Hide on Craig’s pamphlet

August 9th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

I already thought Colin Craig the oddest thing in New Zealand politics but I have just received a pamphlet in my letterbox that makes him appear even odder. On the front is a picture of a haunted, hunted Craig, and it is titled Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas.

I flicked it open to see an image of a man’s hand on a woman’s knee and in bold: “Craig has only ever had one sexual relationship which is with his wife [Helen] of over 23 years.” …

There’s no author. Craig is spoken about in the third person and he and his wife have “authorised” the pamphlet but “do not agree with every statement made nor endorse all viewpoints”. I am hoping they do agree on the statement of fidelity.

The pamphlet comments on allegations made by blogger Whaleoil and others, including Conservative Party board members. There is quite a cast of characters and some deep intrigue. I got a little lost in it and am left wondering why I needed to know all this. Or why I should care.

The essence is the claim there has been a “campaign of lies” against Craig. Some of the “lies” are repeated and responded to. Nothing is proved either way.

We are told of lies 4, 7 and 14, but I am left wondering about the others. I am thinking that 1, 2 and 3 must be juicy.

I thought I was special but my neighbours also got the pamphlet.

It’s odd to complain about lies being told about you then repeat them to every household in my neighbourhood and, supposedly, the country.

Stranger is to suggest, through numbering the lies, that there are more — and to provide references to where they may be found.

Like Rodney, I find this very strange. I’ve never ever before known someone who claims something defamatory was said about them, to publish a pamphlet about the alleged lies, and mail it to what appears to be every household in New Zealand.

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Hide on special education

July 12th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

Little Devon Roke was turned down by three early childhood education centres before BestStart’s ABC Waterview agreed to enrol him.

The three centres had their stated reasons — but the real reason was that Devon has cerebral palsy. …

I had many wonderful experiences in politics but the greatest was my all-too-brief spell as Minister Responsible for Special Education.

I visited my first special school not knowing what to expect and was immediately swept up in a class where I had never before seen so much learning and sheer joy and such committed and loving teachers.

I couldn’t tear myself away and found myself cavorting on the floor, dancing and singing with the students, totally uncaring what I looked or sounded like or that I was supposed to be the minister, not a child at school.

I was hooked.

It consumed me.

It was wonderful.

I saw children learning more than I ever believed possible. I saw children put in more effort than I had ever before seen. I walked beside a boy as he dragged himself to class from the playground and then up into his chair.

And I saw the look of achievement and happiness on his face.

He could not have been prouder if he had just conquered Everest.

In another primary school, I saw children looking after their cerebral palsy mate in a wheelchair and playing football with him. I don’t know who among them was enjoying it the most.

And everywhere the teachers were the most wonderful I could imagine.

I did my best to make the students’ lives better, but instead it was they who made such a difference to mine.

I still get texts from some and some still remember my birthday.

I feel sorry for the students of the three centres who turned Devon away. He would have made such a difference to their lives. And now they are going to miss out. That’s sad and it’s wrong.

What a great column.

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Hide-Shaw bromance over

June 9th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

I’ve fallen out of love with Green co-leader Jamie Shaw. It didn’t take long. Our political honeymoon lasted less than a day.

He declared “free market capitalism dead”. I get that he doesn’t like free markets. He’s a Green. He’s a politician. He wants to boss us around. People being free to choose is anathema to him.

But to declare the free market dead? What is he saying? That no one now supports free markets? That’s not true. There’s me.

Or is he saying that there are no free markets? Has he never been on TradeMe, shopped in a supermarket or been to a food hall?

Free market capitalism is rampant and everything that we need is produced by it: food, shelter, internet and smartphones.

Countries previously starving have grown rich in a generation through free market capitalism.

We have more free trade than ever. There’s more private property. Profit and loss rules and consumers are king. Politicians and bureaucrats are increasingly marginalised. They don’t have the power and control they once had.

They don’t like it but that doesn’t make the free market dead. It’s alive and well and feeding the world.

It’s a line that may go down a treat with Green Party faithful but it shows they have another leader too shallow and too lazy to think and debate.

 

Rodney is correct that the free market is far from dead. Every day we buy, sell and trade.

Then I learned he doesn’t have a driver’s licence. Being driven around by others doesn’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Imagine the conversation.

“I don’t drive. I’m saving the planet. But could you pick me up around eight?”

Heh.

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Hide on Little

May 3rd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

The old hands weren’t so sure. Dumping on your own candidate didn’t seem right. And Labour’s support for Peters embarrassed them.

They also knew that giving Peters an opportunity, any opportunity, would not necessarily develop to Labour’s advantage.

This week’s Herald-Digipoll survey confirmed their worst fears. Little is polling below Labour’s previous leaders, David Cunliffe and David Shearer.

Peters is breathing down his neck. Key remains on 51 per cent as preferred Prime Minister.

Peters has emerged the victor with a soapbox. It’s he who beat National in a safe seat. It’s Peters who is giving Key a contest. It’s he who is news.

Little has crowned Peters Leader of the Opposition. It’s hard now to see what Labour has gained.

Peters took their support, brushed them aside and now eclipses them. Such is his power and ability.

He’s now not pinching National’s votes. He’s pinching Labour votes.

Indeed. In March National was only 15% ahead of Labour in the polls. In April the average has them 20% ahead.

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Hide on Northland

March 8th, 2015 at 2:11 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

But it gets better.

Peters lives in Auckland. Parliament is in Wellington. That’s how he divides his time. Kerikeri is 250km north of Auckland. So Peters is asking the people of Northland to vote for an Aucklander to elect an MP from Invercargill and empower an MP from Wellington.

Yep.

It has been 40 years since Peters stood for Northern Maori. He’s late in rediscovering the north but his campaign is exciting.

I believe he prefers a close second. Winning would be altogether too much work.

Northland is a huge electorate with huge needs. John Carter used to spend every spare minute doing constituent cases, and driving around.

How often would Peters visit the electorate from St Marys Bay?

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Hide impressed by Little

February 1st, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

The David Cunliffe experiment of tacking left is over. …

Little’s speech was more interesting by far.

He’s new and his speech was an opportunity to learn where he’s directing Labour and, potentially, the country.

And here’s the money quote: “As a union leader I was always conscious that wealth had to be created first before it could be shared. We need to do what’s right for business so we can do what’s right for workers and their families and to keep skills in New Zealand.”

Little recognises the need to create wealth before it can be spent.

And he acknowledges that business creates wealth – and, by implication, not Government. That’s a big statement from a Labour leader.

He told us how as union leader he helped business to help workers and their families.

He’s not a “worker-versus-business” guy. He worked with Fonterra to achieve productivity gains and so boost the pay to workers and farmers.

The bit about farmers is important. He understands the economy is interconnected and farmers are part of his economic equation.

It’s all good news.

Little has outlined his vision and direction. His challenge now is to deliver policy that convinces middle voters he will deliver.

The rhetoric and direction sound promising indeed, as a more moderate rational Labour Party. The test will be whether they devise policy to match, or will be talk without the walk?

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You need 2.4 km of clear road to now overtake

December 28th, 2014 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide does the calculations:

Overtaking on the road safely and within the law is now all but impossible.

The speed limit on the open road is 100km/h. The police are applying zero tolerance. You can now be ticketed at 101km/h. The speed limit for heavy vehicles and cars pulling caravans, boats or trailers is 90km/h.

Do the maths. In good driving conditions we are advised to apply the “two-second rule”. At 90km/h that’s 50m. So you pull out 50m behind a truck and trailer, the truck and trailer is 20m long and you pull in once safely 50m past. You have to make 120m to pass safely.

If the truck is doing 90km/h and you stick to 100km/h it takes 43 seconds to gain that 120m.

At 100km/h you will have travelled 1.2km. You must allow for a car coming towards you at 100km/h. To pass safely you need 2.4km of clear road.

This is why there is a tolerance – to allow for situations where it is sensible to temporarily exceed the speed limit.

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Hide on Labour Day

October 26th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

Tomorrow is Labour Day. Once again we will endure the annual claptrap that unions are great and won for us the eight-hour day. Without unions we would be working 24/7. It’s nonsense. …

On-board was shipping agent George Hunter, who asked Parnell to build him a store. Parnell agreed but on the condition that he work only eight hours a day. Hunter wasn’t happy. Eight-hour days weren’t the custom in London, but he had little choice: there were only three carpenters in Wellington.

Hence was born the eight-hour day. The practice caught on. For more than 100 years we have celebrated the eight-hour day as a victory for trade unionism. We know it as Labour Day which, on the fourth Monday of every October, is a public holiday.

We hear every year of the union movement’s long, hard struggle. It wasn’t easy winning the eight-hour day, we are repetitively told.

Without unions, greedy employers would have us working every hour, every day.

It’s a myth. The so-called victory had nothing to do with unions. It was simple supply and demand. The demand for skilled labour was high in the new and growing settlement. The supply was low.

Parnell could have negotiated more pay. But he chose fewer hours. That was his choice. That was the free market.

Every Labour Day we should be remembering how the eight-hour day was “won”: it was by two men negotiating, no third party involved. There were no unions. There was no labour legislation.

 

An excellent point. And today we thankfully have a country where generally people can negotiate their own hours. The unions tried to stop Saturday shopping, but failed.

I won’t be celebrating unions tomorrow. Quite the opposite. I will be working and celebrating the freedom that enables us to prosper and build a great country.

I will also be laughing. The union movement is so bereft of success that it has had to commandeer Parnell’s win through the free market. Such is the myth-making of the left. Even history isn’t safe.

Personally I think we should rename Labour Day.

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Hide’s winners and losers

September 14th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

There’s also every likelihood that voters won’t decide the Government. That could be up to Winston Peters. It’s deplorable but that’s MMP and that’s Peters’ cunning. To vote New Zealand First you must not care whether Cunliffe or Key is Prime Minister and whether the Greens are in Government. A vote for Peters is for any of the above. Peters will go with who is best for him. You have been warned.

That’s a good way of putting it.

Cunliffe has been the campaign loser. He may well end up Prime Minister but he has Labour polling in the 20s. He would start his Prime Ministership on the back foot without popular support and with the Greens and others in the box seat pushing him around.

In January Labour averaged 33.5% in the public polls. This has been their average every month this year:

  • Jan 33.5%
  • Feb 32.2%
  • Mar 30.7%
  • Apr 30.5%
  • May 29.9%
  • Jun 27.9%
  • Jul 26.6%
  • Aug 26.1%
  • Sep 24.8%

In eight months they have lost 8.7% – not in one big hit, bit a long slow gradual decline.

The other loser is Hone Harawira. He sold out himself, his party, his electorate. The best to be said is that he wasn’t cheap. Kim Dotcom kicked in $4.5 million.

Harawira may do well with Dotcom’s bankroll but his integrity is gone. It’s not something he can buy back.

Hone got 1.1% last time without selling out. He was 0.1% off getting a 2nd MP. On the average of the polls taking Dotcom’s money is only going to get him that 2nd MP.

The big winners this election are the Greens. They are the third party of New Zealand politics. Labour must now figure out how to work with them.

The Greens are looking like their caucus may be over half the size of Labour’s.

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Hide on the election

August 31st, 2014 at 7:46 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

This election has been like watching the Bledisloe Cup. Just as the ball’s kicked off, the ball boys start a verbal. The cameras zoom in. The argument looks hot and bothered but it’s not the test.

The cameras stay fixed on the boys. Aargh.

We want the real game. That’s what we sat down for. Nicky Hager, Cameron Slater and Kim Dotcom are the ball boys in this election. They aren’t the game.

The real test is John Key versus David Cunliffe. At stake is who gets to run the government for three years.

We must decide whose judgment we want applied to the likes of the global financial crisis, the Canterbury earthquakes, the threat of international terrorism. It’s a big deal.

I wonder if even 10% of NZers could name a single policy released in the last two weeks?

Following September 20 either John Key or David Cunliffe will be Prime Minister. One will win and be running the country. The other will lose and be out on his ear.

It matters big time for the both of them. It matters big time for the country.

But whatever the result Kim Dotcom will still be facing extradition, Nicky Hager will be off writing his 2017 election bombshell and Cameron Slater will still be blogging.

The result doesn’t matter to them. They don’t run the country. We have had the sideshow. Let’s get back to the match that matters. Can we have our election back?

20 days to go.

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Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to interview people before publishing?

August 15th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Former ACT party leader Rodney Hide says he ‘laughed out loud’ over allegations he was blackmailed into standing down as leader of the ACT Party.

Jordan Williams, the Wellington lobbyist who features heavily in Nicky Hager’s latest book, also says the suggestion is “utterly false”.

In his book Dirty Politics, Hager claims that Williams was part of a campaign to pressure Hide to stand down, including claims that he was blackmailed into resigning over him sending “inappropriate text messages to a young woman”.

The book published an exchange between Simon Lusk, a political strategist previously aligned with the National Party, and WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater.

Lusk to Slater: “Cam we an f… up rodney. …Jordan is talking to a girl that Rodney has been sending dodgy texts to.”

Slater: “Get the texts….I can get them to Jonathan Jarshall. Just the sort of grubby shit he would be into.”

“Trying. Problem is that Jordan needs to get them first, probably Wednesday night, but at the same time we can use this to our advantage.”

Slater: “Drop them hard this Fri. No coming back from that.”

Hide said he “laughed out loud” when he read the allegations and referred to Lusk and Slater’s conversations as “two guys who email each other sort of like they’re standing around in the pub talking bullshit…”

Rodney is right. I would have thought an investigative journalist, would follow up the e-mails, and ask if any of the stuff talked about actually happened. People often get boastful or hyped up on e-mails. The entire book is based on e-mails to or from Cameron (plus some material stolen from me), and they take as the literal truth everything said on e-mail.  Just because someone boasts that they will try and get the Minister to move a prisoner for them, doesn’t mean it ever happened – and in fact it can’t happen.

I doubt there are many people who can say they have exaggerated or boasted a bit on e-mail. The blackmail of Rodney never happened. If it had been attempted, he would have gone to the Police.

The book would have been far less sensational if there had been some actual investigating. Instead it is just a book of e-mails, and a theory wrapped around it. No actual interviews with anyone, or substantiation beyond the e-mails.

Ian Wishart points out the hypocrisy:

In his new book Dirty Politics, Nicky Hager reprints allegations contained in stolen private emails – theories about a wide range of people. Among the allegations he has printed are that former Act leader Rodney Hide was blackmailed into quitting because he had been caught sending inappropriate text messages to a woman.

Additionally, Hager reprinted emails alleging Auckland mayor Len Brown was having sex with prostitutes.

Neither Brown nor Hide appear to have been asked to comment on the truth of the allegations. In fact, Hide has definitely confirmed he was not approached, and that the allegations are false and without substance.

Yet here is what Nicky Hager testified to the Wellington High Court in a defamation case last year:

“I believe the more serious the allegations we write, the more care that is required to ensure we have got things correct. I say to myself that no one can ever criticise me for things I haven’t written, so that if I am not absolutely sure of something, I don’t publish.

“Research is something that can take months or years. In this case the allegations were serious and personal. I would not include allegations like those in my work if there was so little time for proving the facts…

“I was struck by the fact that the sexual allegations appeared to rely entirely upon the words of the plaintiff’s ex-wife. As a journalist, I would feel very uneasy about publishing, let alone putting my name to, sexual allegations from an ex-spouse unless I had done a lot of work and found very strong corroborating evidence.”

In Nicky Hager’s new book, he has no witnesses at all; no prostitutes admitting to sleeping with Len Brown, no ex-spouse, no woman saying she was sent inappropriate texts by Rodney Hide. Hager’s entire ream of “evidence” is actually hearsay gossip, which is usually inadmissible in court.

“There are issues of logic in investigative journalism,” Hager told the High Court. “In particular we have to be careful that our evidence actually supports our conclusions…

You might not like Wishart, but he is quoting Hager’s own words.

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Hide on Seymour

August 10th, 2014 at 8:04 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

Politicians seldom get to anoint a successor. That was especially so for me. Readers may recall I left with a bit of a hiss and a roar at a time I least expected it.

But if I were to appoint a successor it would be David Seymour. As it happens, the Act Party has chosen Seymour as their candidate for Epsom. I met Seymour more than 10 years ago. He impressed me by having built his own car as a high school student. He built a Lotus 7 replica, beginning with a piece of steel and a book. It still runs and is registered. It’s fast.

Now that’s cool.

We often say young people have no discipline or dedication. But how many of us have built a car from scratch? We say, too, that young people only look out for themselves. But Seymour was also a Lifeline volunteer and coached rugby. He seemed a little too good to be true.

And in a way he was. He was a nuisance. He was always pestering me with questions about economics, political theory and philosophy. I wanted him delivering pamphlets but had to humour him by answering him as best I could.

I gave him a reading list. He read the lot then pestered me with questions about them.

Seymour has an engineering degree, has worked as a policy wonk in North America, and has returned to New Zealand to rescue Act and ensure John Key gets a third term.

He has a lot on his shoulders. Act has had to win Epsom these past two elections to ensure Key is prime minister. That’s the nature of MMP. Epsom matters to our future.

Seymour is 31. That’s a plus. We need young people in Parliament. They have an immediate contribution to make and we need them to learn the ropes to become tomorrow’s leaders. His job is to convince Epsom voters to vote for him to be their MP. It’s a tough job. I know. I also know the toughness of earning that vote makes for a good MP. The tremendous effort required makes you appreciate the privilege. And you know you must work hard to keep it. Every constituent counts.

And Seymour has been doing it the old fashioned way – trying to knock on every door in the electorate.

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Hide on Harre’s hypocrisy

July 21st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide wrote at NBR:

I am worried about Laila Harré: having dropped any pretence of principle she now finds hypocrisy addictive. There’s no other explanation. She should have OD’d by now, but no, she just keeps loading it up.

Her latest dose is to assert property rights in Green Party policy.

That’s right. That’s her response to criticism of her announcing Green Party policy as hers just hours ahead of the Green’s release. Ms Harré was working for the Greens. She then decamped to lead the Internet Party taking Green Party policy with her. No wonder the Greens are little annoyed in their touchy-feely, caring way.

But as she explains it, “Look, I contributed huge intellectual property to the Green Party in the 15 months that I spent working for them.” So what’s theirs is also hers.

That’s a bellyful of hypocrisy. Remember this is the Internet Party. Her party’s founder, funder, paymaster and visionary is fighting to avoid facing copyright infringement charges. Intellectual property doesn’t mean that much to Mr Dotcom.

For his proxy leader to be defending herself by spuriously claiming intellectual property is breathtaking hypocrisy. Intellectual property matters to Ms Harré – but only when she’s claiming it as hers. No one else’s appears to matter. …

Mr Dotcom is not the top 1% that Ms Harré complains about. He’s more like the top 0.0001%. But he’s okay because his money is useful to her.

Oh and here she is the hard-core, all-controlling, lefty pushing for the internet. It’s not the central committee that produced the internet: it’s capitalism. Internet commerce is a fine example of anarchy. We don’t need or want central control. The hypocrisy of the Left pushing for internet freedom is gobsmacking.

The Left oppose freedom and their system of economic control is the internet’s antithesis.

I think it is fair to conclude that Rodney will not be voting for the Mana-Internet Party.

It got me thinking that if we had a true Internet Party, Rodney would be a very good leader of it – someone who is passionate about fighting state control.

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Hide on unions and Labour

July 7th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

The true donations scandal in New Zealand politics was reported this week without comment. It’s the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s $60,000 donation to Labour.

The EPMU is one of the six unions affiliated to Labour. The affiliated unions pay fees and fund the Party through donations. The donations and fees total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More significantly, union staff campaign for Labour and the unions run parallel campaigns. For example, Labour is campaigning for the “living wage”. In a parallel campaign the Services and Food Workers Union spent more than half a million dollars last year promoting that exact policy.

It would be interesting to add up the total amount spent by unions on political campaigns. It would be well into the millions.

The union funding of Labour totals in the millions. And what does Labour provide in return? In effect the entire party. The unions get to determine the party’s leader. Their say counts for 20 per cent of the vote. That’s the difference between winning and losing by a wide margin.

Affiliation also buys a seat at the table. The affiliated unions have a guaranteed vice-president position on Labour’s all-powerful New Zealand Council.

They also get their people as MPs. The Labour Party enables the unions to parachute members into Parliament. Labour list MP Andrew Little headed the EPMU for 11 years before entering Parliament.

Imagine the outcry if business lobby groups got to vote on the leadership of the national party, could bus people in to their selection meetings, got a vice-president of the party and get a vote on the list ranking.

And the unions get policy, lots of policy. In 1999 the EPMU gave $100,000 to Labour. The following year the Labour Government passed the Employment Relations Act. This act gives the unions incredible power over Kiwi workplaces as well as easy access to workers’ pay packets.

The Employment Relations Act nicely closes the loop. The act was provided by the Labour Party. It gave the unions access to workers’ pockets, and that’s the money the unions now tip into Labour’s coffers.

Indeed, in the state sector it’s policy for Government to give union members a bonus to cover their union fees. You and I pay their union fees.

This is sadly true. Taxpayers bribe people to join the union.

Unions and Labour are guilty of “cash for policy”, “cash to sit at the table”, “cash to decide the leader” and “cash to parachute members into Parliament”.

The rort serves to bolster Labour and entrench the power of union bosses.

Unions are highly politicised organisations that only exist now because of the legal privileges bestowed by Labour governments.

The rorting of our democracy by the unions and Labour would make a great expose.

But don’t expect anything soon: it’s the EPMU that represents journalists in this country.

That’s right, our journalists – through their union – help fund the Labour Party.

To be fair the journalist fees don’t get paid directly to Labour. But they help fund the EPMU overall, which allows them to campaign more for Labour.

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Hide on Labour and Liu

June 30th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

Deny, deny, deny. Attack, attack, attack. That’s been Labour’s response to businessman Donghua Liu claiming he donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Party.

Labour’s strategy is risky. It is challenging Liu’s honesty and integrity. He’s no doubt feeling aggrieved. The danger for Labour is that Liu produces documents, witnesses and photographs confirming his substantial donations.

That’s what did it for Winston Peters in 2008. Sir Owen Glenn was able to prove the donations that Peters denied.

It is a very high risk strategy.

So where are we now? Confused. Liu said he gave substantial money to the Labour Party. The Labour Party says it has no record of it, and hasn’t reported any donations from Liu.

But it’s quite possible that everyone is telling the truth. The money could have been stolen. That would mean Liu gave the money but Labour never received it. Charity auctions and the like are often chaotic and it is too easy to have no one properly in charge of recording and receipting all payments and donations. This is especially so in political events. Volunteers are enthusiastic but not necessarily experienced and politicians are anxious to stay well away from money changing hands.

Indeed, a big part of Cunliffe’s problem – and Banks’ and Williamson’s – is that politicians shy away from fundraising details precisely to avoid the perception that cash influences decision-making.

The safer course of action for the Labour Party would be to say it was treating the matter seriously. That would mean thanking Liu for coming forward with his information and inviting the police to investigate. The police could try to trace the money, letting Cunliffe off the hook. He would have done everything by the book. He would be open and upfront. It would also kill the story. He couldn’t comment while police were investigating.

But Labour didn’t do that. It denied and attacked.

There’s a reason politicians do the things they do. Cunliffe couldn’t be sure what the police would find. Calling in the police runs the risk of finding out more than Cunliffe wants to know.

Or they could have asked if their general secretary could meet with Liu, get details off him, and then try to work out what happened. But instead they have all but called him a liar, and I am unsure if that will end well.

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Hide on Internet Mana

June 15th, 2014 at 7:42 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

I used to think politics was all about achieving good government. That proved invariably disappointing. These days, politics is no longer my responsibility. I’m happy if it just proves interesting.

That’s why I am for the Internet-Mana Party. They’re the best entertainment in years. If they were a parody they would be too improbable to be believed.

Maori nationalist Hone Harawira calls Pakeha the rudest of names and the wrong colour to date his daughter. But he’s jumped into bed with whiter-than-white Kim Dotcom.

Harawira trumpets Mana and His People but that’s not stopping him using his electorate to coat-tail Dotcom’s party into Parliament. His price? $3 million.

It’s easy to accuse Harawira of hypocrisy but he has a ready reply: it’s a lot of money. At $3m his double standard is good and high.

Laila Harre wasn’t elected leader of the Internet Party. She was hired. She’s been selected and paid for by Dotcom. The former coffee picker for the Sandinistas is New Zealand’s first corporate-hire political leader.

That’s a nice line. If you pay her enough, she’ll lead your political party for you.

She also believes Dotcom is funding her to help the poor and downtrodden with 1970s socialism. It’s nothing to do with his extradition to face criminal charges. The left don’t talk about truth. Rather, it’s the narrative. Harre is the only person buying her narrative.

I wonder if deep down they really believe their bullshit and think Dotcom’s $4 million donation is nothing to do with his extradition case.

She also believes Dotcom is funding her to help the poor and downtrodden with 1970s socialism. It’s nothing to do with his extradition to face criminal charges. The left don’t talk about truth. Rather, it’s the narrative. Harre is the only person buying her narrative.

Can you imagine the chaos. A Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana/Internet Government who only got there because of Dotcom’s money.  The Judge decides he should be extradited. He’ll be calling everyone from the PM to the Minister of Justice demanding they not extradite him or else.

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Hide on Cunliffe

June 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The David Cunliffe experiment has failed. Eight months into his leadership Labour is polling below what it was under Phil Goff and David Shearer.

The election is less than four months away.

The danger for Labour is that its poor polling will collapse its vote, as happened to National in 2002. Its low polling became a self-fulfilling and accelerating prophecy. Polls matter.

Labour’s unimpressive showing may well cause even more votes to drain across to the Greens and New Zealand First. …

Cunliffe has an added burden. His caucus didn’t want him. He was thrust on it by party members and the unions. That wouldn’t matter if he were succeeding. But he isn’t. There will be a lot of “I told you so” going on. The lack of caucus support makes a lonely job even lonelier.

And yet it remains a tight race. Labour could poll badly but still put a government together, with considerable concessions.

The Green’s Metiria Turei and Russel Norman would be deputy prime ministers and would dominate policy-making.

Winston Peters would be kingmaker and would demand his pound of flesh.

Hone Harawira would be Minister of Maori Affairs. The Internet Party would be in government being dictated to by Kim Dotcom.

A Labour-led Government with Labour on just 30% of the vote would be a very weak unstable Government. They would be just 60% or so of the entire Government.

It comes back to the polls. They put Cunliffe on the back foot and Key on the front. Cunliffe is now desperate. He needs a lift.

“I just need to push the polls up a bit. I need to change the story … hmmm. Immigration. That always works for Winston. I’ll give that a shot. I will dress it up as housing policy. The party’s woolly woofters will be upset. But what the hell? I’ve got nothing to lose.” It’s called dog-whistle politics. Sadly for Cunliffe, the only ones who heard it were Labour activists.

Getting desperate indeed.

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Rodney has a point

May 18th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

There’s much about politics that’s stupid but nothing beats Budget Day. It’s a day when ordinarily sane people spout nonsense.

Ministers hoot and holler that they are spending more money than ever before. Opposition MPs scream and shout it’s not enough.

We don’t do that at home. We don’t do that at work. To do so would be to be labelled insane and end up poverty-stricken.

Imagine it. “How was your day, dear?” “Great. I spent more on fishing gear than ever before!” “Well done, honey. I bought a dress that cost even more than last year’s.”

In the real world we must economise and judge our spending by what we get not by how much we spend.

Rodney has a good point. Judge on results, not spending.

If you spent what you didn’t have at home and bragged about it, your wife would dump you. If you did it at work, you would be sacked. Do it in politics and we vote for you. It’s nuts.

Spending other people’s money!

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Hide on Key

January 27th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

One of the more common and basic mistakes to make in politics is to underestimate your opponent. It’s an easy thing to do. Your opponents are doing it all wrong and so must be either stupid or crooked and perhaps both.

Your team readily agrees and the trap is easy to fall into. And so it is with Labour and John Key.

Labour continues to dismiss Key as a political lightweight who would sell his own mother, in Labour leader David Cunliffe’s words.

They overlook that Key toppled Labour’s best and strongest leader, has seen off Phil Goff and David Shearer, and who Cunliffe has yet to dent. That’s no political lightweight.

Indeed.

Labour pooh-poohed Key’s credentials in foreign policy. He now has David Cameron’s number on speed dial.

Previous New Zealand prime ministers were ecstatic for our future trade prospects with a two-minute “pull aside” at a formal meeting. Key plays golf with the President of the United States on his holidays.

Key, with no fuss, has turned over 13 of his own MPs in just two years to refresh the party. That’s rare political power and skill.

Cunliffe, meanwhile, is stuck with the team that didn’t want him and which includes ministers from the 1980s plus the party’s two previous leaders.

Over a quarter of Labour’s caucus entered Parliament in the 1980s or 1990s.

Clark was a very popular prime minister. Her average in the preferred prime minister stakes was almost 2 times her predecessor Jim Bolger’s. That’s an extraordinary achievement. But Key’s is even more extraordinary. His average is fully 10 percentage points above Clark’s.

That’s a 25 per cent advantage.

Labour has taken to calling Key lucky. They persist in underestimating him. It’s like they just have to wait until his luck runs out.

I got to work with Key. It’s not luck. This is a man who is smart, who works hard and who understands people.

National needs to poll mid 40s or high 40s to win a third term. This would be unprecedented as under MMP no other party has ever got higher than low 40s – even for their first term. But if anyone can do it, Key will.

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Hide rules out Epsom

January 12th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the Hos:

Good and loyal friends have suggested that I put my name forward to be Act’s candidate in Epsom.

They have supported me over many years and therefore I have given their advice serious consideration.

It’s a crucial role. But for Act’s success in Epsom in 2008, Helen Clark would have remained Prime Minister. And its success in 2011 also kept Labour out of power.

That’s why the attacks on John Banks are so intense and sustained. Act’s success has proved the difference between a National-led Government and a Labour-Green one.

Very true. Without ACT both times, the Maori Party would have held the balance of power and may well have gone with Labour and the Greens.

Act provides a much-needed political counterweight to the other parties calling always for more government spending and ever-more regulation.

We need a champion for individual freedom and personal responsibility. Act is that champion.

Sadly, much bruised.

And now the position of Act candidate for Epsom is open again. I am very pleased Act has excellent candidates in prospect. I have concluded it can’t be me.

I now don’t have the necessary passion and enthusiasm to do the job well. Yes, I loved it and I gave it everything I had. And then some. But it’s gone now. I am not sure why that is. It just is.

There was a time when Winston Peters could rattle an entire government, bringing ministers to their knees. Now, even junior ministers get the better of him.

I think it’s sad. Peters appears like some aged rock star who has partied way too hard and is now up on stage trying to relive the glory days. Or perhaps a champion boxer who has stayed too long in the ring. I wouldn’t want that.

I thought the worst thing for Peters was getting dumped in 2008. No. The worst thing for Peters was getting back in 2011.

New MPs snigger at him. There was a time he would have swatted them down like flies.

Knowing when to go is important in politics.

I have a project under way in Christchurch. We have a third baby due in July. I have new and different challenges ahead.

Plus if Rodney stood again for Epsom, we’d lost him as a great columnist!

In a related story, Cameron Brewer (again) rules himself out for Epsom, but Matthew Hooton is listed as considering throwing his name in the ring saying ACT needs a generational change.

 

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Hide on Labour’s gender quota

November 10th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

The party’s drive to get a precise balance of female and male MPs reinforces the view that Labour is more concerned with itself than with voters. That’s the last thing Cunliffe needs. He needs the party trumpeting what he’s doing for working people, not what the party is doing to itself. …

Labour’s gender balance rule is correctly seen as extreme tokenism.

Hide points out what the quota will mean:

 In 1999, Labour had 37 MPs. In 2002 it had 52. The number of MPs goes up and it goes down. The balance of list to electorate MPs swings even more wildly. In 2002, 45 MPs were electorate and only seven were list. Two elections later, Labour had only 21 electorate MPs but 22 list. More than half of its electorate seats had been lost and its number of list MPs had more than tripled. The party must now factor in every possible combination of outcome and then some to ensure every electoral contingency delivers first a 45/55 female/male split and then ever-after a 50/50 split. That’s not going to be easy. The headache is made all the bigger by 14 of Labour’s 22 electorate seats being held by men.

Achieving the correct male-female balance across all conceivable electoral outcomes means an effective man-ban in all new electorate selections.

If male candidates for Labour win seats, then it means male candidates must be dropped from the list effectively. The only way to stop that will be to stop selecting male candidates for winnable seats until 50% of electorates are male also.

Labour’s future is also for a less talented caucus. That’s because the gender balance rule constrains selection choices. Heck, in 1999, the rule would have cost David Cunliffe his selection.

The real pain may not occur in 2014 or even 2017. It will be when they are in Government and they have to tell male Cabinet Ministers they are being ranked behind some brand new female candidate in order to have perfect gender equality.

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Is there a parallel?

September 18th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An ACT member writes in:

There is a distinct parallel with what happened when Rodney took over the ACT leadership.  Caucus did not back him because they knew him, but he was able to woo the party membership.   In the end it unraveled because a leopard does not change his spots, and the flaws of which caucus members were only too well aware eventually led to his and the party’s demise.

If Cunliffe can pull this off then he is a genius.  I suspect that large numbers of caucus members will be full of foreboding for what the future holds.

I think a comparison of Hide to Cunliffe is somewhat unfair, but the reader is correct that there is a precedent in NZ of a leader being elected without the support of his caucus.

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Some facts from Rodney

September 8th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

Let’s start with the numbers. They aren’t mine. They come from a recently published Ministry of Social Development “factsheet”.

A total of 76,000 New Zealanders were born in 1993. About 6000 were subsequently abused or neglected; 3000 became known to the Youth Justice system by the age of 17; and 41,000 – more than half – spent time in a household dependent on a main benefit such as the dole or DPB.

The benefit-supported children were six times more likely to be abused than those who were not benefit-supported. And they were 14 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.

Those in households benefit-dependent for nine or more years were 13 times more likely to be abused and 29 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.

Staggering.

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Hide on Shearer

July 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in HoS:

Those of us following politics are witnessing the destruction of a party leader. The destruction is all the more remarkable because it’s coming entirely from within. It’s especially remarkable because the parties combined in opposition are consistently polling within a whisker of government. They could easily win.

National is polling extremely well but its necessary support parties are not. Next year’s election is looking a close-run thing. MMP is like that. It’s not how well one party does but how well the parties who can work together in government do in total.

The Labour Party should now be attempting to show themselves, the Greens and New Zealand First united in heading into government. Instead, Labour is failing to unite behind its own leader. It’s a political mess. The plotters within the Labour caucus don’t have the numbers to dump David Shearer. If they did, he would be gone. Minus the numbers, they aren’t quietly getting on with their job. They are, instead, engaged in a guerrilla campaign to destroy their democratically elected leader.

I think they may have the numbers. They just don’t have the certainty of who would win the replacement election.

The plotters’ attacks are deathly corrosive. That’s their purpose. If the plotters can keep up their attacks from the shadows they will inflict sufficient damage. At that point either Shearer or his colleagues and supporters will accept he is damaged beyond political repair. Then the plotters will have succeeded.

Meanwhile, when we are especially in need of an effective opposition, our major opposition party is entirely focused on itself. When we need more than ever to be debating the country’s direction, the Labour Party is busy debating with itself.

The true difference between National and Labour is not philosophy or policy. It’s cultural. It manifests in many ways. The Nats dispatch leaders with the minimum of fuss. They put winning elections and being in government above all other considerations. They don’t do untidy. Labour revel in it.

The tough part for Labour’s plotters is not the damaging of Shearer. That’s easy. Their tough part will be putting the party together once they have succeeded. That’s hard.

They need a unity ticket.

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Hide on leaking

June 16th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

It was Dunne’s basic goodness that did for him. Politicians leak all the time. Helen Clark was masterful. But they don’t get caught. That’s because they know what they’re doing.

You certainly don’t use your Parliamentary email. You don’t discuss with a journalist the possibility of leaking. That gives them the power, either through error or design, to get you sacked.

If you’re going to leak, leak; don’t leave your fingerprints all over it.

The leaking, too, has to have a point: it advances your cause, knocks an enemy off course, distracts the media from your own problems, or helps set the agenda. The leak was of no political benefit to Dunne whatsoever.

Most leaks are to disadvantage the other side. This leak disadvantaged the Government he is part of, and didn’t help Dunne at all. A few people think that maybe Dunne wasn’t the leaker – that he just helped Vance confirm the story and she had a second source. But personally I go with Occam’s razor.

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