Will Bill and Steve have the courage to throw out Key’s stuff?

…Steven Joyce is set to take over as finance minister.

He says Mr Key’s shock decision would mean gearing up for next year’s election would be done with a new perspective.

“There will be a freshness of some new policy positions,” Mr Joyce told TVNZ’s Q&A.

“It is quite an opportunity for a stocktake for us.”

The question is:  will they have the courage to make the sort of changes that essentially says “John, you were wrong.  We need to do it this way now?”

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Huge drop in sales for sleeping pills forecast for 2017 election

Andrew Little and James Shaw appeared with Corin Dann.

CORIN Andrew Little, you’d positioned yourself as the person who wasn’t the show pony to go up against John Key. That’s all changed now. You must be over the moon.

ANDREW Well, what hasn’t changed, actually, is that if you’re a young couple in Auckland, you still struggle to be able to afford your first home. If you’re homeless, like 41,000 New Zealanders are, putting Bill English and Paula Bennett in the top two positions in the National government, both of whom have had housing responsibilities, isn’t going to change. They’ve been around-

CORIN Sure. So you’re still going to attack them on those issues, but you must be excited about the change in the dynamic. Because, you know, I mean, John Key was a very popular leader.

ANDREW It’s a change in the dynamic, no question about that, but the issues haven’t gone away. The people who have missed out, been left behind for the last eight years, they’re still left out, they’re still behind, and these new guys offer nothing.

CORIN James Shaw, do you accept that there is some rejuvenation here in National? In fact, does it make it potentially harder? Because they’ve done the hard change here and given themselves a chance to offer something new. Do you buy that?

JAMES Well, look, Bill English has been the philosophical and policy engine in the National government for the last eight years, so the idea that it’s going to be somehow radically different from what you’ve seen over the last eight years I think is highly unlikely, especially with someone like Steven Joyce on finance. Read more »

Comment of the Day

The number of likes on Paula Bennett’s official Facebook page is presently 610.

The number of likes on anti-Paula Bennett Facebook page Paula Bennett is a Menace to Society is presently 1,336.

And 1,308 people follow that FB – which is more than twice enough to register as a political party

Jospeph Parker’s win explained

Liam Napier helps out with the scoring

Whatever your view of the majority decision ruling that handed Joseph Parker the WBO heavyweight title over Andy Ruiz, it must be remembered all officials were neutral.

From experienced American referee Tony Weeks through to the three judges, all were foreigners.

Salven Lagumbay (Philippines) scored the bout a 114-114 draw; Ramon Cerdan (Argentina) and Ingo Barrabas, a German who has judged 407 pro fights, each gave it to Parker 115-113.

The scoring system in boxing is such that the slate is effectively wiped clean at the start of every round. It’s not enough to be dominant one minute, sluggish the next.

In this particular contest, which featured no knockdowns, all rounds were scored 10-9. One knockdown sees rounds scored 10-8; a drawn round is scored 10-10.

Seems a bit silly.  Could be 2, 1 or 0 then.  But… ok.   Read more »

1080 Poison rains from the sky hitting tourists


A fishing guide says he and wealthy American clients were hit by 1080 pellets on a West Coast river in an episode that tarnished New Zealand’s clean, green reputation.

Co-owner of Murchison’s River Haven Lodge Scott Murray said the incident happened on December 2 when he and three other fishing parties were on the Mokihinui River, north of Westport.

Murray was with a 91-year-old Californian client and his nephew, and had just been helicoptered in to the area when they saw other choppers carrying buckets loaded with green pellets containing 1080.

As they began fishing near the junction of the river’s north and south branches, Murray said pellets started dropping in the water.

Murray said he and his clients were forced to cover their heads with their hands as some pellets hit them.

“I was so disgusted and very disheartened.

“[My client] talked about whether it was even worth coming back to NZ. He said he thought this was clean, green NZ. The rest of the world is shocked at the fact we use this bloody crap basically. It makes me quite angry just thinking about it.” Read more »

Mental Health Break

Convicted for asking a question; Geert Wilders won’t be silent

In what can only be described as a politically motivated trial, the popular leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) Geert Wilders has been convicted for asking a question of his audience at a political rally. He and his party will contest national elections in three months time and the party according to a nationwide poll holds a narrow lead at the moment. His conviction for asking people if they would like fewer Moroccans in the country will only make support for his party stronger.

Using legal jihad to try to silence a political opponent is a new low in politics. The Dutch government are running scared and have shown their cowardice by attacking him in this manner. Cam and I know personally what it is like to be dragged through court for the crime of telling the truth so all my sympathy is with Wilders. You have to admire someone who leads a party despite serious death threats, who has lost his personal freedom because of 24/7 security in order to keep him alive and who is targeted by his political opponents with trumped up legal charges.

Geert Wilders was accused of committing hate speech but they failed to convict him for it. Since it was a politically motivated trial they had to find something so, in the end, he was convicted of migrant discrimination.No fine was imposed by the judges.

‘In this case, the most important question is whether Wilders has crossed a line. This judgement has answered that question,’ the judges said in their verdict.

‘Therewith, the chamber finds that justice has been done. Consequently, no punishment is imposed.’


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Map of the Day


Countries by population growth between 2005 and 2015

Click here for larger view

Key – a man for the times

Jono Milne explains why Key was right for the country then, but no longer now

Those less generous than me have asked, what of a legacy? Did you make New Zealand a better place – or did you, in the immortal words of your predecessor Robert Muldoon, leave it “no worse off than you found it”?

What they fail to recognise is that you were, proudly, a conservative leader. You never sought to be recognised as a progressive, as a visionary.

The task of a conservative (whether on the left or the right) is to conserve that which is good, to protect the best things about New Zealand, to keep HMNZS Aotearoa on course through sometimes choppy waters.

Inheriting the premiership in the depths of the global financial crisis, confronted with the enormous and wrenching tragedies of the Pike River mine disaster, the Canterbury and the Kaikoura earthquakes, you kept us sailing through and out the other side.   Read more »


The National bun fight has only just begun

Think of Key leaving as a 7 point something earthquake.  Nobody died, but there is lots of damage and continuing aftershocks.

Rodney Hide, who clearly wrote his article before Bill English and Paula Bennett were confirmed. explains:

The backbenchers have been asking, “Why not me for Cabinet?” Cabinet Ministers have been asking, “Why not me higher up the pole?”

Every National MP gets a vote on our next Prime Minister. No one else does.

Yes, they will be casting their vote for the good of the country and the party. But as the week has worn on it has become less about the country and more about the individual MPs. Their position is something real, something tangible, something they can understand.

National MPs have cleared their diaries and spent the week in Wellington. For once their vote is theirs. For once their vote is worth something – to them.

There have been meetings upon meetings. There have been coffees, drinks, dinners. Two MPs in the corridor is a meeting. There are only two things to discuss: who is to be Prime Minister and what it means for them.

There are MPs that have been severely damaged by Key standing down.  Either by not picking the winning side, or by having the temerity to oppose a Key-endorsed coronation, or by different forces acting to lay bare stresses that were previously well managed. Read more »