Labour in Otaki

May 8th, 2011 at 11:10 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Raumati lawyer Peter Foster will contest the Otaki seat for the Labour Party in November’s election.

Mr Foster also sought the Mana by-election nomination.

Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth today described Mr Foster as a family man who had lived and worked in Otaki for 11 years.

“I have every confidence that Peter will hit the ground running and bring the Otaki seat back to Labour,” Moira Coatsworth said.

Mr Hughes held the Otaki seat for two terms before losing to National’s Nathan Guy in 2008 by 1354 votes.

Both Darren and Nathan were highly respected local MPs. That s why the seat was so close in 2005 and 2008. Mr Foster has some large shoes to fill, and the potential is there for Nathan to turn the seat from marginal to safe.

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No Wellington casino

December 14th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

A developer’s plan to build a casino in Wellington appears doomed after Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy ruled out a law change required for it to proceed.

Backers of the proposed billion-dollar project in Shelly Bay – which also includes a luxury apartment block and a gondola at the prime harbourside site – need the previous government’s moratorium on new casinos lifted if the centrepiece of the development is to go ahead.

But Mr Guy, who has responsibility for gambling, said changing the law was not in the pipeline and, even if it was, doing so would be a lengthy process.

“Any change to the law would be a decision for the Cabinet and caucus and would require extensive discussion with the wider community,” he said.

“At this stage, the Government has no plans to change the law.”

That’s a real shame. It is bizarre that the Government thinks Wellingtonians can not be trusted to have a casino.

I don’t think there should be any limit on the number of casinos. There should be rules around how they operate, but I don’t see it as the role of the state to determine which cities or towns are allowed one, and which are not.

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The National Party Presidency

July 17th, 2009 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

At the end of the month, National will elect a new President – indirectly. With Judy Kirk retiring this is the first vacancy under the new rules, where the members elect seven Directors to the National Board, and the Directors (including the Leader and a Caucus Rep) elect one of their own as President.

This has made predicting who will win much harder, as you have to get elected to the Board first, before you even get a chance to convince your peers to make you President. And to make it harder, many of the Board nominees are of sufficient calibre to be a viable President.

Two of the seven elected Directors are part way through their term, so are guaranteed to stay on the Board. They are Roger Bridge, the Canterbury-Westland Chair, and Peter Goodfellow from Auckland – a long time party activist. Both Bridge and Goodfellow are potential Presidents, regardless of formal declarations. They would serve if asked/elected.

Leader John Key and Chief Whip Nathan Guy also get a vote. Presuming they vote as a bloc, they will be influential. Key, Guy and whomever becomes President makes three votes out of nine. They only need two more.

Incumbent Director Scott Simpson is standing again. A former Auckland Regional Chairman, he is also a Presidental candidate. Fellow incumbent Grant McCallum from Northland is also standing again and as far as I know not seeking the Presidency.

According to Whale Oil (I have not had time to check directly with HQ), there are six other canddate for the Board. They are:

  • Alastair Bell, current Northern Regional Chair
  • Dennis Catchpole from the CNI Region
  • Sir Harawira (Wira) Gardiner, former Maori Vice-President
  • Kate Hazlett, Southern Region Chair from Southland
  • Bruce Mills, Rangitikei Electorate Chair and long-time LNI Regional presence
  • Pat Seymour, East Coast Electorate Chair for many years

Of the six non incumbents, only Wira Gardiner is also a Presidential candidate Alastair is a potential candidate also but I think isn’t seeking it at this stage.

Whale Oil makes his preferences quite clear, not being a Wira fan.

However Matthew Hooton in the NBR this morning wrote:

All candidates have been thoroughly vetted, with Mr Key’s preference said to be party stalwart Wira Gardiner. Mr Key judges, correctly, that Mr Gardiner – a businessman, former senior public servant, soldier and Mr Fixit for both National and Labour governments – has the administrative backbone to prepare National to take the fight to Labour. Moreover, Mr Key sees Mr Gardiner as important to securing a third term, given the Maori Party will hold the balance of power in 2014, if not 2011.

I’m not sure whether or not Matthew is correct as to John Key’s preference. I suspect John is keeping his opinion fairly tight as he has to work with whomever gets elected.

I know reasonably well all the Board candidates (except Dennis Catchpole) and have warm friendships with many of them. I think National is fortunate to have a good range of talent to choose from.

I won’t be blogging my preferences, as I’m not a voting delegate. But also because I designed the voting software they use to count the vote, so it is generally inadvisable for me to enter the fray in case anyone suspects I have a secret sub-routine in there that will favour my preferred canddiates :-)

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Nathan Guy made Internal Affairs Minister

June 15th, 2009 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

Nathan Guy joins five other members of the Class of 2005 as a Minister.His portfolios are Internal Affairs, National Library, National Archives, Associate Justice and Associate Transport.

The Associate Transport is the one portfolio Richard Worth did not have. Look for him to take a big interest in making Transmission Gully happen.

Maurice Williamson gets to keep his temporary portfolio of Land Information.

Nathan is a popular MP, across political boundaries. I think he has the potential to rise very high in politics, and expect he will be in Cabinet before too long.

The Caucus elects a new Senior Whip tomorrow. I would be very suprised if junior whip Chris Tremain is not elevated to that job. If he is, then the real interest is who will replace him as Junior Whip – there is no obvious choice.

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The Lower North Island Seats

November 13th, 2008 at 4:32 am by David Farrar

Whanganui had a 3% lead in the party vote in 2005, and this expanded out to 22% in 2008. And the 3,500 majority for Borrows goes to 6,000.

Rangitikei sees a 25% lead in the party vote and Simon Power moves his majority from 9,000 to 11,000.

Tukituki has an 18% lead in the party vote, and a 2,600 majority for Craig Foss gets a boost thanks to Labour’s sacking of the local District Health Board to over 7,000.

Palmerston North has been held by Labour since 1978. The party vote was narrowly won by National but Labour’s Iain Lees-Galloway held off Malcolm Plimmer by 1,000 votes.

Wairarapa has National 17% ahead on the party vote. And John Hayes turns the seat safe with a 2,900 majority converting to 6,300 in 2008.

Otaki was a huge battle. I’ve door knocked Otaki in the past and it is not natural National territory in the Horowhenua parts. So winning the party vote by 8% is good for National after trailling by 3% last time. Darren Hughes put up a huge fight to protect his sub 400 majority but Nathan Guy grabbed the seat by almost 1,500.

In Wellington, Labour does a lot better starting with Mana. Labour remains 6% ahead on the party vote but reduced from 18% in 2005. Winnie Laban’s 6,800 majority shrinks only slightly to 5.300.

Rimutaka was the last hope for NZ First. Labour won the party vote there in 2005 by 11% and in 2008 by 0.3%. On the electorate vote just as narrow with Labour’s Chris Hipkins pipping Richard Whiteside by 600 votes. Ron Mark got a credible 5,000 votes but stll trailed by 7,000.

Hutt South is home to Wainuiomata and Trevor Mallard. Trevor delivered a party vote margin for Labour of 4% and a 3,600 majority for himself. In 2005 the party vote margin was 14% and the personal majority 6,600 so some movement there.

Rongotai is now the home of the Labour Deputy Leader. But even before her ascension, Rongotai gave Labour a massive 11% margin on the party vote – 43% to 32% for National. And her personal 13,000 majority in 2005 was only slightly dented to just under 8,000. If that is her low tide mark, she’ll be happy.

Wellington Central saw in 2005 a party vote for National of just 33%, Labour 43% and Greens around 16%. In 2008 it was National 36%, Labour 34% and Greens around 20%. Marian Hobbs had a 5,800 majority and Stephen Franks cut that to 1,500 against new MP Grant Robertson with some Green party votes giving Robertson their electorate vote to keep Franks out.

Ohariu was assumed by almost everyone to be safe as houses for Peter Dunne. But it got close this time. First on the party vote, National beat Labour 43% to 40% in 2005. This time it was 47% to 33%. On the candidate vote Peter Dunne dropped from 45% to 33% making him vulnerable. National’s Katrina Shanks lifted her vote from 21% to 26% and Labour’s Charles Chauvel from 26% to 30%. The Greens candidate got 7% of the vote and may have ironically saved the seat for Dunne.

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The Kapiti Interviews – Hughes, Guy and Parata

October 7th, 2008 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

Cameron has put onto You Tube our interviews with some of the candidates. Each video is only around two minutes as they answered our five question quiz. I’ll do three of them here and the others later today. The questions were:

  1. What is the biggest issue for the voters of your electorate?
  2. When did you first stand for election of any sort – was it at school?
  3. McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden?
  4. What will you do with the tax cuts you just got?
  5. Goff or Cunliffe?

Above is Darren Hughes. Darren also answered questions on whether “Gingas” should be given the vote, and he advocated that not only should they be allowed to vote, but that they should be elected in large numbers. It was a fun interview!

His first election was in Standard Four when he won Class Captain in a landslide. He is backing Obama/Biden but was originally a Hillary supporter. His tax cuts have gone towards increasing his mortgage repayments.

For the Goff vs Cunliffe question, Darren just assumed we were talking about Labour Leadership but went on to say the next Leader has yet to be born, but he will happily serve them once they are :-)

Nathan Guy is above. Nathan’s biggest local issue was infrastructure, including Transmission Gully. At school he was elected Chairman of the Student Council. He backs McCain over Obama and then delivered such a word perfect piece on the importance of tax cuts that I suggested the Chief Whip had written it for him (he is Chief Whip for those who don’t get it). On Goff vs Cunliffe he said he does not care but Clark is gone!

And finally Hekia Parata. Hekia named three big issues of lifting productivity and incomes, access to quality education and roading/infrastructure. Hekia’s first political act was taking her third form class on strike in protest over not being able to read the Little Red Schoolbook. She had no idea what was in it but was offended they were told they could not read it. Hekia also mentioned at the end of the story that the Deputy Principal was her father so one can guess how well that went down! Hekia was also elected President of the Waikato Students’ Union.

Hekia said she is concerned about McCain’s age and Palin’s experience so thinks Obama/Biden is a better choice. Says tax cuts are too little too late and taxes should have been reduced a bit every year – not just once at the end of nine years.And finally she dodged the Goff vs Cunliffe question by choosing Key and English.

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Kapiti Meet the Candidates

October 7th, 2008 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Blogmobile had its first official outing to the Kapiti Coast on Sunday. It does take a while to get use to the size and bulk of the vehicle. You do not want to have to slam the brakes on suddenly, so you drive quite cautiously. Mind you, still over took a couple of cars on the way, which surprised them!

I also found no problems working on the laptop while Cameron drove. The Vodafone data card kept a signal the entire trip. And the mat on the table stops the laptop moving about.

Mid afternoon we went to a Waikanae function for Nathan Guy – had 100 or so people there to hear Gerry Brownlee speak. We then had some refreshments at a VWRCNZ farm a few kms north of Waikanae before heading to the Meet the Candidates Meeting in Raumati.

Raumati is actually in Mana electorate, but close to the Otaki boundary so there were candidates there for both electorates. Seven of the candidates (two Nats, one Labour, two ACT, one NZ First and one Progressive) did our five question quiz for the video camera, and I’ll link to their videos later on.

The candidates speaking were:

  1. National – Nathan Guy (Otaki) and Hekia Parata (Mana)
  2. Labour – Winnie Laban (Mana) and Darren Hughes (Otaki)
  3. ACT – Mike Collins (Mana) and Peter McCaffrey (Otaki)
  4. NZ First – David Scott (Otaki)
  5. United Future – Robin Gunston (Mana)
  6. Greens – Michael Gilchrist (Mana)
  7. Progressive – Josie Pagani (Otaki)

Each party had eight minutes (they could split between them) to talk, and the topic was meant to be on making communities safer. After that there was an hour of questions from the floor.

All the candidates got a pretty good reception, but David Scott got heckled a fair bit when he spent too much time talking about how wonderful Winston was, and not enough on the actual topic. We got this a bit in the interview also when David said the most critical issue facing voters is getting Winston back into Parliament! I actually know David as he is the ex-husband of a former National MP!

Nathan and Hekia were both very good. Nathan is one of those MPs who speaks to you, not at you – never speaks down at all. And Hekia was wonderful as she gave some great examples from her own family about the challenges parents can have in having their kids safe. You could feel the connection with some in the audience.

Winnie and Darren both gave very polished performances also. Darren uses humour very well, and strikes an easy rapport with people. They were both very on message and avoided stuff which turns off people like blaming crime on a budget from 17 years ago.

Gunston and Gilchrist made no blunders and reflected their party stances as expected.

Likewise Peter and Mike from ACT pushed their party’s policies on law and order. They had one negative moment when Peter pushed Sir Roger Douglas and the generally elderly audience reacted as if he had tortured a cat. But during question time it seemed apparent they had some people agreeing with them on law and order policies.

But the real interesting candidate for me (and no not just because I know her) was Josie Pagani. In fact Josie scared me. She sounded like a Tory, while advocating socialist policies. Now this is really dangerous!! A definite wolf in sheep’s clothing!

She managed to defend the anti-smacking law while at the same time condemning the political correct environment that spawned it by talking about how her kids get reflection notes or some bullshit from school now, and what the hell do they mean. So she had all the audience nodding and agreeing with her, and then artfully adds to her story by saying that violence against kids is horrific though and if we need a better law to make it clear, then she is all for it.

One of the questions was on whether the drinking age should be lifted to 20. I resisted identifying myself as a co-ordinator for the Keep it 18 campaign :-). It was interesting how the candidates split.

In favour of 20 was the Greens, Progressive, NZ First United Future and one of the Labour candidates (Laban). Now it is a conscience issue but I found it interesting that you had Greens and Progressive agreeing with the more socially conservative parties.

In favour of 18 was both ACT candidates, both National candidates and Darren Hughes from Labour. Hekia Parata did make the point that she did not support lowering it to 18, but now it is 18 one can’t turn it back.

Afterwards we gave Peter and Mike a lift back to Wellington. They were impressed that we had on board a box of ACT’s 20 point plans – Rodney never misses an opportunity and got them for Cameron.

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