New Zealand First

Things are pretty bad for Cunliffe & Labour when Brian Rudman attacks

Brian Rudman usually saves his columns in the Herald to call for subsidies for the arts or the building and/or restoration of his favourite theatre.

A dyed int he wool cloth cap socialist spending his last days in print typing away interviewing his keyboard he sometimes comes up with a ripper.

Yesterday he excoriated David Cunliffe and Labour:

Late Saturday night, while Labour Party workers were still cleaning up the blood from the worst electoral thrashing the party had received since 1922, leader David Cunliffe was busy on his computer trying to save his skin. In a mass mailing to members and supporters he said, “Let’s congratulate ourselves” on “a campaign well-fought” and declared his intention to stay on as leader.

Just how he can declare himself “immensely proud” of a campaign that resulted in Labour receiving 22,353 fewer election night votes than in 2011 against a two-term National Government is a mystery. Only measured against the 2011 election night calamity when Labour lost 165,000 votes on its 2008 result, does Saturday’s result start to look less than a total disaster.

After the 2008 debacle, leader Phil Goff immediately fell on his sword, to be replaced first by David Shearer, and then when he was judged to be under-performing, by Cunliffe. Now it’s Cunliffe’s turn. His departure seems inevitable.

It was a disaster. Nowhere int eh world, generally, does a government win a third term on an increased vote, and certainly not ever before under the mMP system, let alone majority. The scale of the disaster for the left has yet to be realised.

It took National two election to recover from Bill English’s disastrous 2002 election campaign. I suspect it will take Labour much longer. Especially as their fool leader won’t quit.

Whether kicking and screaming or gracefully is over to him. The problem for Labour is, who next? The retread, David Shearer; the steady back room policy wonk, David Parker; or the new generation team of Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern?

Labour’s challenge is not just solving its leadership problems. It also has to decide whether it wants, in two years’ time, to celebrate its 100th birthday celebrations as the generally accepted, centre-left “broad church” alternative to the National Party. Under MMP, this is no longer a given. Since the election, both Green co-leader Russel Norman and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters have made claims to the leadership of the Opposition. A try-on for sure, but with Labour stuck in its present doldrums, is it any wonder the mice are playing?

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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.

Labour’s election campaign is slip, slidin’ away

The election is slip, slidin’ away from Labour.

They are approaching the territory of Bill English, expect a sudden collapse of their vote in this final week as people wake up to the fact that they can’t win.

Voters don’t vote for losers.For the same reason people leave early from a rugby match when their team is getting pasted the voters will abandon Labour.

National is urging its supporters not to split their vote as our latest poll confirms the minor parties are on the rise – and Labour continues to slump.

The stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll signals a horror start to the final week of the campaign for Labour as its support slides to 22.4 per cent, putting it on track for an unprecedented trouncing.

It appears to have bled some support to the Greens, who are on 13 per cent. But most attention is around the seeming unstoppable rise of Winston Peters and NZ First.

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Herald editorial calls out Winston

Yesterday’s Herald editorial calls time on Winston’s usual political chicanery.

Winston Peters sounds worried, as well he might be. His party has risen in our poll this week but Colin Craig’s Conservative Party remains poised near the threshold. If the Conservatives gain another percentage point or two they will offer National an option to Mr Peters, should National need another supporting party to return to office. John Key would clearly prefer to deal with almost anyone else.

The 8 per cent or so of voters who are planning to put Mr Peters back in Parliament are probably his perennial admirers and impervious to a public appeal, but here is one. Spare the country, please, another round of Mr Peters’ phony post-election routine. We have all seen it before. He makes everyone wait while he plays out a negotiation for no purpose beyond the pleasure he finds in it.

He thinks he is keeping people guessing but it has become tediously obvious what he will do in the end. If the result next Saturday night leaves him in a pivotal position there is no doubt he will put the winning party in power; he would not dare do otherwise.

The only uncertainty is the number of days or weeks he will want to delay the inevitable. New Zealand’s government should not be put at the disposal of somebody like this. Only his supporters can do something about it.

Winston likes the theatre…there are only two shows he won’t perform…a dogs show and no show.

They ought to consider that Mr Peters is nearly 70. It is well past time to retire him.

He has been in and out of Parliament since 1978, longer than any other MP. He has never come to terms with changes to the economy 30 years ago and at this election he is reaching further back to recall the protected prosperity of the 1950s.

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Winston would blow the Bribe-Meter to bits!

The Taxpayers’ Union is pissed off that it’s thrown money at a respected economist to develop an election ‘Bribe-O-Meter’ and New Zealand First won’t (presumably can’t) provide basic policy information for its policies to be costed.

“The Taxpayers’ Union has made numerous formal and informal approaches to Mr Peters and his party. Despite our best efforts Mr Peters continues to fob off providing transparency to the voting public.”

Our independent expert, who used to lead the team at IRD that costed social policy for numerous governments (ironically including when Mr Peters was Treasurer!) has spoken to Party officials in Winston Peters’ office but still does not have enough information to give any insight as to what NZ First’s policies will cost.

Perhaps the reason NZ First has shied away from releasing their policy costings is because Mr Peters is worried it would deter voters? In 1996, the last time National was forced to go into government with Mr Peters, it cost taxpayers $5 billion, or $2,950 per household.

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I think Winston just wants to sit on cross benches

Last night was the minor leaders debate and Colin Craig got in a good hit on Winston Peters.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters avoided stating a preference for who should be the next Prime Minister during last night’s political debate – and Conservative leader Colin Craig sought to use that against him.

Mr Craig, who hopes National’s John Key will win the election, said it was the biggest point of difference between his party and New Zealand First, which are both gunning for voters with a conservative lean.

Voters deserved to know which way Mr Peters was leaning, Mr Craig said.

Internet Party leader Laila Harre agreed: “It concerns me that Winston is still not making it clear.”

Mr Peters, who may hold the balance of power after the election, would say only that the voters will decide the next Prime Minister.

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Politicians who resort to using courts to bully broadcasters deserve what they get

Colin Craig is a bully.

He uses the law to try to silence critics, and now he has gone to court to bully TV3, a private company, to force them to have him on their minor party debate show.

Conservatives leader Colin Craig has won an eleventh-hour High Court scrap over his exclusion from a televised political debate.

TV3’s political show The Nation did not invite Mr Craig to a minor parties debate tomorrow morning, which will include the Green Party, New Zealand First, the Maori Party, Act, Mana and United Future.

Mr Craig filed urgent legal proceedings with the High Court at Auckland today and his application for an interim injunction to restrict the screening of the debate without him was heard this afternoon.

Justice Murray Gilbert sided with the Conservative Party leader saying any inconvenience to MediaWorks was outweighed by the public interest in having Mr Craig at the debate.

The debate cannot legally go ahead without his inclusion.

MediaWorks confirmed that rather than scrap tomorrow’s debate, they would include Mr Craig.

“We’ll have to somehow squeeze him in,” said director of news Mark Jennings.

But The Nation’s Tim Watkin said the production values of the show would suffer as a result.

Each political leader will get less than five minutes to speak because of the late inclusion, he said.

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Andrea Vance’s 5 reasons not to trust politicians

Andrea Vance writes up her 5 reasons not to trust politicians.

This is why she is a better journalist than I will ever pretend to be…I have just one reason…they are politicians.

Her first one is the “Do as I say not as I do” reason, that all politicans fall prey too, in this case she quotes John Key, but she had rich pickings on that one.

A swift kick for Laila Harre too, but a better one would have been to quote her claims on Vote Chat that Kim Dotcom is doing great things for NZ…pity Laila Harre hasn’t asked the unpaid creditors, staff and servants that are still waiting for the big man to cough up.

3. LABOUR LEADER David Cunliffe:

”Labour’s position is very clear: no coat-tails.”

It’s a miracle David Cunliffe’s tongue hasn’t tied itself in knots. It’s a no to any pre-election deals, he says.  Labour would move to scrap the coat-tailing provision of MMP within 100 days of taking office.

This conveniently ignores the fact that to form a government – and pass the promised electoral reform – they’ll almost certainly require the support of Internet-Mana. Which was formed solely to take advantage of coat-tailing!

There is a reason David Cunliffe’s mouth turns down on both sides…it is from contorting his mouth to issue platitudes to different audiences.   Read more »

Could Ron Mark succeed Winston Peters?

With the death blow delivered to Colin Craig’s cult party the focus has moved onto NZ First.

But with Winston Peters at an advanced age the future is by no means secure for them.

They need a successor to Winston…because frankly the sycophants there now aren’t up to much other than propping up Winston as he weaves his way home from the Green Parrot.

Former New Zealand First MP Ron Mark has confirmed he is considering the offer of what the Herald understands is a high place on the party’s list that would be likely to take him back into Parliament but says his commitment to his iwi may trump political ambition.

The Herald understands Mr Mark is being courted both as a list candidate and as a potential successor to leader Winston Peters, in part because of his good relationship with National as the two parties consider a potential post-election deal.

Speculation that Mr Marks, who is still a member, may return to active involvement in NZ First was fired by his appearance at the recent annual conference in Auckland.

Sources subsequently told the Herald he is being pursued as a list candidate and potential future leader.

“A lot of people have been asking me for a long time,” he told the Herald last night.   Read more »

There will be no deal for Colin Craig in East Coast Bays

Adam Dudding from Fairfax explains why it is that National won’t do a deal with Colin Craig.

It is pretty simple really…the damage of such a deal is worse than the consequences of no deal.

Key’s decision on whether to indulge the supplicant or not (which he’s promised to reveal this week) depends partly on how desperately National needs an extra seat.

But last weekend, the calculation grew more complex: NZ First leader Winston Peters hinted that if National and the Conservatives got cute in East Coast Bays, he might run in the electorate himself. And given the old rogue’s mysterious allure, this could stuff things up for National and Craig.

With Craig’s Conservative Party last week polling nationally at 1.3 per cent, this is his only serious option for making it to Parliament.

A quick and dirty assessment by the Sunday Star-Times suggests things aren’t a great deal better in the electorate itself.

On Friday afternoon we set up an informal polling booth at Browns Bay’s La Tropezienne bakery/cafe, in which customers were given a marble and invited to drop it in the jar of their preferred candidate.

By yesterday afternoon, 53 marbles had been cast: 34 for McCully, seven for Peters and just one for Craig.

Six, four and one marble respectively were cast for Labour’s Greg Milner-White, Green Teresa Moore and “other”.

The result is horribly unscientific, yet the figure for McCully is startlingly similar to McCully’s 64.98 per cent electoral result in 2011, and that single marble for Craig is – well, a little tragic.

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