National Party

Now they’re fighting the dictionary?


My good friend John Key reckons he is honouring his election pledge about no new taxes.

When is a tax not a tax? When the Prime Minister says so.

John Key has denied going back on his word by introducing a “border clearance levy”, which will sting travellers with $22 in arrival and departure taxes.

Key deflected questions on the matter from reporters following his annual post-Budget speech.

Asked what the difference was between a tax and a levy, he replied “many”, and when pressed, to “Google it”.   Read more »

National starts election run-up, and they’re willing to buy your vote

Photo / Mark Mitchell - via NZ Herals

Photo / Mark Mitchell – via NZ Herald

Which one of these does not belong? (a) Returning to surplus. (b) Reducing net debt. (c) Cutting ACC levies. (d) Cutting income tax. (e) Reducing debt quicker. The answer obviously is (d). The Government calls these its five fiscal priorities but the fourth, projecting income tax cuts from 2017, has no right to be in a Budget that has just failed to return to balance and projects a negligible surplus next year.

Without a sustained return to surplus none of the Government’s responsible priorities will be possible. It will not have spare cash to start paying down debt from 2018, let alone (e) finding the revenue to get the debt down to 20 per cent of GDP sooner than 2020. That is the target that matters, it is where the net government debt needs to be in case of another international economic upset. The Labour Government’s surpluses and low debt enabled National to run deep deficits in the last crisis. It is taking its time to restore a fiscal cushion. Read more »

We’ve dissected Labour, now what about the Tories?

Labour’s troubles have been dissected after the UK election disaster.

But what about the Tories?

Political parties that win often do not have a critical review done to improve. That is certainly the case with National here. No review is currently underway for Northland, and Steve Joyce and John Key have decided that none is really warranted because they are still riding high in the polls.

There is a reticence to change the board. They keep winning, as does the president – and so the board gets older, and more stale. Worse some practices have developed that are now seeing talent driven from the party because they don’t subscribe to the infallibility of the board. Excuses are made for refreshing the board…”it’s election year, don’t rock the boat”, or “we just won no need for change”, leaving a window of only one year to make those changes.

The Conservatives have the same problems cropping up now.

Breitbart looks at this, and it is funny how similar it is to the National party.:

I am as happy as the next conservative that the Party confounded all predictions and achieved the majority that has returned David Cameron for the next 5 years. Business and the stock market understandably breathed a huge sigh of relief.

But it is also clear that something sinister and fundamentally un-conservative has infected the way the Party conducts itself. More than ever before, it is consumed with a nasty, controlling and centralized culture that demands unquestioning conformity. And woe betide those with the temerity not to genuflect in fealty.

The recent attacks on the Bow Group and its chairman Ben Harris-Quinney and the commentator Tim Montgomerie offer an unpleasant example of a much wider malaise. The two men are not cut from the same ideological cloth, but both offer an approach to conservatism that at times differs from the current Conservative Party house view. This appears to make them fair game for ad hominem attack.

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Which Ministers can Key sack or move on?

John Key faces problems with an ambitious back bench seeing the current cabinet as blocking their own stellar careers if only gaps appeared.

Key is known to make promotions based on an MP being a squeaky wheel, meaning that more back benchers are likely to cut up rough during the campaign.

Key’s other problem is that he cannot sack ministers in marginal seats or seats previously held by Labour as they will tell him to get stuffed and resign, and face a by-election where National will lose their seat. This means the following Ministers cannot be sacked:

Nikki Kaye – Auckland Central – Margin  600
Sam Lotu-Iiga – Mangakiekie – Margin  2348
Todd McClay – Rotorua – Margin  7418
Anne Tolley – East Coast – Margin  7934
Craig Foss – Tukituki – Margin  6490
Nick Smith – Nelson – Margin  7605
Nicky Wagner – Christchurch Central – Margin  2420

There will be some fear that giving McCully the arse will mean that Colin Craig wins a by-election in East Coast Bays, which McCully will be playing up – although Craig is so useless, he has no chance.    Read more »

Politicians promote Free speech – within limits (H/T to Len Brown)

What the hell is going on with the National Party?  Seriously, I’m starting to wonder if I’ve woken up in a parallel universe, because I actually agree with Labour here

Labour says it’s outrageous for the Government to tell its MPs not to attend Falun Gong celebrations next week.

Foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer says the email from Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s office warns ministers and MPs of the Chinese embassy’s “sensitivities”.

“Not only that, it also states the embassy will be monitoring the events and is likely to make an official protest if any politicians or `other officials’ attend,” Mr Shearer said.

“It’s outrageous to warn MPs off attending events. New Zealand has a proud history of free speech, freedom of religion and an independent foreign policy.”

What on earth is Muzza McCully smoking to be telling his colleagues not to attend functions?   May I remind him of the National Party’s values?   Read more »

Nats rolling in cash, far more effective with it than Kim Dotcom

Contrary to the myth the left wing likes to promote, that money buys elections, it really doesn’t.

Kim Dotcom proved that when despite claiming in court he was impoverished he donated millions to the Internet Party which spectacularly bombed.

Meanwhile the national party has been stashing the cash.

Donations to the National Party in 2014 jumped by more than half on the 2011 election year, as the party’s fundraiser outgunned Kim Dotcom’s largesse.

On Tuesday the Electoral Commission revealed the annual party returns, disclosing every donation registered political parties received over $1500, as well as totals for anonymous donations.

The National Party declared donations of $3.98 million, 55 per cent more than the $2.57m it raised in 2011.

Although Dotcom gave by far the largest political donation – $3.5 million – to the Internet Party, his party did not attract other cash from donors.

National raised just over $1 million from donations above $15,000, the level at which identities generally have to be made public. A further $2.75m was raised from donors who gave between $1500 and $15,000, a threshold below which the party can keep identities secret. All up, about 1000 people donated more than $1500 to the National Party.

National president Peter Goodfellow said the party had stayed in close contact with supporters and worked hard to raise cash, as it was going to be a “tough” campaign.

“We have 30,000 members and supporters. We keep good contact with them and they clearly showed that they wanted to support the policies that we were advocating,” he said on Tuesday.

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What is rule number 1 in politics John?

Leadership should be a truism. You are the leader because there is no other alternative.

When it no longer become s a truism then your leadership is in question. It may be still solid, but questions are now being asked.

And when those questions are asked you get forced into breaking Rule Number 1 in politics.

Prime Minister John Key has scotched speculation he could stand down this term, telling National Party faithful in Northland that he is just as determined to lead National in 2017 as he was in 2008.

Mr Key’s speech to National’s Northland regional conference at Waitangi was his first on home soil after a torrid fortnight dominated by questions about his pulling a waitress’ ponytail.

He avoided directly referring to that incident in his speech but made it clear he did not intend to quit: “I am just as committed today to leading National to victory at the next election as I was when first taking up the role as your leader in November 2006.”

If John Key is having to explain to his members that he is definitely sticking around then there are problems.   Read more »

One News Poll bad news for Andrew Little, great for Winston

The latest One News Poll is out and it shows that Andrew Little isn’t making any gains both against National nor in the Preferred PM stakes.

Winston Peters on the other hand is winning in the Preferred PM stakes and is just 1% point off being able to claim the moral high ground and take the title of Leader of the Opposition for himself.

National’s by-election beating in Northland appears to have done little to change how the rest of New Zealand feels about the party, latest poll results show.

A ONE News Colmar Brunton poll conducted this month shows National Party support remains steady on 49%.

Labour Party support also remained unchanged on 31%, while the Green Party slipped to one percentage point to 9%.

New Zealand First, on the other hand, has seen a slight bounce – up one percentage point to 7%.

The Conservative Party is steady on 2%, as is the Act Party on 1%. Mana is back in the frame on 1%, while the Maori Party slipped down to 1%.

When converted into seats in Parliament, the poll results would mean National would take 60 seats, Labour would take 38, the Greens 11 and New Zealand First 9.

The Maori Party, Act and United Future would all have just one each.

Read more »

Maori making grab for water and Nick Smith & Bill English appear to be helping them

Maori are going to go after water as the next grievance claim….and it appears that Bill English and Nick Smith are entertaining their claims and negotiating with them instead of telling them to piss off.

Maori leaders have mounted a bid for effective ownership of a share of the country’s freshwater.

This would allow them, and other with water rights, to onsell it to those who need water for irrigation, hydropower and other commercial uses.

Talks between the powerful Iwi Leaders Group and the Government, fronted by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Environment Minister Nick Smith, are at a critical stage after ministers rejected a nationwide ‘Waterlords’ settlement along the lines of the Sealords deal over Maori commercial fishing claims.

The Government is adamant it will not hand over rights in perpetuity to Maori – but it may compromise by allowing regional councils to do local deals with Maori.

Farmers are worried that there will not be enough water to go around if significant quantities of freshwater are set aside for Maori.

In a Cabinet paper, Smith points to possible “catchment by catchment” deals at a regional government level. The Crown has acknowledged Maori interests and rights in freshwater but their extent and nature is at issue. The Government may set criteria by which local iwi can get preferential access to water, catchment by catchment, Smith says.

Ministers and iwi leaders held a summit at Waitangi during the February 6 commemorations, in a swift response to an iwi- commissioned report proposing radical ways to deal with freshwater and Maori claims. The report, by research group Sapere, proposed a nationwide settlement, an end to 35-year renewals of water consents. and a move to permanent rights and a market in tradable water rights.

It argued the regime would not only be a boon for Maori but would add $2 billion to the value of power-generating assets, $5.5b to the primary sector and boost the overall economy, while helping reduce the effects of drought through more efficient use of water. It would also open the way for the Government to levy resource taxes on income from using the water.

If National wants to lose more than just Northland they will keep on going with this process under the control of Bill English and Nick Smith.    Read more »

Northland, polls and polling vs final results

Arts, Lifestyle & Travel blogger David “Pinko” Farrar has a very brief post on the Northland polls.

  • Winston Peters NZF 16,089 54.5%
  • Mark Osborne NAT 11,648 39.4%
  • Willow-Jean Prime LAB 1,380 4.7%

Those polls were pretty accurate.

Read more »