28 November 2008

29 years to the day after Erebus

and sadly another Air NZ plane crashes. The Airbus A320 was about to be returned to the airline after a lease to XL Germany expired and has been lost on a training flight off the coast of France. With 2 bodies found, the likelihood that the remaining crew (flight engineers) surviving is slim. A tragic day for the families and friends of those on board, and a reminder that training flights are not without their dangers.

Mumbai's Islamist hell

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, not only in hotels, but even hospitals specifically targeting US and British nationals, as well as local Jews is sadly a wakeup call to us all. Islamist terrorism never went away, it remains outside the Middle East, and has now damaged India - a state not founded on religion, but on pluralism and liberal democracy.

The finger will naturally be pointed at Pakistan and perhaps Bangladesh, both which should unreservedly condemn the attacks and work closely with India, if the perpetrators are from or gain succour from those in those countries. Hopefully it wont result in the rise of Hinduism in reaction, as Hindu nationalism can be equally as virulently hateful and violent as Islamism.

It is a chance for India's erstwhile neighbours to come together to stamp out Islamist (and other) terrorism - what's the chance Pakistan has the means to do so?

25 November 2008

Back from NYC

Well it was nice to retire from thinking about politics for a number of days. Especially in New York - one remarkable city. Vibrant, continuously. With the full range of people from the very friendly to the dismissively rude, with the wonderful range of cuisine, the art (and architecture) from the Guggenheim to MOMA, to the wondrous scene of this great city from atop the Empire State Building or from the Staten Island Ferry. The enormous diversity of shops and what they sell, the diversity of service from the gracious effortlessness to the Soviet style abruptness. New York is both everything you expect it to be, plus more. There is much that could do with fixing, but I'd rather not think of that - what I do think is that it proves one point of mine above all others - you never know the USA from just one city, and I have been to several US cities in various states (California, Arizona, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, DC, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York - not counting those I've sat in airports at).

However, the USA does have two notable qualities that make me smile - they are optimism and enthusiasm. New York has both of these, it is as if 9/11 did not happen, the dusty dark closed platform of Cortlandt Street subway station (which was adjacent to the WTC) is a was the only rather solemn reminder for me.

The optimism is what persuaded me to try NOT thinking about the world of politics while I was there. However, I will be blogging as per usual shortly. Sadly for too much that is pessimistic.

The new NZ government, a cobbled together mishmash of ACT, Peter Dunne and the Maori Party, is not, I bet, what most people who voted for those parties wanted. National has bent over for the likes of Peter Dunne, who should have been sent out to the political wilderness as an unnecessary adjunct, and his piece of pork is Transmission Gully. I will wait and see.

The UK on the other hand is going to "pump prime", meaning borrow from future taxpayers, by increasing spending, cutting some taxes (VAT from 17.5% to 15% for a year - yes don't wet yourself from excitement. Oh by the way, the EU wont allow the UK to drop it further, but no it's not some leftwing organisation is it now?) and increasing taxes on those earning above £150k.

The USA shows us that Change you can believe in actually means putting Hilary Clinton in one of the most powerful positions in the country. This lying power hungry control freak, who started some of the "I'm not sure Obama isn't a Muslim" nonsense is status quo politics par excellence. The "new politics" look rather familiar.

On that note I will make one point. In street stalls and markets around New York there are mountains of Barack Obama t-shirts, badges, hats, mugs and other miscellany - and I don't mean campaign material, but post-election. The man is a superstar, his image is everywhere and, for a moment, I believed it was good that, at least, many people are personally optimistic about the future.

However, that is sadly decimated by why they are optimistic - a politician made them so. Not by wanting to set them free. Martin Luther King Jr. sought that and spoke that. No. Obama made people optimistic because of the word "change". Little about what he proposes is new at all. People are optimistic and love Obama not because of his policies, or what he believes in (which is at best rather vague and oblique), but because of how he can speak, his background and because he is different. He is partly the creation of a news media that fell in love with him, so much of the USA followed. He has a lot to live up to - I am very sceptical that he can meet half the expectations placed upon him.

Though one thing does matter - go to New York if you can - there is so much more I want to see. It is an expensive trip from New Zealand (more than London), but cheap from Europe. It is a remarkable city, too much that is so different from every other city in the USA.

I can't believe it has taken me so long to go - and I'll go again, and again and again.

18 November 2008

So you’re going to be a Minister? Part one

Now some of you have been Ministers before, some of you will find this your first time. There are a bunch of things you need to know. If you’re friends with a soon to be ex. Labour Minister you may learn a little of this, but be wary. The last time the Nats entered government much of the public sector had already been “socialised” into Rogernomics (with some distinct exceptions). Things have changed somewhat, there are legions of bright eyed bushy tailed mediocrities in the public service who have spent up to nine years serving a pro-active interventionist government, but there are some sources of common sense. So, here’s some advice:

1. Get a Senior Private Secretary who is bright, hard working, sceptical, can handle stress and get on with as many people as possible. This will be an ally closer to you than most of your Parliamentary colleagues. Make sure you look at CVs closely and interview very carefully, this is sometime who you need a watertight relationship with.

2. Read the briefing to the incoming Minister with some scepticism, and get someone else to review it for you who may have past experience in your portfolio. Remember that departments will be reporting on initiatives started by the past government, and being free and frank with you will be new for some of them. The key is to ask what isn’t being reported on.

3. Read the CVs of your departmental Chief Executives thoroughly and ask around about the said individuals. You need to know who you can rely on, and who you can’t. They will all be professional, but remember you are the Minister, you are in charge.

4. Meet your departmental Chief Executives only after you have done points 2 and 3 above. Make the first meeting a relatively relaxed affair, make it very clear what your overall strategic intentions are. DON’T be bogged down in detail (e.g. if you have transport, don’t ask about a particular road) because it will show how easily you can be distracted. Say you have a long list of questions and issues you want discussed, and in particular the purpose and value of the department, and how you could possibly justify its budget or existence. Even if you DO think it is justified, you have been elected, in part, on a platform of more frugal government. Don’t assume that the department you have command of is in fact necessary at all.

5. Read the Statement of Intent and the Purchase Agreement between the previous Minister and your department. These specify exactly what the department is meant to deliver. One of your first priorities is to amend both of these, which cannot be done until you’ve done the line by line review of what is in them and what you want the department to do. Note that if you want it to do more you’ll need the Finance Minister’s approval.

6. You might find there are Crown Entities under your portfolio or even SOEs. They will see themselves as a law unto themselves, which SOEs sort of are, but Crown Entities and Companies are not. Some of them will try to provide competing advice to your core department, some of them will think they aren’t really accountable to you at all. Understand thoroughly what they do and don’t do, what you can do, and remember if you have a Statement of Intent and Purchase Agreements with them, you are in charge.


New cabinet?

Oh please, I'd rather not comment much during my break.

For this week, New Zealand is a small country of which I know nothing.

Needless to say the tag I chose for this says it all.

14 November 2008

Thanks and a short break

Now I'm off to the US today for a while, but will be blogging there - erratically. Thank you for your support, the hit rate has been high since the US election getting around 400 - 500 a day. I may blog from the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow tomorrow, but I will in the weekend.

Meanwhile what is going on?

Obamania continues, although his fans have to remain calm as he wont have power for a couple of months. News drips out about what he will do, around stem cell research, remove restrictions on funding support for abortion as part of aid programmes, but my biggest fear is on trade.

New Zealand awaits the mind blowing excitement of seeing what portfolio Peter Dunne gets, (racing sounds appropriate), what "Business portfolio" Rodney Hide gets (what's a bet Minister of Economic Development - the portfolio invented by Jim Anderton) and what the Maori Party gets (what's a bet it is Associate Maori Affairs and Youth Affairs). Once the Cabinet is sworn in, I'll be posting a beginners' guide to Ministers - which since I've dealt with five in my previous life as a bureaurat - does have some basis in reality.

The UK - meanwhile - languishes under the cold dead hand of Gordon Brown. If only the unprofitable black hole called the London Olympics could be abandoned!

So farewell, have fun and a rest from political mania - until the special votes are in and the new Cabinet is announced.

Turia's lack of love for Labour

Ah, way to put your foot in it Phil, warning the Maori Party about a deal with National. According to the NZ Herald, Tariana Turia took it quite simply as patronising and patriarchal - the big Labour Party warning the breakaway children not to play games with the mean ol' National Party. Turia rightfully said "Labour didn't even invite us to sit with them in the last government and our people are sick and tired of being told what to do".

That is notable, even though Turia's politics are collectivist and wacky, the one lesson is that the Maori Party doesn't want to be taken for granted. Of course it's rather stuck - the Maori Party, wisely, wants to keep its options open knowing that if it can be the party either might need in a closer race, it can use its leverage to get what it wants. After all the Maori Party isn't about less government, it is about using government to advantage Maori.

So, of course, while National seems less than willing to concede much to ACT - with 3.7% of the vote, how much will it concede to the Maori party with just over 2.4% of the vote.

and who is saying that conceding to ACT is more than likely about spending less (and taxing less), but conceding to the Maori party is almost certainly the opposite.

One thing is for sure - it will take quite a bit for Labour to get the Maori Party onside, despite Labour winning the party vote convincingly. However, I'm not looking forward to the Maori Party having much of a say - unless it really is about abolishing the dole. Of course we don't know what John Key offered, neither do most Maori, what's a bet it is about spending more of your money on what the Maori Party wants?

13 November 2008

Catherine Delahunty - the Greens' newest enemy of reason

I've written a little before about Catherine Delahunty, she is a hardened socialist who is well to the left of much of the Green Party - and one of its new intake. Her speech a year ago called "State of the Pakeha nation" (you see she likes collectivising people, as do post-modernist identity politics followers) tells much of her scary views of the world.

She dislikes democracy “democratheid (apartheid by majority) in maintaining control of Aotearoa”. Of course she has some truth to this, but she doesn’t believe in individual rights. Oh no. She thinks most of you are racist. Her view is that "pakeha" are a nation and vote as one, compared to "Maori". Her little brain can't conceive that individuals of both groups have a wide range of political opinions, from communism to nationalism to libertarianism. Identity politics followers don't accept that any member of an "oppressed group" that doesn't take a "liberation" based view of politics is truly a member of that group.

She says "there’s the flag on the Harbour Bridge debacle. How can we trust Transit to build bridges when they can’t even fly our two nations' flags together”. You see she just "accepts" the Tino Rangitiratanga flag as representing Maori, because it represents the Maori SHE associates with, though it might not represent those who vote National, ACT or Libertarianz because - well - they aren't really "Maori" from her perspective.

Think of the world she occupies. It gets worse:

“We have plenty of beaten women; gutted communities and whanau living in state housing that have never had proper electricity or water supplies. But lots of Pakeha are drinking wine and surfing, and they say so loudly without saying a word, would you please shut up about the connection between racism and poverty?” "We"? I didn't beat them Catherine, but you don't want to blame those who do. You gloss over that - it's the system, not the subculture of violent hedonistic irresponsibility - you wont ever accept that individuals are responsible for the crimes they commit, will you? Unless they aren't in a "powerless" group.

This crazy nutbar thinks that "pakeha" drinking wine and surfing should "do something" about women being beaten, or Maori living in state housing. Somehow it's "their" fault - it certainly isn't Catherine's fault - she wont spend a cent of her money or find ways to help directly - no - it's the system.

Racism and poverty - yes, people are poor in New Zealand because of racism. Forget those Caucasians in poverty - blank out - ignore. Forget those in poverty who breed without a second thought, who raise children whilst drunk or drugged, who use their kids as verbal or physical punching bags or worse - no - Delahunty says it is racism. It is the most disgusting betrayal of those victims of domestic violence. Though it is not unknown elsewhere on the left.

I'm not responsible because I don’t abuse kids, I don’t rob people, I don’t live a destructive lifestyle that produces victims in my wake because I don’t care about what happens to people around me. YOU are failing them because you remove any notion of personal responsibility from those who have failed and who raise children not only when they cannot afford them, but when they don’t even give them the common decency of love, attention and aspiration. You prefer you’re privileged finger pointing lifestyle of blaming people who have their lives sorted out for those who haven’t – it’s an irrational non-sequitur.

People like Catherine Delahunty are part of the problem, spreading their mindless delusion that individuals don't bear responsibility for their lives and how they treat others.

She goes on and on, but I'll finish with this:

“The severing from ancestors and from the land has brought us material advantage and spiritual emptiness. The denial of this condition assists us in our denial of the tangata whenua indigenous reality and justifies our control of resources.” In other words, because non-Maori came from elsewhere they are "severed from their land" (give me a bag). Spiritual emptiness? Say that to the hundreds of thousands who do have religion in their lives and those who don’t and are quite content. Control of resources? It’s called property rights, you buy, sell, discover and create what you own. You’re against them because you’re a socialist and think everything should belong to everyone.

Catherine Delahunty is dangerous, she thinks of people in terms of groups - by race at least, if not also sex. She judges on background not deed. She thinks crime is the fault of the system not the individual, but she also thinks "resources" are something that just exist, that get "distributed" instead of created and traded.

It is part of the failing of the whole mainstream media that the likes of her get into Parliament with virtually no scrutiny. Think how many regard Sir Roger Douglas as dangerous, when the likes of her is virtually unknown.

Hide not getting his way?

Newstalk ZB reports ACT is unhappy with the portfolios John Key is offering, which given ACT has already pledged confidence and supply, isn't that surprising.

In 1996 Winston gained a huge amount from National because he COULD play off Labour and National. ACT has no such bargaining power, indeed National could entice the Maori Party if it so wished, which ACT - if it were strategic, would let it. After all, what better way to shore up ACT votes than for Hide to say National gave us nothing, and went to the Maori Party - if ACT only gets consumer affairs and say local government (although that does have potential).

National, you see, wants to dictate the terms of government, which it can only do if ACT lets it. ACT rightfully is arguing that Dunne being a Minister is absurd, as he got less than 1% of the vote. Even Jim Anderton's Progressives had over 1% of the vote in 2005. Be clear, Hide can't demand to be Deputy PM, but he can demand a single major portfolio and a minor one - National needs him, unless it wants to be painted as a party that prefers the Maori Party to ACT.

I'd like Hide to get Environment and Local Government - because it would deprive these from the obvious creature who aspires to the first one.

Roy for Consumer Affairs?

Wow, gripping stuff so says the Dominion Post. A job so tough it is currently Judith Tizard's!

To be optimistic, Heather Roy should be able to run rings around the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (a subset of the Ministry of Economic Development). I am heartened by Consumer New Zealand Chief Executive Sue Chetwin saying "an interesting person to do it", which is code for "oh shit, a Minister who might not want to regulate everything so consumers are protected from their own stupidity". Sue Kedgley will be barking like the hysterical harpie that she is, but Roy should say "caveat emptor" over and over again.

Now of course she should do as I recommend and ask the MOCA chief executive what good the Ministry does, why she shouldn't recommend scrapping it in next year's budget and giving all the money back to taxpayers (who are consumers after all). The right answer is NOT because it exists due to legislation, as that will only delay the scrapping a little bit longer.

After all, three years should be long enough to do away with a Ministry that didn't exist before the fourth Labour Government - yes, this was a creation of the halcyon years of Roger Douglas and David Lange.

12 November 2008

John, learn from John

John Key could do worse than emulate the Auckland City Council under John Banks and Citizens & Ratepayers. Together they are slashing spending, containingAll with the intention of keeping rates under check.

The NZ Herald reports
a significant scale back in spending just to hold rates to inflation. It shows a council prepared to turn the clock back on ever growing spending of other people's money. Of course what it raises is the spectre of people who want to know why they can't get what they thought they'd get, forgetting that other people were to be made to pay for it.

After all if you want "training lights on sports field", why do you raise money for it with the sports teams or people who play there? If you think land should be bought to create parks then what is stopping you, or others like you from setting up a trust and doing just that? If you want the footpath outside your home to be fixed, why not suggest to Auckland City Council that you'll buy it and look after it yourself, of better yet let your street do it with a body corporate? All sounds a bit complicated? Well the mafia finds it easier coercing people to do what it wants too, there is more strength (and morality) in being able to convince people of the merits of what you want.

Having said that I do wonder about stormwater spending, given the hoards of money sitting in Auckland Regional Holdings (formerly Infrastructure Auckland) which has come from Port of Auckland dividends and other sources which was meant in part to go to fix the stormwater infrastructure deficit. The ARC would, of course, rather spend this money on railways.

The simple answer to those City Vision councillors and others on the left upset that their pet projects are delayed or cancelled is this - raise the money yourselves. ASK people to pay for it, forget using force use persuasion, persuade people that they should spend money on what you want.

Meanwhile, John Key might want to talk to John Banks about how his ideas could be applied at central government level, but also local government. Wouldn't it be a nice start if all councils had to trim spending to keep rates from rising above inflation? Given this is ACT policy, I would hope that this shouldn't be an issue given the country's largest local authority by value, led by an ex. National Cabinet Minister, can implement it.

After all if many private citizens and businesses are having to retrench during a recession, why should local government expect it can demand more when it can do much much less?

(Oh and in case you think I've become a revisionist on local government, I think the long term case for local government isn't convincing, which means a permanent cap on rates in nominal terms so councils engage in a permanent process of privatisation - but not enough of you voted Libertarianz to enable that policy to be negotiated into government, so...)

11 November 2008

Armistice Day

For all who fought and died in a war of empires, states and appalling sacrifice, it is a day to remember. A day to remember all those who paid the ultimate price for the state in the "Great" War, and those who fought for our right to express our views, to vote, to live our lives as we see fit, against tyranny.

Few of us can begin to know what those who went through the First World War went through, but we can acknowledge the loss of almost a generation of young men - and know the lesson learnt.

Goff as Leader of the Opposition

And who remembers when he first promoted the student surtax for university students to pay for the cost of their education.

Yes, Phil Goff voted to privatise Telecom too.

So he is being set up as the fall guy to last a term and an election.

So Sir Roger Douglas might have some fun.

but the Labour Party is irredeemable, stuck with old solutions, entrenched with the unions, vested interests in the state sector and worshipping the totem of state provided health and education of a uniform standard, and sticking with it, even if it is appallingly bad in some places.

So who's new then?

Having said goodbye to a whole bunch of MPs, we shouldn't forget that it isn't the end of the story. We're getting another lot, and one more! Don't blame me, I didn't vote for any of them!

Now David Farrar has kindly provided the list, and while he is generous about most of them (he does love politics and politicians a lot he does), I thought I'd do my dash through the lot to see if there are libertarian reasons to like any of them (or any other random reasons that might make up for anything else). I did, after all, go through all the Labour candidates and didn't have enough time (or commitment, or willingness to sacrifice employment) to go through the Nats. So, because it's harder this way, let's look at the parties in reverse order of number of new MPs.

The rating I'll give an MP elect is tentative, after all what WILL he or she do? However it will be fairly simple: pro-freedom, status quo or anti-freedom with a mild or a strong. Note none are libertarian, being pro-freedom means compared to the status quo, it isn't necessarily consistent.

Maori Party
Rahui Katene (new MP for Te Tai Tonga) Father was cousin of Eva Rickard, she's a lawyer who graduated from Victoria, career been in Maori Legal Services and contracting as a legal consultant to iwis. Nothing that indicates much one way or the other, except she IS in the Maori Party and does mention the Marxist Angeline Greensill. Verdict: Anti-freedom given her party affiliation, but really too early to tell.

Sir Roger Douglas we all know. Roger does believe in less government, privatisation and more consumer choice, but we also know he likes efficient taxation and maintaining the welfare state and universal health and education access funded by the state. He's pro freedom, but no libertarian.
John Boscawen is significant for being behind the campaign against the EFA, that's enough to say Pro-freedom on this issue at least.
David Garrett from the Sensible Sentencing Trust is more worrying. While I'm supportive of a tougher line on crime, SST wants everyone arrested to have to supply DNA. This is further than National's policy. I'd like David to clarify what he thinks should be done. Anti-freedom if he believes in a Police state to Police us, awaiting clarification.

Kevin Hague. Former Health Board CEO. History of causes from opposing apartheid to promoting Treaty of Waitangi. Another gay MP. Clearly strongly socially liberal but also keen to use the state to compel being liberal. Odds are he wants more governmet. Anti-freedom.
Catherine Delahunty Mad as can be Marxist who believes in overthrowing the capitalist system, is anti science (GE) and anti free trade. Strongly anti-freedom.

Rajen Prasad Nice guy, but as I said before he is into a carefully constructed society that wipes every tear. Now that isn't that scary when you have met the guy, he is a very gentle man, but it doesn't bode well for less government. Mildly anti-freedom
Jacinda Ardern Member for London. Look if you joined Labour this recently you have to love Nanny State. Anti-freedom.
Raymond Huo Nothing much to tell here, I'll give him benefit of the doubt. Status quo.
Phil Twyford He's firmly on the left loves government. Mildly anti-freedom.
Carol Beaumont Turned a safe Labour seat to National, is ex. CTU and believes in "activism". Wants to strengthen democracy so is deluded about the EFA. Anti-freedom.
Kelvin Davis Actually not half bad, but he's Labour. Status quo
Carmel Sepuloni Believes in participating in all levels of decision making, is involved in local government, believes in social justice and equity, so clearly approves of Nanny State. Mildly anti-freedom.
Stuart Nash. Fairly empty profile, nothing exciting here though DPF says he has real charisma (maybe why he never mentions Labour on his profile). Status quo.
Clare Curran - Dunedin South. Like I said before, vile little PR spinmistress. Promoted How to position National as the “enemies of the people”. Cheerleader of Nanny State and truth stretching. Strongly anti-freedom.
Grant Robertson - Wellington Central Into redistribution, equality and affirmative action. Strongly anti-freedom.
Chris Hipkins - Rimutaka Deluded into thinking NZ led the world on fighting apartheid and the Vietnam War, but he loves the state running health and roads. Strongly anti-freedom
Iain Lees-Galloway - Palmerston North He says "Do we continue with positive, progressive, inclusive change that delivers for all New Zealanders or do we change back to the bad old days of individualism and division? Of the politics of the few at the expense of the community" Strongly Anti-freedom.
Brendon Burns - Christchurch Central Well he's a PR hack for Labour, and got passionate about stopping the privatisation of local power companies. ugh. Anti-freedom

shudder, now the Nats, surely there is some hope here?
Steven Joyce. Founder of Energy FM New Plymouth, quite an entrepreneur. Managed the 2005 campaign for National. Mildly pro-freedom given background
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga - Maungakiekie. Lawyer, city councillor, involved in the voluntary sector. Who knows?
Hekia Parata - Ex bureaucrat and runs a "business" selling Maori consultancy services primarily to the state sector. Doesn't tolerate dissenting views. Anti-freedom.
Melissa Lee - Korean born journalist, not many other signs of ideology. Who knows?
Kanwal JS Bakshi Businessman who works in the voluntary sector too, and a migrant. Who knows?
Paul Quinn Big on Treaty issues, businessman, successful in sports. Hard to tell this one. Suspicious of anyone who has been part of the Treaty industry who doesn't explain what's wrong with it. Status quo.
Michael Woodhouse. Private hospital manager, got to be some hope in that. Mildly pro-freedom
Simon Bridges - Tauranga. Calming down from him slaying Winston, he's a Crown Prosecutor, and struggle if I may, I can't figure out what he believes in.
Amy Adams - Selwyn. Lawyer, fought against Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill, believes in personal responsibility. Mildly pro-freedom.
Louise Upston - Taupo. Business woman, project manager and something called a Business Excellence Evaluator (ugh). Who knows?
Todd McClay - Rotorua. A diplomat who believes "that healthcare is a fundamental right that should be affordable and available to all". Mildly anti-freedom, given his father's credentials.
Tim Macindoe - Hamilton West. CEO of Arts Waikato, is a parishioner and appears to have sought local and central government funding for several causes. That's not good for freedom. Mildly anti-freedom.
Aaron Gilmore - Yeah he's ok. Mildly pro-freedom.
Nikki Kaye - Auckland Central - Scientist, training to be a lawyer, but is partly popular due to her looks and unseating Judith Tizard. However, nothing much to say she'll do anything about freedom. Who knows?
Cam Calder - A dentist, website never mentions freedom or individuals, but talks about resourcing health and education. Status quo.
Jonathan Young - New Plymouth. Venn Young's son (As in Venn Young, Muldoon era). Teacher and preacher. Mildly Anti-freedom surely.

So, calmed down now?

Let's wait till the special votes are counted, and then the maiden speeches. Maybe they will tell us more. On balance though quite a few believers in big government and a whole bunch of people who didn't ever say what they thought the role of the state was, or mention freedom, or individuals, or what government shouldn't do.

What DID leftwing campaigners tell some people?

This report that some people rang the Police when the election results were coming through is alarming in several ways:

1. That people thought their benefits would disappear because National was being elected. What sort of untrammelled nonsense have the left been spreading about such a situation? How despicable are those who promote such lies among people who are clearly rather unhinged? How many were persuaded to vote Labour or Green or else their benefits would dry up?

2. What do people think the Police will do? Arrest John Key and Rodney Hide? Call an end to general elections? Do they think when things don't go their way the Police should be called in? How scary is that?

3. Most disconcerting is the helpless dependency of such people who think the only way forward is to remain dependent on money taken by force from others. How insipid has the welfare state become that there are people terrified at the prospect of having to earn themselves a living?

Sorry folks, it's when the word Libertarianz replaces National that you might be worried, but by then the culture would have to have changed so radically that you wouldn't be scared anymore.

10 November 2008

Cabinet is for the National Party

Well John Key's playing hardball - it's his government and he wants his people inside Cabinet. ACT will have at least one Minister outside Cabinet and Dunne will be one too - although you have to wonder why he deserves it at all.

Should ACT be disappointed?

On one hand yes, it means not being a part of all central policy discussions by the government. Being a Minister outside Cabinet means you have command of your portfolio, and your party will be consulted on Cabinet decisions that have legislative implications.

However it may well prove to be a blessing in disguise. Being outside Cabinet ACT can criticise government decisions as it sees fit, it can maintain its identity without breaching Cabinet collective responsibility.

Remember under MMP the only parties that have ever had seats at the Cabinet table have been:
1996-1998: National-NZ First
1999-2002: Labour-Alliance
2002-2005-2008: Labour-Progressive

Not much chance to fight a generation of propaganda from teachers that Sir Roger Douglas is "scary".

World weirdly thinks National/ACT is conservative

so says CNN, so think how little you really learn about other countries from such media, when it gets this all so wrong.

Imagine a US party leader who was atheist, who led a party with openly gay members, which doesn't have a party position on abortion and who had a previous leader who was a woman who went along to a gay parade.

Funny how ACT isn't mentioned either - too hard for them to comprehend?

CBS does it too because both relied on a rather poor Associated Press article.

The Observer calls it conservative too

The BBC does a reasonable job though

The Times has an odd article with assertions like: "He surprised many when he took over the leadership of the party in 2006, after his predecessor Don Brash led National to a humiliating defeat." Who did he surprise? How was Brash humiliated taking the party from 22% to 38%? Although much of the rest of the article is quite good.

The Independent describes John Key as "a baby-faced former currency trader" but the word conservative is for "two small conservative parties, ACT and United Future". It gets it wrong twice saying "National and its allies had secured 59 seats in the 120-member parliament"

Helen Clark's foreign job?

There is another country with an ailing leader, for whom Helen Clark would provide strong leadership and be right wing.

Her anti-nuclear credentials would be put to good use, and she'd having nothing to do other than liberalise and get rid of the nuclear arsenal.

It has mountains she can climb too.

I'm not a cruel man, and the idea is rather fanciful, but if she wants to really make a contribution to peace it would be helping this tragic basket case of a country to reform.

The excuse a few on the left will use

Low turnout.

Yet Barack Obama didn't achieve 78% and his victory was somehow legitimate.

Time to take some morphine for sore losers. Under MMP voters had a vast choice, let's consider what all the parties stood for:

Labour - status quo
National - status quo with minor changes and a new team
Greens - leftwing environmentalism
New Zealand First - conservative nationalism
ACT - freer market economics and a cap on government
United Future - something between Labour and National
Progressives - something between Labour and New Zealand First
Maori Party - anything that advances Maori but something between New Zealand First and the Greens depending on who you talk to
Kiwi Party - something between United Future and New Zealand First with a Christian based moral tinge
Family Party - evangelically led Christian theocracy
Bill and Ben Party - having fun and a bit of a joke while voting
ALCP - Legalise cannabis then we disband
Pacific Party - Polynesian based Christian morality
Alliance - socialism
Democrats for Social Credit - lunatic theory on money combined with conspiracy theorists
Libertarianz - individual freedom
Workers Party - communism
RAM - socialism mixed with lunatic conspiracy theorists
Republic of New Zealand Party - Farewell Your Majesty

Now there is no excuse that there isn't a choice, unless you're a Nazi, Islamist or Hindu nationalist perhaps. Indeed, the likelihood of a National led government has been pretty much on the cards for the last year or so, so if the lumpen proletariat didn't like it, they could have voted. The people have spoken - and an overwhelming majority voted against a Helen Clark led government. A majority of voters voted for a government including National or ACT.

They won, you lost, eat that.

Dear Rodney Hide

Well done Rodney, you're now the best hope (with your team) to be the conscience of the incoming government. You did better because National did "me too" far too much, and now you've brought Sir Roger Douglas back to Parliament. John Key needs you, and you want him to need you instead of the Maori Party. So, the next three years are a chance to do what Helen Clark fears, and to lead John Key down a path of reform that is meaningful.

Firstly make it clear that you will only accept a coalition agreement if you get one Cabinet and one outside Cabinet position. Sir Roger Douglas needs to have a special role, because he is too valuable to not use. Your vote partly came from people wanting him to form a part of this government, he has more experience with economic crises than the rest of you combined, him having a role should be a bottomline.

Secondly, make it clear you will support Peter Dunne as Speaker, but not in Cabinet. If a party that gets 0.9% can get a Cabinet position then all your MPs deserve one. Remember Dunne brought us the Families Commission, and that should go.

Here are some ideas when you see John later today:

1. Education. Your policy on scholarships is radical for National, but it was the policy for National back in 1987. Grab this with both hands and make it a bottom line to change education. It means taking on the unions, who are blatantly self interested and will blackmail you all with doomsday scenarios and industrial action, so it needs to be done with extraordinary planning. Go with John Key to Stockholm, sell it to him and talk about what can be done. This will have a far more profound long term impact than almost any other policy.
2. RMA. Yes your policy isn't about getting rid of it, but you understand the problems more than Key. Insist that Nick Smith doesn't get his dripping wet hands on this. He is a Green Party member in drag. The RMA needs a bottom up review as to why such legislation is even needed, and how private property rights should be at the centre of planning policy (if it must exist).
3. Local government. Yes you could have this portfolio, National hasn't a clue on this, you do. It's time to put caps on rates, to repeal the power of general competence and to require water and roads to be in arms length entities. The left's second front is in local government, you can already see the ARC holding National to ransom about electrifying Auckland's rail network.
4. Law and Order. You see eye to eye on this, and three strikes and you're out is a great policy in principle. However, you do need to do a couple of things to stop it all getting worse:
i. Refuse to support a DNA database of all those arrested for imprisonable offences. Restrict it to those convicted of violent and sexual offences. The innocent should not be under surveillance.
ii. Refuse to support "three strikes and you're out" for drug offences and other victimless crimes. Make the "liberal party" slogan mean something, and ask for a review of criminal law with the point of identifying victimless crimes.
5. One law for all. Now you wont get rid of the Maori seats, National just wont do it, but you can address funding and government that is racially based. You could suggest a threeway dialogue between National, ACT and the Maori party to handle this issue, both in terms of reality and perception.
6. Getting rid of useless bureaucracies. Produce a list of departments and agencies that could go. The Families Commission would be a good start, but the Office of the Commissioner for Children should follow. Get Sir Roger to help out, and invite John Key to nominate a couple of Nat MPs to do the job.
7. Tax cuts. Support John Key's tax cuts with one addition, farewell to the 39% top tax rate. It is Labour's envy tax, a tax on the successful, a tax on New Zealanders who would return from overseas, and it has to go at the same time as the other cuts. Yes the left will whinge and say tax cuts for the rich, but remember what "rich" means now.
8. Welfare. National said it would do a little to reform this, it's time to do a little more. Talk to Lindsay Mitchell about the DPB and steps to take to drastically curtail the criteria for claiming it, for starters no more money for additional children whilst on it.
9. Trade. As I said to John Key, he, Tim Groser and perhaps Sir Roger should all go to Washington after Barack Obama's inauguration (and then London and Brussels) to demand a rethink of global trade. That means taking on Obama's protectionist instincts and pushing for a revitalised WTO round. This is critical, make the case before the portcullis of Democratic Party protectionism shuts down hope of an open trading market for agriculture.
10. ETS. You know you need to demand a rethink here. Yes New Zealand is in Kyoto, but it need not lead the way, it's time to renegotiate and consider how best to meet NZ's national interests. A carbon tax is NOT the way, but strangling this close to bottom of the OECD economy will not see you thanked by voters.

Good luck, it's the best chance New Zealand has in the next three years to move forward.

National's first chance to pause a Labour pet project

Rail electrification in Auckland. The leftwing dominated ARC is dying for the incoming government to pay for this, with the regional petrol tax the outgoing government voted for. The NZ Herald suggests National would pay for it, I think the incoming government should get a full briefing on the economic and fiscal position before committing to it.

So whilst I'd just kill it in its tracks so to speak, here is a starting point for John Key:

1. Demand a full economic benefit/cost of the project to be independently commissioned by The Treasury, requesting data from the ARC and other Auckland councils, with support from the NZ Transport Agency and MOT. It should highlight clearly:
- Total project capital costs including optimism bias not identified by ARC, and contingency risk.
- The total operating subsidy expected after the project is completed, on a per passenger basis. Compare this to the subsidy per average bus passenger.
- What proportion of new patronage is expected to come from existing bus passengers, existing cyclists and pedestrians, existing motorists and people making new trips they otherwise wouldn't have done.
- The proportion of those costs that ARC is prepared to pay for and what it expects central government and the new petrol tax to pay for.
- The economic value of travel time and vehicle operating cost savings that motorists will gain from the project, and any reductions in public transport subsidies. This should be a range based on a host of sensitivity tests. In other words, will this reduce congestion?
- The counterfactual. What happens if this does not proceed? What more cost effective alternatives exist? This includes buses, and reforming road governance and pricing.

Auckland wont fold if this project is delayed a year, but you do need a decent view on why congestion exists in Auckland, and it isn't because there isn't an electric railway.

Meanwhile, scrap the regional fuel tax - that will help give the economy a boost, ACT should support you on this, and say that as part of the wholesale review of government spending, central government funding of railways will be put on hold beyond that contractually committed.

By the way John, send whoever your incoming Transport Minister will be, with Bill English on a fact finding tour of the USA to see how little difference urban rail projects have done there in relieving congestion, and how much money they have cost. It might give you a new insight on how to deal with Auckland local government - you might wonder why you should listen to the ARC at all given its wholesale acceptance of the Green Party dogma of railways and Smart Growth.

So while I would scrap it John, at least suspend it - let your government get officials and consultants not involved in promoting the project to review it with tight terms of reference - get the facts about how what real value this will provide.

NZ First without Winston Peters?

Like the Alliance without Jim Anderton and the New Zealand Party without Bob Jones.

The NZ Herald suggests it would seek to be a conservative economic nationalist party. Muldoon's legacy.

Of course it will be something the left will welcome, as it trims votes from National, but as long as National doesn't privatise (or does so rather prudently), then the xenophobic vote will largely be taken by the Greens - who are ardent economic nationalists.

Give up, enjoy your pensions folks - your great leader is retiring, and the 5 seats you would've got had Tauranga voters put him in have gone to National, Labour, ACT and the Greens - but don't think about the next election, life is too short at your age, enjoy it.

The (not really fat) controller going too

Farewell Dr Cullen, though it is unclear if this is your last term or you are disappearing sooner than that. If you are about to retire, Damien O'Connor could sneak in as he is next on the list - which wouldn't be a bad thing (although it means Judith is next!).

I'll write later on this man's legacy, he has cost New Zealand billions, he lent the Labour government a bizarre level of financial credibility, but was one of Parliament's great debaters. He will also be remembered for telling businesses in 2000 "we won, you lost, eat that".

Cullen was the only Cabinet Minister who could really match Clark and who Clark needed more as much as he needed her, after all he did nearly rumble her after the 1996 election defeat when Labour only got 28% of the party vote.

I for one will only miss his debating skills and sense of humour, if only he had used that to entertain us instead of taxing and wasting our money.

What happens to small parties in election cycles?

The psephologist in me (yes damnable I know at times like this) has noticed a trend in how the relatively minor parties go at election cycles. The minor parties are places to go when you the major party you are aligned with is not going to win or is overwhelmingly going to win, whereas if it looks like a tight race, the minor parties get abandoned. Take the following:


Fairly strong indication that Labour would lose and National would win. The confidence in National winning (combined with certainty of Hide winning Epsom) meant that those likely to support ACT came out and ticked ACT, knowing National would comfortably surpass Labour. That was not the case in 2005, when National needed all the votes it could get to try to pass Labour (and ACT's polling was a self fulfilling prophecy). More importantly, those on the left saw Labour as losing, and its only chance being a coalition with the Greens, as a result the Greens did better than in 2005. In 2005 the Greens were almost wiped out as Labour looked neck and neck with National. The Greens will do better with specials, but they haven't done that well, as it would have been comfortable for Labour voters to turn Green given the polls - it suggests the Greens face some brand burnout, paying the price for the recession and the anti-smacking law - both of which should fade a bit in three years.

Another factor is NZ First and United Future, both burnt by being part of the government. Those wanting a change in government saw little point supporting them, those wanting to stick to Labour would vote Labour. Jim Anderton's Progressives continue to shrink, why vote for him instead of Labour?


A neck and neck race decimated small parties, excluding the Maori Party which was new and was occupying a different part of the political demographic. All small parties were hurt as people rallied to the two main parties, the Greens and NZ First scraped in, ACT focused on Epsom to save itself, and United Future was decimated. Why? Because those who voted United Future in 2002 did so to give Labour a coalition partner that was centrist. With National now having a chance of winning, and United Future having propped up Labour in 2002, National was the preference for half of those voters. Notice how Jim Anderton's Progressive shrunk further as it was indistinguishable from Labour.


Pretty much a forgone conclusion for Labour, as a result ACT had its best ever result at 7.14% as National voters gave up, United Future pulled off 6.69% as National voters gave Labour a coalition partner to the right (once Dunne's profile had been lifted by a single TV debate) and NZ First awakened its latent supporters getting 10.38%. The Greens also got 7%, an improvement on 1999. The flipside was the Alliance, which lost badly because it was seen as part of the government, not helped by Jim Anderton going off on his own - you either supported the government (voting Labour) or wanted it moulded in one direction or another (Greens/United Future). However, overall minor parties do well when the result of the majors looks conclusive.


Very high likelihood of Labour victory, so ACT gained over 7% as National voters scrambled for a good coalition partner. By contrast, NZ First was punished by its supporters who wanted a change of government, getting 4.26% (virtually the same as 2008). The effect of being in coalition with the outgoing incumbent government. The Greens were new and novel, and grabbed just over 5%, harming the Alliance a little (7.74% rather than 10% in 1996). However again, with Labour having a fairly sure victory, enough voted Alliance because Labour was seen as comfortable. United at this point was seen as irrelevant and had no profile.

So what does this mean for the future? Well for minor parties, the best comes when the result of the major parties is fairly certain AND you are not part of an outgoing government.

However there is one other point to note - the demise of NZ First, the imminent demise of Jim Anderton's Progressives and United Future in its twilight years will all remove three parties largely based on personalities not principles - this will leave the Greens, ACT and the Maori Party as the core small parties in Parliament, all of which I would suggest are in a far better place to hold onto core supporters than the parties formed of ex. Labour and National MPs.

Dear Jim Anderton

Jim, you've seen what Helen and Michael have done. You've set up Kiwibank which now even the Nats wont touch, you set up the Ministry of Economic Development (well a conversion job) and the Nats wont touch that. The Nats have been elected, on a platform of limited change. Your side still won the policy arguments, if not the election. You are a one man party, you face at least three years in Opposition or a retirement to spend with your family. Your family life has been tough over many years, and you are highly unlikely to be back in government again.

Time to retire Jim. I've hated your politics, I've opposed them at every election, but you have had many successes from your point of view. You led the campaign to change the electoral system, which has done more to kneecap further free market liberal reforms than anything else. You turned Labour from being a free market reformist party into a centre left interventionist party, and shed the more radical Marxist elements so that what is left of the Alliance is now around the size of Libertarianz, and with even less attention. You rode on the economic growth that resulted from the reforms you passionately resisted, maybe you learnt something (which is why you ditched the Alliance), I hope so.

So it's over - hold your party's next AGM and announce a windup, because it has no future without out and no profile (look, even Winston never had to name his party Winston Peters's New Zealand First). Enjoy retirement, and let Wigram have a by-election

09 November 2008

Chris Trotter's bitter and nasty obituary

In the Sunday Star Times Trotter calls those who voted against Labour "the men who just couldn't cope with the idea of being led by an intelligent, idealistic, free-spirited woman; the gutless, witless, passionless creatures of the barbecue-pit and the sports bar (and the feckless females who put up with them)"

Sober up Chris, you're talking about the working class you love so much.

See if I thought you really believed that, I'd call you a petty vindictive mindless little prick. However, if a world of mixing with the left means you think successful people who want less government don't include intelligent, idealistic, free-spirited women and men who like them, who don't include men and women of courage, wit and passion, you're a sad little man.

The Labour Party isn't the repositary of the values of a generation, it's the values of trade unionists and others who think they know best for everyone else. So to take the words of Michael Cullen - we won, you lost, eat that (well near enough). Now fuck off, grow up and meet some people who don't think the end of the Soviet Union's murderous empire was a tragedy.

Bye bye to the losers

So who is no longer there to vote on how the government spend your money and tell you what to do or not to do? Time to celebrate the disappearance of:

Judith Tizard
Martin Gallagher
Harry Duynhoven
Russell Fairbrother
Mark Burton
Damien O'Connor (though will be awaiting specials as he is next on the list)
Mahara Okeroa
Lesley Soper
Louisa Wall
Dave Hereora

Pacific Party
Taito Philip Field

NZ First
Peter Brown
Winston Peters
Dail Jones
Ron Mark
Pita Paraone
Barbara Stewart
Doug Woolerton

United Future
Judy Turner

Independent/Kiwi Party
Gordon Copeland

The MMP slippery slide back
Darren Hughes out of Otaki, but back in on the list
Steve Chadwick out of Rotorua, but back in on the list
Lynne Pillay out of Waitakere, but back in on the list


Tim Barnett
Mark Gosche
Paul Swain
David Benson-Pope (de-selected)
Steve Maharey
Marian Hobbs
Jill Pettis
Dover Samuels
Margaret Wilson

Mark Blumsky
Bob Clarkson
Katherine Rich
Clem Simich


So who is the one YOU are most happy to see the back of? Other than Winston of course :) For me, it is Fairbrother, a wet apologist for some of the vilest individuals in the country.

Dear Peter Dunne

Oh Peter, it's just you again. The worm didn't come to save you, the Kiwi Party broke away from you (ah yes remember Anthony Walton and Future NZ? Yes we wont talk about what he got up to!), and United Future has been punished for straddling the middle muddle ground of mediocrity, whoring between Labour and National, supporting either, both and neither. People wanting Labour wanted Labour, people wanting a change voted National and ACT. There was no good reason for people to support United Future, even though your tax policy was better than National's - who knew?

John Key doesn't need you, nobody else does either. Be content being the member for Ohariu. Let the Families Commission disappear - you can't seriously believe it does anything worthwhile. Forget Transmission Gully, buy a dog, it will be a more friendly, rewarding and less costly pet.

However, take the offer as Speaker. You are a fair man, you could do it well, far better than the incumbent.

Dear Winston

Oh well, goodbye, farewell, amen.

You did well, starting with milking discontent from Bolger's broken election promises, then making a clean sweep of the Maori seats, leading a bunch of mediocrities into government, and recovering just enough to become Minister of Foreign Affairs. You milked latent racism against Asian immigrants, blatantly, and applied xenophobia against foreign investment, foreign goods and services. You even got some policies implemented, but how many pensioners now thank you for eliminating the vile Superannuation Surcharge that Labour implemented, National promised to remove but didn't - until you entered a coalition with National.

You're slippery as can be, always looking for a conspiracy, milking the talkback whingers and moaners, their bigotries, with flickers of intelligence - the key one I saw was your understanding of the burden of national superannuation, and seeking a way to break that by shifting it to individual contributory accounts. It was rejected because you wanted it compulsory and because your name was attached to it, but it wasn't a bad idea in some respects - compulsion being the key problem.

However, I wont miss you. You played the game of the lowest common denominator. You played the race card, without really believing it. You don't believe in choice, you don't believe in freedom, you don't judge people by what they do, but by what they are.

While you're at it, can you just arrange your party AGM early and wind up? Be a shame for those people to keep wasting their lives in your party now you're retiring.

Enjoy your retirement, after all I was forced to pay for it.

Dear Jeanette Fitzsimons

Well done, you have a couple more MPs. However I know it is disappointing you didn't do better. There are some reasons why.

1. It's a recession. You don't like economic growth, you want to spend more of people's money on things they don't want to be forced to pay for, and you want to put "the planet" ahead of people. Your environmentalism is about guilt and feeling bad for living a Western lifestyle, a lot of people frankly are fed up with your evangelical finger pointing. They want to be left alone.

2. Your patronising message about putting "our children" and "the planet" over tax cuts doesn't wash. People have children. They are not yours, families get pissed off with you and your comrades nationalising the people's children. People want tax cuts because they work fucking hard for that money - it is THEIR money - NOT yours. They know they know best how to spend it on their children NOT you. Learn that. Secondly, people see "the planet" and see that what you want them to do - ride a train, use a different lightbulb - will make no difference. After all, you talk a lot of scaremongering bollocks about oil (noticed petrol prices dropping), cellphone towers and anything "nuclear", people don't believe the end of the world is nigh - but they do care about their own lives and loved ones.

3. Most people most of the time don't want to be moralised at. It's what you self satisfied lot love to do, you love telling people what to do, telling them what not to do, telling them how "we" should spend money on things you like. Think again about being control freaks.

However you wont worry I am sure. You have, once again, been saved from being in government. Government after all harms small parties. You'll no doubt complain when National spends less of other people's money, regulates less of people's property (though I am sceptical that will happen) and gives people more of their money back. You'll frighten people about their food, about climate change, about cellphone towers and insist the planet can only be saved if people use trains more, regardless of cost.

So, given you're dyed in the wool lovers of big interfering taxing and spending government, here is one small piece of advice.

Use reason. It means not worshipping at the altars of scares like peak oil, like trains are best, like cellphone towers bad, like US military power is bad, like organic good/GE bad. It means not being scaremongers, not applying a religious fervour to matters that is a matter of faith not evidence. Then you might get more respect.

While you think about that, read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand. Do it quietly, you might learn something.

Dear Helen Clark

Good for you conceding graciously and resigning.

You've learnt enough in politics to resign in dignity, as you've done worse. 1996 saw Labour's worst ever result with the first campaign you led the party into, in the meantime you have managed to decimate virtually every party you govern with - the Alliance and NZ First out of Parliament, United Future a one man band along with Jim Anderton. However, your greatest victory must surely be to have essentially "won" with the punters on policy. You got re-elected twice after increasing taxes, increasing the size of the state, pouring people's money into expanding welfare, state health and education, and increasing regulation and subsidies. It is what people wanted. National has been elected, largely on a platform to not alter what you've done in most cases. No privatisation, no essential change in state health and education, no end to Working for Families, Kiwisaver or the Cullen Super Fund. No end to ETS, or the anti-nuclear policy. Imitation is the highest complement, so you shouldn't fear your legacy - National was not elected on dismantling it. The views I support did not win National the election.

You've led three governments I have, almost without exception, disagreed with vehemently. You changed the law to get around the illegality of campaigning in 2005 with taxpayers' funds. You implemented many policies unannounced at the previous election. However, most of all you regarded the "state as sovereign", your love of the state and what you think as it being helpful has appalled me, but I give you credit for one thing. You still have some principles you hold onto dearly, and you, by and large, have stuck by them. Trade unions, state provided health, education, welfare and housing, state directed spending on the arts, telecommunications, transport and embracing the ecological agenda. A barely shrouded dislike of US foreign policy as well, has been part of your administration. If there is one thing to admire about you, it is that you've believed in all of this, fought it, and been determined to be consistent about that. It is more than most National Party leaders do.

So I hope you step back, resign as member for Mt Albert appropriately, and write a book. I hope, as you'd expect, that the National/ACT government does dismantle much of what you have done. That does not include civil unions and legalising prostitution - though neither measure was a government one, they were measures that did advance freedom a couple of steps. However, freedom is more than that - it is the chance to make your own choices about how you spend your money, about you and your families healthcare and education, and about adults interacting voluntarily - not having a finger pointing nanny telling them what's best. New Zealanders deserve far better than that. You spent nine years enjoying a healthy economy because of what two previous governments did to ease the size and extent of nanny's pointing finger - the free ride is over.

Goodbye, farewell, amen to you - but your policies? Well, don't worry too much.

Wellington Central: National won the party vote

Bureaucrats for the incoming government have voted for it, sort of. National came first, but add Labour and the Greens and it exceeds National and ACT.

National 11863
Labour 11339
Greens 6657
ACT 1403
NZF 531
United Future 351
Maori 272
Progressive 234
Bill and Ben 148
Kiwi Party 72
Workers 33
Libertarianz 32
Family 29
Alliance 17
RAM 11
Democrats 2
Pacific 2

Too early to compare with 2005, need specials for that!

Dear John Key


Well done, you've produced National's best result since 1990 and Labour's worst since 1996. I know you did it by essentially agreeing to much of what Labour has done, but still after 9 years it was an achievement to fight your first election as leader and win. Now you have the hard task of pleasing a few million people during a recession, with their expectations you'll fix the economy, their kids' education, their healthcare and improve law and order. You've promised to spend more of other people's money, but give some back too. Now I didn't vote National this time, as is bound to be obvious but I am glad you defeated Helen Clark - it is time for change, and your chance is now to make positive changes that both advance New Zealand, and promote a New Zealand less dependent on the state.

So I dare to give you 10 small pieces of advice:
1. Do not give Peter Dunne a Cabinet post or seek a confidence and supply agreement with him. 0.89% of the vote is not deserving of it. You don't need him as much as he wants you. He spent the last 6 years giving Labour confidence and supply, and his party is finished as a force. Make him Speaker - he has been in the House a long time, and this role would suit him. It also enables you to deal to the pointless Families Commission, and not build Transmission Gully without being held to ransom by one man.
2. Talk to Rodney Hide and Sir Roger Douglas about their roles. You need them and one of them should be in Cabinet. Hide would be easier for you, because Douglas would drive you all nuts - but Douglas should have a role. ACT will support you on law and order and tax cuts, but it needs something more - may I suggest dealing to the RMA, cleaning out bureaucracies and education vouchers as useful steps.
3. Don't enter into a confidence and supply arrangement with the Maori Party, but do enter into a dialogue and consultation arrangement. The Greens had this with Labour. It will pull the Maori Party into the tent, and teach them and you both very much. It isn't a chance to sell out, you have a mandate for change towards more frugal government, but it is a chance to undermine the Labour-Maori relationship of dependence.
4. Be careful who gets what Cabinet positions. May I make a few suggestions:
i. Nick Smith should not get environment/RMA, building/construction, conservation or climate change. The man is a Labour MP in very poor drag, his seat has more votes for Labour and the Greens combined than National. He will do nothing to the RMA to raise NZ's competitiveness or protect private property rights, he has never had a real job, a politician since his teens. Give him Corrections and Defence, if he needs something.
ii. Give education to someone who can fight the teachers' unions to the bitter end. Lockwood Smith is not that person. It should be a woman.
iii. Give transport to Maurice Williamson, he had a healthy hatred of the LTSA when he was Minister, and given how nationalised it became under Labour you need someone who can have it face the other way. Yes he went on about tolls, but he knows this area well.
5. Scrap the 39% top tax rate along with your tax cuts. ACT will support you, and any flack you think you'll get will fade away over the next three years. NZ$60,000 a year is not rich and it will be a huge sign that New Zealand wants its best and brightest back. Tackle the vile envy factor head on, you know how.
6. Delay the RMA fastracking for government projects and conduct a bottom up review of why you need that legislation. Let Rodney Hide do it. Start with first principles, start with private property rights and think carefully about transitional provisions, and while you're at it, read this.
7. Invite the Chief Executives of all government agencies to meet with the respective Minister, yourself and Rodney Hide. Ask the Chief Executive to explain in 5 minutes why the agency should remain, another 5 minutes to justify its current budget, another 5 minutes to outline what would happen if it closed up shop tomorrow. Those who don't satisfy you should be informed as such and either closed down or budgets slashed. Have a small group of Ministers and advisors go through budgets line by line, and cut at will.
8. Think very carefully about education, look at ACT's policy, go to Stockholm to see how it works, the UK Conservative Party has adopted a similar policy, you just need to sell it and take on the vested interests in the teachers' unions. It isn't enough, but it is a step forward to decentralising control and competition in education.
9. Send Tim Groser with yourself to Washington once the Obama Administration is sworn in. There is every risk it will turn its back on free trade, especially in agriculture. I don't need to explain how important it is to convince Obama how bad that would be for the US and the world.
10. Read George Reisman: Capitalism A Treatise of Economics, over Christmas and New Year, pass it onto Bill English as well. Demand all Cabinet Ministers read it within 3 months.

There is so much more John, but it's a start.

Good luck!

and later

I'll provide some more detailed analysis.

But congrats to the winners, and especially those Libz candidates who fought hard to spread the word of freedom. Your voices were heard.

Now to celebrate and sign off

Farewell kiwis, enjoy the celebrations. You should all at least be celebrating the demise of Winston Peters. I'm off to enjoy Saturday :)

What will the ACT bottomline be?

Here's a shortlist to start with:
- Drop the 39% tax rate
- Education vouchers
- Turn RMA on its head
- End ETS

Final count on the night

National 45.5% 41 electorate seats 18 list seats - 59
Labour 33.8% 21 electorate seats 22 list seats - 43
Greens 6.4% 8 list seats
ACT 3.7% 1 electorate and 4 list seats - 5
Maori 2.2% 5 electorate seats
Progressive 0.9% 1 electorate seats
United Future 0.9% 1 electorate seat

Outside Parliament
NZ First 4.2%
Kiwi Party 0.56% (clearly the Christian part of United Future was disenchanted)
Bill and Ben Party 0.51% (yep, people who don't give a fuck)
ALCP 0.36% (ALCP picked up votes from the Greens, but will go to sleep - again)
Pacific Party 0.33% (Philip Field couldn't get much support beyond South Auckland)
Family Party 0.33% (Destiny brand gone, the Christian vote clearly split three ways)
Alliance 0.08% (held their own despite the leftwing competition)
Democrats 0.05% (held their own as well)
Libertarianz 0.05% (up 13%)
Workers Party 0.04% (Communist rump)
RAM and Republic of New Zealand Party - can't even get votes from all their members!

08 November 2008

John Key the victor - PM elect

Obama? "They voted for change". New National led government. Thanks supporters. Voted for safer, more prosperous and more ambitious New Zealand. Inspired as a kid who rode bike from his state house past those of wealthier kids (pretty good stuff). NZ has so much more potential. Collective success rests on the success of individuals. His government values individual achievement. Thanks Clark, she gave him gracious comments on her concession. Spoke to Rodney Hide, Peter Dunne (didn't mention Maori Party), they are willing to lend support to a new government. Spoke to Tariana Turia, willingness to engage in dialogue with Maori Party next week.

So it DOES look like National/ACT/United Future, but he wont be wanting to upset the Maori Party.

(Helensville - a majority of 18,562, 15,000 ahead on party vote)

Will National do what Labour did?

Labour has always been thought to go with the Greens, and in 2005, the Maori Party.

It went with United Future in 2002, and NZ First and United Future in 2005.

National DOES have a choice this time:
- Maori Party

Peter Dunne is an add on, he's unnecessary.

National might go with the Maori Party to broaden its base, after all it is, inherently, a conservative party. ACTivists and Rodney Hide might pause till they hear and see what John Key does.


Rodney Hide (Epsom is his through and through)
Heather Roy
Sir Roger Douglas
John Boscawen - Freedom of Speech Trust founder
David Garrett - Mr Sensible Sentencing Trust

ACT should be able to demand two Ministers from that, but will National want it?

Clark keeps the headline

As RNZ says, this is Clark grabbing the headlines tomorrow.

It wasn't a McCain concession, it was a campaigning concession.

One third new MPs and that caucus has to find a new leader. Goff, Cullen or silent T?

Clark concedes - stands down as Leader!

Congratulates John Key and National.
A night for winners to savour, but we wont be going away.
Accepts responsibility for the result.
We've achieved incredible things for New Zealanders (ugh)
Incredible amount of pride in economic growth, high employment (thanks of course to the reforms of the 80s and 90s), huge advances in public health and education (noticed those?), boosted the nation's identity and pride (yes nothing like nationalism).
Dozen new Labour MPs to join the team
Fear that all they've worked for goes up in a bonfire of flames of the rightwing (ah if only!)
Thanks Dr Cullen, family etc
Standing down as Labour leader

Clark's majority in Mt Albert slashed by 6,000 but still a respectable 8695. Party vote in Mt Albert is far closer, only 1800 ahead of National.

Electorates that have changed

Auckland Central - Kaye beats Tizard
Botany - Pansy Wong takes this new seat
Hamilton West - National's Macindoe beats Gallagher
Mangere - Labour's Sio beats Field
Maungakiekie - Lotu iiga of National beats Beaumont of Labour
New Plymouth - Young of National narrowly beats Duynhoven of Labour
Otaki - Guy of National beats Hughes of Labour
Rotorua - McClay of National beats Chadwick of Labour
Taupo - Upston of National beats Burton of Labour
Waitakere - Bennett of National beats Pillay of Labour
West Coast Tasman - Auchinvole of National beats O'Connor of Labour
Te Tai Tonga -Katene of Maori Party beats Okeroa of Labour

1015GMT: Where the hell is Clark?

Helen, it doesn't add up. Ring John Key, be the statesperson (?) you believe you are - you should have conceded half an hour ago.

Jenny Shipley was a gracious loser.

Mike Moore wasn't in 1993 and it assisted his downfall led by you. If you can't do this well, your caucus members should roll you.

Judith Tizard on RNZ

Gracefully conceding and saying she's the second Labour MP to lose Auckland Central isn't that right Richard? Good on you Judith, "elections come, elections go, you have to accept the will of the people". Wished Nikki all the best, no idea if she is in on the list, but Prebble thinks she might make it. "A changing of the guard and maybe there needs to be a change of the guard" - what could that mean Judith?

So good on you Judith, a gracious member of the Labour party.

NZ election results live: 1000 GMT

National 45.5%
Labour 33.8% a devastating hit for Labour
Greens 6.5% disappointing
NZF 4.2% more than people thought, but finally the end
ACT 3.7% good enough to demand a coalition and demand some decent steps forward
Maori 2.3% if specials overseas increase this the overhang may shrink one more

Libz on 1010

New Plymouth is now a National seat. Harry Duynhoven is gone, a massive majority overturned. Harry hasn't got a list position, so will be looking for a new job, after specials (314 majority).

Rimutaka remains Labour, Hipkins just beats Whiteside
Waimakariri close between Cosgrove and Wilkinson

3 years of Key and Hide

So it is a National/ACT government possibly with Peter Dunne.

John Key is sitting waiting for a phone call from Helen Clark. Richard Prebble on RNZ has said "Helen this is what you do, you pick up the phone, and say "congratulations".

Helen you lost in 1996, you've been there before - come on. It's over, a better man won.

Greens happy but not ecstatic

8 seats, but since overseas NZers have some fanciful idea about clean and Green NZ and vote heavily Green it could yet be 9.

That means:
Jeanette Fitzsimons
Russel Norman
Sue Bradford
Metiria Turei
Sue Kedgley
Keith Locke
Kevin Hague
Catherine Delahunty (ugh)
maybe Kennedy Graham

Jeanette speech: Thanks those loyal to our children and the planet. Oil prices are going to skyrocket again. How vile, take your filthy furry hands off other people's children. They aren't yours, and you're not in government. You've been saddling up with Labour over the last nine years.

Right vs left in Parliament

National plus ACT plus United Future 65
Labour plus Progressives plus Greens plus Maori 57

62 needed for majority

Judith Tizard on the cusp of remaining in Parliament

Labour needs 22 list seats, the 22nd one given current electorate wins would be Judith Tizard.

She aint finished yet. Go Harry in New Plymouth!

Best Libz counts: 0935GMT

Leading party vote: Wairarapa 59
Leading electorate: Wairarapa 419

NZ election results live: 0930GMT

So when is Helen Clark conceding? Winston has. Chris Carter on RNZ says the government hasn't been rejected and blames the toxic media! Says "if there is a Labour opposition". He isn't conceding - little prick! Labour is so pissed off, and frankly good.

Control freaks who can't accept that 2 out of 3 voters didn't tick Labour

National 45.5% It's enough, but really not the vote they would have hoped for.
Labour 33.7% Labour's second worst result.
Greens 6.5% they wont be happy
NZF 4.2% phew and all those votes get redistributed
ACT 3.7% 5 seats got to be at least 1 if not 2 Cabinet members?

Libz 983

Nikki Kaye must take Auckland Central now. Bye bye Judith you lazy moaner, no longer will others in government have to put up with your mindless moody bullshit.

Rodney Hide has a huge majority in Epsom, fair to say it's his home seat. No longer a strategic vote location alone.

Maungakiekie - Labour remains behind here, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga may take it for National
New Plymouth - remains a cliffhanger
Ohariu - Dunne is safe here, Minister of ?
Rimutaka - remains a cliffhanger
Waimakariri - Clayton Cosgrove is NOT safe here, still very close
Waitakere - Another cliffhanger
Wellington Central - Looks like Grant Robertson is going to pip Stephen Franks
West Coast Tasman - Await specials, but National looks like kicking out O'Connor
Te Tai Tonga - Maori Party looking more comfy here, 2 seat overhang

John Key is about to make a speech apparently

NZ election results live: 0916 GMT

Lost RNZ connection and TVNZ wont take my connection either grrr. 90%
Nats: 45.6%
Labour: 33.6%
Greens: 6.5% picked up a little
ACT: 3.7%
NZF: 4.3%

Looks like a National/ACT government people.

Libz 927

Winston says your cause is not over NZ First voters LOL what him?

Auckland Central - Nikki Kaye is looking comfortably ahead now
Maungakiekie - Looking more like National
New Plymouth - 97% and still less than 200 in it, will go to specials
Ohariu - Dunne looks comfortably ahead here now
Otaki - Nathan Guy has taken this from Darren Hughes
Palmerston North - Labour has hung on
Rimutaka - still neck and neck Labour/National
Waitakere - Paula Bennett threatening Labour here

Some finals

Clutha Southland - English - National - majority 14323
Invercargill - Roy - National - majority 6152 - (Libz Shane Pleasance 21 for party, 113 electorate. Well done Shane)
Kaikoura - King - National majority 10136
Rangitata - Goodhew - National majority 7648
Tukituki - Foss- National majority 7288
Wairarapa - Hayes - National majority 6309 (Libz Richard McGrath 59 party, 419 electorate!)

NZ election results live: 0900 GMT


Grrr RNZ feed breaking up and now the election results website is fidgety it's getting trickier here but:
National 45.8% (down down it goes!)
Greens 6.4%
ACT 3.7%
NZF 4.3%
Maori 2.2% still not enough to avoid overhang
Libz 826 but Bill and Ben 8936 votes - go figure

Auckland Central remains close, but Kaye pushing ahead a bit by 859
Christchurch Central Labour only barely ahead in what should be a safe seat
Epsom Hide comfortably but not half counted yet
Hutt South Mallard seeming more comfortable
Maungakiekie National slightly ahead of Mark Gosche's former seat
New Plymouth neck and neck!

NZ election results live: 0845 GMT

Deja vu 2005 for National? Not quite that bad, but with over two-thirds counted:
National 46% eroding, making the Maori Party more important
Labour 33.2% holding up a bit, I expect Labour to hit 35%
Greens 6.4% they MUST be disappointed, I'm not
Act 3.7% looking good to take 5 seats, which National will be glad for
NZF 4.3% bye Winston - a great reason to party!
Maori 2.2% party vote disappointing for them, but it creates the overhang
Progressives slightly ahead of United Future but both around 0.9%!
Kiwi Party respectably getting 0.58% ahead of Bill and Ben at last

National needs ACT, but will it need Dunne and the Maori Party too?

Libz 791

7931 for Bill and Ben, that many people vote for a joke. However, they might have voted Labour or NZ First otherwise!

Tauranga declared for National!! :)
Hamilton West, Rotorua, Taupo all clear wins for National
Botany is clearly Pansy Wong, Kenneth Wang is third.
Anderton looking safe in Wigram
Ohariu still a three way race, but Dunne ahead
Te Tai Tonga looking very close now, Labour picking up but still behind. This remains critical!

Auckland Central, Christchurch Central, Maungakiekie, New Plymouth, Otaki, Palmerston North, Rimutaka, Waitakere, Wellington Central, West Coast Tasman all the current marginals

NZ election results live: 0830 GMT

National - 46.6% they'll need friends
Labour - 32.8% up but hardly enough
Greens - 6.4% not what they hoped for
ACT - 3.7% holding steady
NZF - 4.3% hard for Winston to pick up

Libz 574

Auckland Central very much neck and neck along with Wellington Central, Te Tai Tonga neck and neck, West Coast Tasman looking like Nats. Dunne starting to pull ahead in Ohariu

Seats worth declaring but unsurprising:
Clutha Southland - English - National
Coromandel - Goudie - National
Dunedin North - Hodgson - Labour
Dunedin South - Curran - Labour
East Coast - Tolley - National (was Labour until 2005)
Invercargill - Roy - National
Kaikoura - King - National
Mana - Laban - Labour
Napier - Tremain - National
Nelson - Smith - National (what's WRONG with people there? How evil can you be?)
Northland - Carter - National
Rangitata - Goodhew - National
Rangitikei - Power - National
Selwyn - Adams - National
Taranaki-King Country - Ardern - National
Tukituki - Foss - National
Wairarapa - Hayes - National
Waitaki - Dean - National (sigh)
Whanganui - Borrows - National
Whangarei - Heatley - National

NZ election results live: 0815 GMT

Oh dear, National tracking down to 47%
Labour starting to pick up at 32.4%
Greens 6.4% holding steady
ACT 3.7% tracking up a little
Kiwi Party 0.59% must be pleased chasing United Future and the Progressives
Libz 463

National/ACT could govern, but like I said National is easing well back

Tizard very closely behind Nikki Kaye in Auckland Central
Christchurch Central neck and neck, but should got Labour
Hamilton West comfortably Nat
Hutt South looking tighter for Mallard now
Mangere Field looks finished against Labour
Maungakiekie looking Labour now but still close
New Plymouth nearly half counted and Duynhoven is trailing more than 1000 behind
Ohariu still a neck and neck Dunne Chauvel Shanks
Otaki Hughes just hanging on despite his tiny majority
Palmerston North settling back to Labour
Rimutaka also easing back to Labour
Rotorua a win to National from Labour
Tauranga Winston is finished, it's over!
Waimakariri is neck and neck
Wellington Central neck and neck

Libz - best performing electorate candidates at 0809 GMT

Wairarapa - Richard McGrath - 152
Invercargill - Shane Pleasance - 82

well done Sheriff!

Best Libz electorates: party vote

For my Libz friends, the best seats in terms of party vote are:

Wairarapa - 15
Te Tai Tonga - 14 - which of course must be nonsense, as in 2005 Libz did incredibly well in this Maori seat early on, which simply means someone can't count for that seat!

NZ election results live: 0800 GMT

Well it would be fair to say John Key will be the next Prime Minister. You can't have this proportion of votes counted and the gap remaining more than 10%

National 48% noticing how it is drifting downwards? Yes, watch that, watch Dunne looking insecure and the Maori Party may be looking more and more important
Labour 31.8% a long long way behind and without Winston, little chance of winning now.
NZF 4.3% comfortably fading away
Greens 6.3% picking up
ACT 3.6% will be reasonably happy

Libz 269!

Ohariu - Dunne must be worrying, this is a three way race with Chauvel and Shanks.

Hamilton West looking solidly National
Maungakiekie neck and neck Labour/National
Waitakere neck and neck Labour/National
New Plymouth isn't that wild about Harry, Nats looking good here
Pansy Wong well ahead in Botany
Waimakariri back to Labour
Wellington Central back to Labour
Palmerston North back to Labour

Maori seats look like status quo, but Te Tai Tonga is neck and neck Maori/Labour. This seat is critical, as it would create another seat in Parliament. 122 rather than 121 seats makes it harder for Key to create an easy majority.

NZ election results live: 0745 GMT

The question at this stage has to be, who will the Nats govern with

Nats 48.7% tracking down ever so slowly
NZF 4.4% tracking down! Yes yes!
ACT holding 3.8%
United Future dropping to 0.8%

Bill and Ben at 1534 votes!
Libz 195, starting to leave the communists behind and catching up with the Social Credit nutters
ALCP doing well too


Dunne challenged well as Chauvel and Shanks are running neck and neck for second, but not far behind Dunne, but he should be safe
Rimutaka and Wellington Central cliffhangers

Labour has been badly hit in many electorates, this election looks like a cleanout of the left

NZ election results live: 0730 GMT

Nats 49%
Lab 31.2%
Greens 6.1% (have to be hoping better than this)
NZF 4.5% (easing back thank god)
ACT 3.4% remaining steady
Maori 2.1%

Bill and Ben 824 votes, 9th biggest party! MacGillicuddies reborn (in the joke vote category)

The left vote is definitely well down, but remember 2005, Labour pulled through at the end.

Worth noting the lunatic left Auckland based RAM is doing appallingly badly.

West Coast Tasman remains with National narrowly ahead
Maungakiekie a core Labour seat looking very close.
Rimutaka narrowly Labour
Maori seats have Te Tai Tonga going from Labour to Maori Party, but hardly a clean sweep

National still leading in most the seats I listed before:
Auckland Central
Hamilton West
New Plymouth
Palmerston North

Libz 137 finally ahead of the communist Workers' Party!

NZ election results live: 0715 GMT

Far too early to tell, but the Nats and ACT may be able to form a government, but the key looks like the Maori seats. Maori Party might pick up Te Tai Tonga, and its party vote isn't doing that well.

48.7% National (still low in my view to govern very happily)
31.4% Labour (low but will pick up)
6.2% Greens (so you want your kids protected from light)
4.6% NZ First (got to hope Auckland voters will knock this down)
3.3% ACT (good effort, but likely to dribble down)

Prebble on Radio NZ saying too early to tell in Auckland Central. 14% swing needed for Kaye to take it. RNZ saying she got a lot of publicity, partly because she is young and pretty!
Wellington Central has Stephen Franks ahead but far too early to tell.

Prebble says foreign sounding names don't do well in NZ! I think he IS right, but with MMP this effect is reduced.

Other electorates to note - Rimutaka is neck and neck Labour/National as is Wellington Central - either would be the first Wellington electorate going National if you exclude Wairarapa.

Libz 109, damned communists ahead!

NZ election results live: 0700 GMT

NZ First fourth! Don't write NZ First off yet, Winston wont win his seat, but 4.6% is perilously close to the threshold.

Kiwi Party is getting close to the Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne parties, both of which are one man shows with 5% counted.

Libz hit 100 votes :) which should mean a substantial increase in vote compared to 2005 if translated evenly.

ACT's 3.28% looks like Sir Roger Douglas will be worrying the Nats

Nats 48.6% vs Lab 31.5%

Electorates have Nats ahead in many Labour seats:
Auckland Central
Hamilton West
New Plymouth
Palmerston North

NZ election results live: 0645 GMT

Well I'm watching my guide and Not PC's guide as reference points, listening to Radio NZ (yes I know) because both TV channels are clearly unable to stream properly.

National 48.9% a bit low for this stage
Labour 31.3% very low for this stage
Green 6.2% looks very good for them (eek)
NZ First 4.6% higher than most pundits thought, but not enough
Bill and Ben Party shows you can convince 500 odd people to vote for a joke!

National's safe seats all look safe again.
Auckland Central has Nikki Kaye narrowly ahead of Tizard
Botany has Labour coming second behind Pansy Wong, ACT's Wang campaign isn't looking like a winner.
Epsom has Rodney Hide comfortably ahead of Richard Worth
Mangere Labour's Sio is well ahead of Philip Field
New Plymouth, Duynhoven behind National's Young
Ohariu, Dunne narrowly ahead of National's Shanks
Otaki, Hughes still narrowly ahead of National's Guy
Tauranga, Winston is well behind
Maori seats, looking not much different from before


Nats, ACT, Greens should all be relaxed. Labour must be worried, and the Dunne/Anderton parties will be just that. Libz fighting with the Workers' Party :)