Skip to comments.NEW ZEALAND ELECTIONS: The southseas circus thread
Posted on 07/02/2002 9:34:11 PM PDT by shaggy eel
Some of you will know New Zealand has general elections on July 27 2002. Some of you have asked me to keep you up to date on anything significant. This thread is where I'll do that. It's a scrapbook of political eMAIL letters from New Zealand's right wing -Richard Prebble, leader of New Zealand's most right wing Party, ACT; Bill English, leader of centre right NATIONAL Party and a variety of newspaper excerpts. We have a bunch of leftists running the show at present and it's all downhill.
Kiwi voters offshore reading this - our best bet at this stage is giving our Party vote to ACT and our electorate vote to NATIONAL.
I don't know much more about this, other than the Arab crescent was the most repressive.
I'm a charitable sort of cuss, I wouldn't wish the detainees or Klark on Australia in a month of Sundays.
Finally, the seventh State proposition... you knock out police corruption and capital gains tax and it's a goer.
The total household debt of our population stands at about $NZ79b right now - for a total of 3,8m people. Banks and consumer credit institutions are the winners. Financial engineering. If this country is managed right, our economy can turn on a dime.
T O P S T O R Y [www.stuff.co.nz] July 4 2002
PM sees red over Greens' threat
By JONATHAN MILNE
In an angry escalation of campaign tension, Prime Minister Helen Clark has warned that she will retaliate if the Greens declare "outright war" on Labour.
Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons had earlier thrown an election bombshell, threatening yesterday to stop Labour forming a new government unless it extended the genetic modification moratorium.
That action could have left no party able to govern after the election, forcing voters to return to the polls before the end of the year.
Ms Fitzsimons retracted her threat later in the day after talking to colleagues and a call between her office and that of Miss Clark.
But the damage had been done, creating an image of uncertainty for the Greens as they attempted to portray themselves as ready to participate in Government.
Miss Clark said such ultimatums would bring "implications" in Labour's campaign against Ms Fitzsimons for the Coromandel seat.
"Obviously any threat like that simply redoubles our determination to go for a majority government," she said. "Were the Greens to declare outright war on Labour, there are implications.
"When you're told that a party that aspires to hold the balance of power, like the Greens, doesn't even want to let a government get started that's a fairly stunning thing to say."
She hoped Ms Fitzsimons's retraction meant that the Greens were not yet declaring war, and she would continue to advise Coromandel voters to make their own decisions on whether they should vote for the Labour candidate or for Ms Fitzsimons.
National Party leader Bill English said the Greens simply did not know what they were doing, and Labour was being "slippery" by not committing to campaigning against Ms Fitzsimons.
He had initially suggested National would consider extending the moratorium but last night firmed up his position with a fairly solid "no" to any extension of the moratorium.
Mr English said the Greens' actions showed that they could not be believed. "It's going to be impossible for the Left to provide stable government," he said.
Without the Greens, a Labour-Progressives minority government would be forced to rely on NZ First, whose leader Winston Peters yesterday called the Greens "New Zealand's worst nightmare".
Ms Fitzsimons made the threat something she had been considering for several days after a debate on genetic modification in Wellington yesterday with Science Minister Pete Hodgson.
She said her view was that the Greens would want a policy agreement from Labour to extend the moratorium, before offering support for votes on supply and confidence.
"What we said initially was that there would be nothing preventing us from giving confidence to a minority Labour government while that moratorium was in place.
"But given that Labour is now turning that into its own words which is all about bringing a government down I actually wonder whether it would be much more sensible to not let it form in the first place, rather than be accused of bringing it down."
Hope the 4th of July is going just fine for you all.
,,, you beauty! In all seriousness, you have no other choice as a New Zealander. Why? If you're doing the standard rate of intake of all the blurb, or better, you'll agree that ACT is really the only Party offering a vision to move us ahead.
Why am I so passionate about this? Because, having lived in NZ since I was born I know this country's potential and I know the people are adaptive to change - it's been proven over the last 15+ years.
Love Winston's delivery on his favoured platforms but he ain't saying enough about the economy for my vote. ACT it is!
I got stranded in Auckland about 15 years ago because of the firefighters going on strike. I wanted to go
sightseeing up north till it was resolved, my fiance wanted to stick around so we could get on the first plane
out to Tahiti. Neither got what we wanted :-).
Well, she got to stick around Auckland waiting. We never made it to Tahiti.
The guy that was arrested in Florida yesterday says he is a Zoolander.
The guy that was arrested in Florida yesterday says he is a Zoolander.
With the amount of time Billy-Jeff Klinton has spent south of the equator recently, he'll be trying the same line soon too. It's important to remember we're all God's children [LOL!]
Anyway, this stepson of satan caused a ruffle about a year ago on FR for five or so minutes when it was reported he was working as an aircraft mechanic or something else in the avionics line for Air New Zealand. If he's been arrested it would seem the FBI and all the other Agencies are doing their job, I guess. Brings a whole new aura to "trust your crew, they know what to do", don't it?
,,, as it turns out, ACT doesn't have a candidate for P/N. Their energy is being put into securing Party votes this time around. Their nationwide strategy is to encourage a vote for NATIONAL for electorate and ACT for Party vote.
The Campaign trail
On the campaign trail I am focussing on uncommitted and swinging voters. I find a high level of agreement with our policies like lower taxes for business and growth, self management for schools and standards in education, tougher sentencing, and settling Treaty Claims.
I see growing levels of concern about the teachers strike, Labours plan for higher taxes, health cuts and a slowing economy. About a quarter of Labours current support dont actually agree with their policy, and they do agree with ours.
If you want sensible centre-right policy, then vote for it by voting National. You cant get it by voting Labour. Helen Clark went early to try and capture National leaning voters before they inevitably lose confidence in a Left wing Government. National leaning people who vote Labour will wake up with a Government they cant support.
What is clear from the two leaders debates (RNZ and TV3) is that Labour have nothing new to say no specific undertakings and no new plans. I am enjoying the debates and Im looking forward to the head-to-head debates with Clark late in the campaign. The next step is Meet the Press on Sunday on TV One tomorrow night.
Helping young people into employment
This week I was down in Nelson launching our welfare policy for under-20s, which is largely based on a scheme run by Waimea College. They have pulled together the school, polytech, community and employers into a no-dole zone.
The aim of the policy is that no young person should leave school without direction or support, or to go onto a benefit. We will abolish the DPB and unemployment benefit for people under-20, and replace it with a Youth Transition Programme. In return for a higher level of support, this policy will require a much higher level of commitment to getting into work or training.
A rescue package for our hospitals
Last week I talked about the financial scandal in our hospitals, which are facing deficits of over $300 million. This week National released our health policy which outlines our rescue plan to bail out District Health Boards.
As part of the policy we have committed to the National Hospital Plan, originally put in place by National, which guarantees that all existing hospitals will remain open. Were also planning to improve mental health services and encourage public-private partnerships.
Another new tax from Labour
Labour has put our health system into a huge amount of debt, but a new specialised health tax is not the answer. Labour MP Rick Barker let this idea slip this week, forcing Michael Cullen to admit the Government is considering it.
Since taking office Labour has imposed $900 million of new taxes that werent on their pledge card. Its very difficult to trust Labour over taxes, especially since the release of Labours 2010 Transport Strategy this week which proposes further increases in petrol tax.
I am proud of our environment policy, the best National has produced in years. Well gradually sell-down Landcorp holdings to provide a $500 million Sustainability and Eco-Restoration Fund to invest in helping land users upgrade to best practices in sustainable land management. Were also promoting new standards for landfills, recycling programmes, a Royal Commission on Freshwater quality and a review of 1080 use to protect people and the environment.
More squabbling on the Left
The Greens and Labour have continued squabbling this week, with the Greens flip-flopping over whether to support a Labour Government on confidence and supply. The Left has always been good at fighting if you vote for them, thats what you get.
Resource Management Act policy
I visited the Clearwater golf development in Christchurch this week and its an amazing place. Like many other developments though theyve had huge problems and delays with the Resource Management Act. Its a concern MPs hear all the time, no matter where you go in the country. Thats why weve committed to making some substantial changes to speed up development.
Monday, 8 July 2002
Last weekend in ACT's own tracking polls the party was at 12% in Auckland. As in every election, ACT's support began rising the moment the campaign started. The number of voters responding to ACT's direct mail campaign is phenomenal - the highest in the party's history.
More than 70,000 voters have now written back to ACT - that's over 3% of the electorate. Then there's the internet. ACT's website received a record 400,000 hits last week.
ACT's decision to run an issue-based campaign, built around billboards to deliver the message, and the web to deliver the detail, is working. Focus group polling by ACT shows voters want politicians to address the issues - and voters want to know what parties' solutions are.
Richard Prebble in the TV debates has ignored what the commentators think is important. Instead, he has directed his message to ACT's fastest growing support group - women. And ACT's polling shows that they heard and liked what ACT has to say.
Labour in Trouble
Law and order is rising as an issue - the latest Colmar Brunton poll made it number one issue of concern. Labour's own focus group polling shows the party is seen as "soft" on crime, and as having ignored the Norm Withers referendum.
Labour made a quick decision to drop the original version of its Pledge Card promise number six, which was for "initiatives on youth crime", and replaced it with a promise to "get tough on crime". The only problem is, the electorate believes that is what Labour promised last election.
The number of overseas voters registering is up on last election, but still only a fraction of the 200,000-plus who are eligible. New voting regulations mean the overseas voters don't have to re-enrol. Everyone who registered a "party" vote last election will be eligible. Overseas voters can log on to ACT's website - www.act.org.nz - where they can "hot button" to register to vote.
Helen Clark has told Labour's ad agency, Grey Advertising, that she wants her billboards "above wherever ACT has a billboard". Sorry Helen - ACT guessed you were going to go early and pre-booked the best 20 billboard sites available.
GE - Only a Media Issue
The attempt by the media - State TV in particular - to make GE the issue of the campaign, is not working. Voters believe the Royal Commission approach, proceed with adequate safeguards, to be correct. Few voters are changing their vote over the GE issue. Half of all Green voters do not support the party's GE ultimatum.
The Green vote is now a protest vote, an anti-establishment gesture. If the NBR poll last Friday is accurate and the Greens have fallen to 6.6%, then the Greens may not make the threshold. Jeanette Fitzsimons seems to have lost Coromandel. The Greens demographic - young voters - are the most likely to stay at home.
The Real Issues
The issues of real concern to voters are health, education, law and order, the economy and the Treaty.
ACT's solution to waiting lists, is our "patient guarantee". ACT will instruct hospital boards to treat privately all patients waiting past the medically safe time. As private is nearly always cheaper, ACT's policy will, over the medium term, save money. (For details of ACT's health policy, see http://www.act.org.nz/healthlaunch .)
ACT alone opposed the NCEA as political correctness gone mad. Teachers are overwhelmed with bureaucracy and pupils disenchanted because there are no meaningful marks. The answer is to restore exams, marks and standards.
The Le Pen Dilemma
Winston Peters' [NZ First Party] openly racist attacks on Asian immigration have created the Le Pen dilemma. Helen Clark, in last night's TV debate, refused to rule out a coalition with Mr Peters. That's political expediency. It's significant that Bill English declined to make such an offer. National has learned from two previous attempts to work with Mr Peters. He won't fix it, he'll wreck it.
Richard Prebble is the only political leader to have stood up to Mr Peters and condemned his Le Pen style campaign.
ACT is leading in e-politics, being the first party to live-stream its press conferences - at 10.30am every day -and its campaign opening. The events are being archived and can be accessed at www.act.org.nz.
But being first brings its own troubles. ACT live-streamed its first press conference from Parliament, and nothing happened. Technicians were called. The equipment was working, cables were connected - but still no picture.
Technicians followed the cable down to the basement and found the problem. A technician had mistakenly plugged in ACT's live feed to the Civil Defence network, which has its HQ at Parliament.
Labour's proposed health tax is a way around its promise not to increase income tax. Labour hasn't said anything about not increasing the health tax - just as it justified the petrol tax increase.
Good News from National
National has told the Letter that its polling in the constituencies is holding up well. National doesn't believe it will lose any of its constituency seats and is optimistic it will gain some - Coromandel, Wairarapa and Northcote.
In Coromandel, Jeanette Fitzsimons in unpopular with farmers and business. In Northcote, Labour's Ann Hartley has also lost support. In Wairarapa, Labour's Georgina Beyer, who has neglected her electorate duties in favour of doing BBC interviews, is regarded as the worst constituency MP in Parliament.
Under MMP it is possible for a party to gain or lose constituency seats, independently of the party vote. If ACT wins more party MPs and National gains more constituencies, the centre-right could end up with a much better result than polls are predicting.
We have obtained the police report into Paintergate. You be the judge. See www.act.org.nz/paintergate.
I'm putting my money on ACT.
WEDNESDAY, 10 JULY 2002
T O P S T O R Y [www.stuff.co.nz] Clark lands in the cactus
By ANDREA FOX
Prime Minister Helen Clark's election billboards were made in Australia.
Labour Party president Mike Williams confirmed yesterday that Cactus Imaging, a Sydney company, was producing billboards for the party.
Auckland company Omnigraphics, which produced Miss Clark's airbrushed, vinyl billboards for the last election, is upset that the job went to Australia and disputes Mr Williams's claim that Cactus Imaging is a New Zealand-owned company.
"The ownership is a smokescreen. The company pays wages to Australians, and tax in Australia. If the Labour Party doesn't bother to figure that out when it gives a $30,000 job to Australia . . . it's scandalous," Omnigraphics managing director Chris Ralph said.
Mr Williams said that under the Closer Economic Relations agreement, New Zealand and Australia were a common market. Cactus boss Warwick Spicer said he and senior executives of the company were New Zealanders. Cactus employed 60 people and had shifted to Sydney more than six years ago for market growth. It had one sales representative in Auckland.
He would not say how much Labour's contract was worth. About 30 billboards had been produced.
Mr Spicer said that in any case, Omnigraphics was a South African-owned company. Cactus and Omnigraphics were the only companies with the sophisticated technology to produce the billboards.
But Mr Ralph said Omnigraphics NZ was 56 percent owned by himself and two other Kiwis. It employed 25 people, all its production was for New Zealand, and it paid wages and taxes to New Zealand. It was 44 percent owned by South Africans.
Australian company records say Cactus Imaging Pty is an Australian private company. New Zealand records show Cactus Imaging's sole shareholder and director is John Lowther, an Auckland accountant.
A furious Helen Clark rejected allegations yesterday that her Government covered up the accidental planting of genetically modified sweetcorn.
The allegations, by researcher Nicky Hager, threaten to scuttle Labour's dream of governing alone and could provide a huge boost to the Green Party.
In a new book, Seeds of Distrust, Mr Hager says that up to 30,000 genetically modified corn plants were grown in Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Marlborough two years ago despite the Government knowing they came from a contaminated seed consignment.
But Miss Clark slammed the allegations as "untrue" and "sickening" at a hastily called press conference in Auckland last night. "Extensive testing could not find any evidence of GM present in those plants," she said.
The seed arrived in New Zealand in October 2000 as part of a 5.6-tonne consignment supplied by Novartis Seeds, now a part of Syngenta.
It went to Heinz Wattie, Cedenco Foods and Talley's for planting and to Timaru distributor Seed Production. But, after almost half had been sown, a batch of seeds tested positive for genetic modification.
Mr Hager says the Government began preparing to have the plants pulled up, but, after consulting the industry, officials advised ministers there was no need for action.
Research Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson said yesterday that was because eight further tests on the seeds in Australia were either negative or indeterminate.
But Mr Hager said it was because the companies convinced officials to introduce a threshold for genetically modified content below which the shipment fell.
In support of his claims, he reproduced a memo from Environmental Risk Management Authority deputy chairman Oliver Sutherland and member Lindie Nelson, complaining that the authority had been sidelined and expressing concerns about the Government's actions.
"We have agonised over the risks of very small pollen escapes and how we could prevent these. It is ironic to find that Cabinet and officials are taking a less cautious approach to a release decision."
However, Dr Sutherland told the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification later that the reaction to the discovery of possible seed contamination had been "swift" and "rigorous".
Political tension was heightened yesterday by Green Party criticism of the Government's actions and the fact that Green list candidate Craig Potton published the Hager book.
Miss Clark accused the Greens of stooping to National's level of running a "dirty" election campaign.
"I'm sickened at the way in which these allegations have been levelled at me personally and at the Government and its officials in general," she said.
Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said neither she nor the party knew of the book till she was advised by a radio producer to listen to an interview with Mr Hager.
"I listened to it as I drove to Auckland and I just felt sick," Miss Clark said.
She said Green support for the allegations made her even more determined not to have them as a coalition partner after the election.
"It's very hard to rebuild trust with this sort of thing."
National Party leader Bill English said he found it "unbelievable" that Labour had not taken advice from the authority.
Cedenco, Heinz Wattie and Talley's said their sweetcorn did not contain GM material.
Looks like ya got some relatives in New York as well : Crossbow Eel, member since 2002-06-29
The Labour Party has spearheaded the first ever phoney election in New Zealands 150 years of parliamentary history. It is phoney, not only because the campaign is being manipulated by a political agenda, but also because of the false war being orchestrated between Labour and the Greens.
At a time when seventeen year olds are shooting policemen when the lives of mothers and babies are being put at risk by health funding cuts, when teachers strikes are disrupting our childrens education, and when our standard of living is falling to third world status, we are being told that the only election issue is genetic engineering.
By calling a snap election without the mandate of a national crisis to politicise the country, Helen Clark has denied voters their right to set the election agenda. In our two other snap elections, in 1951 and 1984, the country had been crippled by widespread strikes and a massive financial crisis. Voters were polarised they either supported the actions of the Prime Minister or they didnt. In 1951, Sid Holland won a second term with over 50% of the vote, and in 1984, Rob Muldoon led National to a crushing defeat.
So far this 2002 election campaign has been hijacked by Labour and the Greens. First it was the debate over whether Labour could govern alone. Yet what voters were never told was that we havent had a majority government in New Zealand for over 50 years, and that no country with an MMP voting system has ever had a majority government elected. The call by Labour to vote for them to keep out the Greens was just political spin designed to increase their party vote so they would have maximum power in a Labour-Green coalition.
The false war orchestrated by Labour and the Greens over GE has hijacked the election agenda. Using a strategy that smells of collusion, they have grabbed the headlines night after night, keeping the real issues of concern to the New Zealand voter off the radar screen. There is now a real risk that unless a widespread public backlash is unleashed, we will all wake up the day after the election and realise that the issues of major importance to the future of our country, were not considered to be important enough to have been instrumental in determining a new government.
There is also a growing suspicion that GE is being thrust down our throats by Labour and the Greens to keep the spotlight off their real agendas, because if those agendas came under close scrutiny, there is a strong belief that many supporters would run a mile.
For example, at a time when the governments own review of taxation - the McLeod Report - concluded that tax levels in New Zealand were too high to allow the economy to grow, and that lower taxes should be a priority, Labour has secret plans to introduce a plethora of new taxes: capital gains tax, a health tax, a doubling of the petrol tax, a carbon tax and a livestock flatulence tax, a fishing tax, a return of death duties and an extension of preferential tax rates for Maori.
The Greens secret agenda is to honour the earlier version of the Treaty of Waitangi, which presumably confers Maori ownership to all land in New Zealand. As a party that does not believe in private property rights, in punishment for crime, in one law for all, or in free trade, the damage to New Zealands future that could be inflicted by a three-year term of a Labour-Green coalition, is immense and frightening.
With two weeks to go before the election, anything can happen. Remember how Labour was assured of winning the Australian federal election and then the Tampa sailed onto the horizon and John Howard sailed back into power. Maybe sweetcorn will be to the New Zealand election what the Tampa was to the Aussies - a turning point.
I believe that New Zealand deserves and needs a government with an absolute commitment to turn around our flagging fortunes and stop our slide into third world status. To now have Puerto Rico ahead of us in the prosperity stakes with Uruguay about to overtake us, is an absolute indictment of the poor way New in which Zealand has been governed in the past.
The ACT party has a plan to turn the situation around. If you too want a prosperous future for New Zealand, help us to win back the election agenda from Labour and the Greens - and punish them at the polls for their manipulation. If you give your party vote to ACT on Saturday week, you will be making the economy a central election issue, as well as zero tolerance to crime, better pay for good teachers, and using the private sector to reduce hospital waiting lists
the real issues of concern to New Zealanders.
Further papers released by Labour show the shambles behind the GE [Genetic Engineering] moratorium. Labour and the Greens signed up to the moratorium, but didnt put in place the processes to enforce it. The moratorium stops applications going to ERMA [Environmental Risk Management Agency] for GE material coming into New Zealand but there is no other way of dealing with threatened contamination. Clark and Hobbs broke the law they passed. It was also revealed that other types of seeds such as canola and maize werent tested at all for a long period.
A way ahead
I have proposed setting up a comprehensive testing regime, restoring the ERMA processes. This would ensure that the risks are assessed properly and the science debate gets the consideration it needs. Then we would lift the moratorium. It doesnt work and it has become the problem, not the solution. Our proposal means much better safeguards for GE in New Zealand.
Another positive proposal
Yesterday, I also put forward a five-point plan to resolve the teachers dispute. We will make a better offer to get teachers back in the classroom, then move to introduce a more professional pay structure. We will delay NCEA for 6th formers (Year 12) for a year, and work on refocusing NCEA on achievement not assessment. Finally, we will move to self-management for schools as a tool for the teachers and the parents to make the decisions.
The next big issue
Education will be the next big issue because it affects hundreds of thousands of families. It has all Labours hallmarks short term political tactics that end up in a mess, just like GE. Our internal polling shows a history-making event for the first time voters rate National ahead of Labour on education. My message to parents is that they should vote National for their kids because a vote for Labour is a vote for more of the same. Our secondary schools are crumbling and I am determined to do what it takes to fix it.
Nationals support is now picking up, as middle-ground voters realise Labour cant get there on their own. Clarks performance last week had a big negative impact on swinging voters. Labour has dropped 10 points in two weeks.
How it happens
Please tell your media that you want to hear about alternative policies. On Sunday, I put up my proposal for a way ahead on GE and on the teachers strike. They were a bit too positive to get media coverage today, but I will stick to it.
Election Wide Open
ACT's daily tracking polls saw Labour crash to 38% last Thursday and National jump to 31%. TV1's poll has ACT at 8% - 10 ACT MPs.
Labour's Strategy has Failed
Labour's election strategy was to scare centre/right voters to support Labour to stop the Greens. This strategy only works when Labour is polling above 50%. Now it has become clear Labour won't be able to govern alone, centre/right voters are abandoning Labour.
The more Labour pushes its "stability" message, the more voters are reminded that Labour is dependent on the "extreme" Greens and the "repugnant" NZ First.
ACT is Winning on Issues
ACT's decision to campaign on the real issues - health, law and order, the economy, one law for all, and education - is proving a winning formula. ACT has managed to stay out of all the personal abuse, and out of the bogus GE debate.
NCEA [National certificate in educational achievement] - an Experiment on our Kids
ACT today is releasing its education policy. ACT alone has opposed the replacement of external exams with the NCEA. (The NCEA was a National policy, implemented by Labour.) The new system is proving a bureaucratic nightmare for teachers, and the lack of marks is confusing and disillusioning pupils. ACT's education policy is on the web at http://www.act.org.nz/education.
Ten reasons to Scrap the NCEA
The Letter agrees with Parents Against the NCEA which outlines 10 reasons the NCEA should go.
1. It is untested anywhere in the world - our kids are guinea pigs.
2. It has no international standing.
3. It overloads teachers - leaves little time for teaching.
4. It is grossly under-resourced.
5. It 'dumbs down' learning and de-motivates kids.
6. It attempts to compartmentalise knowledge into little bits - based on a model for vocational subjects.
7. It can't be marked consistently by different schools.
8. It doesn't tell kids how well or badly they are doing.
9. It is meaningless to employers.
10. It risks destroying our education export industry - foreign students won't want a worthless qualification.
When the government put Marian Hobbs on TV and we realised she was in charge of bio-security, public confidence collapsed. When the GE corn incident occurred 20 months ago, what was Ms Hobbs doing? She was preoccupied explaining to the Auditor-General why she had been claiming for a house in Christchurch when she lived in Wellington.
Labour Strategists Worried
Labour strategists are worried. Helen Clark has been making mistakes. It was Clark's decision to call a snap election, then to campaign negatively on one issue - stability. It was the PM who called in her lawyers to threaten the media over Paintergate. Clark lost her cool on two TV interviews - the ABC and John Campbell. (For three years she has had no practice at tough interviews.)
It was Clark again who decided that Nicky Hager's book was a Green Party plot. (It appears Jeanette Fitzsimons genuinely did not know about the book - indeed, Jeanette's failure to ask questions two years ago does not reflect well on her.)
Labour will not survive another week like last one - that's the problem with being a one woman government.
ACT Leads, the Others Follow
If you could copyright political ideas, ACT would have a good case against National and NZ First. Both parties voted against ACT's Waitangi Bill to set a timetable for claims. Now, National is even using ACT's calendar - 2008 for final settlement.
Both parties are also now claiming to be tough on crime, despite National's policy being to continue with early release of violent criminals.
National now has a TV ad saying it will cut company tax to 28%. Hang on. National's policy is to have personal tax of 35% and company tax of 30%. A 28% company and top personal tax is ACT's policy (based on the McLeod Report).
Paintergate - the Lawyers' Story
State TV is angry with Labour. On Sunday last week they got the police file on Paintergate - which is damning. Then they got a strong letter from the PM's lawyer, Hugh Rennie. They called their own lawyer: "I cannot give advice, I advised the PM," was his reply. On Sunday TVNZ could not get independent legal advice, so killed the story. Other media decided the legal threats were bluff and published, making TVNZ look silly.
Eight Leaders Debate?
TV1's decision to invite MPs who won't be re-elected (Laila Harre), or won't have a party (Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne), has made a mockery of tonight's Holmes debate. In 90 minutes, with ads, questions and introductions, each real leader will get six minutes.
To keep viewers' interest, TV1 is using the worm, with "undecided" voters rating the politicians' answers. Most "undecided" voters are ex-Alliance and hate ACT, so Richard Prebble is at a bit of a disadvantage!
ACT has been pleasantly surprised at the donations the party is receiving over its secure web page - contributions have ranged from $20 to $5,000.
There were 380,000 hits on ACT's website last week - about half from overseas. The website has a link to ACT's daily media conferences, and archives of previous media conferences, the campaign launch and the party's opening TV broadcast. http://www.act.org.nz/action/livestream.html
At 8% ACT gets 10 MPs. Number 10 is Kenneth Wang - he owns his own advertising agency, and examples of his work can be seen in ACT's billboard campaign.
On present polling the following Labour list candidates would be elected: Dave Hereora, Lynne Pillay, Carol Beaumont. Labour's website says their biographies will be posted shortly. Labour wants us to just elect them and find out later they are all militant trade unionists.
That's what keeps me amased as a newcomer to this country - voting (and campaigning) on issues.
"Issues" is just another name for election time promises, and even if politicians are sincere in giving them, their fulfillment is a question of possibility.
That is why I was always convinced that one chooses a party to vote for on the basis of shared principles/values. Sure, Bill English doesn't have it, as somebody here had put it. But if you share the Nats' priciples and values, curse them and vote for them!
On the other hand, whatever Labour, Alliance, or Greens promise or do, they would never have my vote: I know only too well, that the Reds in power is a disaster - the exact hue of that colour notwithstanding.
So ACT will have my party vote on this ground, and since there is no ACT candidate in my electorate, my majoritarian vote goes for the Nats' one.
But Miss Clark slammed the allegations as "untrue" and "sickening" at a hastily called press conference in Auckland last night.
It's not bad at all when the Water-mellons (green on the surface, red inside) and Labour fight each other... but how can people with a droplet of brain in their sculls to believe all that newspeak about "GM-contamination"?
Don't they understand that there is no one domesticated species of plants or animals which ARE NOT genetically modified?
What is the breeding process? It is a process of changing (modifying) the starting set of genes. Same with the plants' selection.
Could it be that the Water-mellons are just fearful of the contemporary scientific means of breeding and selection? It looks like that, them being New Age ignorants giddy of dope...
I hope, I hope so!
It was at Victoria University in the time of 1999 elections that I was really shocked: the Alliance/Labour campaign among the students was under the slogan "Fat pigs can give more!". They promised to increase allowances, to drop fees and what not in order to harvest votes (this is issue based campaigning, nothing new), but what a language! It's like 1968 Paris riots or some Latin American "revolutionary" movement... Leftists are beyond any hope.