Archive for the ‘Labour Party’ category

Comings and goings

June 6, 2008

This election is liklely to see a large number of changes to the composition of Parliament. From present polling, it is very likely that there will be more National MPs and fewer Labour ones. But there will also be changes in MPs retiring and being replaced.

So far this Parliamentary term, we have seen the following changes:
Labour:
Jim Sutton to Charles Chauvel
Georgina Beyer to Lesley Soper
Ann Hartley to Louisa Wall
Dianne Yates to Sua William Sio
National:
Don Brash to katrina Shanks
Greens
Rod Donald to Nandor Tanczos
NZ First
Brian Donelly to Dail Jones.

The following changes are likely:
Labour:
Mark Gosche to Carol Beaumont (Maungakiekie)
Steve Maharey to Ian Lees Galloway (Palmerston North)
Paul Swain to Chris Hipkins (Rimutaka)
Marion Hobbs to Grant Robertson (Wellington Central)
Tim Barnett to Brendon Burns (Christchurch Central)
David Benson-Pope to Clare Curran (Dunedin South)
Also going: Jill Pettis and Margaret Wilson (both list)
Expect to retire soon after the election (if lost)
Micheal Cullen (list), Helen Clark (Mt Albert 2011)
Don’t be surprised to see retire in or before 2011 if Labour looses:
Rick Barker (list), Mark Burton (will be list soon), Lianne Dalziel (Christchurch East), Martin Gallagher (will be list soon), Pete Hodgson (Dundedin North), Ross Robertson (Manakau East), and Judith Tizard (Auckland Central, but good chance she will be list soon). Several of the above could be defeated in the election ahead.
National
Bob Clakson to Simon Bridges (Tauranga)
Brian Connell to Amy Adams (Raikia/Selwyn)
Also retiring Katherine Rich, Clem Simich and Mark Blumsky (all list)
Greens
Nandor Tanczos to Russel Norman.

Instead of looking at each case, the important thing is to assess the overall impact of these retirements and their replacements. I’ll begin with Labour. You can see the list is quite long. I added in a list of MPs likely to retire in or before 2011, consisting of MPs who are getting old, past their political used by date, and who may not want to hang around another two or three terms in opposition until Labour returns to office. If all these MPs retire,then only 26 (half) of Labours pre 2005 will remain. Although Labour won’t have 52 MPs for a several years, there will be young people to replace them. Given the mass of MPs leaving, including at the top ranks, those who shine will have plenty of opportunities for promotion. On ideological issues, not much will change. Most of the replacements come from the same trade unions and minority groups that the old MPs came from (is there any Labour MPs who are white hetrosexual males who are not union members?) so no change there. The one area where change will occur is social issues, and sadly its not the change I want. Gradually all the socially conservative MPs will retire. John Tamihere has already gone. Tatio Phillip Field has left Labour, paul Swain is retiring, and Ross Robertson might soon. Eventually Harry Duynhoven and George Hawkins will go to. It is very doubtful that their replacements will support repealing the Civil Unions Act, Prostitution law Reform Act, or Anti-smacking law that their predesesors voted against (in the case of the Anti-smacking law that their predessesors weren’t allowed to vote against). As a result those few social conservatives within Labour will become an ever smaller minority. In fact, I think one would struggle to find one civil union bill or abortion or anti-smacking Bill opponent amongst the ranks of Young Labour. The next generation of Labour MPs (todays Young Labour) will have joined the Party during the Clark years, and thus agree with her government. They will be socially liberal, and carry the same nanny state agenda, from banning smacking to banning smoking in bars to banning fireworks in future, about controlling peoples lives that helen Clark her her cronies have. Most distirbing of all, is that there was not one whisper of dissent at Labours Electoral Finance Act, or the Anti-smacking Bill, in fact both were vocally supported by Young Labour and their associates, indicating that the two aspects of Labour I hate the most, their crusading social liberal nanny state stance (the Anti-smacking Bill being the best example), and their corrupt lust for power at all costs (the Electoral Finance Act and pledge card being the prime examples), will be perpetuated.

Turning now to National, National has already undergone significent renewal since 1999, helped largely by its decimation in its disasterous preformance at the 2002 election. During this time, however, the ideological foundations of the party have shifted little, despite the huge change in members. It is hard to see much difference between the ideological positions and philosophy behind the Forth National Government, and those of the current caucus. National remains split between a centrist faction and harder right wing one, but the prospect of regaining power have put these divisions out of sight. In any case, what matters more here than the overall caucus makeup is the leader and senior MPs. On social issues, most of National was against legalized prostitution, civil unions, the Anti-smacking Bill, but had a substantial socially liberal minority within it. I would be surprised if this changes much, and early indications from the new MPs of 2005 is that they are similar to their predecessors. The retirements have seen 2 social liberals (Rich and Blumsky) retire, as well as two social conservatives (Connell and Clarkson). More important than these retirements is who will replace them. I did disscuss this issue in a private conversation with National Party insider David Farrar several weeks (maybe months ago), and he was of the opinion that National contained a mix of social liberals and social conservatives and that the candidate selections reflected this. It is hard to disagree, and while some social conservatives will be added ( Stephen Franks (although he prefers to call himself classical liberal), Marc Alexander and Sam Lotu-Liga), there are in Nikki Kaye and Hekia Parata new social liberals. On another note, with 7 Maori candidates, 3 Asian and 1 Pacific islander candidates, National is fielding one of its most diverse slate of candidates. Whether it will help them tap into the ethnic minority vote remains to be seen.

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The dirty tricks campaign to defend the EFA

June 5, 2008

The Greens and Labour, having rewritten our electoral laws to their own partisan political advantage, are realising that the public backlash against their dirty tricks, is greater than any benefit they may receivefrom silencing potential opponents with the Act. And partly as a result, they are staring at defeat in the ballot box this election. The whole purpose of the Electoral Finance Act, was not to end the practice of secret donors giving money to parties through trust funds, but help Labours partisan political advantage. When the initial Bill came out, it completely ignored secret donors, instead going overboard in silencing “third parties” (anyone who might run a campaign against Labour). Although the Bill was improved at select committeestage, secret donations are4 still allowed, they just are called “protected donations” and are channelled through the Electoral Commission instead of trusts. And tight restrictions on third parties still remain.

With their bid to steal the election through gerrymandering election spending laws to their advantage set to fail, these parties now face the prospect of a National Goverment (elected ironically as part of a backlash against the EFA) repealing the EFA (something which can’t come soon enough), and introducing new, more sensible electoral finance laws. In order to stop this from happening, the Greens are proposing to set up a sham “citizens jury” on state funding of political parties.

And this proposal is not just one of their wacky dreams. It turns out that 4.3 million dollars have been allocated in the budget for the citizens jury. And it was part of a previous agreement between Labour and the Greens. The terms of reference and advisors to the comittee have not been finalised, but don’t be the least bit surprised if they are done in order to help Labour and the Greens.

A good summary of what a citizens jury is, is availiable here. In short, a group of people are picked randomly from the electoral role, and “educated” (or in this case, brainwashed) on the issues by a group of “experts” (don’t be surprised if Mark Burton, Mike Williams or people like them end up as the experts, and lets admit they are experts. They are experts at dirty tricks) and then consult and come up with conclusions, which are then turned into law. Citizens juries are quite good in theory, as they are independent, represent the general population, and enable ordinary people to participate in the process. Ensuring they have non-biased advice (remember they are selected at random from amongst the country, and thus generally people not highly educated on politics) and truly representative is important.

Anyone with an education in politics can see that the citizens jury in this case is a mask to disguise a pro-Labour comittee as a independent comittee. For a start, if Labour and the Greens really beleived in citizens juries, why didn’t they have one on the EFA before it was introduced? Because they might not have liked its conclusions. Mike Williams in a forum on election funding said we already have a citizens jury, “it’s called Parliament”. This summarises their entire attitude to electoral law. No place for the ordinary people involved (rememeber the retrospective legislation for the pledge card Bill was placed under urgency, so as to deny ordinary people to have a say on it), only those who are elected representatives of the peopel, with the right to rewrite electoral finance laws a bauble of office.

So why have they changed their mind now. Because the New Zealand people might elect a different, less corrupt group of people to represent them in Novemeber (and the election will be in November, as that way will enable Clark and her cronies to cling to the power they love for the longest period of time). The Greens want to fast track the jury, to start and be set up before the election, so that National won’t be able to influence it. And then the jury, with it’s pro-Labour advisors will be brainwashed into reporting what Labour and the Greens want (state funding) and these parties will then use the report of this “independent panel” as a basis for opposing National’s repeal of the Electoral Finance Act (a promise, which they, as National has publicly stated its intentions in this area before the election (something Labour never did), will have a clear public mandate to carry out) and in doing so, subvert the democractic will of the New Zealand people who voted National to get rid of the EFA.

As David Farrar writes, “everything about this is being done the wrong way. The outcome has been predetermined. Instead of being set up in a bipartisan fashion on matters such as the type of electoral system, it has been set up to deliver just one result-increased taxpayer funding of political parties. Labour and the Greens both want that outcome, tried to do it through the EFA, and having somewhat failed are now trying to do it again.”

When dealing with electoral law issues, Labour have a clear record of corruption. We have gone under them, from the early election (2002, held under the utterly preposterous excuse that 11 minutes each day of points of order on the status of the Alliance made Parliament unmanageable), to the cancelled election (the by-election in New Plymouth that never happened, due to Labour passing retrospective legislation enabling Harry Duynhoven to keep his illegal seat in Parliament he resigned by reaplying for Dutch citizenship), to the stolen election (2005 with the pledge card after three warnings from the Chief Electoral Officer previously it was illegal, need we say anything more) to the silent election (this one, with the third parties silenced by the EFA). As Farrar continues, “Labour are quite simply corrupt when it comes to electoral law issues, and any process which involves them as Government choosing the expert panel which advises the Citizen’s Jury should be treated as naked self interest. Hell Mike Williams will probably end up as chair.”

Fortunately, we already have a citizens jury in this country. One that is advised through a free press, was previously advised through the free speech of political and third parties, and consists of 4 million people. And I look forward to that jury giving its verdict on Labour and the Greens come election day.

The Labour Party spin blog

March 13, 2008

One of the new blogs to the blogosphere, and one where posts appear very often, is the standard. The people behind the website, are just as anonymous as National’s donors, despite their frequent calls for more transparency. It has emerged that the Standard is being hosted by the Labour Party. Although Tane explains in the comments that this was a temporary measure as it needed to be shifted as it often crashed because of all the traffic. Even if this is true, it indicates that labour is supporting the Standard, and there probably are connections between the anonymous bloggers and the Labour Party. I would be very surprised if Labour offered to host my site if it had the same problems. Also, Labour Party president Mike Williams has said publicly that “Labour Party activists”(he must know who they are) are behind the blog. Bill English points out herethat there are legal issues involved with Labours new Electoral Finance Act. One can only imagine what The Standard would do if the Exclusive Brethren were caught secretly running a blog attacking Labour, that was hosted by the National Party.

 UPDATE: In the comments section, Iparet from The Standard has offered his explanation. It is worth a read. I will investigate the issue more in the near future.

The Standard has not only used Labours web address. They have also had (it appears) some good lessons in dishonesty and spin from their Party bosses. Yesterday, they put up a new postabout plans from the Canadians to asset strip Auckland Airport, in order to derive hyper-dividends. The post was made on a gross misinterpretation of a linked NZ Herald article, which revealed that the hyper-dividends were to be obtained by exploiting a tax law loophole that has now been closed. I tried twice to comment on the articles error, but both times my comment did not appear in the comments section. When Snelly Boy finally made the point I tried to make, at 3:22 PM, Steve Pierson, the author of the post (and one of the few bloggers who writes The Standard who blogs under his real name) conceded he was wrong, but amazingly, despite admiting he was wrong said “the arguement that the CPF is here to asset-strip still stands”. He also did no editing to his original post. As a result many readers will read it, without all the comments, and go away with misinformed views of the CPF. Keeping the post up unchanged, knowing the information is wrong, is lying to his readers. While on the subject of Auckland Airport, today is D-Day for the bid, and the voting is close.

But in case you are a left winger and and optimistic about the Airport staying in NZ hands I’ve got some bad news for you. The airport has been out of our hands for the last 10 years (since the Government sold its shares in 1998). As I pointed out here 40% of the Airport is owned by overseas (mostly US) hedge funds, and another 14% is already owned by the Canadians. So more than half the Airport is already under foreign control. So much for it being a NZ national asset. But hey, you wouldn’t expect The Standard to spread the word on that, or anything alse that undermines its spin.

Labours challenge

March 12, 2008

Labour faces a difficult challenge this election. They have been in office for three terms, and voters are getting tired of them. Only once, 1969, since 1950 has a Government in New Zealand won a forth term. Things are not going well for Helen. The economy isn’t doing as well as it has been. Voters are feeling the pain with rising petrol and food prices, and many want tax cuts that they only trust National to provide. The Government is also seen by many voters as arrogant, and it has suffered a public backlash against the Anti-smacking Bill and Electoral Finance Act. To make matters worse, Labour suffers in the polls, and is well behind National. Although Labour has been a long way behind National before in the polls(e.g. after the Brash Orewa speech)  the current poll deficit isn’t the result of a one off event (like the Orewa speech) and is very consistent, indicating that many voters have made up their minds about which way to go.

 Things are bleak for Labour. But a comeback in these circumstances is not impossible, but it will be difficult. Helen is a very experienced politician and may have better ideas than I do, but I’m going to try think of a plan for labour to win the election. (more…)

Labour retrospective legislation

February 27, 2008

David Farrar has another case of Labour retrospective legislation. This is for companies giving stappled securities instead of dividends.
I’ve done a bit of research into Labours history of retrospective legislation, and this is what I’ve come up with.
1) July 2003. The State Sector Amendment Act 2003, dealing with “technical” redundancies in some state departments.
2) August 2003: Harry Duynhoven (it goes without saying it was a Labour MP) gets retrospective legislation after he was suppose to loose his seat in parliament by re-applying for his Duch citzenship. Helen Clark also cancelled an election because the timing was bad. In 2002 she called an early election because the timing was good. In another precedent, Helen’s crony then-attorney-general Margaret Wilson ignores the advice of the Auditor general and Solicitor general (as Helen would later do after the pledge card) and declares the law “ambiguous” to alow Duynhoven to keep his seat.
3) August 2006. I found this Cullen press release on retrospective legislation to undo some tax issue involving the NZ Herald.
4)October 2006. This one MPs didn’t get to find out about until the morning before they had to debate it. According to Labour it shouldn’t be counted, since its validating legislation, not retrospective legislation. We are of course talking about the pledge card.
5) The latest example.

More examples will be added if I find them. The above gives Labour good reason to claim the softest party on crime position this election. They not only don’t prosecute crinimals, or even ignore them, but instead give them retrospective legislation making their illegal acts legal.

Reshuffle

October 30, 2007

David Farrar has a good post on the coming reshuffle. Agree with him, and he knows more than me on these issues. The interesting thing is two frontbeanch demotions likely (three if you count Sutton) making the renewal talk real, not merely spin. As Clark and her cronies still control Labour, both in cabinet, in caucaus and in the party at large, don’t expect much to change. Only a clear sweep of former (or current) trade unionists and minorities and Clark associaites will do, which won’t happen.

Comings and Goings

August 22, 2007

Two more MPs have decided to quit politics at or before the next election. Dianne Yates will be gone by Christmass, to take a new job (if elected) as a member of Hamilton City Council. She joins Paul Swain, Dover Samuels and Marion Hobbs (who are going next year) and Jim Sutton and Georgina Beyer (who have already left) and possibly more who will be anounced in future. The other MP going is Brian Donnelly from New Zealand First. He will take up a new post as High Commissoner to the Cook Islands. Although his appointment has been criticised as taking “the baubles of office“, appointing retiring MPs to diplomatic posts has a long history in New Zealand by Labour and National, and there is no logical reason why this shouldn’t extend to minor party MPs. There are few doubts he will do a good job if appointed.

A month ago, I commented that the real issue of these retirements was who is going to replace the people who are leaving. It turns out my fears are right. The next person on the list, who will enter Parliament next year to replace Yates, is Louisa Wall, a lesbian and Maori. In Wellington Central the two people trying to replace Marion Hobbs are Grant Robertson and Charles Chauvel, and they are both … you guessed it, Gay. What concerns me is not their sexual orientation, but that they are probably there as some minority quota, and socially liberal. Labour is now the social liberal extremist party (as well as the corrupt anti-free speech party). This is why they must be voted out.