Hide on the Little blunder

May 25th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

The good thing about stunts is that you get to prepare them. You get to choose when and where and have time to develop and craft your message. You have staff and MPs to check things out.

It is important to check every detail and every fact from every angle. The journalists will pounce on the slightest mistake to write a story contrary to the one that you are hoping to make.

You especially have to check the talent. Involving real people is good but they can wander off message.

A lot of work normally goes in to anything like this, and even more if it involves the leader.

The issue was housing. The problem overcrowding.

The journalists were given the address. Turn up and Labour will show you 17 poor people at one address living in a tent.

The journalists are there ahead of you. Everything is ready to go. But then the homeowner wanders out to tell the journos there is no problem, there is no overcrowding, the tent is for furniture and material while he renovates.

The homeowner sounds content and aspirational. He’s fixing up his house. He’s looking to the future. It’s a disaster.

It was.

It’s hard to comprehend how such a monumental error could be made. Had the local MPs not talked to the homeowner? Had Little’s staff not checked and rechecked the story?

I don’t have the answers but the stunt reinforces the impression that Little is unlucky and bumbling. The story will have hardly registered to most and will soon be forgotten except by political tragics such as myself who will tell and retell the story to highlight the importance of preparation and how things can go horribly wrong.

Labour has no route to power without the support of Winston Peters. Peters can’t abide amateurs. He isn’t about to make one Prime Minister.

Also if Winston has a choice between a party polling in the 40s, and in the 20s, he won’t go for the one in the 20s.

Hide on Niue deal

April 24th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

Labour Leader Andrew Little this week got the political blunderbuss out and blew off both feet and then his arms. He never grazed his target.

In my view, his was a disgraceful display of nastiness and political incompetence not expected of a rookie opposition MP and gobsmackingly awful for a would-be Prime Minister.

I refer, of course, to what Little would have you believe was Niue-gate.

It was a spectacular own goal.

The trustees of the resort are New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue Ross Ardern (Labour MP Jacinda Ardern’s father); MFat Deputy Secretary Jonathan Kings and former NZ High Commissioner to Niue (and Wellington Mayor and National MP) Mark Blumsky. The trustees appoint the board of directors of Matavai Niue Limited (MNL), responsible for the resort’s operation. They are Ian Fitzgerald (chair), Bill Wilkinson, Toke Talagi (Premier of Niue) and John Ingram.

That’s a distinguished list.

Yet according to Little all part of a deal that stinks to high heaven. I didn’t realise the Premier of Niue is one of those Little has effectively accused of corruption.

In 2013 Auckland firm Horwath HTL did an independent review for the board and, among other things, recommended the appointment of a hotel management company.

The following year, on behalf of the board, Horwath ran an Expressions of Interest and Request for Proposals process that culminated in the consideration of two proposals with the recommendation of Scenic Hotels. The board agreed.

The transaction was not just arm’s length, several oceans of separation lay between the political donation and the management contract. There is no evidence of impropriety. The process would appear a model of probity.

Meanwhile, Little has besmirched a successful and highly regarded business couple, a New Zealand business success story, senior government officials, his own MP’s dad, and the Premier of Niue.

National sails on untouched. Little is on camera weaving and dodging the obvious questions and backpedalling on his original concerns.

Politics can be nasty. It’s often incompetent. Somehow Little has managed to plumb new depths.

If Little or his staff had done their homework, he could have handled it very differently – still calling for the AG to investigate, but avoiding smearing those involved by declaring it stinks to high heaven.

Hide on Little

April 14th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

Every time I think of Labour Leader Andrew Little – which I must confess is getting less and less – I can’t help but feel sorry for him. Nothing ever goes his way.

Prime Minister John Key sails on and on, seemingly effortlessly. Little fumbles and falls. And if he doesn’t trip up, one of his team does it for him.

Now Helen Clark has teamed up with Key for her tilt at the UN’s top job.

That must rankle.

It’s not just Key endorsing Clark. It’s Clark endorsing Key. They are now a team who talk and strategise. They are Richie McCaw and Dan Carter after the top prize.

It’s impossible for Little to present Key as arrogant and incompetent when Clark calls on his help and he agrees. It looks good for Key. In 2008 voters were forced to choose between the two but now they are a team. It makes Key middle-of-the-road and attractive to the former Labour voters he won in 2008.

This is true. When Key is going all out working with Helen Clark to get her elected, it makes it hard for Labour to paint him as hostile to Labour voters.

The other unfortunate impact on Little is that having Clark back in the news reminds people of what a strong leader she was, and how much Labour has struggled since she left them.

Hide predicts National-Green Government

December 30th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

My end of year prediction looks even further out. Our next government will be a National-Green one with Peters sidelined and furious.

Under Shaw’s leadership, the Greens are quietly repositioning. They joined National in hailing the climate change agreement concluded in Paris.

In that one moment they were no longer outsiders throwing rocks at those inside. They were responsible, stately and showing an ability to compromise and work with others.

It makes sense. The Greens need leverage to achieve policy. They have none if their only option is Labour. They need to sidle quietly up to National. And they are.

Key for a fourth term will pay their price. It will be for a comprehensive tax on greenhouse gas emissions, including agriculture. National in its cunning will make sure the tax takes more than three years to implement.

The election of Shaw will prove a tipping point but one we never noticed. Dunne will remain in office like the cabinet table and chairs. And Peters will be the angry man in opposition.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

I really can’t see Metiria Turei as a Minister in a National-led Government. However that would be preferable to Winston in Government!

Hide on Crone

December 27th, 2015 at 10:11 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

There’s no doubt Goff is a good and experienced politician.

He has proved that by traversing the extremes of New Zealand’s political spectrum from one side to the other and back again.

He knows politics. He was first elected to Parliament when Crone was 7 years old.

But politics is all Goff knows. Crone has lived in the world the rest of us live in. She has had to pay rates and taxes and had to budget. Taxpayers haven’t paid her wages. She has had to earn them. She has lived in our world and excelled in it. She is a mother, a top businesswoman and athlete.

It takes more skill and work to run a business than be a politician. It means providing jobs and generating wealth rather than just talking about them.

I like Goff and I have never met Crone. And that’s her challenge. She’s got to meet and reach out to a lot of people through her campaign.

That she has quit her job speaks of her commitment. It would be rude to note that Goff is keeping his parliamentary pay and resources to help with his campaign and as back-up job in case he loses.

Thanks to Crone we have a race. It’s going to be up to us. I can think of three good reasons for supporting her.

One, she’s a citizen first, and a politician second; two, her election won’t force a costly byelection and three, she can fix the council computer system.

All good reasons.

Rodney Hide on Prince Charles

December 2nd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

That’s it: I am no longer faithful and true to the Queen’s heirs and successors. The Queen is an amazing woman, a living and breathing piece of history. I greatly admire her. She gives us no pain and a local president would likely prove problematic.

But Prince Charles is a royal trainwreck. He has torn it for me. He is too stupid and too whacky to be a king commanding respect.

It was his claim that the terror of Isis is the world’s fault for not dealing to climate change that did it.

He says if only we had listened to him – some 20 years ago – and de-industrialised – then gays would not be thrown off buildings, innocents would not be beheaded and the major cities of Europe not terrorised.

That’s a special sort of stupid.

The Prince was asked whether he saw a link between climate change, conflict and terrorism, to which he answered, “absolutely”.

I don’t begin to understand the barbarity of Isis. But I haven’t heard of these terrorists screaming for the world to commit to Kyoto before self-immolating themselves and everyone nearby.

That’s our next Head of State, unless we change things. We don’t get a vote on it – he just becomes King of New Zealand when the Queen dies.

Hide on Labour and unions

November 24th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in NBR:

The stunning revelation of Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater’s e-book Dodgy Unions is how little they give the Labour Party.

I had always thought it was millions.  

That’s because of the power union bosses exercise over the party. Union bosses get to vote for party leader, they block vote candidate selection, get a say on the party list, have a seat at the all-powerful national council and carry a block vote at regional and national conferences. …

I had always assumed that the Labour Party put up with the unions for the money.

But what’s truly shocking from Dodgy Unions is that Labour sells itself so cheap.

The union movement takes in $120 million a year. It has equity of over $120 million.

But over the past 18 years the unions have given Labour only $700,000. That’s less than $40,000 a year. For every thousand dollars the unions rake in only 33c goes to Labour.

Labour sell themselves cheaply!!

Imagine if the national board of Federated Farmers had a vote for the leader of the National Party, National’s list, electorate candidates and had a guaranteed seat on the board of directors. There would be outrage. And rightly so.

But somehow the unions’ unhealthy sway over Labour is overlooked.

If National had such an arrangement there would be numerous books by Nicky Hager on it. It would condemned by every editorial writer in the land. But Labour gets a free pass for it.

The unions are fat and rich, they have enormous power within Labour but are tightwad funders; so much so that Labour is running deficits unable to afford its pretence of a democratic election for leader.

Labour MPs have long complained union domination is disheartening and disempowering them and their members. The question I have now, is why do they put up with it?

Because they get deselected if they complain publicly.

Labour’s constitution reads like something from the UN. The all-powerful National Council must have a Maori senior vice-president, an affiliate vice-president, a Pacific Islands vice-president, a women’s vice-president, a youth vice-president, a rainbow representative and two representatives elected by Te Kaunihera Maori, one of whom shall be a woman.

The party exhausts itself on identity politics overlaid with raw union power. It’s no wonder it’s broke and out-of-puff.

National’s board is much simpler. Apart from the leader and caucus rep, it has seven members – all elected by the National Conference. No quotas, no representatives – just the people deemed best suited to serve on the board.

The party needs deep constitutional and organisational reform to be fit for purpose. What’s needed is a leadership not pandering to special interests but smashing them.

As their current leader only got elected by the union block vote, that is unlikely.

Hide on the Auckland Super City

November 2nd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the Herald:

I’m afraid rate hikes seem a forever-thing. We keep voting for politicians who promise things and those things cost money which means higher rates. Rates will only come down if we elect politicians promising less, not more. That’s not been the case for years. The fault is with us.

Rates have not increased because of the Super City. Rates increased because the elected Councillors voted for lots of extra spending that needed a 10% rates increase to fund it.

The changes are all “under the hood”. We had eight councils trying to run Auckland. It was a nightmare. Roading projects were constantly stymied through political gamesmanship. Maintenance and repairs would go to a council boundary — and stop.

The major infrastructure works that Auckland needed couldn’t happen.

All that’s now different. It’s still not easy but with one mayor, one council, and one plan, the impossible has become possible and, indeed, is happening.

A big change is that central government can now talk to Auckland council and get answers. That previously was not possible. The failure of Auckland’s mayors and councils ever to agree meant nothing much happened.

Infrastructure development in Auckland was forever stalled.

Having one mayor and one council has made a huge difference for transport and other infrastructure developments but also for schools, policing, health care and, well, everything that central and local government does.

Not sexy but important.

The bylaws are now consistent across the city. That makes doing business across the region easier. It’s also fairer. There were 44 different water tariffs. Now there is one.

The service is better too. In ways you don’t necessarily notice but do care about.

I was shocked to discover most of the local water treatment plants were producing water that did not comply with the Ministry of Health’s standards. In Franklin alone, Watercare has now invested $116 million to transform the area’s water supply and to ensure a safe and reliable water supply.

Previously, much of Auckland’s water was not safe. Now it is.

These are changes well worth having. They are things you don’t notice when they work but you do when they don’t.


Helen Clark had started the process with a Royal Commission of Inquiry that followed on from exasperation that the mayors of Auckland couldn’t agree on where to site a new stadium to be paid for entirely by taxpayers. The Commission reported and John Key agreed to establish one council as recommended.

Which Labour then opposed despite being their own Royal Commission!

Two areas need consideration in my view. There are too many local boards. Twenty-one is too many to service and for the council and CCOs to consult. I don’t know the right number but a rationalisation is in order. A bigger jurisdiction would make them less local but the advantage would be in their say counting for more.

The Maori Statutory Board is a mistake. It’s a recipe for division and poor governance. The people running government should be elected, or appointed by those who are.

Critical decisions can turn on the vote of Maori Statutory Board members who themselves aren’t democratically accountable. The members of the Board are appointed by a Mana Whenua selection body. That’s wrong.

Yep. It should go.

Hide supports term limits for politicians

October 19th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I have been a very long standing advocate for term limits for MPs.  In fact as a Young National in the early 1990s I gained a fair bit of media attention for my remit proposing a maximum of six terms for MPs. The Herald pointed out the only two National MPs it would have impacted are then PM Jim Bolger and Bill Birch!

Rodney Hide writes in NBR:

Mr Goff joined the Labour Party at 16 and became an MP in 1981. He has been a politician his entire life. The key to his political survival is his excessive caution and extreme flexibility.

Mr Goff has never made a do-or-die stand and, indeed, has travelled the entire political spectrum and back again. He has been against free trade, for free trade and now he’s against again.

Actually he is back in favour again it seems.

We need the simple rule that an MP can only serve a maximum of four terms. That one change would transform politics. We would have citizen politicians again.

They would represent us rather than themselves.

Politicians would have to have careers outside of politics. The bulk of their experience would be outside of politics rather than politics itself.

I think four is a bit short with three year terms. But if we had four year terms, then four four year terms would be about right – 16 years. More than enough time to make a contribution and move on.

With term limits all that would change. One quarter of the Parliament would be retired every election. There would be a proper churn. Political candidates could have a great career in business, in sport, the arts, in health, in life and then stand. 

They could stand in their mid-50s, have a good chance of making it in, have a good chance of becoming a minister and even a chance of being prime minister. They would be retired in their 60s.

Everyday people could stand for high office. Mums with their children now off their hands. Working people who know about life. We could elect business leaders and sporting heroes. Everyone would have an opportunity to stand.

Not sure everybody would have an opportunity, but knowing a parliamentary career would be for a finite period would make it easier to plan.

More importantly MPs would focus on what can they achieve in their limited time in Parliament, rather than just how do they stay on as long as possible.

Hide and others on TPP

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

Rodney Hide writes:

Auckland University law Professor Jane Kelsey is wrong.

Specifically, she is wrong with her constant criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. For years she has pumped out press releases and opinion pieces and given endless interviews to scare us witless about the evils of the TPPA.

She has complained it “raises the price of medicines and handcuffs the right of governments to regulate in their national interests”, that it would “bust the Pharmac budget” and “make SOEs prime targets for privatisation”.

She has said Prime Minister John Key is enabling “Hollywood to sell us down the river”, that at stake “is a battle between life and death for New Zealanders and life and death for the tobacco industry” and that governments are signing up to an agreement that “surrenders their domestic economies and grants undue influence over their policy decisions to powerful, largely US, corporate interests”.

It is fine to say that the TPP might include some of the bad stuff above, because some countries did push for stuff we did not want. But it is bad faith to claim the TPP will do the bad stuff, before there is an agreement, and also bad faith to try and paint the Government as being in favour of the bad stuff, rather than actually being the ones trying to get the best deal for NZ.

Well, the deal has now been agreed. And miracle of miracles, the sun still shines. The agreement covers two-fifths of the global economy and eliminates or reduces about 18,000 tariffs, taxes and non-tariff barriers.

It’s a huge boost to world trade and prosperity. The only criticism is that it does not go far enough.

It is interesting how some critics have gone from all this bad stuff will happen, to it isn’t a good enough deal for dairy. I agree with Groser’s use of the old quote “perfect is the enemy of good”

So why is Kelsey so opposed? Well, she was taught her political views by left-thinking Marxist scholars at Cambridge. Her Marxism means it is not the specifics of the TPPA that concern her but the agreement itself.

To Marxists, free trade is evil because it makes the rich richer at the expense of workers who are kept poor on subsistence wages.

As I said last week, Kelsey has vigorously argued against every trade agreement NZ has made (as far as I can recall).

Another view on TPP is Audrey Young:

If the test is whether New Zealand will be better off signing the TPP or not signing it, there is only one answer.

And to avoid doubt:

Better off – not just for the $259 million in identifiable tariff reductions but for the so-called “dynamic gains of trade” that come with a greater presence in a market as the China FTA has shown.

Labour and New Zealand First will rail against Tim Groser’s failure to get a great deal on dairy, but the public are not fools.

They know the blame lies with the United States and its protectionist buddies in Canada and Japan.

Labour could perhaps apply its own test to the way it handles the TPP issue: will Labour be better off supporting the deal than not supporting it. Will it be any better off sounding as though it opposes it but supporting it in the end?

If it does not support TPP eventually it would be punished for the next two years by the Government over its willingness to allow New Zealand exporters to be disadvantaged in export markets of new partners, where 93 per cent of tariffs will eventually disappear.

It would erode its standing as a potential government of a trade-driven nation.

It would be bad for NZ if Labour votes against it, but it would be good for National. I put NZ’s interests first, and hope Labour does support it.

Rodney’s 10 reasons on why Winston should be PM

September 29th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

An amusing sarcastic column from Rodney Hide on why Winston should be PM.

  1. It’s his turn
  2. Experience
  3. Entertainment
  4. Good for journalists
  5. His integrity is not in question – we know he lies
  6. Partnership
  7. Historical prophecy – hailed by Muldoon
  8. A Kingmaker can make himself King
  9. What else can he do?
  10. We deserve him, as people keep voting for him

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.

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.

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?”


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.

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.


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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.