Tag Archive: NZ First

Corrupt on one hand, corrupt on the other

I’m late to the party about whatever the hell is going on with the NZ First Foundation. But in the long of the short of it, no matter which way you look at it, dodgy stuff is almost certainly going on.

Last time I blogged about this, it appeared that the NZ First Foundation was only giving NZ First loans, meaning they just skirted around electoral laws. But as Graeme Edgeler states, nope, that doesn’t just skirt around electoral laws.

Edgeler says that if the foundation has been used to pay NZ First’s bills, those payments would be considered donations.

The loans were used to pay NZ First’s bills, such as advertising and payments to the IRD. Hence, donation. And these were all large donations over fifteen thousand dollars.

And there’s still confusion as to what the foundation is – is it part of the party? Is it separate? But regardless, it’s probably illegal. Again, Edgeler can state this far better than I, so I’ll let him.

“If the foundation and party are separate, it is likely a corrupt or illegal practice occurred because donations from the foundation were not declared,” he said.

“If the foundation is part of NZ First, then the party secretary has likely committed offenses around declaring donations or failing to keep records.

Just a reminder: NZ is supposed to be the second least corrupt nation on earth. This should not be acceptable here, this is not ok. Donations must be declared.

The good news is that the electoral commission is investigating. The better news is that police might do their own investigation, with Act MP and leader David Seymour stating that he may go to the police.

Worse news: silence from the Labour and the Greens. You can give them the benefit of the doubt and say they aren’t going to comment until after the results of the electoral commission investigation. But the sad fact is that they wouldn’t be in power without NZ First, and hence will most likely not comment because they need it to stay that way.

God, the results of the commission’s investigation can not come soon enough.

NZ First gamed the system

NZ First has been getting large loans from the NZ First Foundation. Problem: it’s all anonymous.

If these were donations, then this wouldn’t be a problem. If you donate to an organization that would then use that donation to give money to a political party, then the law would require that you wear that donation. But not so with loans – those can remain anonymous.

NZ First does not seem to know or care about this. Their party secretary only admitted to being aware of the foundation’s existence until after documents proving that she had signed off on loans to the party from the foundation were provided to her.

In fact, everyone is super secretive about it. Only two trustees of the foundation are known, and both when questioned were defensive and refused to comment.

In my opinion, this shows some pretty blatant contempt for NZ’s democracy. The worst part? It’s legal. Loans don’t face the same level of scrutiny as donations. As a country, we’ve done so well to either remove or be transparent about corporate influence in politics, but here we have NZ First disregarding democracy and transparency.

This loophole where loans can remain anonymous while donations cannot must be fixed, ASAP. NZ First cannot be allowed to game the system.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Haggling over the Kermadecs

NZ First leader Winston Peters has signalled to the Greens that he is willing to negotiate over the Kermadec Islands marine sanctuary. 

The Kermadec island sanctuary was originally proposed by the previous National government, but NZ First’s connections to the fishing industry put the proposal on ice when they entered a coalition with the Labour government.

Now though, it looks as if there’s hope for the sanctuary.

Although, it’s unlikely to be a full sanctuary. If this deal does come to life, NZ First’s connections to the fishing industry will make sure that there isn’t a 100% ban on fishing.

Restricted fishing does seem possible, though.

There are a couple of wild cards in play, however.

One is iwi rights. When National announced the sanctuary, there was concern from local iwi about their fishing rights.

While the Greens are of course environmentalist, they also have a history of supporting iwi rights, and giving iwi special fishing rights would probably be seen by Winston Peters as separatism, something NZ First are very strongly opposed to.

The other wild card is that National’s Nick Smith currently has a members bill in the ballot to progress the completion of the sanctuary, in it’s current form, without special rights for either iwi or the fishing industry.

If the Greens support that bill, it will pass no matter what NZ First and Labour think – naturally causing a headache for the whole government – probably part of National’s intention when they put the bill in.

At this point, it’s really hard to say what will happen.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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.

 

 

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.

 

Advice for the political parties

Today, the political year kicks off. Naturally, I, a 14 year old, decided to offer my valuable (read: worthless) advice to the politicians who have been doing this for years and years.

Let’s get right in then, shall we?

Labour: If you make a promise, make bloody well sure it happens. With an unusually large opposition facing the ruling party, this government needs to be on the double with making sure that crisis are averted, and quickly.

National: Show unity. Not having columns going up suggesting a leadership coup is critical at this stage. For the moment, National must show that they are 100% behind Bill. Otherwise, National also needs to put the best of the best up asking the questions come question time. Now is not the time to give the newbies experience; the year must start off right for National.

NZ First: Distinguish yourself. With the rumors swirling around that this will be Winston’s last years, showing that NZ First is not a one man party is critical. Whether it’s Ron Mark, Tracey Martin, or Shane Jones, they all need to show their prowess.

Greens: Get  Chloe Swarbrick in the media. Had Jacinda not come onto the scene, Chloe Swarbrick could have been the millennial’s star this election. But Jacinda is slowly becoming old news, giving an opportunity for Swarbrick to take the show. Having her in good media will give the greens a bump in polls and bump in confidence.

ACT: Make sure what you do counts: With David Seymour your only MP, whatever questions you ask, whatever you do on your select committees, make sure it counts. You won’t have many chances, so don’t waste them.

There ya go. A 14 year old’s advice to the political parties.

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