It's been pointed out that Philip Field paid $59,000 over GV (Government Valuation) for the Coles' house and that this is evidence that he was being a Good Guy and not taking advantage.
Frankly I feel there are other reasons to get rid of Mr Field, quite apart from recent revelations. However let's get one thing straight.
GV, Government Valuation, is actually now called RV, Rateable Valuation. It is the value of the land plus the value of improvements at the time the last round of valuation was done.
In Auckland RVs have been miles out for some time. Point in case - a particular property I am aware of that is worth probably $300 - 320K in the current market is currently given an RV, on the Auckland City Council website, of $221K. This is not a property in a particularly volatile area.
That said, I don't know the ins and outs of the Cole house. On the plus side of the ledger for Mr Field is that a turnaround of the magnitude he gained for the property, especially if it was done up, is in-keeping with the Auckland market in recent times.
Just another little piece of info for the debate.
The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)
Thursday, September 29, 2005
It's been pointed out that Philip Field paid $59,000 over GV (Government Valuation) for the Coles' house and that this is evidence that he was being a Good Guy and not taking advantage.
In case you haven't noticed due to the mountain of comments, I haven't been posting much lately - I have just got back from a week away (mainly work stuff) and am off tonight for few days of R&R. So expect normal posting habits to resume from next week.
It seems to me that Taito Field is largely guilty of not maintaining a courteous distance from certain things that he has "helped" with.
I'm no big fan of Mr Field - he has been a reactionary voice against social liberalism in the Labour Caucus, as is evidenced by his views of Civil Unions et al, not to mention his more general politics which are not exactly Left of Labour.
In the information coming to light there are two ways to interpret his actions - generously or harshly:
- did he help the Thai overstayer to avoid deportation and also give him a job, or did he exploit this man to get a cheap tiler?
- did his wife work her arse off at the electorate office and thus deserve some remuneration, or did she take advantage of the generosity of another staff member who offered to share their wages?
- did he help a constituent avoid a mortgagee sale that would have left the family with nothing, or see an opportunity for a good profit?
Despite Field's intentions, which are difficult to interpret, the fact remains that in each of these cases he has not maintained distance from an action that is inappropriate for an MP. He should have ensured that it was someone else's house that was being tiled (and that the tiler was getting a good wage), not used his power inappropriately to get a review that probably wasn't warranted, made sure that his staff (and his wife) understood the rules around nepotism, and lined up another buyer for the house (and you would hope a better price!).
I wouldn't be surprised if more examples come to light, and possibly not just in relation to Field. As an MP you are very vulnerable and a higher standard of conduct is expected (as Sandra Goudie is finding out).
I hope that this is the end of Field's ministerial career, and that he stands down soon or at the next election. But to be honest I'd far rather that his colleagues, and local Labour members, had told him to go for his politics than for his misdemeanours.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Just a quick post as I'm off to Welly for a week in the morn (yep, I'm secretly one of the new National MPs ;-) ).
I'm after suggestions, so put on your thinking caps. I've been frequently told by those who mean the Left well that what the Alliance (or any similar party of the Left) really needs is to win an electorate seat. But whenever I ask which seat they think would be a Goodie there is puzzled silence followed quickly by a neat segue into another topic.
So here we go, so that no one can ignore it:
Which electorate seat(s) should a Left party (the Alliance or another) target to win in 2008?
I'd be particularly keen for suggestions, anonymous or not, from Labour people, as they are the ones who most commonly tell me this and yet I don't see them rushing to turn over any of their electorates.
Thanks dearies - I'll try to post from Wellywood, or at least respond to comments.
Some funny things happened in the last week of the National campaign. Candidates put out candidate focused material that didn't mention the Party Vote, lots of Oggi red (paid) billboards were up while the number of National (Iwi/Kiwi etc) ones seemed to fall, and the Nats generally didn't seem as responsive to Labour's attacks.
My theory is that National ran up against the Party Vote spending ceiling ($2M I think) and had to back up quite quickly - thus candidates were told to put out material focused on them if they had anything left in their $20,000 electorate budgets, and planned advertising was cancelled. Graham Watson has noted that when he asked Don Brash why they hadn't done more to counter Labour in the last week he was told they had responded through the media. Which is of course a free method that doesn't count towards the spending limit.
It was important for National to have momentum early on, to look like a credible alternative to Labour. But it's probably more important to leave something in the kitty for later on. We all know that Labour are strong finishers, and National needed to be able to go foot to foot in the last week.
Ah well, I'm sure they'll learn for next time. Unfortunately.
Monday, September 19, 2005
Tariana Turia talked about models of power-broking on Checkpoint tonight, specifically the arrangements they are considering for the shape of the next Government.
She rattled off a list of options for the Maori Party, roughly:
- in formal coalition
- confidence and supply
- opposition (not sure if she mentioned this actually, but it is an option)
- a mysterious "alternative" that is apparently quite unique to NZ but has been used overseas
Not much of a hint to what this last option might be, but I have been musing on something Keith Locke (he of the naked Epsom dash) said to me at a candidates' forum before the election.
He speculated that the Maori Party MPs may have a much looser voting arrangement than other parties. At first I thought he meant that they would vote here on one issue and there on another, but when I questioned him further he explained that he meant each individual Maori Party MP might vote separately, ie effectively act as independents.
Keith felt that those likely to be elected represented the range of political leanings within Maoridom, and thus each could vote as suited their particular ideology. I wondered if they might add in some way of checking in with their electorate, although Locke felt this was unnecessary (not surprising given he's an MP).
This would certainly be a radical way of managing things, but it does fit with the Maori Party approach to date. One of the reasons they didn't have a lot of policy going in to the election, according to their Auckland Central candidate Bronwyn Yates, is that they have their founding principles and feel that there are many different ways. In other words, they are acknowledging that there is more than one solution to every problem, and that each Maori Party MP may hold a different view that is still in-keeping with the overall kaupapa and tikanga of the party itself.
Which would mean that the party that holds the balance of power in some Parliamentary equations effectively acts as a party of independents, bound by a common set of principles but entitled to vote according to their own conscience on each piece of legislation as it comes up.
Talk about self-determination!
A colleague tells me that Michelle Boag has just said on Nat Rad's new afternoon panel the following (paraphrased):
The deal is done. We will have a minority Labour/Prog/Green Govt, with UF and NZF support on confidence and supply and it will be signed by the end of the day.
When asked if she was flying a kite she said no.
Yep it's tiny. Calling for a magnifying glass, a la Helen Clark when confronted with a g-stringed David Cassidy, would not be out of the question ;-)
I'm perversely glad that we only got 1500-odd votes. Despite the fact that I voted Alliance*, I have no problem with other Alliance supporters voting Green or Labour in such a tight race. It's nice to be able to hold my head up when meeting those people who had a go at me about the Alliance running, claiming that it would bring about a National Govt. If Labour can't work out a loose coalition (small c) I'd be surprised, and while that may not mean a lot of improvements over the next three years it will at least mean that things don't get a whole heap worse.
The Alliance has a lot to be proud of in this campaign - a year ago I did not think we would be in a state in 2005 to be able to produce and put up hoardings nationwide, produce and deliver over 100,000 tabloids, and have enough candidates to put up a decent sized list. The feedback we have had from ordinary people has been heartening - although it's quite understandable that the positive comments weren't backed up by votes. I'm particularly impressed by the reception of Victor Billot in Dunedin North, and Jill Ovens in working class areas of Auckland.
Ultimately, I'm not disappointed and I'm not surprised. We were outside Parliament on Sept 16th and we're still outside Parliament on Sept 19th, and I'm quite comfortable about that.
Obviously we'll be making some decisions over the next couple of months about the future of the party - we come out of this election knowing that we can still run a low-level national campaign, with next to no money and despite basically all of the bad things that can possibly happen to a political party happening to the Alliance in the last four years (with the possible exception of a Capill or Huata moment). I'm not sure where that discussion will go, and I'm going in to it undecided. I'll be thinking about a lot of the useful conversations had on here, and elsewhere, about (re)building a Left party in NZ, and I'm sure I'll be posting more about it in the next week or so too.
Thanks to those who did vote for the Alliance, and thanks to those who support us but didn't. Here's hoping we can put in a better showing in 2008, for whatever Left party grows from this result!
*with my Party Vote - i ended up voting for the Progressive candidate with the electorate tick, as there was no Green or Alliance candidate and i couldn't bring myself to vote for Phil Goff.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Looking at the 2002 results, last election was definitely low tide for National, but was it really an exceptionally high tide for Labour, given these party vote stats?
Labour Party Vote percentages:
1996* - 28.2% (37 seats, first MMP election, big chunks of vote to the minors)
1999* - 38.74% (49 seats, Labour first into Govt)
2002 - 41.26 % (52 seats, went down to 51 when they lost Turia mid-term)
2005 - 40.74 % (50 seats, pre-specials)
Labour's vote has only changed within a 2.52% bracket over three elections, which is pretty damn solid.
In contrast, National went up hugely in this election, but as Labour didn't go down much, it's mostly come from other parties - lots from Act and United, a fair chunk from NZ First. The Greens and Progs have gone down a little too, probably votes that went to Labour, shoring their percentage up, or those people didn't vote this time.
National Party Vote percentages:
1996* - 33.8% (44 seats, first MMP election, big chunks of party vote to the minors)
1999* - 30.50% (39 seats, National first out of Govt)
2002 - 20.93% (27 seats, worst result ever)
2005 - 39.63% (49 seats, huge increase on previous election, but still slightly less than Labour)
I remember after 2002 many Labour people talking about the fact that National was so weak and they were so strong that they felt that the paradigm had shifted for the foreseeable future, i.e. that Labour was now entrenched as the biggest party for years to come. I'm not saying that this is a certainty, but it is a possibility that they were partly right - Labour has not slid much, and the centre-right vote has not grown.
It's hard to know though what would have happened in a less two-horse campaign. If the media had spent more time on the minor parties they may have taken more votes from the Big Two, in particular a few percent going from Labour to the Greens, and up to 10% more to Act, United and NZ First that went to National instead.
National had all the big guns out for this election (well one anyway, tax cuts) and was able to avoid a lot of policy scrutiny (I wonder what would have happened without the Brethren scandal - it did take a lot of attention off policy for about a week, as Anne Else points out on Scoop). They also had a very good advertising campaign (from the point of view of style not content) and clearly much better on the ground mechanics than in 2002. But what more could they do in 2008?
(Yes this is a highly optimistic post!)
Update: Just noticed a number of comments to this effect over on DPF's post about National's new MPs.
*1996 and 1999 results here.
In time order, earliest at the top.
Thanks to Ms Cheesecake, Shaggy Karl, Mr the Red and Apathy Jack for making it a fun night and for cleaning up at the end too. I didn't actually intend to live blog, but it appeared no one was doing it from the left, and my guests were saying some funny stuff, so before I knew it I was posting almost constantly. Thanks also to the hardy souls commenting on the night, your feedback was much appreciated even if I didn't reply quickly :-)
A Little Loose Conversation
8.17pm - Part I (the mascara post)
8.44pm - Part II (the depressing TV3 post)
8.53pm - Part III (the trend is your friend post)
9.04pm - Labour closing (I ditched the Part's thing)
9.18pm - calling Epsom for Hide
9.22pm - Blumsky definitely down
9.34pm - United looking important
9.49pm - dead heat!!
9.54pm - sheesh this is close!
9.59pm - Worth not yet conceding
10.01pm - oh dear, consequences
10.03pm - Labour in front!!!
10.04pm - Progs need to pull up
10.06pm - party vote changes since 2002
10.08pm - Winston speaks
10.15pm - party vote seems stabilised
10.19pm - the minors
10.31pm - gap still close, but growing to Labour
10.34pm - what now for National?
10.40pm - Hartley for mayor in 2007?
10.42pm - tv graphics
10.45pm - changing hands
10.55pm - JPA reveals his inner pimpster
11.01pm - one seat gap between Lab and Nat
11.08pm - special votes
11.08pm - Brash arrives at HQ
11.14pm - not over until the specials sing
11.41pm - Lab MPs
12.12am - Clark at her HQ now
12.21am - it's not all over, red rover
And all done on dial-up - looking forward to going back to broadband in the morning!
Here is the Electoral Commission official count, pre-specials.
Seat-wise, it currently falls out to:
Labour 50 (down 1)
National 49 (up 22)
NZ First 7 (down 6)
Greens 6 (down 3)
Maori 4 (up 3)
United 3 (down 5)
Act 2 (down 7)
Progs 1 (down 1)
(Overhang of 2, due to Maori Party)
2002 results here.
Special votes are 193,000-odd according to the EC website, but TV3 have been saying 218,000, not sure where they have that number from. The difference between Nat and Lab could tighten or widen, Greens could go down below the threshold or up another seat, and Matt Robson might sneak back in.
Phew, what a night! And it's not really over for some time to come, but finished enough to get some sleep and worry about it in th emorning - because Tommorow Is Another Day.
Very cheery crowd, but she doesn't look overly happy - Apathy Jack reckons it's cos she's thinking about the phone calls she has to make tomorrow (Winston, Tariana, Peter, and Jeanette).
Clark says she is humble that they have the opportunity to start talks to form a new Govt.
Lots of pauses for applause.
Gosh she looks tired - points out that going in they had 51 MPs and now they have 50. Shaggy Karl said hours ago (it feels like last week) that this is pretty good for a third term Govt, and he's right (or Apathy Jack is, he may have said it even earlier).
Apathy Jack suggests Clark emails everyone in her inbox first thing tomorrow morning to see if they're keen on a bit of coalition chat action.
She really does seem humbled, which I think is a good thing. She also looks exhausted. Even forgetting about the campaign, tonight's adrenalin ride must have really taken it out of her (and many others, I'm certainly feeling it!).
Clark says she will be talking to other leaders in the next two days - "in a spirit of optimisim."
They're chanting "Three More Years" again, but Shaggy reckons it should be "More Free Beers." ;-)
Saturday, September 17, 2005
This is very rough, but I think I've got it right.
(My old boss Darien Fenton seems to have just missed out.)
Lost Seat but IN on List:
Moana Mackey (was List last time but failed to win seat previously held by her mother for Labour)
Update: DPF has the list of 22 (!!) new National MPs, and maybe Darien is in because apparently she just gave a victory speech at the SFWU election night party, according to my sources.
Update the Second: at approx 12.45am, One reckons Fenton is in. My brain is too mushy but I hope so!
Over 190,000 to be counted yet, which is around 7 or 8% of the total vote. Could make a big big difference...
The final official count is released on 1st October, so potentially things are going to fluctuate a bit yet, even though nearly 100% of the non-special votes are counted. Fingers not safe from nibbling yet.
Many media types asking and asking if he is going to concede defeat, but he says nothing, although you can hear someone laughing very very loudly in the background.
it's a total media scrum around him, he's grinning hugely.
Obviously a very positive crowd at the HQ - lots of clapping and waving. Quite understandable really, with a roughly 19% turnaround from 2002.
Ms Cheesecake was confused by the glowing way in which Judy Kirk introduced him - "who's outstanding??" - now they are all (well lots of male voices) are chanting.
Don's listing off all the seats that have changed hands - huge cheer for Tauranga! He only list one of the Hamilton seats (East).
"We can't yet claim a victory but I am certainly not conceding defeat" he says, a big cheer goes up, with a bottle of champers blocking the camera, as you would expect from the Nats ;-)
Brash goes on to talk about putting together a coalition over the next days and weeks, and about it being a Govt that will serve "all New Zealanders" (presumably except the Labour voters, gays, Maori, etc etc).
TV3 just said there are 170,000 special votes, and that they have normally favoured National...
Coddington is getting stuck into National's strategy in terms of killing off Act, which is hardly surprising. Oh now Laws has decided to switch focus and attack Winston, who has the third biggest block in Parliament but is largely powerless again. Good point.
Greens looking a bit shakey on 5.08% though they do seem to go up in specials.
Hone Harawira just charmed Ms Cheesecake, until we pointed out that Titewhai is his mother.
Did anyone else see JPA on One just now?
What is with the out-there lapels, and the porn star gold chain? I was waiting for him to bust some Travolta Saturday Night Fever moves on us, but then I remembered he's actually 67.
Many many electorate seats going from Labour to National. I've already posted about Northcote, Invercargill and Otago. The weathervane seats of Hamilton West and East are close - Gallagher slightly ahead in West, but Yates has lost East by a margin of 5000 plus.
Sutton is gone (well lost his electorate), on final results, 6000 odd down.
Anne Tolley and Moana Mackey very close in East Coast, with Mackey 1110 down on winning her mother's old seat.
Napier is finalised and Fairbrother has lost to Tremain (National).
Craig Foss has Tukituki, from Rick Barker.
Maori Party look to have 4 seats, so up three, with Samuels and Tamihere out of Parliament. Correction - Samuels is in on the list - electorates going Maori are Te Tai Tokerau, Tamaki Makaurau, Te Tai Hauauru (Tariana Turia, MP already had), Waiariki (the only one finalised)
In the minor turn-overs, obviously Epsom has changed from National to Act (Worth has conceded), and Tauranga from NZ First to National.
is it just me or are the TV3 and Maori TV graphics identical bar fonts and colour schemes??
Maori TV seems to have been a long way behind in terms of updates, but this is their first time doing election coverage.
With 100% in, Coleman has taken Northcote back for National.
It's a margin of over 2000, so solid even in the face of specials I imagine.
Northcote, my home electorate for most of my life, was always a high tide seat for Labour and this is definitely not a high tide. Like Invercargill and Otago, it is back in blue hands.
It's an excruciatingly close result, but what does this mean for Don? he's nearly 65, he's not won the election, and there John Key (and no doubt others) must already be thinking about the numbers for a year's time.
Will we see National have five different leaders in five subsequent elections?
Of course there is much coalition chat to go, and Brash has made a huge difference to his party (to give him all the credit is probably not fair on others behind the scenes) but maybe His Work Here Is Done?
Still looking at a gap of 0.7 - 0.5% between National and Labour, with Labour the nose ahead. It does seem to be growing ever so slightly - if there were 10% more votes to count then Labour would potentially be several seats ahead, but there's less than 5% to go (plus specials of course).
Does anyone know if the advance votes are included in this count because there are supposed to be 150,000 of the buggers.
As said previously, party votes seem to have stabilised.
NZ First - 5.7 - 5.9 - 7 seats - which means Winston looses his brother, Dail Jones and Craig McNair
Greens - 5.1 - 6 seats - so they will loose Mike Ward and someone else at least
United - 2.7 - 2.8 - 3 or 4 seats - big losses - Mark Alexander may be back in which makes me very unhappy indeed
Act - 1.5 I think - so only one more in with Hide, which will be Heather Roy
Progs - 1.2 - borderline whether they get Matt Robson in or not, but no overhang
Maori Party - 1.9 - but they will win 3 or 4 electorates - resulting in an overhang of 2 probably
Shaggy Karl is thanking the Lord that Paul Adams is not back in.
Jenny Shipley is on One and Mr the Red has just made Apathy Jack very unhappy by pointing out the odd similarity between Our First Woman PM and Bomber Bradbury...
Party vote seems to have stabilised, with 94.6% counted.
Labour 40.3 - 40.4
National 39.9 - 40.1
Peter Dunne is having an absolute go at the media before talking about anything else. Weird. He says there will be no discussions tonight, but some over the next few days.
Winston on the podium in Tauranga, happy to be back in Parliament and giving out the thank yous. He's just, characteristically, claimed the microphone has been sabotaged. Will he concede???
Gosh there seem to be a lot of thanks.
He's just spoken some absolute gibberish about the night not being known, so I don't think he's going to concede tonight. It was all a bit Mike Moore "the long dark night" and made absolutely no sense.
Even though Clarkson is in, Winston is not out. Damnit. Stupid old ladies.
Update: Winston just turned down the baubles of office, but I think he meant testicles.
One just put up a graphic with the party vote changes since 2002 which shows clearly that the 19% gain for National has come from cannabilising their natural partners, while Labour has actually only lost 1.1%.
Mr the Red just asked who the guy with the moustache is and Apathy Jack claimed it was Groucho Marx. Unfortunately it is in fact Paul East.
Colin James has just sort-of called a Labour Govt, but it's going to depend a lot on the Progs bringing in a second, and the Greens holding. Not to mention Maori agreeing to confidence and supply, and United Future being friendly.
Adrenalin is overwhelming!!
Keith Locke in his underpants (or even less!) ARGH!!
(yes folks, that's a reference to Hide doing better and better in Epsom)
But One has called Te Tai Tokerau for Harawira, Samuels will be in on the list.
Tamihere and Sharples still close to call - however Shaggy Karl has just pointed out that if it was a real race he thinks John would probably win.
Labour keeps to come up, National keep falling, but it's eensy wincy stuff - 3,500 votes in between them in the nation-wide party vote! (with 88.6% counted)
Greens have been tracking about the same most of the night - 5.11%, so it looks reasonably solid, especially as they tend to do better in the overseas votes (or at least that's my hope).
United is likely to bring in at least 3, which could be crucial to how this falls out - with a two seat gap between Labour and National at the moment, with over 70% counted, it's looking like a 1 or 1.5% gap between the two majors.
Green has been staying solid, so there's 6 MPs for Labour, plus Jim and Matt Robson, making 56, which is a minority Govt. Maori look likely to get 4. National plus Act would only be 52 or 53. So United's 3 and Winston's 6 or 7 will be pivotal. Any conversations between Don Brash et al and Peters have got to be fraught, given Clarkson has taken Tauranga.
The more stable option for Dunne support would have to be Labour-led - but he has promised to talk to the party with the most seats first...
TV One just had some breaking news - somebody has nicked a plane from Ardmore and is flying it dangerously low over Central Auckland!
What is it with all our nutty would-be terrorists that they save their weird acts of slightly perturbation for the last week of the Longest Election Campaign(TM) ever? I'm waiting for this one to demand to see the PM and be told to wait a few more hours.
The man with the eyebrows was on before, and Hobbs is safe in Wellington Central. Well done to Jordan, although I'm not a Hobbs fan I wanted her to win for his sake.
We were discussing the eyebrows and determined that what is unnatural about them is not in fact the eyebrows, but the gap between them. It's all a little Bert really. Actually I suspect if I met Blumsky I would quite like him, he seems pretty down to earth, which is always nice, and unexpected (by me) in a politician from the Dark Side.
I'm probably making a big call, but a 1,500 majority with over 40% counted, I'm calling if for Hide. I'd really really like to be wrong. Remember Worth had a 6000 majority in 2002.
But it's still looking like Hide will only be able to bring in 2 max MPs. Down from 7% to 1.8% in three years, is a big fall. It's Alliance 2002 all over again, except on the Right, and winning the electorate seat.
Hanging in there, not considering the Bombay Sapphire yet - One's handy percentage thing at the bottom of the screen is cheering us up, especially Ms Cheesecake, who is pointing out every drop in National, and every rise in Labour. Nail-biting stuff though.
Shaggy Karl is annoyed at all the old ladies who are voting for Winston on the party vote.
Big cheer by all of us as National drops a seat on the One seat-o-meter! Four seat gap now - I think Labour needs to be basically a seat or two short of National to be in the game.
And someone just pointed out that Matt Robson would currently be back in, and I had to admit to my friends that that's a good thing.
OMG One has called Tauranga for Clarkson!!
One thing that is heartening - Labour (and the Greens) have been trending up basically all night, while National has been falling.
Although National is still up on 43%, the Greens are now over 5%.
watching TV3 was getting depressing so we turned over to One (who have an all male political activist panel grrrr) and things are not quite so dreary.
Mike Williams has pointed out that the big city boothes, in strong Labour electorates, are not in, and they will deliver a lot of votes to the centre-left, but there is a different rural shift back to National.
Epsom is looking very very tight - Shaggy Karl and Ms Cheescake has just made the point that Keith Locke should have promised to run naked through the streets of the electorate if he lost, then he would have hosed home, giving the Greens a certain return!
Clarkson is well ahead in Tauranga - approx 600 margin with 16% counted - he may make it in by a testicle. I bet Peters doesn't concede though, even if Clarkson is well ahead at the end of the night - Winston will already be assessing his legal options I'm sure.
got some mates around for election night - all ex-AUSAers - an events organiser, two University staff, a teacher and me.
so far we've been too busy talking to do much election watching, except to comment on Michael Laws' mascara, which led to a discussion about that All Black who wears it. We suggest he gets an endorsement out of his eye makeup fetish, cos if it can last all the way through a test match, because He's Worth It.
overall the trends are not that great for the left so far - Greens below the threshold and National quite some way ahead of Labour...
Election Day Delay Post. Originally finished at 1.19pm.
The election days I recall properly:
1993 - too young to vote, but very very interested. Had a crush on a boy who was going to vote National for reasons which escape me. He was also a punk (complete with mohawk), a vegetarian, and verging on violently opposed to vivisection. But he did have nice eyes.
1996 - my first year of full-on political activism. Fresh from a 9 day occupation of the UOA Registry, I proudly cast my first election votes leftward at my old Primary School, then went to a party with fellow student activists in Grey Lynn. I remember that we had at some point in the campaign stolen several boxes of Act propaganda (copies of Prebble's first book, left behind after an Act stall in the quad). We burnt these out the back with great gusto. It was very exciting for me, to have worked so hard on the student campaign and then watch the results with my comrades. Of course we didn't know on the night that Winston would go with National, and we were all thrilled, except for one Deborah Manning (Pollard as she was then) whose enjoyment was dented by the fact that close family friend Chris Carter lots his seat and thus her mum lost her job as his electorate secretary.
1999 - by now I felt like an old hand, with four years of campaigning under my belt. Besides the student campaign I'd also helped out the Epsom Alliance candidate, Mark O'Brien, who I knew from AUSA. On the night a small group of AUSAers flitted between the Alliance do at Tradeshall and a friend's 21st out in Glen Innes - she was mightily pissed when Shipley announced the election date, as most of her milestone birthdays had been marred by coinciding with election night. Although she was a leftie much of her family wasn't. There were screens at the 21st with the results, off to the side, but no sound. Incredibly frustrating.
2002 - my first time as a candidate, and of course a crucial election for the Alliance. I was quite ill at the time and had exacerbated this by having a car crash the day before the election date was announced. This meant I was stuck in Howick for most of the campaign, a long way from my friends and family, feeling crap and in pain from the accident. I tried to do what I could in Waitakere and on the Alliance's party vote campaign, mostly electronically. On election night I feared I wouldn't be able to stand the emotional rollercoaster of the Alliance event out in Waitakere, so I spent it with my family on the North Shore. This turned out to be a mistake - as the night went on I discovered that EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of my immediate family had cast at least one of their votes for United. I valiantly managed not to say "I told you so" in the following weeks as they found out what they had voted for.
2005 - Well today I'm pottering around the house, cleaning up the inevitable mess from having both members of the household up to their ears in election stuff. There is literally a mountain of laundry, and papers scattered all over the four rooms we use the most. I've been unwell again throughout this campaign, so tonight I am staying in and having a few friends around to watch the results. I'll distract myself for the rest of the day with tidying and cooking nibbles for them all to consume, and if I get time I'll try to work out how to hook the laptop up to Jetstream in the lounge so we don't have to go back and forth to the spare room for the PC. I'm off to vote as soon as I've finished this, but to be honest this is the most surreal election day I've ever experienced. I feel like either the last nine months hasn't happened, or they happened years ago. I'm looking forward to having proper spare time again, and an end to the rows in the staffroom at work, not to mention quality time with The Man In The Comfy Chair. But I feel oddly removed from the whole event, like it is happening to someone else's country. Perhaps it's best I feel that way for a while yet.
PS: And just as I was finishing this post off, going back and bolding bits, the phone rang. It was Graham from Phil Goff's office just reminding me to vote. I think I may have falsely given him the impression I would be voting for his boss - he said seeing my occupation on the list he was sure I would be voting the right way and I replied with a cheery yes. Oops.
Friday, September 16, 2005
I have been thinking long and hard about where to put my party tick tomorrow.
I have listened to a lot of arguments about why I should vote Green, but ultimately it has been
the problem i have with my electorate vote which has convinced me to vote Alliance.
I live in a very safe Labour seat - Mt Roskill, held by one Philip Goff, the man who introduced student fees. Of course I cannot vote for him (despite someone I know threatening to throw herself and a chair through a second-storey window when I told her this).
So who the hell do I tick for my candidate vote? I can't work it out, as there is no one on the ballot I believe in, even remotely.
And it would be the same if the Alliance was not there under party vote. I have in fact been bullied about this (by a "leftie" who, ironically, refuses to vote for Richard Worth in Epsom because she can't bring herself to) by being told, repeatedly, that I shouldn't get out of bed tomorrow. I reminded her that having a Labour Government is no guarantee of having a Left Government, look at 1984, and received a very icy stare for my efforts.
Why the hell shouldn't I vote for a party I believe in - this may be my last chance to do so. In fact if everyone voted for something they believed in, instead of always thinking tactically and about short-term personal gain, then I suspect the minor parties would do much much better, and the majors would have to buck up their acts.
If a Labour-led Government is not re-elected, or the Greens don't make the threshold, the blame is not actually the Alliance's. There is a long list of reasons they may fail, but the fact that 1% (or less) vote for us is not at the top of the list, not even close to it. It's also worth pointing out that it's likely there will be a great deal more wasted vote to the right than the left - probably Act, potentially NZ First, definitely Christian Heritage, Destiny and others.
I frankly can't feel much sympathy for a Labour party which has routinely made big stuff ups in this campaign, in fact going right back to Orewa I. I do feel for the Labour members on the ground, as there has been a failure at leadership level - the mechanics of their campaign have been awesome to behold, but they have been let down by the media work, in particular, of their leaders.
I talked to Keith Locke on Tuesday night, at a candidate debate. I went up to be friendly (building bridges and all that) and told him if I could bring myself to not vote Alliance I would be voting Green. He then proceeded not to accept that graciously but to insult my intelligence by trying the usual arguments about why you shouldn't vote for a party not already in Parliament. This served to tick me off rather than drive me to tick.
I know what voting Alliance means - it means that in the narrow world of Parliamentary politics my vote is deemed to be a "waste". But in the bigger world of the left, the bigger world of the movement for social justice, it is a little sign waving in the wind that says "I want a real left party in NZ and I'm prepared to work on building one."
I have genuinely been wavering on this for several weeks. I can understand that other Alliance supporters will vote Green, or even Labour, because they too have gone through their own decision-making process. I respect that and wish them the best and hope to see them at the upcoming regional conferences to decide our next move.
But ultimately I am voting with my heart and my mind - all too often in life we are given a list of choices, none of which is really what we want, and we choose the lesser of many evils, as I will be doing with my candidate vote. This election I have a chance to vote for a party I believe in and I am going to take that and hold it tight - it may be my last opportunity for many elections to come.
Further to this post about how many people are actually behind the Secret Seven campaign, there was a third of a page ad this morning in the NZ Herald with the same themes.
Please note that it features the names of 49 people from Invercargill to Kaitaia who are concerned about the "crisis" NZ is facing. And it is authorised by our old friend M. Powell of Mt Roskill, the same person whose handle is on a number of the Exclusive Brethren leaflets, and is not one of the named Secret Seven.
So basically any claims by those seven businessmen that they acted alone and as individuals, separate from their church, look like a load of old cobblers.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Carrying on from Part I, here's a report on the second debate, held at St Peter's Anglican Church in Pakuranga on Tuesday night.
A much smaller bunch of candidates - Pita Paraone (NZ First), Michael Wood (Labour) and Ian McInnes (United Future) reprised their roles, while Maurice Williamson* (National) and Keith Locke (Greens) joined in. Yep, not a chick in sight on those candidate seats.
The focus of the debate was foreign policy issues. Candidates had five minutes each to talk on the question "Is NZ a good global citizen?" and then there were questions from each of the sponsoring organisations, United Nations Association of NZ, Oxfam and Amnesty International. And then the floor had its chance.
It was an interesting floor actually - much smaller crowd than the previous night, even though it was a bigger venue. I think roughly half the crowd were Labour or National members, the rest were interested not-for-profit types.
The chairing was well done, although he started by reading out potted histories of the candidates that were generally quite dull (BSc in this, Masters in that, likes swimming and reading, blah blah blah). He also stuffed up quite a few bits on Wood's (don't know about the others) but there really wasn't an opportunity to correct him as it was straight into the candidates' speeches, McInnes first.
Locke I found disappointing. I've heard him speak much better, and on the two occassions that he was riled during the evening he was actually very good, but most of the time it was a dull delivery. He certainly knew his stuff though.
As it was a much smaller number of candidates than the previous evening each got to talk for longer, which was good and bad. McInnes seemed unsure of his ground so shoe-horned in things that were only vaguely related to the topic, while Pita Paraone again simply read from the NZ First policy manual. He did seem to loosen up a bit during the questions which was good.
Maurice is a good speaker, no doubt about it, and the fact that he and Wood were mostly one after each other meant that much of the focus was on their interaction. They sparred quite a bit, and Williamson's body language was very anti-Wood, legs crossed almost to the point of turning his body around, not even looking at his rival until quite some way into the evening, etc. The difference in height also made for some strange moments at the podium, as whoever went second had to radically alter the tilt of the microphone.
Moments of interest:
- Paraone said NZ First strongly committed to NZ remaining nuclear-free, and McInnes made the same noises, meaning this would be off the agenda for a first term National Govt (they'll need the time to change public opinion anyway)
- Williamson proudly stated he is an "absolute acolyte" for free trade, and at another point said that labour standards were not necessary in free trade agreements as free trade is enough on its own
- when asked about the attempts by the USA and UK to redefine torture, Williamson made a strange crack about the National caucus being torturous, which he repeated later, and Paraone also tried to get in on the same joke. Seemed like a funny way to get people to vote for your party to me, to imply that being in its caucus is an unpleasant experience.
- Maurice was also absolutely glowing about Don Brash when an audience member pointed out that National have had four different leaders for the last four elections, proclaiming that Brash will be PM for several terms.
- the National and Labour candidates had a scrap over how National worked out their 1991 benefit cuts, with Wood claiming they asked a nutritionist to work out a budget for a diet for the minimum calories needed to survive and then National cut this by a further 10%. Williamson was incensed at this, but I'm pretty sure I saw the evidence on Someone Else's Country (or maybe it was In A Land of Plenty).
- Keith Locke made a point about politicians in the USA being bought by corporates and lobby groups and Williamson was behind him nodding in agreement
- someone in the audience raised an issue about the French building a nuclear power plant in Noumea, but no one else seemed to know what on earth he was on about
It was a good debate and I wish there had been more in attendance. There was quite a lot of hanging around afterwards, with the National and Labour supporters curiously circling each other and getting into arguments about the Exclusive Brethren and petrol prices.
But the one single thing I will always remember from this debate was the hanging in the church which stated boldly:
Do you love me? Feed my sheepUpdate: Labour candidate Michael Wood's take on the two debates can be found here.
* Please note that Maurice Williamson Millenium Model differs greatly in appearance from the photograph supplied
No, not how the vote is going to fall out - the combination of the closeness of the contest, volatility of the polls, and my own wishful thinking would make any prediction i might care to put out there guaranteed to be wrong.
But I've been thinking about what might happen if National gets in - which of their policies they might have to trade down a size.
Mostly I've been thinking about education policy. I don't think NZ First is going to stand for compulsory bulk funding - Donnelly just doesn't believe it's workable, so that would become voluntary instead. In some ways this would be worse, as National would of course put a lot of money into it at first, and then once many schools have taken the bribe and gone into the scheme the funding will start to shrink, resulting in an acceleration of the creeping privatisation already afflicting our schools. Of course it'll be a one way street - you can opt in to the scheme, but once you're in, that's it, until/unless a change of Government reverses things.
But in the industrial relations arena I don't think NZ First will care much, and United Future certainly won't stand in National's way (especially if Mark Alexander gets back in by some miracle). I suspect that Mapp already has his Employment Contracts Act Mark 2 drafted, and it would be in by Christmas (what a nice present under the tree for bosses). It will of course reverse the recent amendments to the ERA and no doubt we'll see an end to time and a half and a day in lieu for working Christmas Day, no four weeks annual leave, no paid parental leave, and National has just promised to "review" sick leave. Workers currently only get 5 days sick leave a year, unless they are lucky enough to be covered by a collective agreement which gives them more. Five days really aren't very much - that's a cold for you and chicken pox for one of your kids, and it's all gone for the rest of the year.
Brash said on Kim Hill last night that he wasn't intending to review the five Maori agencies but to abolish them - the two which relate to the Treaty settlement process would hang around until 2010 to finish off the job, but Te Puni Kokiri would be gone. I suspect both UF and NZF would vote for this. But in terms of abolishing the Maori seats, I think National would have to hold a referendum to get support from the two centre-right parties. Of course this would be a referendum of all seats, not just the Maori seats, so bye bye to them, and hello to political violence in NZ.
In terms of nuclear-free, I think that will be a second-term attempt. National know they need a few years to change the mood in NZ first.
Any predictions in other areas folks?
There is one small aberration in NZ which annoys everyone it affects. Many Kiwis already comply with a sensible approach without the need for legislation, however those who do not require some mild corrective action, and I think that all my readers who have ever encountered this annoyance will agree wholeheartedly, from ACA to LibZ.
I have walked up hill and down dale in recent weeks delivering the excellent Alliance tabloid to many households in Auckland, and while I enjoy the exercise and the chance to just walk around listening to my walkman for hours and hours, there is one small veruca-like part of the whole experience.
Dear readers I am referring, of course, to letterboxes.
My fellow deliverers will know exactly what I am talking about - it is the letterbox with the hole that is too small, the letterbox that is up a small muddy hill above the pavement, or way down a driveway, or stuffed so full that it cannot take another piece of glorious electoral information, no matter how thin.
(I recall vividly Pauline Gardiner waxing lyrically on this very subject in the documentary about the Wellington Central campaign in 1996, Campaign. I remember nodding violently at this point of the film, and thinking what a sensible woman she could be when she really applied herself to the big issues.)
People of NZ address your letterboxes!! If this is not done voluntarily and universally I feel that I shall one day be forced to vote for a fascist party who promise to rectify this heinous irritation through harsh legislation involving whips, chains and compulsory model letterboxes which shall be placed no more than 50 cm from the intersection of driveway/path and pavement.
Please I beg you, letterbox owners of NZ, act now, before it is too late. Because every letterbox deliverer could one day grow up and become the politician who Fixed Our Letterboxes.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
This week I've been a good citizen by attending two Pakuranga candidate meetings, to listen to some and support others.
Monday's debate was at St Mark's, a Catholic church. The chairing and format were well done, although the set questions were a bit repetitive - I noticed that the Christian party candidates repeated themselves quite a bit in their answers. Instead of opening up questions to the floor you were able to submit written questions beforehand, which was a good way to keep the question-asking short and snappy - truly questions not statements! It was a big crowd, although not a huge room, and people were pretty well behaved.
Quite a diverse bunch of candidates - Pita Paraone (NZ First), Bronwyn Yates (Maori Party), David Jesze (Destiny), Michael Wood (Labour), Jill Ovens (Alliance), Judith Collins (National, replacing local MP Maurice Williamson), Irene Bentley (Greens), Ewen McQueen (Christian Heritage), Meng Ly (Progressive), Bronny Jacobsen (Act) and Ian McInnes (United). Apologies to any candidates whose names I have inadvertently mangled.
Interesting moments included Ewen McQueen mentioning child abuse (which made me very glad I was in the crowd, not there as a candidate, as I cracked up). Ian McInnes proclaimed that abortion was the second biggest sin in NZ after not accepting Christ into your life, and Bronny Jacobsen, from the Liberal Party, surprised me by opposing a woman's right to choose.
I was very interested to see Judith Collins' performance, as I had always had the impression that she was quite snarky. I had hoped she would be a bit less prickly in a friendly electorate, but alas she was still very abrasive. In particular she failed to talk about any policy except tax and totally refused to answer a foreign policy question about whether she supported Helen Clark on Iraq or Don Brash and the USA. She pretty much lost her rag at this query, and even after other candidates answered sat sulkily with her arms crossed.
Judith made the ah, interesting claim that she had heard from married couples who have decided to split up purely because it is financially advantageous to them. I have to suggest that your relationship may have other problems if you are actually doing the numbers on this. She really was very slick at avoiding answers but playing attack dog instead - I didn't even realise until after the debate that she didn't actually say where she stood on abortion, just talked about her defeated Care of Children Amendment Bill. Frankly I think this was an odd strategy from Collins, given that it was a pretty friendly audience for her.
Candidates were looking quite tired. Although of course I'm biased, I felt that the better speakers (in terms of style, not content) were Jill Ovens, Michael Wood, Ewen McQueen and Judith Collins. Pita Paraone has a booming voice, but is not that good at communicating - plus one of the candidates told me afterwards that he just read from the NZ First policy book for virtually everything - disappointing from an MP. Wood had a good line on National's tax cuts - constantly referring to it as the "$92 a week for MPs tax cut" which went down well as most people, regardless of political persuasion, don't seem to like the idea of MPs getting more money.
A few other observations:
- the friend who went to the debate with me (thanks S!) found David Jesze, who is number 2 on Destiny's list, reminded him far too much of Dr Strangelove to take seriously
- most of the leftish candidates talked about actual people as examples, which was a good way to connect
- Destiny apparently want every article/tv news piece/radio broadcast to be prefaced by the political affiliations of all of those involved in its production.
- Collins made a couple of quite wacky policy corrections when queried. Firstly that the 90 day grievance free period will only be if both employer and employee agree - why would any employee agree to that if they didn't have to? Secondly that the accommodation supplement for those in state houses would be topped up to cover the market rentals - why not just have income related rents and save admin money?? Thirdly National want to abolish the Maori seats because MMP has given Maori more representation, but they still want to have a referendum on whether we should keep MMP - so what if they abolished the Maori seats (without referendum) and then changed back to FPP? I don't know if these policies are accurate, as so little detail has been released by National.
All in all I thought it was a very well organised and illuminating debate. With the exception of National and the Maori Party there was a lot of policy information given, as well as everyone talking about the vision thing a lot too, which always gives good insights into the general nature of a party IMHO.
Part II now up.
Update: Labour candidate Michael Wood's version of events is here.
Update the Second: Howick and Pakuranga Times report on this debate is there.
I received the Green Delusion* leaflet through my letterbox, and immediately looked for the authorisation, being of something of a political bent. It says "Authorised by Stephen Win, Favona Road, Mangere."
Now the seven businessmen who came forward and admitted to putting out the leaflets said they did it off their own bat, that only they were involved, and that they weren't acting on behalf of the Exclusive Brethren.
But Stephen Win, the authoriser, wasn't actually on the list of businessmen. A "Phil Win" is, but already we have someone not in the Secret Seven who's involved.
So when the security EB pamphlet arrived at our place, I checked the authoriser again. Of course it doesn't say anywhere on it that it's from the EBs, but given they said they were putting one out on security and that's what this one is all about, plus it repeats the blue tick motif of the Green Delusion, you don't have to be Don Brash to work it out.
Again the authoriser is not one of the Secret Seven, but one M Powell of Mt Roskill. I wonder if by chance he is related to the Brethren Wing of Tze Ming's childhood?
Now I've had copies of the All Black one (authoriser M Powell again), the one with the Sky Tower on the front (authoriser an S.A Smith of New Plymouth), and the Healthcare brochure (authorised by J Hawkins, on behalf of NZATH - NZ Advocates for Timely Healthcare. I understand EB owned up to this one as well). Then there's the Senior Citizen leaflet, authorised by J Charles Thomas of Richmond.
S.A Smith could well be Andy Smith, who is an outted Secret Seven member, but the others are all new names - remind me again, didn't they claim they acted alone? Despite the fact that acting as an individual in the public sphere is totally against the ethos of the Exclusive Brethren...
* I reckon The Green Delusion would be an ace name for a firecracker - any takers?
Sunday, September 11, 2005
When putting together a CV it's advised that you check very very carefully for grammar and spelling errors. The same goes for political leaflets, especially those purporting to be from the candidate, asking for the electorate vote.
I met Jackie Blue a few weeks back at a forum and she actually seemed nice. She probably shouldn't have told me that she had no idea what she was getting herself in for and that she probably would have said no if she'd known what running for an electorate would really be like. Like her leader, she has a fair serving of political naivety, which frankly I'm prepared to forgive in a first time National candidate standing in a safe Labour seat (not in someone wanting to be PM though, mind).
Yesterday I received her campaign postcard in the letterbox, along with thousands of other Roskillians. There was a veritable rash of young white guys, running confusedly around the electorate brandishing postcards. I saw one particularly odd pair - one was running and the other was cycling along next to him, handing him each postcard as a letterbox approached - some kind of "Change the Govt and Your Waistline" campaign tactic?
All of the above waffle is to put off the unpleasant task of critiquing the Blue postcard.
I could turn into a grammar nazi, a la Xavier, and point out the missing comma in the second line of text and the fact that I sincerely hope the health centre she is involved in serves more than the one woman the pamphlet suggests (Women's not "Womans", folks!)
Or the sentences which don't really make sense:
"With encouragement and support family and friends, I became active in the National Party."and
"...resulting to stand as your National Party candidate..."
But the bits that I found really perturbing were the five bullet points:
- "I want to make sure that Health care is there for everyone when they need it"
- "As a mother of two school aged children I am keenly aware of the issues facing families particular in the area of Education"
- "As a Doctor, a wife and mother I have been at the forefront of the many issues and continue to work with people to make a change for the better"
- "Tax cuts more money in you pocket"
And the final bullet point is:
- "Safe communities"
Then, along the bottom of the card, white caps on blue:
"I will fight for you, your family and community"
Not as bad as some of the gaffes above, but it puts the candidate at a distance from the voters - "our community" would have sealed the deal much better.
I get the impression that this postcard was put together in haste, that perhaps they had three bullet points to start with and then discovered there was room for two more, as the last two just don't gel at all. Three long bullet points and then two short just look very strange and have a grasping at straws look to them.
I have no doubt that Jackie is a genuine and caring person who actually wants to give back to her community, even though I violently disagree with the policies she might want to pursue. But she is poorly served by this postcard, which portrays her as a candidate who isn't familiar with the issues, or the policies, and is certainly unaware of the basics of clear communication. When I met her she seemed quite nice, despite being out-of-touch, and she deserves better from her campaign team than this.
All of this just further cements my plan to be much more hands-on next election (health willing). Hopefully I can find a leftie campaign manager to snuggle up to and learn from for 2011. This election has largely pointed out who not to emulate, with a large number of bad campaigns (the Greens and NZ First have been particularly poor).
But ultimately Jackie Blue and her ilk will not be judged by me alone - this time next week they'll know if the campaigns highlighted their strengths, or merely put their weaknesses on show.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Below is my contribution to Richard's interesting idea about getting political bloggers to submit to personality tests to see if there is any correlation between personality traits and political beliefs.
I had some time to kill today and finally got around to taking the IPIP-NEO test, which didn't take as long as I'd thought.
I did the Political Compass test again today for this, so basically I've become both more left and more liberal since I did the result for NRT's graph of nz political bloggers last year. I suspect partly this is because of the current election campaign polarising my views a bit more - questions that I may have picked agree/disagree I now righteously tick strongly agree/strongly disagree for.
Overview: This post is a community experiment with two broad purposes. The first is to create publicly accessible data about bloggers' personalities, which may have sociological value in addition to being just plain fun. The second is to track the propagation of this meme through blogspace. Full details and explanation can be found on the original posting: http://pixnaps.blogspot.com/2005/06/meme-worth-spreading.html
Instructions (to join in the experiment):
1) Take the IPIP-NEO personality test and the Political Compass quiz, if you have not done so already.
2) Copy to the clipboard that section of this post that is between the double lines, and paste it into your blog editor. (Blogger users may wish to use 'compose' mode to preserve formatting and hyperlinks. Otherwise, be sure to add hyperlinks as necessary.)
3) Replace the answers in the "survey" section below with your own.
4) Add your blog information to the "track list", in the form: "Linked title - URL - optional GUID".
5) Any additional comments should go outside of the double lines, including the (optional) nomination of bloggers you wish to pass this experimental meme on to.
6) Post it to your blog!
Age: late 20s
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Began blogging (dd/mm/yy): 21/06/04
Political Compass results
Activity Level 49
OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE: 56
Artistic Interests 41
1. Philosophy, et cetera - pixnaps.blogspot.com - pixnaps97a2
2. Spanblather - spanblather.blogspot.com - span779xz
I nominate the following bloggers for tagging:
- Stephen Thomas Cooper from Philosophically Made
- Joe Hendren
(apologies if any of you have already done this and i missed it)
Of course other readers may also wish to give it a go on their blogs, the instructions are just before my answers, above.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Around the traps I've seen a few comments over recent months which show the ignorance of many on the Right in regard to unions. I guess I shouldn't really expect them to know, given that they've probably never been in one, but in the interests of enlightenment, here is the first is a series of explanations for those bloggers who currently wallow in their ignorance and then spread it around.*
Union Myth #1 - Union membership is compulsory
I've seen this bandied around a bit - that people are somehow forced to join unions.
Union membership hasn't been compulsory in NZ since the decade of the bubble-skirt, the 1980s. This comes from a speech by Ross Wilson given in 2002:
"From 1936 union membership became compulsory. This system of arbitration and compulsory union membership, which provided a system of centralised wage bargaining, continued until the 1980s."In fact even when membership was nominally compulsory, union membership still wasn't 100%, nowhere near. In 1985 union members were only 53.1% of wage and salary earners.
Union density now is much lower, around the 20% mark averaged across all sectors. Hardly evidence of a insidious regime of "compulsory unionism." And something you would have thought right-wingers could realise on their own, given none of them seem to be in unions.
*and because I am too lazy/busy to continue to run around trying to deal to these misconceptions when they are popping up elsewhere.
Prevarigate (kudos to that witty commenter on Frog Blog) has got me thinking about cock-up versus conspiracy and when what is labelled a lie may actually not be.
Because I'm a leftie and highly suspicious of Dr Brash, I do think he was lying when he said that he didn't know who had produced the Exclusive Bretheren leaflet. However I can understand why others don't want to believe that, and the reality is that until we develop a reliable method of reading people's minds or capturing their inner motivations, we'll never truly know whether the Leader of the National Party was being calculatingly deliberate or just plain stupid.
So my question is - is a mistake a lie?
It's quite fashionable on some blogs to accuse people you disagree with of lying. It's a very emotive word to use - unparliamentary language indeed. Accuse someone of being a liar and it's almost guaranteed to put the nastiness of any debate up another level and require people to "stand on their dignity" blah blah blah. Just as well there is no internet duelling (yet) or many of us would have ruined our wardrobes with pistol holes and rapier cuts.
Us bloggers, and especially commenters, make loose claims all of the time. Goodness knows I am not immune. I haven't noticed that it's anymore prevalent amongst us pseudonyms, but it is certainly rife amongst anonymous commenters. We are not journalists and are not required to meet any kind of standards of balance or accuracy, but many bloggers genuinely seem to try to post with an eye to the facts.
To my mind a lie is a deliberate intent to deceive. Honest mistakes do happen, and bloggers are by no means above them.
I'm quite startled at Aaron's take on last night's TVNZ debate.
I really thought that Brash's performance was sub-par. It was certainly worse than the TV3 worm debate a few weeks ago, and you would expect him to be improving really as the campaign heats up and as he gets more experience.
It seemed to me that he was rattled very early on and then Brash did what most people do when they are scared or uncertain - go back to what they know. He didn't talk like leader of the National Party and an alternative Prime Minister.
Brash quite simply acted as if he was Governor of the Reserve Bank once again.
It was a bad look - too many numbers, and a complete inability to talk about anything but tax and related matters.
Government is about so much more than just tax. Yes what the Government does has a big impact on the economy and on citizens' pockets, but governing is also about hospitals and schools, housing and transport, our environment, the way we treat each other, etc etc. To only be able to talk about one thing, and to do that not so much as a politician but more as a bureaucrat, is a terrible failing in someone who would lead our country.
I just hope that voters can see this and tick those boxes accordingly in a little over a week.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I'm a bit of a news junkie, especially at the moment, and it urks me no end that I miss Checkpoint when I leave work close to 6pm, which is most of the time. I find ZB frustrating as they have so many adverts, so tonight I did a bit of random twiddling with the car radio tuner about 6.15pm and discovered that you can get TV3 news on the radio!
Don't know if it is anywhere else, apart from Auckland, but it's at 100.6 FM, which is Live FM.
How bloody useful for those of us out campaigning in the evenings and inevitably missing the news.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I've been really depressed about the fact that National went up in the polls after deciding to do a bit of the ol' Maori bashing.
What kind of country do we live in, where we stand up for the little guy and believe in a fair go, except when it comes to Maori? We seem to be able to countenance policy ideas for tangata whenua that we would never find acceptable for manuhiri.
I've just been having an interesting IM discussion with Jordan about this, and we've talked about the fear amongst Pakeha that our culture is threatened if Maori get more recognition. Many seem to hold the view that every powhiri is in fact an opportunity for a handshake that is lost, rather than a welcome that could happen alongside that quaint European standard.
Anyone read Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman? (IMHO Pratchett's best book.)
In it there's a bit where they talk about auras. Bear with me, I have a point.
The main character doesn't appear to have an aura, because it can't be seen, it isn't noticed. In fact there is an aura alright - the aura is so big, so all encompassing, that you can't see it because you're inside it.
I see Pakeha culture in NZ in that way - we find it hard to see because it is everywhere. Other cultures, in particular Maori, stand out because they are not.
We need to let go of our fear - and not just in terms of Maori. Fear is the bedrock that intolerance and harassment are built on. We fear that someone talking in another language is talking about us, putting us down. We fear that we will make a mistake and look a fool on the marae because we don't know what to do. We fear that one day we will be outnumbered by "others" in "our own country."
Ultimately we fear that if other cultures are allowed to express themselves our culture may be marginalised by them in turn. We fear change and we fear what we do not understand.
If we increase our knowledge about things Maori then I hope that we can fear less. But the common practice of negatively labelling as "PC" those who do seek to find out more about tikanga and te reo does not help anyone.
I just do not understand why it is a bad thing to require our teachers to be able to pronounce our official spoken languages correctly. You already have to pass an English test to teach, to be truly fair you should have to pass a te reo one too; correct pronounciation is the least we can do.
Being able to say those words and read those placenames is another little thing that chips away at fear. Which has got to be A Good Thing.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
jarrod, aka Mr FATW, aka The Cat Stalker, has picked up on Insolent Prick's suggestion that there be some fisticuffs involving the aforementioned Mr Prick and a "liberal white activist".
Nominations over at FATW please.
I don't seem to have suffered from the recent rash of comment spam that has infected other blogs. Certainly none has come through the email system and I haven't noticed any on any posts.
If anyone does notice any could you let me know either through posting a comment after it or emailing me. I'm keen to avoid putting in the comment verification thing-bo unless it is needed.
your ever humble
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
Here we go again.
Totally ticked off:
1. Get a new job in the area I want to work in - stupid rollerblades, they appear to have run rollerskates right out of town. :-(
5. Get at least one stamp in my shiny unused passport - Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.
3. Think positive - trying but it can be hard, especially with the possibility of a National Government (notice I've put "possibility" not "probability").
4. Resist over-committing - still going well outside of work. Also getting better at it during work, but stupid bosses keep doing stupid unfair and/or illegal things - don't they ever take holidays from their stupidity???
7. Get up to date with my Alliance projects - doing small things as I can.
2. Exercise more - have managed to actually go to the gym quite a bit. I like it. I don't like the meat market aspect from 5pm - 6pm, but otherwise it is all good. One thing baffles me though - people overload the carpark, squeezing their vehicles in any which way, to avoid the slight walk from the road - hang on, aren't you going to the GYM, to, you know, EXERCISE?
Totally not ticked off, not even a little bit:
6. Finish the kitchen - basically this is in the hands of The Man In The Comfy Chair. Until he sorts out the benchtop stuff there's nought to be done. But today I am working on our back room, which is a total tip. Everything related to home-improvement (or in fact home-cleaning) is off the agenda, unless urgently required, until post Sept 17. Back room is only receiving attention because TMITCC's grandfather is supposed to be staying in it tonight.
Further reports on Span's New Year's Resolutions: