Politics

This looks interesting, new lefty blogger might have one by the tail [UPDATED]

Slightly Left of Centre has an interesting tale on his blog:

Slightly Left of Centre can reveal this afternoon that Former Health Minister Tony Ryall, who was thought by many to be a highly respected Minister, was forced to quit by Finance Minister Bill English after it became clear that the much vaunted crown owned entity, Health Benefits Limited (HBL), had become a financial disaster.

Sources have told us that HBL, set up in 2010, is on the brink of financial collapse and that an announcement is due from Mr English in the next day or two. Sources also tell us that this was the real reason behind the surprisingly early end of Mr Ryalls political career.

Media Spokesman for HBL, Steve Fisher would neither confirm nor deny that HBL when quizzed by Slightly Left of Centre.

We wait with baited breath for an announcement from Finance Minister English on what was meant to help “the health sector save millions by combining the purchasing power of DHBs and using this to negotiate single contracts with suppliers.”

Read more »

Never mess with the NRA

NRA-Bumper-Sticker-2

The NRA is simply the best campaigning organisation in the world.

I joined the NRA for two reasons, first because they protect firearms owners, and secondly because I wanted to see how they campaign.

And when I say they are the best I mean it. They recently scored a more than 91% success rate in the mid-term elections in the US.

The biggest winner from the 2014-midterm elections is the NRA, which scored an astounding 91.2 percent win rate, according to the NRA.  Read more »

Government clamping down on wrong sort of bludgers

The other day the DomPost ran a piece on corporate welfare.

I’ve only just now had time to blog about it.

Spongers and parasites the lot of them. While decent Kiwi battlers get stuck in and work hard to earn their keep, this bunch are always on the take for someone else’s tax dollars.

Government programmes are supposed to be there to help the less fortunate – a safety net for the needy. But there are always a few who think they can play the system and take the rest of us for mugs. Millions of dollars goes to waste on these buggers while kids go hungry. It’s a bloody disgrace.

Chalkie reckons it’s time we stopped pussyfooting around with these companies and gave them a short, sharp shock.

You want examples? Chalkie will give you examples.

Chalkie does give examples, loads of them and lots of detail in the piece but below is the conclusion.    Read more »

How about shooting the messenger?

The roadshow is over, the public yawned, and I’ll be that less member registered and voted in this leadership election than the last.

We know this to be true because we haven’t heard a peep out of Tim Barnett about the surge in membership like last time.

Grant Robertson, one of the contenders, has a long rant about why Labour lost the last election, and that it was not policies that cost Labour the election.

Pinning Labour’s poor election result on a couple of policies risks missing the much bigger issues facing the party as it rebuilds.

The roots of Labour’s loss are much deeper than any individual policy that we took to the last election.  For many New Zealanders they did not even get to the stage of thinking about our policy.  They made their minds up that Labour was not presenting as a credible alternative government well before controversy arose about Capital Gains Tax.

Our biggest task is to rebuild confidence that we are a unified Party that stands clearly and authentically for our values. That will be my first priority if I am elected Leader.  We cannot expect New Zealanders to back us to run the country if we give the impression that we are not organised, and confident and proud of who we are.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: AP US President Barack Obama, left, chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, puts a coat on Peng Liyuan, wife of Xi Jinping.

Photo: AP
US President Barack Obama, left, chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, right, puts a coat on Peng Liyuan, wife of Xi Jinping.

Vladimir Putin Cracks On To China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, Censors Go Wild

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Does Robbo Know what he is on about?

The delusional wing of the Labour Party told us that they were going to win the election by having massive amounts of voter contact.

They had 5 times more voter contact than in 2011 and other kinds of interesting metrics that basically meant nothing. The net result of all the extra voter contact was a fall in the polls of 2.5%.

Leadership aspirant Grant Robertson is rabbiting on about more voter contact and better grassroots campaigning.

Volunteers like these are the very lifeblood of Labour’s campaigns. They make the calls, knock on doors, organise volunteers and events, and enable us to run engaged grassroots community campaigns. The 2014 General Election campaign didn’t end in the result we were hoping for, but in campaigning terms it was a huge step up from anything we’ve previously attempted. In my electorate alone, we sent 48,000 pieces of mail, knocked on over 12,000 doors, and held over 50 street meetings. I also witnessed that effort matched in many electorates throughout the country.  Read more »

Did Martyn Martin Bradbury advise the Democrats?

Wrongly Wrongson, the blogger formerly known as Martyn Martin Bradbury, got all his predictions dead wrong in the last NZ general election.

But it seems he has taken his own particular brand of wrong punditry and been moonlighting with the Democrats in the US.

The Washington Examiner looks at some of the left wing shibboleths and Democratic myths that they clung to, which resulted in their defeat in the mid-term elections.

As Democratic losses mounted in Senate races across the country on election night, some liberal commentators clung to the idea that dissatisfied voters were sending a generally anti-incumbent message, and not specifically repudiating Democratic officeholders. But the facts of the election just don’t support that story.

Voters replaced Democratic senators with Republicans in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and likely in Alaska, and appear on track to do so in a runoff next month in Louisiana. At the same time, voters kept Republicans in GOP seats in heavily contested races in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky. That is at least 10, and as many as a dozen, tough races, without a single Republican seat changing hands. Tuesday’s voting was a wave alright — a very anti-Democratic wave.

In addition to demolishing the claim of bipartisan anti-incumbent sentiment, voters also exposed as myths five other ideas dear to the hearts of Democrats in the last few months:

1) The election wouldn’t be a referendum on President Obama. “Barack Obama was on the ballot in 2012 and in 2008,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in late October. “The candidates that are on the ballot are Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress.” Of course, that was true, but Republicans from New Hampshire to Alaska worked tirelessly to put the president figuratively on the ballot. And they succeeded.

Every day on the stump, Republican candidates pressed the point that their Democratic opponents voted for the Obama agenda nearly all the time. “Kay Hagan has voted for President Obama’s failed partisan agenda 95 percent of the time,” said Thom Tillis, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in North Carolina. Mark Pryor “votes with Barack Obama 93 percent of the time,” said Tom Cotton, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in Arkansas. “Mark Udall has voted with [Obama] 99 percent of the time,” said Cory Gardner, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in Colorado.

On Election Day, nearly 60 percent of voters told exit pollsters they were dissatisfied or angry with the Obama administration. In retrospect, there was no more effective campaign strategy for Republicans running in 2014 than to tie an opponent to the president.

Whoopsy…got that dead wrong.  Read more »

Time to say goodbye to local government?

It is fast becoming time raise the prospect that Local Government is an outdated form of bureaucracy and should be dissolved in favour of simple asset management organisations that deal with infrastructure.

Local Government was fine 80 years ago and perhaps it is sufficient to argue that it was fine in the 80’s when typewritten letters were still in use. But as technology has advanced so have the manners in which we behave. Business is now able to remotely operate in all parts of the world with a single head office creating huge efficiencies and savings in cost.

For a country of four million people and five major cities the question has to be asked as to why we have 30 odd local government jurisdictions. All of which are repeating the same processes and tasks albeit rather poorly.

The amalgamation of Auckland has raised the spectre that perhaps Local Government is simply too inefficient and consumed with inward navel gazing whilst dreaming wistfully of utopian paradises. Auckland Council is a dysfunctional and toxic environment that is bloated, heavily in debt and unable to perform its functions and duties.

Rather than labour through the pain of birthing even more of these monstrosities perhaps its time to suggest that we don’t need Local Government at all.

Rather what we need is simple municipal organisations that are responsible for and manage infrastructure. In Auckland Watercare Services is an excellent example of the structure implied. Its responsibility is to manage water and sewerage infrastructure. Pretty easy. Auckland Transport – whilst somewhat confused about what it does, can easily deal with roads and trains and buses.

And one to manage parks.  Read more »

Gracinda? Someone needs to tell them they’re dreamin’

Ok so the name that they’ve come up with for a gay man and childless single woman to lead Labour is…”Gracinda”.

I mean seriously?

These people with single page CVs of nothing jobs and a lifetime in the trough are wanting to lead a party called “Labour”…I doubt either of them have ever had a callous on their hands from using a shovel or doing some other sort of “Labour”.

Bryce Edwards is drinking the Koolaid.

The dynamic duo of Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern – now termed ‘Gracinda’ on social media – could well be the Labour Party’s best bet for recovering from its 2014 electoral nadir. The two are probably the most dynamic of the leadership candidates on offer, and have real talent. There will be a strong temptation among the membership to choose their ‘new generation’ message. But there are also some major problems with putting ‘Camp Robertson’ in charge of Labour. While they might have more style than their counterparts, some commentators are pointing to their lack of substance as being a worry for the party’s future.

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Does middle NZ care about any of this Robbo?

On Grant Robertson’s website he claims this:

Demonstrating the values that were instilled in him from an early age, Grant has quickly made an impact as a progressive Labour MP. Among the measures that have earned him plaudits are a successful bill to “Mondayise” public holidays, the promotion of ethical investing by state-controlled funds, and his championing of the living wage. In his time in the Labour caucus he has held a number of portfolio responsibilities, including Economic Development, Employment, Skills and Training, and Associate Arts, Culture, Heritage. Grant was Labour’s deputy leader from December 2011 to September 2013.

So basically Grant has done nothing of any real note.

He has appealed to the liberal elite wankocracy by coming up with gay policies that no one in middle New Zealand cares about.

To cap that all off he used his sponsoring of a bill to filibuster in order to prevent, unsuccessfully, the progress of voluntary student unionism. As David Farrar said at the time:

A number of organisations in New Zealand have enabling legislation such as the Scout Association. Another example is the Royal Society of New Zealand – they needed their 1997 legislation updated to incorporate the humanities in their objects and make some governance changes.

Only an MP can introduce a bill into Parliament so a private body needs to find an MP to agree to promote their bill and steer it through the House. They will often ask the local MP, but it can be any MP. And if the MP agrees, they have basically a duty of care to that organisation to use their best efforts to get that law changed. This is normally very easy, as these changes are rarely controversial.

The Royal Society of New Zealand Amendment Bill was introduced in September 2010. It should have passed into law in early 2011. but instead it remains stuck on committee stage and now can not pass before the election.   Read more »