Tag Archive: National

17 years old, and a candidate for parliament!

William Wood, a 17-year-old, has been selected as National’s candidate for Palmerston North.

Holy crap. This is so so cool. The man can’t even vote yet, but he’s already a candidate for parliament. He’s gone to show the world that if you are good enough, you are old enough.

It’s also not some cushy seat that was handed to him – Wood’s earnt his selection on merit. He defeated National’s 2017 candidate Adrienne Pierce, current list MP Jo Hayes, and Ava Neal to secure the nomination.

No small feat.

But while he’s earnt his nomination for Palmerston North, whether he is going to get into parliament is another matter altogether. Palmerston North is Labour territory, and Wood will not win it.

Realistically, Wood will only get into parliament via the list. Where he places on that will probably be the first thing I look for when National announce their 2020 party list.

However, given how he managed to beat the 2017 candidate and a current MP, I would not be surprised to see National place him high. He’s earnt it.

Wood, (if he isn’t already) should be an inspiration to young people everywhere. As a fellow young person, I’m so stoked and proud of him.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that my views of him are entirely positive. You see, as a young person who takes pride in being one of the more politically active young people, I’m feeling rather out-done at the moment.

(Ignore the fact that I gave up on following politics for the better part of a year)

Sustainable NZ – here to sink the Greens

Former Green party male co-leadership candidate Vernon Tava has launched his new political party, Sustainable NZ.

Sustainable NZ claims to be neither left or right-wing, and is apparently here to provide a voice for the environment, and solely a voice for the environment. That’s in contrast to the Greens which is both an environmental and left-wing party.

Sustainable NZ has said that it is willing to work with either major party, which means that it will get an electorate deal from neither. So unless Sustainable pulls off something major, they aren’t getting into parliament.

What Sustainable will do is pull votes off of the Greens. Given that the Greens are hovering around 6-7% in the polls, it’s very easy (and very likely in my opinion) that Sustainable is a scheme set up by the Nats to get the Greens out of parliament.

After all, taking out the minor parties is National’s best path to government.

It’s a strategy that is good for getting National into government – if appalling for the health of our democracy.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about Sustainable is that they could very well result in there being no voice for the environment in parliament.

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.

National should go for the Auckland mayoralty

National has split down the middle over whether to stand a candidate against  Auckland mayor Phil Goff during next years mayoral elections.

Grassroots, everyday members seem to be mostly for it but the higher-ups aren’t so keen.

The grassroots members, of course, want a National mayor in the hot seat, but the higher-ups worry about the risk involved, lack of an obvious candidate, and the chance of infighting and the damaging of National’s brand that might come with a National mayor for Auckland, who could potentially disagree with the party leadership, causing serious problems.

Personally, I think National should challenge Labour and Phil Goff for the mayoralty.

Labour and Goff are in a weak spot at the moment. Goff has been no stranger to controversy during his time in the hot seat due to the amount of secrecy that Auckland council has seen, and was nearly turfed out by a motion of no confidence a few months back which saw nine out of the twenty councilors vote against him.

And a National mayor for Auckland would be detrimental to the Labour government, given that so much of their plans revolve around Auckland.

The fuel tax, light rail plan, and kwibuild are all plans that are centered upon Auckland, and that are only really feasible with a co-operative mayor.

So, all in all, I think National have nothing to lose and everything to gain by going for the Auckland mayoralty

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.

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.


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.


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.