, if one is worried about a politician being President.

At present the governor-general lacks some independence, because he or she is appointed by the Government, has to take advice from the Government, and can be sacked by the Government. An elected head of state would not be so constrained from acting in an impartial manner.

This is a key issue, that many people do not realise. The Prime Minister can sack the Governor-General at whim, and appoint a new one without approval or even consultation with anyone.

Having a NZ Head of State, would reduce the power of the Prime Minister.

Republic Referendum Bill selected in ballot

October 14th, 2009 at 12:20 pm by David Farrar

Keith Locke’s bill which would allow the public to vote in a binding referendum on our head of state has been selected from the ballot, after many years on the ballot paper.

I remarked a couple of weeks at the launch of the Republic of New Zealand handbook that Keith seems to be the only Green MP without the luck of the ballot, but this has changed now!

Keith’s bill is online here.

I hope all MPs will support it at first reading, regardless of their personal views on the merits of the monarchy vs a republic. This is about letting the public have a debate and a vote. Or at the least, all parties will allow MPs a conscience vote on it.

The bill would trigger a referendum at the next general election after it is passed, on whether to “continue with the Sovereign as head of State, or to change to either a head of State appointed by a vote of at least 75% of the House of Representatives, or a head of State directly elected by the people.”

If a majority vote for change, then a year later a second referendum is held between the two most popular options. So the first ballot would be a choice of three options:

  1. Vote for the Sovereign to continue as NZ’s Head of State
  2. Vote for a Head of State to be appointed by at least 75% of the house of Representatives
  3. Vote for a Head of State to be directly elected by the people

And the two most popular options would go forward to the second referendum. In all probablity this would be option (1) and one of the two other options.

The bill is not perfect, but is totally deserving of select committee consideration, so the public can have their say on whether they want there to be a binding referendum, and if so what form that should take.

Three things on tonight in Wellington

September 23rd, 2009 at 1:30 pm by David Farrar

The New Zealand Republic Handbook is being launched at Parliament tonight.

The Handbook is a guide to creating a New Zealand republic and covers the issues of New Zealand becoming a republic plus the arguments for and against republicanism in New Zealand.

The launch is in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Drinks and nibbles start at 5.30 pm and speechs are from 6 pm to 6.30 pm. Speakers are Hon Peter Dunne from United Future, Phil Twyford from Labour, Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta and Green MP Keith Locke plus Republican Movement Chair Lewis Holden. And so long as my dentist appointment at 10 am today doesn’t end up involving anaesthetics, I am the MC for the function.

MPs, parliamentary staff and press gallery are all welcome to attend. Around 30 MPs, from pretty much every party, have already RSVP’d but there is no need to do so if you work in Parliament. If you do not work at Parliament and would like to attend e-mail events@republic.org.nz so your name can be given to security.

After that Parliament should be debating the 1st reading of the VSM Bill which will restore to tertiary students the right to decide if they want to join a student association or not. Not that many laws result in more freedom, not less, so worth supporting.

And later that evening, we have Backbenches at the Backbencher, with live filming from 9.10 pm. MPs are:

  • John Boscawen, ACT
  • Keith Locke, Greens
  • Damien O’Connor, Labour
  • Pesata Sam Lotu-Iiga

Topics include how to spell Wanganui and what should be on Letterman’s Top Ten for John Key.

NBR Satire

September 8th, 2009 at 9:53 am by David Farrar

Some nice satire from NBR:

To the Green Party headquarters, located in a Thorndon investment property. Keith Locke wants a hand drafting his latest private members bill. He is livid about photos of soldiers standing next to a large bomb, upon which they appear to have written various slogans about the Taleban and Osama Bin Laden.

I remind Keith this has long been a practice in the armed forces. There are plenty of similar photos from previous wars. Hell, the soldiers at Agincourt probably carved similar messages on their arrows.

Keith looks at me sorrowfully and says Agincourt was part of an imperialist war as well.



April 20th, 2009 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I thought Q&A yesterday ws pretty good with interviewees being Murray McCully and Don Brash.

Was was glad there were no spouses being interviewed this week. I’m still not sure though about having MPs as panelists. Having said that Keith Locke made some useful contributions. In fact one exchange was remarkable for its agreement:

PAUL So we’ve seen Murray McCully he seemed in command of his portfolio, we have to discuss him, any surprises from Murray McCully people what do you think?

KEITH LOCKE – Green MP. Oh it was a pretty standard response and not much there I could disagree with.

Now just think about this. You’ve just had a National Party Minister of Foreign Affairs on, and Keith Locke has said he didn’t hear much he would disagree with!

Murray’s aim is to remove foreign policy as a partisan issue. Looks like he is achieiving that. Mind you good to see, there are stil disagreements on some issues. McCully today announced we will join the US, Canada and Australia in not attending the World Conference Against Racism Review Conference. The original was a nasty unashamed Israel bashing exercise (by countries with far far worse records on racism I might say), and also tends to turn into an attempt to stifle criticism of religions by portraying this as racism. So well done McCully.

Audrey Young thought McCully did well on the interview, blogging:

The interview with Guyon Espiner showed what a strong command McCully has of his portfolio and that he can articulate the values that underpin the Government’s policies.

Also of interest was Keith Locke’s comments on Mt Albert. It sounds like the Greens are going to go all out and seriously try to win it:

THERESE I think we’re all sort of fascinated to watch what happens with the Mt Albert bi-election, I think that’s gonna be a very interesting bi-election, a safe Labour seat but how safe, how much of it is a personal vote for Helen Clark, I mean there was a sizeable comfortable gap for Helen Clark but…

KEITH That’s right and if the Greens win it that’s an extra seat for us.

THERESE You may cost Labour it if you’re right.

KEITH Yes well it’s not gonna change the government so it’d be great for the Greens to have an extra seat and it’s really set up for us because you’ve got the Labour supporting 2.7 billion dollars on 4.5 kilometres of tunnel motorway, National supporting about the same amount a bit less than an over ground version, it’s gonna wipe out a whole pile of houses in Waterview in the electorate and the Greens saying well look put all that aside for a few years and spend it on public transport, I know which way the Mt Albert voters are gonna go. …

THERESE Another day and National also claims that they have increased party membership in the electorate but I do think in bi-elections it comes down to turnout, who can get the vote out, and vote splitting, the Greens running a strong candidate may well cost Labour.

KEITH Well it’s not vote splitting if we win, if we make it a three way race we could win.

It will be very interesting who the Greens choose as theri candidate.

The Don Brash interview was a goodie also. I think we can all accept future tax cuts are gone, when even Don says so:

PAUL What about tax cuts in the medium term tax cuts next year the next round of tax cuts they’re surely a goner?

DON I expect they are, I don’t think the government wants to say that quite yet, but I suspect they are a goner. …

PAUL What about the Super Fund, might they not pay in this year?

DON I think they probably won’t pay in this year, and I think that makes good sense, I mean the Super Fund was a device to ensure that some of the budget surpluses were set aside for the future. If you’ve got a budget deficit the logic of that doesn’t exist.

While I’m sad about future tax cuts probably off the radar for no, the 2008 and 2009 tax cuts combined come to a lot more than those yet to occur. I’m going to blog on this in more detail once I have had some data confirmed.

MPs pay freeze

February 10th, 2009 at 6:14 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The National Party isn’t going to support a Green Party proposal to freeze MPs’ pay for three years, as it doesn’t believe the recession will last that long.

The Greens plan to put their proposal to Parliament, possibly tomorrow, and they hope MPs will vote on it.

Prime Minister John Key said today if it was re-drafted for a one-year freeze, National would support it.

“The Green’s proposal presupposes there will be a recession for three years,” Mr Key said. …

“I don’t accept that proposition. If the Greens want to alter it to one year then National will vote for it, and we might vote for it in the second and third years.” …

Green Party MP Keith Locke said he was pleased Mr Key had responded to the proposal in a positive way and the Greens would want to get it through Parliament on a cross-party basis.

I have long advocated that MPs should get pay rises only once every three years, rather than annually. Not because of the recession, but to get rid of the (inaccurate) perception of MPs giving themselves pay rises.

I would change the law so that the Remuneration Commission sets MPs salaries 90 days before a scheduled election, with the new rates to apply for the next term of Parliament.

This isn’t to lower MPs wages compared to other jobs – just to change the timing. So (for example) instead of annual increases of say 3%, there might be a 10% increase for the next term of Parliament.

This is a slightly different issue to “self sacrifice” of increases during the recession. That comes down to showing “moral leadership” and is a sensible action, as there will be less resistance of making savings elsewhere if they are also occuring at the top.

SIS and Locke

February 8th, 2009 at 5:34 am by David Farrar

As I predicted yesterday, the “top” MP spied on by the SIS is Keith Locke.

Helen Clark denies she knew anything about the spying on Locke, despite being Minister of the SIS for the seven years from 1999 to 2006 Locke claims the SIS spied on him.

It is of course no surpise that Locke was once a target of SIS interest:

Locke is the son of prominent environmentalists and Communist Party members Jack and Elsie Locke – they were reportedly described by former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon as the most notorious Communist family in the country.

Some of the 400-plus documents in Locke’s security file date back to when he was 11 years old.

Keith Locke joined the Socialist Action League in 1970. He was too radical for Labour, which tried to expel him in 1974. He joined the Greens and in 1999 he entered Parliament. He campaigned strongly against New Zealand’s imprisonment of Algerian dissident Ahmed Zaoui, which was supported by the SIS.

As I blogged a few days ago, the 70s and 80s were very different to today. the western world was in a struggle with the Societ Union Empire for global domination. Luckily the West won.

On the face of it, the SIS should not have been monitoring Locke once he became an MP, unless there was clear reason to suspect his involvement in something sinister – and if that was the case you would expect the Minister to authorise it.

However there may be a more benign explanation. As far as I can tell, Locke has not released his SIS file. We just have the following to go on:

The declassified file showed that he had previously been covertly photographed, that the SIS had kept track of his private work with constituents and that he had been monitored in other ways as late as 2006. …

Warrants to mount covert surveillance operations, like phone bugging, are overseen by Sir John Jeffries, the Commissioner of Security Warrants.

There are two levels of spying. Interception warrants are only needed when intercepting phone calls, mails, bugging a room etc. This has presumably not happened against Locke since 1999, as Clark would have to had authorise it.

So the alleged post 1999 surveillance has been based on direct observation.

Now I’m not making excuses for the SIS (they themselves say there has been a change of policy on what they monitor), but it is possible that Locke himself has not recently been the target of the SIS, but instead the people he meets with. For example Zaoui? So it might just be that his file was updated whenever he met with Zaoui, just like in the 1980s you would get a file note if you were seen entering the Soviet Embassy.

Greens say NZ should welcome terrorists

January 4th, 2009 at 2:36 pm by David Farrar

Green MP Keith Locke wants New Zealand to take in the “detainees” from Guantamamo Bay.

Poneke notes:

While the inmates there are undoubtedly being held in flagrant breach of international law, it is quite obvious that most of those inmates are also ruthless terrorists. They need to be put on trial in somewhere like the Hague, not brought to New Zealand to learn to fly planes. It was honourable of New Zealand to welcome the Tampa refugees to our country in 2001. They were refugees from the Taleban and Al Qaeda. The Guantanamo Bay inmates are the Taleban and Al Qaeda.

Indeed. As TVNZ reported:

Top US general John Altenburg says 30 Guantanamo inmates who were released have since been involved in terrorist acts or have been recaptured on the battlefield.

This reminds me of just after the 9/11 attacks, when the Greens marched just days later to demand the US not respond, and they merely negotiate with the Taliban.

Backbenches Tonight

November 12th, 2008 at 1:45 pm by David Farrar

The election may be over but Backbenches carries on. Tonight:

  • David Garrett, ACT List MP
  • Keith Locke, Green List MP
  • Charles Chauvel, Labour List MP
  • Nikki Kaye, National MP for Auckland Central

They’ll be talking about the new Government, and voter turnout. So come along to teh Backbencher by 8.30 pm for a 9 pm start. Or watch it on TVNZ7.

Should also serve as a good excuse for people to have a couple of drinks to celebrate or commiserate the election outcome.

Election Eve

November 8th, 2008 at 7:38 am by David Farrar

Had a fun time out drinking last night. A very mixed group with Chris Trotter (wearing a Labour rosette!), Keith Locke (Greens), Joe Hendren (Alliance/NDU) and a couple of UNITE staffers plus Ben Thomas (NBR) and Hamilton Blonde (SAHM-WLP).

We were at Galbraiths and I was disappointed to learn I missed Helen doding a flying visit at 6pm. But regardless was a good time with lots of interesting conversation. We all wrote election predictions down on a beer coaster. God knows who has it – I can’t even recall what I predicted.

Today I need to do three things – haircut, vote and swot up on 2005 results – not in that order.

With friends like Dr Cullen, who needs enemies?

March 20th, 2008 at 9:34 am by David Farrar

NZPA reports how Michael Cullen almost reduced Keith Locke to tears in Parliament yesterday.

It is worth noting that the Greens are Labour’s closest allies in Parliament in policy terms. They have helped keep Labour in office for almost nine years now, and were dumped from consideration for Ministerial roles this time in favour of Peters and Dunne. And amazingly Keith Locke refers to Michael Cullen as having been a family friend.

Without wanting to trivialise domestic violence, it seems to me the Greens sometimes exhibit the symptoms of battered wife syndrome.  They just keep staying faithful, no matter how bad the behaviour.