Saturday, March 31, 2012

Continuing the second weekus horribilus for John Key...

Reunión con Primer Ministro de Nueva Zelanda, ...
Reunión con Primer Ministro de Nueva Zelanda, Japón. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New Zealand National Party Cabinet minister Ju...
New Zealand National Party Cabinet minister Judith Collins, at the National War Memorial - Wellington - 15 Sep 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nick Smith at the Agpac Opening, November 2009
Nick Smith at the Agpac Opening, November 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Trevor Mallard, New Zealand politician
Trevor Mallard, New Zealand politician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just days after hyperactive National Party government minister Nick Smith fell under the proverbial bus, John key's problems have continued. Nick Smith had admitted gross errors of judgement while he was ACC minister. He will never forget being involved with the former National Party activist Bronwyn Pullar.

The taxpayer will probably pick up the tab for any legal bills associated with the threatened  court   action undertaken by the present ACC minister Judith Collins. She is now feuding with Labour MP's Andrew Little and Trevor Mallard and is demanding apologies from the two members of Parliament, and Radio NZ for reporting their comments. They consider Collin's threats as nothing more than attempts to gag them. Trevor Mallard claims he has never lost a court case  over such petty actions.

John Key has obviously encouraged Collins to take legal action over the matter. Privately he probably hopes she will fall flat on her face.

Key's economic predictions are going down the tube. Standard and Poors comments have not been helpful either.

Recent claims that increasing power charges could see poor seniors having their power disconnected will  cause future headaches. No more Pike River or Christchurch earthquakes to create issues to hide behind.
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Two weekus horribilus for John Key and his administration...

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 21: Prime Minister John Key talks to media about the resignation of Nick Smith at Parliament on March 21, 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand. Minister Smith had been involved in controversy after he appeared to intervene for friend and National Party activist, Bronwyn Pullar with an ACC claim while he was ACC minister. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Nick Smith has gone under a bus after being embroilled in the Pullar ACC letters controversy.He has resigned his cabinet posts before John key felt obliged to sack him. Smith has admitted gross errors of judgement. Ms Pullar considered Nick Smith to be obviously one of her friends in high places? John Key has washed his hands of the whole matter. Any proven connection would see Key following Smith in walking the plank. Such a pity because a lot of people would now like to see the back of John key as much as that of the retreating Nick Smith.  The latter will stay on in Parliament to ensure National retains its one seat majority.

Certainly part of a weekus horribilus for PM John Key.

Read more in my next post here.
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New leadership structure for NZ Greens Party...

NZ Green Party co-leaders, Metiria Turei and R...
NZ Green Party co-leaders, Metiria Turei and Russel Norman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Green Party has pioneered the co-leadership model which has helped us provide representative and dynamic leadership. We think the time has come for further innovation, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

We will be introducing a more inclusive model of leadership that covers youth and rainbow representatives, said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

The Green Party is launching today a broader leadership model that will include male and female youth and rainbow co-leaders. The additional co-leaders will be Holly Walker, Gareth Hughes, Jan Logie and Kevin Hague.

Green Party Co-leader Jan Logie added, "This is a great opportunity it has happened pretty quickly but I think I'm ready to take up the challenge."

Green Party Co-leader Kevin Hague added, "I'm looking forward to providing new leadership and representing the rainbow and shiny pate communities."

Green Party Co-leader Holly Walker, said, "When Metiria and Russel, told me I was like no way, and they were like way, and I was like that's like awesome."

"This is tots gangsta man, I'm gonna tweet this everywhere, said Green Party Co-leader Gareth Hughes.

Initial research by the Parliamentary Library suggests that if there is direct correlation between the number of leaders and voter support then the Green Party support will expand 3 fold from 11% to 33%.

"This is great research, if this works out we might need to expand the leadership again - I can't think of any more new categories for leaders but I will consult with the Party, I'm sure they will come up with some," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

"If the other petals of the party takes up this structure up we will have 18 co-something's that will make us pretty much invincible I reckon," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Election spending returns NZ Elections 2011...

The Kiwiblog Kiwi
The Kiwiblog Kiwi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Party spending in 2011:

The Electoral Commission has released the party spending returns for the 2011 election. I have done a table of them, and the votes they got and hence the cost per vote.
Party Party Vote Expenditure Votes Expend per Vote
Conservative $1,878,337.22 59,237 $ 31.71
ACT $617,035.18 23,889 $ 25.83
Social Credit $34,676.21 1,714 $ 20.23
Greens $779,618.38 247,372 $ 3.15
Labour $1,789,151.95 614,937 $ 2.91
Mana $60,082.31 24,168 $ 2.49
Māori Party $72,172.56 31,982 $ 2.26
National $2,321,216.06 1,058,636 $ 2.19
United Future $27,718.87 13,443 $ 2.06
Alliance $2,407.16 1,209 $ 1.99
Libertarianz $2,759.55 1,595 $ 1.73
NZ First $155,902.86 147,544 $ 1.06
ALCP $4,003.00 11,738 $ 0.34
The Conservatives spent a massive $31.71 per vote. They actually spent more money than Labour, yet still only got 2.7%. This is proof once again that the impact of money on elections is quite modest.
ACT spent 79% of what the Greens did, yet got just 10% of their vote. Also Social Credit spent a large $20.23 per vote.
Of the two big parties, Labour spent more per vote – $2.91 vs $2.19 for National.
The ALCP were the most cost effective getting a vote for every 34c, followed by NZ First who spent $1.06 per vote.
Note that this is just what the party spent on their party vote campaign. I’ll also do an analysis at some stage which includes the taxpayer funded broadcasting allocation.
Interesting that no party spent up to their limit. National spent up to 88% of their limit, the Conservatives up to 79% and Labour 64%.

Acknowledgements and thanks: Kiwiblog
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The beginning of a power struggle within the National government...

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 15: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (R) and Minister Stephen Joyce speak to the media after a speech made at the Auckland Chamber of Commerce Business Vitality lunch at Pulman Hotel on March 15, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. Business leaders joined Prime Minister John Key to hear his views on business and the economy for 2012. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 19: Prime Minister John Key (L) congratulates Finance Minister Bill English after the reading of the budget at Parliament House on May 19, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand. English discussed cuts to social programmes, partial privitisation of some state owned companies, the creation of 170,000 new jobs by 2015 and the Christchurch Earthquake Recover Fund. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Is there a power struggle beginning in the National Party?  The supporters of Bill English and Stephen Joyce beginning to jostle for positions in Cabinet.  As things begin to deterioate for the John Key led National Party New Zealand government; even the polls indicate movement downwards, there is the realisation that John Key could resign as prime minister and as a member of parliament before the next elections.

In time we will be able to see who John Key prefers as his successor, Bill English or Stephen Joyce?

Bill English is already the ex-leader of National and is unlikely to get that opportunity again. While Stephen Joyce is the manipulator and political hitman within the National government, does he have the image to become a prime minister?  I personally don't think he has what it takes - the backer of somebody else perhaps. The old bull and the new young bull? It definately won't be a heifer in the National Party.

If John key reads the political climate in a couple of years and sees the blue tide beginning to go out, he will be off and past Phil Goff. Much will depend on the success of Labour's new  leader, David Shearer. His future is dependant on his ability to take a broad spectrum of NZ society with him. Time will tell!
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Saying no to Labour's right turn

A chance for you to read, review and comment on the following post:

"Saying "No" To Labour's Right-Turn: A Reply To Matt McCarten"

Not Again: Labour politicians have turned right on their Reds before - most recently in 1984. What left-wing trade unionist and commentator, Matt McCarten, seems to have forgotten is that in a political environment dominated by the Right, the "centre" keeps shifting - and not to the Left!

IT’S NOT OFTEN that I find myself in disagreement with Matt McCarten. For the best part of a quarter-century our “take” on the political scene has been distinguished more by the views we shared than the opinions which caused our analyses to diverge. On the question of Labour’s shift to the right, however, I find myself at loggerheads with Matt’s position.

Essentially, Matt’s line is that Labour long ago ceased to be a real left-wing party, and so it is both more honest, ideologically, and much more effective, politically, for Labour to seek the votes of those in the centre of the New Zealand political spectrum, leaving those on the Left to those genuinely left-wing parties, Mana and the Greens.

Under our MMP electoral system, Matt argues, Labour is most unlikely ever to find itself in a position to govern alone. Like John Key’s National Party, it will be forced to seek the support of parties located at a much greater distance from the centre than itself. Providing these parties keep their nerve at the point of negotiating confidence and supply agreements, says Matt, the overall programme of any new Labour-led coalition government will be considerably more left-wing than the manifesto Labour, on its own, presented to the electorate.

But, is Matt justified in assuming that Labour’s coalition partners will be either inclined, or permitted, to keep their nerve and negotiate an agreement at significant odds with that of the dominant coalition partner?

If, as Matt concedes, Labour’s political trajectory is now firmly set; from Goff’s hesitant (and personally discordant) leftism, to Shearer’s eager embrace of the policies associated with the conservative Finnish prime minister, Esko Aho; then a 2014 “win” by Labour will be attributed (both by itself and the right-wing news media) to the electorate’s endorsement of the very same policies. In this context, the ability of the smaller left-wing parties to “force” Labour to embrace radical policy initiatives – policies already “rejected” by a clear majority of voters – will be extremely limited.

The other problem with Matt’s analysis is that it makes no allowance for the impact a right-wing Labour Party is bound to have on the national (with a small “n”) political environment. By reinforcing the Right’s overall ideological dominance, Labour will make it that much harder for all political parties to evince radical left-wing ideas.

This is likely to be especially true of the Greens, who, having broken through the 10 percent threshold in 2011, will be especially reluctant to revert, at least in the public’s imagination, to once again being a radical party of the political fringe. In other words, if Labour shifts to the Right, the Greens are much more likely to shadow them than they are to increase the ideological distance between them. New Zealand leftists should not forget that the Green’s dramatically improved their electoral position in 2011 by tacking to the Right – not the Left.

Matt’s thesis would be much stronger if the Mana Party could be relied upon to motivate and mobilise a significant proportion of the 2011 “Non-Vote” of close to three-quarters-of-a-million New Zealanders. But building a truly mass-party of the Left is almost certainly beyond the intellectual, organisational and financial resources of Mana. And even if, by some political miracle, Hone Harawira proved equal to the task of creating a massive new block of radicalised voters from harassed and impoverished workers and beneficiaries, the change his success would bring to the national political environment would, almost certainly, see Labour tacking back towards the Left. In the circumstances of an electoral uprising of beneficiaries and the working poor, the political centre would no longer be a safe place for Labour to be found.

Read more:
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Wizard intends protesting about the proposal to demolish the Christ Church cathedral...

ChristChurch Cathedral showing the effects of ...
Image via Wikipedia
Christ Church, Cathedral Square, Christchurch.
Image via Wikipedia

The Wizard will be unveiling plans this week to continue the fight to keep ChristChurch Cathedral.

The Wizard will be unveiling plans this week to continue the fight to keep ChristChurch Cathedral.

He's taking out a half-page advertisement in The Press newspaper on Thursday, which he says will have plans about further protest action being organised.

He says many people have approached him, urging that he does something to save the building destined for demolition.

"They're shocked at the arrogance and rigidity of the people in this, CERA is extremely rigid and you can't get anything out of them, the bishop is turning into almost a rude and offensive and upset by even the asking of questions about the cathedral, it's got ridiculous."

He says the gothic-style architecture attracts a large number of the city's tourists, and without them the industry will suffer.

"Christchurch will shrink down in size, it will start to die," he says.

"This is a mad decision, quite mad and there's no need for it."

The Wizard is hoping to organise a peaceful protest march against the Anglican Church who seem determined to pull-down the building.

Meanwhile more than 30,000 Cantabrians have taken the opportunity to say their farewells to the Cathedral.

13,000 went through the opened-up walkway on Saturday, with another 18,000 going through yesterday.

CERA operations manager Warwick Issacs says they wanted to give people the chance to see the cathedral before work starts on its demolition.

He says the numbers exceeded their expectations.

"People are really just keen to get in there and see around the Cathedral Square but also the cathedral itself a
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Centrist Shearer not a let-down for the left - maybe and maybe not...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

A lot of my mates on the left of the political spectrum were perturbed by Labour leader David Shearer's speech this week. The Herald's John Armstrong wrote that Shearer and the Prime Minister had the same vision - they merely disagreed on how to get there.
But isn't every politician's vision on the campaign stump the same? Fairness, equal opportunity, high wages, full employment, an export-led economy, a quality health system, the finest education in the world and apple pie for all?
The truth is that our two main parties long ago gave up pretending they had different routes to get there. The economic model they both follow is free-market, neo-liberal dogma. That means selling as many of our public assets and contracting out as many of our public services to corporations that can be gobbled up by them without indigestion.
As well as that, they then cut corporate and personal income taxes for top earners.
When these politicians are being truthful, they concede the results mean that power and money is transferred to those at the top of the heap. To placate the poor, they say the wealthy will use their new riches to invest in jobs and other worthy initiatives. Instead, we see how some of the rich will build $40 million, grandiose mansions for themselves, despite questions over how they got their money - at least in one case around Paratai Drive. We could build 80 homes for New Zealanders and create more jobs for the same price. Any fool can see that we are tens of thousands of houses short as rents are now more than most New Zealanders actually earn. It shows the market doesn't work.
Former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere was correct when he said the obvious solution was that the state had to get involved to provide the capital, train a construction workforce and, if necessary, subsidise the thousands of families who need a roof over their heads.
Disappointingly, both speeches by Key and Shearer this week cheerfully stuck with the current failed non-interventionist model. My Labour mates who didn't support Shearer in their leadership ballot last year now feel justified.
But they miss the point. I believed Shearer had a better chance of becoming Prime Minister in the next election than any of his colleagues on offer. Under MMP, it's not the biggest party that wins, it's the leader of the main party who can form a majority coalition.
If Shearer went further to the left, he wouldn't grow the coalition but merely succeed in taking votes off his potential allies - the Greens, Mana and NZ First. He'd lose the next election.
That's why I can see why he believes he has to move to the centre. This opens up space on his left for those three parties to increase their support, promoting more progressive policies than his party does. These parties are already on the left of Labour, on economics anyway, and the Greens and Mana are also on social policy.
After the next election, if these three support parties expand their numbers, they can make legitimate demands that any Labour-led government would have to adopt. It's called having your cake and eating it, too.
The positioning that has prompted Labour's apparent tack to the right may seem too clever by half. So you need to consider it alongside the individual actions of our leaders. The Auckland port dispute, for example, is a polarising matter. Therefore watching the conduct of the leaders of our possible next government provides an insight to their future behaviour.
The Greens and Mana's Hone Harawira predictably gave staunch support to the workers. Happily, Winston Peters sided with them, too. And although Shearer is cautious, he decided last Saturday to march and speak in support of the workers. Neither Phil Goff nor Helen Clark would have risked that.
The conduct of the leaders of the four opposition parties last weekend gives me confidence that despite the hopeful right-wing twitters, Shearer won't sell his supporters out. It's a shame we didn't know that about another Labour candidate before we elected him Mayor.

By Matt McCarten |
After reading this article by Matt McCarten I get the feeling there will now be space for a democratic socialist party to the left of Labour -' Shearer's Labour'. Labour claims to be a democratic party. I have thought for some time that there should be an alliance of leftwing parties to discuss the future. Mana perhaps, because the Greens are now an established party of the left with their own Green agenda. Shearer indicated he wouldn't be interested in reforming National's reforms ie welfare,  state servants and privatisation. National-lite? I also get the impression that David Shearer is not interested in industrial reform either. Or what the Liberal Conservatives now call employment reform. Key still wants more employment reform. More attacks on unions negotiation abilities - remember the Employment Contracts Act did not mention unions or trade unionists once. Helen Clark's Government didn't scrap the ECA, it smoothed off the rough edges and renamed it the Empoyment Relations Act.
Quite frankly compulsory unionism should be restored and workers given the democratic right to decide whether they want to retain it or not. The Bolger Government compulsory abolished compulsory unionioism aand made it voluntary - an oxmoron by political morons. I would certainly be keen to be involved in returning some red colour to the baby pink of the NZ Labour Party.
Peter Petterson
Acknowledgements: NZ Herald

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Read Liberation today...

English: Len Brown - New Zealand politician ht...
Image via Wikipedia
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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Matt says: Corporate sadists free to drive workers into dirt...

English: Human Rights logo: "FREE AS A MA...
Image via Wikipedia
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Matt says:  Corporate sadists free to drive workers into dirt. And I agree with every word he has written here...

CMP locked its Marton meat-factory workers out of their jobs until they agreed to cut their pay. Photo / APN

CMP locked its Marton meat-factory workers out of their jobs until they agreed to cut their pay. Photo / APN

There's something really unpleasant going on among some of our business elites. It's as if they hate their fellow New Zealanders - the ones who have to work for a living.
When I was young I'd run into old communists who would regale me about the evils of capitalism. They would warn me that our economic system was corrupt because it encouraged one human being to exploit another. It did seem wrong for someone with money, through inheritance or otherwise, to make money off another person without doing any work themselves.
But given they would offer totalitarian states such the Soviet Union or Mao's China as alternatives, I accepted that our system was a better default, despite its shortcomings.
However, these empires that at least, in rhetoric, were workers' states made our free-world capitalists share some of the wealth with the rest of society.
Many state concessions, such as a free compulsory education, free public health, decent public housing, legislated minimum living wages and universal welfare benefits and pensions, were a way to keep the populace from challenging the system.
The bogeymen in Beijing and Moscow kept our capitalist system in check.
But after the collapse of the Stalinist regimes and the morphing of China to state capitalism, the constraints came off in the "free world". Whether it was Thatcherism, Reaganomics or Rogernomics, the result was the same.
Public assets were sold to multinationals for a pittance; business constraints were off; taxes were slashed for the wealthy; we got user-pay education and health; the boot went into the poor and deregulation of the labour market, with the subsequent drop in job security and income, became the norm.
But even that's not enough. Since the November election, many corporate bosses have taken off their gloves and put on their steel-cap boots. It seems many greedy shareholders in our country have an insatiable need for profits. If they can't screw their customers for more it seems their workforce will have to cough up by doing more work, over longer hours, for less money.
I wonder if there's a deliberate strategy by some boards to employ psychopaths as senior managers on huge incomes to screw their employees any way they can to meet unreasonable profit expectations. It's the only way I can explain how many giant corporations demonise their employees and are hell-bent on doing them over.
How else do you explain multinational CMP meat factory last October locking its Marton workers out of their jobs for weeks until they agreed to cut their pay and accept inferior work conditions? After that sordid victory, the Nelson-based Talley family followed suit last week and locked out 750 meat workers indefinitely until they capitulate and accept lesser wages and work conditions.
Then there's the multinational Oceania expecting its low-paid carers to accept 1 per cent a year extra wages and give up their overtime rates. Line these disputes alongside the debacle at the Ports of Auckland, where the company is trying to advertise for Aussies to come to New Zealand to work on the wharf. The going rate for Aussie workers is $47 an hour, according to their unions. Our wharfies get $27 an hour. Duh!
The Prime Minister asserts he wants to close the gap in wages with Australia. Who would have thought this could be achieved by asking Aussies to halve their pay and move here?
Of course, it's all nonsense. There's no plan to lift wages; it's the opposite. Screw the workers and drive wages down for short-term gain. The result will be that the skilled workforce will move offshore permanently. Employers will then whine they can't get good workers.
There's something deeply disturbing going on in the minds of the directors of these three corporations that think it's acceptable to starve their workers into submission.
Unless our more enlightened employers and politicians tell them to pull their heads in, the New Zealand we know is stuffed.
By Matt McCarten |
We agree with you Matt. This is  something you will be remembered for: Telling it like it is!
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