No surprise – hypocrisy from Labour

March 9th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Labour have spent the last decade condemning tactical voting in seats like Epsom and Ohariu, where National has indicated to supporters that it may be in the party’s overall interest to vote for another candidate.

Little has now done the same in Northland. Now I have no problem with his decision to encourage people to vote for Peters. It makes tactical sense. But the issue is their hypocrisy of having spent a decade condemning National for the same.

Interestingly while having Peters win Northland may be a tactical victory for Labour, it could also be a strategic blunder for Labour and the Greens.

If Peters does win Northland, then that is a potential lifeline for NZ First post Peters. They can’t be guaranteed to make 5% with someone else leading them, but if they win and can hold Northland, then they would be able to continue post Peters.

Now neither Ron Mark nor Tracy Martin could I think hold Northland (if Peters wins it), but Shane Jones could. If Peters wins Northland, then Shane Jones could stand in the next election (or the one after) for NZ First, and he would be very likely to hold it.

Now think about what this means for the Greens and Labour? Can you imagine a Shane Jones led NZ First ever letting the Greens into Government? he hates them more than Winston.

Also can you imagine Shane Jones going into coalition with the party that he said no longer has room for people like him in it? I think it is unlikely.

So the irony of Little’s ploy is that it may give the left a tactical victory, but it may be a strategic blunder that pries NZ First away from the left and leaves Labour and the Greens marooned in near perpetual opposition.

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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.


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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Five things to remember re Winston and Northland

March 6th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar
  1. If Winston wins, then NZ First will have their Invercargill candidate enter Parliament which will effectively mean one fewer MP in Northland and one more MP in Invercargill.
  2. NZ First care so much for Northland they failed to stand a candidate there not only in 2014,but also in 2011 and 2008. Winston was list only for the last two and could have stood there but chose not to.
  3. If Winston did win the seat, Parliament would lose the proportionality it had on the general election results, and United Future (which got 0.22% of the vote) would then hold the balance of power in Parliament.
  4. NZ First policy is to remove $300 million funding from roads of national significance (such as Puhoi to Wellsford) and spending it on trains.
  5. Winston doesn’t even know the boundaries of the electorate. He said on Q+A the Puhoi to Wellsford road of national significance “doesn’t get to the Northland electorate at all” but Wellsford is in Northland, not Rodney.
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Peters standing in Northland

February 27th, 2015 at 12:21 pm by David Farrar

As expected Winston Peters has announced he is standing in Northland, despite living in Auckland Central.

A key point is that as Peters is already an MP, if he did win, then NZ First gains an additional MP, who is their candidate for Invercargill.

So a vote for Peters is a vote for one fewer MP in Northland and one extra MP in Invercargill.

National’s selection is tomorrow night. It will be a decision of 120 local members, rather than executive fiat.

UPDATE: Peters say he has always been very concerned for Northland. If that is the case I look forward to media asking him why his party didn’t even bother to stand a candidate in Northland not just in the 2014 election, but also 2011 and 2008! Yes his party has not even stood there for the last three elections, and he claims to care about it.

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NZ First wants to abolish Smartgate!

February 19th, 2015 at 9:57 am by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser says it’s insane these incursions keep happening and is scathing of the current state of biosecurity protections at the border.

“The first thing we’d like to see is the Smartgate gone.

I can only assume Mr Prosser thinks the fruit flies have immigrated from Wogistan!

His call to abolish Smartgate is one of the dumber things a politician has said. Smartgate does not get you around biosecurity checks. It just scans in your passport details and takes a photo of you. The smartgate is *before* you pick up your luggage. Once you pick it up, you still queue for biosecurity and have a personal interaction with a biosecurity/customs officer.

I await the next NZ First policy, which no doubt will be to abolish tourism to NZ.

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The PM’s carpet

February 12th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

From Hansard yesterday:

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by all his statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes, especially that one when I said yesterday that “There’s no dye in these locks, baby.”

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Well, how come the curtains don’t match the carpet? [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! If the member managed to hear it, I will—

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I take offence that the member is telling New Zealand he has seen my carpet.

Good to see Winston focusing again on the big issues.

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Peters as accurate as always

February 11th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Prime Minister has dismissed accusations from Winston Peters that he dyes his hair.

During his first speech to Parliament today, Peters quipped that on his side of the House, MPs didn’t dye their hair.

Asked about the statement later, Peters signalled the barb was directed at Key.

“Mr Key’s been taken to telling some of your colleagues about the question of age. Well, frankly, if I was him and having to dye my hair, whilst I’m losing it, I’d leave out the question of age,” said Peters, who first entered Parliament in 1978.

“You know he does [dye his hair],” Peters said. “We all know that. I’m just telling the Prime Minister, for God’s sake, don’t get personal because you’ll get that sort of thing back.”

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said he did not dye his hair or colour it in any way.

Once again truth is a foreign concept to Peters. Sometimes on a trivial issue, but often on important issues. I think it is pathological – he has got away with it for so many decades, it doesn’t even bother him now.


Who Northland would really be voting for if Winston stands – Ria Bond

February 11th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

If Winston does stand for Northland, National should beat home a very clear message. If you vote for Winston Peters, Northland will not gain a new MP, Invercargill will.

Winston is already an MP. His office is in Whangarei (which isn’t actually in the Northland electorate, but is close). If he contested and won the by-election his status would change from List to Electorate MP, which means NZ First would gain a new List MP.

That MP would be No 12 on their party list – Ria Bond.

Ms Bond is their candidate for Invercargill. Invercargill would gain an additional List MP, and Northland would have one less MP than they had before Sabin resigned.

This is a crucial piece of information, and I can’t imagine the people of Northland will want to reduce the representation of Northland in Parliament, so Invercargill gains an extra MP. The challenge will be to make sure they know this. So if Peters does stand, National should (in my opinion) make sure every household knows a vote for Peters is a vote for Invercargill to gain an extra MP at Northland’s expense.

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Not quite right Winston

February 10th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First leader Winston Peters continues to hint at a stand in the Northland by-election, declaring the vacant seat “winnable”.

Today Labour announced that Willow-Jean Prime, a Far North District councillor who contested the 2014 election for the party, would be its candidate in the March 28 vote.

The vacancy was created by the resignation of National MP Mike Sabin for personal reasons.

Sabin defeated Prime by 9300 votes at the last election, a fall of more than 2000 votes compared with the 2011 election, where he was standing for the first time.

NZ First did not stand an MP in the seat, but gained 4546 party votes.

Labour leader Andrew Little has admitted the party’s chances of winning the seat are “slim” but Peters, who hails from the region, believes National can be defeated.

“It’s winnable. The economic social circumstances up in the north are seriously one of being neglected and ignored,” Peters said.

“The question is whether [Northland voters] they say, in one voice, we need to have a clear voice in Parliament, distinct from the rest,” Peters said.

He denied the seat was a safe seat for National, pointing out that it had lost there in 1963.

That is a new definition of not being safe – the fact someone else won it 52 years ago!!

Also Winston has his facts wrong. It was 1966 not 1963. Vern Crackwell won the the Hobson seat off National’s Logan Sloane by 3% in 1966.

Tonight the NZ First board is scheduled to hold a teleconference where Peters said the matter would be discussed, but Peters denied that a decision would be made this evening.

The NZ First caucus would “of course” discuss the matter at its first meeting of the year in Parliament tomorrow, but Peters said it would ultimately be up to the board to make the decision.

Anyone who knows anything about NZ First knows that the board of course will not make any such decision. Winston will solely decide.

I think it is likely he will run.

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Will Peters stand for Northland?

February 6th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he is considering running for the vacant Northland MP seat.

Speaking from Te Tii Marae at Waitangi today, Mr Peters claimed he had been inundated with calls asking if he would put his name forward for the position.

National’s Mike Sabin resigned from the position on Friday citing personal issues. Mr Sabin’s resignation followed reports he was being investigated by police.

The by-election is set for March 28.

“New Zealand First is seriously going to consider the issue,” Mr Peters said.

“It’s a possibility. I’m a local here, I come from here and I know more about this area than a whole lot of other pretenders.

“I got a whole lot of phone calls. That’s why I’ve been interested.”

A decision about whether New Zealand First would put forward a candidate for the by-election, or whether Mr Peters would stand himself, would be made “very soon”, he said.

Northland is a safe but not a mega-safe seat for National. It had the 37th highest party vote for National at 49% – slightly below the median. The electorate vote of 53% was the 32nd highest – the median. The electorate vote dropped 5% from 2011.

The majority of 9,300 is large, but only the 31st largest majority. It is safe but not indestructible. National needs a strong candidate.

Could Peters win the seat? He was born there and would get a lot of publicity. However many of his supporters are on the Te Tai Tokerau roll. In 2014 NZ First got 12.8% of the vote – their 8th best response.

Labour only got 16.6% in Northland. It is quite possible Peters could beat the Labour candidate and come 2nd. However hard to see that he could get 35% to 40% of the vote and win the seat.

Peters may have a bach in Northland, but would he live there? Rural electorates don’t want their MPs living in Auckland Central.

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Winston tried to bring back sedition laws

December 10th, 2014 at 7:20 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First decided not to give their support at the last moment, with leader Winston Peters proposing an amendment that would re-enact sedition laws repealed seven years ago. It was defeated.

Good God. The sedition laws were repealed unanimously by Parliament after a report from the Law Commission showing their long history of abuse, where people were jailed for what they said, not what they did. Much of the work the Law Commission did, came from a series of posts by No Right Turn on the issue.

It’s bad enough that Winston tried to reintroduce discredited sedition laws, but even worse he tried to do it at the committee of the house stage, which would have been incredibly undemocratic to have such a significant law change occur with basically no public notification and consultation.

Once again I am so pleased the Government is not reliant on him.

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Winston back to Chinese bashing again

November 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Streamlining rich Chinese into the country because they hold a Chinese-issued credit card has been slammed by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters who said it will lead to corruption here.

But the tourism industry welcomes the new move as knocking down a barrier to growth in getting wealthy Chinese to come to New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand’s agreement with China UnionPay allows holders of Platinum and Diamond UnionPay credit cards to provide evidence of their “premium card” status instead of information on their employment and source of funds, as part of the visa application process.

UnionPay is the only domestic bankcard organisation in China.

In the joint statement by New Zealand and China last week, the Chinese side welcomed “New Zealand’s recent visa facilitation package for Chinese citizens visiting New Zealand for tourism and business, and is willing to work with the New Zealand side to create more favourable conditions for bilateral personnel exchange.” Chinese visa applicants are also required to meet other requirements such as being of good character and having an acceptable standard of health.

This is about making it easier for Chinese nationals to visit NZ, not making it easier for them to gain residency here. This is a crucial difference.

Nationals from many countries can visit here without needing a visa at all. Is Winston complaining that British people can visit NZ and not need to prove they have a job and a source of funds? Of course not, as they’re not Asian.

Tourism Industry Association (TIA) New Zealand chief executive Chris Roberts welcomed the new credit card immigration policy.

He said the TIA had been advocating strongly to the government for more streamlined visa processing for high-value Chinese visitors.

It is one of the key growth opportunities identified in the industry’s Tourism 2025 framework.

“The Tourism 2025 goal of almost doubling total tourism revenue to $41 billion a year can only be achieved by the public and private sectors co-operating to remove barriers to growth and seizing opportunities.

“Smart schemes to target high-value Chinese travellers to get the visas they need as quickly and easily as possible will make New Zealand more internationally competitive for this crucial market, which has grown quickly to become our second-biggest source of visitors after Australia.”

So again this is about tourism, not migration.

However, Peters said Prime Minister John Key had not learnt lessons from the Kim Dotcom affair which had cost the country “a packet in the courts” and tarnished both the government’s and our international reputation”.

“Instead of saying we have a rigorous immigration programme and policies capable of doing the job . . . he’s now transferred that right onto another country and another country’s system.

“If holding some sort of platinum card is going to be the criteria then you hugely expose yourself and leave yourself open to corruption.

Winston has tried this before. I blogged on almost the same issue in 2012. Nationals from 57 countries can visit NZ without even needing a visa. Chinese nationals do still need a visa, and have to provide

  • Proof of good health
  • Proof of good character
  • A proper purpose for visiting
  • Proof they plan to leave
  • Proof of funds to cover stay in NZ ($1,000/mth), and departure
  • Not have a serious criminal record

They still have to fill in a 16 page form. All this change is that having a platinum credit card is an acceptable substitute for a statement from an employer about what their earnings are.

Winston knows this of course, but can never resist an opportunity to scaremonger.

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Peters against public having a say

November 18th, 2014 at 7:06 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First is boycotting a committee which will decide how the public votes on the national flag, saying the referendum was an expensive exercise which took attention away from greater priorities.

Peters has spent 20 years advocating referendums, yet when it is on an issue he personally disagrees with, he is against the public being able to have a say.

“A change of flag might need to be considered but now is not the time. Poverty and housing are at crisis level, it’s no time for a government to be raising a distraction,” Mr Peters said.

The public and the Government are quite capable of dealing with more than one issue at a time. Also poverty is not at crisis level. Peters is using that as an excuse to deny the public a say – because he disagrees. National had a clear election commitment to hold a referendum if re-elected, and they were. They first referendum will be next year and it will all be wrapped up in early 2016 – well before the next election.

The first referendum in late 2015 will ask New Zealanders to vote on a range of alternative flags chosen by the Flag Consideration Panel.

A second referendum in April 2016 will be a run-off between the most popular alternative flag and the current national flag.

It will be fascinating to see which flags make it through to the first referendum.

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MP won’t say who he works for

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

The lowest-ranked NZ First MP is refusing to say what job he did before politics.

And his leader Winston Peters is also refusing to say what his 11th-ranked MP Mahesh Bindra does for a living.

“I can tell you, he’s not a spy,” said Mr Peters this morning.

Mr Bindra, who came in at number 11 on the party list, is currently employed in the public service but will not say which department he works for.

“The (public service) Code of Conduct doesn’t allow me to say the department I worked for.”

Total crap. It does not. Scores of other public servants have stated what their current job is, when they stand for Parliament.

Mr Peters said he believed Mr Bindra had signed an agreement with his employer which stopped him from disclosing where he worked.

“When you are working for a government department, they sign a confidentiality form. If you’ve signed a document, you’re still caught by the document you have signed.”

Mr Peters said he would not disclose Mr Bindra’s employment because doing so would break a confidence.

I suspect Mr Peters has been misled. No department would include in a confidentiality agreement that you can’t reveal you work for them – except the SIS.

He said it was “utterly correct” the public should know about any candidates employment background and hoped it could be revealed tomorrow.

After the election!j

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Winston wants a Labour-NZ First Goverment

September 16th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I’ve said for some time that Peters will ask Labour to block the Greens, so he can claim he has saved NZ from them, and this is looking likely. The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said today that voters should consider a Labour-New Zealand First as a potential alternative Government, not Labour and Greens, in what is the most definitive statement from him yet on post-election options.

That suggests that would keep the Green Party away from the cabinet table in any Labour-Led Government as he did in 2005.

If you vote Winston, you’ll get David Cunliffe as PM. It will be a Labour-NZ First Government but propped up by the Greens and Internet Mana.



Wrong wrong wrong

September 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

Peters has a track record of competence as a minister. He is a realist. His party would bring stability to a governing arrangement.

Stability and Peters are not words that go together.

I think it would be better for National to go into opposition than be in coalition with Peters, and subject to his every whim. It will not end well.

If National gets 46% but can’t quite get a majority without Peters, then I say let Labour form a Government propped up by the Greens, NZ First, Mana and Internet parties, plus of course Dotcom wielding power in the background. It will be a terrible two or three years for the country, but National would easily win in 2017.

If NZ First are not essential to being able to form a Government, then you might do a deal with them (as National has done with the Maori Party). If say National has 57 MPs, NZ First 9 and Conservatives 6.  You could do a deal with both, as you only need one of them to govern. You can’t be held hostage by Peters.

The other possibility is to just run a minority Government, with NZ First abstaining.

But the moment you are reliant on NZ First, then the stability of the Government is threatened in my experience. When a backbench NZ First MP has a brain fart and says something monumentally stupid (The Reserve Bank is foreign owned) or offensive (people who look like Muslims should not be allowed to fly), then the PM will be asked about whether he is comfortable his Government is propped up by someone who thinks or says that. And the Government gets dragged down by the lowest common denominator.

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Williams suing NZ First

August 30th, 2014 at 11:45 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First MP Andrew Williams has started legal proceedings over being dumped from the party list ahead of the election.

Williams is seeking a declaration that the party breached its constitution when it determined the list, removing him as an electorate (East Coast Bays) and list candidate.

Williams had been ranked number 3 on the party list in 2011, and said he was given no reason for his demotion.

“I regret that I have no other option other than to take my party to Court to protect my reputation”, Williams said.

He had been “mistreated” by the party.

“I do not, however, wish to derail NZ First’s campaign, so I am asking for an urgent hearing following the election.

“As the matter is now before the Court, I do not intend to make further comment.”

Peters is notorious for not following his own rules. He unilaterally kicked Horan out, without even consulting his caucus.  Williams appears to have suffered the same lack of due process.

University of Otago law professor Andrew Geddis said the precedent in a case like this had ironically been set by Peters, when he was in the process of being dumped by National.

Do as I say, not as I do!

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The latest nonsense claim from Peters

August 29th, 2014 at 8:10 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Justice Minister Judith Collins has said NZ First leader Winston Peters was wrong when he said one of her people approached him about negotiations after the election if she was National leader.

This evening Peters told TV3 he had “backdoor approaches myself from the Collins’ camp… If you can’t talk to [National leader] John Key after the election, can you talk to her?”

Peters believed the move was an attempt to undermine the prime minister which Collins was likely to be aware of.

“I didn’t think the bag man was coming without her consent,” Peters said.

Collins had previously said she was not responsible for what others did, but came out more strongly this evening.

“Winston Peters is wrong. I have never approached him nor have I asked anyone else to approach him,” she said in a statement.

This is a silly almost made up story. Not made up that someone may have had a conversation with Peters, but made up that it was an approach on behalf of Collins.

I’m 95% certain I know who Peters is referring to. He is not an MP. He is not an official of the National Party. And he is not close to Judith Collins. In fact I don’t think he has had a conversation with her in almost three years!!! I’ve had more conversations with Winston Peters in the last two years than this person has had with Judith Collins, so does that mean if I say something, it can be seen as being on behalf of Winston Peters?

This is just Peters trying to get himself publicity.

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The NZ First list

August 26th, 2014 at 2:14 pm by David Farrar

NZ First have announced:

1 Rt Hon Winston Peters
2 Tracey Martin
3 Richard Prosser
4 Fletcher Tabuteau
5 Barbara Stewart
6 Clayton Mitchell
7 Denis O’Rourke
8 Pita Paraone
9 Ron Mark
10 Darroch Ball
11 Mahesh Bindra
12 Ria Bond
13 Mataroa Paroro
14 Romuald Rudzki
15 Jon Reeves
16 Asenati Lole- Taylor

Andrew Williams has dropped off the list entirely, after he criticised his draft ranking of 13. I must say that I don’t see what he had done to deserve his demotion (unlike Lole-taylor who had made numerous blunders). Williams did some dumb stuff as Mayor of North Shore, but had been pretty restrained as an MP.

A huge promotion for the MP for Wogistan, Richard Prosser.

If NZ First make 5% then Fletcher Tabuteau and Clayton Mitchell will be MPs. It is good to see NZ First bringing some new blood in.

Fletcher Tabuteau is their Rotorua candidate and has run a marketing and communications company. He is now a educator in business teaching.

Clayton Mitchell is their Tauranga candidate and a local City Councillor. He has said he will carry on doing both, if elected.

Ron Mark would get in if NZ First gets close to 7%.


Has Labour’s bribe backfired on them?

August 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour’s support among the elderly has slumped despite making free GP visits for pensioners the centrepiece of its election campaign launch recently.

A breakdown of the party vote according to age suggests a dramatic fall from 29.3 per cent among pensioners in last month’s poll to just 17.6 per cent in today’s poll.

Once the poll results are broken into age groups they are simply indicative.

But what makes the movement more credible is that New Zealand First, which assiduously courts the grey vote, has gone from 4.7 per cent support among the over 65-year-olds last month to 8.9 per cent of the older vote in today’s poll.

We can estimate how significant these changes are.

We don’t know how many over 65s were in the poll sample of 750, but let’s estimate 200.

A fall from 29.3% to 17.6% has a 99.3% chance of being a true fall, and only a 0.7% chance of being just random sample differences. So it is safe to conclude Labour has fallen in support from over 65s despite their bribe.

An increase from 4.7% to 8.9% has a 94.8% chance of being a true increase, so it is likely they have gained support from over 65s.

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Prosser 3rd, Williams dumped

August 20th, 2014 at 6:59 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First MP Andrew Williams is set to be dumped to a seemingly unelectable position on the party list, and former MP Ron Mark is set to rejoin the party ahead of the general election. 

Stuff understands a draft copy of the NZ First list, determined by the party’s selection committee last weekend, has Williams ranked at 13 and Mark at 9.

The draft list is understood to have MP Richard Prosser ranked at No 3.

Prosser became infamous in 2013 for writing in his regular column in Investigate magazine, that all young Muslim men – or those who “look” Muslim – should be barred from flying on Western airlines. The rights of New Zealanders were being “denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”, Prosser wrote. He later apologised for the comments.

The guy who said the most racist thing in the last three years is rewarded with the No 3 spot? Only in NZ First.

I also can’t understand why Williams would be ranked so low, at 13.

While Williams did some silly stuff as Mayor of North Shore, my observation of him as an MP is that he has generally been quite sound and hard working. He hasn’t generated anywhere near the negative headlines of MPs such as Prosser and Lole-Taylor yet he is the one dumped. This is very weird.

Williams said his ranking on the list came as “a bolt out of the blue”.

“I think most people would agree around Parliament I’ve been a pretty able MP,” he said.

“I’ve performed for the party, I’ve done a lot of hard work for the party and I’ve represented the party as well as I could.”

The ranking was no reflection of his ability or contribution, but attributable to internal party politics, Williams said.

“I’ve had the most portfolios of any MP. I’ve had 11, plus I’ve been an associate to Winston on foreign affairs, trade, SOEs and finance,” he said.

“So I’ve had a very heavy workload, and the portfolios I’ve had have been pretty solid ones, like local government, veterans’ affairs, conservation, environment, energy; all of which I’ve been solidly batting on.”

Williams said he would like to know what the selection committee’s criteria were for selecting the top 10 candidates for the party.

He had sought an explanation for the drop but had not received a response.

I think he has been hard done by.

The return of Ron Mark at No 9 is interesting. They’ll need to lift their vote slightly to get him in, but if they do, then they may have a potential sucessor to Peters.

UPDATE: Have spoken to someone close to NZ First and they say that the sole criteria for list ranking is total devotion and loyalty to Winston, so in that context the list makes sense!

They also made the point that while Ron Mark has some relationships with people in National, he is also very close to someone in Mana, and his inclusion should not signal they’ll go with National, but equally be used to form a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana-Internet Government.

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Garner on Xenophobia

August 11th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes at the Dom Post:

So suddenly we’re all against selling off farms to foreigners. Well, it’s not really just foreigners, is it. Let’s be honest – we’re worried about the Chinese buying our farms. They’re not like us. There you go, I said it. Clearly many are thinking it. Cue Opposition politicians lining up to scratch our collective itch. Nationalism? Racism? Xenophobia? All of the above? The reality is we’ve been hocking off our farms to overseas buyers for years and no-one seemed too fussed. Australians, Germans, Russians, the Swiss and the Americans – no worries.

You expect it from NZ First, but not from Labour.

The debate has flared up over Lochinver Station, near Taupo. A reputable Chinese company wants to buy it for $70 million. They bought Crafar Farms and, from all reports, have improved it. They promise to upgrade Lochinver and keep the 20 Kiwi staff on. The sellers, the Stevenson family, want to take the money and reinvest it in their other business interests, such as quarries, and create about 8000 jobs over time. Surely we support that – don’t we? Labour has effectively pledged to stop the sale if it gets into government. Let’s pause and consider the hypocrisy: Labour’s position is a massive change of heart.  And Winston Peters, who was in government too from 2005-2008  must have been asleep at the wheel. Labour allowed Poronui Station to be sold in 2007 – that’s the farm next door to Lochinver Station. Labour Cabinet minister David Parker even asked a question of himself in Parliament about that sale – trumpeting the benefits of foreign investment.

They are such hypocrites.

In the last term of the Labour-NZ First government, an average of 762 square kilometres of land was sold every year. The amount sold in the past five years under National has been about 390sq km a year. The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa estimates about 8 per cent of our best farmland is in foreign hands. Should we have banned film director James Cameron from buying his farms in the Wairarapa? He’s about to make Avatar 2, 3 and 4 in New Zealand and that will create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs. Should he have been told to bugger off? Labour leader David Cunliffe is even suggesting that Australians be banned from owning big farms here too. He’s taking ‘‘advice’’ over it – which is code for he’s making up policy on the hoof.

What’s new. And for outright racism, here’s Winston:

“As they say in Beijing, two Wongs don’t make a right.”

Winston defends the joke on the basis he heard it Beijing. But jokes are all about context. When you make the joke in the context of spreading fear and phobia about Chinese, then it is not funny, but nasty.

Jamie Whyte points out:

David Cunliffe’s suggestion that Australians be banned from owning big farms invites retaliation from Australia. 500,000 Kiwis currently live in Australia and many own land there or would like to.

Last year, Cunliffe told Australian government ministers and business leaders to give Kiwis “a fair go.”

Cunliffe said it is unfair that New Zealanders in Australia are treated differently from Australians in Australia. Yet he seeks to be Prime Minister on a promise to treat Australians differently from New Zealanders.

The inevitable retaliation would have a delicious irony, with Russell Norman’s support for the policy losing him his right to buy land in his home country. But that joy will be far outweighed by the terrible losses to New Zealanders.

The freedom to move back and forth across the Tasman, and to buy and sell property in both countries, is a great advantage to New Zealanders. The government should guard it jealousy. It should not be put at risk for the cheap political purposes of a desperate politician.

Land sales are regulated. Anything over a certain size must meet a national interest test. You can debate whether the test should be altered, but those parties advocating an outright ban are trying to reintroduce Fortress New Zealand from the 1970s.

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Will Mark succeed Peters?

July 31st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Carterton mayor Ron Mark is not ruling out a return to Parliament.

The former New Zealand First MP said he had been approached by several parties including National.

“I have been asked by a number of parties. NZ First asked me last time and I said no and they have asked me this time and I am thinking about it,” Mark said.

Mark, 60, was a NZ First MP for 12 years before exiting Parliament, along with the Party, at the end of the 2008 election.

He said National have made it very clear that he would be “welcome in their tent”, with the Maori Party and Act also eager to talk.

“It’s all very flattering but you’ve got to think about what it is you really want to achieve and how best to achieve that, more importantly what the Wairarapa needs,” Mark says.

The horse may have bolted when it comes to National, however, with the Party announcing its list at the weekend.

Mark said he believed NZ First was well placed to return to Parliament at the September 20 Election.

“People have said to me you have to come back because we are going to be in Parliament and I said to Winston [Peters] that if that is the only reason for joining then that is the wrong reason.

“I am sure they will be back there, the question is will I be with them . . . I know that they are anxious to have me.”

If Ron Mark does return to Parliament as a NZ First MP, it will be to be Winston’s successor. That is not a bad thing.

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Peters (sort of) rules out Mana and Maori

July 30th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Winston Peters says NZ First will sit in Opposition rather than go into coalition with any “race based” party.

On his way into Parliament today, Peters repeated earlier comments that NZ First might sit on the cross benches rather than go into a coalition that undermined its principles, including its opposition to what it calls “Maori separatism”.

“We are not going to be in any combination that is race-based,” Peters said.

As usual Peters has left wriggle room. What does go into coalition with mean? For example National has no coalition partners at the moment – only supply and confidence partners. Secondly National is the party in a relationship with both ACT and Maori Party but ACT does not have a relationship with the Maori Party directly.

And what does sit on the cross benches mean? Does that mean still vote for the Government, vote against the Government or abstain on supply and confidence?

I imagine that any journalist that ask Peters those questions will get abused, called a moron, and told their position is absolutely clear.

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A 21% chance he would die in office

July 30th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Speaking to a full house of mostly middle-aged or elderly people in Nelson, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig introduced the man he wants to be their MP – 81-year-old John Green.

Good to see he is active at that age and wanting to engage. I couldn’t resist morbidly working out the chance that, if elected, he would not survive the three year term. He has a 93.3% chance of getting through the first year, 92.4% the second and 91.5% the third which combined is a 78.9% chance, or a 21% chance of not making it.

That got me thinking about other elderly politicians. Winston will be 70 next April and according to Stats NZ has a 10.8% chance of dying in office in the next three year term – if he is elected.

For the John Key haters out there, he only has a 1.1% chance of dying in the next three years, and if he gets a 4th term, only a 1.4% chance of dying during that Parliament!

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