Mike Moore on Progressives

September 19th, 2009 at 7:28 pm by David Farrar

Had to laugh reading a recent Q&A transcript:

PAUL:  But what is he doing?   Is he handing the Progressives to Labour, is that what he’s doing?

MIKE:  There’s nothing to hand across – except this.  There’ll be 38 activists who’ll want to go on the party list, who’ll want jobs in head office, in the leader’s office and they represent frequently the most unpleasant and the most unattractive side of the left.  And they will burrow in – they’re the chardonnay socialists who use the word mate because they think workers use it, and then they go to their vineyards and call each other furtively “comrade”.   They are not pleasant and they are not votable.

It will be interesting to see how many Progressive activists get places on the Labour List. In the meantime Jim keeps claiming extra salary and funding by pretending to be a party leader.

Progressives going going gone

July 27th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA reported:

The Progressive Party is effectively standing aside at the next election and its members have been told they are free to join Labour if they want to.

Back on May 31 I blogged that the Progressives appear to be defunct, and it looks like we were right.

The “convenient fiction” that they are still a party gets Anderton an extra $100,000 a year in taxpayer resources for his office. His total parliamentary funding is $250,580 + GST.

Anderton personally gets paid an extra $13,500 salary for his fictional role as a party leader.

A spokesman told NZPA the Progressive Party would not run a candidate list at the 2011 election and would not campaign for the party vote.

I expect Anderton will announce his retirement in due course.

Gone Thank God

July 19th, 2009 at 2:52 pm by David Farrar

Prog Blog has a list of things he claims are gone under National. To many of them we would say Thank God:

Options for only healthy food in school canteens

Such an Orwellian descripton – “options”

Biofuel percentage in petrol

Which even the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment warned about. Hundreds and thousands have died of food shortages due to such mandatory quotas of biofuel as productive food growing land was turned to biofuels.

Legislation to ensure coal and gas generators are not built

Which would have resulted in not enough power supply to meet demand and no heaters in winter.

Research for equal pay for female Social Workers

Oh no, a report got canned.

Security of the Commerce Commission

It’s still there actually!

Parts of Resource Management Act

Thank God again. Evel Labour supported many of the changes.

High level elected public officials

Not even sure what this means, but losing some can’t harm

Plans for early intervention

In what? What a bizarre list. Looks like a cut and paste done without reading.

And then we also have some lies:

Funding for special needs

Actually funding for special needs education was boosted $51 million in the 2009 Budget.

HoS on Progressives

June 8th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday notes (after we blogged it):

The public pays $164,000 a year to Jim Anderton’s Progressive Party – which sits with Labour, speaks with Labour, votes with Labour, and now campaigns for Labour.


Dr Joe Atkinson, a politics lecturer at Auckland University, said the Progressive Party funding was “an anomaly of MMP” as Anderton operated as a Labour MP. Anderton, the sole Progressive MP, sits on the front bench of the debating chamber among Labour MPs, and is the Labour opposition’s spokesman on agriculture.

Associate Professor Andrew Geddis, a constitutional law expert at Otago University, called the Progressive Party as “a convenient fiction”.

That is a great term – a “convenient fiction”. Superb. Anderton is good at these – in 2002 he remained in the House as an Alliance MP even though he had left the party months earlier.

The Progressive Party is allocated $100,000 a year plus $64,320 for electorate funding. And, as an MP and party leader, Anderton receives a salary of $144,500 a year. Anderton was defiant: “What’s the big deal?” he asked.

What is the big deal says Jim? Well Whale responds by quoting Jim:

NZ Herald, May 27 1999, by Vernon Small

News of the extra funding for the list MP and Mana Wahine Party leader provoked outrage yesterday among Opposition MPs, who alleged it was a jackup.

“In my view this action suggests someone who has no chance of being elected as dog-catcher … has been granted over $77,000 on an annual basis for helping to keep the Government of the day in power,” said Alliance leader Jim Anderton, from whose party Mrs Kopu defected.

Mr Anderton said he would seek a review of the funding decision, which follows official parliamentary recognition of Mana Wahine and grants the one-MP party $77,186 for research and office expenses.

…..But Mr Anderton said the funding brought the political process further into disrepute, and he would investigate ways, including a judicial review, to overturn it.

My goodness – back then it was a big deal when it was another MP in a convenient fiction party. Arguably Kopu’s party was more legitimate as it actually contested the ensuing elections.

And further:

The Press, 27 May 1999, Edition 1, on Page 1

Alliance leader Jim Anderton said the payment of extra money to Mrs Kopu was an outrage. He will write to the Parliamentary Services Commission seeking an urgent review of its decision.

He said the action of giving Mrs Kopu the money, and the way the rules had been changed to allow it to happen, “comes as close to being fairly described as corruption” as anything he had seen in his 35-year political career.

So when Jim does it, it is no big deal. When Mrs Kopu did it, it was close to corruption.

Are the Progressives defunct?

May 31st, 2009 at 11:35 am by David Farrar

Whale Oil has called time of death on the Progressives. I think he is right. Why:

  1. Long-term Anderton/Progressive strategist John Pagani is Labour’s Mt Albert Campaign Manager, as confirmed on Q&A this morning
  2. Progressive Deputy Leader is pictured on Labour’s Mt Albert’s campaign website with a Labour rosette
  3. Anderton is effectively a Labour MP, as they have made him their Spokesperson on Agriculture.

Should Anderton still be treated as a party leader? His salary is set at $144,500 instead of $131,000 due to this status.

What other perks does Anderton get by being a party leader?

  1. Ability to have the taxpayer pay for his spouse to accompany him on overseas parliamentary travel
  2. An extra $100,000 of taxpayer funding ($164,320 instead of $64,320

One can argue that as the Progressive Party is not contesting the by-election, it is natural for them to support Labour. Having the Deputy Leader of one party wearing a rosette for anotehr is unprecedented.

Put it like this. If ACT did not contest a by-election, would you ever see the ACT Deputy Leader wearing a National rosette out campaigning for the National candidate? Of course not.

Why no decisions by Police on electoral breaches?

December 24th, 2008 at 9:25 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports today that the Police have rejected the NZ First complaint against the Director of the Serious Fraud Office. They were very upset that he told the truth to the Privileges Committee about the funding of the $40,000 Peters paid Clarkson. It showed that both Peters and Henry had given false evidence to the Privileges Committee, so no wonder they were upset.

But this got me thinking about the Police, and the election. The Electoral Commission has referred multiple alleged offences to the Police this year, and with one exception (the false donation returns from NZ First) it has not announced an outcome for any of them.

The earliest referral was on 27 June in relation to unauthorised banners in Tauranga. This was as simple a case as you can get. How is it the Police have not been able to reach a conclusion in six months?

There was also the Progressive adverts referred on 1 August, the EMA adverts on 26 August, the late Social Credit donations return on 4 Sep 2008, and a further Progressive ad on 18 Sep 2008.

It is difficult to not conclude that the Police just have no interest in enforcing electoral law (as they showed in 2005), when they can’t even make a decision within six months on an unauthorised billboard.

Anderton all but joins Labour

November 19th, 2008 at 12:49 pm by David Farrar

Jim Anderton has announced he is forming an Opposition coalition with Labour and will be the coalition Agriculture Spokesperson.

Why doesn’t he just admit his party serves no useful purpose, and join Labour again.

State of the Parties

November 10th, 2008 at 12:24 pm by David Farrar

So how are things looking for the parties. Let’s take things in reverse order:


Did better than expected on 0.9% – enough to avoid overhang but well off getting a second MP. The party is effectively over and doesn’t really serve any useful purpose now they are in Opposition (in Government they did have a somewhat different brand to Labour). I will not be surprised to see Anderton rejoin Labour during this term and Progressives windup. Anderton presumably will retire next election.

United Future

Like Progressive, United Future is basically over. Enough votes to avoid overhang but well off a second MP. Peter will have got a bit of a nasty shock that his majority has been slashed to under 2,000 and this is probably his final term as I expect both National and Labour will aim to win the seat next time.

Maori Party

Not that good an election for them. It could have been worse – they did win Te Tai Tonga but they are quite gutted not to win Ikaroa-Rawhiti especially. Their party vote barely lifted and they don’t hold the balance of power. However if they are sensible they will negotiate an abstain on supply and confidence with National in exchange for some policy wins. Their big challenge will be differentiating from Labour’s Maori MPs to give people a reason to keep supporting them. There is a remote chance they will take up Ministerial positions outside Cabinet – they will be worried doing so will risk Labour winning seats back off them. However they can make the case that National could have governed without them, and by accepting the roles they got to deliver some wins to Maoridom.

New Zealand First

It is all over. Winston won’t stand again in Tauranga and unless National did something monumentally stupid like cut super, NZ First won’t stand anywhere.

I suspect Ron Mark will become Leader and maybe give Rimutaka another try, but it is doubtful they’ll make 1% without an incumbent MP and/or Winston.

The big question is where will NZ First voters go? National? Labour? There is in fact an opportunity for a new party to hoover up the NZ First, Kiwi Party and Family Party that got 5.1% between them. They all have social conservatism in common. If United Future disappears also, then you may have up to 6% looking for a home.


In some ways the Greens are the big losers from this election, despite getting two more MPs. But they had polls showing them getting up to 11.5% and they only got 6.4%. Labour lost bigtime also, but at least they got to spend nine years in Government. The Greens have spent their first nine years locked out of Government and now face say another six years in Opposition where they will struggle to compete with Labour who will agree with them on most issues now. And when Labour do come back in, the Maori Party will have a stronger negotiating position than the Greens.

On the positive side they did get two more MPs and maybe could get a third. Delahunty is seen as an exremists, but Hague is a solid performer and Kennedy Graham could add to theri voter appeal.


The result is a total vindication for Rodney Hide. If ACT has not grown their number of MPs, they would have become like the Progressive Party – doomed to die with the Leader. But they have grown ACT so that it is a credible force for the future. This is great not just for ACT but the centre-right. Without ACT long-term there would be just four parties – Labour, Greens, Maori and National. Under that scenario centre-right Govts will be rare. With ACT in the picture it is more balanced.

The challenge for ACT is to get some policy wins from National. With 5 MPs they need to be able to show they delivered to their supporters. But they need to balance that with not forcing John Key into doing anything that could be seem to betray those who voted for him and his leadership.

ACT should also push for two Ministers – Rodney and Heather. They make up 1/12th of the Government so they should get 1/12th of the Executive which is two Ministerial roles. Heather would be a very competent Minister I am sure.


Clark and Cullen have resigned. It is a mark of their political judgement that they have decided to step down immediately. Staying on for even six months would just have meant a period of destabilising headlines.

Phil Goff will be the new Leader I predict. If the ballot has been delayed even a year, then maybe not. But I suspect he may be elected unoppossed.

The interesting thing will be Deputy. It has to be a female or a Maori to keep factions happy. I somehow can’t see Goff happy with Maryan Street as his Deputy (and I see she has ruled herself out) so suspect Annette King could take the job. However they are both from the right-leaning part of Caucus so there may be opposition to that. King is widely regarded by all her MPs though. Jones is a possible for Deputy but making him Deputy would lead to speculation as to when he will roll Goff.

Goff will get one chance only, like Mike Moore. If he does not win in 2011, then others will be ready by then. There is even a chance he would get rolled before 2011 if they do not perform in the polls.

Goff is a very capable politician, but his big problem is he entered Parliament under Muldoon. It will be hard to brand him as the fresh face for the future when he has been an MP for 30 years by the time of the next election.

If Labour are smart they will make Cunliffe Shadow Finance Minister.


Key has a number of challenges and opportunities.

He needs to do a deal with ACT that works for both of them. Gives ACT some wins, but doesn’t undermine his centrist brand. However having said that, people have to realise the public did not vote for a National Government – they did elect a National-ACT Government (plus United Future).

His other challenge is the Maori Party – it would be a coup to bring them on board as Ministers. This is ironic as most PMs would rather keep all portfolios for their own party, but long-term having Sharples and Turia as Ministers would send a message about working with the Maori Party. It would also allow National to do some stuff in welfare, that they could not do by themselves.

Putting together the Cabinet is the next challenge. To put it bluntly there are too many contenders and some will be disappointed. Key will need some of the 1990s Ministers for their experience and stability, but signal to those MPs that they should not expect a six to nine year term in Cabinet this time around – more likely 2 – 3 years max, so that going into 2011 the majority of Ministers are from the 2002, 2005 and even 2008 intakes.

A fourth challenge is a large Caucus of 59. But unlike 1990, there is no long tail of Gilbert Myles types to manage. One or two may present some challenges but generally the new intake is talented and ambitious. That may be the longer term challenge – keeping them happy as Government backbenchers whose main job is to move “That the motion now be put” in committee of the whole debates 🙂

The 2005 intake will also need some managing. A few of them will make Cabinet but most won’t – yet. They will probably be the Select Committee Chairs as Ministers in waiting, and these appointments will also have to be negotiated with other parties.

Matt Robson on John McCain

November 2nd, 2008 at 8:49 pm by David Farrar

I blogged a couple of days ago about what Matt Robson said on Back Benches about John McCain:

As I said at the time:

They were talking about the US election and Obama and McCain. Wallace Chapman mentioned that McCain was around the same age as Jim Anderton, and Robson’s nasty littlre retort was:

But Jim can put his hands up over his head and claim victory, McCain can’t do that

How disgusting is that? To denigrate a man who is crippled due to years of torture as a prisoner of war? From Wikipedia:

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours.

Some of the injuries came from his initial treatment when shot down:

Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him.

Now this is a war crime and against the Geneva Conventions. Robson has spent a lifetime going on about the Geneva Conventions, and war crimes, but then shows his real colours, by justifying the torture of McCain (after Paul Quinn pulled him up for his offensive comments), and bayoneting of a wounded surrendered solider on the basis that McCain had taken part in a war that killed a lot of people.

Now above is the video extracted onto You Tube, so people can easily judge for themselves what Robson was doing. Prog Blog has ludicrously tried to argue Robson was referring to McCain not winning as why he would not be raising his hands in victory, but that is crap as Robson explictly refers to the inability to raise his hands. Prog Blog should be ashamed it is trying to defend such a loathsome comment from Robson.

It is worth remembering that Robson is the Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party which is a formal part of the Government. Wonder what Phil Goff thinks of his comments?

The Progressives

October 31st, 2008 at 8:46 am by David Farrar

Two interesting statements from the Progressives:

The Herald reports:

Progressive leader Jim Anderton made an unorthodox and brazen pitch to the elderly yesterday for New Zealand First voters to back him.

He made the bid on the basis that the New Zealand First leader Winston Peters might not be re-elected to Parliament after a series of inquiries into donations to his party.

So Jim is saying Winston is goneburger, so vote for me.

But the real quote that needs more attention comes from Deputy Leader Matt Robson, appearing on Back Benches.

They were talking about the US election and Obama and McCain. Wallace Chapman mentioned that McCain was around the same age as Jim Anderton, and Robson’s nasty littlre retort was:

But Jim can put his hands up over his head and claim victory, McCain can’t do that

How disgusting is that? To denigrate a man who is crippled due to years of torture as a prisoner of war? From Wikipedia:

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours.

Some of the injuries came from his initial treatment when shot down:

Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him.

Now this is a war crime and against the Geneva Conventions. Robson has spent a lifetime going on about the Geneva Conventions, and war crimes, but then shows his real colours, by justifying the torture of McCain (after Paul Quinn pulled him up for his offensive comments), and bayoneting of a wounded surrendered solider on the basis that McCain had taken part in a war that killed a lot of people.

People should look at the video at the link above (just after halfway in chapter one) and see how gleeful Robson is in mocking McCain’s injuries and how unrepentent he is when challenged on it.

The hydra

October 25th, 2008 at 4:10 pm by David Farrar

A hydra normally has seven heads, not five. Whale Oil has kindly provided this illustration.

There is a serious point to the talk about the five or seven headed Hydra.

We are in the midst of the most serious global financial crisis for 70 years. Getting through it with minimal harm will not be easy.

A Government of Labour, Winston, Anderton, the Greens and maybe Maori Party is not one likely to cope well. Half of them want to abolish the Reserve Bank Act. Half of them don’t care about government debt. All of them want huge amounts more spending. Do you think they could credibly exercise fiscal and monetary discipline? Do you think they could make hard, even unpopular calls, if deemed necessary for the NZ economy?

The minor parties and the Internet

October 22nd, 2008 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

Michelle Sullivan continues her rating of the parties and their websites. In her earlier article she gave National an A and Labour a C+ for their web strategies.

  • NZ First – same design since 2002 – a D
  • ACT website okay but needs tweaking, not enough use of social networking and You Tube – a C
  • Maori Party – simple website, little content – a C
  • Family Party – a shiny website, too American, but will be popular with many. No grade given
  • Green Party – expected big things but underwhelmed. Suggest more video on front page. Overall good and gets a B grade.
  • United Future – nice three column setup. Blgo is integrated into site. Also like minipolls. A solid B.
  • Progressive – unusual design – some will like it. Little content – C-.

So the overall rankings would be:

  1. National A+
  2. Greens B
  3. United Future B
  4. Labour C+
  5. ACT C
  6. Maori C
  7. Progressive C-
  8. NZ First D

That is pretty close to the rankings I gave out earlier this year in various presentations I did on the issue. I had Greens and National the top two but Greens higher. I also had Progressive and NZ First as the bottom two.  I did have ACT over Labour though but still around the middle.

Now it gets really dirty

September 14th, 2008 at 1:41 pm by David Farrar

Prog Blog is an unofficial blog on behalf of Jim Anderton’s Progressives.

Last week they did a blog post about a quote from John Key saying “Young people are a group I’m passionate about”.

They commented beneath that

“So is Gary Glitter”

The post has now been deleted but it is still in Google Cache.

Someone e-mailed me this a few days ago but I only noticed the e-mail today. Some other blogs highlighted this earlier.

Hmmn, and even though the page has been deleted, it still shows up on their main site.

I think media should be asking the Hon Jim Anderton who writes Prog Blog for them, and does he condone comparing John Key to paedophile? Will someone offer an apology at the very least?

People said this would be a very dirty campaign, but not even I thought it would be that dirty.

Anderton wants EFA changed

August 5th, 2008 at 8:15 am by David Farrar

Having been referred to the Police for breaking the Electoral Finance Act, Jim Anderton now wants it changed.

Basically Jim thought the law would just apply to “bad people” and not himself. Here’s the real irony:

The decision means all four parties that supported the controversial electoral law changes last year have now fallen foul of the tight new rules on election advertising – mostly for not carrying authorising statements.

There was close to a dozen decisions released on Friday by the Electoral Commission. If I have time later today, I’ll take readers through them one by one. As usual I agree with most of them, but differ with a couple.

Minor Parties

March 31st, 2008 at 8:27 am by David Farrar

NZPA reports on the minor parties debate held on TVNZ’s Channel 7 yesterday. Winston refused to take part as he thinks he isn’t a minor party. Well Winnie, you got 1.1% in the latest poll – can’t get much more minor than that.

The positions of the minor parties on post-election support is interesting:

  • Maori Party says they will consult with members after the election, but said could not support National if retained policy of abolishing Maori seats.  My reading of this, is that they would require that policy to be dumped as one of the prices of support after the election, not that having that policy pre-election is fatal in itself (esp as the Maori Party entered negotiations after 2005 with National despite similar policy)
  • Greens will declare before the election who they support, based on policies. This will be Labour. What will be interesting is if they rule out say abstaining on supply and confidence for National in return for suitable policy concessions
  • United Future says it will negotiate first with the largest party
  • NZ First a couple of weeks agao also said it will negotiate first with the largest party
  • ACT indicated it would back National, but a bottom line would be removal of the 39c tax rate. That is a very cunning demand, which I may blog on  separately at some stage
  • Progressives say they will back Labour

So what you effectively have is Greens and Progressive backing Labour, ACT backing National, NZ First and United Future giving preference to the largest party, and the Maori Party genuinely swinging.

The decisions (which are unchanged from 2005) for United Future and NZ First to give first preference to the largest party, makes things very hard for Labour. You see while it is quite plausible that National’s gap over Labour may drop to say 7%or 8%, making it plus the Greens approx equal to National, it is highly highly unlikely that Labour will actually get more seats than National. And NZF and UFNZ have said they will give preference t the largest party not the largest bloc.

So in reality Labour (including Progressive) only have the Greens and maybe the Maori Party to make it over 60 seats.

Ironically their best chance of making it, is for NZ First not to be there. If NZ First get knocked out, then their vote is effectively redistributed proportionally to the parties which do qualify. If NZ First do make it, then it is very very hard for Labour  to get to 61 seats with just the Greens and Maori Party (who are far from certain anyway).

The other irony is that it is arguably in National’s interest for NZ First to stay in Parliament.