Monthly Archive: June 2018

Talk is cheap

The government has changed their stance on immigration in regards to construction, with an estimated 30 thousand foreign workers to be brought in to fill a skills shortage so the government can build houses.

It just goes to show how much policy can change between opposition and government.

In opposition, they wanted to slash immigration by as much as 30 thousand.

Now they are bringing in 30 thousand workers.

Populism gets you into government, but once you are in, all of a sudden that populism can’t translate into real policy.

I expect we will see this in every change of government ever, to be honest.

But that’s democracy.

Why I don’t support a NZ republic

Well, nothing at all is happening in NZ politics, so, in a desperate attempt to blog I’m going to state my view on NZ republicanism.

And, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, I support the retention of the monarchy.

Why?

  • It risks giving a political party too much power. If a president is aligned to a political party, they will have every reason to block bills that their party does not support. This could result in political deadlock.
  • It makes sure we still have good ties with the UK. The fact that we are still technically under the control of the crown means that the UK and us will still have good relations. As the UK is still absolutely a world power, this is very advantageous.
  • It reminds us of our history. Both the good and the bad when New Zealand was a colony was done under the name of the crown. While the Queen is our head of state will be forced to both confront the bad and embrace the good of NZ history. If there was a president, there would be an easy excuse.
  • The Treaty was signed between the Maori tribes and the crown. The treaty is what makes sure we treat both Pakeha and Maori equally. If we get rid of the monarchy, what happens to that agreement?
  • The Queen doesn’t have a political opinion. Ok, well she probably does, but she probably doesn’t have a political opinion relevant to New Zealand. A president will. Especially if they are a party based, their political views may influence their actions.
  • Finally, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

So yeah. That’s why I can say that I’m a monarchist.

Nash risks pulling a Little

Fisheries minister Stuart Nash has announced that he will try to get support from within cabinet to roll out cameras on commercial fishing boats. 

The policy, which was put on ice when the Labour government was sworn in, has been on ice given Labour’s coalition partner NZ First having strong ties to the fishing industry.

So, Nash has announced that in July, he will do his best to gain support in cabinet for the putting cameras on fishing boats.

Nash is in risky territory here. The fishing industry is a friend of NZ First’s, and, the last time a Labour minister tried to sway NZ First to their way of thinking when Justice minister Andrew Little attempted to gain their support for the planned repeal of three strikes, NZ First publicly said no in a humiliation for Little.

Now, Nash finds himself in a similar position, trying to change NZ First’s mind on a core position of theirs.

And honestly, I see Nash most likely suffering the same fate that Little did.

The fine line of international politics

National and the Greens have called for the government to condemn US president Donald Trump’s policy of family separation.

Acting PM Winston Peters, however, has said that while he and all of the cabinet are “concerned” about the policy, they have refused to condemn it.

It shows what a tricky thing international politics is.

There’s always a certain amount of sucking up you have to do to people you might not like. We saw it with Trump and Kim at the Singapore Summit. We see it in pretty much any interaction with China.

And New Zealand remains an ally of the US and within their zone of influence.

Peters and the government can’t risk a backlash from the US which has already imposed tariffs on us.

So, they are forced to remain silent.

Where’s the positive media?

On Saturday, it was announced by Conservation minster Eugenie Sage and Energy minister Megan Woods that they had denied an application to mine on conservation land. 

This is a positive for the government, as they are following up on their promises to restrict mining in favor of conservation.

Ok. What’s the big deal?

Well, I didn’t even know this happened until No Right Turn blogged about it. 

The usual sites that I go to to find out what is happening in NZ politics, Stuff, the NZ Herald, and Newshub, all had no reports on this.

Look, that is something that should change.

Reporting only negative media about the government will get them more clicks, but it is important to report both the good and the bad on the government.

Otherwise, they risk not telling the whole story and seeing trust drop in them.

I hope the media will change their ways on this.

No confidence in Goff

Earlier this week, nine out of the twenty Auckland City Council councilors penned a letter of no confidence to mayor Phil Goff. 

Nine out of twenty councilors. Nearly half. This is no small thing.

Councilor Chris Fletcher has also accused Goff of bullying him.

But, that’s not the main reason councilors are rebelling against Goff. What is going on?

Well, Goff wanted to abandon Eden Park, Auckland’s main stadium for a new one on the waterfront. Fair enough.

Well, what happened next? The Herald can explain this better than I can.

Not all council members want to abandon Eden Park but their disgruntlement was over restrictions Goff has placed on the circulation of the report by consultants PwC for the council subsidiary, Regional Facilities Auckland. Goff released a redacted version of the report, blocking out some passages to preserve commercial confidences.

He refused to give councillors the full report in electronic form but they could read printed copies in council offices so long as they did not copy them or take them away. Goff says the Ombudsman was satisfied these arrangements met the legal requirements of freedom of information in local government but some councillors were naturally annoyed and insulted to be treated this way.

And so this was the big kicker that caused the motion of no confidence.

To put it lightly, Auckland Council is a shambles. And if Goff wants to keep the number of councilors who are rebelling from rising, Goff has to change his ways.

Power is a fickle thing

There is some discord amongst the Greens, after Land Information minister Eugenie Sage made a highly controversial decision.

Sage made the decision to allow a Chinese owned water bottling company to expand and gain several hectares of land, to grow their Otakiri Springs water bottling plant.

This goes against the Greens campaign promises, in which the planned to ban new water bottling consents, put a levy on water bottling exports, and take treaty claims and rights into account when making decisions about water.

Why did Sage do this? According to Stuff:

The Overseas Investment Act only allows Ministers to take into account “substantial and identifiable” benefit to New Zealand and conservation values – but not Treaty of Waitangi rights.

So the Greens could only make decisions that benefit both New Zealand and conservation, but not necessarily local iwi.

There was some serious outrage in the Young Greens, with Young Greens co-leader Max Tweedie saying the following:

“What the fuck is the point of us being in government and having this portfolio if we throw our Te Tiriti [Treaty] obligations in the bin?!

Green party co-leader Marama Davidson also publicly said that she didn’t like the decision.

Kinda ironic, isn’t it?

Now that the Greens are actually in power, they can’t do what they want.

Guilty unless proven innocent

Morgan Freeman is the latest Hollywood star to be hit with sexual misconduct claims.

Now, the Screen Actors Guild is apparently considering revoking the lifetime achievement award it gave Freeman.

Look, that’s not ok.

Nothing has been yet proven. 

This isn’t the way the justice system works.

It is supposed to be innocent unless proven guilty, but I feel like all of a sudden, the media, the public, and almost everyone have adopted a guilty unless proven innocent approach when it comes to sexual misconduct.

Like sure, if Morgan Freeman has ended up sexually harassing women, then that award should be absolutely be taken away from him.

But if that’s the case, you do that after the trial and the guilty verdict, not before.

Sexual abuse is no doubt a terrible thing to experience and those who do that should be punished.

But we need to make sure the perpetrator actually did the crime before enacting punishment.

It works that way with every other crime in the book, sexual misconduct shouldn’t be any different.

No repeal of Three Strikes

Labour’s proposed reform of the controversial three strikes law has fallen through, with their coalition partner NZ First saying that they would not support the repeal. 

This is what happens when you have a three-way government like this one, and it shows the different sides that NZ First and Labour have taken on law and order.

Ironically, there probably wouldn’t have been a lot of difference had three strikes been repealed – barely any criminals have ever made it to their third strike – in fact, that number is yet to reach double digits.

The promise to repeal three strikes was more of a signal on where the government stands on law and order.

This will also concern Labour and the Greens, as, Winston Peters, leader of NZ First, the party which said they would not support the repeal, will become PM as soon as PM Jacinda Ardern has her baby, which could happen any day now.

Interesting times ahead.

Bidois wins Northcote

The Northcote by-election has been won, and National has held the seat, with their candidate Dan Bidois winning.

Congrats Dan and condolences Shanan.

Labour did move their share of the vote up from 2017 from 34 to 44%, but the kicker for them is that National’s share of the vote barely fell at all – their’s went from 52.8 to 51.1%.

So all of the Labour’s vote was cannibalized from the Greens and NZ First.

I think this shows the problem that Labour has – while their share of the vote continues to rise, it is all coming from the Greens and NZ First. National voters are staying staunchly with National.

How do they go about fixing that problem? I’m not sure.

However, all in all, this was a well-run campaign by Labour, and cutting a majority of 6000 down to 1000 is no simple task.

Finally, this has changed my perception of what type of seat Northcote is – before, I would have said it is a safe National seat, now, I’m calling it a seat that leans National. A well-run campaign there by Labour in 2020 could see them wrestle it off National.

Once again, congratulations Dan.

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