ACT

Trouble in coalition land?

We’ve had two terms when the National-led coalition government did a pretty good job at presenting a united front.  With the exception of Peter Dunne, who already went troppo over the last few years (did this coincide with legal highs?), the other partners didn’t openly defy National.

That has changed.  In spite of National being returned with a record-breaking 3rd term majority under MMP, its coalition partners and indeed National itself are now openly fighting in front of the kids.

There won’t be a referendum on national super while John Key is Prime Minister.

He has shot down ACT leader David Seymour’s call for the people to decide how superannuation should be funded.

Mr Seymour told his party’s annual conference on Saturday the current scheme wasn’t viable in the long term and there had to be changes to make it financially sustainable.

He wants an expert group appointed to come up with options for a referendum, and says raising the age from 65 isn’t the only one available.

Mr Key isn’t interested and says Mr Seymour, a government ally, didn’t talk to him before raising the issue.

“I read about it in the newspaper,” he said.

“There won’t be a referendum. The National Party is clear on super – the age should stay at 65 and the entitlement at 66 percent (of the average wage).”

During the 2008 election campaign, which he won, Mr Key pledged that if there was any change to national super under his watch he would resign from parliament.

There you go.  “Don’t broadside me in the media, son”, says Key to minnow David.   “We do these things behind the scenes where I can tell you to stop playing games.”

Says one commenter:

John Key has no problem spending $26 million on flag referendum but unwilling to spend any money on one as important as the future financial security of our country and how to fund superannuation.

But add this to Peter Dunne and the Maori Party being extremely vocal against sending New Zealand troops to Iraq, and in public at least, this coalition government looks far from a cohesive team.

I don’t get a sense this is by design.   Key’s having trouble with his back bench, can’t see eye to eye with Joyce who wants to keep giving money away to SkyCity and Team New Zealand no matter the public opposition, had to pull the plug on Parata’s charter schools, is getting constant static from Bill English over delivering a surplus, and he’s now bickering with coalition partners through the media.

To seasoned observers, these are interesting developments.

- NZN via 3 News

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Government expected to force a no-vote debate on troops to Iraq

They simply don’t have the numbers.

New Zealand is poised to join the war in Iraq with the deployment of Kiwi troops to the region to train local forces.

Cabinet is expected to agree in principle to the deployment on Monday after concerns were eased over the Iraqi Government’s refusal to sign a “status of forces” agreement setting out the legal status of the New Zealand troops.

Alternatives including “diplomatic passports with guns” or special military or official passports are understood to be under discussion and sources say they should provide the level of legal protection demanded by the New Zealand government as a condition of sending troops.

But the deployment is deeply opposed by Opposition parties who have warned that it could drag New Zealand into another long and bloody conflict, just two years after Kiwi troops were pulled from Bamyan, Afghanistan, a decade after the American invasion.

The divisions over Iraq are so deep Prime Minister John Key is likely to seek a Parliamentary debate without a vote, in stark contrast to 2003 when Helen Clark sought Parliament’s backing to send the SAS to Afghanistan. Read more »

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ACT want to be hip, cool, groovy and with it

The ACT Party says they’re getting rid of their tired old grumpies in favour of a bright and breezy future.

“Maybe we should be handing out a bit more dye like they do in the National Party,” [David Seymour] joked.

And while a youthful band valiantly tried to up the tempo, grey locks easily outnumbered wrinkle-free faces at the annual conference.

Political commentator David Farrar had predicted the party’s demise, declaring ACT clinically dead three years ago.

“The fact they actually got through when you consider everything they’ve had in the past in the way of scandals, you know I was totally wrong,” said Farrar.

Wrongly David Wrongson also didn’t get much right.  Of course, ACT has died.  It’s on life support via Epsom.   Let’s be real here – Kim Dotcom, Laila Harre and Hone Harewira got more votes for their sideshow than ACT did.  Helps to remember that, you know, as a reality check.   Read more »

Now ACT want a referendum

What is it with referendums?  Colin Craig wants to run the country by them, John Key wants to change the flag, and now ACT want a non-binding waste of taxpayers’ money for one as well.

The ACT party is calling for a referendum on whether the retirement age should be increased.

Leader David Seymour told the party’s annual conference it wasn’t tenable to keep paying out super payments from the age of 65.

ACT received less than 1% of the party vote in last year’s election.

ACT Leader David Seymour closed his speech to the party’s annual conference by challenging political leaders to support a referendum process to determine the future of New Zealand’s superannuation system.

“If the public can vote on the New Zealand flag, a matter that is largely symbolic, why not follow the same process for another intractable problem, one that politicians have been dodging for decades.

It is actually an occasion where a referendum may make sense.  No political party is likely to push the retirement age up, in spite of it being sensible to do so as we become healthier and live longer.  Labour tried to run on such a policy last time and was caned for it.  A referendum would take the decision away from any political party and it can then be implemented as the ‘people’s will’.

If they have such a will, of course.   Read more »

What is one thing about New Zealand you would love to fix, if you had the power to?

weq

That’s the essence behind ACT’s current campaign “The way you want it”.

HOW IT WORKS

In five minutes of video, or five hundred words, tell us how you’d like to see New Zealand.

So, how would you like it?

10 million people? More money? More dolphins, fewer rednecks? Cheaper houses? Old values? New ideas? Better careers? Finally finish off tall poppies? There is no restriction on ideas, so long as they answer the question; how would you like New Zealand to be?

There’s even five prizes up for grabs.   Read more »

Why the PPTA wants to snuff out Charter Schools: they work (too well)

Makes you sick to the stomach to know that a teachers union is dedicated to eradicating educational success to protect the average and the ineffective among its members – no matter the human cost

On the completed entry tests for next year’s intake of students at the Vanguard Military School, one of New Zealand’s first charter schools, there were plenty of 16 and 17 year olds who failed to spell ‘encourage’, ‘describe’, or ‘national’ correctly.

They couldn’t subtract 27 from 74. They didn’t even attempt to answer the simple division and multiplication questions.

Isaac Berry, 16, used to be one of those kids. Last year he only achieved 14 credits towards his level one NCEA. You need 80 credits to pass.

“I kind of forgot to go to school last year,” he said.

The talented BMX rider spent most of his time at the skate park. This year at the Vanguard school, Berry has discovered he also has academic talents. “It was when I got my first excellence I realised how far I could push myself,” he says.

Now he has 70 credits and is certain to to pass Level One NCEA.

I’ve been tracking the success of Vanguard Military School since its inception, and if nothing else, if the kids can now spell “national” correctly, I can see why the PPTA would be unhappy! 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 »

Personal message from Sean Fitzpatrick – ACT Candidate, Ohariu

I’ve been asked to post this personal statement from Sean, and under the circumstances, I’m happy to do so

Hi Cameron,

I have already sent this info to you via facebook, however to be thorough I am emailing you as well.

I just want to let you know that I do not at all support the BDS campaign to boycott Israeli business and investments. As someone who is on record as being very pro-Israel it disturbs me greatly that I am being associated with this sort of thing.

I have set the record straight with the NBR and also on my facebook page. I have received a lot of very positive and encouraging messages of support for this from folk in the NZ Jewish Council. They understand how mendacious this group is by presenting themselves as one thing but promoting quite a different agenda.

I have asked them to delete my name from their list of supporters and rest assured will be raising hell if they do not. Read more »

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Poverty on the rise, income gap widening? Nope. Just a left mantra without a basis in fact

I have to admit, ACT are actually doing what the media should be doing – researching opposition claims and countering them with hard facts.  Try this one on for size:

“A Roy Morgan poll shows that the issue people are most concerned about is income inequality. This just goes to show how the persistent repetition of a lie bewilders the public. Income inequality is not in fact rising. And the child poverty rate has been declining for nearly 20 years, falling from 35% in 1994 to 16% in 2007 and recently returning to pre-global financial crisis levels in 2012” said Dr Whyte.

“Those who advocate socialism have exploited the public’s concern about a rising number of people being trapped into a cycle of dependency. The Left’s repeated claims that New Zealand is getting more unequal are simply false and divert attention from policies that would help people out of dependency.

“Prior to the recent recession, there were 15 years of steady growth in median household incomes driven, in part, by the steady increase in the number of two-parent households where both parents are in paid employment (3% pa).

qwewew

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2014: The year the media stole the election

ACT’s The Letter, as usual, is on point

Readers are asking why the parliamentary press gallery is continuing to parrot Nicky Hager’s absurd claims.

The media has invested so much of their credibility in the story – printing silly statements like “National hacked Labour’s website” (No they did not, Labour left it open).

“John Key is lying”. (Key is telling the truth say the head of the SIS, the Ombudsman and John Key’s diary showing the PM was in Hawaii).

All the dump of emails and texts show is why Judith Collins is called Crusher. Labour has Trevor Mallard, National has Judith Collins.

It is now too much for reporters to say “Actually there was no story. The emails show how clean New Zealand politics is.

There was nothing wrong with Judith Collins telling the name of a civil servant and his government supplied telephone numbers.

Journalists ask politicians for the name of the person in charge and their contact numbers every day. In an open society we are entitled to know”

Having said for 10 days “This is very damaging to John Key” the media feels they must make sure it is damaging.

Q&A even put up Winston Peters to say it is “a new low”. You have run out of credible commentators when Winston of Owen Glenn and missing donations fame is your authority.

I hate to say this, but people don’t care.   This is all beltway egos driving this trainwreck.  Ironically, doing the very thing they accuse me of:  manipulating political outcome.   Read more »

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