Monthly Archive: May 2018

Judith Collins – National’s Ardern?

I’m a bit late blogging on this, but one of the interesting things from the Newshub poll on Monday was that Judith Collins registered on the preferred PM stakes – at 3.7%.

She was very low compared to everyone else, however – Ardern was at 41%, Bridges at 9%, and Peters at 4.6%.

Already, this feels very reminiscent of Andrew Little’s failed Labour leadership last year and the slowly rising in popularity Ardern.

Little was never anywhere high in the preferred PM stakes. But always behind, generally at around 5% mark, was Ardern.

In fact, Collins first appearance in the preferred PM stakes is higher than Arden’s first appearance – Collins is at 3.7%, while when Ardern first appeared, she was at 3.5%

So while its early days yet, the signs appear to be similar – An uninspiring opposition leader, and a woman MP slowly gaining on him in the preferred PM stakes.

However, the saving grace for opposition leader Simon Bridges may be National’s popularity – for the moment, National is the highest polling party, even if they are below the center-left coalition.

And who will want to lead a coup against such a high polling party – for the moment, at least.


Men can face sexism

I came across this tweet on twitter the other day:

For those who don’t know, wahine means woman in Maori.

Imagine if the roles were flipped in this tweet.

Imagine the outrage of someone saying that women could not have an intelligent discussion. Imagine the outrage of someone saying that women just had shouty egos.

That’s what is pretty much happening here.

As a man, this really makes me mad.

It should not be deemed acceptable to be sexist to men.

And don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for equality between men and women.

But the fact that women have been oppressed should not give them the right to be mean to men.

The Newshub poll

Newshub released a poll today, and it was same old, same old. 

National was up 0.6% to 45.1, Labour was up 0.3% to 42.6%, the Greens were down 0.3% to 5.7%, and NZ First was down 1.2% to 2.4%

This poll follows a trend we’ve been seeing throughout the year. National narrowly ahead of Labour, NZ First below the 5% mark and the Greens just bobbing above the 5% threshold.

Crucially, despite National being ahead, they still have no parties they can work with to get into government.

National would be at 58 seats based on these numbers, and even if you add ACT’s one seat, that’s still two shy of the all-important 61 seat mark to get a majority.

Labour would be at 55, but add in the Greens and you’ve got 63 seats and a government.

So the Greens would be kingmaker. And while it’s technically possible for a National-Greens government to be formed, what do you think the chances are of such a left-wing party going with a centre-right party?

When National was tossed out of government in favour of the new Labour-Greens-NZ First coalition, they declared that they would be the “strongest opposition in history.”

And while that may be true, the strongest opposition in history may be there, in opposition, for a very long time unless they get themselves a coalition partner.


What could Irish abortion law reform mean for NZ?

Ireland, traditionally one of Europe’s most socially conservative countries, has voted to legalise abortion in a landslide vote, 68% to 32%.

Given that Ireland is a predominantly catholic country, this a big win for pro-choice candidates.

This also speaks volumes about what might happen when NZ looks to changing abortion laws.

PM Jacinda Ardern has signalled that she wants to change New Zealand’s arbortion laws.

Currently, the only way someone can get an abortion in New Zealand is if two doctors agree that having the baby would cause serious damage to the woman’s physical or mental health.

It’s interesting to note that even though New Zealand is one of the most liberal countries in the world, our abortion laws are some of the most restrictive.

And if a country as conservative and religious as Ireland will vote for reform, then I think pro-choice campaigners in NZ have a lot to be optimistic about.


Twyford doesn’t need to resign

Transport and Housing Minister Phil Twyford has offered his resignation after it was revealed that he had been on a phone call when a plane was taking off. 

PM Jacinda Ardern rejected his offer of resignation.

Although my inner cynic tells me that his offer of resignation was just a chance to look good and repentant, that doesn’t change the fact that he shouldn’t need to resign over this.

I mean, sure, apologise, and don’t be on the phone when a plane is taking off, but this isn’t something hugely serious. No one was hurt, and that is all that matters.

There are good reasons to resign as a minister, but a mistake like this is not one of them.

You’re ok, Phil.

EDIT: Apparentley Twyford will no longer be responsible for the Civil Aviation part of his transport portfolio. Fair enough.


Speaker’s rules fair

National deputy leader Paula Bennet walked out of the house during Question Time today, in protest of Speaker Trevor Mallard’s rules. 

Mallard has a system where if one side of the house interjects too much, supplementary questions are taken off them.

After a rowdy round of questioning which saw multiple supplementary questions taken off National, Paula Bennet said that the taking away of supplementary questions hurt their ability to hold the government to account.

After having a point of order disallowed by the Speaker, Bennet walked out of the house.

I personally don’t think Bennet’s argument stacks up.

If supplementary questions are taken off National or any party, well then that’s their fault. They weren’t behaving in a way that was acceptable to the speaker.

Secondly, as was noted by both the Speaker and the Clark of the House, National has had 22 more supplementary questions than they would have had if Mallard’s approach had not been implemented.

Quite frankly, Bennet was in the wrong to walk out of the house.


National’s wedge

National has taken the tough on crime approach to law and order, and are calling on NZ First to do the same.

And I think this shows just what an advantage National has when you have a three party government like this.

Being in opposition, National has no chance of passing tough on crime bills, but if NZ First backs their bill, then it will pass against the wishes of Labour and the Greens.

NZ First have often called for tough on crime policies, and so National have bombarded the member’s ballot with law and order bills, and NZ First has supported some, despite opposition from the Greens and Labour, creating something of a rift.

At the same time, National will also try and do the same thing where they have common ground with the Greens, like on environmental issues, such as Nick Smith’s Kermadec Island sanctuary bill. 

And this advantage is something that National is absolutely exploiting, and they’re exploiting it very well.


My thoughts on voluntary euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia has made its way back into the headlines this week, so I figured that this would be a good time to discuss my views on the subject.

Basically, voluntary euthanasia would allow patients who were terminally ill to request physician-assisted suicide.

And my thoughts are kinda jumbled.

On one hand, being terminally ill with an illness sounds incredibly painful and a horrible way to go out.

On the other hand, how do we know that patients fully understand their choice?

What if doctors are wrong and the person isn’t terminally ill?

What say would the family have in this decision? Could they use voluntary euthanasia as a way to gain an inheritance?

But is it fair to deny someone their choice to end their life?

As is clear, I have very mixed feelings on voluntary euthanasia.

At the moment, I would probably say I lean more to no than to yes, but I’m still very much on the fence.

I would love it if someone were to convince me to go to one side in the comments.

Mega prison ruled out

After some deliberating, the government has ruled out expanding Waikeria prison into National’s proposed “mega prison” which would have around 2500 beds, corrections minister Kelvin Davis has confirmed. 

However, that is all they have ruled out for the moment.

So, while there won’t be 2500 beds in the prison, the question of whether the prison will be expanded at all remains.

New Zealand’s prison population is currently at an all time high – around 10 thousand, and the current prisons are beginning to get crowded as the prison population continues to grow.

Without the expanded prison, as New Zealand’s prison population grows, questions will continue to float around about where the prisoners will stay.

Labour is keen on reducing the prison population by 30% within the next 15 years, but for the moment, the continuation of National’s policies here for the moment will see the prison population continue to grow.

So, whether it’s expanding prisons to fit the burgeoning population, or the reduction of the prison population as a whole, a fix will be needed soon.


No chance of Maori wards

Today, the results came in for the Palmerston North City Council referendum on whether to establish a Māori ward, and with 68% voting no, the results were overwhelmingly against. 

And, I think that just about does it for any councils ever voting in favour of Māori wards.

While there are the Māori seats that Māori can register to vote in during the general elections, local councils have no such feature, and many were hoping to phase it in several districts.

Over the past week, however, Palmerston North, Manawatu, and Whakatane have all voted against Māori wards.

However, I saw Palmerston North as the last opportunity for Māori wards to happen.

Palmerston North is New Zealand’s seventh biggest city and a highly liberal area. It’s both a stronghold for Labour and the left.

If a referendum can’t succeed in such a liberal area, where can it succeed?