Northland

Winston and Kelvin Davis need to get their facts straight

Yesterday in parliament Winston Peters and Kelvin Davis led a shameless and more to the point dead wrong attack against a local company in Northland.

They are trying to link Judith Collins into the attack and Nick Smith didn’t really help her with his hesitant responses.

Kelvin Davis : Has he discussed the issue of swamp kauri exports with Judith Collins, whose husband, David Wong-Tung, and good friend Stone Shi are directors in the chain of shell companies that owns the Ruakākā mill, the ultimate ownership of which is obscured by a lawyer’s nominee company?

Mr SPEAKER : In so far as there may be some ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I thought that this member was above getting involved in that sort of murk.

Kelvin Davis : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did ask a question, and it was not addressed.

Mr SPEAKER : Yes, and I said that the Minister could answer it in so far as there was ministerial responsibility. There was very little connection there with ministerial responsibility. I allowed the Minister to answer it the way he did, and that is acceptable.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is he denying what is well known to locals in Northland: that swamp kauri is being exported illegally and that his ministry’s lax enforcement of the law is because people high up in Oravida are major donors and players in the National Party, and there are the photographs of the logs, all being exported illegally?

Mr SPEAKER : Again, I will invite the Minister to answer if he sees ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : The law in respect of the export of indigenous forests was passed in 1993, with that member’s support. It was softened in 2004 by colleagues adjacent to him, with his support. My advice is that the law is being followed.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He cannot get up and accuse me of supporting a law when I was not a member of the Government. He did it on both occasions—1993 and 1994. We all know that. He is just telling lies.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] No, I do not need further help with that. That is certainly not a point of order. I will invite the Minister, if he wishes, to add further to his answer in order to complete it before we go to further supplementary questions.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I would invite the member to check the Hansard as to how New Zealand First voted in 1993 on the Forests Amendment Act, and, again, as to how the party voted in 2004 when the law was changed.

They are running off their mouths under the protection of parliamentary privilege.    Read more »

Simon tells Northland to build a bridge and get over it…oh wait

M10889351

A bridge was the undoing of Ted Kennedy at Chapaquiddick, Simon Bridges’ problems are far worse politically than a dead girl in the car.

National is giving Northland the middle finger for dumping them during the by-election.

National has no money for the bridges and is hoping the NZTA will help out…but unless they can magic up some deaths or safety issues quick smart those bridges are not going to be built this century.

Only four of the 10 bridges the Government promised to double-lane in Northland will be worked on in the next three years – and some may never be upgraded.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has announced a $13.9 billion plan for spending on roads and public transport across the country over the next three years.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges promised the bridge upgrades during the Northland by-election earlier this year and said the work would be done over six years.

He said today that NZTA had ruled out double-laning three of the bridges.

Those bridges are Hallahans Bridge, Lowes Bridge, and Darby and Joan Bridge, which is between two large kauri trees and which the agency says cannot be double-laned.

Mr Bridges said he was not breaking his by-election promise.

Read more »

Do you want a home for $200,000 or less?

Are there any affordable homes in New Zealand for $200,000 or less? I let my fingers do the typing and searched Trademe for properties for sale for $200,000 or less. Previously I have blogged about houses for sale for $100,000 or less.

Screenshot-Whaleoil.co.nz

Screenshot-Whaleoil.co.nz

A 20% deposit on a $200,000 house is $40,000.

The fortnightly payment on a 30 year table loan for $160,000 is $440.85

Read more »

Do you want a home for $100,000 or less?

Are there any affordable homes in New Zealand for $100,000 or less? I let my fingers do the typing and searched Trademe for properties for sale for $100,000 or less.

Screenshot-Whaleoil.co.nz

Screenshot-Whaleoil.co.nz

A 20% deposit on a $100,000 house is $20,000. To pay off a mortgage of $80,000 it will cost you $220.42 a fortnight if you choose a table loan over 30 years.

Read more »

An insight into why Northland was lost

Most observers have struggled to pinpoint just precisely what went wrong in Northland.

I must confess to being flummoxed myself as well, that is until I read an article in the NY Times about the problems with modern political parties.

The article looks at the continuing demise of larger parties in Europe and Britain, and gives some insights to Labours problems here and also National’s problems.

Part of the reason for the decline is Socialism’s success, in the last century, in winning key protections for the working class, from trade unions to pensions and national health care, that are hard to finance in an aging population. But the right, which used to represent the landed and corporate rich and those who felt affinity to them, has suffered its own decline.

“Parties of the left, which used to be anchored in the working class, in the trade union movement and factories, are now increasingly dominated by public-sector employees and creative industries like the media,” Mr. Leonard said. “Parties of the right, which used to stand for the aspirational classes, are now more elitist and metrosexual. The countryside is disgusted by the metrosexual cosmopolitanism of the conservatives and the workers are disgusted by the new left.”

Read more »

Winston to the rescue!!!

The so-called Darby and Joan Bridge in the Waipoua kauri forest is on the list of 10 one-way bridges to be upgraded – an announcement National made during the Northland by-election.

Te Roroa Treaty settlement negotiator Gary Hooker said no one from National asked what iwi thought.

He said if they had, they would have discovered the bridge was flanked by two iconic kauri.

“The only way it could be done, as far as I can see, is for one or both of the trees to be moved, which in itself could be quite an undertaking,” Mr Hooker said. Read more »

Fat Tony on Northland

Mike Williams aka Fat Tony has a column in the Hawkes Bay Today about Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle.

MAKE no mistake, the outcome of the Northland byelection last Saturday is a political boilover of seismic proportions.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters won one of the National Party’s safest seats with an election night majority of more than 4000 votes, erasing a National Party majority of over 9000 votes in the general election just a few months before. Winston Peters’ final majority is likely to increase when the nearly 1000 newly-enrolled special votes get included in the total.

This 13,000 vote turnaround is unprecedented in our political history, but it is the internal dynamics of Peters’ triumph that should give Prime Minister John Key and National Party campaign manager Stephen Joyce pause for very serious reflection.

Apart from a governing party losing a safe seat, two statistics set this contest apart from any previous byelection. About half of the voters chose to cast their ballot before election day and the level of participation was huge.

The early voting phenomenon is unprecedented, and it exceeds a trend in recent polls.

The turnout level is a genuine abnormality. It has been a rule of thumb for years that byelection turnout levels are half of the previous general poll. The Christchurch East byelection saw 13,000 electors vote compared with the 28,000 who had voted in the previous general election.

This is the established pattern.

Northland broke that mould. With 28,000 voting in the byelection, this wasn’t much short of the 34,000 that voted in the general election five months before.

Read more »

The shamelessness is off the scale

kauri_leaves

Winston Peters says he’d climb a threatened kauri tree in his electorate, to save it from the chainsaw.

Two ancient trees will be under threat if the Government keeps its by-election promise to widen the Darby and Joan bridge. Read more »

I can’t believe Andrew Little still has not spoken to Winston Peters

Unbelievably, since Andrew Little has become Leader of the Opposition, he has barely spoken to Winston Peters and even more unbelievably he hasn’t het met him since Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle.

Claire Trevett highlights the bizarre situation.

The member of Parliament-elect for Northland, Winston Raymond Peters, returned to the House this week, a Phoenix rising, a man transformed.

Strangely, the result has quite gone to Labour’s head. It is acting as if it won the byelection. For the past two days, Labour MPs have strutted in and asked a number of Northland-related questions in Parliament.

Leader Andrew Little and other Labour MPs dedicated their general debate speeches to rubbing National’s nose in the dog poos that was its campaign. Little has also talked about working more with Peters to build a united, strong Opposition. Labour seems to think sending its voters Peters’ way has bought it coalition insurance, a strong comrade-in-arms.

Little best invest in a long spoon before he starts attempting to spoon Peters.

Labour voters did help Peters but at least 9000 of his 15,400 votes did not come from Labour.

Read more »

Trotter on the effects of Northland on Labour and National

Chris Trotter has always been a keen observer of Winston Peters and in his blog he comments on what the victory in Northland means for Labour and for National.

To hold Northland will NZ First be required to veer to the Right – thereby alienating the thousands of Labour supporters whose votes provided the foundation for Mr Peters’ upset win?

Will the National Government, looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, begin to re-position itself as NZ First’s future coalition partner?

How will Mr Peters’ Northland victory influence Labour’s political positioning – especially its relationship with the Greens?

Good questions which Trotter goes some way to explaining.

Labour, if it is wise, will seize the opportunity provided by Mr Peters’ victory to put even more distance between itself and the Greens. In his continuing effort to “re-connect” Labour with its traditional constituencies, Andrew Little must already have marked the numerous ideological affinities that draw non-National provincial voters towards one another. These are conservative people, whose personal morals and political values often place them at odds with the more “progressive” voters of metropolitan New Zealand.

The extent to which Labour’s Northland voters defected to Mr Peters indicates that, at the very least, the NZ First leader’s political values presented no insurmountable barrier to Labour’s people following their own leader’s tactical advice. Indeed, just about all the insurmountable barriers to the re-connections Labour must make if it is to regain the status of a “40 percent party” have been raised in the cities – not the provinces.

Even in the cities these obstacles persist. Labour’s traditional urban working-class supporters have more in common with their provincial brothers and sisters than many Labour Party activists are willing to admit.

Shunting-off their social revolutionaries to the Greens might decimate the ranks of Labour’s membership, but it could, equally, swell the ranks of those willing to vote for the party in 2017. Shorn of its radical fringe, Labour not only becomes a much more comfortable fit for NZ First – but also for working-class New Zealanders generally.

Read more »