Matthew Hooton

Hooton calls out Peters on foreign land ownership

Matthew Hooton calls out Winston Peters on foreign land ownership and his past record in this regard, especially his claims that restriction on foreign ownership of residential land has ALWAYS been a bottom line for NZ First.

Homeowners, farmers and property investors should heavily discount Winston Peters’ statement yesterday that stopping sales of residential properties and farms to foreigners will be and has always been a bottom line for NZ First.

He has no intention of implementing such a policy and nor has he ever done.

Anyone who owns or is thinking of owning property in New Zealand should take time to understand his record and his political imperatives as outlined below.

Twice in recent history, in 1996 and 2005, Mr Peters has held the balance of power and had the ability to choose the prime minister. In neither case did he make foreign ownership of residential properties or farms anything like a bottom line.

Check out his 1996 coalition deal with Jim Bolger: There are no new restrictions on sales of residential properties to non-residents.  The changes to the rules for farmland do not restrict ownership only to residents but allow purchases by others who “will make a material contribution to the local or New Zealand economy.  Read more »

Hooton on Labour’s version of crony capitalism

Corporate shill Matthew Hooton calls out David Cunliffe for his own version of crony capitalism.

The most disappointing aspect of John Key’s government is its tendency toward crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

Most passionately debated were the tax breaks and employment law changes for the movie industry after lobbying from Sir Peter Jackson andWarner Bros.

The SkyCity deal involved the government foregoing future revenues from casino relicensing to get a Convention Centre at no immediate cost.

The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, with annual revenues of over $1 billion, was given a one-off handout of $30 million, an amount which cannot materially improve its viability.

The government tried to keep prices for broadband and landlines artificially high to subsidise Chorus.

These are the best-known examples but seldom does a week go by without Steven Joyce announcing a new handout to some chosen sector or firm.

I don’t subscribe to subsidies, but politicians love the pork.

In his first party conference speech as leader, Mr Cunliffe launched a fearsome assault on National for “tilt[ing] the playing field even further” towards its “mates.”

“[National]’s Hall of Shame,” Mr Cunliffe boomed, “involves those shabby deals with Warner Brothers, Sky City, Rio Tinto and Chorus.”

Quite accurately, Mr Cunliffe reported businesspeople telling him they wanted no part of it. “They want a level playing field that’s fair and transparent, not one set of rules for National’s mates and another for everyone else,” he said.

It was a superb issue for Labour because it unifies everyone from the anti-business far left to the New Zealand Initiative, the resurrected Business Roundtable.

Now Labour has gone and blown it.  Read more »

Not believing the hype, sorry

Matthew Hooton reckons Shane Jones is about to jump ship to NZ First, or is at least trying to get the sack from Labour.

The former fishing industry bigwig is under no illusion he can become Labour leader. The unions, the Women’s Council and Rainbow Labour all loathe him. On the whole, the feeling is mutual. Just seven out of 34 Labour MPs backed his 2013 leadership bid, including himself. He was supported by a piddling 13.15% of the party membership. Labour doesn’t like Mr Jones and Mr Jones doesn’t like Labour.

Make no mistake though: the differences between Mr Jones and Labour are not merely personality and temperament. Having first flirted with National, Mr Jones is broadly comfortable with the post-1984 economic model, supports free trade, believes welfare is harmful and wants new oil, gas and mining jobs in the regions.

The kaupapa of his leadership bid was to provide an alternative to Grant Robertson’s Wellingtonianism and David Cunliffe’s promised lurch to the left. He simply despises the Greens.

His recent behaviour – highlighting dodgy supermarket procurement, staunch attacks on the Greens, innuendo about Judith Collins and briefings against his senior colleagues – is not therefore a bid for Labour’s leadership post-September.

What he seeks is a pretext to leave or be expelled from Labour altogether.  Read more »

Hooton and Trotter discuss Labour’s poll results with Plunket

Chris Trotter and Matthew Hooton interviewed by Sean Plunket on RadioLive about Labour’s crisis.

Trotter says Labour will lose even more votes.  He is scathing of David Cunliffe’s Leadership.

Read more »

Hooton on Jones and Cunliffe

Matthew Hooton thinks Shane Jones could well be the saviour of the Labour party but first he reviews the woeful performance of the current leader of the Labour party, David Cunliffe.

September 27 is overwhelmingly favoured but rumours persist John Key may opt for August or even July for the general election.

The rationale is to allow plenty of time for coalition negotiations, for a new government to be sworn in and for a properly mandated prime minister to represent New Zealand at the G20 and Apec leaders’ meetings in November.

Whenever the election is held, Labour now risks another disaster.

In just the past seven days, David Cunliffe has admitted he made a fool of himself attacking Mr Key’s lifestyle, been caught laundering campaign donations through a secret trust, been embarrassed by his staff emailing his confidential ICT policy to the government and faced questions over his failure to declare another trust until after his predecessor David Shearer was caught with an undisclosed $50,000+ offshore bank account.

This is on top of his misrepresentation of his baby-bonus policy and the questions over his claimed business, academic and community-service background.

Labour is now lower in the polls than when Mr Shearer resigned, Mr Cunliffe’s personal popularity is worse than his ever was, and there is no evidence the Herne Bay multimillionaire has the skills connecting with the poor and downtrodden in South Auckland that he claimed.

The timing is tight but it is not yet too late for Labour to fix the mistake made by the unions and its membership last September.   Read more »

Fisking David Cunliffe’s RNZ interview, double speak translations provided

David Cunliffe was interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand – Nine to Noon.

The full audio is embedded, but I have listened to the whole interview so you don’t have to.

On Winston Peters:

“I’ve always enjoyed a respectful and positive relationship with Mr Peters.”

Respectful & positive eh?

“What a day, indeed, when Winston Peters decided to present himself as a politician of principle. He is a man who enjoys Opposition so much that he was Labour’s gift to the National Party—a kind of internally targeted Scud missile. As Parliament’s once-mad, perhaps now rather gummy, old dog said earlier today: what did Mr Peters ever stand for anyway? He is full of sound and fury, signifying, sadly, nothing.”

David Cunliffe. Debate on Prime Minsiter’s Statement. 11 Feb 2003. Hansard Volume 606 Page 3267.


“We heard that Winston Peters does not like immigrants, but I guess that makes sense: even though he reckons he is Chinese. He does not like Māori either.”

David Cunliffe. Immigration amendment bill no 2 first reading. 1 July 2003. Hansard Volume 609 Page 6736.

Read more »

Where is Labour’s Plan B?

Corporate whore and shill for bottled water interests, Matthew Hooton, has an NBR column wondering what Labour’s Plan B might be.

Everything is unfolding pretty much as John Key foretold.

During Labour’s leadership roadshow, Mr Key’s aides let it be known the prime minister wanted David Cunliffe to win.

They were being truthful but cynical: they knew Labour activists would suspect a double cross.

In fact, Mr Key’s genuinely believed that, while Grant Robertson and Shane Jones weren’t necessarily stars, they were good enough to put his job at risk. In contrast, Mr Key trusted Mr Cunliffe would inevitably implode.

Aware of the theory, I tried my hand at satire on this page. What nobody could have known, and Mr Key got wrong, is that the implosion is happening earlier than expected.

Labour is leaking like a sieve. Their caucus is demoralised and moribund. They simply won’t be following their leader over the top.

New Zealanders don’t expect their prime ministers to be ordinary Kiwis.

The past five elections have been won by a childless feminist academic whose hobbies were Norwegian cross-country skiing and mountaineering in Africa and South America, and a multi-millionaire money trader who holidays in Hawaii.

Voters do expect, though, that prime ministers will be genuine Kiwis, truthful about who they are. Since 1981, Helen Clark has been an enthusiastic patron of the Mt Albert Rugby League Club without ever pretending to be Ruben Wiki. Mr Key will happily participate in a left-wing thespian event without denying Merrill Lynch.  Read more »

You are being manipulated, and I’ll show you how

Real news is in newspapers, and blogs like these aren’t news.  Apparently.

First, the press release:

A tax on fizzy drinks could save lives and generate millions in revenue for health programmes in New Zealand.

This is according to new research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today and conducted as part of a larger study examining the effects of a range of health-related food taxes and subsidies on population health.

The study is led by the National Institute for Health Innovation at the University of Auckland, in collaboration with the University of Otago, and funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Researchers estimate a 20 per cent tax on fizzy drinks would reduce energy consumption by 0.2 per cent or 20kJ a day and help avert or postpone about 67 deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and diet-related cancers a year.

The health effect of such a tax would likely be greater amongst Maori and Pacific consumers, as they are more responsive to changes in food prices, and amongst children and young people due to their higher consumption of such drinks.

“High sugar intakes are linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease – a strong case can therefore be made for efforts to reduce consumption,” says lead researcher Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu of the National Institute for Health Innovation. <snip>

and so on, and so on.

So, when you are a “reporter” with a gap to fill, what do you do?

First, a dramatic headline!   Read more »

Cunliffe’s truthfulness under siege

Corporate shill Matthew Hooton comments on the growing belief that David Cunliffe at beast talks out of both sides of his mouth and at worst is an inveterate liar.

Unless he lifts his standards, David Cunliffe’s truthfulness risks becoming a major issue.

Politicians are usually believed to lie and often don’t help themselves.

Under questioning in 2011, John Key claimed Standard & Poor’s said a credit downgrade was more likely under Labour. But Standard & Poor’s denied commenting on an individual party. Similarly, Mr Key’s off-the-cuff accounts of how he appointed his spy boss stretch credibility.

However, when it comes to formal speeches and other written documents, politicians usually take extraordinary steps to ensure their truthfulness.

Under Jim Bolger, a staffer would take draft speeches around the Beehive requiring signatures against every sentence.

For Helen Clark, Heather Simpson checked every word personally.

Since then, on only a very few occasions have Mr Key’s staff had to clarify statements he has made at his weekly press conferences. I am unaware of any errors in his formal speeches.

Similarly – despite prĂ©cising thousands of pages of detail – there has never been an error in any of Bill English’s five Budget speeches, nor in Michael Cullen’s nine.

In contrast, David Cunliffe appears unable to accurately represent a fairly straightforward children’s policy in his most high-profile speech of the year, instead struggling with the truth.   Read more »

Cunliffe’s shoe lie now coming out

The omnishambles of David Cunliffe’s state of the nation speech into the 6th straight day and now it is the shoes lie that is being exposed.

When David Cunliffe tried to hit home the message that many Kiwis were struggling this week, he chose a simple, heartbreaking example.

Not only was one in four living below the poverty line ‘‘one in five don’t even have two pairs of shoes to wear to school’’ the Labour leader said in his state of the nation speech in Auckland.

Later in the week Cunliffe was challenged by Prime Minister John Key in Parliament to quote the source of the claim (as had Right wing commentators), but he did not do so.

His office is now ignoring questions on whether he sticks by it, but the foundations are shaky.

Staff confirmed that it was based on the report last year of Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills, which said 17 per cent of children (which is one in six, not one in five) were exposed to ‘‘a range of economising behaviours’’.

These included having at least two pairs of shoes in good repair, but could also mean parents cut back on fresh fruit, limit heating or avoid going to the doctor to save cash.

So Cunliffe and his staff lied again…but it is worse than that, they are conflating results.  Read more »