Queen Nanaia?

August 29th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Vernon Small reports:

Is Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta in line to be the next Maori Queen?

It’s a rumour that just won’t go away and one that the Kingitanga movement was keen to dispel during coronation commemorations last week, reportedly raising it with media and others in order to quash it 

And it’s understandable why.

King Tuheitia, who was elected to the role in 2006, is in poor health, but it is considered disrespectful to discuss the succession, including a potential abdication.

But …

While Mahuta is not in the bloodline – her father Sir Robert Mahuta was the adopted son of the former King Koroki and the elder brother of Queen Te Atairangikaahu – that is not considered an insurmountable obstacle. In principle it is not an inherited title, though in practice it has been.

The king’s spokesman, Tukoroirangi Morgan, is said to be opposed to the Mahuta option, though insiders say the talk still goes on behind closed doors. For every person that says it is odds-on she will be offered the title, there’s another who says she definitely will not.

If Tuku is against, then it may be a very good idea.

But there have also been questions about her commitment since her role in the four-way leadership race last year. As one senior Labour MP put it, “she has not been the most prolific attendee” at caucus meetings and Parliament – a view widely held among MPs. Some are even saying that, given her senior role in the Maori caucus, her patchy attendance is a poor role model.

It will be no surprise if leader Andrew Little takes all that into account when he reviews his lineup later in the year.

It would be a poor look to keep her on the front bench, when she has been so invisible as an MP.

First it has to confirm a new deputy leader, unless Annette King surprises everyone and stays on. She has done a good job as a place holder, but the party has planned for a new face.

The logical choice has always been Jacinda Ardern. She gives the leadership team the balance it needs: a woman from a younger generation and, crucially, from Auckland.

She has made an impact on television and with Auckland business … no small feat for any Labour MP, let alone one that has on her CV the presidency of the International Union of Socialist Youth.  

Around the press gallery commentariat, her stocks are not as high, but she is clearly having an impact with voters, and that matters. As fourth-ranked preferred prime minister in a recent poll – albeit on just 3.5 per cent, but behind heavy hitters John Key, Little and Winston Peters – she is an asset for the party.

Other names in the frame include Phil Twyford and Carmel Sepuloni – who can add a Pasifika dimension to the young-woman-Auckland credentials of Ardern –though Ardern must still be ahead.

It needs to be someone from Auckland. I think it is a choice between Ardern and Sepuloni, even though a bold caucus might go for Kelvin Davis.

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Labour on National and vice versa

August 25th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Richard Harman at Politik wrote:

Sometimes it’s worthwhile listening to what the Government and Opposition have got to say about each other in private. And each has a very different view of the other at present. But there is a degree of validity ion each narrative. National think Labour is hopelessly divided and that Andrew Little has yet to stamp his authority on the Labour caucus. They also think the party’s front bench is not performing particularly well.

Labour on the other hand think that the Prime Minister looks tired and that the “body language” of him and Bill English suggests they have run out of ideas.

The Labour front bench is Little, King, Roberston, Mahuta, Twyford, Hipkins, Clark, Ardern and Davis.

It’s hard to read Labour’s caucus.

Obviously the “globalists” — MPs like Phil Goff, David Shearer and David Parker would like to be able to agree to the TPP. But Andrew Little and Grant Robertson have not been sending the same signals. The danger for Mr Little is that he ends up in the same position as Labour Leader Walter Nash did after the 1951 waterfront dispute which he said he was “neither for nor against”. National hounded him for years over that statement.

Sounds like their new position on the flag!

Meanwhile the Government does seem to have gone off the boil. Their response to the drop in milk prices at this stage is to say that things are not as bad as the critics suggest. But it’s early days. And there are plenty of doomsayers on the Opposition benches. NZ First MPs (for example) claim that they have “inside” information which says the milk price will drop another 50 cents a kilo. So what this all adds up to is that we are in the early stages of what will become a political debate focused intently on the economy. It will require a gear change from National as it leaves the rock star economy behind and it will require more engagement (and some policy) from Labour.

I’d love to see policy from all parties about what they’ll do to foster economic growth.

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CTU real agenda is to unionise farms

August 20th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

More than 50 industries have been identified by the Government as high-risk, meaning they will be not exempt from some requirements under the Health and Safety Reform law, even if they have fewer than 20 employees.

Industries include forestry and logging, road freight transport, coal mining, hunting and trapping, fishing, electricity transmission, horse and dog racing as well as any industry deemed to have potential for catastrophic risk in the event of accident such as oil and gas extraction and petroleum refining.

The definition used for high risk is objective, not subjective:

  • Any industry with a fatality rate greater than 25 per 100,000 workers
  • Any industry with a serious injury rate of more than 25 per 1000 workers.

Plus an business that carries the risk of a catastrophic event causing multiple fatalities.

But the CTU and Labour are demanding farms be included, even though they have an injury rate below this threshold:

But most types of farming will be able to claim an exemption, a move slammed by Labour leader Andrew Little.

“What we need is a good law and good enforcement and that is now denied a sector that has killed too many of their own.

“We cant have farmers happy for expensive [rescue] helicopters and ambulances to drive out to their isolated areas to cover them for their errors – some time fatal – and the taxpayer picking up their cost.”

The farming excluded from high-risk include dairy, beef, poultry and deer but the livestock farming included as high-risk is bee-keeping, pig-farming, horse breeding, dog breeding, goat farming and share-milking as well some types of crop growing.

Now bear in mind the only difference between small businesses that are in the high risk category and those that are not, is the requirement to allow a worker elected health and safety rep.  That is it. All other requirements are the same.

Labour and the CTU see these reps as a way to unionise workforces, and of course increase funding for both their organisations. This is why they have focused on this relatively minor issue, ignoring all the other changes.

So they are saying that a family owned corner dairy with a couple of part-time staff, must have an elected health and safety representative, if even one person asks for it.

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Sign the petition to support the All Blacks

August 19th, 2015 at 9:59 am by David Farrar

allblacks

We all want the All Blacks to win (again) the Rugby World Cup. They’re looking good, but victory is by no means assured.

Over the last few years the Labour Party has declared a number of issues to be a crisis – the manufacturing sector, power prices, domestic milk prices, Auckland house prices and the dairy industry, and demanded the Government take action.

Without fail, each time Labour has declared something to be in crisis and demanded Government intervention, that industry or issue has immediately and remarkably improved. Just this week global diary prices rebounded for the first time this year, just one week after Labour declared they were in crisis and demanded the Government act.

So this petition implores the Labour Party to declare New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks to be in crisis. Based on history, this should propel the All Blacks to victory in the Rugby World Cup.

So support the All Blacks by petitioning Labour to declare NZ Rugby in crisis.

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Opposition parties only wants media that agrees with them

August 18th, 2015 at 6:24 am by David Farrar

The opposition parties are showing their true colours.

When TV3 made a commercial decision to change Campbell Live, resulting in the departure of John Campbell, MPs from Labour and Greens decried this as terrible. They said the media needs strong voices. They said it was appalling that John Campbell would no longer be on the air.

However yesterday we saw the opposition parties effectively demand that Mike Hosking be taken off the air, because – well he doesn’t always agree with them.

So think about this. What Labour and Greens are saying is that they only want media that agree with them.

Little said Hosking’s dominance across so many media platforms was concerning.

“The point is that Mike Hosking is extremely influential because of his involvement with Newstalk ZB, TVNZ and the Herald.”

Waa, waa, waa.

If people don’t like what Hosking says, they can choose not to watch him, listen to him or read him.

Little accused Hosking of being “totally aligned to the Government of the day” and showing “no attempt at objectivity”.

If you think he really is biased, then you can complain to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Press Council or the Online Media Standards Authority.

Instead we have a Muldoon like attack on the media, because basically Little says Hosking doesn’t agree with Labour enough.

At fault was “broadcast media having opinionated people holding prime slots,” he said.

Here is the true hypocrisy. John Campbell had plenty of opinions. Does Andrew Little think John Campbell should not have had a prime slot? Of, course not. Little is just against media who don’t agree with him.

Shaw said it was “pretty obvious” Hosking was biased and there weren’t any balancing voices with the same reach.

They must be kidding.

The vast majority of editorials and opinion columns in Fairfax and APN publications are critical of the Government.

On Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon show, you can go all week without hearing anyone say anything vaguely supportive of the Government.

Anyway it is a good thing that Labour and Greens have shown their true feelings. They want a media that agrees with them and they will publicly attack and denigrate people in the media who don’t agree with them.

Who will be next on their hitlist?

 

 

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Young lashes Labour/Greens for flag stance

August 15th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes:

With the list of the final 40 just published, the debate has barely begun, apart from the objections by Opposition parties – two of which appear to be opposing the review for opposition’s sake.

Quite what Labour and the Greens will do when the debate gains momentum will present a conundrum for them. They cannot continue to attack the referendum process without indirectly attacking New Zealanders who are interested in it and want to be part of it.

They have ignored a basic principle in politics as in life: to thine own self be true, or the voters will see right through you.

It was understandable for the parties to rail against the Government asset sales programme last term – even though National won a mandate for it – because it was against Labour and Green policy.

But to rail against a review of the New Zealand flag – which National also promised at the last election – when it echoes your own party’s policy is simply dishonest and erodes trust in a party.

Labour campaigned on reviewing the flag. Andrew Little said he favoured a referendum. But purely because it is National doing it (which was an explicit promise in the manifesto), they are opposing the very thing they championed.

How can you trust a party that objects to its own policy?

You can’t.

The low turnout to public meetings on the flag was no surprise. There may even be a low turnout to the first postal referendum (November 20 to December 11) to choose the best alternative from four final flags.

But the interest in the referendum that really counts, the one from March 3 to 24, will be intense.

That is when the present flag will be put up against a single alternative.

I’ll bet the turnout for that vote will be as high as a general election.

Yep. Maybe not quite that high but I think it will be the highest a referendum has had, not concurrent with an election, in 15 years.

Labour also argues there should have been a referendum first to see whether voters wanted change before spending the money on the process.

But you wouldn’t expect to agree to a free house-paint without knowing what colour it was going to be.

And as the officials designing the process pointed out, “asking people to vote without seeing what these alternative designs look like would risk the legitimacy of the referendum process”.

It’s silly to have a vote, without knowing what you are voting on.

Labour leader Andrew Little this week said he would not vote in the referendum.

And, more absurdly, the party’s flag spokesman, Trevor Mallard, said that in November’s preferential vote he would rank the flag he thought was best the last and the flag he disliked the most the best.

That way, if everyone were as clever as Trevor, the present flag would be pitted against the most horrible one in March, the present flag would stay and John Key could be accused of having wasted time and money.

That is all it is about for Labour. They acre nothing about the opportunity we have to vote on what should be out national flag for the first time ever. They want to sabotage the process, as a way to attack Key. It is why they are unfit for office.

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Hosking trying to make sense of Little

August 15th, 2015 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

Mike Hosking writes:

From our mixed message file… comes Labour leader Andrew Little.

Andrew is spending the week trying to scare the bejesus out of us over dairy.

According to Andrew there is a crisis in dairy, farmers will go broke, the banks will bail on them and they’ll need to sell their land at which point the foreigners will pounce and come and sweep it out from under our feet.

Having said all that… And we can deal with the specifics of why he’s out to lunch in a minute.

He then goes onto say in another interview that what this country needs is… You ready for it… More foreign investment… Hello?

He said this was a country built on foreign direct investment and more of it was needed.

What he wasn’t asked and should have been was what happens if that foreign direct investment comes from people with names like Wang or Chow?

You say one thing to one audience, another thing to another audience, and hope no-one notices.

Secondly in trying to stir this up into something it isn’t, Little is using classic Labour party thinking in asking the government what they’re going to do.

Why the government?
What’s a bloke buying a farm got to do with the government?
What has any person setting up a business got to do with the government?
When a shop closes is it the government’s job to mop it up?
When a factory down sizes… Is the govt supposed to do something?

Dairy, like all business products and markets is beyond a government scope.

A government is there to provide over arching policy direction… Like tax and trade deals and welfare.

It’s not there to milk the cows, man the tills and set the price for commodities.

Exactly. The Government doesn’t decide if we have a dairy industry. Land owners do. They decide whether to use their land for forestry, lamb, beef, wool, dairy, viticulture, horticulture etc. Tens of thousands of land owners decide individually (not collectively) what to use their land for.

We don’t have a country where the Government decides what industries we will or will not have, and how much of each industry we are allowed.

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This should see dairy prices now rise

August 10th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Andrew Little says another bad season for dairy farmers could cause New Zealanders to lose some of the country’s best agricultural land to offshore buyers.

The Labour leader said Fonterra had offered interest-free loans to some struggling farmers.

On the Q&A programme, he said banks had told him they’d help farmers for one tough season, but beyond that there were uncertainties.

There is a crisis in dairy…we do have some tough times ahead.” He told TV One

Thank you Andrew Little. To date there has been a 94% correlation between Labour claiming something is in crisis, and that industry then recovering strongly. Their manufactured manufacturing crisis has seen record job growth in manufacturing.

So having Labour declare a crisis in dairy, should see world dairy prices rebound.

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The future of work under Labour is don’t work!

August 8th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The ideas are outlined in the party’s second paper on the future of work, which points to the Danish model of “flexicurity” as one option.

The Danish approach aims to promote employment security over job security according to that country’s official website.

The flexicurity “golden triangle” involves flexible rules for employers when hiring and firing alongside a guaranteed unemployment benefit at a relatively high level – up to 90 per cent for the lowest paid workers.

Hey why work, when you can get 90% of your income by not working.

Labour says the minimum wage should be $16.25 an hour.  For a 40 hour week that is $650 a week so 90% is $585 a week or $30,500 a year to be on the unemployment benefit.

Say 120,000 on unemployment benefits (inevitably will be way way more than that if you make it more generous) and that is $3.66 billion a year just on the unemployment benefit.

This is Labour’s future of non work!

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Devoy vs Labour

August 6th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Labour Party says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is “out of line and wrong” for calling it racist.

Devoy has taken a swipe at Labour over its claims that Chinese investors are responsible for Auckland’s rising house prices.

Addressing a meeting of Auckland city councillors on Wednesday, she said debate on some issues was “deteriorating into racism”.

She made a clear reference to Labour’s release of data which purported to show that 40 per cent of property sales in Auckland in a three-month period were to buyers with Chinese-sounding names.

“It is a deeply hurtful thing to have your children hear politicians insinuating that their Chinese-sounding surname means they’re foreigners and they don’t belong here,” Devoy said.

“We need to recognise dog whistle politics when we see it and call it out.”

But Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said Devoy was either “misunderstanding or wilfully misrepresenting” the debate.

Countries all over the world were having to come to grips with the effect of huge levels of private investment from China overheating their housing markets.

“New Zealand needs to be able to discuss this in public without these kinds of allegations of racism,” Twyford said.

“We raised the concern that the available data and all the international evidence and commentary about very high levels of investment indicates that offshore Chinese buyers are a significant presence in the housing market here.”

 

Twyford thinks that saying 30% (40% less 10%) of home buyers are foreigners because they have a Chinese sounding surname is not racist. Keep it up Phil.

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More Labour plagiarism

August 6th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Phil Quin blogs:

Soon after I posted four examples (here and here) of how Labour plagiarised news articles in its Future of Work discussion document, the party reacted in three steps:

  1. They pushed Clare Curran under a bus;
  2. They copped to plagiarism while dismissing it as a case of omitted footnotes;
  3. They appended footnotes to address the four instances I had highlighted. 

This was a profoundly inadequate response in many respects, but it worked wonders as an exercise in media management. Credit where it’s due. To be honest, it probably helped Labour that it was me who revealed the plagiarism since I am easily dismissed as embittered and angry – over the Chinese surnames affair that led to my resignation, but also the more general perception in sections of the political Twittersphere that I am a full-time malcontent. While I would dispute those characterisations, I can’t deny they diluted the impact of the revelations.  It may also be that plagiarism is just not that big a deal in New Zealand. Fair enough, I guess. 

Anyway, in Labour’s haste to cover tracks, they failed to do the most obvious imaginable thing: rule out the presence of more examples of plagiarism.

Surely Labour is not so incompetent that they didn’t have someone review the entire document for further instances?

It turns out they are exactly that incompetent.

Not only has Quin found more examples of plagiarism, an analysis tool has found one section is 47% plagiarised.

Maybe the time has come for Labour to withdraw the document, and issue a new one – one actually representing their own thoughts and words, not those of others?

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Labour’s complaint thrown out

August 1st, 2015 at 12:42 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Not so Dirty Politics after all.

That’s the message from police over a blogger accessing Labour Party computer systems to gather financial and membership details.

The country’s most senior detective Rodney Drew today told the Labour Party that “there is no evidence of criminal offending”.

“While the matter may raise privacy and ethical issues, these are not the domain of criminal law.”

It’s almost a year since details of the 2011 intrusion were described by journalist Nicky Hager in the controversial pre-election book Dirty Politics.

Hager wrote how Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater conspired with a staff member in the Prime Minister’s office, Jason Ede, to access Labour Party information through a hole in its website.

This makes it sound like Hager revealed what Cameron did.

In fact Cameron revealed it some years earlier. And it wasn’t hacking or a hole. Labour basically left their database open on the world wide web. No password needed. No special knowledge. It was a technical fuck up by them. Cameron even did a You Tube video detailing how the information was found.

They knew this. That is why at the time they never ever mentioned any possibility of them regarding it as a criminal matter. It was only after the Dirty Politics book came out that three years later they suddenly decided it was.

The scandal was that Labour were so incompetent that they had their membership and donation details available on the WWW for anyone to view. Labour exposed all their members and donors to the public.

The only political hacking of the last few years has been of Cameron, by “Rawshark”.

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The future of work for Labour is plagiarism

July 31st, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Phil Quin has taken a look at Grant Robertson’s Future of Work discussion paper and found multiple paragraphs that were copied and pasted from other sources, without attribution.

The section in question is titled “Emerging Challenges and Opportunities”.  In total, the section comprises just over 1,200 words.  Among them, a straightforward Google search uncovered three occasions where the drafters of the report directly lifted whole sentences and paragraphs from articles in the Economist and Business Insider.  None of them were attributed, but presented in the body of the text as if it were the drafter’s original work. Straightforward plagiarism, in other words. 

Grant will no doubt blame his staff.

UPDATE: Quin has found even the introduction was plagiarised!

UPDATE2: Labour is blaming Clare Curran for the plagiarism.

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Latest poll

July 27th, 2015 at 7:49 am by David Farrar

I’ve blogged at Curia the results of the 3 News Reid Research poll broadcast last night.

Like the One News Colmar Brunton poll the previous week, it shows no bounce for Labour from its targeting of people with Chinese surnames.

What it does show is that Andrew Little has fallen below Winston Peters as Preferred Prime Minister.

This is a feat never achieved by Phil Goff, David Shearer or David Cunliffe.

The last time an Opposition Leader failed to poll in the top two as Preferred Prime Minister was in October 2003 – 12 years ago. Later that month he was rolled in a coup.

So the results of Labour’s concede Northland to Winston strategy has been to have their leader fall into third place behind Winston as Preferred PM.

And the results of their decision to highlight home buyers with Chinese surnames has been to achieve nothing in the polls, but alienate many Chinese New Zealanders.

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1.1% of Auckland rates bills go overseas

July 24th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Auckland Council has revealed how many of its rates bills are sent overseas.

Of the 535,057 rates bills sent out, 5617 or 1.05% are sent overseas – 2885 to Australia and 2732 to the rest of the world.

Yet Labour would have you believe 30% of houses are being purchased by foreign Chinese.

This is far more reliable data than Labour’s surname analysis.

It isn’t perfect. Some foreign owners may have someone locally pay the rates for them. But likewise many of those foreign addresses may be NZ citizens who are working overseas. But it gives us some idea of the likely magnitude of foreign ownership.

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Labour’s TPP conditions

July 24th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Leader Andrew Little said his party supported free trade but would not back the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unless the five “non-negotiable bottom lines” were met.

They are:

* Drug buying agency Pharmac must be protected.

* Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest.

* New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreigner buyers.

* The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld.

* Meaningful gains are made for farmers in tariff reductions and market access.

These are not unreasonable bottom lines. It is good to see Labour have not abandoned their previous support for free trade.

The issue may be that some of them can not be defined with 100% certainity – you can never know the outcome of a lawsuit. But I note the following:

Labour believes the conditions reflect protections in the 2008 free trade agreement it negotiated with China.

That FTA has investor state dispute settlement provisions, so if the TPP has the same, then that should not be a reason for Labour to oppose it.

I’d add a sixth condition on – that NZ does not have to make changes to out intellectual property laws in a way which would harm the Internet in NZ.

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Ng vs Salmond

July 21st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Rob Salmond wrote in the SST:

After I published Labour’s method online, Keith Ng, Tze Ming Mok, and Chuan-Zheng Lee – all skilled analysts, all otherwise critical on this topic – agreed the name-based ethnicity analysis was statistically sound, robust, and accurate.

Of course, they and others retained other criticisms of our work, relating to the steps after the main data analysis. I’ve engaged with them online through the last week, addressing their concerns and presenting additional data to support Labour’s conclusions.

To say Keith is not happy with how Rob describes his views is putting it lightly. He blogs:

Hey Rob, don’t put the words “statistically sound, robust, and accurate” into our mouths to describe your work. …

If you need clarification, let me restate it: The method is fine, the data is broken, and those problems render it unscientific and utterly useless. Not sound. Not robust. Not accurate.

Salmond also said:

Having said that, one group I think did not overreact – despite their strongly critical stance – was the New Zealand Chinese community, including KeithTze Ming, and Chuan-Zheng. Their criticism was less about Labour’s intentions, and more about the impact of these revelations on ethnically Chinese New Zealanders.

Ng responds:

Thanks for the flattery, but I was very critical of Labour intentions and I thought I was bloody clear about it.

I said that Phil Twyford was knowingly “straight-up scapegoating” Chinese New Zealanders and offshore Chinese alike and “fueling racial division in this country”. I said it was “cynical, reckless dogwhistling“.

What part of this was ambiguous for you??? Did you think I meant “cynical, reckless, but ultimately well-intentioned dogwhistling”?

Even after a week where Labour has been trying to take the “reverse racism” highground, trying to pretend that we didn’t blame Labour is a new delusional high, Rob.

I should point out that both Keith and Rob worked for Helen Clark. They are former colleagues. This makes his condemnation even the more remarkable.

Please do not mistake me for thinking that this is well-intentioned. This is a cynical attempt to bamboozle the media and the public by hiding your utter lack of evidence behind fancy jargon. It’s a travesty and a sad excuse for analysis. You ought to be ashamed, Rob.

Rob is so determined to defend it, I can only imagine that he actually thought up the whole idea.

Also, Sunday-Star Times: These claims Rob made about me are incorrect and defamatory. Please issue an correction in your next issue.

One former Clark staffer claiming another former (and effectively current) staffer has defamed him. Not sure I can ever recall this occuring before.

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Labour voter and journalist Victoria Young on Labour

July 20th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Victoria Young writes at NBR (where she was a reporter, and is now on her OE):

When I first read the article, I was enraged at the party I voted for and felt frustration toward the journalist, who is a person I respect.

So Young voted Labour in 2014.

I am a born and bred New Zealander, and for the first time in my life I doubted whether the society in which I grew up actually wanted me.  

Why? Because my last name sounds as if it could be Chinese. 

Labour’s PR stunt will have made many NZers feel this way.

But Phil Twyford, by releasing this data in this way, has made me uncertain about how welcome we almond-eyed black-haired folk are. 

Words cannot encapsulate the unsettling feeling that perhaps the country you love and adore, and is your only home, doesn’t actually want you, or at least views you as the cause of a major social problem. 

As you’re buying up 40% of the homes!

This behaviour, from a senior politician, has planted doubt in my mind. It has made me wonder how many out there agree that the Chinese are the problem but won’t say it out loud.  

I don’t own a home but my boyfriend (who just so you know was born in the US but is Taiwanese and a New Zealand citizen) put a deposit on a yet-to-be built apartment before we left for our UK OE. 

Unfortunately, the developer raised the price and so my boyfriend cancelled, ironically a victim of the rising Auckland house price inflation we people with Chinese sounding last names are said to be the cause of. 

When we do come home with our hard-earned pounds, euros and dollars, after exploring the world as Kiwis do, we will want to buy a home. 

Do we dare show our yellow faces at auctions or open homes?

No way. 

Thanks, Labour.

Well said.

Another Chinese NZer with a media background also writes in the Herald:

The Labour Party’s message to the Chinese people is clear. We are not racist. We just don’t want people with Chinese sounding names voting for Labour.

Mission accomplished.

The Labour Party has yet to provide examples of Kiwi property sellers rejecting an above market price for a house from people with Chinese sounding names in favour of a lower price made by a struggling Kiwi family.

A useful reminder, than when you restrict buyers, you reduce the value for sellers.

In the 1930s in Europe similar debate also began with a list of names. It was a list of names which did not sound like proper German names. The names on this list were also viewed as the problem in denying hard-working Germans their rightful share of business and property ownership. In the 1990s Slobadan Milosovic’s minions no doubt had a similar list of names.

The Labour Party’s targeting of people with Chinese sounding names is of course justified as being in the national interest, expressed through democratic means with the socialist agenda of indoctrinating Kiwis into believing that home ownership is their manifest destiny, an inalienable right. But Labour’s approach is clearly the continuation of nationalist socialist democratic politics by other means.

Carrying on with Little and Tywford’s logic, which seems to have adopted the xenophobic fear-mongering tactics of New Zealand First, lists of other ethnic names could also be used to generate national debates on other topics.

Lists of Muslim sounding names buying property could be used to generate debate on possible terrorist activity in specific suburbs. Lists of Maori and Pacific Island names could be used to generate debate on credit risk and propensity to commit crime. By the Labour Party’s logic, none of this would be racist. It would merely be a means to the ends of generating a national debate.

Harsh but not unfair.

We must respond to Labour’s call to arms by attacking their centre of gravity- at the polling booths at the next election. Spread this message through the bamboo networks. Vote strategically in the next election because a vote for Labour is a vote for second class status in a country we are proud to call home.

I consider myself a New Zealand patriot. I have worked for the New Zealand Army, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the New Zealand Stock Exchange. But because I have a Chinese sounding name, Labour views me as part of a problem for which it has a solution in mind. But of course it’s still not racism.

But people with Chinese sounding names do not have to fight alone. We welcome people with Korean, Indian, Muslim, Pacific Islander, Maori sounding names to stand with us at the next election. Vote strategically against the new Labour Party- the party with nationalist, socialist democratic agendas.

I wonder at what point Labour might admit they made a mistake.

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Labour third off the block to announce business PAYE policy or consultation

July 18th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Andrew Little has launched his first policy since becoming leader, proposing changes to the way businesses pay tax.

Flexible tax for business would introduce a pay as you earn element to company tax. Labour also wanted to double the threshold at which businesses are required to pay provisional tax to $5000 and abolish late payment penalties.

The policy is the first the party has announced since the 2014 election. The scheme is voluntary,  and Labour has presented the plan as one open for consultation.

Provisional tax is a plan and I welcome Labour looking at a PAYE scheme for businesses. My Xero accounting package gives me monthly accounts which are accurate. I could easily pay income tax on quarterly profits rather than pay based on my previous year’s profitability which can be very different.

However Labour’s idea is far from a new one. The Government announced a consultation on it four months ago!

In March, Revenue Minister Todd McClay revealed a consultation paper from Inland Revenue which raised the idea of a business PAYE.

And they’re not even 2nd with the idea!

Earlier this week, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters signalled a strikingly similar policy for business tax.

“In the interests of New Zealand we ask the Government to support a much needed change to an oppressive business tax that strangles small businesses especially,” Peters said on Wednesday.

But third is better than not supporting it at all.

Acting Finance Minister Steven Joyce said Labour had simply “cut and paste” the Government’s position.

“Labour announced today it was launching a discussion document on changes to provisional tax for businesses. However it seems to have overlooked that the Government launched its own discussion document containing almost identical proposals back in March,” Joyce said.

“These in turn were based on National Party policy at the last election.”

But again regardless of it not being a new idea, it is still good to see Labour hopefully embracing a policy which will make it easier for businesses.

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Is Labour seeing sense or is it a con?

July 18th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has indicated his party has changed its position and now backs controversial 90-day trial periods for new employees.

Great if true.

Speaking after a business breakfast this morning, Mr Little was asked about the 90-day trials, and he said Labour’s policy was to add a “fairness requirement”.

“The principle thing is, on the 90-day trial thing, every business owner I talk to about having to give feedback to someone under a trial, they all say, ‘Yeah, but I do that already’.

“So there won’t be any new onerous obligation in that regard. But it will make it fair and we want to write that into the law.”

Asked if his comments meant that the trial periods – previously opposed by Labour – would remain in a Government under his leadership, he said they would.

“We wouldn’t be talking about making the 90-day trial period fairer if we were going to get rid of it…the 90-day trail thing is there, we want to make it fair.”

Now what is crucial is what will be in this fairness requirement? If it is a requirement to follow the same process as for staff outside the 90 day period, then it is effectively abolishing the 90 day period.

If it is merely a requirement to give feedback to staff during the 90 day period, then that is a genuine change of policy – and one to be welcomed.

Stuff reports:

CTU president Helen Kelly called for clarification.

“Making it fairer gets rid of it, right? He needs to clarify that,” Kelly said.

“We would expect them to effectively get rid of them by making unfair dismissals unlawful.”

Kelly said the 90-day trial periods allowed workers to be dismissed for reasons which would otherwise not be fair, without giving the worker the option of taking a personal grievance claim.

If Labour introduced “just cause” provisions to the trials to allow personal grievances, the CTU could accept that, as this returned to the earlier rules in existing laws covering probationary periods.

Helen Kelly is saying that if you make them “fair” then you are effectively getting rid of them.

So until Labour actually comes up with a explicit policy, we simply don’t know. For now it might just be trying to say one thing to employers and another to unions, and hoping no one notices they are different.

But if it is a genuine change of policy, then it is a good sign for Labour. They’re running a two year consultation on the future of work, and beyond doubt the message they will be getting back is that work in 2015 is massively changed from the 1970s and work arrangements need to be more flexible to reflect that. If they spend two years onsulting and then come up with the exact same policy as in 2011 and 2014 – well it will look like a farce.

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A Labour member complains

July 18th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

First let’s deal with the headline of the story:

Has the leak worked? Poll boost for Labour

The headline writer should be shot.

Labour has lifted by six points to its highest level since March 2014 in the Roy Morgan Poll.

Labour is up to 32 per cent in the poll – up six points from a fortnight ago while National was down six points to 43 per cent support.

However, the impact of Labour’s analysis of leaked Auckland real estate data remains unclear.

The poll of 886 voters began on June 29 and ended the day after Labour released that data on July 11.

So 90% of the poll was before the release. So the headline is trying to manufacture a story.

Onto the rest of the story:

The Herald revealed today that former Maori members’ chairman Shane Te Pou has written to the party demanding his personal data be removed from Labour’s database of home buyers, which it claims is the same information leaked from Barfoot & Thompson.

Te Pou cited the Privacy Act in the letter after being told by the estate agency that the purchase of his family’s house was likely among those used to bolster statistics purporting to show people in China were buying up New Zealand houses.

In revealing the statistics, Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford tweeted: “People of Chinese descent bought 39.5% of houses sold by major (Auckland) real estate firm. This is foreign money.”

Te Pou is married to Annie Du, who is of Chinese ethnicity. He told the Herald his wife’s name was used to buy the family home during the period covered by Barfoot & Thompson sales data, obtained by Labour.

Te Pou wrote: “I am Maori. My wife is of Chinese descent. My money is not foreign.”

If I had purchased a house in Auckland, I’d be appalled that a political party had got hold of the data without permission.

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Labour may be very embarrassed when we get the actual data

July 17th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

About 50 Chinese buyers packed a real estate agency office in Epsom, and snapped up 23 sections within minutes of release yesterday. …

Mr Law said all were either New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

And:

Mr Law said just one of the 150 sections sold in the subdivision so far went to a foreigner – a Chinese national waiting for his permanent residence visa.

So not a foreign investor.

Five purchasers declined to be interviewed when approached by the Herald, and one said Labour’s claims and recent media reports had “turned Chinese into crooks”.

Labour’s data implied 30% of Auckland house sales are going to foreign investors from China,  because of their surname. If I were them, I’d be nervous about what the real data will show post October.

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So will Labour apologise if it is revealed most ‘Chinese’ buyers are not foreigners?

July 16th, 2015 at 7:10 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Principal agent James Law said Labour’s leaked figures that showed 40 per cent of homes sold at auction in Auckland over a three-month period went to people with Asian surnames was “about right”.

Mr Law said four out of 10 of the 350 who bought real estate through the company last year were of Chinese ethnicity.

“But what we found from our sales record was less than 10 per cent of them are actually overseas-based investors,” he said. “Most of them are citizens or residents who have lived here for years.”

Mr Law said it was “tradition” for Chinese people to buy real estate, and many made it their “first priority”.

Many regarded real estate as a safe investment and one that they could either make a profit on or hand down to their children.

“This explains the high number of Chinese buyers and investors, because many find their security in owning houses,” Mr Law said.

“In the same way, data on dairy business sales will show a high number of ethnic Indian buyers.”

I made this point yesterday on social media. I’d say over half of dairies are owned by people with Indian surnames, yet only 3.9% of NZers are Indian. So does that mean that our dairies are being purchased by people from Mumbai? No – it means different ethnicities have different purchasing priorities.

Now let us assume that 40% of buyers do have Chinese surnames. Of course a proportion of those will be foreign buyers. But it is 1% or 10% or 80%? There is a huge difference.

If the data is just 10%, will Labour then apologise for slurring the 90% who are Kiwis, just Kiwis with a Chinese sounding surnname?

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Labour’s policy would breach the FTA Labour signed

July 15th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Richard Harman at Politik reports:

Labour would exempt Australians from any restrictions it might put on foreign buyers of New Zealand real estate.

In a move that raises questions about the reasons for appearing to single out Chinese residents, Housing spokesman, Phil Twyford says the Australian exemption is because of the Closer Economic Relationship with Australia. …

But back in the Labour Party Mr Twyford has been continuing to assert that Labour would ban all foreign buyers.

He repeated this claim in a piece he wrote for the Herald. 

But he told POLITIK that “sometimes simplicity is the enemy of nuance.”

“Our policy is to ban all foreign buyers with the following exceptions —“If you intend to come here and settle.”

“If you build new.

“Australians – in the spirit of CER, given that they exempt Kiwis from their restrictions on offshore speculators.”

This tells us two things. The first is you can’t trust an article written by Phil Twyford. Sure in a live interview you may need to go for simplicity, but in a written op-ed for a newspaper, it is disgraceful to lie about your own policy.

But assuming he has told the truth to Harman, he has killedhis own policy. Stephen Franks explained why in 2013:

But wait – another Article (the most favoured nation clause) commits New Zealand not to pass law that discriminates against Chinese investors in comparison with other overseas investors (such as Australians).

Article 139 requires that investors of [China] be treated no less favourably than investors of any third country [Australia] “with respect to admission, expansion, management, conduct, operation, maintenance, use, enjoyment and disposal” of investments.

So Chinese would-be  investors do not get direct rights to insist on investor equality but they can’t be treated worse than Australians.

Labour has said Australians would still be allowed to buy residential property under their policy. This would breach Article 139.

So Labour’s policy is a soundbite, not an actual policy that could be implemented.

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Rob Hosking on Labour’s surnames research

July 14th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rob Hosking writes at NBR:

This is where Mr Twyford’s effort is a cheap and nasty political shot. By basing his claims on data about whether investors have what Labour considers foreign-sounding names, he has opened up a seam of racism.

It appears he and Labour Party researcher Rob Salmond have simply gone down a list of property buyers and singled out anyone who has a name that sounds vaguely Chinese.

This has been wrapped in a patina of bogus statistical chatter in a bid to make it sound less odious: for example, Mr Salmond says someone with the surname of Lee has a 40% chance of being Chinese.

Message: if you have a Chinese-sounding name, you’re probably foreign. What’s more, Labour researcher Rob Salmond has an algorithm that calculates just how foreign you might be.

And over 30,000 have visited the parody site – and a fair number it seems think it is a legitimate Labour site. Labour should reflect on what that means that such an obvious parody is not seen as too far from what they have been doing.

This is really nasty stuff. Anyone with a passing acquaintance with some of the more bloody racial conflicts of the 20th Century will feel a chill that the Labour Party is doing this.

Really though, the matter of offshore investment in Auckland’s property market distorting that market is primarily an economic issue, not one of race.

By emphasising the racial aspect of the matter, Labour has deliberately embarked on a move calculated to raise racial tensions.

Why?

A good question.

Some of this is to do with Mr Twyford’s ambitions for the deputy leadership. This is also tied up with those well-known west Auckland voters who deserted Labour for National in recent elections.

Not sure this will help him. I understand a fair few Labour MPs are very upset with him.

There is no doubt people with Chinese names whose families have been here for years are justifiably enraged by Mr Twyford’s rather glib, shallow and irresponsible ploy.

But even for more recent arrivals: the assumption that anyone with a Chinese sounding name is foreign is nasty and poisonous.

Yep.

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