Act Party

David Seymour is allowed out with training wheels on

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via Zimbio

ACT leader David Seymour has been sworn in as New Zealand’s first parliamentary under-secretary since 2005, with Prime Minister John Key signalling a ministerial post lies ahead.

He now holds the roles of parliamentary under-secretary to the minister of education and to the minister for regulatory reform.

He will also serve on the finance and expenditure select committee.

The under-secretary position means Seymour will not be subject to questions in the House. It appears he will not be subject to the Official Information Act also.

That’s the critical part.  In previous terms Banks and Dunne have been put under a huge amount of pressure as they were seen as the Achilles heels of the Teflon National Party coalition.  There is no reason to suspect Labour will not put a brutal amount of pressure on the inexperienced Seymour, and this solves that problem.   Read more »

John Roughan: Nature, business and the RMA

Let me ask this. Is the protection of New Zealand’s natural environment more important than its economic development? Or are they equally important?

I know, too easy.

So try this. Must they be given equal consideration under the law that governs almost everything New Zealand industry can do?

I had assumed so, too. The vast majority of us, I suspect, have supposed the Resource Management Act, for all its drawn-out procedures, allowed economic benefits to be weighed against environmental costs.

Not so. That became evident last year when the Government tried to write economic considerations into the act. An outcry erupted from non-government organisations. It came not just from the extremes of Greenpeace but from reasonable voices such as Gary Taylor’s Environmental Defence Society and the Fish and Game Council.

The “father” of the RMA, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, weighed in with a warning that to give equal standing to economic development would upset nearly 25 years of case law under the act.

By implication, and sometimes admission, they told us environmental arguments could not compete with economic gains if they were given equal consideration.

I’m not sure that’s true.   There is a balance to everything.   The problem is that the balance is currently way too far towards preservation at all costs.   As with most things in life, positions on the extreme ends carry a high opportunity cost.   Read more »

Whyte quits ACT leadership [UPDATED]

“Today I announce that I have tendered, and the Board has accepted, my resignation as Leader of ACT New Zealand,” Dr Whyte said in a statement.

“Clearly I make this announcement with regret, however the election result is clear, and I must now turn to my career and my family.

“I stood to lead ACT because I believe in the party’s ideas.  I will continue to advance these ideas both inside and outside the Party.  I do not rule out returning to a substantial role with ACT in the future.”

I’m sorry for Jamie, but I’m glad that apart from the idiots that voted for the Conservative Party, at least ACT party voters knew the pain of splitting their vote and watching a left Government sail down the middle.

ACT has been on life support for some time.  If it wants to live for the next election, it must start campaigning now.  Whyte resigning is not the right move.

Read more »

The Ohariu and Epsom rorts are paying off nicely

Tova O’Brien has the dirty details

The ACT Party’s David Seymour can look forward to a string of Parliamentary perks and funding worth more than $500,000.

That’s because Prime Minister John Key has signed deals with ACT and United Future, giving them plum jobs which come with plum benefits.

Mr Seymour’s been given the role of undersecretary for education. It means he gets a bit more say in two portfolios, and a lot more cash.

More importantly, he also gets no say in parliament, can’t be questions on any portfolios, and isn’t subject to Official Information Act requests.   Talk about being put into the parliamentary creche…

Because ACT failed to get its actual leader Jamie Whyte into Parliament, Mr Seymour gets Parliament’s perks – including $100,000 plus party, member and other funding.

Add that to Mr Seymour’s allowance just for being an MP, and his undersecretary salary – which is nearly $30,000 more than your average back bencher – and he’s pulling $585,028 a year plus extra staff.

It’s all thanks to Mr Key doing a deal and gifting Mr Seymour Epsom – and the MP admits he couldn’t have won the seat without the Prime Minister’s support.

Nope.  It’s a rort.  Strategic voting under MMP is one thing, but this is quite the welcome package for the 31 year old newbie.  Read more »

National continues to enable the despicable ACT rort

Let’s be honest.  ACT has been on National life support for a while now.   They could have stood a goat as a candidate in Epsom and it would have gotten in.

And now, National are making sure ACT are handsomely rewarded.

Act’s 32-year-old sole MP and parliamentary newcomer could be up for a salary of $226,300 and a sizeable package of funding to run his office and Act’s parliamentary operations if Prime Minister John Key gives him a ministerial portfolio.

Mr Key gave his strongest indication yet this week that Mr Seymour would get a ministerial portfolio despite being a new MP, because it would give support partner Act greater resources — “otherwise we’d have an MP pretty much on his own with an [executive assistant] and it is very difficult to manage that party-to-party relationship”. Read more »

Strategic ACT voting debunked

Guest post by Dab

I’ve noticed a number of commenters recently making reference to a party vote for ACT being worth four times a party vote for the Nats.  This has been reposted on the ACT website as recently as today:

A Party Vote For ACT is worth four times a party vote for National.  This is because of a little known aspect of MMP.  Under MMP the electorates a party wins are deducted from the number of list MPs awarded.

On average it will take 60,000 votes to elect each National list MP.  Whereas it takes just 16,000 to elect an ACT MP.

So the answer is easy.  Party vote ACT for three years of stability.

Now I was intrigued, as the mathematician inside me (yes I do have a personality defect) pondered how this could be possible, so I enquired of the commentator when I first saw this and was helpfully directed to the ACT website, to see that the author was none other than Richard Prebble.

Once I saw how & what he had done, I was able to replicate his calculations, but more importantly draw my own conclusions as to whether what he was espousing is true or not.  I believe the info is misleading and the 4 times’ worth is a myth.

Now to be clear I am not advocating any preference for voting for Nats over ACT; merely pointing out what certain party votes are worth, and in particular what they are not worth.  Apologies if you do already get this, but as people still keep referring to Richard/ACT’s numbers I feel duty-bound to inform as widely as I can.  My analysis as follows:   Read more »

ACT’s at the Conservative’s throat again – but with good reason

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It’s getting tense for the far right conservative and liberal votes.  And it doesn’t help that Coling Craig can’t use a calculator

“Colin Craig’s tax plan is to have two rates of income tax: 0% up to $20,000 and 25% above that. This will leave a $6.4 billion hole in the budget even before the new spending proposed by the Conservatives. The Conservative tax promises are dishonest” said Dr Jamie Whyte.
“Using Treasury figures, ACT calculated that to get the same revenues with a tax-free threshold of $20,000 the rate above $20,000 would have to be 34%, a significant tax increase for middle New Zealand. Read more »

ACT go feral on Colin Craig

Heh.  One shitty poll result and Jamie Whyte’s losing his lunch.   This is beautiful:

Colin Craig is deluded and dangerous

“Colin Craig is proposing a radical transformation of our constitution. The Conservatives are proposing to overthrow of one hundred and fifty odd years of parliamentary democracy and replace it with binding referenda” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte.

“Yet Craig does not want a referendum to make this change. He has said repeatedly he will support a Labour/Green government if they will agree to binding referendum. In other words, Colin Craig thinks that if he gets just 5% of the vote, he should be able to overthrow our form of government.”

“If anything should be put to a referendum, it is a significant change to our constitution.”

“The media should stop mocking Craig’s loopy ideas about “chem-trails” and the American moon landings being faked and instead examine his much more radical political ideas” said Dr Whyte.

“Binding referendums have destroyed California.  It has gone from being the powerhouse of America to being ungovernable.”

“The problem with government by referendum can be seen in Colin Craig’s own policy platform.  He says totally contradictory things.”

The Conservative Party have made Citizen Initiated Binding Referenda a “bottom line” issue.  That is, they won’t form a coalition with any party unless that party agrees to bring in CIBRs.   Read more »

Don Brash on Paul Little’s HoS attack against Jamie Whyte

Paul Little wrote a column today in the Herald on Sunday where he attacks Jamie Whyte’s call for the end to race based policies and describes it as a “vile play”.

Don Brash responds on Facebook.

I know how Jamie Whyte will be feeling today, attacked on all sides by media commentators. One article, by one Paul Little in today’s “Herald on Sunday”, is headlined “ACT’s race card a vile play”. It really is astonishing that somebody who calls for an end to race-based legislation can be accused of “playing a vile race card”.

In his article Mr Little accuses Jamie Whyte of “recycling the tactic that failed so spectacularly for Don Brash. Of course, Brash did it to get some political notice when his party was in the doldrums. It succeeded in the short term but helped finish him off in the long run”.

Mr Little is completely wrong. A commitment to ending race-based preferences was one of the five goals I outlined in my very first speech in Parliament after becoming Leader of the National Party in October 2003, and had nothing to do with any short-term desire to get noticed.   Read more »

The logic of The Cunliffe

Yesterday David Cunliffe rushed of to make a statement about the conviction of John Banks, and his diminutive candidate in Epsom did likewise. Michael Wood defamed John Banks in his press release, Banks was found guilty of filing a false electoral return which is not electoral fraud as he claimed. But that is by the by. Both Cunliffe and Wood both think that because of something that John Banks did in 2010, standing as an independent in a local body election which he lost, somehow impacts on the Act party in 2014.

Labour Leader David Cunliffe said Mr Banks’ conviction “underlines a sorry chapter in our political history” and he should “accept his sentence and move on”.

“His conviction is also a reminder of the dodgy deal that kept him in Parliament over the last three years – and of the heavy-handed pursuit of the media by the police in its wake.”

However, with Prime Minister John Key this week saying he would again do deals with Act and United Future, “the National Party has learned nothing from this distortion of the MMP system”.

“National has been kept in power by a self-evident manipulation of our democratic process – relying on discredited and irrelevant support parties such as ACT and United Future which owe their place in Parliament to cups of tea and a nod and a wink.

“Labour will remove coat-tailing to make the electoral system fairer and more transparent.”

Basically their premise is because John Banks filled out a form incorrectly in 2010 when he wasn’t even a member of the Act party and subsequently was pursued by a convicted fraudster, tax cheat and blackmailer then sfor some reason people shouldn’t vote for  Act this election.

“You failed to disclose only two donations. There is nothing to suggest it was a pattern of offending,” Justice Wylie said.

But it was not a victimless crime, he said, the victim of the offending was the community at large.

Which is not particularly accurate, as John Banks at the time had lost the election and was then a retired politician and a private citizen.

Cunliffe’s claims were a long bow and he failed to draw it properly.  Read more »