Matthew Hooton

Hooton on Act

Matthew Hooton in the NBR explores what Act must do to climb back into relevance.

John Key’s government has become as addicted to interventionism as Muldoon’s, as bad as Helen Clark’s and should be kicked out. But a Labour-Green nightmare is unthinkable.

The most likely alternative to the current near-monopoly National regime is a coalition with NZ First but, for the intrinsically linked sins of interventionism and venality, that would be even worse. It’s therefore vital Act re-emerges as a serious small player rather than a one-seat National plaything.

Act’s rump is very aware of just how dreadful the government it supports has become but also its lack of leverage. Epsom MP David Seymour is forced to vote for corporate welfare and poll-driven electoral bribes that are anathema to his values but he knows he has no choice while he remains its sole MP and his party’s poll ratings below 5%.

This is no criticism of Mr Seymour: after one disaster following another, Act has ended up quite by accident with a leader well suited to relaunching the party. At just 32, Mr Seymour is the first genuinely Gen X party leader on the right, and second only to Greens’ Metiria Turei across the wider spectrum.

He has been a believer in free-market economics and social liberalism all his life and has never flirted with other parties.

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Judith Collins: time for a serious discussion about euthanasia

Judith Collins has a column  in the Sunday Star-Times that has made it to online.

She says it is now time for a serious debate on euthanasia.

My dad died 20 years ago from cancer.  He’d kept working on the farm until he was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer about three weeks before he died, just short of his 76th birthday.

As soon as he was diagnosed with cancer, which his oncologist thought he’d had for years, he started saying goodbye. Every day, Dad dressed to receive his visitors as his surviving mates from the RSA came to say goodbye.

He made out that he’d finally given up smoking – he hadn’t.  What was the point?

He conducted himself with all the dignity and courage I would expect.  I hope to do the same one day.  He made his death relatively easy for us.

Three weeks after his diagnosis, Dad’s body started to close down.  He collapsed at home and was taken by ambulance to hospital.  I’m told by one of my family that on arrival, Dad asked for morphine.  He was asked if he had pain.  He said, he just wanted morphine. We, his children, stayed with Dad.  The hospital gave him morphine.  He got more and more as the day and the night went on. He asked for it and the next day he died.

He’d seen a lot of death during World War II.  He wasn’t afraid of it but he would have hated losing his dignity. He died with his mind intact.

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Fat Tony on Northland

Mike Williams aka Fat Tony has a column in the Hawkes Bay Today about Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle.

MAKE no mistake, the outcome of the Northland byelection last Saturday is a political boilover of seismic proportions.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters won one of the National Party’s safest seats with an election night majority of more than 4000 votes, erasing a National Party majority of over 9000 votes in the general election just a few months before. Winston Peters’ final majority is likely to increase when the nearly 1000 newly-enrolled special votes get included in the total.

This 13,000 vote turnaround is unprecedented in our political history, but it is the internal dynamics of Peters’ triumph that should give Prime Minister John Key and National Party campaign manager Stephen Joyce pause for very serious reflection.

Apart from a governing party losing a safe seat, two statistics set this contest apart from any previous byelection. About half of the voters chose to cast their ballot before election day and the level of participation was huge.

The early voting phenomenon is unprecedented, and it exceeds a trend in recent polls.

The turnout level is a genuine abnormality. It has been a rule of thumb for years that byelection turnout levels are half of the previous general poll. The Christchurch East byelection saw 13,000 electors vote compared with the 28,000 who had voted in the previous general election.

This is the established pattern.

Northland broke that mould. With 28,000 voting in the byelection, this wasn’t much short of the 34,000 that voted in the general election five months before.

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Matthew Hooton on Northland’s bridges too far

Matthew Hooton looks behind the decision on the Northland bridges.

It is not in Mr Bridges’ political DNA to stick his fingers into the taxpayers’ pockets to snatch $69 million to bribe voters during a by-election. Nor does his experience outplaying Mr Peters in Tauranga suggest it would be a good idea.

Make no mistake: this was another Steven Joyce special, after polls indicated a likely defeat on March 28, prompting the economic development czar to take leave of his ministerial responsibilities and personal control of National’s Northland campaign.

Of Mr Joyce’s 10 new bridges, seven were not even mentioned by the Northland Regional Council in its recent Regional Land Transport Plan 2015-2021. No cost-benefit analysis in favour of the pro­jects has been released because none has been carried out. The announcement of the expenditure of $69 million of public funds was not even made by a minister but by National’s by-election candi­date, Mark Osborne, most recently a mid-level bureaucrat at the Far North District Council.

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Hooton: Andrew Little sides with terrorists

Matthew Hooton points out the obvious…that Andrew Little has sided himself and Labour with head-hacking terrorists.

As Mr Minto and his comrades argued at the time, it would not do to claim apartheid-era South Africa was a long way away, that what happened there didn’t affect us and that it would be dangerous to put oneself in harm’s way against the Red Squad.  They argued that to go to a game was to tacitly support the South African regime even if one claimed to oppose apartheid.  For those young enough, fit enough and brave enough (like Mr Minto and Murray McCully, now John Key’s foreign minister) it was seen as an important withdrawal of consent to be bloodied by Ross Meurant’s PR24s.

For his efforts, Mr Minto was labelled a “principled fanatic” by the SIS. With his background as a bland, middle-of-the-road union bureaucrat, no one will ever use that noun to describe Andrew Little. And now, after his despicable conduct over the training mission to Iraq, no one will ever use the adjective to describe him either.

Under Mr Minto’s formula, it is not enough for the Labour leader to say ISIS is evil but a long way away, nothing to do with us and too dangerous to oppose anyway.  His failure to support even the minimal contribution Mr Key has authorised – falling well short of what the Iraqi government sought – is to tacitly support religious barbarians so extreme that even Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from them.  Were he a Michael Joseph Savage, a Peter Fraser or even a Helen Clark, instead of bleating that Mr Key’s decision might put New Zealanders at risk, he would instead be attacking the prime minister’s minimalist response as cowardice.

Mr Little had a choice to stand beside Mr Key or Mohammed Emwazi, Jihadi John.  He chose the latter.

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Hooton asks “Where is Colin Craig?”

Matthew Hooton in his NBR column asks where is Colin Craig?

The country’s going to hell in a handbasket.

Prime Minister John Key has again been photographed being kissed by drag queens.

Police commissioner Mike Bush has allowed uniformed officers to march in the annual Pride parade.

Same-sex marriage continues with gay abandon.

Schools are teaching students as young as five the correct names of body parts and what kinds of personal interaction is allowed and not allowed, rather than leaving them to work it out in the playground as they did in the good old days.

Parents are still not allowed to smack their kids.

God is displeased, sending drought to the South Island and plague to Auckland’s Sodom and Gomorrah, Grey Lynn.

The conditions are ripe for a conservative backlash.  So where is Colin Craig?

If Matthew Hooton is asking that question it shows how out of the political loop he is these days.

From May 2012, Mr Craig invested an enormous amount of time and at least $3,354,600 in his Conservative Party.  For his efforts, the party scored a credible 95,598 party votes last year, 3.97% of the total.  It was up on the 59,237 votes the party won in its first outing 2011, 2.65% of those cast.

Like all party leaders, Mr Craig had a rough time through the election campaign.  He was mocked mercilessly by the liberal establishment, who considered him a greater threat than he turned out to be. His own party plastered an unflattering mug shot of him on hoardings across the country.  Worst of all, his press secretary resigned mysteriously two days before the election, slamming him as  “manipulative.” Mr Craig denied any “unchristian” or “untoward” behaviour.

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It’s called democracy Kim

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Failed Puppet master Kim Dotcom is trying to say that our democratically elected government is not making the tough decisions with the mandate of the voters but is controlled by America. Obviously our attacks on The Internet Party still smart as back then we said he was the puppet master both funding and controlling Laila Harre and Hone Harawira.

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The “C” word

Yesterday I wrote about the Key/Joyce/Eagleson/SkyCity debacle.  I ended the article with

werwerwe

Turns out that corporate shill Matthew Hooton is quite happy to use the C word today

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The origins of this fiasco lie in the close private relationship established between John Key and SkyCity in the mid 2000s.  When he became prime minister, Mr Key surprised many when he appointed himself minister of tourism but it was old news to SkyCity. Its executives had advised business partners well before election day that things were looking up because Mr Key had “agreed” to become tourism minister. Read more »

I’ve got bad news for Bryce Edwards

Bryce Edwards must have hit the crack pipe before writing his last woeful column of the year.

Apparently National had a horror year…or so the headline screams.

Yes, John Key’s National Government won a spectacular third term victory. And yesterday the Herald gave the reasons that National can be positive about its achievements – see the editorial, Govt comes out on top in colourful year.

And nearly every political journalist has awarded John Key the title of Politician of the Year – see, for example, Patrick Gower’s Politician of the Year.

But, it was still an incredibly torrid year for National, and even the PM pointed to the election campaign as one of his low moments of the year – see TV3’s Key found campaign ‘a low-light’ for 2014.

Tracy Watkins also stresses that it’s been a terrible year for the National Government: ‘His government was assaulted on every front with scandal, trouble and controversy. Ministers resigned, his coalition allies ended the year diminished, and he ended the year looking evasive and tarnished by his links to dirty tricks and shock jock blogger WhaleOil’ – see: One clear winner, plenty of dashed hopes.

Not only did the election campaign take its toll, but as I pointed out recently in another column, The downfall of John Key, the challenges and allegations of Dirty Politics were really starting to bite after the election. See also, A year of (neverending) Dirty Politics.

Even Matthew Hooton thinks the Government has suffered, especially since their election victory, and he details National’s incredibly arrogant behaviour since the election, pointing to the main offenders: John Key, Christopher Finlayson, and Gerry Brownlee – see: For John Key: summer of reflection please (paywalled).

Likewise, Duncan Garner says that although Key deserves to be the ‘politician of the year’, ‘The first few months of the new regime have been largely underwhelming. Not telling the truth about his contact with attack blogger WhaleOil hurt the prime minister. It was a royal stuff-up and he admits this privately’ – see: Key my politician of the year, but now for the third-term blues. Garner believes the Key’s reputation is on the decline: ‘It’s happening for Key, slowly. His jokes don’t seem as funny. He looks more haunted and hunted these days’.

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Boag snatch to fund Sky City blowout?

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There’s a new candidate for who is paying Michelle “The BoaganBoag and her offsider Cedric “Senile” Allan for their campaign to snatch $2.1 billion in Vector shares from the people of Auckland and South Auckland to give to Lyin’ Len Brown’s council.

Whaleoil still doesn’t quite believe it but its overloading the tipline so here goes: The theory is it’s SkyCity casino. Here’s why it could be true.

Since Friday SkyCity has been saying it needs another $130 million from the government to build its new National Convention Centre. Or else it’ll pull out of the deal. The government has to make the SkyCity deal work because all the rest of its convention centre plan is falling apart.

Steven Joyce seems to be saying he’ll open up some of his trough but not for the full $130 million and wants Auckland ratepayers to front up with the rest.  

In a world first, everyone from Lyin’ Len to Dick Quax have lined up and told Joyce to shove it. (The one exception is Cameron “Mr Fiscal Responsibility” Brewer who sounds like he’s had too many nights in the SkyCity corporate box.) Read more »