Politics

Four terms or Five?

David Farrar didn’t believe that National could entertain winning four terms, but the scale of the defeat of the left has forced him to re-evaluate this thinking.

I had even mentally drafted a blog post intended for the day after the election, in case of a National victory, in which somewhat somberly I would have stated that while it is great National got a third term, MPs should realise that this is probably their last term in Government. The post would have been about how they need to secure the policy gains of the last six years, so as many of them as possible can’t be reversed, and also how if they can go into opposition with a relatively solid vote, then maybe there will be just two terms in opposition.

The nature of the election result has changed that. A fourth, or even a fifth term, is now a very credible possibility. I’m not saying a probability, but definitely a credible possibility. Here’s why:

  1. National’s 48% is the sort of result you get in your first term, not your last term
  2. The left vote totalled just 36%, and they need to grow this by 12% if they want to be able to govern, without being dependent on what Winston may decide
  3. The Conservatives could well make 5% in 2017, giving National an extra buffer
  4. John Key is now very likely to contest the 2017 election. Previously I would have said it was 60/40 at best.
  5. Labour’s leadership battle is turning off the public, and may leave the party divided and wrecked

I thought like Farrar.

If National won it was likely to be a narrow victory, with few partners and  the left on the rise I though John Key would jack it in and go out as a winning PM rather than risk being turfed out. Now I am certain that the next election is a certain victory for National, perhaps with some support partners. John Key will now look to best Keith Holyoake’s record and win a fourth term and cement his place in history. Holyoake served just under 12 years as PM therefore the winning of a fourth term means that John Key would easily pass that record. Key is now fast approaching the records of Helen Clark (8 years, 350 days ),Edward Stafford (8 years, 326 days), Robert Muldoon (8 years, 227 days ), Sid Holland (7 years, 281 days), Joseph Ward (7 years, 38 days), and Jim Bolger (7 years, 36 days), which will all fall this term.  Read more »

Good governance and the Labour Party – an oxymoron or a chance for their future

A guest post by Frances Denz.


 

Good Governance practice was initially developed in 1844 by Erskine May for the British Parliament and a bit later  in 1874 was adapted by Roberts in the US for their Government structures.  Since then “Roberts Rules” have become the model for governance both of parliamentary systems and for businesses.  These rules have been adapted over time by the Foundation formed by Roberts supporters.

A key rule of governance is who do the directors represent?  They represent the business or organisation.  Their job, as stewards, is to ensure that the organisation is governed for its own good.  Not for the shareholders, other stakeholders or the community as a whole.

Now this is really interesting in the governance of political parties and of Parliament themselves.

The Prime Minister and his Cabinet have stewardship over the whole country.  Not the Party: not sector interests: not their mates.  A political party has stewardship over the Party as a whole, not the country.  So where does that leave the Opposition? I submit that they are responsible to the country, as is the Governing party.  But the problem with the Labour Party is that their method of nominating their leader is by the sector interests having a vote – for their own interests.  And the Leader has been, by default, the Leader of the Party as well as the Leader  of the Political wing.  Two different roles. (and then you have the Leader of the House, just to complicate matters!)    Read more »

Guest Post – Thoughts on Labour

A reader and new commenter emails:

Dear Team,

I posted my first comment recently after a long time reading and enjoying the blog (as ‘Reasoned and Rational’). Slowly getting drawn into the vortex ;-)

Some time ago I seem to recall an article which indicated that submissions from readers might be considered if of a suitable standard. I wonder if you’d read through my thoughts below and consider if it meets that standard? If so, please feel free to use it at some time when you have space. If you choose not to, no worries, it’s been fun getting it down in writing.

Best regards,

Reasoned and Rational


I grew up in home with a photo of Michael Joseph Savage on the mantel above the fireplace. My Dad was a working man, and the party ‘we’ supported looked after the interests of the workers, ensured a fair deal from ‘the bosses’, was interested monitoring the terms and conditions of employment, and made sure that there was a safety net in the form of social welfare if something went wrong. Social welfare was to catch you if you fell, and support you until you were back on your feet again. You took personal responsibility for finding work and getting back into it as quickly as possible if circumstances changed.

In the house I grew up in there was a pride in working. My Dad was very unhappy when once I mentioned University as an idea. “That’s just for those that can’t work, boffins and the sons of the bosses” I recall him saying. That certainly didn’t mean that education wasn’t valued, and teachers were respected as providing the route to a better job for me than he’d managed.

Times were different. Unemployment was low. Rob Muldoon once half joked he knew all 70 odd registered unemployed by name. Yes, there were only 70! When I got my first job upon leaving school I was employed not because I was the best man for the job, but for the simple reason I was the only one to reply to the ad.

It was easy to change jobs. Give the boss the two fingered salute on a Friday night, read the ‘Sits Vac’ in Saturday’s Herald and there was a good chance by Tuesday or Wednesday you were starting a new gig. Management trainee jobs were good to get all round experience and were plentiful at the time and amongst many other things I got experience at the Otahuhu freezing works with Hellabys and a timber yard with Henderson and Pollard.

My first five elections were all votes cast for Labour, as much out of habit and conditioning as anything else. I was more interested in what was happening on Saturday night than the long term future of the country.

By the end of that fifth election though, I was out the other end of an apprenticeship, married and watching the sense of disbelief and betrayal that the Lange/Douglas Labour government wrought on my father. He never cast another vote for Labour as long as he lived. He could never vote National so he became one of Winston’s supporters.     Read more »

National 2002 vs Labour 2014

A reader asks:

It would be helpful to hear an explanation as to why the Labour situation is so different from the National Bill English situation. Is it that National, even though getting such a low result in that election, still had numerous highly qualified up and coming talent? That the election was a burn off allowing greater growth rather than in this case which seems to be more of a spilling of weed killer which just keeps spreading? A compare and contrast exposition would be great (if it hasn’t already been done).

Regular readers will know that I was calling this election months ago as a redux of 2002.

What were the indicators that allowed me to make that prediction?

Well there were numerous, many of them anecdotal, but having experienced 2002 I was able to draw inference from those anecdotal items.

Dis-satisfaction with leadership, moribund poll ratings, no cut through on policy even when it was good, an abundance of policy papers, poor team work, then as the election campaign got going the slow slide in poll ratings leading to the sudden crash at the end.

It was almost identical.

BillEnglish’s Wikipedia page has a sanitised but honest appraisal of what went on between 2001 and 2003,

In October 2001, dissatisfaction with party leader Jenny Shipley had failed to abate, and English secured the backing of a majority of National Party MPs. English replaced Shipley as head of the National Party and thus as Leader of the Opposition.

However, English failed to improve the party’s performance. In the 2002 elections, National suffered its worst electoral defeat ever, gaining barely more than twenty percent of the vote. Both party insiders and the general public were split as to how much to blame English for this loss, but most of the party believed that English would be able to rebuild National’s support.

By late 2003, however, National’s performance in opinion polls remained poor. The party had briefly increased its popularity in the year following the election, but by October its support had fallen to levels only slightly better than what it achieved in the last ballot. English also appeared in a boxing match for a charity against entertainer Ted Clarke. This “stunt” did not boost his polling or that of the National party either, with suggestions that it devalued his image as a serious politician. Don Brash, former governor of the Reserve Bank and a relative newcomer to politics, began to build up support to replace English. On 28 October, Brash gained sufficient backing in Caucus to replace English as leader

Where this gets interesting though is the aftermath and that is what the commenter is asking about.   Read more »

Is NZ ready for a Gay Prime Minister?

The elephant in the room of the Labour leadership battle is whether or not Grant Robertson can actually become Prime Minister because he is gay.

Personally I think who Grant sleeps with shouldn’t be a factor in whether he becomes Prime Minister.

But that is not what is being said in places that are more conservative than classical liberal. Like South Auckland…and the five seats where Labour actually won the party vote.

In order to really find out though Labour should get their version of Pinko Farrar to sort out some research that says one way or another whether New Zealand will vote for a poofter.

And while they are at it they should research into whether a double chinned, cardy wearing, civil servant from the set of Gliding On can become prime minister.

Another question would be whether or not anyone wants to have a beer with Grant. It looks like Alf is comfortable drinking beer with Grant, but there is Grant with a takeaway trim latte.

There are just a couple of rules for politicians to make leader.

You have to pass the blink test…and you have to be the sort of bloke people want to have a beer with.

I doubt that Grant Robertson has either of those qualities.

Gareth Morgan contemplates a true BlueGreen party

People like me should be Green party supporters.

I enjoy the bush, rivers, and oceans. My hobbies involve the environment…fishing, hunting, camping, tramping, kayaking and swimming. We are all a bit green, in that we all want clean rivers, oceans, air bush and mountains.

We aren’t Green party supporters because simply put their socialist, or should I say communist, roots just scare the pants off most people.

For most of the election cycle the Greens bleat on about socialist issues, and for 6 weeks of the years present themselves as caring environmentalists. The problem they have is most people just see the mentalist part.

If the Greens were smart they’d abandon their socialism, focus on the environment and come to a governing arrangement with John Key. He’d entertain it for sure.

Gareth Morgan, who I rarely agree with (except on cats), takes this one step further. He thinks there should be a BlueGreen party.

The election hasn’t provided answers for people concerned to keep the Kiwi way of life – including those who voted National. On socio-economic issues National is most deserving, but on environmental issues it most definitely has not made the grade. With its intended RMA reforms, National threatens to propel NZ even further toward environmentally-degrading economic growth rather than the ideal of strong economic growth in harmony with environmental protection.

Labour’s ongoing slide confirms that in the voters’ minds at least, its offerings have become less and less relevant to the needs and aspirations of modern day New Zealand. But for me, the most frustrating aspect of the election result is the entrenched inability of the Green Party to grasp that the environmental message is something that appeals to middle-of-the-road New Zealanders, not just Lefties.

Sadly the Green Party’s policies for environmental sustainability have always come with a nasty fishhook – the out-dated edict that social justice can only be achieved by rehashed socialism. This has rendered the Green Party a real melon to mainstream New Zealand – a watermelon to be precise, far too red on the inside for middle New Zealand to stomach.   Read more »

The Huddle at 1740

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The Huddle is back tonight, with Josie Pagani and me on Larry Williams’ show.

Our single topic is the election.

Should be fun.

You can listen online or through usual methods.

I will post the audio tomorrow morning.

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A leadership spill is not Cunliffe’s call to make

David Cunliffe thinks he can orchestrate the process to initiate a leadership ballot and primary race.

He is wrong.

For someone who has a lawyer for a missus it is somewhat strange that he has taken a postured approach to saving his doomed leadership.

Labour’s leadership is governed by an appendix in the constitution. This is the relevant section.

Election of the Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party – the Leader must be a Member of Parliament; an election for the position of Leader is triggered if there is a vacancy, or if requested by a simple majority of Caucus (at any time), or if the Leader fails to obtain the support of 60% plus 1 of the Caucus membership in a vote held within three months after a General Election.

What this means is Cunliffe has no choice but to put the leadership up for a contest unless he can get 60%+1 to vote for him. That vote will be taken when caucus says it will be taken and not on the timetable of a losing leader.   Read more »

Paid to Win – Simon Lusk’s Guide to Campaigning

Simon Lusk is one of the few full time campaigners in New Zealand who also wins. He is releasing a campaign book chapter by chapter on Amazon.

The first chapter is Start with a Good Candidate….a good chapter for the Labour party to start with.

Paid to Win: A Campaign Professional’s Guide to Winning New Zealand Campaigns

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Patrick Gower on the election

When Patrick Gower isn’t taking stories from me, he is taking stolen materials from hackers.

But today he writes in the Herald on Sunday about the election.

Try to make sense of this: it looks like John Key can’t lose an election that he can’t win.

Yes, Key in an unloseable position in an unwinnable race.

The polls show the left can’t win – they can’t get the numbers together to get a feasible majority no matter what.

The right can get the numbers together to win – but not without some serious compromises. It looks as if it’s not a matter of whether Key wins, but more how he wins.

For several years now the opposition have mocked John Key, along with the pundits like Gower, claiming he didn’t have support partners.

Now it looks like National has plenty of support partners…so many that National may be able to form a government easily with at least 60% of the vote.

Things aren’t so flash on the other side.

Let’s start with the death throes of the left.

The Greens’ tricky, cynical and reheated claim they could work with National was probably the final gasp of the left bloc this week.

It was just Greenwash, really: Russel Norman and Metiria Turei hate Key and everything he stands for, and have spent the past three years bashing National.