Monthly Archive: April 2018

National’s environmental focus

Simon Bridges announced last night that his party were going increase their focus on the environment. 

From a political perspective, it makes sense. Something that’s been brought up a lot recently is that while the Greens are an environmental party, they are also socialist, and that can disillusion voters.

But can National really hope to gain votes here?

I mean, as much as environmentalist voters might not want socialism with environment, if National is the alternative, what environmentalist is going to vote for the party that spent the past few weeks defending the oil industry?

If National wanted to be smart about going for the environment while hurting the left, they would help the creation of an environment-only party.

That would see a huge chunk of the Green’s vote go to the environment-only party, while giving National a proper coalition partner, something they don’t currently have.

Still, these are just my thoughts. Things could very well go quite differently.

Where is NZ First?

One thing that I have noticed in my few months of blogging is that I’ve done very little on NZ First.

And part of the reason for that is that there hasn’t really been a lot of news out of them.

Excluding Shane Jones, who has been given both good and bad coverage by the media, there’s almost complete radio silence from NZ First.

Winston Peters, the man who chose to go with Labour, the man who dominated the media last year, has suddenly become a very quiet and meek Deputy Prime Minster.

Fellow cabinet minster Ron Mark’s only coverage was when Fletcher Tabuteau took the position of deputy leader from him.

And there’s been nothing from Tabuteau either, which is weird, as you would think that he’d be keen to show the country who he is.

And Tracey Martin hasn’t done anything to produce headlines either.

All of this is very strange when you consider that NZ First have been below 5% – meaning that there’s a strong chance that they might not be in parliament come 2020.

NZ First needs to start getting some good coverage of them soon, or this term in both government and parliament, will be their last.

 

 

A good decision by the Greens

The Greens have announced that they will stand a candidate in the Northcote by-election against Labour’s Shanan Halbert and National’s Dan Bidois.

The Greens were apparently tossing up about whether or not to run a candidate, mainly for financial reasons, apparently.

However, there’s also the fact that had they not run a candidate, Labour’s Shanan Halbert would have had a better chance of taking what is generally seen as a safe National seat.

But, now that they are running a candidate, they have an opportunity to try and distinguish themselves as separate from Labour, and, with the party only just above the 5% line, that is something that is sorely needed.

And, this is probably the safest opportunity for the Greens to do that.

Northcote is a safe National seat, having been held by National since 2005. Shanan Halbert’s chances of winning it were always going to be small. With the Greens running a candidate, they are now minuscule. But, given they were always small, it’s a reasonably good opportunity for the Greens to distinguish themselves.

The other opportunity they will have to do that is when it comes to the passing of certain bills in the house, such as the waka jumping bill and the Kermadec Islands marine reserve bill.

However, while going against their coalition partners in those bills might help show their independence, it will do more harm than good for the coalition as a whole.

Overall, the Greens have made a good call by standing a candidate.

The frustrating UN

The UN has made Syria chair of the UN disarmament forum.

The country which was the perpetrator of a deadly chemical weapons attack last week (chemical weapons were also banned by the disarmament forum), is now going to be the chair.

The hell?

You don’t put a country that just violated the rules of your forum as chair of the forum!

It’s so frustratingly ironic.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only frustrating thing the UN has done in recent years.

They’ve put Saudi Arabia on the women’s rights commission. Saudi Arabia only gave women the right to drive last year.

They named the UN human rights prize after Libya’s former murderous dictator, Muammar Al-Gaadafi. They also gave the prize to people like Fidel Castro, the former dictator of Cuba.

And they’ve also somehow managed to sanction Israel more times than North Korea.

It’s a frustrating organisation, to say the least.

 

Davis has been acting prime minster

That’s some news right there.

Kelvin Davis, has in fact, been acting PM for the past week while Ardern and Peters have been in Europe.

Who knew?

The man hasn’t got any media coverage at all.

Now, it is worth noting that he has been better than the last time he was acting PM, where he got exclusively negative coverage, but I don’t really think that him having zero coverage is brilliant, either.

To put in perspective, I didn’t realise he was acting PM until today – and I practically check the political news of New Zealand every half hour.

Hopefully he will finally put on a solid show next time he is acting PM.

 

My thoughts on Vision Zero

Assistant transport minster Julie Anne Genter’s plan for zero road deaths has raised some eyebrows, to say the least.

It’s been widely criticized as a plan that will never work, a plan that is too audacious.

And it is. Having zero deaths is something that is not achievable.

But I don’t think that necessarily makes it a bad plan.

If JAG had instead announced that she wanted to slash deaths on the road by half, well, then she would have had half the resources.

But as she is going for a target of zero, then she will probably have double the resources.

Now, having more resources doesn’t necessarily mean it will be more successful.

But, I’d say it increases the chance lowering the road toll by a lot. Not down to zero, but hopefully it will slash the toll by a lot.

And having less people die is certainly a good thing.

Not all that bad for the coalition

A new Colmar Brunton poll was released today, with the results being misinterpreted. 

Labour fell five points, from 48% to 43%, while National gained one point, going from 43% to 44%.

The other three points that Labour lost both went to their coalition partners, the Greens and NZ First, with NZ First climbing two to 5%, (A result which would see them still in parliament if that was their share of the vote come 2020) and the Greens rising 1 point to 6%,

Unfortunately, the fact that in reality, the coalition is down just one point has been not been covered, with most outlets prioritising the fact that National is ahead of Labour.

And it’s also worth noting that Simon Bridges has just a 10% preferred prime minster rating, while Jacinda Ardern has 37%.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Labour and the coalition – in fact, a difficult month marred with controversy, I’d say they did pretty well to only have gone down one point.

 

Robertson and debt

Hamish Rutherford at stuff writes:

 Grant Robertson’s first Budget will demonstrate the scale of his challenge to meet election promises while staying within his self-imposed spending limits…

…Unless the Government decides to drop major spending plans or raise revenue through new taxes, it should quickly consider changing the commitment, or abandoning it altogether.

While still in opposition, the Wellington Central MP laid out a plan which would see debt, as a share of gross domestic product, fall to 20 per cent, over Labour’s first five years in office.

Labour is spending big, and Rutherford is correct when he says that Labour should consider changing their debt plans.

However, if you remember correctly, back in February, Robertson stated that the low level of public debt was “was the best thing about the New Zealand’s economy” (despite having criticised the level of debt during his time in opposition).

Now with his statement that public debt is in a comfortably low level, he’s in the green to scrap the debt objectives.

Smart move from the finance minster.

More thoughts on Davidson being co-leader

Here’s some more of my analysis on Marama Davidson’s election as co-leader.

National, in a way, will be relived. There’s no chance of a teal deal with Davidson at the helm, meaning they no longer have any reason to go with environmental policies.

Labour will be concerned. Any voters that the Greens will now be going for will be potential Labour voters, which could concern them.

James Shaw might be worried. Marama Davidson was built in the image of Metiria Turei – the same “radical” branch of the greens which hurt their vote so much last year.

Whether or not Davidson was the right choice for the greens, however, remains to be seen.

No chance of a teal deal

Marama Davidson has became Green party co-leader, winning in a landslide vote.

And that shows that the Greens have made the choice to stay to the left, and socialist.

And this should be concerning for National.

Unlike Julie Anne Genter, Marama Davidson represents the core, left-wing values of the party, and that has effectively sealed them into only ever being a coalition partner for Labour.

With both Davidson and Shaw as leaders, there is no love for National in the Green Party.

So, for 2020, National will have to look elsewhere for a coalition partner. Who can that coalition partner be? Well, that’s the problem.

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