Parliamentary Inquiry into last election says cheat away, basically

After every election there is a parliamentary inquiry into the last election. They make recommendations and almost always do nothing. This cycle the inquiry has made a few recommendations but not any really important ones.

Arts, lifestyle and travel blogger, David Farrar, is scathing…or as scathing as he ever gets.

Overall it is barely tepid with no significant changes recommended despite massive problems in the area of enforcement (The Police simply don’t enforce electoral laws, and no one else is able to).

Here’s their major recommendations:

  • Having more advance voting places available over 12 days
  • Enabling voters of Maori descent to change between general and maori rolls every three years instead of every five as present. This is a bad recommendation as boundaries are done every five years and running the Maori option out of sync with the boundaries review means you may get some gerrymandered seats with very low or very high electoral populations. If however they also review boundaries every three years, then it is okay.
  • Considering providing clarification or exemptions to the restrictions on broadcasting election programmes to address satirical, humorous, and creative programmes. (this is good)
  • Prohibiting campaigning and the display of campaign material within, and in the immediate vicinity of, advance voting places. (this is good)   Read more »

Good, online voting axed

I’m not a fan of online voting.

Local Government minister Louise Upston has axed a plan to have online voting in eight council elections in November .

Councillors in Wellington, Porirua, Masterton, Rotorua, Matamata Piako, Palmerston North,  Whanganui and Selwyn had voted to offer online voting as an option. And Local Government NZ was actively promoting it as a vehicle to boost participation as recently as January. They have now been over-ruled.

It was always pitched as a “trial” – presumably to make it less intimidating from a PR perspective – but it was going to be the real thing: Online votes in November would have been legal and binding. It would have been better termed a pilot.

“Security testing has been planned but has not yet occurred. Without seeing the results of testing we cannot be confident the systems are secure enough, and the trial could not be authorised,” Ms Upston says. The system needs more work, she says.   Read more »

Whaleoil, a shadow of its former self and dying?

I always listen to our critics, because they are the most ruthless in assessing your own performance.  And certainly, after 2014 when we were at the center of everything, 2015 has felt a lot quieter.  But is Whaleoil dying?  Let’s take a look.

(all tables and graphs are page views)


So we lost about 6,000,000 page views since 2014 during a year when we were no longer the story and when everything was pretty boring politically.  There was no high profile scandal, there was no Labour leadership battle, and the whole year was basically just one flag debate with the occasional smattering of crimes in various contexts.

As you can see, the blog peaked during the election – and as a political blog, that’s pretty much to be expected.     Read more »


Matching US Presidents

David Farrar has a post highlighting a USA Today survey to see which US presidential candidate matches your own core beliefs.

It is a bit wonky and you do need a little bit of understanding about Federal politics and their political system as well as some policy areas such as Obama Care.

When I say it is wonky I really can’t believe that he would have Chris Christie at number 2…or even Bobby Jindal as number 1.

I have created a table of the candidates with Pinko’s ratings beside mine. I’ve listed them alphabetically.    Read more »


Photo Of The Day

Brasil, São Paulo, SP. 14/02/1958. Crédito:ARQUIVO/ESTADÃO CONTEÚDO/AE/Codigo imagem:53554 The Honorable Ms. Rhino.

Brasil, São Paulo, SP. 14/02/1958. Crédito:ARQUIVO/ESTADÃO CONTEÚDO/AE/Codigo imagem:53554
The Honorable Ms. Rhino.

The Honorable Ms. Rhino

Cacareco, a rhinoceros at the São Paulo zoo, was a candidate for the 1958 city council elections with the intention of protesting against political corruption.

The city council election in Sao Paulo, Brazil had a surprise winner — Cacareco, a five-year-old female rhinoceros at the local zoo. Not only did she win, but she did so by a landslide, garnering 100,000 votes (15% of the total). This was one of the highest totals for a local candidate in Brazil’s history to that date.

Cacareco’s candidacy was traced back to a group of students who had printed up 200,000 ballots with her name on them, but the ballots were all legitimately cast by voters, one of whom commented: “Better to elect a rhino than an ass.”

Read more »

Election Day ban on campaigning outdated

With the polls opening weeks in advance of election day, and there being absolutely no restrictions on what can be communicated then, it appears incongruous that the very last day should remain sacrosanct.

It is an artefact from an age past.

An electoral law expert says election day restrictions on people using social media should be eased after tweets by rugby stars Israel Dagg and Jonah Lomu and rower Eric Murray got them into hot water last year.

Dagg, Lomu and Murray were among 26 cases referred to the police by the Electoral Commission because of tweets or social media posts on election day.

Nobody is allowed on election day to publish or distribute on social media, or in traditional advertising forms and the media, any statement that may influence how people vote.

Graeme Edgeler told Parliament’s justice and electoral select committee only political parties and groups which campaigned on election issues in the campaign should have to abide by the advertising black-out rules.

“But things like All Blacks sending tweets, and people discussing the weather on the news – what’s wrong with saying ‘I just voted for John Key, you should too?”‘    Read more »

Waste of time anyway, I agree with TVNZ

I’m going to disagree with Regan at Throng who thinks TVNZ wants to shirk their responsibilities.

TVNZ wants to be released from having to show the Night of the Long Lies otherwise known as the party political broadcasts.

Television New Zealand says it should be allowed to drop some of its election coverage because of terrible ratings.

The broadcaster has long been required by law to broadcast political parties’ opening and closing election addresses.

But it says viewing patterns have changed and a sharp fall in ratings during the presentations – once central campaign events – justifies a change.

During the last election the opening addresses had ratings that were 38 per cent lower than the average for the six previous Saturday evenings.   Read more »

Awesome sledge of Russell Brand and Ed Miliband

Russell Brand is a twat, as is Ed Miliband, but the two of them got together for an interview.

Toby Young wasn’t impressed and posts an epic slamming at the Telegraph.

He summarises the interview:

I like to think that people will look at Russell Brand and Ed Miliband chatting away in Brand’s £2 million flat and see them for what they are – two privileged, middle-aged men cynically trying to whip up envy and resentment against “the one per cent”, even though they’re members of the one per cent themselves. I hope this will be the moment when the disconnect between what the left says and what it does will finally become too much. The cognitive dissonance will prove too great. Something will snap and Labour’s entire general election campaign will unravel. People will suddenly wake up to the fact that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

Read more »

Losing sight of the big issues by focussing on winning

Steve Joyce and John Key have gotten themselves into a rut…they have become poll-driven fruitcakes, focused only on winning the next election.

They have become excessively myopic and their visions is down to at best 3 years.

I am want to say that politics is the best game in town and to treat it like a sport, and in many respects it is…but on the other hand it isn’t a sport.

As Simon Barnes says at the Independent “the big issues get lost when politicians see winning elections as an end in itself, not a means to an end”.

He explains further:

Elections always made me laugh when I was chief sports writer ofThe Times. Suddenly all the people at the serious end of the paper turned into sports reporters. Who’s winning, who’s losing, blimey that was brilliant, and come on my lot, we’re by far the greatest political party the world has ever seen. Such larks!

These people always believed my job was trivial. So it was, even though I tried to deal with the trivialities in a fairly serious way. But come election time, reporters and politicians and pundits go mad with excitement, and address a mountain of deeply serious matters in an utterly trivial way. That’s because politics is a sport, and winning is an end in itself.

When David Cameron first set out in politics, his great vision of the future was … David Cameron as prime minister. And after that? To be prime minister again. This time without help from another team. To win, and then to win again. Isn’t that enough? Cameron is like Jose Mourinho with less money and fewer media skills.

Read more »

Israeli elections are harder to pick than a broken nose

Many pundits are making all sorts of extreme picks for Israel’s elections.

Their electoral system is difficult to come to grips with, but we must remove personality and politics and just look at the numbers.

FiveThirtyEight has provided perhaps the best assessment so far of the state of play in the Israeli elections.

There are two phases to the Israeli election that starts Tuesday. The first: electing some politicians. That’s the relatively easy part to forecast. The second: Figuring out who’s going to govern with whom.

That is what’s really hard to predict.

In the first phase, no party is likely to win a majority of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the country’s parliament. But the two main parties are still jostling to hold the most seats. Likud, the party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is in a tight race for the most seats against the Zionist Union, the center-left leading opposition party.

Based on a local regression of polls since January, it looks like the Zionist Union will win the most seats: about 25, to Likud’s 22. In the following table, we’ve placed confidence intervals around the individual party estimates1 based on poll performance in the prior two elections.


Predicting the voting may be the easier part, but it’s not easy. This year, Israeli law restricted polling as of the Thursday before the election, and no pollster could release results of new polls after Friday. That leaves any shifts in public opinion that occurs over the weekend in pollsters’ blind spot, especially because some parties and candidates save big ammunition for the final days before balloting. Just before the 2013 election, a video emerged in which a candidate for Bayit Yehudi, a right-wing religious party whose name means Jewish Home, speaks about the prospect of the mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount being blown up. (Some people interpreted the remarks as support for the idea.) The resulting furor over what the candidate called a joke cost the party seats — including that candidate’s.

The major potentially vote-shifting news Monday was Netanyahu’s pledge to oppose establishment of a Palestinian state.

Read more »