Tag Archive: Labour

Terrible bill, terrible delivery

Today, justice minister Andrew Little “banned” foreign political donations.

Everything about this is awful.

First, the “ban”. The bill is advertised as a blanket ban on all foreign donations when it literally isn’t. Rather, foreign donors have a cap of $50 dollars compared to the previous threshold of $1500. Last time I checked that isn’t a ban.

Because anonymous donations up to $1500 are allowed, the onus is on party secretaries to make sure that a donation over 50 dollars is not from any one foreign. As such, someone foreign could anonymously give $1499 dollars to a party. As long as the secretary has no reason to suspect that the donation comes from anyone foreign, it’s fine.

There’s also nothing to stop foreigners from donating to organizations such as the NZ First Foundation, which can then promptly loan the party that money without the scrutiny of donations.

If that isn’t enough, companies that are NZ registered but foreign-owned will still be allowed to donate to political parties. So this bill does nothing to stop foreign money from getting into NZ Politics.

All of that’s without mentioning the true problem with political donations – big companies practically buying parties. But the bill does not address that.

That’s four (maybe five) paragraphs briefly detailing the flaws with this law. All of these could be fixed had the bill gone through proper process – being edited first by a select committee, and then by a committee of the whole house.

But Little and Labour decided to pass this law under urgency, meaning that it has to be passed, consulted and edited in a singular day.

This is unacceptable. Laws should only be passed under urgency during, ya know, urgencies.

But for something as important as electoral law there needs to be a lot of review. This is something that has to be gotten right regardless of the amount of time it takes.

But no. Little and Labour went for the flashy headline that solves nothing, whilst abusing democratic process to try and hide the lack of fixes.

Repugnant.

Give the Greens a deal

The Herald has a very interesting read on the race for Auckland Central, with the two major players being National’s Nikki Kaye and the Green’s Chlöe Swarbrick.

The article opens the (small) possibility of Swarbrick beating Kaye, and it got me thinking – Labour giving the Greens an electorate deal in Auckland Central makes sense.

Swarbrick is, after all, the second most popular politician in NZ (first would have to be Jacinda). For Auckland Central, the Greens + Labour combined also beat National for both party and electorate vote in 2017.

With an electorate seat, the Greens would be safe – something they are far from at the moment. They’re hovering at around 6-8% in the polls, but National’s objective is to destroy the minor parties.

Making sure that the Greens survive is in Labour’s interests – a teal deal will never happen.

I also imagine that because the Greens are hovering so close to that 5% line, there are Labour supporters who will strategically vote for the Greens come election time. With the Greens at least having a decent chance in an electorate, those voters may return to Labour.

The above paragraph is, however, only an educated guess, so take it as that.

Of course, winning Auckland Central is far certain – Kaye defeated Ardern herself in 2011 and 2014, but in both elections Labour + the Greens combined would have beaten Kaye and National. So I’m willing to say that Swarbrick with Labour’s endorsement would oust Kaye.

Do it Labour. It’s a sound strategy.

Please, no return to two-party politics

Bryce Edwards at The Guardian has pointed out the problem Jacinda and Labour have with minor parties:

Bridges knows that his best chance is not making new friends in parliament, but rather taking out Ardern’s current support parties. It’s a cunning, if very cynical plan.
A number of new “micro parties” will be attempting to make it into parliament in 2020. They have little chance of success, but they do have the potential to have a big impact. Two small environmentally-focused parties – Sustainable NZ and the Opportunities party – could end up acting as spoilers, stealing votes from the Greens and sinking them under the crucial 5% threshold.

No no no no no no no.

The change from FPP to MMP was the best and most important political change for recent political history. FPP is a terrible system, voters should not be forced into voting for the lesser of two evils. Yet, that’s what’s essentially that we could be staring at, despite being in MMP.

If we do lose the minor parties, barring changes to the electoral system (which isn’t hugely unrealistic, to be fair) it will be difficult to get any minor parties back in parliament.

Going to a two-party system is a bad idea, period. One party having absolute power in government is bad.

Come 2020, if we are in danger of losing the minor parties, NZ voters, please do the right thing. Vote for the minor parties if you have to.

Contrasting starts

Both Labour and National need a good 2019. Both parties struggled during 2018, for different reasons. Labour, in government, suffered one too many scandals that they would have liked. Meanwhile, Simon Bridges’s National leadership was being questioned less than six months into his tenure, and that’s not even mentioning the Jami-Lee Ross saga.

And as the political year begins, both parties have had experienced contrasting starts.

Labour was forced to back down on its interim KiwiBuild targets today, as rather than building the targeted 1000 houses by July 1, the government is only expecting 300 to be completed by then.

Their target of 10 thousand houses over the next decade does remain rock solid, though.

On the other side of the political spectrum, National leader Simon Bridges has promised “rolling tax relief”, and intends to link tax brackets to inflation. This would stop “bracket creep” where you get pushed up a tax bracket thanks to inflation even if you aren’t necessarily earning more.

Finance minister Grant Robertson and most of the left have questioned how National could afford it alongside their other ambitious policy goals such as their debt plans, paying teachers more, and making new roads.

But, to the average voter, Labour has started off the year by admitting they can’t build 1000 houses this year, meaning more housing crisis, while National has started off the year by promising less and fairer tax.

National has started off 2019 right. Labour hasn’t.

Who could go to cabinet?

As the political year kicks off, Jacinda Ardern has delayed an anticipated cabinet reshuffle, which now looks to have been postponed to after May.

One of the biggest problems for Ardern is the lack of gender diversity in her cabinet. In a cabinet of 20, just six are women, and that goes against Labour’s line that cabinets should generally have an equal amount of men and women.

Well, there used to be seven women in the cabinet. But Clare Curran was embroiled in scandal after scandal and add to that her failings in open government, she was never really cut out for the job and was given the axe.

Meka Whariti, another women minister outside of cabinet was forced to stand aside after allegations arose that she assaulted a staff member.

Another minister who’s had problems is Iain Lees-Galloway, who late last year was constantly under fire due to his handling of the Karel Sroubek deportation case.

Personally, I don’t think Lees-Galloway will be thrown under the bus, though I do think that he will shift portfolios.

And while there (should be) just one cabinet place up for grabs, there are always opportunities for MPs to be ministers outside of cabinet.

So, who could make the step up?

Kris Faafoi

Probably the MP deserves a call up to cabinet most. Currently a minister outside of cabinet, he has proven himself again and again as a safe pair of hands. When Curran lost Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media portfolio, it was Faafoi who took it, and the same for Customs when Whariti had to stand down. Unfortunately, due to Ardern and Labour’s wish for more women in cabinet, Faafoi may be forced to wait.

Ruth Dyson

Ruth Dyson has now been in parliament for 25 years, or since 1993. As a minster under Helen Clarke during the Fifth Labour Government, she’s one of the few in Labour who have had previous ministerial experience. She should be able to get her head down and get on with the job without attracting too much attention, which is what Labour needs right now. My pick for who will go to cabinet.

Louisa Wall

As an MP since 2008, and with big name recognition as it was her bill that led to the legalization of same sex marriage, I was somewhat surprised to see Wall get nothing when cabinet was formed. With name recognition and a massive achievement under her belt, Wall would generate some excitement. However, her list ranking of 26 last election, 14 places lower than what it was at 2014 implies that she may have trouble with the Labour higher ups, so I see Wall going into cabinet as unlikely.

Kiri Allan

If Labour really want to spring a surprise, Kiri Allan would be the way to go. Allan only arrived in parliament at last election, yet is highly regarded, and when I interviewed her after the last election, she was really impressive. Out of the MPs I interviewed, I would say that she’s the most likely to be a future PM. Should she be moved to cabinet, I can see her doing a very impressive job, but she is still the riskiest move for Labour at the moment, and risky isn’t what the party needs.

Still, it is important to recognize that as Ardern has said, any cabinet reshuffle is a long way away, and it also important to note that this is just my speculation.

Oh, and, yeah. I’m back writing at this blog after a long hiatus. Good to be back!

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.

What constitutes good and bad in the Northcote by-election

Tomorrow, the Northcote by-election happens.

So, what is a good or a bad result?

An amazing result for Labour and terrible for the Nats would be if Labour’s Shanan Halbert wins Northcote. That shows huge support of the government in an electorate that is generally considered a safe National seat – and all that happening with the Greens splitting the left vote.

A great result for Labour and the left and a narrow escape for the Nats would be if National’s Dan Bidois wins, but the combined left vote – Labour + Greens – is higher then National’s total. Labour will be bitterly disappointed, of course, but it still shows huge support of the government.

Should Bidois win by around 3000 – 4000 votes, Labour will be concerned, but the Nats will be satisfied. Labour will have cut National’s majority compared to last years general election in Northcote, but by not enough for a new government, who generally gain popularity when they are still new and fresh.

Should Bidois win by over 5000 votes, National will be elated. National won Northcote by 6000 votes in the general election last year, and when you factor in the fact that by-elections tend to have lower turn out, it’s almost the same as building on their majority. This would show no new support for Labour and the government – something which would be very troubling given that new governments are generally more popular.

Tomorrow will most certainly be an interesting day.

Halbert vs Glenfield Mall

Labour’s Northcote candidate Shanan Halbert got into a spat with Glenfield Mall in Northcote a week back. 

Labour was told that both parties were not allowed to campaign in the mall, however, the following day National’s candidate Dan Bidois posted pictures on social media of him campaigning there.

Halbert went to Glenfield to try and sort it all out, but was told that despite Bidois being allowed to campaign, he would not be allowed to. In the end, security had to be called, although it looks like Glenfield’s manager just wanted him out sooner rather than later rather than Halbert being too persistent.

I can see both sides of this argument.

On one hand, it’s utterly unfair to give one candidate permission but not the other. Either give both permission or give none.

On the other hand, Glenfield is private property.

I personally side somewhat with Halbert here, but it is a sticky situation all around.

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.

 

css.php