The stench of death

Posted June 5, 2008 by nicholasokane
Categories: Polls

The stench of death is beginning to surround the doomed Labour Government, as it gets no poll bounce from its election bribe budget. Pollafter poll after poll have come out in the last few days showing the same thing. The Government is on its way out. Averaging the three polls out (a NZ Herald Digipoll, TV3 News Poll and Colmar-Brunton poll, and adding 5 points to Labours total, deducting the same of National for the Colmar-Brunton due to its pro-National bias) gives the following result (assuming no general electorate seats change hands and all Maori seats won by the Maori Party):
National 49.83% (63 seats, and almost half the vote. Good outcome)
Labour 35.07% (looses 5 seats, bringing its total down to 45)
Greens 6.4% (8 seats, a nice 2 seat pickup and well clear of 5%)
NZ First 3.27% (two of the polls placed it at 4%. 5% is within sight)
Maori Party 2.4% (it’s 4 seat overhang gives it more MPs than it should)
ACT 0.9% (Rodney Hide stays, but no second seat for Roy or Douglas)
United Future 0.2% (oh dear! Peter Dunne becomes an overhang)
Progressives 0.0% (in all three polls Anderton gets a big fact 0%)
I got the results for the minor parties (Green 6.4%, NZ First 1.9%, Maori 2.2%, ACT 0.7%, and United Future 0.4%) by e-mailing Audrey Young.

When the calculations are re-done to include Winston peters regaining Tauranga (a serious possibility now that Clarkson is retiring), New Zealand First is on 4, gaining 2 from National (now on 61) and 2 from Labour (now on 43). In the first scenario, National gets to choose between Hide and Dunne to enter into a coalition with, while National needs both second scenario.

The important thing to remember about this poll is that it is now June. There is not much time left for Labour to recover. And that is not the end of the bad news for labour. As David Farrar points out, John Key is poling ahead of Helen Clark as preferred PM, something which didn’t happen in 1999, indicating that as well as Labour being unpopular, National is popular. And all three polls were taken after the budget election bribes tax cuts, which have failed in their purpose of giving a poll bounce to Labour (does anyone really believe there would have been tax cuts if Labour was polling around 50% and National 35%). Having blown most of its election bribe fundsurplus on tax cuts, with no results, things are starting to look desperate for Labour. Expect the desperation to be shown with more election bribes. However, with the latest one failing to have an impact, it will all be, like the budget tax cuts, too little, too late. The stench of death is starting to surround this Government, and as a New Zealander who despises Labour and its corrupt ways, it smells bloody great.

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The dirty tricks campaign to defend the EFA

Posted June 5, 2008 by nicholasokane
Categories: Corruption, Electoral Finance Act, Green Party, Labour Party

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.

It’s Obama

Posted June 4, 2008 by nicholasokane
Categories: US election

CNN projectsthat Obama has exceeded the 2 118 needed for the Democratic party nomination, and as a result (assuming none of his super-delegates change their minds, which they can do) he will be the nominee, and quite possibly the next President of the United States. His nomination could have been expected since his March wins in 8 states consecutively, particularly Wisconsin¬†on February 19, where his win was notable as he won a majority in a number of groups which usually back Clinton (namely Union members, people who earn under $50 000 per year, and self-identified Democrats). Narrow wins in Ohio and Texas and march 4 gave Clinton another life, although following her post Super Tuesday losses it was always going to be a marathon for Hillary to win, and a win that would involve relying on the super-delegates to push her over the limit (for readers who do not know too much about American politics, a good explanation of super-delegates and the Democratic Party primaries is here). To defy the will of the people and select Clinton as the nominee would have provoked a huge backlash from Obama supporters, so I always thought a superdelegte coup at the convention was very unlikely. However, this thin hope provided Clinton with an excuse to soldier on, turning the race into a marathon. By May 7, after loosing North Carolina, and winning Indiana by such a small margin as to make her win meaningless, the writing was on the wall for the Hillary Billary team. Tonight’s result, in the final states to vote, Montana (which Obama won) and South Dakota (where Clinton had a too little too late win) merely confirm what I and anyone else who closely followed the election expected to happen. Unbelievably, Clinton still refuses to concede defeat, burying her head in the sand, or perhaps the remote possibilitythat Michigan and Florida could re-vote, which probably may not be enough to save her.

I have mixed feelings on Obama’s win. Regardless of who won the nomination, I was always going to support McCain for president. And I have long been a strong supporter of McCain, having wanted to see him in the White House for a number of years now. Having to choose between Obama and Clinton for President would be a tough choice. On one hand, there is the big advantage of a person who got to the presidency on his own merits, instead of being married to the right husband. And as someone who believes in meritocracy, and does not like the US tradition of dynastic politics, I was somewhat concerned about Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton for 28 years, with the possibility of Jeff Bush or Chelsea Clinton to follow in future. And much as I hate to judge people on their race, the symbolism of a black President within a generation of segregation is significant. And as Andrew Sullivanpoints out, that an Obama Presidency would be huge boost to freedom in the war on terror, and to America’s soft power. Sullivan writes “if you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about America is in ways no words can”.

However, much as I like the idea of a black President, who would tremendously boost America’s soft power and repair much of the damage to America’s image in the world, I have very serious reservations on his policies. I have already bloggedon his extreme position on abortion, which for me is a very important issue. Inexperience is another issue. With only four years in the Senate and no foreign policy or economic experience (or any executive experience whatsoever), he is considerably less experienced than George W. Bush was when he became President. As David Farrarpoints out on Kiwiblog, despite his rhetoric, he has the most left-wing voting record in the Senate (perhaps indicating close-mindedness), and promises an astonishing half a trillion dollar increase in annual federal government spending. And not only does he want to appease terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere, he has his very own terrorist links of his own to Bill Ayers, not to mention a pastor who describes the country Obama aspires to be president of as the “United States of KKK-A”. And not only will his Presidency be bad for America, his opposition to free trade deals means it will be bad for New Zealand as well. Although not much better can be said of Clinton, at least she is competent, and even if she has misguided and flawed policies, she an be trusted to do a competent job at the most basic task of Government, running the country. For that reason, much as I hate to see either as president, I would pick her over Obama.

Fortunately, the one good thing about his win, is that his extreme views could help McCain win in November.

Why I want a change of government

Posted May 31, 2008 by nicholasokane
Categories: Uncategorized

On May 17, in response to a rouge poll showing National party support at a fantastically unrealistic 56%, and support for Labour 29% (I wish Labour support really was that low, but sadly it probably isn’t), Steve Pierson at The Standard asked a very good question (surprised at the result because of National’s lack of policy, and his ignorance of the effects of the Electoral Finance Act): “You’ll be voting for National come election day. What will you be voting for them to change and what have you seen from them that leads you to believe they’ll make that change?”. Here is my answer:

I too, like 56% of the NZ public in this poll (I suspect the poll may over-estimate support for National, and believe the true level of National support to be around 50% and Labour at around 37%) support National and plan to give it my Party vote on election day (although I have not definitely made up my mind).

I will be voting primarily to get Labour out, and voting more out of a very strong dislike of Labour, than a love of National.

The first thing I hope to see changed is the repeal of the Electoral Finance Act. I want to be very clear on this. I strongly believe that any-one who not only deliberately steals $800 000 of taxpayers money, despite three warnings in advance from the chief electoral officer that doing so was illegal to win an election, and after that (possibly stolen) election, manipulate electoral laws for partisan political gain (and in doing so placing onerous restrictions on free speech) is unfit for public office.

Given Key’s public statements in this area, and National’s voting and speaking record, I believe this to be a realistic expectation.

I also have serious reservations about Labours social liberal agenda on moral issues (i.e. abortion, civil unions, prostitution, smacking ban). Although I acknowledge that National is unlikely to make any changes in this area, judging from its voting record on these issues, as well as its historical record of avoiding such issues since the 1970s, it would be surprising if National were to introduce more legislation that goes against my moral values, and further if such legislation was introduced it would more likely to be conservative legislation than liberal legislation on these issues. The same can not be said of Labour. Judging from all available evidence, Labour took the positions it did on these issues because of genuine conviction, and did so despite some of measures, particularly the smacking ban, being deeply unpopular with the public. I commend Labour for its principled position on these issues, even though it is not a position I agree with. I do not commend Labour for being dishonest in the way it promoted the legislation, particularly the claim the Smacking ban was not about banning smacking, when the law changes removed all legal defences for smacking, and Labour rejected an amendment proposed by Chester Borrows to allow smacking, while banning all child abuse (and I do not consider smacking child abuse). I worry that if re-elected Labour may introduce more socially liberal legislation, particularly in the area of euthanasia. I do not feel any public statements from Labour in this area can be trusted, given what Helen Clark said on Radio Rima in 2005 denying her intention to introduce a smacking ban.

Further, I agree in principle that the role of the government in the economy and personal affairs of its citizens should be kept minimal. Judging from previous National Party policies on issues such as tax cuts, bulk funding of schools, and its record of governance in the 1990s, National appears to share my beliefs. Although some policies in this area have been compromised in order to gain public support, any new policies this election, and decisions made in government will reflect its (and my) ideological views in this area. Labour, judging from its record over the last nine years, does not share my views, and instead appears to hold socialist ideological views, and its policies and actions reflect those views.

For the above reason, I will not vote for the Labour Party with my Party vote, or support any Labour Party electorate candidate this election.

It describes perfectly the reasons why I won’t vote Labour. To be fair, given my ideological views I was never going to vote Labour anyway. However its actions, particularly on the Electoral Finance Act, and it’s socially liberal crusading nature, have given me a very intense dislike of the Labour Party and Helen Clark. I try not to hate them, and know that there are many good people (even though I may disagree with their political views) within the ranks of the Labour Party. But when I read and hear about the unborn New Zealanders being killed through abortion (partly because of Labour’s failure to ban it), the decline of moral values and rise of promiscurity in our society (in part by Labour’s legalisation of prostitution and civil unions), and the way it, despite being warned three times in advance by the Chief Elelctoral officer, stole $800 000 for its pledge card, and how it is trying to gerrymander its way into a forth term with the Electoral Finance Act, it makes me angry. Very angry. And while I know National is far from perfect, I get the feeling at times that any lot would be better than the current lot. And I hope, I really hope, that we will have a change of Government this election.

Changes to society

Posted May 31, 2008 by nicholasokane
Categories: Family values, Future, Homosexuality, Tobacco

Over the last two weeks, two items have got attention from the media, which highlight two trends in our changing society, both of which the socialist left have been behind.

The first is the descison by a California court to legalise gay marriage. As a social conservative I am very disapointed by the descison. To those who argue that same sex couples should have “equal rights” including the “right to marry”, the words of new London mayor Boris Johnson “if gay marriage was OK … then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog”, give a pretty good reason to keep marriage within its traditional definition (i.e. between a man and a woman). Fortunately there is hope that gay marriage (called henceforth in this post fake marriage) in california will be short lived, as there is a ballot initiative for the 2008 elections to change the constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A referendum on the issue in 2000 saw 63% of Californians oppose fake marriage. On the other hand, opinion is more liberal now than 8 years ago, and California is one of America’s most liberal states. Regardless of the final outcome in California, it is only one part of a growing wordwide trend towards fake marriage (and an extension of the trend of legalising homosexuality (sodomy) over the last forty years). In 2001 fake marriage was legalised in the Netherlands, and since then in Belguim, Spain, Canada, South Africa, and Massachusetts (and now California) in the US. Equally concerning, is the shift in public opinion, with is some US polls support increased by 12% in one year, with support strongest amongst the young. Micheal Kinsley wrote an excellent piece for the time magazine here, about the “quiet gay revolution”, concluding that in 20 years time “gays will have it all”. I, sadly, completely agree with him and find it hard not to forsee a future in which fake marriage is the norm in all western countries in my lifetime, and the view (which I am proud to hold) that homosexuality is morally wrong, will be seen as wrong-headed by society in the same way rascism is (rightly) seen today.

Also in the news, just out yesterday, is a new survey showing the percentage of New Zealanders who smoke falling to 19.9%, with only 18.7% doing so on a daily basis. This is a big decrease from 1996, when 25.2% of Kiwis smoked daily, and over 30% in 1986, and over 35% in 1976 (the 1976 and 86 data is for all smokers, including non-daily ones). there have been similar trends in most other western countries. Between 1974 and 2005, the percentage of British men who smoked fell from 51% to 25%, while amongst women the percentages fell from 41% to 23%. In the US, 38% of American men smoked in 1980, only 23% do so today, while the decline in American women over the same period is 29% to 18%. Australia has seen similar trends, with smoking decling from around 40% of the population in 1976, to under a fifth tin 2001 (see article here). The trend is truly pleasing to those who dislike the ill effects on people’s health by smoking, and truly alarming to the tobacco industry. The decline in smoking has not only seen the number of smokers fall, but the number of cigarettes smoked per smoker has also gone down. In New Zealand tobacco consumption fell by half between 1990 and 2005, a much greater decline than smoking rates, showing that smokers are cutting back as well as quiting. In the UK, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day per smoker declined between 1979 and 2005, from 22 to 14 in men, and 17 to 13 in women. Similar trends have been shown in the US. Also good news is the rapid fall in youth smoking, with only 13% of year 10 (14-15 year olds) students in New Zealand smoking now, compared to 29% in 1999. Tjis shows that as the older generation of smokers are dying, quiting or cutting back, there isn’t much of a new generation to replace them. The long term net effect of this is that one day, and I would not be surprised if this occured in my lifetime (although given the addictive nature of nicotine it will take a long time) we may have a smokefree New Zealand (and eventually world). Although the number of smokers will never be zero, unless the government bans it (something I am completely opposed to, but would not be surprised if it happens one day in the distant future), in future it will not be a normal part of society, and only done by a small number of people in private (one related issue I have not covered in this post is the corespending rise of smokefree areas, which now extend into not only all public indoor areas in NZ, but also some parks, and in one Californian town, in the street (and I don’t think it will be too long before we see street bans here).

These two changes to society have occured quite rapidly. In the space of two generations, we are likely to see homosexuality go from being illegal in most of the western countries to fake marriage being the norm. And in the case of smoking, from a normal part of everyday life for almost half the population, which is allowed almost everywhere, to something which can only be done in private in certain designated areas outside (once nanny state bans it in the street and peoples homes, if not completely) to being done by only a small minority of people (I guess under 5% in 2050). These are not the first big changes to society to take place. The abolition of slavery, women getting the vote, legalisation of abortion represent other rapid and major societal changes, with the latter two occuring in one generation.

The key message is that sometimes things which are a normal and acceptable part of society can become frowned upon and rare in a short space of time (e.g. smoking and slavery), while other abnormal taboos may become commonplace and accepted equally quickly (e.g. women having the vote, abortion, homosexuality). These can happen for good or ill (the abolition of slavery being the greatest victory for freedom in the history of mankind, while in my opinion the legalisation of abortion constitutes the biggest mass murder ever). For social conservatives who are interested in what kind of society we are going to live in the future, we need to study these changes, and see (and hope) we can replicate them in areas where we want to see changes. For instance, wouldn’t it be great if sex outside marriage, and alcohol abuse, made people social outcasts and were rare, instead of being the norm. And wouldn’t it be great if we had laws that protected the right to life of the unborn, and abortionists seen as the evil mass murderers that they are, like nazi war crinimals. I know that my views on abortion are very controversial, but the fact that abortion is legal, accepted in society, and most people think it is right, doesn’t make it okay, any more than the fact slavery was once legal, accepted in society as morally right by most people as morally right, made it okay. Although I concede that such changes are unlikely to happen in the forseeable future, we can learn from the examples of smoking and homosexuality that big changes can happen to society, faster and more completely than anyone expects.

No, I haven’t forgotten about this blog

Posted May 31, 2008 by nicholasokane
Categories: Anniversary

But I have been very busy with university study, with essays due and exams throughout the month. Hence my lack of blogging. The really good news is that yesterday was my last day at University, and if I pass everything I should graduate (with the formal ceremony in December) with a BA in History and Political Science. It also means (until I find a full time job) that I will have more time for blogging. But as I only have internet access at university (for the time being, and in future I won’t even have that) and the expense of train fares into Wellington, until I get my own computer with internet access, I will be blogging less frequently.

While I was away from blogging, my blog had its first birthday (May 2), and I plan to keep this blog going, somehow, for many years to come. During that 12 months, I had 5675 visits (not all unique, and including my own visits), I posted 208 posts, which people placed 91 comments on. The topics I wrote most about were the Electoral Finance Act (21 posts, categorized under “Anti-Free Speech Bill”, and future posts on this topic will now be posted under “Electoral Finance Act”) and Abortion (19 posts). The blog visit numbers were a roller-coaster, reflecting how much blogging I was doing, with the following stats:
May (2007): 417 visits
June: 316 visits
July: 593 visits
August: 962 visits
September: 698 visits
October: 428 visits
November: 300 visits
December: 184 visits
January (08): 166 visits
Februrary: 201 visits
March: 749 visits
April: 661 visits
For all those who were counted in the above statistics, thank you for visiting and/or commenting on this blog. And trust me; even though I may go for periods of time without blogging, I will be here for a long time to come.

I have also added a new “about me page” for those who want to find out a little about me, and for new visitors to this blog. A link to it can be found at the bottom of the sidebar.

This makes me ashamed to be a Vic Uni student

Posted April 21, 2008 by nicholasokane
Categories: Alcohol

The actions described in this NZ Herald article, and this Dominion Post article makes me ashamed to be a student at Victoria University. 130 Victoria University students arrived in two Rotorua motels drunk on Monday, to compete in the University games, and engaged in almost non-stop drinking since then. The actions they committed included:
* Causing $9 500 in damges to property.
*poured alcohol into a TV set, ruining it, as well as breaking toasters and kettles, and smashing pieces of furniture.
*Causing alcohol stains in almost every room, and making the whole motel reek of alcohol.
*One person was found unconscious and needed to have an ambulkance called, after vomitting through a bed and room.
*Smashed one window.
*Left beer bottles floating in a mineral pool, despite the no glass policy
*Vomitted on the floors of 12 rooms, requiring them to be shampood, with one room completely wrecked and covered in vomit.
*Violated a no smoking policy
*One matress was soaked in urine, and every duvet and bedspread needed to be drycleaned.

Shamefull. But to make matters worse was the total lack of contrition from student leaders (who thanks to compulsory membership misrepresent me), who even had the audacity to ask for a $1200 refund because they were kicked out. And accused the motel owners of an “over the top and inhumane and unjustifiable” reaction. I think the alcohol use by the students was over the top, and they acted in an unjustifiable and inhumane way to the motel owners. And the students involved should have no refund for the eviction, but instead have to pay for all damages.

As for the drinking age, I don’t know what age the students were, but the drinking age should be higher than their ages.