Sunday, October 05, 2008

NZ First launches campaign

One truth about NZ politics has been to never write off Winston Peters, he's not going down without a fight, and he didn't in every election he fought on his own. So his launch of the NZ First campaign is the lifeline he is hoping to grab to save his political career - because have no two ways about it, without Winston Peters, NZ First will be like the Alliance without Jim Anderton, a tiny rump ready to fade away.

So Winston has launched his campaign.

NZ First is playing the nationalist card par excellence now with a curious range of policies.

- Cutting GST to 10% and having a tax free income tax threshold of NZ$5,200. (Both of which I agree with of themselves, obviously);
- Cut immigration (immigrants make many talkback callers feel inferior because many are better educated, harder working and use better English than locals. This is just unabashed xenophobia);
- Renationalisation by choice, with the state setting up a fund for the public to invest in to "buy back" "strategic assets" (nationalism with socialism, but in a more liberal form - after all, Labour just renationalises with taxes);
- Restrict foreign investment (depressing prices for businesses and restricting capital investment);
- Engage in trade protectionism (inflating prices and deflating quality and choice for consumers. It's a bluff of course, as New Zealand can hardly reverse its low tariffs without being hurt by retaliatory measures by other countries under WTO rules).

So it's "fear the foreigners and stand strong, buy NZ made and buy back assets from foreigners".

However, NZ First has some other messages, some sane, some sinister.

He talks some basic simple sense about Maori:

"Real Maori men do not beat up women and children. They do not feed drugs to young people. They do not hang out in gangs that prey on the weak and defenceless. They do not sell their teenage sisters and girlfriends into prostitution. And the Maori women we know nurture and protect their young. They do not mistreat them."

Though not one policy on this.

"We’ve been told that it is not important to win, and that it’s good to hug a tree." An inkling of sense in this, but he hasn't really got the point, and when he said "We’ve been taught not to compete and that boys and girls are exactly the same." you wonder how different he thinks boys and girls are? Sexism after all is irrational and nonsensical.

"why are government and local body accounts with foreign banks, so they can clip the ticket on every transaction." It's the Jews Winston, the Jews run the world. Maybe they offer better deals than the locally owned ones for those bodies? Maybe New Zealand owned and operated isn't always offering everyone the best deal?

"We will protect your investments and savings by providing a government guarantee to approved financial institutions like Kiwibank and the Taranaki Savings Bank.
We’re going to guarantee deposits up to $100,000 in NZ owned banks." This would be contrary to WTO commitments, but joins the lunacy of the Europeans all of which offer taxpayer guarantees for banks. Given Kiwibank is state owned is should be rather obvious, but TSB? Why? It is a good bank, I am a TSB bank customer and have found it to be so, but it does not need a government guarantee. Indeed that would be a reason to withdraw my funds.

"New Zealand First is going to use the States credit and loan facilities to drive interest rates dramatically down. We will stop this vacuuming of over $4 billion per year profit to foreign owned banks." Heh heh heh, Rob Muldoon is alive and well. So Winston after doing that, which no sane government will ever let you do, you plan on price freezes to combat the massive inflationary effect? Or have you joined Social Credit (maybe Winston is after the 0.05% Democrats for Social Credit got in 2005?)

"after decades of National and Labour governments you are living in a country with scores of imported cultures, some with no respect for normal human values." The imported cultures shouldn't be feared of course, but yes a handful have no respect for values such as non-violence. Winston means the handful of Islamists who abuse women and children, does he? He could mean the Pacific Islanders who beat up their wives and kids. He could have just focused on people needing to respect our laws, but no - he's playing his dusty old race card isn't he?

So we are back the old formula, keep the foreigners out, keep the foreigners' money out, keep the foreign made goods and services out, and spend taxpayers' money on the elderly and on subsidising export led businesses. It's Muldoon all over again.

Winston's finest moment was in 1996, when as the third party with 13.4% of the vote and 17 MPs he was the kingmaker, and after Jim Bolger and Helen Clark acting like the town sluts seeking to seduce Winston into bed, Winston picked Bolger. That coalition lasted two years, was the downfall of Jim Bolger, and saw Winston face the 1999 election barely scraping by thanks to a handful of people in Tauranga. 4.3% in 1999 was followed by 10.4% in 2002, as National was forlornly led by Bill English and Winston was seen as the only Opposition. It took a determined National Party to fight back in 2005, with NZ First down to 5.7% and Winston losing Tauranga.

Tauranga looks like a lost cause again, and it really will be a case of whether the recent scandal over Winston's alleged obfuscation of party funding will cost him enough votes to drop below 5%. National is counting on NZ First not being elected, otherwise it wouldn't have ruled it out of any post election deal (we all know the Nats are political whores par excellence, as can be seen in 1998-1999). However, we should not forget that NZ First has been the party of government for the last three years. Labour has depended on NZ First support for confidence and supply, taxation, spending and almost everything it has done.

It isn't over yet though. Winston Peters has a habit of capturing enough media attention to waken up the handful of neurons inside his supporters heads, and enough might just tick the box to keep the party above 5%. Prolonged media scrutiny plays into his hands as would any TV debates, where he tends to perform quite well.

I want NZ First gone - it is probably the political party that more want out of Parliament than any other - it is perhaps the least intelligent, most populist driven and conspiracy driven party in Parliament. It suits nutters basically.

However it is worth noting one point - the Greens and NZ First basically agree with each other on trade, foreign investment and state owned businesses. That's the inconvenient truth the Greens would never ever admit to.

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