There are not a lot of glass ceilings left in New Zealand for women to break through. Two of the last three prime ministers were women. Two of the last five governors-general were women. The Speaker of the House before the current one was a woman. The chief justice role has been held by a woman since 1999 and Dame Sian is not due to retire until 2021. Also the then largest company in New Zealand (Telecom) was headed by a woman just a few years ago. …
Though in 2011 there are not many glass ceilings to break, there is still a serious under-representation of women in Parliament. Sadly the proportion of women in Parliament dropped this year for the first time since 1996.
Now I’m not one of those who advocates that Parliament must or should exactly match the population in gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, left-handedness and so on. I think competence and quality is the most important qualification. However, so long as the MPs are high quality and competent, I think it is desirable that Parliament is indeed a House of Representatives, and our Representatives do reflect the diversity of New Zealand.
So I would like to see more quality, competent women elected into Parliament. But working out what the major barriers are is not so easy. …
dTags: By the numbers, Stuff, women
At Stuff, I blog:
Labour has decided to choose a new leader in the next two weeks. I think it is a mistake to rush the choice, because they are choosing an “answer” without knowing what the question is. …
So the question that Labour should be seeking to ask and answer, before they choose a new leader, is why did we drop 7 per cent from 2008?
I’d be interested to hear why you think Labour’s vote was 7 per cent lower than in 2008, especially if you once voted Labour. Was it simply that the Greens did well? Was it that NZ First picked up tactical votes to stop National? Was it Goff? Was it one or more of their policies? And related to that, what would Labour need to do to get your vote back? Is there one particular leadership contender that appeals more to you?
There’s been some interesting comments made. The extending the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries seems to have gone down particularly badly.Tags: By the number, Labour, Stuff
My Stuff column is on how the election outcome is not settled. I conclude:
So I don’t regard the outcome of the election tomorrow as settled. Certainly National is in a much better position than Labour. But under MMP, even a 23-point lead in the polls does not guarantee you government.
My message to all Stuff readers is to make sure you vote. Do not think the outcome of this election and the identity of the next government is settled. No matter who you support, make sure you have you say and cast a vote today or tomorrow.
Talking of voting, what is the weather forecast for tomorrow?Tags: By the numbers, Election 2011, Polls, Stuff
Over at Stuff I’ve blogged on an actual policy issue, shock horror. I chose law & order as I think it is a great example of a policy that actually matters to NZers, and has huge impact on our lives. An extract:
I regard law and order policies as among the most important, after the economy. Crime affects New Zealanders so profoundly. If you are a victim of crime, your life may never be the same again. Even a nonviolent burglary can leave you feeling vulnerable and violated, while serious rapes and sexual assaults many people never recover from. And those who lose loved ones to criminal acts must relive the horror and sadness constantly.
However, law and order policies affect more than just the victims of crime. Few of us are perfect and never break the law, whether it be speeding, littering, illegal drugs or more serious offences. It is important to have sentences that are appropriate for the crime. We don’t send people to jail for driving at 106kmh, but we might if they were driving at 190kmh for the fifth time, and almost certainly if they kill someone at that speed. …
I think there is some merit in [Labour's] approach. Sending someone to jail should be the last resort, and reserved for either extremely serious crimes, or someone who doesn’t respond to lesser punishments. Once you send someone to jail, they are probably going to remain a criminal for the foreseeable future, so the point of prison becomes protecting the community. Hence I tend to agree that sending someone to prison for just two months is of little value. Either keep them out of jail, or send them away for a decent period.
I suggest people read the full column.Tags: By the numbers, law & order, Stuff
At Stuff I blog on who would be in and out of Parliament based on the average of the polls this week:
If National gains 65 seats, they will gain many new MPs. Highly placed candidates Jian Yang, Paul Goldsmith and Alfred Ngaro were always going to make it in, as were electorate candidates Simon O’Connor, Maggie Barry, Ian McKelvie, Mark Mitchell, Mark Sabin and Scott Simpson. Joining them would be candidates Paul Foster-Bell, Claudette Hauiti, Jo Hayes and Leonie Hapeta.
This would give National its most ethnically diverse caucus ever. They would have 11 Maori MPs, three Asian MPs and two Pacific MPs. They would also have a record 18 female MPs (but their proportion of the caucus would be unchanged).
What people may find amusing is I made a typo in the original, and it read “give National its most ethically diverse caucus”Tags: By the numbers, Polls, Stuff
In my By the numbers blog at Stuff I write:
Up until yesterday I would have said the worst of their new policies was the return to 1970s-style national industry agreements, which would have the government impose terms and conditions on every single employer in an industry.
But yesterday Labour announced that every beneficiary with dependent children would become eligible for the in-work tax credit, and get an extra $60 a week.
You can read the rest at Stuff, and comment there.Tags: By the numbers, Labour, Stuff, welfare
I blog at Stuff on the October polls, showing the gap which had been widening for six months has started to turn. I comment:
If Parliament is 122 seats again, then a government needs 62 seats to govern. That blue line is at 69 seats. If it drops to below 62, then you will have a hung Parliament. A drop of eight seats is a drop of around 6.5 per cent, so that is effectively the target for the left – to have National drop 6.5 per cent in the last 23 days. Not impossible at all, but easier said than done.
For Labour to be able to form a government in its own right without needing the Maori Party, it needs to gain 12 seats, or around 10 per cent in 23 days. That seems less likely.
If the Maori Party does look as though it will hold the balance of power, could this affect the MMP referendum? Do you think having the Maori Party decide the government would be a fair result?
The issue is how much will National drop in these next 23 days. Here’s the last two months in 2008:
Sep 2008 – 50.6% N and 35.4% L = 15.2% gap
Oct 2008 – 47.5% N and 35.3% L = 12.3% gap
Result – 44.9% N and 34.0% L = 10.9% gap
Labour need the gap to close by 13% from 23.6% to around 10%, assuming all else stays constant (Greens at 10%, no NZF etc).Tags: By the numbers, Polls, Stuff
Over at Stuff, I note party lists are due in today at midday, and look at all the minor parties I think will be contesting. They are:
- Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
- Conservative Party of New Zealand
- Maori Party
- New Zealand First Party
- The Alliance
- The Greens
- The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit
- United Future New Zealand
I give a paragraph on each and what I think would be a good and a poor result for themTags: By the numbers, Election 2011, Stuff
Over at Stuff I blog on how the PREFU released today does show a path out of debt. An extract:
Today the Government opened the books. It is required to do this by law. The law was introduced in the early 1990s after the outgoing Labour government hid the true state of the crown accounts, and the fact that the then government-owned Bank of New Zealand needed a bailout. The incoming government received a shock when it realised the true state of the books.
This law showed its worth in 2008. The Budget in June 2008 painted a rosy picture of economic growth and ongoing surpluses. However, by October it was a different picture. We learned in the 2008 Pre-Election Fiscal and Update (Prefu) that in fact the economy had been in recession all year, and that the ongoing surpluses had been replaced with a decade of deficits.
The news got even worse two months later when Treasury did its December Economic Forecast Update (Defu). The decade of deficits had become a structural deficit that would have seen New Zealand ending up in a similar situation to Greece if no changes were made. Gross crown debt as a percentage of the economy was forecast to hit 57 per cent in 2023, or if the global economy continued to worsen, possibly as high as 76 per cent. At that stage you are like Greece, and the interest on the debt is so high that massive cuts in spending on welfare, health and education are necessary to be able to make the interest payments. …
If there is no change of fiscal policies, then the Government is still forecast to achieve a surplus again in the 2014-15 fiscal year, which should also be the year when net debt peaks at 29 per cent of GDP. It’s a much better outlook than three years ago.
There’s also some interesting stuff on how our trade with the US and China has changed over the last decade.Tags: By the numbers, debt, PREFU, Stuff
Over at Stuff in my By the numbers blog, I look at some of the questions on the election and rugby, including the fascinating fact that 30% of New Zealanders said that the outcome of the Rugby World Cup matters to them more than the outcome of the general election. Amongst under 25s this rises to 55%!Tags: 2011 election, By the numbers, Polls, Rugby World Cup, Stuff
At Stuff I ask the question Will Winston be back? I note:
Voters tend to fall into three camps when it comes to Winston Peters.
The first camp is the loyal supporters. They think Winston is the only honest politician. They hang on his every word, and will never hear a bad word about him. They believe that the media and the other politicians are jealous of Winston and conspire against him.
The second camp are those who see Winston as a slightly disreputable but charming rogue. This is probably the majority of the population. They don’t entirely trust him, but they don’t see him as different from most politicians, except that Winston at least is fun and livens things up. They’re not opposed to Winston being in Parliament, and could even vote for him if no other options appeal.
The third camp (of which I happily disclose I am a founding member) regard Winston as the most dishonest politician of the last few decades. If Winston said there’s a thunderstorm outside, we’d change into our shorts and T-shirt and head to the beach.
In the blog post I lay out the five reasons why he shouldn’t make it back, but then also some reasons why he might make 5% after all.Tags: By the numbers, Stuff, Winston First
Just blogged at Stuff on the long overdue cannabis debate. I note:
The Law Commission has also advocated a mandatory cautioning scheme for anyone charged with a personal possession or use offence. For Class C drugs such as cannabis they recommend that a person only be prosecuted from their fourth offence. This could be a sensible compromise between full decriminalisation and the current law.
The debate will not go away, just because some do not want to admit the current approach is failing.
Tags: By the numbers, cannabis, Don Brash, Stuff
In my “By the numbers” blog at Stuff, I ask whether the Greens have become an astro-turfing party.Tags: astro-turfing, By the numbers, Greens, Stuff
In my “By the numbers” blog at Stuff, I ask the question “When will the tide turn?”. Most people expect National to drop in the polls between now and the election, but the question is when? In 2008, National stated to drop in mid July, while in 2011 it is mid September and it has yet to begin, if it does occur.Tags: By the numbers, Polls, Stuff
Over at Stuff in my “By the numbers” blog I look at the lack of volatility in the polls currently compared to the previous 12 years. Lots of graphs from a presentation I did this morning.Tags: By the numbers, Polls, Stuff