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Is this man mad, or brilliant? Watch, then discuss

Phil Goff says the Auckland mayoralty wouldn’t be “the worst job”

Oh, great.  Phil has had worse jobs.  That makes him totally electable.

Goff has been leaning left his whole life. He joined the Labour Party as a 15-year-old, after a nudge by his old mate Mike Moore, whose couch he was sleeping on at the time. (He had been kicked out of home by his “old-school” father; a girl may have been involved, although he says he thinks his father managed to kick all of his four kids out at some stage).

He is not standing as a Labour candidate in the Auckland mayoralty but, like Len Brown before him, as an independent. Oh, that’s just semantics, I say. Everyone knows he’s the Labour guy. Of course, he says that it is not just semantics, even though “everyone knows that I’m a Labour MP and that I have been all my life”.

He is an almost entirely affable fellow, not, he says, easily annoyed. Or he is good at pretending not to be easily annoyed? “No. No. No,” he says, smiling, that easy, practised public smile of his. When he became Leader of the Opposition, he did have media training, from Brian Edwards and Judy Callingham, who may have given him some advice on matters such as not appearing to be easily annoyed. “Umm. No. I don’t think my character has changed much over the entire time in politics.” That sounds plausible; perhaps his office decor reflects his character.

Unsalted, unsweetened porridge it is then.  Every day.  Read more »

Criminals can stand for council in Marlborough (clearly they value experience!)

They say there’s no hiding your past, but that shouldn’t put you off running for council.

With no statutory obligation on candidates to disclose criminal convictions – and no penalties for lying – pretty much anyone can run for office.

Marlborough District Council electoral officer Dean Heiford said there would be no police checks carried out on potential councillors in Marlborough.

A Department of Internal Affairs spokeswoman confirmed council hopefuls did not have to tell anyone about their criminal records.

Three years ago, a Waikato regional councillor hit the headlines after it was revealed he had been convicted of a bank robbery in Australia.

Heiford said electoral officers also did not have to check the accuracy of claims the candidates made in the short profile statements they had to supply.

So unlike most local body politicians that go on the trough and take once they are elected, in Marlborough you can be a convicted felon and simply not disclose you are a two-time bankrupt with a conviction for fraud.  Hell no… that would take all the fun out of it.  Read more »

Maori Party won’t work with Labour. Winston won’t work with Labour. Hmmm

It is not unreasonable to connect the sudden politicisation of the king’s public statements with the appointment of Tukoroirangi Morgan as Māori Party President last month.

Mr Morgan is a former New Zealand First MP, a close senior advisor to the king and very involved with the iwi leaders forum – so he has considerable influence.

Tukoroirangi Morgan at a Māori Party AGM last month. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson
Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is adamant Mr Morgan did not force the king’s hand, arguing the Kīngitanga has always been a political movement.

Whatever Kiingi Tuheitia’s reasons for speaking off the cuff, he is a man of influence and his comments have broadened Mr Flavell’s already ready smile.

Just days after the speech, Kīngitanga representatives travelled to Wellington to meet with the Māori Party co-leaders.

The Labour Party’s connections with the Rātana movement remains strong with regular meetings, and local MP Adrian Rurawhe being a direct descendant of Church founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, means that relationship is unlikely to falter.

However, Mr Flavell argues Labour was rattled by what the King said, and he says it should be.

Helen Clark’s decicion to run one up the Maoris is still paying dividends.  The real problem is that Labour have arrogantly assumed those votes were theirs and there was absolutely no need to put any kind of effort into them.   That’s not working out so well.  Read more »

It’s all over for Trump. It’s not all over for Trump

So, for a party that suspects the presidency is lost there is still a lot to play for. The party can throw resources at key house seats and senate races to try to retain control of Congress and continue the utter gridlock that strangled Barack Obama’s second term.

This is already happening unofficially. Donor money that would usually have gone to the presidential race is going elsewhere. A super PAC called the Congressional Leadership Fund announced this week that they are spending ten million on key House races. The Koch brother’s network have $750 million to spend and plan for a sizeable portion to go to senate races but none to Donald Trump.

There will be more where that came from. And either quietly or officially the party will also likely switch goals with the message ‘vote GOP for senate to stop Hillary going too far left’.

It’s an achievable goal. Hillary Clinton is strongly projected to win the presidential election, but the Senate is a tough hill to climb against incumbents, and the House will stay firmly Republican unless there’s a landslide because House elections are rigged, but just not in the way that Trump means (but more on that another time).

So there’s a lot to play for in the senate and house races for the republicans and a little money goes a long way in a local race where advertising is cheap and just a slight swing or a slightly elevated turnout can make a huge impact.

Read more »

Mental Health Break

Two words guaranteed to strike fear into everyone’s heart


What happened at Charlie Hebdo is etched forever in the nation’s consciousness.  The terrorist attack at the Lindt Café in Australia is another attack that will never be forgotten. My newsfeed now daily not weekly contains the details of yet another terrorist attack somewhere in the Western world. There are now too many to report on. I actually wondered if the latest one would even  be covered by our media  because they have become so common and we have already become desensitised to them.

As is common with media coverage of these attacks the headline gives no clue that this is yet another Islam-related attack.  Despite the headline doing its best to steer us away from the truth  the sheer number of these lone wolf attacks  has educated even the most  naive of readers.  If a man ran towards us yelling “God is the greatest” none of us would flinch but if a man ran towards us yelling, “Allahu Akbar” every single one of us would react immediately.  This is not because we’re racist or  Islamophobic. It is because story after story after story of attacks on individuals or groups involves a man yelling, “Allahu Akbar”. Even if we were stupid enough to believe that these are lone wolf attacks by mentally ill people that have nothing to do with Islam, all of us, conservatives and liberals alike know that the words,”Allahu Akbar” signal that something terrible is about to happen.

Read more »

Map of the Day