It's a pity National leader John Key did not reach out directly to domestic purposes beneficiaries to persuade them why it was in their best interests to seek work once their youngest reaches six. 
Fran does have a point.   John Key would've received a lot of mana if he delivered his message to an audience full of beneficiaries. He also would've also received more media coverage.  
Sure there would've been the odd heckle and Key would've had to moderate his language, but the pay-off in the eyes of the voters could be worth it. 
However, given his message was well received by the voters - it may have not been worth the risk. 

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he is happy for the public to hear what he has to say to the privileges committee next Monday and wishes the hearing was earlier in the day so more people could attend.
Yes of course is he. 

Mr "5.6%" Peters is both irrelevant and important at the same time -  which is exactly why MMP is flawed. 

Then again, any Labour minister brought in front of the privileges committee would get similar amounts of attention.  The difference being the attention would be unwanted in the Labour minister's case.

All Winston needs is 5% of the vote, so any publicity is good publicity. 

Sure what Winston has done is hypocritical and reflects badly on himself, but the irony is that the heavy news coverage may actually help him. 

In my opinion - Winston doomed himself and his party as soon as he signed up with Labour which is the main reason why they're low in the opinion polls.  NZ 1st voters are naturally conservative.  So all the scandals surrounding Winston only cements his supporters because 95% of New Zealanders wouldn't vote for him anyway. 

I haven't blogged specially on Peters up till now because frankly he's just a sideshow.... a has been.  He had promise in 1996 & 2002, but he continually disappoints.  Many National voters who defected to him in 2002 did so on the proviso he would be a formidable voice in opposition to Labour - because at the time National sure wasn't.  But instead he spent the entire time attacking National and even more so when Dr Brash became leader.  His attacks haven't really subsided since John Key became leader. 

Winston has past up one opportunity after another.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Touchstone Quiz

After reading that the left-wing activities who infiltrated the Nats conference and quizzed MPs on left-touchstone issues, I decided to quiz myself on the issues.

I'm defining a touchstone issue as something that divides opinion. Other bloggers are welcome to take the quiz and post results on their blogs. The best way to determine your political allegiances is when you consider the issues rather than party personalities. So am I right or left - libertarian or authoritarian?

1. Civil unions: for or against?

For. If people want their relationship to be reconginised in the eyes of the law... why not. Though from a libertarian perspective I personally don't see why the state needs to validate relationships.

2. Prostitution Reform Act reform: for or against?

Leaning toward against. I hate to think this has become a genuine career choice for young woman....

3. Legalised Cannabis for or against?

Leaning toward for. Ultimately I'm for freedom of choice. But scientific evidence shows cannabis can cause genetic damage. Then again.. I drink diet coke.

4. Nuclear weapons: for or against?

For unfortunately. A necessary evil. In any other time an army numbering in the millions (China and Iran) would be out conquering countries. The only thing keeping them at bay are nuclear weapons.

5. US naval ship visits: for or against?

For - for the reason above.

6. Republic or Monarchy.

Monarchy. Because I consider British traditions part of our culture too!

7. Anti-smacking: for or against?

Leaning toward for.

8. Global warming: Skeptic or believer.?

Leaning toward skeptic. I can accept the world is warming, but the political measures to combat GW are rubbish. The elephant in the room GW activists ignore is population growth. One person = how many energy efficient bulbs...? I support reducing carbon for clean air benefits. However the ETS is rubbish.

9. Nuclear power for New Zealand: for or against?

For. Should be at least on the table - especially if the hydrogen economy comes about and to reduce carbon emissions. A royal commission of enquirer would determine if it's right for NZ

10. Genetic engineering: for or against?

For. How else are we going to feed the worlds ever going population?

11. Kiwibank: Sell or keep?

Leaning toward sell. Don't Kiwibank and Westpac et al. borrow money from the same off shore location? So interest paid on Kiwibank mortgages goes to the same off shore lender. The main argument for keeping it in my eyes is they have branches in rural locations.

12. Broadband or trains?

Broadband. Trains are so last century.

13. Electoral finance act: for or against?

Against - let the Exclusive Brethren and the unions campaign - the electorate is smart enough to sort out crap from crap.

14. State funding: for or against?

Against. But could be convinced otherwise.

15. MMP: for or against?

Against. Another proportional system please - perhaps like what the Aussies have.

16. Obama or McCain?

Obama - because I'm sick of anti-Americanism. Though I wish he was pro-free trade.

17. Minimum wage increases: for or against?

For - as long as the increases are pegged to some sort of wage growth index. Currently the minimum wage equals $26000 a year before tax (based on a 40 week). That's enough to get by, but is pretty rubbish really. But to be honest I haven't considered the economic implications.

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EMBATTLED NATIONAL deputy leader Bill English says he will "never" challenge John Key for the party leadership.
English, who was National leader from 2001 to 2003, said he no longer wanted the post "because John Key is doing an excellent job and, having worked with a number of leaders and been one, I'm probably in a better position than most to judge that".
Sometimes you just need to be reassured.  There's nothing more damaging than a perception of fractured leadership team. 
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It's curious why Helen Clark didn't attend the Olympic games opening ceremony. I saw Kevin Rudd,  Sarkozy, Bush and a number of other country leaders on the big screen.  There is an immense amount of pride when you see your Olympic team enter the stadium and it's surprising Helen Clark didn't take the opportunity to be associated with that.
One possible reason is that she's planning for an early election.
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It is Key's loose-lipped talk, coupled with the rather too frank comments that English sometimes makes about him, that would have persuaded his opponents that the deputy would be a rich candidate for entrapment. Who can forget his priceless "I'm a stayer, he's a sprinter. I grind away, John just bounces from one cloud to another"?
I blogged this week that English's 'loose' comments about John Key were more a reflection of his style rather any split between the two.  Fran's column above throws doubt on my theory.  She speculates there is an 'ideological rift' between Key and English and that English will eventually roll Key for the prime ministership. 
Having leadership ambitions and differences in opinion are fine - even healthy - just as long as English doesn't under mind his leader.  So in light of Fran's column I've a couple of concerns about Bill English:
- English rates himself too highly evident by his comment that Brash and Key don't fully understand WfF
- Even though English said he'd never be leader again when he first became deputy, he still harbours leadership ambitions
- Combining the two above equals an un-contented deputy leader
I wonder whether Key made the right choice when he made English his deputy/finance minister.  So given my concerns I reckon Don Brash would've been the better choice for deputy/finance minister and keep Bill English as education spokesperson where he was doing an excellent job.  Brash would've been ideal for the job because after his failed bid for PM and his age - he'd have no desire to be leader again.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Trouble at mill for Gordon Brown

However he will do so against the background in which for the first time since he faced Tony Blair, a genuine rival has emerged.
Gordon Brown spent the good part of decade hounding Tony Blair for the Premiership and destabilizing his government as a consequence.  So now the boot is finally on somebody else's foot - the Blairite David Miliband. 
'Poetic justice' some may say. 
Brown is now so obviously the underdog that I'm starting to think better of him.  Funny how that is.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Key hits the nail on the head

Mr. Key said Miss Clark could "go for it" but National would be running a positive campaign.

"If she's going to do everything from rort the electoral law, to get (journalist and author) Nicky Hager to listen into our emails, to go out there and get young Labour affiliates to be bugging our personal conversations, well that's her style of politics."
Here Here!  To recap Labour dirty deeds (in chronological order IIRC);
- the release confidential MFAT meeting notes
- rort of the electoral law (defined as a corrupt practice in the law)
- exploiting hundreds of National's stolen emails
- Labour affiliated John Key attack blog "The Standard"
- Labour affiliated National attack blog "08wire"gb
- secret recordings
There are likely to be many more instances such as the fact John Key's rubbish has been searched on multiple occasions.  Now much of the above can't be inextricability linked to Labour but it's all rather covenant
There are a couple of possibilities for all of this;
- Labour activists are even more psychotic and 'on to to it' than anyone thought and don't need guidance from their idols on the 9th floor - who are oblivious to what is going on.
- Labour are only casually aware.....
- Labour orchestrates and drives the whole operation from the 9th floor. 
I suspect it's a mixture of the latter two.  Some of the authors for the attack blogs work for Labour in the beehive!
You can learn much about a person by how they treat their enemies.  I can't even remotely consider voting for Labour until they ditch these dirty practices or at least condemn them for what they are. 
A change in style is exactly why I'm voting for John Key - regardless of how many dead rats/fishs he swallows.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

'The Standard' gone by lunchtime.....

.... well maybe not by lunchtime, but maybe after the election.
In 2005, National gifted Labour the 'gone by lunchtime' comment.
It's rather pointless correcting information on 'The Standard' - there are none so blind as those who will not see (plus the authors work for Helen).  Anyway, the quote above is wrong. 
Helen and Phil Goff broke a very important convention by using the notes taken by a junior MFAT (ministry of foreign affairs and trade) official during the meeting between Dr Brash, Lockwood Smith and visiting US senators.  Even if Lockwood or Brash said the comment, the context is unknown - it may have been a joke or on another topic all together.  That is why you don't release what is meant to be confidential meeting notes (Goff only release a partial account).
As a consequence political parties no longer trust MFAT officials - another Labour legacy - which is a real shame.
Labour's willingness to use confidential notes, stolen emails, and secret recordings point to how dubious and dirty that party is under H1 and H2 - which is my 'hot button' issue for why I'm not voting Labour.

The secret recordings of Bill English and Dr Lockwood Smith reveal nothing new but perhaps the realities of being in opposition.  However, as Paul Holmes said, Mr English's comments show a lack of respect toward John Key.  This is concerning but you've got to put it into context with English's style.  His tone can often be interpreted as disparaging but is unlikely to reflect what he really thinks. 
The evidence for this is the fact he is held in high regard within the National caucus.  What this highlights is that English isn't a very good communicator - which is a major reason why he didn't do too well in the 2002 election. 
This does not change the fact he's a highly competent MP and finance spokesperson.  He has an excellent grasp of the detail.  He made an excellent education spokesperson under Dr Brash. 
One positive from all of this is that John Key is really shining at crisis management - getting on top of the situation really quickly with his message sorted.
On a general note - it's pretty sad someone snuck in a microphone and recorded private chats.  A similar thing happened at Labour's conference during a more 'public' Q & A'  with Mike Williams.  Wonder if Labour's fingerprints are on this...?

^ fair enough.   The main argument against borrowing is the cost of the interest, while the argument for borrowing is the potential for the new asset to generate income.  For example; A business may go into debt to pay for an extension to their shop with the idea the extra floor space will generate more profits which will ultimately benefit the business.

Each argument is just as valid so there is no right or wrong.  National is for borrowing while Labour claims to be against borrowing. 

If Labour want to make this an election issue, they're going to have to be far more convincing.  To make their case they should declare an aim to reduce debt to 15% of GDP, necessitating the need to keep taxes high.  Their key messages would be the savings resulting from the reduction in interest payments and the fact more money stays in NZ.

 As Labour stands at the moment with a plan to cut taxes by $10.5 billion and keep debt at around 20% of GDP - they don't have the platform to mount such a campaign without being called hypocrites. 

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Aussie Labor keep troops in Iraq....

One of Kevin Rudd's major election planks has just gone by the wayside:

THE 1000 Australian soldiers, sailors and air force personnel in and around Iraq will be there "for a long time to come", Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has warned.... That completes a comprehensive adjustment of the ALP's policy on Iraq and a significant shift from the impression created by Labor in opposition that Australia's role in Iraq was all but over.

Obama is currently campaigning to withdraw troop from Iraq.  All bets are off on this one.

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The title Senior Counsel replaces Queen's Counsel under a law that came into force today and Attorney-General Michael Cullen has convened a selection panel for the first appointments. 

Labour's continual harping on about National's a secret agenda is really just a cover for their own secret agendas; one of them being republicanism by stealth.   

Labour has made a number of subtle changes over the years, removing crowns from logos, ditching the Privy Council, Knighthoods, and the word 'royal' where ever possible.  Now it appears Labour are ditching Queens Counsel, the designation for top lawyers, for Senior Counsel.


These terms and traditions are just as much part of our culture as they are part of British culture.  So when Labour changes these traditions to meaningless, bland, PC alternatives without consultation, they are taking away part of who we are.  Even if NZ became a republic there would be in harm in keeping the historic terminology. 


The surreptitious way this Labour government operates, practically those on the 9th floor, is a major reason why they're getting the boot come 2008!