National Party

Poll carnage for Labour with latest Colmar Brunton poll

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Labour and Andrew Little are in real trouble in the latest Colmar Brunton poll.

The popularity of John Key’s government is showing no sign of waning, with support for National climbing in the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

However it’s a very different story for Labour, with the party and its leader Andrew Little taking a big hit this month.

National has climbed three points to 50 percent – a level it hasn’t been at since August 2014 – while Labour is down a whopping four points to 28 percent.

Crucially, this is the first time Labour has slipped below 30 percent since the election.   Read more »

Bludgers protest National’s first benefit increase in 43 years

The bludgers of the Auckland Action Against Poverty reckon National is conducting a war on the poor.

As part of their protests they decided to protest at the Young Nationals’ ball.

Police officers stood at the door of Auckland’s Heritage Hotel last night, as about 80 protesters played music and chanted outside the venue.

Sophie Morgan of Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) said the group was protesting the event to draw attention to increased inequality.

She said beneficiaries, the unemployed, and low-wage workers were hit the hardest, while the rich continued to benefit.   Read more »

Crone having “lunch” in public to send some “cup of tea” signals

Turns out our Vic is a bit of a trophy hunter.

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Photo by Herald reporter Corazon Miller who just happened to be there by complete happenstance

In a clear display of support, National MP Paula Bennett has been spotted [there just happened to be a Herald journo there!] having lunch with one of the front-runners for the Auckland mayoralty.

She was spotted [spotted!] yesterday with candidate Victoria Crone at Ponsonby’s Prego restaurant where she confirmed they’d met to “conspire on a good campaign”.

While declaring her strong support for Ms Crone’s campaign, the MP stopped short of declaring her presence was an official party endorsement.

Well, no. That would be against John Key’s strict rules of not getting involved in local body politics. But apparently you can be “spotted” just fine by journalists who just happen to “spot” you and then you tell them in gushing detail that the candidate is the second coming of Jesus, except, not officially, because John Key said, “No.” Read more »

How Labour can win in 2017: Flying a kite

by Pete

Trotter has performed the last rites on the Labour party for 2017:

Political commentator Chris Trotter says Labour is unlikely to win the next election, because it is still struggling with its identity, and its leader isn’t “really a politician’.

The comments come after party leader Andrew Little said immigrant chefs were taking up jobs, before turning around and suggesting his statements had been misconstrued.

Prime Minister John Key and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse have since shrugged off the problem as a non-issue, but Mr Trotter says the recent comments show Labour is increasingly desperate to be seen in a positive light.

“There is no doubt, that if you push that immigration button, as we have seen in the United States with Donald Trump, you can get a reaction.

“They [Labour] are casting about for something to put a positive light on Labour and push them into office at the end of next year.”

Mr Trotter says Labour’s problem is that its leader doesn’t think like a politician.

“He’s a lawyer, he has a good brain in his head — but he is not really a politician.

“You have to be able to recognise bad advice when you hear it. You have to have your own best advisor at the back of your mind. Something tells me that if Little was to listen to that advisor then he would probably be doing a lot better than he is.”

Let’s take in a bit of a summary then.  Labour clearly do not have the talent to take over as the party that will be seen as capable enough to replace John Key’s National.  Read more »

Harman on Hekia

Her CV includes a stint at Harvard after her master’s degree at Waikato.

Since the 1990s she has moved in and out of the public service and consultancy and with her marriage to Local Government Commission chair Sir Wira Gardiner, whose CV is even more heavyweight, she is the ultimate capital city insider.

Yet ask her whether she would one day like to be Foreign Minister and she demurs.

She says that when she decided to run for Parliament after she re-joined the National Party after her very public split with them over Don Brash’s Orewa comments about the Treaty of Waitangi she did so because she wanted to be Education Minister.

“I would be quite keen in being an associate finance Minister because that’s what effects change,” she says.

“But I’m very happy in my role.”

This answer says two things about Parata.

First it displays her caution when she is on the record or in public. In private she is an exuberant and engaging politician with a personality as big as her brain.

But perhaps because of the controversies she found herself in once she made it to Parliament and the Ministry — problems with cars, her sister’s senior position in the Minister of Education, problems at the Ministry with novopay and other matters and rumours of tensions in her office — these days she seems very careful with the face that she presents to the public.

But the other part of her desire to remain education minister reflects what her genuine passion for the job is quite clearly.

There aren’t many Ministers who can be convincing when they say they have got their ideal job.

What she is doing in education now reflects what is slowly becoming a radical overhaul of the sector; perhaps the most radical since the Picot Report and Tomorrow’s Schools in 1989.

Later this year she will pilot through Parliament a revised Education Act which will encapsulate a lot of her thinking about education.

Read more »

Eminem v John Key back in court

Well, it’s a recording company suit and a National party drone, but it goes to show how slowly the wheels of the justice system turn.

Lawyers for American rapper Eminem and the National Party were back in court today, over the copyright of music featured in the party’s TV advertisements during its 2014 election campaign.

Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC, Detroit-based publishers of Eminem’s copyrights, accused the party of using backing music to the rapper’s song Lose Yourself, from his 8 Mile album.

Greg Arthur who appeared for the party, told Justice Brendan Brown in the High Court at Wellington he wanted to split trial into two parts – one for liability and one for damages.

Mr Arthur said the two issues were “clearly divided” and a split trial would save the time spent in trial.

He said the liability trial would take about two weeks, possibly more, but calculating damages “wasn’t straightforward” so liability should be established first.

Garry Williams representing Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC, disagreed, saying his clients wanted a single trial.

He said the assessment of damages wasn’t complex and it could be dealt with in a single trial.

“They are issues that arise in copyright cases all the time,” he said.

Justice Brown held off his decision and gave the parties the opportunity to come up with a resolution by March 23.

Read more »

Has the government shot itself in the foot with its “Bright-line” test?

I have come across something that more suitably qualified people might like to comment on. I think the government has created a “vote-losing” law inadvertently.

It is this new “Bright-line” law regarding housing sales.

I was talking to a chartered accountant and lawyer about it the other day.  It appears the government may have inadvertently created a problem whereby ANYONE making even a slight change to a trust is going to end up triggering a tax situation even though no real sale happens or money is involved.

The relevant law is Section GB 53 of the Income Tax Act 2007, below. The problem word is effect in 1(c) [underlined].

Section GB 53 says:

GB 53 Arrangements involving residential land: trusts

When this section applies

(1) This section applies when—

(a) the trustees of a trust own residential land directly or indirectly (trust residential land); and

(b) trust residential land makes up 50% or more, by market value, of the assets of the trust; and

(c) the trust’s trust deed changes, a decision-maker under the trust deed changes, or an arrangement under the trust changes, with a purpose or effect of defeating the intent and application of section CB 6A (Disposal within 2 years: bright-line test for residential land).   Read more »

So what do these political words really mean?

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This funny image about red heads got me thinking. How many other words do we use inaccurately? I have used words to describe political parties where I did not really understand the full meaning of the labels I was using.

Read more »

McCully won’t stand in ECB again

Murray McCully won’t be standing in East Coast Bays again, signalling the end of his parliamentary career sooner rather than later.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced he will not contest the East Coast Bays seat at next year’s election.

Mr McCully said he would retire from Parliament when his time as Foreign Minister ended.

“Quite when that will be, and whether I seek election as a List Member of Parliament in 2017, are decisions for the Prime Minister in the first instance.

“At the end of this term I will have served as the local Member of Parliament for 30 years. This is the right time for me to announce my intentions and clear the way for an orderly succession process.”

Mr McCully informed his East Coast Bays electorate AGM of his decision last night. He has been MP for East Coast Bays since 1987.   Read more »

For some reason that’s beyond me, this government doesn’t care for Fijians

The death toll in Fiji is now thought to be as high as 10, after Cyclone Winston struck the country over the weekend.

The director of Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office, Akapusi Tuifagalele, says people are in desperate need of assistance, especially in remote areas of the country.

“[They need help to] rebuild their houses if needed and also to vacate the schools, especially the schools that are being used because after one week from tomorrow they will be needed again for our children,” says Mr Tuifagalele.

The island nation declared a state of emergency and a curfew as the Category 5 storm hit made landfall on Saturday.

Wind gusts of high as 325km/h battered the country, in the worst tropical storm in Fiji’s history.

Damage from the cyclone is estimated to be around NZ$154 million.

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand has given a “small amount of money” as an emergency gesture and will help the country to rebuild.

“Fundamentally there’ll be a clean-up and look, New Zealand will help because we always help in these situations,”

We will help because we always do.  Heartwarming stuff. Read more »