Epsom

Josie Pagani is in search of more “incestuous, polygamous P-smokers in Epsom”

Josie thinks John Key had the worst weekend of his career so far

National is in trouble.

[Last night’s] TV3 poll put NZ First over 5%, which could make them king maker. No-one knows, least of all John Key, who they’ll pick after the election. But we do know Winston has a case for utu against John Key.

To add to John Key’s woes, Act has saddled itself with serious libertarians over the second choice poodle, John Boscawen , whom the Nats were making it known they preferred after poodle of preference, Rodney Hide, demurred.

It turns out that when Don Brash appalled Epsom voters by calling for cannabis to be decriminalized, Act thought the problem was he didn’t go far enough.

Mr Whyte says he won’t impose his views on the party. But Act just elected him leader, so the party presumably like his views.

A true libertarian is a warrior against all government regulation, a defender of the individual, a missionary for freedom. So presumably he’s not just on about letting people in Epsom use methamphetamine, he also would logically support their right to make it and sell it in Epsom too. What right has the government to tell us what to consume or sell?

When I write stuff like that, people say I’m being hateful and nasty.

But she does flail about a bit   Read more »

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I’d say Act is rooted now

In a strange decision Act has pretty much decided its own fate today with the election of Jamie Whyte as leader and the interminably boring, yet very clever, David Seymour as it’s Epsom candidate at this years election.

The Herald reports:

Writer and philosopher Jamie Whyte is Act’s new leader and David Seymour will be the party’s candidate in Epsom at the election later this year.

The decision was made by the Act board today and is due to be officially announced at 3 pm.

Dr Whyte is expected to take over in about a month at the party’s AGM.

Dr Whyte, aged 48, has recently returned to live in New Zealand from abroad and has only recently become active in the party.

Mr Seymour, aged 30, first stood for Act in 2005 in Mt Albert against former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Last election he stood in Auckland Central.  Read more »

Oh those ex-All Blacks always get a free pass

The NZ Herald reports:

A police officer has been suspended from duty after he was charged alongside a former All Black over a violent attack on a taxi.

The Herald can reveal that former All Black loose forward Sione Lauaki, 32, and Constable Takao Cocker, 31, both appeared in the Auckland District Court after the alleged incident on December 13.

Police allege the pair intentionally damaged a taxi about 3.30am at Greenwoods Corner, Epsom.

Greenwoods Corner? At 3:30 AM? Greenwoods corner is a sleepy little suburban village with barely a restaurant and certainly no bars open tot hat time of the night. How can an All black and a copper be in Greenwoods Corner at 3:30 AM clearly tanked so as to have na altercation with  taxi driver.

What is going on at 3:30 AM at Greenwoods Corner, Epsom?

Google Street View

Google Street View

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Hooton making the Brash play

Word from my sources in Act say they can’t believe that Matthew Hooton is making the same play as Don Brash. His overtures to them privately seem to be along the lines of “Make me the candidate for Epsom or I will set up another party and crush you”. Act is immune to that and the overtures of failed National party members.

It seems he is not content with a half billion dollar wrecking fiesta on Chorus and now wants to add a small political party to his wrecking CV.

Political commentator Matthew Hooton isn’t ruling out taking a tilt at the Epsom electorate, but it seems unlikely it would be under the ACT banner.

He says he’s flattered by speculation that he could be the party’s new leader, but has rubbished ACT’s chances of recovering its political standing.  Read more »

Will John Key sell out Mark Mitchell in Rodney?

Stephen Mills opinion piece on stuff talking about the combinations of parties and options that will keep John Key in power after 2014.

John Key played the integrity card by ruling out New Zealand First as a coalition partner in 2008, but now he faces the unpleasant choices of courting New Zealand First and/or undertaking high-risk and possibly futile electorate plays in Epsom or Rodney – or a combination of all three.

John Key is making the same kind of noises Helen Clark did in her second term about wanting to stay at all costs. Clark stole $800,000 of tax payers money to spend in the last crucial week of the election campaign, and did a dodgy deal with Winston.  Read more »

Is Farrar telling the Conservatives to concentrate on East Coast Bays?

David Farrar blogs about reports the Conservatives are thinking of campaigning in Epsom:

Actually I would say Epsom is more liberal than other electorates such as Tamaki.

My belief is that Paul Goldsmith will become MP for Epsom at the next election, so long as his name is on the ballot paper. I don’t think Epsom wants to become the tactical voting capital of NZ.

If I was advising the Conservatives, I’d tell them to look for a seat where it is likely a National MP will retire in 2014. Their chances are best there.

Farrar is always good at analysis, and will tell you that winning a seat from an incumbent is near impossible. This means Colin Craig will struggle to beat the extremely popular local MP Mark Mitchell in Rodney, who already pasted him once, or the high profile and high name recognition Maggie Barry in North Shore.

This leaves just one seat north of the harbour bridge, East Coast Bays. For some time now it has been rumoured that Murray McCully has been offered three years practicing diplomacy in gay Paris, where he can pretend to be ambassador while examining the cultural implications of the Folies Bergere from the New Zealand taxpayers perspective.

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The Difference between Epsom and Rodney

John Armstrong talks about Mark Mitchell being asked to take a dive to let Colin Craig win Rodney to give National a life line. The precedent is when Don Brash endorsed Rodney Hide in Epsom, at the expense of Richard Worth, and Paul Goldsmith was told not to campaign in Epsom in exchange for a safe list position.

The difference between Worth, Goldsmith and Mitchell is Mitchell has a safe blue seat, he has a 20 year career ahead of him, and like most National back benchers it is in his best interests to see National go into opposition so he can get a promotion when all the senior people leave.

Richard Worth was dependent on Don Brash for a job after 2005 so he toed the line. Paul Goldsmith does what he is told and knew what he was getting into when he ran for Epsom. Paul has admirable ideological perspectives but this does not necessarily translate to vote winning. Mark Mitchell, on the other hand, has huge vote winning potential, a strong electorate infrastructure who are now all behind him, and a bright future that becomes only brighter if National loses in 2014.

It is hard to see Mark Mitchell take a dive. A guy who has a track record like Mark likes a scrap, and won’t shy away from one no matter who it is with. Peter Goodfellow is scarcely going to have him quivering in his boots. Mark is used to facing really scary people like armed offenders as a police officer and a whole lot of seriously bad, heavily armed arabs in the middle east, hell bent on killing him.

Really stern words from Peter Goodfellow or Greg Hamilton will likely be met with a polite “Get Fucked”. Far better that National looks to throw McCully under the bus if they really want Colin Craig holding them to ransom.

Guest Post – David Garrett

The continuation of David Garrett’s guest posts on the Rise and Fall of the Act Party.

Previous installments: Part one, Part two.

Decline and fall ? Part III

In April 2011 Rodney Hide told Don Brash  he would support Brash as leader of ACT, thus putting to an end what was in effect a hostile takeover, and the public washing of dirty laundry which was  by then occurring almost  daily.  Things came to a head rather quickly, which meant the “setup” the day after the leadership change  was odd, to say the least.

Brash was the leader of a party he had joined two days before, but had no seat in the House. Rodney and John Boscawen were both MP’s and  Ministers of the Crown.  Brash wanted Rodney gone – from parliament if not the earth – because Brash  viewed Hide as “toxic”, and the proximate cause of all of ACT’s problems. In his imagined perfect world, Hide would  simply disappear, and be replaced as MP for Epsom  by John Banks, a man who did not seem any kind of “fit” with many of ACT’s  principles.

However, Hide had the confidence of the Prime Minister, and was also committed to being the “best MP for Epsom”, a position he had won and then held at two successive  general elections. He saw no reason to resign from either position, and in my view he was quite justified in  seeing  things that way. Whether one agreed or disagreed with Hide’s strategic view, there had never been any question of his competence or work rate, either as a Minister or an MP.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 03:  ACT MP John...

ACT MP John Boscawen looks on at a press conference after the first ACT Party Caucus Meeting on May 3, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

The situation was ripe for the kind of shambles that is now ironically being played out a year or so later – an ongoing and unwelcome distraction for the government, and daily further ignominy for ACT. Thankfully for all concerned, fate had delivered   John Boscawen as Deputy Leader of the Party,  a man disliked by no-one important, and trusted by anyone who mattered  as an honest broker.

One could write another book – albeit an  unsaleable one  – on the machinations which occurred in an attempt  to resolve the apparent impasse. When the smoke cleared, Brash had agreed not to continue trying to rid himself of Hide “by lunch time”, Hide had agreed to step down at the 2014 election, Boscawen became the leader of the parliamentary caucus, and the bit players continued their roles.

While all this was happening,  back at party HQ Brash was selling the idea of his mate Banks succeeding Hide as candidate and then MP for Epsom.  Those with much longer track records in ACT than me remain puzzled how Brash convinced the Board to accept Banks as the vehicle for bringing Brash himself, and presumably one or two others into parliament at the 2014 election.

Everyone else has a theory, so here’s mine. Brash had promised the Board two things if he was leader of the Party. First,  that he would bring in large sums of money which would not be forthcoming if Hide remained. Second, he would increase the Party’s vote at the election later in the year to at least 15%. It is hugely ironic given the public perception of ACT as “the rich pricks party” that in the first quarter of 2011 it was as usual broke, and scrabbling to pay the bills.

We now know that the party managed to raise and spend almost $1.3 million at the 2011 election. Presumably,  some of that money had begun to flow in  as soon as Brash became leader. If so, it  seems credible  to assume that the Board were persuaded that Brash was indeed  the new messiah – after all he had pulled off a coup that had seemed laughable only weeks before, and his promises of being able to deliver money were coming to fruition. Surely a party vote of  15% – Brash apparently thought it would be more like  40% – was as deliverable as the money?  As long as  they followed the prescription of the good doctor.

So Banks was confirmed as MP in waiting in Epsom, and the train clattered on, its couplings increasingly strained, but still in one piece. For a while, it must have seemed that the storm clouds had cleared, and after November 2011, there would be a solid ACT caucus of Brash, Banks, John Boscawen and two or three others. Senior ACToids have apparently always been very optimistic.

Then, a new bombshell. John Boscawen announced he would not contest the election and would retire from politics “to spend more time with his family”, a well used political cliché normally employed to cover up something sinister. Since John is unmarried and has no children, it was assumed by the feverish media that the real reason for John’s decision must surely be something else. Wrong again. John meant exactly what he said, and knowing him as I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had to explain to him  what the cliche normally meant.

For me, the next seemingly inexplicable decision was to abandon the Party’s law and order focus completely in favour of education and the usual “market forces and deregulation” economic policies. This despite the Party having achieved a major victory in the “three strikes” legislation, and  for that and other reasons, having the tacit support of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, probably New Zealand’s most effective lobby group.

The appointment of a 25 year old university student as Justice Spokesman, and the concurrent  release of some totally silly policies led quickly  to Garth McVicar publicly telling his supporters that ACT had lost its way, and urging them to consider which other party best articulated SST’s goals. This was a not-so-subtle steer in the direction of the fledging Conservatives. The result?  ACT got  a lower Party vote than the Mana Party, and the Conservatives – which none of the pundits  had  taken  seriously – got 2.8%,  six months after being formed. Coincidence? Who knows.

Then three months after the worst election result in its history, the Banks fiasco. A week is certainly a long time in politics, and who knows what the coming  sitting week will bring. Every political columnist has a theory or a prediction. The end of the week could see anything from Banks resigning from parliament – which in my view is unlikely – to the vultures in the mainstream media finding some new sideshow upon which to demonstrate how far the fourth estate has fallen since the likes of Ian Templeton or even Barry Soper began their careers as political journalists.

I understand that much of the debacle surrounding Banks stems from his refusal to take advice – which must surely have been to  STFU and keep his head down. As Rodney Hide noted last Sunday, Banks is a politician from another era. He was used to Ministers giving press conferences – from which they might exclude journos they didn’t like. He was used to  a time when journalists called Ministers “Mister” and wouldn’t dream of chasing  them through building lobbies thrusting microphones up their noses. He must think he has mysteriously found himself elected to  a foreign and not the New Zealand parliament. As they say, the past is another country.

Can ACT survive all this? Who knows.  Hide and others have pointed out that ACT has been written off many times, but Phoenix like, somehow always rises again. For what it is worth, I doubt it can survive the collective  blows inflicted on it which I have traversed in these three posts.  Even if it does manage to stay alive to  contest the next election, if the Conservative Party can avoid being branded “just another bunch of God botherers” and do significantly better than ACT in 2014,  I believe, with some sadness, that  would indeed be the final ACT, and the end of a remarkable story.

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Still getting it wrong

Yesterday I blogged about Paul Goldsmith using the title Mp for Epsom, when this is demonstrably incorrect.

A few little tweaks later and all is fixed…or is it? …seems the meta tags haven’t been changed yet.

Quite clearly at the top of the browser in the title it still describes him as “MP for Epsom”.

Although it’s second nature for Goldsmith to be rude to the paid help, he clearly hasn’t jumped up and down enough about how his website still describes himself as the MP for Epsom.

I guess it’s hard to be on top of things sometimes, like following Parliamentary rules properly and not risking complaints to the speaker’s office about misleading constituents.

MP for Meerkats perhaps?

Interesting that Paul Goldsmith is describing himself as the MP for Epsom, which is of course incorrect. The Hon. John Banks is the MP for Epsom.

He is a scum List MP who lives in Epsom – a completely different kettle of fish.

Not sure the speaker would agree with Goldsmith’s describing himself as such….perhaps the Member for Meerkats would be more accurate?