Rob Hosking

Rob Hosking cuts through the Mt Roskill bullshit

Rob Hosking is perhaps the only journalist to cut through the Mt Roskill bullshit emanating from other media and Andrew Little’s band of sycophants.

The Labour Party winning Mt Roskill should not, ordinarily, be subject for much in the way of excitable comment.

In terms of indicating any swing in politics, it is a bit like the National Party winning Waikato. In normal times, it would be barely worthy of comment.

So claims of a “landslide” in Mt Roskill are nonsense. This is more a case of normal transmission being resumed after a period of somewhat tumultuous doubt and confusion.

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Should there be a snap election pre-Christmas?

Matthew Hooton thinks there should be a snap election. So does Rob Hosking. Where they differ is the timing.

NBR?s political commentators are squaring off over the merits of a potential snap election being held later this year.

Rob Hosking, NBR?s political editor, says Prime Minister John Key should call an early election,rather than wait until next spring.

?Governments don?t really do a lot in an election year,? he argues.

?We saw that in 2014 and we?re seeing the [effects] of that now as 2014 is when the whole issue of housing supply should have been cranking up but the government effectively spent nine months posing for selfies.?

He says after the local body elections in November would be an ideal time for a central government election.

Political commentator and NBR columnist Matthew Hooton believes waiting until next year would be a better bet for the government.

Although he says there are good economic reasons for the National to call an election at the end of this year, he says there are good political reasons to hold off. ? Read more »

Rob Hosking on Labour’s problems

Rob Hosking is echoing what is in this month’s INCITE: Politics, which will be released this evening, about the Labour?Party.

Last election was won by National largely because there wasn’t an alternative government on offer: As noted here at the time, the opposition was more a student representative council with delusions of grandeur.

It was thought the lesson might have been learned ? but as 2015 wore on, it became clear it hadn’t been, at least not by the Labour Party.

Oddly enough, the Green Party learned that lesson. Whether you like its policies or not ? and this column has been critical enough of many of them ? the party has been carefully, consciously, positioning itself as ready to take part in a responsible government.

The Labour Party instead is positioning itself less like an alternative government and more like a protest movement.

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Rob Hosking looks at the four camps of flag supporters

Rob Hosking in the NBR looks at the four distinct camps of flag supporters.

[T]here is the whole question of how important the issue actually is.

One of Prime Minister John Key?s less-than-happy moments this year was when he suggested a new flag might be worth billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy.

As a piece of unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable hucksterism and hokum, it takes some beating. A flag might or might not be a good idea: it is not going to earn New Zealand a lot more money.

It wasn?t, in the end, a great choice. A possum?s backside, a vegetarian pirate ensign, a triangle thing which looks like a mix of the Adobe Software and Croxley Stationery logos; and two fern things which have been likened to Weetbix packets.

Partisans ? and it has become very partisan ? have devolved into four camps.

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Rob Hosking on Jacinda Ardern and her flakiness

Rob Hosking adds further comment on Jacinda Ardern and all of her fanbois and fangurlz out there rushing to defend the princess.

The piece I wrote on Saturday did not even mention any supposed attractiveness for that very reason (the ‘pretty vacant’ url was inserted by a head of digital who had been thrashing the Sex Pistols a bit much).

Heh, I wondered where that came from.

I don?t give a damn if she looks like Angelina Jolie or the Elephant Man.

What I do give a damn about is the vapid, substance-free politics Ms Ardern has offered so far.

Her joint run for Labour’s leadership last year, with friend and colleague Grant Robertson, was an empty void. The only thing the two offered was being a “new generation” of politicians ? itself one of the oldest cliches in democratic politics.

While pledging that one was born after 1970 is a promise more likely to be kept than most other political promises, that is about all that can be said for it. ?? Read more »

Rob Hosking examines Labour’s race-baiting

Rob Hosking in the NBR examines Labour’s new found preference for race-baiting.

[F]or Mr Twyford, his form of racial profiling ? based on people?s surnames ? has worked rather well.

It is a high-risk tactic, though. Taking aim at the over-frenzied Auckland property market is one thing: taking aim at the issue of offshore funds flowing into that market and pushing houses out of the reach of local first home buyers is also an extremely legitimate political issue.

I have noted, before, the government?s complacency on the issue: as pointed out back in April, National spent 2014 posing for selfies while the property market burned, and is now playing catch up.

Labour, though, could have made its point without such a crude and explicit holler to racial prejudices.

Beware of geeks bearing spreadsheets
There is a type of political activist who gets mesmerised by numbers on spreadsheets and will brandish them against all common sense. This type of activist ? who appears in all political parties ? has its uses, certainly. However, folks like this tend to relate better to their computer screens than to other people and their work needs to be tempered by a bit of social awareness, sensitivity and downright humanity.

One can easily see a few politico-techy nerds getting all excited, making some assumptions and coming up with ? to take one example used in the data brandished by Mr Twyford ? the nugget that, if your name is Lee, you have a 40% chance of being Chinese.

Only, though, in the kind of geeky universe inhabited by this type of person would it seem a really neat idea to base a political campaign on this. ?? Read more »

Was Robbo white-anting Little too?

Was Grant Robertson white-anting Andrew Little too?

Rob Hosking at NBR seems to think so.

[P]erhaps the most revealing aspect is to do with Mr Little?s colleagues ? what has and what has not happened.

First, what has not: there has been no rush by Labour MPs to defend their leader. Mr Little is very much on his own on this, in Parliament and elsewhere.

Usually, in such matters, with a leader in trouble, colleagues run interference, at question time in Parliament and in the media.

This time: nothing.

Second, what did happen: there was the odd, apparent stuff up, by Mr Little?s leadership rival Grant Robertson, at Parliamentary questions yesterday.

With government ministers desperately keen for the chance to enhance Mr Little?s discomfiture by raising the issue of the unpaid bill, Mr Robertson?s questions to Finance Minister Bill English provided them with just that opportunity.

Asking whether the decision not to cut ACC levies was at to be the result of competently managing and growing the economy, rather than ?ripping off workers and businesses,? Mr English gleefully pointed out that ?it is not the right day for the Labour Party to be talking about ripping off the workers. I mean, at least the workers pay some levy, whereas Andrew Little did not pay any of the bill.?

Now, Mr Robertson is a wily and experienced performer at question time. As a politician, Parliamentary ducks and drakes is by far what he is best at: in fact, his major fault is he often appears to think it is the whole point of politics to score some sort of debating point on the floor of Parliament. Read more »

Rob Hosking on Hager and his motivations and failures

The mouth breathers of the left would have you believe that every prognostication of Nicky Hager is gospel…they are wrong.

Rob Hosking at the NBR explains the disconnect and why Dirty Politics failed.

This confusion over hats was also, ultimately, why Nicky Hager?sDirty Politics?? which dominated so much of politics since August ? was ineffective.

Mr Hager?s supporters claim the book is factual, rather like a documentary. ?Nicky Hager has never been proved wrong!? is not an uncommon claim made by his more mouth-breathy adherents.

Setting aside the fact that anyone claiming this sort of perfection in? another human being is in the grip of religious fervour rather than arriving at any sort of rational assessment, it actually isn’t correct.

A number of the claims within ‘Dirty Politics’ turned out to be quite dubious: the result of Mr Hager getting a hold of communications from Mr Slater at a time Mr Slater was wearing his “I’m Exaggerating Through My Teeth” hat.? Mr Hager can’t be blamed for the blogger’s overblown fulminations but it is hilarious he took so many of them at face value.

But the problem with Mr Hager’s approach, politically, is it asked ? nay, demanded ? to be taken as something other than it was. Read more »

Opposition lining up to push taxpayer funding of political parties

Rob Hosking nails it, all this push by the media and the opposition against donors is leading to a push from opposition parties to demand taxpayer funding of political parties.

Mike WIlliams once acknowledged to me that fundraising was the worse aspect of his job as Labour party president, he’d would have loved taxpayer funding of political parties.

Taxpayer funding of political parties means they don’t have to worry about pesky things like members or the like…so long as you maintain your vote you get cash.

?Nothing would give me greater pleasure? than moving to a system of total taxpayer funding, then-Prime Minister Helen Clark told Parliament in 2008.

It has been a long-standing Labour?Party policy to abolish all private donations to political parties and have them completely funded by the taxpayer, although Miss Clark did not quite have the nerve to implement that when she was in?government.

During the 2002 review of the electoral system the Labour Party made several submissions, from branches as well as an overall body, in favour of moving to full taxpayer funding.

While?Labour did quite well out of corporate donations during much of Miss Clark?s time as leader ? they gathered more than National before the 1999, 2002 and 2005 elections ? the party?has always been aware of a somewhat fair-weather friend, or rather fair weather donor, aspect to this.

It is also one reason the Labour turned so feral over the Exclusive Brethren episode ??and also why its protection of then-government partner Winston Peters, when various corporate donation matters arose during the 2005-08 Parliament involving the New Zealand First leader. Read more »

Why the ‘Big Tool’ won’t work

Rob Hosking explains the logic fail in David Parker’s ‘big tool’.

It’s an interesting idea. One of its origins seems to be the Australian example: its compulsory savings scheme was introduced largely because?the then Labor government of Bob Hawke wanted to provide pay increases for employees but, at a time of high inflation, did not want to do so in any way that would further boost inflationary?pressure.

In the form of the VSR, it would enable the Reserve Bank to not only manage inflation without hiking interest rates, it would also ? and Mr Parker’s speech spent much time on?this ? therefore lead to a lower exchange rate.

This is where the very large evidential leap of the policy occurs.

The ?entire policy rests on the assumption a lower interest rate?will also lead to a lower exchange rate. This is by no means a given: interest rates have been at their lowest rate for much of the period since 2008 and yet New Zealand’s exchange rate has been?at historic highs for much of that period.

There is, in short, nothing to suggest the policy will have the effect which is being promised.The second issue is more political. ? Read more »