Winston Peters

Rodney Hide on the travesty of MMP

Come September we could be watching the most popular political leader in the Western world, and the most popular party sitting on the sidelines as a coalition of the losers forms a government because of MMP.

Rodney Hide examines this with his column at NBR.

John Key is the most popular prime minister since polling began. It’s an extraordinary achievement. More remarkably, he’s the Western world’s most popular elected leader.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama must look on Mr Key’s numbers with envious eyes and considerable wonder.

His popularity drives support for his party. National consistently polls a third higher than Labour. And so Mr Key’s a shoe-in this election, right? No. It’s looking like a very close thing. That’s because we persist with a mongrel electoral system.

It’s not the party with the most votes that wins with MMP but the one that cobbles the support needed to govern. Mr Key and National could easily find themselves out in the cold.

I owe my entire parliamentary career to MMP, so I suppose I should be thankful. But I was never a fan of the system. My first serious political involvement was in opposing it. It was the first of my many political losses. Read more »

Looks like Winston’s, David’s and Grant’s nasty smears have backfired

Yesterday Winston Peters, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe all accused Judith Collins of corruption without a shred of evidence to support their claims.

Now someone who was at the dinner has confirmed the minister’s account and their smears are in tatters.

A senior Beehive adviser has taken the unusual step of going public to back her minister, Judith Collins, over what took place at a dinner with Oravida executives and a senior Chinese Government official.

Margaret Malcolm was one of five guests at the dinner in Beijing which has embroiled Collins in allegations of corruption.

Malcolm, who travelled with Collins to China as her senior adviser, backed the minister’s claim that they did not discuss Oravida’s business over the dinner and that they talked mostly tourism.

“The dinner was very short and discussion was restricted due to some participants having limited English. The conversation centred around New Zealand as a tourist destination.”

She had not taken any notes in her capacity as adviser.

Like Collins, Malcolm also refused to name the Chinese official who Opposition MPs claim was in a position to help milk exporter Oravida overcome export issues following the botulism scare.

Collins has been under fire over allegations she used her ministerial position to benefit her husband’s business interests, though she told The Dominion Post last night that this was not true.

“[NZ First leader] Winston Peters . . . misled the media, he misled the public and actually there is no evidence of it and it’s utterly untrue.”

She had no influence over the $6000 received by Oravida from a pool of government funding for businesses which had been affected by the botulism scare, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Forty-one exporters had received advice and help from the Government relating to the incident and 39 of them received some form of payment, she said.  Read more »

Stephen Franks on the outrageous claims of corruption by the opposition and media

Stephen Franks provides a thoughtful response to the outrageous claims of opposition MPs under parliamentary privilege of corruption by Judith Collins.

I note that they dare not repeat those claims outside of the protection of parliamentary privilege.

Political journalists continue to give credibility to the Oravida beat-up. I’ve not heard anyone I know, outside the ‘beltway’ set, who share their faux indignation. Perhaps aspects yet to be revealed will vindicate the accusers. But on what has been disclosed so far, those alleging corruption disgrace themselves.

We come from an era, widely regarded as our most incorruptible, when all manner of goods were marked with the Royal crest, and the words “By appointment to HM the Queen”. Approval as suppliers to the Crown was overtly advertised, for the benefit of the supplier. I recall no concern that it was a corrupt practice.

Nor is there any objective argument that Ms Collins advocacy for any dairy interests in China or elsewhere, has been inimical to the interests of New Zealand. The allegations of corruption are the single element most likely to reduce the barriers to corruption. When it is acceptable to equate such innocuous behaviour with corruption, we lose the capacity to distinguish, and ‘everybody does it’ becomes a more likely excuse for genuine corruption at other levels

If there was some indication of covert payments then it might run. But most of us know that there is implicit personal endorsement, even if it is unwanted, in most engagements of powerful people.  Read more »

Cover up under Simon Bridges watch – Part 2

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While Labour and Winston Peters are using Parliamentary privilege to fire off stupid allegations at Judith Collins, they are ignoring a pile of incompetence within MBIE – the very Ministry tasked with growing NZs business.

Part one exposed the dodgy behaviour of MBIE officials under Simon Bridges’ watch.

It raised questions about how MBIE officials are managing the Government’s procurement process, and how questions about dodgy union organisations are being deleted from Supplier Questions in GETS.

Maybe it was a simple mistake, but then again we all know the unions love to think they have union-friendly government officials in their back pocket. Maybe that’s why they get an extra $500 for being a member of the unions. If Labour and NZ First want to talk about corruption, they don’t have to look any further than that rort.

But back to Simon Bridges’ MBIE officials.

This very same GETS RFP #448 then exposed a monumental flaw by the very officials tasked with advising Simon Bridges on his Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

In what is an astonishing revelation, MBIE advised – in their Supplier Questions about RFP #448 of 20 February 2014, that the Employment Relations Bill Part6A (vulnerable employees) doesn’t apply.

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Not sure how that works out for them.  Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

It’s a challenge, let’s have at it

There is some debate over who is challenging whom, with John Key challenging David Cunliffe to a debate on housing.

Labour says the Housing Minister’s asleep at the wheel.

“In my own electorate of New Lynn housing is the number one electorate issue facing people, there are not enough affordable homes,” says Mr Cunliffe.

In a bid to dampen price hikes, the Government is putting most of its effort into boosting supply and making it cheaper to build homes.

But opposition parties say they are ignoring rising demand and need to crack down on foreign buyers and speculators.

Mr Key is hitting back at his critics and has challenged Mr Cunliffe to a debate.

“David Cunliffe wants to have a bit of chat on nationwide TV about it, more than happy to do so, we can call it the first debate, more than happy to do so,” says Mr Key.  Read more »

Why is it that Dotcom is always about kickbacks?

Kim Dotcom announced, sort of, two policies yesterday.

Not that he would answer any questions about them, like importantly where he will fund these policies from.

But one caught my eye…his policy of providing “kickbacks” for purchasing things online.

Dotcom is not waiting around, today revealing two policies.

“We want to give the citizens of New Zealand a benefit, a financial kickback, if they buy stuff online,” he said.

Isn’t this how he got himself in the trouble in the first place? …now he is trying to expand his policies of kickbacks…or bribes in legal parlance to a whole country?

Why is it that Kim Dotcom is all about bribery, corruption, kickbacks and graft?  Read more »

Winston scolds the Green Taliban for “unsuccessful politics”

Someone’s found a couple of spare D batteries and reanimated Winston Peters.  I haven’t seen him this energised since he denied Owen Glenn had given his party some extra pocket money.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has accused the Green Party of attempting to destabilise the Labour Party over its approach to Labour for a pre-election coalition agreement.

Labour leader David Cunliffe this week rejected the Green proposal for the two parties to campaign as a “Labour-Greens Government” in waiting, preferring to stick with a “Labour-led Government”. But he has said he expected to negotiate a coalition agreement with the Greens after the election.

Mr Peters said Labour was right to reject it and saw it for what it was.

“You have an attempt by one party to destabilise another party by seeming to offer friendship and collaboration in a deal before the election campaign has even started, knowing full well that the other party has not invited that and does not want that. What do you call that? I call it unsuccessful politics.

“I think the Labour Party saw it for what it was and they are probably relieved.

“I am not surprised it was rejected.”

Mr Peters said the Greens would have known what Labour’s response would be and therefore putting up the proposal and making it public was “an attempt to torpedo the strategy of another party”.

To be honest, Labour and Greens fighting in public is a bit like a couple that are only together for the kids.  The love just isn’t there, and every  move is one out of self interest while forgetting the children will be the ones that suffer.   Read more »

Trotter: ‘the phrase “Labour/Greens government” does not pass the plausibility test’

Chris Trotter explains why David Cunliffe has pushed the toxic Greens out into the cold.

The answer, I believe, is to be found in the voters Labour’s campaign strategists (most particularly the political scientist and polling specialist, Rob Salmond) have identified as the primary target of Labour’s election campaign. These are not the legendary “missing million” who declined to cast a ballot three years ago, but a much more manageable group of around 300,000 men and women who have voted for Labour in the past (2005, 2008) but who, for a whole host of reasons, sat out the General Election of 2011.

Salmond’s argument is that these voters can be readily “re-activated” if Labour presents them with a plausible pitch for their support. The key-word there is “plausible”, and outside Labour-held electorates in the main centres there is every reason to believe that the phrase “Labour/Greens government” does not pass the plausibility test.

The evidence for this comes, paradoxically, from the National Party. Simon Bridges’ ridiculous comments about the 50-odd mining permits issued on Russel Norman’s watch is only the most extreme example of what is obviously an agreed Government strategy to conflate Labour and the Greens into a single, politically extreme, electoral bogeyman. David Farrar’s polls and Crosby-Textor’s focus-groups have clearly thrown up a powerful negative reaction to the idea of Labour joining forces with the Greens. So much so that National is doing everything within its power to imbed the idea deep in the electorate’s psyche.

And, if National’s voter research is picking up this negative anti-Green vibe, how long can it be before Labour’s own pollster, UMR, and its focus-group convenors start detecting similar sentiments in their own samplings? And if they do, is it really credible to suggest that Labour should simply ignore them? If the party’s whole electoral strategy is based on persuading those 300,000 former Labour voters to return to the fold, and the Labour/Greens proposition is going to make that less likely, then what possible motive would Labour have for accepting the Greens’ invitation?  Read more »

The toxic Greens

David Cunliffe needs the Greens to make him PM.

However his focus groups and internal polling are showing that the voters are nervous, especially about the toxic Greens. Which is why he won’t say publicly that he needs them.

That’s why there’s been this pretend break up.

Winston’s worked that out, even if Bryce Edwards can’t;

Read more »