NZ First

Winston is not a details man

Winston Peters has launched his Northland by-election campaign by telling voters he’s offering them “a chance in a lifetime”.

The NZ First leader’s message at a street corner meeting was that if they back him he’ll be a strong advocate for a region that’s been neglected by successive governments.

“Northland ranks very high on social deprivation that that’s an absolute indictment of National’s woeful treatment of this region,” he told a street corner crowd in Wellsford today.

Mr Peters says that between now and March 28 he’ll cover the electorate from top to bottom in his “Force for the North” campaign bus.

The seat is vacant because National’s Mike Sabin resigned last month, citing personal reasons.

It’s been a safe National seat for decades but Mr Peters says he can win it by focusing on the way the region has been neglected.

And he’s targeting National voters by pointing out the government won’t change if he takes the seat, while the region will benefit from the strong message he’ll take to Wellington.
Mr Peters is up against candidates from National, Labour and ACT, as well as a handful of independents and four representing parties that aren’t in parliament.

He’s already up there with his big bus.  Just a small problem.   Read more »

Even Rudman understands why Labour shouldn’t run in Northland

It seems everyone except Andrew Little understands why Labour shouldn’t have run in Northland.

Brian Rudman lays off bludging for a new theatre to point this out.

On National Radio yesterday, Labour leader Andrew Little was talking up his candidate’s chances, and questioning Mr Peters’ electoral appeal. In his position, it was the only thing he could do. He said Ms Prime “has a profile and understanding you might not see sitting in Wellington or Auckland”.

Rather desperately he added that “Labour has always struggled to get good numbers there” but “circumstances may well have changed and [she] may well be in with a chance”.That seems highly unlikely. Since the seat was created in 1996 it has been solidly National. At last September’s general election, National’s Mike Sabin, whose sudden resignation for undisclosed personal reasons triggered the present contest, scored 18,269 votes to Ms Prime’s 8969. The party vote gap was even wider, National on 17,412, Labour, 5913. New Zealand First, with no candidate, was close to Labour on 4546.

Then there is the strategic implications of placating Winston and changing the dynamics of parliament.

He says Mr Peters endorsed Kelvin Davis, Labour’s winning candidate, in the Maori seat of Te Tai Tokerau last election and now Labour should return the favour. He reckons the New Zealand First leader, who has family connections in the North, is the only person who, “on a good day”, could win the safe seat off National and create all sorts of turmoil for the Government.   Read more »

The senility is spreading to the members

On the NZ First website (as there is on all political websites) there is the normal authorisation disclaimer with the name and address of the party official who is authorising the content.

However, the authorisation includes the address of 84 Mils Street, Wellington.

NZ First Read more »

Len Brown recruits… everyone who doesn’t like John Key

Lobbyists and opposition political parties are welcoming the idea of light rail through some of Auckland’s main arterial routes.

Auckland Transport says it’s investigating whether light rail on Queen St, Symonds St, Sandringham Rd, Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd and Manukau Rd is a good alternative to buses.

Most of those routes had trams running on them before they were removed in the 1950s.

Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy says light rail could move more than three times the number of people per hour than buses, and at higher speeds, and would complement other projects like the City Rail Link rather than replace it.

He says a public private partnership could be a good way to fund it. Read more »

Headlines you won’t see at the NZ Herald: Operations up massive 37% since 2008

If I provide data to a newspaper (and they’ve even won awards off of the back of that info) it is dirty politics, but when a politician does it the Herald journalist takes it and runs a negative hit job on the government and it is business as usual.

Despite figures showing a massive increase in elective surgery since National took over the NZ Herald decides to put NZ First’s negative spin on the headline and the article.

And don’t you just love the weaselly way they introduce the fact that it was NZ First who slipped them the numbers.

The Government’s much-publicised increase in hip, knee and other elective operations has been questioned in light of data which appeared to show the proportion of people missing out on treatment was growing.

But officials say growing waiting lists and a rising number of patients leaving hospital untreated do not tell the whole story.

The number of patients getting elective surgery has steadily increased over the past decade – especially after it was made a national health target in 2007. Since National came to power in 2008, the number of operations has lifted from 118,000 to 162,000 a year.

However, data released under the Official Information Act shows the proportion of patients on waiting lists who were leaving hospital untreated was also rising over the same period. As many as 30 per cent on waiting lists in some regions had their operation delayed or cancelled.

At Auckland District Health Board, there was a waiting list of 27,200 people for elective surgery last year. Of that number, 4558 patients – nearly 20 per cent – were admitted but left hospital without treatment. Last year up to November, 3822 patients out of 22,346 left untreated.

Read more »

Waikato Times slammed for front page fiction [UPDATED]

Bvgm2dKCYAAJVlt-630x441

The Waikato Times has been slammed by the Press Council for their front page fiction about Young Nats burning Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, a story gathered by their “news” team from the Facebook page of a NZ First activist.

The Press Council recognises that social media are a frequent source of information that can be checked and developed into stories capable of meeting the standards of accuracy, fairness and balance expected by readers of a reliable newspaper.

In this case the Council does not believe the newspaper had sufficient corroboration of the claim on Facebook. The Times’ additional source, a student who would not be named, claimed to have seen Mr Letcher with more than 200 books. If that statement were true, it does not establish that Mr Letcher intended to burn them.

The Facebook posting as reported by the Times, said, “So apparently the CNI Young Nats (and presumably the NZ Young Nats) are buying up copies of Nicky Hager’s # Dirty Politics….and burning them.” The word “apparently” should be noted. It suggests the information was at best hearsay, at worst an assumption by a person associated with a rival political party.

The Times called it “rumour” but its report also claimed to have confirmed part of the rumour. It is therefore difficult to accept the Regional Editor’s response that the paper was merely reporting an allegation. Its confidence in its own source and its decision to splash the book burning allegation across its front page would have given the story credibility in the minds of some readers.

While Mr Letcher’s denial was also reported prominently, this does not redeem the report. Newspapers need to be careful when dealing with rumour that is denied. A false accusation can easily be made for the purpose of forcing a political opponent to deny it publicly. That indeed is said to be a device of “dirty politics”. Newspapers should take care to ensure they are not unwitting instruments of it.

The Waikato Times could not substantiate this rumour to a standard that meets the Press Council’s principles of accuracy and fairness. Mr Letcher’s complaint is upheld.

Read more »

Winston knew this was coming, and dumped her from the party

Asenati-Lole-Taylor-via-twitter

I tried to run this as an important story about an MP breaking the law at the time, but the media were so pre-occupied with their own little games, it allowed Winston Peters to duck quite the controversy.  It may have earned him a few percentage points for the final party vote.

Former NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor inappropriately accessed the criminal records of a former party official, the Department of Corrections has confirmed.

Dennis Taylor, her husband, lost his job last month after an investigation found he looked up historic convictions of NZ First’s former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Now, in a letter to Bishop, Corrections has revealed the investigation found Lole-Taylor, who was a rehabilitation and reintegration services adviser at the time, also broke the rules.

But because she quit Corrections after becoming a list MP in 2011, they can take no action. Read more »

Social media continues to be a death trap, including KKK jokester Dunne

What was all the fuss about?

saas

What if you’re black, Jewish and gay?  Ok?  How about if you’re  United Future party leader?   Read more »

Will NZ First survive Peters’ departure?

AMONG his constituency – particularly the grey vote – he has cultivated a huge reservoir of brand loyalty and trust. If you heard it once on the campaign trail you heard it a thousand times. Winston will see us oldies right.

But whether voters will ever come to believe that of the largely unrecognisable faces behind Peters is questionable.  Peters has not helped NZ First’s cause – or the chances of it surviving as his legacy – by reinventing his caucus every three years.

Partly that is due to NZ First’s highs and lows. Its ranks were decimated after the 1999 election, and again in 2008, when it was turfed out of Parliament altogether. But Peters has also alienated many of his caucus along the way. Of the party’s original MPs, only Ron Mark remains – and that only after several years out of Parliament, when Mark even mulled standing for another party.

Mark’s return appears to be the first serious attempt by Peters to put in place a succession plan.

Judging by Mark’s performance during question time, he’s either no longer match fit or he’s seriously lost the plot.

Read more »

Why is it Kiwiblog has the best posts when Farrar is away?

Lifestyle, arts and travel blogger David Farrar is away again.

Kiwiblog has again reverted to a blog of David’s mid-life crisis and travels.

Not content with his own travel blogging, he also now has guest travel blog posts.

However he does have a guest post from Kiwi in America that is very good. Why is it Kiwiblog’s best posts are while he is away?

Regular readers of Kiwiblog will recall my lengthy essay posted on Easter Friday about the recent history of Labour; some of it based on my time as an activist there until the mid 90’s attempting to explain Labour’s present day conundrum.

In a nutshell it said that an attempt by the left of the party to seize permanent control of Labour after the massive post Rogernomics ructions under the leadership of Helen Clark, led to a gradual purging of activists from the centrist and right wings of the party. Clark, and her followers in the Head Office and regional hierarchies, ensured the selection of candidates in winnable electorate seats (and after the introduction of MMP, also the party list) that not only ensured she could topple then leader Mike Moore after the 1993 election but also cemented her power base inside Labour guaranteeing her an unchallenged 15 year reign as Labour’s leader. This handed power in the party to an increasingly narrow base of sector and interest groups such as academics, trade unions, progressive feminists and the rainbow coalition gradually driving out activists who were more likely to be white, male, socially conservative, small business owners and church going people of faith. After Labour’s 2008 election defeat, former members of the harder left New Labour Party, homeless after the dissolution of the Alliance, the demise of Anderton’s Progressives and the rise of the Greens, began to come back to Labour assisting in the movement of the party more to the left.

This trend culminated in the amendment to Labour’s Constitution at its 2012 Annual Conference giving 40% of the vote for Party Leader to the party membership and 20% to the affiliated unions leaving only 40% in the hands of the Parliamentary caucus. This new formula enabled David Cunliffe to win the first full leadership primary in 2013 despite having only minority support in caucus – the first time this had ever happened in Labour’s history. The result of his elevation to the leadership was Labour’s third successive and even more disastrous defeat.

When you drive out of the party its more centrist activists, you leave a vacuum that has been filled by harder left activists. When these same activists, alongside the more traditionally left wing trade union leadership, have control of the party’s candidate selections, its policy formation and now the election of its leader, over time you end up with a party, candidates and policies that no longer appeal to middle NZ and a party that is no longer the broad church it used to be. The party may be truer to its left wing principles but it now produces candidates, policies and campaigning rhetoric out of step with the aspirations of floating middle NZ voters that decide elections. National’s moderate centrist direction under John Key has become the natural repository for various key demographic groups that once used to strongly vote Labour and accordingly, Labour has ended up falling further behind National in each subsequent election post its 2008 defeat culminating in its second lowest vote this election since its formation in 1916!

Labour is now undertaking yet another review of why it was defeated and another likely more bruising leadership primary.

Read more »