On winners and losers by underground

Like the sadist I am, sometimes I like to watch Fox News, cheerleaders of religious conservatism, where the likes of O’Reilly and Hannity make the most ridiculous assertions. According to Hannity, Obama is a socialist because of the US’s increasing deficit, despite George W Bush’s efforts to plunge the surplus he inherited into the red. Yesterday, I enjoyed Hannity slating the network’s opposition for their criticism of the Fox-endorsed anti-Obama “tea party” protests. While I believe it is part of the media role to often advocate a cause, organising anti-government protests is hardly fair and unbiased. And who are the people protesting? They are not the millions who took to the streets objecting to Bush’s illegal war and the erosion of civil liberties. They are tens of thousands of people who voted for the guy that did not win a democratic election last year. They are the sorest of losers, who supported a failed president for eight years and have written off the guy who inherited his mess; a troubled economy and a fractured nation. They are Hannity and Co.’s rent-a-crowd.

In New Zealand, the Left have had to stomach a National Government for six months and, even more difficult, the realisation that John Key is not as bad as previously believed. Key’s empty rhetoric and lack of substance pre-election concerned many, but his inclusive, measured governance has caused a re-think from many. There are indications unpopular policy may be in the pipeline and their pre-Christmas rush and their 100-day inaction may have given opponents some amnunition, but for the time being it’s plain sailing for the Government. The losers of the last election will need to regroup and consider their moves for the future. Let’s not see the pathetic sore-loser response shown by the tea baggers across the Pacific.


Sore losers or bad winners? by underground

Elections are always going to leave one section of voters elated and the other disappointed. The victors and their supporters will seek to quickly bring up the changes they’ve desired throughout the campaign. There will be some soul searching and some hard questions asked, but eventually those defeated and their supporters will move on and live to fight another day. There will be some venting, comments posted on message boards and blogs. There will be some sour grapes, but there will also be some insightful analysis and considered commentary. However many on the right slate those on the left as being sore losers for whatever comment they make on the election result on Nov 8. People have rightly said that National does not have the mandate to, along with Act, steer the country hard to the right. The election result was not a sign that New Zealand has shifted to the right, because National has gone to great lengths to adopt much of Labour’s policies and shift itself far further to the left then it was under Don Brash. National are going to find it difficult to govern this term, economic crisis aside, as the government formed comprises of many conflicting ideologies. National may have won the election my a large margin, but Labour did not lose because voters rejected the party, they merely support change. To point this out to people is not sour grapes or being a sore loser, it is merely stating fact. However rather than argue these assertions made often by those on left, many choose to brag “we won, you lost”, stoked that “Helengrad’s dykocracy” has ceased to be. Just like prior to the election many National supporters could not articulate why they supported the party apart from saying “it is time for change” and “Labour’s fucked up the country”, they can also not engage in debate or conversation following the election. Morons will only make eventual Labour victory all the more sweeter for supporters, but I encourage them to be more humble than their unintelligent counterparts.

Just as many on the left sometimes disown some of their comrades for ill thought out comments, well done those on the right capable of doing the same, and engaging in civilised discussion with opponents. Debate should not be silenced by personal attacks and slogans, although we can all be guilty at times.

The good, the bad and the ugly – The ministers in National’s new government by underground

John Key has shown some promise, and left even his doubters reconsidering their opinions of the man, with the new ministers he announced yesterday. Of course those on the Left are never going to be happy with a National-led government, but there are some signals that, at least for the first term, National will be sticking to the centre ground. It is certainly a lot more pleasant than anything I could have imagined Don Brash coming up with had he won in 2005. The likes of Paula Bennett with the social development portfolio may temper National’s tendency to screw over those on the bottom of the heap, as will the inclusion of Tariana Turia and Peter Sharples from the Maori Party. Turia is minister of the community and voluntary sector and Sharples is Maori affairs minister, which must be reassuring for many Maori. National has given the Maori Party more than Labour managed, particularly when they dropped the ball siding with New Zealand First and Greens in 2005, shunning the more principled partners of the Greens and the Maori. National has trumped Labour in their post election arrangements here, although they have created a four-headed monster after warning of the perils of something similar from Labour. Another example of National Party hypocrisy, expect more to come! Continue reading

My impressions of future New Zealand Prime Minister Phil Goff by underground

A month or so back, I saw then trade minister Phil Goff speak at a pre-election foreign affairs debate at the Owen Glenn Building at Auckland University. Despite the high calibre of political minds present, an unfortunately small crowd attended, made to appear even smaller by the huge venue. It is a shame that more did not get to witness the debate, as one politician clearly stood out above all others. Labour’s Phil Goff left his opponents in his wake; Jim Anderton was the next most impressive, a strong debater with a quick wit, Gordon Copeland was good although naive at times, Keith Locke was knowledgeable but lack assertion, and Act’s Peter Tashkoff has been living in a cave. Even National’s Tim Groser seemed to agree Goff was in a league of his own, in that despite his clear trade experience he seemed more ready to point to Goff’s superb record than illustrate his own credentials or National’s focuses in the area. When questions were fired at the stage from the audience Goff readily took the lead, fielding most the questions no matter how hostile. Almost as though intimidated, most of the other debaters left him to it, with the exception of Anderton and perhaps Locke and Grosser. I still remember the fiery response Goff gave a Communist League candidate in the audience who launched into Goff on Afghanistan. The crowd seemed universally impressed, as did the candidates. Most remarkable was how he spoke. Whilst others stood, at times, timidly behind the microphone (Locke frequently had calls to speak up), Goff walked across the stage, right up to the audience and without amplification his voice still filled the auditorium. There is something immediately impressive about someone who can speak clearly at such a volume, good humoured, not aggressive, assertive and at ease. John Key is going to have his hands full in the debating chamber at parliament and in campaign debates in three years time. Continue reading

Not what New Zealand voted for, but what New Zealand wanted by underground

Considering National has had to adopt so many Labour policies, with National winning the election it is fair to say the only change most New Zealanders wanted was Helen Clark. Although I think the anti-Clark sentiment is completely unfair, the people have spoken, won over by a campaign devoid of substance and policy, rather built on empty rhetoric and sloganeering. With that in mind, it is safe to say, as most analysts have, that National have not a mandate to revert to the policies of the nineties. If the “hidden agenda” creeps into policy, they’ll be gone by lunchtime. The election was not a swing to the right for the electorate, as some have said. And Key appears to be aware of this, getting the Maori party onside has effectively weakened the bargaining strength of an Act party pushing round their weight and seek undue influence considering their small vote. To most people’s pleasure, they could find themselves undermined or cut out altogether. Winnie would be happy!

New Zealand has got what they wanted, a Labour Party without Clark. Although not in government, with Phil Goff at the helm, it is only a matter of time. Congratulations Goff, give ’em hell!

The next three years should very interesting!

Our saint has arrived! by naturalhighnz
November 10, 2008, 8:35 am
Filed under: New Zealand Election 08, Politics | Tags: , , ,

On waking up today I was greeted by the host of articles about our new, already beloved Leader. Stories of John Key’s desire to help “all” New Zealanders. A story of John Key’s fantastic sense of humour in the NZ Herald when he joked with his family that a puppy was not on the way, because that’s what Obama had promised his kids, but wait, maybe a puppy is on the way! The NZ Herald made light of John Key’s reputation for flip-flopping in this instance, and it really seems as though John Key might truly be Obamaesque change if you believe the Herald. The term “all New Zealanders” must be rather exclusive, because with a range of anti-union and anti-worker policies on John Key’s desk, it seems he is looking out for very different interests to Obama.

Personally, it disturbs me to think that a man like John Key can even draw on comparisons between himself and Obama, and that our beloved media are now even doing the work for him. It seems that if your a politician on the right of the spectrum you rarely have to lift a finger these days, as your profile will be taken care of by the media. Compare this to the misinformation spread about the section 59 repeal and its “perceived” law against smacking a child which the media perpetuated and it truly makes you wonder. The reality of the law being that only the legal argument of reasonable force was removed, but not what constitutes child abuse.

Thankfully in the face of the weakening media and the lack of background checks and research, we have a committed blogosphere where we can get a better handle on where things are actually going. Personally I look forward to be fired from my job after 89 days for no reason. At least it means I’ll get a range of work experience and will be doing my bit to get NZ back on track.


Was this really the voice of the people? by underground

Sure it might be a bit sour grapes, but the election result is not quite indicative of how New Zealand voted yesterday. Even though we are fortunate to live under MMP, which ensures most voters are counted, this year’s result clearly illustrates that changes must be made to the system. As much as I can’t stand Winston Peters at times, more people voted for his party than Act, United Future or the Progressives, yet under the absurdities of the system as it is they get MPs whilst New Zealand First does not. In fact 88,072 (without special votes) cast their vote for New Zealand First but each has been effectively disenfranchised. Meanwhile Act with only 3.72 per cent of the vote has five MPs and the greatest influence on power.

Legal Beagle at Public Address worked out what the results would have been if the House of Representatives no threshold:

New Zealand National Party – 55 seats
New Zealand Labour Party – 41 seats
The Greens – 8 seats
New Zealand First Party – 5 seats
Māori Party – 5 seats
Act New Zealand – 4 seats
Jim Anderton’s Progressive – 1 seat
United Future New Zealand – 1 seat
The Kiwi Party – 1 seat
The Bill and Ben Party – 1 seat

With those numbers, coalition arrangements would be entirely different:

Nat/Act/UF/KP: 61

Lab/Prog/Greens/NZ First/Maori: 60

Which is a different story altogether. Then of course there is the Bill and Ben Party. Which way would they go?

Election Results — Overall Status

Polling Places Counted: 6,304 of 6,304 (100.0%)
Total Votes Counted: 2,103,842
Special Votes: 208,001
Less than 6 votes taken in Polling Places: 1,261
Party Party
National Party 951,145 45.45 41 18 59
Labour Party 706,666 33.77 21 22 43
Green Party 134,622 6.43 0 8 8
ACT New Zealand 77,843 3.72 1 4 5
Mäori Party 46,894 2.24 5 0 5
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 19,536 0.93 1 0 1
United Future 18,629 0.89 1 0 1
New Zealand First Party 88,072 4.21 0 0 0
Kiwi Party 11,659 0.56 0 0 0
The Bill and Ben Party 10,738 0.51 0 0 0
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 7,589 0.36 0 0 0
New Zealand Pacific Party 6,991 0.33 0 0 0
Family Party 6,973 0.33 0 0 0
Alliance 1,721 0.08 0 0 0
Democrats for Social Credit 1,112 0.05 0 0 0
Libertarianz 1,070 0.05 0 0 0
Workers Party 824 0.04 0 0 0
RAM – Residents Action Movement 405 0.02 0 0 0
The Republic of New Zealand Party 298 0.01 0 0 0
70 52 122