Back to Zero Mr Little


By going to a hug fest with Canada’s Trudeau, Andrew Little managed to edge closer to breaking the 21 day “no ballsup” record.  Earlier this week we reset it to zero as he decided to ignore the advice of one of our most effective and successful Labour Prime ministers ever.   Read more »

Cunning, cunning Winston

Winston Peters knows that people dislike MMP. He also knows that they generally dislike MPs….except him of course.

That makes his latest suggestion to cut costs of parliament a very cunning move.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has come up with a cost-saving solution to Parliament’s looming space problem: cut the number of MPs to 100 instead of spending millions on a new office block.

Parliament’s Speaker David Carter has proposed building a new office block on Parliament’s grounds to house MPs and staff after the lease on Bowen House ends at the end of 2018.    Read more »

Labour’s electoral self-interest bill defeated

Labour’s self-interest bill wanting to lower the threshold under MMP from 5% to 4% has been defeated. The same bill wanted to remove the coat-tailing provision as well in a shameless bid to spike National despite one of the MPs targeted under their bill having joined with Labour themselves, and David Cunliffe trying to use the same provision to cut a deal with Internet Mana at the last election.

Parliament has voted down a bid to close the loophole that allows MPs to enter Parliament on the coat tail of someone who wins an electorate seat.

A bill promoted by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway would have implemented the recommendations of the Electoral Commission following a review which called for the removal of the single electoral seat threshold and a corresponding reduction in the party vote threshold from 5 per cent to 4 per cent. Lowering the party vote threshold would make it easier for smaller parties to win seats in Parliament because they would only need to win 4 per cent of the vote, not 5 per cent, the current threshold.

Imagine if Colin Craig and his cultists had been elected…any government supported by him and his disciples would now be in dreadful trouble.

The coat tailing rule is seen as unfair because it means parties that win only a small number of votes can still get a number of MPs in Parliament so long as they win an electorate seat.  It also can allow larger parties to do deals that would help smaller parties into Parliament, which happened with ACT and National in the Epsom seat in Auckland. In 2008 ACT won just 3.6 per cent of the vote after then-leader Rodney Hide won Epsom, in contrast with NZ First which got voted out of Parliament with 4.1 per cent of the vote.   Read more »

Has MMP trapped Labour and the Greens?

Has MMP trapped Labour and the Greens?

Rob Hosking at the NBR seems to think the very system that Labour supporters believes benefits them has in fact cornered them and doomed them to opposition.

MMP, a political system vigorously promoted by New Zealand’s poltical Left, is playing a big part in the Left’s political failings.

It is one of the ironies of the current political scene that National seems to be moving into the kind of long-term government best demonstrated by Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, which has been in government most terms the past 50 years.

National will, I doubt, match that. But New Zealand’s status quo party has adapted to an electoral system that entrenches the status quo, while the radicals who urged that status quo system on New Zealanders are left grasping emptily at political impotence.

How very perspicacious. Although Jim Bolger was the idiot who proposed a referendum on our voting system it was the left wing who embraced MMP. All the pro-MMP lobby groups have largely been left-wingers…and it was Labour and the Greens who lobbied the hardest to retain the system.

MMP gave the radical Left opponents of the 1984-92 economic reforms a seat in Parliament, but also ensured they couldn’t actually do very much to overturn those reforms.

What MMP did was entrench the policy settings of 1996. That did not mean those cannot be changed, ever, it just made it much harder to do so.

If you strip away the looney left of Labour and the single interest groups you are left with conservative style politicians, with a good dose of pragmatism…they also tend to be sensible blokes, like Stuart Nash and Kelvin Davis. They would be happy in a John Key National government and actually move it to the right a bit.

The problem Labour and the Greens have is that they think the battle they are fighting still need fighting when the reality is they were either won or lost some time ago. Conservatism, which is what Rob Hosking is talking about is in the ascendency…and the loonies of the extremes are slowly being sidelined by MMP that rewards conservatism and the middle and penalises the extreme.




NZ First to decide if they will add a scum list MP to parliament

Of course they will.

It’s expected New Zealand First will today finally make a decision on which new MP to bring into Parliament.

Winston Peters still hasn’t resigned his list seat after winning the Northland by-election, but the is party board meeting today, and is expected to make a move.

Next of the New Zealand First list is Ria Bond, a former hairdresser who’s currently working as a parliamentary staffer.

She’s the obvious choice for New Zealand First to bring in, but could choose to decline, or be pressured to stand aside if the party has someone else in mind.

No one from the party will front to confirm if she’s in the running for the spot.

The alliance some were hoping for between Labour and New Zealand First doesn’t look to have come into fruition, with still no meeting between the party leaders since the Northland by-election.

Winston Peters upset the balance of power in parliament when he claimed the seat.

We find new methods to test MMP in ways that were never anticipated originally.

In hindsight, I think an MP should not be able to run for parliament while already an MP.   That means you have to resign before you run again.  This is what happens before an election for example.

It’s a little moot now, but would Winston have taken the risk of losing his list seat?   He was in a no-lose situation.  Either he got an electorate seat or he could go back to his old job.

Can you be an electorate and list MP?  Logically no.  But somehow Winston winning Northland hasn’t automatically triggered his resignation as a list MP, and therefore automatically triggered the next on the NZ First list to come into parliament.

Especially with the Internet/Mana party debacle still fresh in our memories, and not this dog and pony show, it may just be time to put MMP through a review.

It would make more sense than changing a flag.

Winston, again, gets to keep the country on a knife edge on his time table as he decides what to do.   The rules should say what to do.  We should not be in a position where we have to make it up as we go along.


– Frances Cook, Newstalk ZB


ACT: How the Northland By-election Could End in Court

There has never before been a situation where a list MP has won a by-election, and thus become a constituency MP. The Electoral Act is not clear on what happens in this situation.   The courts may have to interpret electoral law in an unprecedented situation.  We could expect a legal challenge.  Ironically, if Rt Hon. Winston Peters did win in Northland, the Māori Party and United Future are likely to have a substantial increase in political leverage.  Who knows what is going through the minds of voters, but our guess is that most who might be considering voting for Peters are not intending to increase the power of the Māori Party.  To understand this, we need to consider some possible outcomes.

Scenario 1: National Wins (Nat 60 ACT 1 =61/121)
National winning is still the most likely scenario.  It is predicted at 55 per cent by iPredict. Betting markets draw on deeper insights than polls taken before the National candidate was known.  National is mobilising formidable resources for the by-election, but the voters have to like the candidate.

Scenario 2: ACT Wins (Nat 59 ACT 2 =61/121)
National’s candidate is not exactly a young John F Kennedy.  We hope we are wrong and that the candidate’s steady improvement throughout the debate on TV3’s The Nation is indicative.  Perhaps the Prime Minister will have to endorse Robin Grieve, an experienced campaigner, as the only candidate who can save the right.  Stranger things have happened.

Scenario 3: Labour Wins (Nat 59 ACT 1 UF 1 Mao 2 =63/121)
Willow-Jean Prime is competent and knows how to deliver a political message.  Very long odds, but David Seymour, who went to primary school in Whangarei, would love to hear that Northland accent in parliament, Mishta Schpeaker.  This scenario means National require either the Maori Party, or both United Future and ACT, to pass legislation – a big win for the Maori Party and UF. Read more »


Shane Taurima asks Maori Party a devastating question

You remember Shane.  He was the one running the Labour Party campaign from his TVNZ office.  Well, the Maori Party asked him to speak at their conference.  Where he said this

Mr Taurima spoke as part of a panel at the Maori Party AGM today, telling them they had to face up to their worst election result ever. “It is the worst result you have seen.”

He said he was not advocating doing deals “but it something you must consider.”

“I know as soon as we start talking deals things get a bit tetchy – but you need to have it on the table because things could turned out quite differently.”

He said the Maori Party also had to ask why it was that Maori voters went back to Labour – while other voters had deserted Labour in droves.

For all intent and purposes, the Maori party was annihilated except for the personal mana of one man.  And in fact, the Maori Party has always existed on the personal mana of its MPs rather than coherent policy framework and positioning.   Read more »

The MMP election bribe rort: a reader explains

I love some of the good writing that’s coming in via the Tipline of late.  I’d like to share this one with you

Hi Cam

I just listened to Norman on the radio talking about post-election deal making, and my blood began to boil. Labour and the Greens are using MMP as a shield behind which to hide their true intentions, and they ought to be called on it by interviewers.

In this campaign we all know that you cannot have Labour without the Greens, or the Greens without Labour. Why not tell us what they will collectively do so that we actually know the choice we are being asked to make: Nation v Labour/Green?

Labour can promise to do A, B, and C, and pretend to cost it as funded. The Greens can promise D, E, and F, and pretend to cost it as funded. They then get to attract to the left voters who like any of A through F. But they both know they are never going to do it all. It is not much different to misleading advertising.

They say they cannot put their heads together and decide what they would collectively do until they know how many votes they each get. Rubbish. What difference does it make if Labour are 2:1 v the Greens or if they are 4:3 or 5:3 – who cares. They need each other and that is all that matters – as Al Bundy would have it, you can’t have one without the other. Read more »

National’s list released

National has released their list this morning.

Nikki Kaye has gone up to reflect her undeserved cabinet position, Maurice Williamson slides down because he is no longer a minister but he will win his seat in any case.

Of note are numbers 48 (Parmjeet Parma) and 53 (Misa Fia Turner) both ethnic and women in winnable list spots. Simeon Brown at 64 could possibly get there on current polling.

New Wellington based candidates like Chris Bishop have also done reasonably well – recognising that National were under-represented in Wellington. Bishop should make it in on the list but may yet unseat Trevor Mallard in Hutt South.

Overall this is a renewal list, with a potential of 17 new MPs, placing National well ahead in Labour int eh renewal stakes, and positioning the party well for the future. Labour are yet to go through this renewal process and are at least two cycles late.

National mixes experience and new talent in 2014 list

The National Party list for the 2014 election brings together a strong mix of both experienced political leaders and fresh new talent, says National Party President Peter Goodfellow.

“Our 2014 list shows the benefit of our ongoing rejuvenation programme. If National was able to match its election result from 2011, we would bring in as many as 13 new MPs, alongside 46 returning MPs.

“With the depth of talent we have to choose from, settling on a list that balances new blood alongside valuable experience was not an easy task. However, we believe we’ve struck the right mix that will allow for renewal and continued stability in a third term.”

A list ranking committee made up of about 30 delegates from around New Zealand gathered in Wellington yesterday to settle on the List rankings for the September 20 election.

Mr Goodfellow believes the list underlines National’s credentials as a strong economic manager which is working hard for all New Zealanders to deliver more jobs, better public services, and higher wages.

“Our list draws on people from all walks of life, from the social sector, to medicine, business, and agriculture. We have a good blend of candidates from a variety of diverse backgrounds.”

Mr Goodfellow says that sitting MPs and Ministers have been broadly ranked in their current order, but also notes there are a number of electorates with new candidates who are likely to join #TeamKey in September.

“The Party is in great heart, and I want to thank all those MPs who are retiring at this election for their contribution to their country. I also want to thank their families for the sacrifices so many of them have made to support a busy MP.

“Despite positive polling the National Party has a huge task ahead to ensure our supporters get out and vote at this election. An unstable far left coalition remains a very real risk to New Zealand’s positive outlook.

We’ll be working very hard until polling day to sell our positive cohesive plan for New Zealand that builds strongly in what the country has achieved over the last six years.”  Read more »


Comment of the Day – Coat-tailing

Grendel_from_the_dead comments about coat-tailing and gives a little history lesson on the way through.

Sorry but “coat tailing” only became a bad thing when the left stopped getting the advantage from it. It was very clear when MMP came in that it was a valid way for a party to get into parliament.

I remember watching the first MMP election (also my first election at all), and the experts reminding us that getting a seat got you all your party vote % of seats. It was not good or bad, it just was. The theory I vaguely recall them saying was that if a party was able to generate enough support in one area to win a seat, it could get all of its support from across the country. But if you were just spread across the country, you needed to get more. This enabled small single issue parties located primarily in one area to get more benefit focused to one area, rather than trying to fight all over the country. This was back when everyone thought we would get heaps of parties.

To me it’s the same as the overhang from getting too many electorates. The rules state that you are supposed to get as many seats as your party vote, but if you win more electorates than you were allowed seats, you still get the number of electorates. Other than actually winning electorates, I don’t see the difference.

But lets look at the facts:

1996 – No one gets an electorate and less than 1% and gets more than 1 seat (Dunne wins his seat but not enough party vote for a 2nd seat).

1999 – NZ first gets 4.26% and gets 4 extra seats due to winston winning tauranga. The greens were looking like needing to do the same with Coromandel, but specials put them over the line (the media had no issue with the ‘coattailing’ when the greens might have needed it). With NZ First, Labour is able to keep the Greens out of govt. If NZ First did not get the extra 4 seats, its possible the Greens would have been in govt to give Labour the majority.   Read more »