Nandor on Bradford

September 29th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting blog post from Nandor Tanczos:

Sue Bradford announced last week that she is leaving Parliament, citing disappointment at losing the co-leadership contest. It’s an honest statement and she is to be admired for that. She did not add that she is unhappy at the direction the Green Party is headed, but there is no doubt that she would have steered a very different course from that intended by the current leadership. Perhaps she saw little place for herself in the new, unaligned, Green Party.

Nandor makes clear there must be considerable tension over direction and leadership.

Sue was a sometimes controversial figure, but there is no doubt that she has played a key role in the early development of the Parliamentary Greens. She has also played an important role in Parliament, but that is all about to change. Despite her brave face, life after Parliament will be hard to adjust to. Once gone, she is unlikely to get any support from the Greens during this difficult transition, and I hope that her personal support system is strong. She will need it.

Ouch. To be fair almost all former MPs find it pretty hard after Parliament.

The Old Left element of the party, once so influential, will be scarcely represented once Sue has left. Keith Locke, considered by many to be the archetypical communist, is actually nothing of the sort. While he is the oldest member of the Green caucus, his mental youthfulness and his sense of empathy have prevented him from becoming sufficiently doctrinaire. With this new influx, the Green Party is likely to become a more emphatically ‘green-wing’ party than has been possible in the past.

A point I made.

Nandor appointed to Arts Council

July 28th, 2009 at 5:25 pm by David Farrar

Chris Finlayson has announced:

Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson announced today the appointment of former Member of Parliament Nandor Tanczos and the reappointments of Pele Walker and Michael Prentice to the Creative New Zealand Arts Board.

I can’t believe how many Labour and Green people are being appointed to positions. I’m not complaining (except about Cullen’s one) but it is such a change.

If this keeps up, I expect a future Labour/Green Government to appoint me to the Board of the Reserve Bank!

Miscarriages of Justice

June 8th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Nandor Tanczos has blogged on how the Bain case highlights the need for a Criminal Review Office. Now despite my personal view on Bain’s culpability, I do agree that generally there should be some sort of body that can investigate miscarriages of justice – outside the formal court appeal system. The Peter Ellis case is a clear example of why it is needed.

Such projects in other countries like the US, has found many people who were later proven innocent, yet convicted.

Simon Power has yet to respond to the request for a Royal Commission into the Ellis case. An Ellis Commission followed by establishing such a body to review other possible miscarriages of justice would be an excellent step towards increasing faith in the justice system.

Nandor on private prisons

March 26th, 2009 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Nandor Tanczos blogs:

I think the best run prison the country has seen was the Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) when it was run by Australasian Correctional Management (now Geotech) – a private prison operator. OK, it was a brand new (Government built) facility. It didn’t take sentenced prisoners, so the dynamics were quite different, and its contractual obligations were different from those of public prisons.

What impressed me, though, was the needs assessments on new inmates, at a time when the infamous Integrated Offender Management System was barely functioning in the public system. What also impressed was the leadership of its outstanding General Manager Dom Karauria.

As an aside it is interesting that a number of experienced Maori managers have done well with Australian private prison operators. They don’t seem to face the same institutional barriers, or maybe Australian prison companies just value a Maori perspective.

And Labour legislated to make this illegal and remove such good management.

Nandor goes on to put forward his preferred option:

It recommended small scale habilitation centres, with intensive, often confrontational, therapy to address the causes of offending. Sentenced prisoners would be assessed for suitability and people not suitable, or trying to play the system, would stay in a general prison.

The Public Prison Service is not well suited to running these kinds of operations. Neither is the multinational prison industry. They are both better at running sausage factories. Habilitation centres are suited to relatively small commercial and community operations, and they offer enormous scope for effective and innovative programs. They allow Tangata Whenua, Pasific Island or other groups to address particular cultural or religious needs. The tragedy of the public vs private prison debate is that this kind of solution gets lost in the fray.

I don’t see what Nandor urges as incompatible with what National is doing. It is all about choice, and choosing the best operator for each sort of prison. Sometimes that may be Dept of Corrections. Sometimes it may be an international player with experience in the area, and sometimes it might be a small local provider.

A blogging Minister

February 2nd, 2009 at 3:22 pm by David Farrar

We welcome Agriculture Minister David Carter to the blogosphere. Great to see a Minister blogging. He also has twitter updates on his blog.

Also welcome to former Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

Nandor slates Greens positioning

January 21st, 2009 at 11:31 am by David Farrar

Just been sent a link to this column by a reader (who says they saw it on Whoar). It is by former Green MP Nandor Tanczos:

But then National is not an environmental party. It is the Green Party’s job to influence governments on the issues that count and why would National listen to them? The Greens made it very clear in the election campaign that they were not interested in talking to National.

I thought at the time that it was an extraordinarily stupid thing to do, to fasten your lifeboat to a sinking ship. Greens do best when there is an outgoing Labour Government, but this election the results were disappointing. The Green Party might well have won their biggest caucus yet, if they had been prepared to stop licking Labour’s hand.

There is a question of whether National would have paid any attention to them anyway. Senior National MPs were privately hinting so early last year and Mr Key’s approach to the Maori Party indicates a new openness. There was never a better time for the Greens to see if they could forge a new political space, genuinely independent of Labour and National. Unfortunately for us all, they lacked the courage to try.

Nandor is quite correct here. The Greens did throw away an opportunity to have any influence for the next term or two.

No-one (including me) thinks the Greens would ever choose to support a National-led Government over a Labour-led Government. Well, I suppose even that is not impossible – in Hamburg last year the Greens supported the CDU over SDP and are in coalition with them. But back to NZ.

The Greens could have said “Our preference is a coalition with a Labour-led Government but we would consider an abstention on supply and confidence agreement with a National-led Government if a Labour-led Government is not viable”.

If they had done that, then the Greens may have been able to negotiate a number of significant policy concessions. National had been quite careful not to rule out doing a deal with the Greens.

John Key showed with the Maori Party agreement, that he can think outside the square. I think he would have tried to negotiate a deal with the Greens in good faith, if they had not put all their eggs with Helen Clark and Labour.

Now the Greens face a bleak future. Their high polls turned into less then 7% on the day. Over four elections now they seem trapped in a zone of 5% to 7% and twice have been just over 5.0%. They only have to fall under that threshold once and they are all gone.

The fix is in

June 4th, 2008 at 7:30 am by David Farrar

Mike Ward has succumbed to the pressure and has agreed to refuse his place in Parliament so Russel Norman can use taxpayer funded resources to campaign.

I blogged a couple of weeks ago that the Greens were trying to do two things – both of which work sit badly with me. The first is having MPs resign before for their term in Parliament is up, purely for tactical partisan reasons. You rejuvenate a party at elections, not between them.

The second is changing the order of the list post election. The Greens put a lot of stress on the fact their members rank the list, yet they have ignored the will of their members who ranked the 2005 party list – the only one which the public have had a chance to vote on with their party vote.

There is no way one can stop an MP resigning early, but one could have a simple law change to remove the ability for a list candidate to refuse to become an MP. They could still be elected and then resign, but that extra step might stop them from doing private deals to change the effective order of a list post-election.

Nandor blogs from the IPU

April 22nd, 2008 at 9:50 am by David Farrar

Nandor blogs from the IPU (International Parliamentary Union) meeting in Cape Town. He has some interesting observations on Zimbabwe and whether South Africa will step in if Mugabe starts massacring opponents. The IPU has also got involved:

The IPU did put out a strong statement last week. As well as being instrumental in putting it on the agenda, the NZ delegation also played a key role in getting the wording strengthened. John Carter and I worked together on amendments to the drafts, and I was impressed with what he got the drafting committee to support.

Well done John and Nandor. But who else is there:

Pressure also neeeds to be put on China to not sell arms under the circumstances. Zimbabwe is totally skint, so they can’t even pay their current bills. Any credit advanced for arms is even more unethical than normal. I had intended to mention it during the plenary debate. NZ had 8 minutes, split between Dover Samuels and me, but Dover spoke first and used up the whole allocation, so I had no opportunity to speak.

(I wouldn’t have minded so much if he hadn’t spent the whole time saying what a waste of time the IPU is before swanning off on a sight seeing tour with the delegates’ spouses!)

Oh dear.