Archives for category: Uncategorized

Louder Than A Bomb

If you’re wondering what happened last night: NZ had a 77% voter turnout, slightly higher than in 2011 which was the lowest in a CENTURY. One thing we should all be able to agree on is that this is not the sign of a healthy democracy.

I think it was a few things that went wrong for the left, but I put a reasonably large chunk of the blame for an embarrassingly low voter turnout on our shameful, easily-manipulated media and its 3-year long one-sided, and particularly aggressive argument against anyone that challenged the Key government.

The bullshit polls, the pundits who have championed them for the last few years and the resulting self-fulfilling prophecy on election day – if you were only following the mainstream media this election you would think the left were a bunch of screaming, unreasonable liars using scaremongering to blow insignificant things completely out of…

View original post 2,137 more words

So, there’s been a lot of talk lately about whether, as Cunliffe says, “A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National” is true or not.

This is an interesting question, and if Cunliffe is correct when he says four-out-of-five voters on the Māori Electoral Roll are planning to party vote Labour, actually quite an important one for them.

In balancing this question out, I want to say Te Ururoa Flavell has, of course, repeated many times that he believes they can work with anyone. He also keeps saying that many people think you can only vote for the Māori Party if you’re Māori, which is not true.

Oh Te Ururoa! So naïve. Let me tell you something. I am a Pākehā. I voted for the Māori Party in 2008. Part of the reason for this is that they were mostly ex-Labour candidates, and I felt, fairly liberal. I wanted Māori to have stronger voices and more say in the direction of our country, and believed they had right to the foreshore and seabed. I believed this would be good for us all. But I would never ever vote for them again. I felt completely betrayed by their decision to join National in forming a coalition. I cannot even explain how much of a backhanded slap that felt, not just to me, but to their ability to actually give Māori a strong voice.

EDIT — To clarify, I do buy the comment “it takes courage to sit at the table”. And I guess I would feel like I understood their decision to join the coalition if there were any evidence that (as Te Ururoa Flavell says) they did soften some of National’s plans. But I haven’t seen much evidence, the Māori Party haven’t provided any, though insisting upon it, and in this instance the end seems not to have justified the means.

And what exactly do they list as their achievements? Whānau Ora? Are you kidding me? Six years in cabinet and that’s it? If you look at their aims (Māori ownership of the foreshore and the seabed, retirement age for Māori to be reduced to 60, tax reductions, teaching of Māori and Pacific history in schools), they pretty much achieved nothing that wasn’t already on National’s agenda.

So, Cunliffe says that National have been fundraising for them. Yep, I understand why. He’s shit scared that his coalition partners are so weak. It’s really a knife-edge for ACT and the Māori Party at the moment (and he seems to be actively trying to cannibalize United Future’s “hunters and fishers” vote … cool guy). He should be scared, especially since National know the polls are biased and that Labour always does better when the turnout is higher (which I really think it’s going to be this year), and National always does around 5-10 points worse than the polls say (depending on the poll).

And Labour’s coalition partners are so strong right now. Coupled with Cunliffe’s increasing confidence in interviews, debates and in general, it’s starting to look a little bad for Team Key. Not to mention how far off track the campaign has gone for them due to a little 166-page book.

So, back to my point — is Cunliffe right when he says a vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National? 

Yeah, I think he is. And I think he’s right when he says that if you’re planning to party vote Labour and give your electorate vote to the Māori Party, and you want a change in government, you’re sort of shooting yourself in the foot. 

Because the question is not “Will the Māori Party make a coalition with Labour?”, the real question is “Will the Māori Party make another coalition with National?” 

And we already know the answer to that.

Maori-Party-and-John-Key-Te-Ara

The following is a non-exhaustive list of various debates and interviews available online. If I have missed any, or there’s anything you’ve seen that you think should be added, tell me in the comments.

The comments with each piece are my own personal opinion and should not be taken as gospel.

Will be updated as new debates are aired — Added Native Affairs Maori Electorate debates link 10th Sept, TV3 Leaders’ Debate Decision ’14 links 11th Sept

 

One News First Leaders’ Debate

http://tvnz.co.nz/one-news/s2014-ep1-video-6066764

Host: Mike Hosking

Attendees: David Cunliffe (Labour), John Key (National)

Hosted by Mike Hosking, the big surprise of the night was Hosking’s unexpected success at neutrality. Who’da thunk it? Cunliffe performed well, and by most accounts was deemed to have won, despite the fact that the online/text voting on the night said otherwise. (Admittedly, TV3s online system broke down halfway through, so hopefully they work that out if they plan to use it again.) Key seemed a little on the back foot, kind of looked tired and even gets called out by Hosking on the practical inadequacy of National’s housing policy. Cunliffe actually in his element somewhat.

Best line: National is our past, Labour is the future (Cunliffe)

Cringe line: The land is our birthright (Cunliffe — awkward, dude, awkward.)

 

The Green Room

https://www.greens.org.nz/greenroom

Host: Russell Brown

Attendees: Metiria Turei and Russel Norman

Filmed at Golden Dawn (Tavern of Power) in Ponsonby, the Green Party’s companion piece to the first Leaders’ Debate, meant to be played in the ad breaks. I went to the filming, loads of fun. It’s nice the Green Party are taking a constructive and fun approach to the media still behaving like New Zealand has a two-party political system and making their own platforms.

 

The Christchurch Press Leaders’ Debate
or the Second Leaders’ Debate

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10449997/Press-leaders-debate-2014-Live-tonight

Host: Joanna Norris (editor the Press)

Attendees: David Cunliffe (Labour), John Key (National)

I personally found this debate a little hard to watch — I found myself turning the volume up and then down and then up again. The hosts are often quite quiet and Key and Cunliffe are quite loud. The debate properly starts about 30-40 mins into the recording. Highlights for me included the host telling the audience they could “nip to the loo” in the break. Only in New Zealand, eh?

Key performs more strongly in this debate but general feeling seems to be that it was a tie. Fans of either politician will probably disagree. National still haven’t released their economic package, so some aspects of the debate feel overly focussed on criticising Labour as a result. Lots of talk about the Christchurch rebuild, naturally.

Cunliffe fails to articulate Labour housing policy clearly, giving Key an in to mislead people. Key continues to try to make “Five new taxes” a thing, but sounds shrill, annoying and looks a bit hypocritical when you consider the fifteen new taxes National have introduced. Keep shouting it though, John — maybe 60th time’s a charm?

John Key also accuses Labour of “buying votes” in the same breath he talks about possible tax cuts. It’s all about timing, John. Work on it.

Best Line: Cameron Slater can get an OIA request approved faster than I can get a pizza (Cunliffe)

Keyism: That’s a just wish list

 

The Campbell Live Minor Parties Debate
or Dinner with the Deciders

http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/campbelllive/dinner-with-the-deciders-2014090321

Host: John Campbell

Attendees: Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party), Winston Peters (NZ First), Metiria Turei (Green), Jamie Whyte (ACT), Laila Harré (Internet-Mana), Peter Dunne (United Future), Colin Craig (Conservative)

This online version is about twice the length of the version aired. It was initially supposed to include Key and Cunliffe, but as they both pulled out, Campbell went ahead with airing a slightly less formal event.

There’s a lot of discussion about validity of the Maori Electoral Roll (which is interesting and all, but I had to say I agreed with Te Ururoa Flavell of the Maori Party when he points out it’s essentially ten minutes they could have been speaking about well, anything else), and a lot of talk about the Greens plan for child poverty — a strong performance from Metiria in my opinion.

It definitely does make you realise the extent of the stark ideological divide between the parties — essentially Conservative candidates Colin Craig and ACT’s Jamie Whyte on the right with their neoliberal nonsense, the parties like Internet-Mana and Greens, who argue (correctly I might add), that many of Whyte’s claims are untrue and ideological, and the who-knows-quite-where-they-sit-are-they-centrist United Future and NZ First. Basically all of them think that Craig’s tax plans are silly and unrealistic.

Winston performs quite well, although there were a scary few split seconds at the end where it looks like he momentarily forgets what he’s about to say in the middle of speaking. Being Winston, he recovers well. Phew! I felt nervous for him for some reason.

 

The Great Climate Debate

Host: Samantha Hayes

Attendees: John Minto (Internet-Mana), Russel Norman (the Green Party), David Parker (Labour), Tracey Martin (New Zealand First), Tim Grosser (the Minister for Trade and Climate Change, National), Nancy Tuaine (the Maori Party).

Held in Auckland’s Q Theatre and live streamed at various locations (as well as online obviously) around the country, this debate features some party members we don’t alway hear from.

Samantha Hayes ably hosts the evening, and I was quite impressed at the forthrightness of a lot of her questions. She says at the outset that the debate is not around whether climate change is happening or whether people are causing it, that that is taken as consensus, and follows it with a quip about it being good luck that neither the ACT nor Conservative parties accepted an invitation.

Great audience and online participation, a well-planned and executed event.

 

One News Multi-Party Leaders’ debate

http://tvnz.co.nz/one-news/s2014-ep2-video-6073852

Host: Mike Hosking

Attendees: Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party), Winston Peters (NZ First), Russel Norman (Green), Jamie Whyte (ACT), Hone Harawira (Internet-Mana), Peter Dunne (United Future), Colin Craig (Conservative), Brendan Horan (Independent)

First, and most obviously, what a sausage fest. Anyway, that’s out of the way now.

So, was I the only person who’d completely forgotten about Brendan Horan? I’m thinking not. Let’s ignore him now. He won’t be back.

For me this debate went some way to proving what I’d already been thinking — the Green Party, whether you like it or not, should be part of the main Leaders’ Debate. Their policy is well-defined, clearly thought out, smart and economically viable. I can’t think of any other minor parties who have policy that articulate or encompassing. In fact, it’s kind of embarrassing how focussed on ideology or the past some of the parties are. Can we have the Greens in the main debate yet? Russel Norman outclassed the other dudes on the stage, and rose above the random insults the other politicians slung at each other.

Not at all surprising: Jamie Whyte thinks that Rogernomics “saved New Zealand in the 1980s” (And thinks his children could do better than working at McDonalds, but dubiously tries to save it by claiming McDonalds is nutritional. Okay, weird guy.) A bit surprising: He believes ACT represents the middle-class. Is it too soon after the last time to call him weird again? But hey, who cares, he’s really there to prop up National.

Everyone wants to talk about Kim Dotcom except Hone.

Colin Craig… That guy! I get the impression the other MPs are gonna pool together to buy him a dunce cap for Christmas.

Peter Dunne didn’t set out to be spectacular, which I think we’d all assumed by now right?

Best Line: I don’t know, I couldn’t hear them since they were talking over each other all the time.

 

The Nation: The Deputies Debate

http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/thenation/debate-economy-and-coalitions-2014090613

Host: Lisa Owen

Attendees: David Parker (Labour, Finance Spokesperson), Bill English (National, Finance Minister)

Bill English and John Key just don’t seem to agree a lot at the moment do they? To raise GST or not, how much their maybe-we-hope-so-no-definitely-we-mean-it-this-time-or-do-we tax cuts will be or whether they can even say. That’s okay, “voters know the style of the government” so no sweat.

When the hell will National release their fiscal policy and how long can they put it off for? Honestly, this is getting a bit silly. Did I hear Bill say Monday? Oh, no sorry, only “a bit more detail” on Monday.

Bill English helpfully encourages Parker to clarify that Labour defines a family home as the home your family is living in. Thanks for clearing that up guys.

Cool news! Bill English doesn’t answer “hypotheticals”. Sad news! Bill English doesn’t understand what a hypothetical is.

Best Line: I call it the “Collins Tax Cut” (Parker)

 

Native Affairs Maori Electorate debates

https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/reporters/native-affairs

Host: Mihingarangi Forbes

These debates cover each Maori electorate, with appearances from top candidates for each electorate. I’ve just discovered these tonight and haven’t had a chance to check any out yet, but I’ve heard they’re great. I’ve always liked Mihingarangi Forbes, so it’s promising.

 

TV3 Leaders’ Debate Decision ’14

http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-1-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-2-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-3-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-4-2014091021
http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/decision-14-leaders-debate—part-5-2014091022

Host: John Campbell

Attendees: John Key (National), David Cunliffe (Labour)

 

Other useful things to watch/listen to

The Hot Seat

Election panel interviews with Newstalk ZB‘s Rachel Smalley and NZ Herald‘s Audrey Young, Toby Manhire and Fran O’Sullivan.

I can’t say I thought every line of inquiry by the interviewers was exactly what I wanted to know, still, nice to hear a party get a real opportunity to discuss some issues in a little depth. Each conversation is around an hour long.

The Hot Seat: Russel Norman and Metiria Turei (Green Party)

The Hot Seat: Jamie Whyte (ACT)

The Hot Seat: Colin Craig (Conservative)

The Hot Seat: Peter Dunne (United Future)

The Hot Seat: Laila Harré and Hone Harawira (Internet-Mana)

The Hot Seat: David Cunliffe (Labour)

The Hot Seat: Te Ururoa Flavell (The Maori Party)

The Hot Seat: John Key (National) This was recorded before the release of Dirty Politics which is why the topic isn’t mentioned.

Anyone find Winston? He appears to be absent.

 

Newstalk ZB’s Leaders Breakfast

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/election/ondemand/333450484-mhb—leaders-breakfast–david-cunliffe—part-1
http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/election/ondemand/1529609465-mhb—leaders-breakfast–david-cunliffe—part-2
http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/election/ondemand/850630494-mhb—leaders-breakfast–david-cunliffe—part-3
Video links here: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/shows/breakfast/highlights/mhb-election-leaders-breakfast-sep2014

Host: Mike Hosking

Attendees: David Cunliffe

Enough Capital Gains Tax conversation to shake a stick at. Cunliffe seems to be going from strength to strength! What is happening? It’s gold. Talk about polls, which as you can imagine Mike “Team Key” Hosking is happy to focus on given their current readings (which you can make a strong argument are nonsense, but that’s not for here). They talk about coalition with the Greens and New Zealand First, and what that might look like, whether he trusts Russel Norman and Winston Peters. (Hosking strangely ignores Metiria Turei. Interesting Hosking, very interesting.) Internet-Mana comes up again. Bored with this now, he’s been clear, move on, new questions.

I just finished reading Dirty Politics. What can you say?

Oh dear.

Regardless of the outcome of this situation, I personally feel somewhat relieved and grateful that Nicky Hagar has uncovered the answers to a few questions, even if while doing so he has shone a light on a lot more questions.

On p.119 of Dirty Politics Hagar writes:

Many ordinary people began to feel that something was not right, that a dirty kind of politics was at work.

He’s right.

My own growing concern over the oddly intimate relationship the Key National Government has had with much of New Zealand media was sparked several months ago. It is clear now that the driving force behind this was the manipulation by the Party via proxy attack-dogs Whale Oil and Kiwiblog, alongside other organisations. It also eventuates that their influence on the mainstream media was hotly contested in under-staffed newsrooms and based on a not insignificant amount of fear.

Dirty_Politics_Oh_dear

The media’s (then) strange complicity in selling the National message was clear even when covering Key’s blunders. In many instances, the framing of a story alone made it borderline propaganda. Other times, journalists failed to press the Prime Minister, and allowed him to repeat pre-written party-political broadcasts — failing to confront the issue that he doesn’t answer questions. (Although there have been a few noteworthy exceptions to that, which are somewhat illuminating if you are media-savvy.) Other times, the story is dropped altogether, worn-out by the Prime Minister’s tired repetitions.

Or instead — BANG! — a sudden scandal involving the left, seemingly out of no-where (not actually no-where though! From Slater&Collins&Farrar&Key): a misrepresented letter; an Official Information Act request of little relevance but ingenious timing; who visited Dotcom how many times when; whether someone has a copy of Mein Kampf … But never a story about anything that seems to matter, and never in any great depth — just more one-liners and tired, tired, oh-so-tired accusations of corruption that never quite add up to anything but providing ample ammunition for accusations of untrustworthiness for politicians and partisan political commentators alike. (And fun-time accusations that “the left doesn’t want to talk policy”, which the media reinforces by failing to report policy! )

And oh! the talking heads do talk, don’t they? Cameron Slater and David Farrar are one thing, but don’t forget Key’s other partners in the embarrassing politics-blogosphere-media three-way handshake! Our long-time friends, the World-Infamous-in-New-Zealand Paul Henry and our “impartial” upcoming moderator of the Leader’s debate, Mike Hosking — with his NewstalkZB radio show where he chums it up with the PM about anything but politics. (But the Left don’t want to talk politics!)

They talk a lot, don’t they? But do they ever say anything worth listening to? Do they ever listen to themselves talk? Do they listen to the answers to their questions or are they just waiting until it’s their turn to talk again?

Coverage of recent politics have made it hard to figure out what’s going on in New Zealand politics. There’s so much blame and accusation, you’re hardly to be blamed if you were put off.

Voter disengagement and political fatalism is exactly what they want:

‘There are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continue to turn out, and drives away the independents.’ In short, many people simply stop participating in politics. If politicians cannot be trusted, if politics looks like a petty or ugly game and if no one seems to be talking about the things that matter, then what’s the point of bothering to participate? Just leave them to it. There are innovations in US Republican Party thinking on this point: election tactics do not have to be just about winning votes; they can be equally effective if groups of people in society just stop voting altogether. We should not assume that everyone thinks low voter turnout is a bad idea. (p.132, Dirty Politics)

Please don’t let them put you off. A healthy democracy is dependent upon participation from the people. That’s you. Our politicians need you. And not just every three years when an election’s on. All the time.

Politicians need you to question them.

Need you to critique them.

Need you to keep them honest.

Push them for the answers and don’t let them put you off with trivia or spin.

Make them talk about the things that matter. Like policy, which I’ll spend a little time on, because I’m not trying to avoid it.

All of the political parties are trying to get their message out right now, but you might not get at it yourself if you don’t do a little digging around. Check out political websites and social media. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how we communicated these things in the past, but in this pocket of time, the internet’s always going to be your best bet.

What’s their plan on child poverty? What do they plan to do about environmental issues? What about climate change? Do they even believe in climate change? What about public transport? Health? Education? Tax? What do they plan to do about NZ’s growing inequality? Welfare? Employment relations? International relations issues and agreements like the TPPA? Government transparency and accountability? Do they even mention some of these issues or brush them aside?

Think carefully about who you vote for in the upcoming election. This is our chance to evaluate our politicians, and for me at least, one section on John Key (Prime Minister)’s report card is headed “Ethics and conduct”.

You make your own evaluation of course. I’d recommend you take into account all the current available evidence, personally. I think you should know what kind of politics our government is engaged in.

The fallout from the book, and National and Key’s fates, are still undecided at present. This is worthy of note, because there are some in the media who are saying the decision is already made.

But unfortunately for National, I do not think these allegations are “dissolving”, “what ifs” or “a screaming left-wing conspiracy theory”. And I do not think people will be pleased with what they read in Dirty Politics.

And the decision about this is not made by talking heads in the media. It’s made by us.

The media will have some very different decisions to make.

 

%d bloggers like this: