The Jackal: August 2017

22 Aug 2017

Kill Seymour’s Bill

The end of life choice Bill presented by Act party leader David Seymour might seem like a good idea at first, especially for those who’re suffering a terminal illness. But really it stems from a belief that if a person has no further productive value to society, they should be discarded, or at least encouraged to stop being a burden on the taxpayer.

Sure, there are cases where the punishment of a person who has assisted a family member or friend to take their own life is disproportionate to the crime, and there certainly should be changes made on compassionate grounds to the law. More leeway could also be provided to a judge on how they interpret the current legislation.

However the euthanasia bill doesn’t propose to do any of that.

Instead, the End of Life Choice Bill (PDF) contradicts itself on the first page where it outlines what circumstances would make somebody eligible to legally end their own life.

Those circumstances are:

• that the person making the request must be mentally competent,
as attested by 2 medical practitioners:
• that the person suffers from a terminal illness which is likely to
cause death within 12 months, or from an irreversible physical
or mental condition that, in the person’s view, renders his or
her life unbearable:

How can a person be diagnosed as mentally competent if they have an irreversible mental condition? This proposal is like a can of worms. Seymour seems to envision that a psychiatric patient could be diagnosed as mentally capable of deciding to end his or her own life. With mental capacity being a contestable issue, this makes the proposed law change unworkable.

The Bill is specific that a person can be mentally competent enough to draw up a registered End of Life Directive that would allow assisted death because of their mental condition. For those who know what the Act party really stands for, such a law that would easily allow the disposal of mentally ill people is something that should start alarm bells ringing.

The fact that an end of life patient won’t have to consult family or a psychiatrist before their decision is acted upon by doctors is another serious failing. Effectively two doctors can determine if a mentally unwell person who isn’t likely to improve is able to decide to die.

Consider also the advances in pain medication and better palliative care and there’s really no question that this Bill should fail to pass its next reading. Furthermore, two similar Bills have already been unsuccessful in New Zealand, while there have been large advances in medical treatments in the interim. This is another good reason to vote this Bill down.

Of course most doctors are very level headed and wouldn't dream of even using the proposed law. However there are exceptions and those people already make thousands of incorrect decisions that cost New Zealand millions of dollars each year.

In April, Stuff reported:

ACC treatment injury claims tally $5.1b and many are preventable

ACC claims for injuries caused during medical treatment have ballooned by 66 per cent in the past five years – costing taxpayers  $418 million for last year alone.

"About half of these injuries are considered preventable," ACC board chairwoman Dame Paula Rebstock said.

Claims are increasing too, with the docket for the future costs of all treatment injuries tallied at $5.1 billion as of mid-2016.

Treatment injuries happen when people suffer personal injury during treatment from a registered health professional. The injury must have been caused by treatment, but not be a necessary part, or ordinary outcome, of the treatment.

Clearly the health system is already failing to ensure that many people are diagnosed and treated properly. There is no question that such failures would continue in an end of life choice scenario.

Is New Zealand really ready to hear stories of people’s lives being taken because they were misdiagnosed?

Our justice system already fails to value certain people’s lives properly by often imposing light sentences for manslaughter and murder. However, misdiagnosis that leads to a person’s death under this proposed law won’t even go through the courts.

The Bill specifically states that doctors and family members assisting the death are protected from civil or criminal liability. Is the government therefore ready to pay families millions of dollars through ACC where misdiagnosis occurs?

How many deaths under this proposed legislation is New Zealand willing to accept because of misdiagnosis each year? I would contend that it is none, and therefore this Bill should fail.

David Seymour’s end of life choice Bill is badly devised and will result in many more unnecessary suicides. There is no question that doctors will misdiagnose patience and such malpractice will cost the taxpayer dearly. That cost to the taxpayer would be far greater than what the Act party hopes to save by removing people they view as a burden on society.

Dunne leaves National in the lurch

The announcement yesterday by Peter Dunne that he’s quitting politics before he loses his Ōhāriu seat to Labour candidate Greg O'Connor is one that should send shock waves through the right wing.

After all, Dunne’s single vote was often the only thing passing National's socially and environmentally destructive policies.

It’s not just about Bill English losing a coalition partner either. The strengthening Jacinda effect will likely mean that National's inexorable trend downwards in the polls continues.

Despite these facts, Bill English has claimed that he’s not worried about National's election prospects.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

PM Bill English downplays impact of United Future leader Peter Dunne quitting politics

National has already directed its supporters to vote for Dunne, and its candidate Brett Hudson has included this message on his campaign leaflets.

English and Hudson had both written personally to the electorate, asking them to vote for Peter Dunne in what is termed a dirty deal.

English denied that this put National in an awkward position, saying that it was easier to correct "one letter in one electorate" than change billboards across the country as Opposition parties had done in recent weeks.

Two letters, campaign leaflets and a televised and published request for the people of Ōhāriu to vote for the now defunct United Future party candidate.

"It's not a circus. Peter Dunne's made an unexpected decision, Brett Hudson is a well-known candidate, and he'll be fighting hard to win that seat."

It’s likely that Dunne’s support in Ōhāriu of around 34% will split pretty evenly between Labour’s candidate O’Connor and National's unknown Brett Hudson. That would put O’Connor on approximately 65%, or double that of Hudson's vote.

He was not worried about the loss of a support partner, saying National still "had a lot of voters".

English shouldn’t just be worried; he should be packing his daks! On average, National is polling lower leading into this election on 43% than in 2008 (50%), 2011 (55%) and 2014 (51%). With the loss of a coalition partner also hindering their chance of re-election, I'm almost tempted to call it.

On Sunday, Newshub reported:

Election tightens as National drops 3 percent in new poll

A new poll has National only three points ahead of Labour, and the Greens on steady footing, according to a report.

Polling by UMR for Labour has the resurgent party on 37 percent, and National 40 percent, NZME reports.

At 40%, National would be on the opposition benches, probably next to David Seymour.

There's also good news for the Green Party - UMR has it on 8 percent. That's lower than the mid-teens the party registered in some polls following Metiria Turei's welfare speech, but well above the 4.3 percent it registered in the TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll earlier this week.

NZ First remains the kingmaker, on 9 percent.

If Winston Peters had a choice to form a Labour and Greens coalition, he's likely to change the government. Winnie has been brutal with his scathing attacks on the National party this election campaign. But never say never.

NZME noted the UMR poll traditionally has a lower result for National than other polls, but the decline - from 43 to 40 percent - mirrors that of the TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll, in which the party fell from 47 to 44 percent.

The trend is all downwards for the National party. It’s not only Dunne who’s read the writing on the wall, over the weekend the Maori party declared their preference to work with Labour and the Greens.

However if the Maori party leader Te Ururoa Flavell loses Waiariki to Labour candidate Tamati Coffey, and there's apparently only 1.5% in it, they too will no longer be in parliament.

English can give the pretence that he’s calm, but behind the scenes the National party will be very concerned that their election bribes are failing, Peter Dunne has quit, the Maori party has jumped ship and the Act party has gone rogue.

All of a sudden, National's dirty deals are looking very messy to an electorate already hungry for change.

21 Aug 2017

Whale Oil is bad for your political health

We should all know by now, and especially after Dirty Politics lifted the lid, that the blog site Whale Oil Beef Hooked is a poisonous cesspool of rumormongering and outright lies. But there’s one underlining stench that pervades the right wings attack blog… a hatred of woman.

Cameron Slater's misogyny is legendary, and stems from him seeking attention but not getting it. He, like most other sexists believe that it’s OK to denigrate a woman’s body and make false claims about their abilities, false claims that are often designed to damage a persons credibility.

Clearly the practice of bigotry isn’t very appealing to most people. It’s even less appealing when candidates standing for office practice it. But there’s one thing that needs to be highlighted… politicians are clearly putting their careers at risk by reading and repeating Whale Oil prejudices.

Yesterday, The Opportunities Party’s leader tweeted:

Today, Gareth Morgan stupidly followed up with:

Like Morgan’s 'only whores' tweet, his latest sexist insult has received a lot of criticism. But it’s worthwhile keeping in mind that his juvenile mentality isn’t exclusive to the TOP party.

In July, Act party leader David Seymour tweeted:

H/T The Spinoff

The clear implication was that Jacinda Ardern is inexperienced because she’s a woman. That puts Seymour in the dirty laundry basket with all the other sexist idiots who’ve attempted to promote their bigotry through politics.

Seymour obviously realised this wasn't a good look, and has deleted his sexist tweet in the hope that the Internet will simply forget that the Act party is one of the most bigoted in New Zealand’s short political history.

The sexist and racist bile from Cameron Slater being regurgitated all over the Internet isn’t worth a damn thing, especially to a politician trying to promote their policies. The attention received isn’t going to result in votes, because the New Zealand public is intelligent enough to spot sexist idiots like Morgan and Seymour from a mile away.

Take note politicians, reading Whale Oil is bad for your political health. You only need to look at Act and TOP’s recent polling to see that repeating such prejudices does your party no favours at all.

Jacinda Ardern raised the roof

The Labour party's campaign launch yesterday at the Auckland Town Hall was, by all accounts, a resounding success.

Not only did new leader Jacinda Ardern cause the venue to fill to capacity, she also announced a number of great policy initiatives that have already received international attention.

Even the New Zealand journalists attending gave Labour praise, in particular everybody’s favourite reporter to hate, Patrick Gower.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

Jacinda Ardern is Labour's 'new hope'

Jacinda Ardern delivered one simply exceptional line in her speech today, calling the fight against climate change "my generation's nuclear-free moment".

It is catchy, credible and has cut-through. It is a great line. It is an absolute banger of a line.

At this rate Steven Joyce will have to buy Gower a whole cheerleaders wardrobe.

But there’s one remarkable overseas article in particular that indicates we’ll have a much-needed change in government after the next election.

Yesterday, Rueters reported:

New Zealand opposition leader launches campaign for 'brave' tackling of inequality

New Zealand has been buoyed by some of the strongest economic growth among advanced countries in recent years.

But Ardern said, for many, pay rises were not keeping pace with a rising cost of living and the gap between rich and poor was getting more entrenched.

She said she would never question the importance of a strong economy but the difference between the major parties was what “we use as the signs of success”.

“I will always maintain that a successful economy is one that serves its people. Not the other way around,” she said in Auckland.

“And that means judging success differently.”

The Labour party will account for the number of children lifted out of poverty in each budget, as a measure of economic success.

This is perhaps one of the best measurements to ensure economic success isn’t just determined by factors that have no impact on our unacceptable rate of impoverished children.

Strangely though the article doesn’t even mention the National party’s policy announcements. In fact it barely even mentions New Zealand's unelected PM, Bill English.

Her opponent in the Sept. 23 election, Prime Minister Bill English, took the reins last December when John Key announced his surprise resignation after eight years in the role.

Only a single paragraph about English taking over from John Key doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Perhaps the authors realised that after a number of favourable polls it’s likely Labour will win the election.

Ardern had an immediate impact in the polls upon becoming opposition leader, with her party jumping 9 points to 33.1 percent, its highest level since 2014, just days after her appointment at the beginning of this month.

Polling commissioned by the Labour Party and released ahead of her campaign launch put the party three points adrift of the incumbent National Party.

The UMR poll had Ardern’s favorability rating at 70 percent, compared with 57 per cent for English. Ten percent viewed her unfavorably compared with 37 percent for English.

This weekend the Maori party also announced their preference to work with Labour and the Greens, signalling their intent to change the government.

National's other coalition partner, Peter Dunne, will likely lose Ōhāriu to Labour's Greg O'Connor and the last rogernome, David Seymour, is also looking shaky in Epsom.

The National party are therefore in serious trouble, especially since attempts to regain public attention with election bribes and policy re-announcements have failed to find much cut-through.

Combine those PR disasters with Labour's momentum from the Jacinda effect burning brightly and it’s little wonder we’re seeing such a large shift in the polls.

To get a sense of the Let's Do This positivity, read Jacinda Ardern’s fantastic speech here.

20 Aug 2017

Amy Adams goes boom

The housing crisis in New Zealand doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon, especially with the Prime Minister telling the reserve bank to put a halt to loan-to-value limits. Bill English also said he wouldn’t allow any further measures to curb lending for property, an instruction that has been widely criticised by the government's opposition and various economists alike.

The only hope for the many thousands of Kiwis now locked out of home ownership is for a change of government. The National party has clearly indicated that they don’t want wages to rise, house prices to stabilise or foreign investment into our already over-inflated housing market to be curtailed.

That’s because Bill English believes their core supporters will vote with consideration to the increased value of their properties, even if that value is just numbers on paper. National believes (incorrectly I might add) that their core supporters don’t want to see their children able to afford to purchase a home off their own backs, and has determined that fiddling around the edges is the best course of action to be re-elected.

Instead of proposing any type of proper policy to increase affordability and remedy the housing crisis, National is trying to mislead voters into believing the free market is already providing. They're claiming the amount of houses required to address the problem are already being built, and it's the biggest boom ever.

On Saturday, Scoop reported on the Nation:

Adams: And I’m answering the question. There is absolutely evidence that all of the indicators are now tracking the right direction. We have the biggest building boom ever underway. We have 100,000 new houses and apartments.

The claim by National’s Minister for Social Housing is patently wrong, a fact that was pointed out by Labour Spokesperson for Housing and Auckland Issues, Phil Twyford, and later by economist Bernard Hickey on Twitter.

This graph clearly shows that despite the huge increase in immigration into New Zealand over the last few years, the number of residential building consents is well below those seen in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Of course the National party had to come up with some sort of argument, being that they've lost the debate and need to try and save some face. Their supporters only need a semblance of an argument to justify their selfishness after all.

The problem for National is Amy Adams' statement was categoric. She didn’t say the claim only related to consents from 92 onwards. She said ‘We have the biggest building boom EVER underway’, which even after accounting for the Christchurch rebuilding is a complete lie!

The other problem for National is the number of dwelling units consented nationally for each of their nine long years in power is less than those recorded in 2004. Stupidly, the National party has provided a graph showing Adams was entirely wrong!

Perhaps those in the National party trying to argue against reality haven’t been getting enough sleep, because it really wasn’t their day for statistical evidence, which should form the basis of any good government’s policy direction.

Yesterday, another well-respected economist, Shamubeel Eaqub, also tweeted.

Oh dear National! Not only did Adams completely fail to provide proper evidence based numbers, she blatantly lied about the number of houses being built.

Even some of National’s core supporters won’t like such obvious dishonesty from a Minister about such an important issue... the property speculators however will love it.

If you're not a soulless property speculator, vote for a party that will help more New Zealander's into their first homes... vote to change the government.

19 Aug 2017

Who's to blame for Barnaby Joyce?

We all know that there are two sides to a story. But in the case of the Barnaby Joyce citizenship scandal there appears to be three.

First we had the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, trying to lay blame on the Labor and Labour parties in order to shift the focus off of Barnaby Joyce and their hypocrisy. Then we had the National party also trying to blame Labour’s Chris Hipkins for daring to even ask some generalised questions about citizenship.

However a third and correct side of the story is now being uncovered.

Today, 1 News reported:

Aussie journos had answers on Barnaby Joyce's citizenship nearly two weeks before Kiwi MP's inquiries

In a bid to set the record straight about who knew what about Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's Kiwi citizenship, the New Zealand government has released an official timeline of questions it received about the issue.

It confirms Australian reporters had answers on the matter nearly two weeks before a member of New Zealand's Labour Party even inquired.

Despite this fact, Bill English and Steven Joyce used the opportunity to attack Labour.

On Tuesday, Newshub reported:

Bill English condemns Labour's Chris Hipkins in Aussie citizenship saga

Prime Minister Bill English has criticised Labour's Chris Hipkins for interfering in Australia's constitutional crisis by looking into Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's background.

How much political capital National has made from such obviously incorrect accusations is anybody's guess. It’s probably not much being that most New Zealander's know that English is a bit of a fool!

It was pretty obvious the PM was in the wrong after the Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne, also made statements on the matter that contradicted the Prime Ministers.

Mr Dunne says it was questions from Australian media, not Labour's Chris Hipkins that led to the revelation, but Mr English says it's up to MPs to make sure they don't get embroiled in the politics of another country.

"I can't remember a time when an MP has done something like that that involves the politics of another country. It's just another misjudgement about what is actually a serious issue," Mr English told reporters.

It was a misjudgement of the National led government to think they could simply keep the fact that Barnaby Joyce is also a citizen of New Zealand a secret.

But what makes this all the more ridiculous is the Australian government attacking the Labour party over something that they also must have known about.

On Wednesday, Stuff reported:

Aussie foreign minister says she won't be able to build trust with a NZ Labour government after citizenship row

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop: "Should there be a change of government, I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia".

Hopefully there will be a change of government in both countries, because at the moment National as well as the Liberal Party of Australia are both looking rather dishonest.

Bill English really needs to stop blaming Labour for everything that goes wrong in government, including when things they've tried to keep secret are revealed.

The best way to ensure the blame game comes to an end is to vote National out. Vote to change the government this election.

PM runs away from equal pay

Since their election in 2008, the National led government has dragged its feet on the issue of equal pay. Even when they looked close to making some worthwhile legislative changes, after years of legal battles, the remedy proposed is clearly far too narrow in focus to make any real difference at all.

Like so many of the National led government’s proposals it's simply window dressing to make it appear that they give a damn about the low and discriminatory wages people are expected to survive on. It's pretty obvious that National wants people's incomes to remain disproportionately allocated based on their gender, and that's why Bill English was run out of Dunedin hospital this afternoon.

Today, 1 News reported:

Protesters demanding equal pay force PM to leave Dunedin Hospital after storming building

Protesters have flooded Dunedin Hospital, forcing Prime Minister Bill English to leave the building.

Bill English was ushered out of the hospital following his announcement that $1billion will be spent on the complete rebuild of Dunedin hospital.

1 NEWS political reporter Katie Bradford tweeted: "Protesters have marched into Dunedin hospital and chased the PM & health minister out of the building".

Thankfully a lot of people realise that the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill will simply not work to address pay inequality in New Zealand… and here’s why.

On Thursday, Newsroom reported:

Equal pay advocate Bartlett ‘let down’ by Govt

Just four months ago, the Government described its $2 billion deal with Kristine Bartlett and her fellow aged care workers as an historic first step towards achieving pay equity. But Bartlett now says she feels betrayed by the Government. Andre Chumko reports.

The disillusion began to set in within two days. On April 20 the Government released its draft bill, which unions and the Opposition said erected a road block to settlements similar to Bartlett's by forcing pay equity claimants to compare themselves first with colleagues in their own businesses and sectors, rather than with similarly skilled workers in other sectors. They argued the Government had ignored the good work done over two years by employers and unions in a Joint Working Group led by Dame Patsy Reddy, who is now the Governor General.

The bill's presentation to Parliament last week for its first reading confirmed for many that the promise of April 18 had been dashed.

"I listened to the first reading and I was just absolutely gobsmacked to think that they could stand up there and say what they had to say about it. They didn’t care a damn. Not one of them. They totally changed their minds and they totally reneged on what was the exciting part about this case, and just stopped it basically for everyone else," Bartlett said.

In July, Newsroom also reported:

Equal pay tsunami surges forward

Eric Crampton, chief economist at the New Zealand Institute, said the pay equity framework would likely result in hundreds of millions of dollars in extra public spending leaving the Government “stuck with a bit of a mess”.

National’s attempt to trick people into thinking they were addressing the equal pay issue has left them running for cover. This is particularly concerning for Bill English because Labour’s new leader, Jacinda Ardern, has recently announced that she won’t rest until women have equal pay.

There’s a clear choice for voters at the upcoming election between a party that pretends and one that actually cares about equal pay. If like Jacinda you also want to see an end to workplace discrimination, make the right choice on your ballot paper. It’s time to change the government.

PM confused over latest court action

The National led government hasn’t been very good for New Zealand. Not only has there been significant social and environmental degradation under their watch, our justice system is also under considerably more pressure from an increased workload.

That’s why it’s great to see a group of experienced lawyers take time out from their busy schedules to proceed with court action concerning the deaths of Afghan villagers during a raid involving NZSAS personnel.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Afghan villagers' lawyers go to High Court

The lawyers acting for Afghan villagers caught up in a raid allegedly involving the SAS have gone to the High Court to try to get a government inquiry.

In April, Prime Minister Bill English said there was no basis for an inquiry.

But the lawyers - Rodney Harrison QC, Deborah Manning, and Richard McLeod - said today that decision was unlawful and they had filed papers seeking a judicial review.

In June, the United Nations Committee Against Torture asked the government to report on what measures it had put in place to fully investigate the allegations about the raids.

The National led government's answer was unfortunately to do nothing except try to cover things up. They've neither properly investigated nor been honest with the information that has been released.

But what makes the Prime Minister look even more contemptible is that he thinks the Lawyers involved in this worthwhile case are acting for Nicky Hager, and not the Afghan villagers.

Yesterday, 1 News reported:

Afghan villagers take NZ Government to High Court over claims SAS raid killed locals

Bill English said:

“You always expect something from um, Mr Hagar in the run up to an election.”

English was either not properly advised or he’s completely delusional!

As previously reported this isn’t about Nicky Hager, it’s about the government failing to undertake an inquiry into the deaths of innocent people during a raid involving the SAS. It’s about some very good and well-respected lawyers having to take the government to court because the National party, even after considerable international pressure from the United Nations, has failed to do the right thing.

The book Hit & Run was published in March 2017 and the lawyers have stated that the delay in initiating proceedings was because of the distance to their clients. Therefore simply saying it’s all just Nicky Hager again shows just how out of touch the Prime Minister has become. He’s clearly unfit to lead the country, as well as the National party.

Anybody who values truth and justice should look towards a political party that will actually investigate war crimes when they occur… they should therefore vote for a party that will change the government.

18 Aug 2017

Kiwi petition ignored by National

The National led government has perhaps been the most arrogant when it comes to conserving our natural resources in New Zealand. Through ignorance and greed, they've managed to damage our ecology beyond measure in their relatively short political history.

Unfortunately the National party simply doesn't care what environmentally conscious people think, not even during an election campaign.

That’s the conclusion one has to reach after the Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry, decided she didn’t need to concern herself about a petition by New Zealander's who are unhappy with a plan to build a water pipeline directly through a Kiwi bird sanctuary.

Today, Newshub reported:

People power saves rare kiwi from water pipeline - for now

Plans to build a pipeline through a kiwi sanctuary have seemingly halted in the face of growing public backlash.

More than 18,000 people signed a petition opposing the pipeline to take fresh water that originates in Mount Aspiring National Park, pipe it out to ships 6km offshore and export it in bulk.

Expecting voters to agree to the damage of high value land that is now a sanctuary where some of the rarest Kiwi birds live just so that our precious water resource can be exported overseas in bulk for free will be a bridge too far for many voters.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry turned down the invitation to accept the petition.

She says Okuru Enterprises would need to reapply to the Department of Conservation for permission to lay the pipeline, since the kiwi sanctuary had been established after the company's historical consent application.

Barry says she wrote to Okuru Enterprises three months ago informing them of this and is yet to receive an application.

She says the 18,534 signatures on the petition won't affect whether she allows the application.

"It isn't going to sway me one way or another as a judicial decision-maker around this process if I do in fact make a decision on it."

Bad form Maggie Barry. A member presenting a petition doesn’t need to agree with its contents, and really it’s up to the Speaker to judge whether a petition is acceptable or not.

Maggie Barry refusing to accept the Say no to a pipeline through a Kiwi sanctuary by Mount Aspiring National Park petition makes her look very childish. By failing to listen to people's concerns, the former garden show host has clearly displayed her unsuitability to remain as Conservation Minister

This is just one example of many that show the National led government has no concern whatsoever for our conservation estate, sanctuaries or the endangered species that live there, even when it involves the interruption and displacement of our national icon.

If you value our Kiwi bird, vote to protect its sanctuary this coming election. Vote to change the government.

Mark Richardson plays dirty

The dirty politics debacle should have signalled to the right that underhanded tactics don’t usually pay off. There are some exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking New Zealander’s don’t like nastiness getting in the way of a good debate about policy and a politicians ability to promote their ideas free from personal attacks.

However it appears that The AM Show, with their ratings starting to tank, didn’t get the memo. Unfortunately Newshub has been blatantly biased in favour of the National and Act parties of late, and that favouratism has now coalesced with a personal and vile attack by show host Mark Richardson on NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Yesterday, Newsroom reported:

Winston takes on Mediaworks over Richardson remarks

NZ First leader Winston Peters has lodged defamation proceedings against Mediaworks after former Black Cap Mark Richardson likened him to pus on a morning TV show.

The broadcaster has come out swinging in response, accusing Peters of trying to shut down legitimate opinion in election year.

Richardson’s comments on Newshub's The AM Show came as he questioned Peters’ decision to attend a public meeting in Woodville to discuss the closure of the Manawatu Gorge.

Peters told Newsroom he had filed defamation proceedings against Richardson over the remarks.

Well that's just not cricket. Let me declare right now that Winston Peters will win. The law is pretty clear when it comes to defamation of this type and Mediaworks should really move quickly to settle. I just hope the judge doesn't close the doors so we can hear Richardson grovelling over money.

Peters' lawyer won’t even be required to prove that the defamatory statements made by Richardson are untrue, because any competent judge will be able to rule on that without further evidence.

“I’m not going to have people defaming me in this campaign: I was on The AM Show, the guy likened me to white pus and cancer cells and what have you, and I thought, ‘Sorry, I’m not taking that, I’m suing you’ - it’s all filed.

“When they’ve got past about $60,000 of legal expenses they might come to their senses.”

In a statement, Newshub chief news officer Hal Crawford confirmed the company had been served with defamation proceedings by Peters, but pushed back against any suggestion of wrongdoing.

"We believe this is an attempt to shut down legitimate satire and opinion in an election year. We reject the idea that the colourful language which was used here could have damaged Mr Peters' reputation."

Legitimate satire? Good god they sound desperate! This is about as legitimate satire as the insane Pauline Hanson wearing a burka into Australia's parliament.

I doubt Peters’ lawyer will bother to show that there’s been damage done to the NZ First leaders reputation either, and under a claim for this kind of defamation he doesn’t need to. Newshub is up shits creek without a paddle here. They will be ruled against in a court of law just as they've been lambasted in the court of public opinion.

The problem is that the right wing's media people are being intentionally belittling in order to take the focus off of Bill English's complete failure as Prime Minister. By keeping the opposition busy with personal attacks (and this isn't the only one over the last few days), they think the public won't notice how bereft of policy ideas the National party actually is.

Let's hope enough New Zealander's see their desperation for what it is, and vote accordingly.

17 Aug 2017

National would tax water as well

Politics is a strange beast… it requires people to attack others over what they believe, usually because they think it's the best course of action to promote their party. Often those beliefs are founded on a real desire to make people’s lives better, and sometimes those beliefs are founded on a sense of entitlement.

That seems to be the case with the water debate, where the National party has openly criticised the Labour party for proposing a small charge of 2 cents per 1000 litres for irrigation. National has made their attacks public because much of their support comes from the farming community, one of the largest users of water for irrigation in the country.

However National's position on taxing water is entirely false.

Today, Politik reported:

National working behind closed doors on its own water pricing plans

The Government has had its officials working behind closed doors for some time now on proposals to put a price on water.

This is despite its loud opposition to Labour’s proposals to do exactly that.

The Ministry for Environment's Technical Advisory Group's (TAG) investigation into how to allocate water is supposed to complete the latest phase of its work in November – safely after the election.

The group is chaired by former Labour Minister, David Caygill, who didn’t want to comment last night on the progress the group is making.

And Environment Minister Nick Smith has not responded to a number of requests for comment.

Typical response by National politicians when the questions are hard is to ignore them.

But in March Prime Minister Bill English referred to the possibility of putting a price on bottled water for export to the group.

Since then nothing has been heard from them.

But their terms of reference specifically ask them to consider “pricing mechanisms to improve efficiency” in the allocation of water more generally.

However English has been sceptical about this arguing that it would be too hard because of the likelihood of Maori claims once a price was out on water thereby implying ownership.

There’s no question that the National party, if re-elected, will put a price on water for irrigation. Of course their announcement of a water tax would be well managed as to not incite the farmers against them.

The problem for the National party is that they’ve been caught out attacking a policy they're developing in secret themselves. While they criticise Labour for proposing a small fee for using a common resource, who knows how much the National party would charge? They will effectively have carte blanche for putting a tax on water if re-elected.

Combine this prospect with the fact that National have been highly secretive about developing a tax on water and they could be losing core supporters over such duplicitousness.

Farmers and other large users of our water resources clearly want a firm policy and what they can expect from each political party… not back room deals that will likely result in businesses paying far more than what the Labour party is currently proposing.

A vote for National is a vote for a tax on water; they’re just not being honest about it.

Just how bad is the Trans-Tasman relationship?

As the finger wagging continues both here and over the ditch about Australian MP Barnaby Joyce being outed as a New Zealand citizen (oh the horror!) it's probably work pointing out just how bad our political relationship with our closest allies and neighbours has actually become.

Here's The Project's Jesse Mulligan summing up the Australian and New Zealand relationship:

What I find most strange about all this is that the NZ Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Brownlee, apparently failed to inform the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, about the top secret information concerning a Liberal party MP being in breach of the Australian constitution. Under their rules he can no longer remain in Parliament.

Weirdly enough, Bishop and Brownlee were both in Fiji at a meeting of Pacific Forum foreign ministers together (after Brownlee had been briefed about Barnaby's dual citizenship), so either the right wing government's of both countries view each other with complete disdain or somebody is telling porkies!

16 Aug 2017

National fails miserably on housing

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very happy with all the homeless people wandering the streets and sleeping rough in the cold, some of whom are dying on park benches. But instead of blaming the victims, I think we need to look at the root cause of homelessness, being the government’s abject failure to properly account for the need to increase social housing.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Salvation Army report calls for increased social housing building programme

A new report authored by the Army's senior policy advisor Alan Johnson states 2000-2500 social houses need to be built around the country each year for the next decade.

That figure is the minimum needed to fix a situation that has "left Kiwi families ... in unsanitary, unsafe and unhealthy living conditions", it says.

Of course the National led government isn’t coming anywhere near that figure.

Social housing is "underfunded" and will be a "massive challenge" to address, he says.

"What we are saying is people are being displaced by other people coming into Auckland.

Immigration at current levels is clearly unsustainable.

The report says the Government's social housing building programme has allocated $36 million a year for the next four years.

That spending will provide just 90 additional houses a year at most, it says.

2000-2500 is a lot of houses to build each year and would be difficult to achieve even with government support. But only building 90 houses is simply a joke! Why even bother?

Obviously National needs some sort of excuse to show they acknowledge that the housing crisis exists, because they can no longer ignore it. The problem is they simply don’t care because it's kept house prices over-inflated and added to their false economy.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

20,000 homes needed to stop relentless rise of homelessness

Johnson said an analysis of Government statistics showed an "enduring number of people living on working-age welfare benefits" and those with limited means aged 65-plus that would only see more people in need of a home.

Data obtained through the Official Information Act showed the number of people on the social housing register had almost doubled in the past decade, and 5353 were on the Ministry of Social Development list in June this year, up from 2737 in the 2006-07 financial year.

Meanwhile the number of houses in HNZ stock had declined by 4582 across the same time period - from 67,063 in the 2007-08 year, to 62,481 in March this year.

Keep in mind that the National led government brought in measures to make even getting onto the social housing register more difficult. But that's not National's only failure concerning New Zealand's housing crisis. They're also ignoring the social pressures increased migration cause.

On Saturday, Stuff reported:

Record migration sees New Zealand population record largest ever increase

Booming migration means New Zealand's population has seen the biggest increase of all time.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand on Friday showed the population grew by 97,300 in the year to June 30, to 4.69 million.

"This is the largest annual increase ever," Statistics New Zealand said.

It appears that for every ten new migrants, one person is displaced from a house in New Zealand. As well as problems with overcrowding, this has meant a huge increase in homelessness, where there are now an estimated 40,000 Kiwis with no fixed abode, which is the worst rate in the OECD.

Another driver of the housing crisis is also being ignored by the National led government. Foreign investment, with capital gains providing a large incentive for speculation, has hindered the ability of Kiwis to buy their first home because they are being priced out of the market.

Last month, Newshub reported:

Housing capital gains are soaring in New Zealand

Analysis by Newshub has revealed just how much the housing market has risen since the last election.

The median capital gain for a New Zealand home in that time is just over $65,000. But that figure gets much, much higher when zooming into certain areas.

The Labour party has proposed a number of good measures that will tackle overseas speculators and help increase the rate of home ownership in New Zealand… important because strong communities are founded on families having a vested interest in their local areas.

This is undoubtedly a far better driver for the economy than having foreign speculators investing in housing with the expectation that Kiwis will one day be able to pay overinflated prices, especially when you compare the cost of living with incomes.

It's not just new housing and affordability that is the problems though. New Zealand's existing housing stock is badly dilapidated, particularly in the rental market.

On Thursday, Radio NZ reported:

Doctors demand action on NZ's unhealthy housing

Thousands of children are being re-admitted to hospital every year because of poor living conditions, a child health specialist says.

In a 50-page paper released today, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has called on politicians to do more to address the causes of health inequity in New Zealand.

Too many people were living in cold, mouldy and over-crowded homes and it was ruining the health of children in particular, the college said.

The National party has utterly failed to develop policy that would remedy the housing crisis. For them, the large increase in preventable diseases and homelessness are acceptable consequences of the capital gains they and their property speculator mates are enjoying. However that gravy train looks set to end.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Focus: NZ's housing bubble officially deflating

Figures released by Westpac show New Zealand's housing market is deflating as calls grow for LVRs to be relaxed

Unfortunately most of the analysis by market insiders doesn’t account for the actual amount of foreign speculation in the property market, because the government has been careful not to release such figures. Speculators simply won’t stick around if there are no longer large capital gains to be made, because they can make more money in other investments.

The housing market cannot continue to be propped up by foreign speculators and real estate agents misrepresenting the potential of their listings. It's a false economy that can either be systematically deflated though government intervention or crash along with the neoliberal dream that free-market ideology actually works in New Zealand.

The last National led government has utterly failed us on housing. It’s time to look towards Labour and the Greens for solutions that will actually work.

Barnaby Joyce - Asshole of the Week

It came as somewhat of a shock when the Australian government attacked the New Zealand Labour party and its leader Jacinda Ardern yesterday, a personally attack over the fact that their Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has dual citizenship and therefore under Australian law cannot remain in office.

They're even banging on like we aren’t all bloody related.

Rather than step down like the previous Australian MP's who hold dual citizenship, the swamp dwelling Barnaby bunyip is clinging to the lie that he didn’t know his father was a New Zealander. But if that wasn't bad enough, the Australian government is unbelievably blaming the Labor and Labour parties for their own incompetence, and using the word Kiwi to denigrate and spit tacks at us from over the ditch.

Yesterday, the Guardian reported:

Australia accuses New Zealand opposition of trying to bring down government

Australian government minister Christopher Pyne accused the ALP of being part of a conspiracy to bring down the government.

“Clearly the Labor party are involved in a conspiracy using a foreign government, in this case New Zealand, to try and bring down the Australian government,” he said.

“How many other foreign governments, or foreign political parties in other countries, has the Labor party been colluding with to try to undermine the Australian government?

If this brings down the Australian government, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Despite their accusations of treason, the Australian Liberal party trying to re-attribute blame by levelling their attacks against the opposition and the next Prime Minister of New Zealand has backfired, with the truth of the matter quickly being revealed.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Australian media enquiries led to Joyce citizenship discovery

Enquiries by Australian media - not the New Zealand Labour Party - led to Internal Affairs discovering Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Joyce told the Australian Parliament he was alerted to the situation after enquiries were made by the New Zealand Labour Party to the New Zealand government.

But Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne said Australian media had asked the department about Mr Joyce before Labour MP Chris Hipkins filed written questions on citizenship.

Clearly Australian journalists were simply doing their jobs.

The Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, must have known this before going on the attack to try to falsely attribute blame and influence the New Zealand election... and if she didn’t she’s entirely incompetent.

In constant contact with her colleges in New Zealand eh! You've got to wonder if the Australian Liberal party colluded with the National party to try and undermine Labour's new leader Jacinda Ardern. It certainly looks that way.

The real stupid thing is Barnaby Joyce thinking he can just renounce his New Zealand citizenship by making a public statement. Perhaps he thinks his father suddenly stops being a Kiwi simply through the sheer weight of his unparalleled arrogance.

Here's Channel 9's Laurie Oakes reporting:

The deluded Liberal party cannot be allowed to retain Joyce after he personally campaigned against opposition MP’s who have dual citizenship, campaigning that resulted in them stepping down.

If the Australian Liberal party thought the law shouldn't apply, they had the opportunity to move to amend the constitution when the disqualification clause was revealed. Instead they used it to leverage perfectly good politicians out of the house in an attempt to undermine the opposition.

Joyce has New Zealand citizenship and under the Australian constitution he must resign. In my opinion he should take Julie Bishop with him. There is no question of law or confusion over section 44, and by ignoring the constitution the desperate Liberal Party is in breach of Australia’s Supreme Law. There can be no other interpretation just because Barnaby is a tory.

In the mean time, because they believe the rules don’t apply to them, the dishonest Barnaby Joyce wins this week’s Asshole Award. It appears he's the first Australian to do so.

15 Aug 2017

Editors put the boot into National

There is no question that a resurgent Labour party has closed the National party out of the media limelight. What else could Bill English do but pander to his ageist supporters by proposing boot camps and spot fines for the families of wayward youth?

The National party, bereft of policy ideas, is even being criticised by the countries leading newspapers for their latest policy flop. Often the last bastion of right wing fundamentalism, the editorials often signal to voters where their allegiance should lie, and based on that who will likely become the next government.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

NZ Herald editorial: Boot camps and parent fines are 'red meat' for National

Not much new can be credibly proposed by a three-term government. National's military "boot camp" detention for young serious offenders is not even new. It is reminiscent of the party's showpiece policy on law and order when bidding for power in 2008. The policy did not come to fruition then and its revival now looks like desperation in the National camp. With all the attention on Labour's new leader, and so much discussion of policies she has announced, National will be anxious to change the subject.

Unfortunately that’s about as hard hitting as the NZ Herald ever gets against the National party. Thankfully they’re not the only widely read publication in New Zealand.

Today, Stuff reported:

Editorial: Compulsory military service as a punishment has never worked and never will

Sometimes politicians have daft ideas. The National Party is proposing to round up New Zealand's worst young criminals and train them to think and act like soldiers.

The overwhelming weight of research into military-styled corrections programmes shows that they don't reduce reoffending rates. So, the end result of the proposed scheme will probably be fighting-fit offenders with a set of new skills they can use to further their lives of crime.

Instead of cutting through the Jacinda effect, National’s ill-advised policy has fallen well short of the mark, and will soon be hurriedly buried like so many of their other lame duck policy ideas.

It’s likely that the dog whistle boot camp proposal was reheated because of the insulated nature of politics in New Zealand. National are perhaps the worst offenders when it comes to being shut off from reality. In the real world youth are actual people who shouldn’t be discriminated against just because they’re an easy non-voting target.

National's policy hardly Christian

It’s often amazing to see the ill-conceived political arguments that make it to print in New Zealand sometimes. Perhaps one of the least canvassed areas of voting preference is that of religious beliefs, and where those beliefs coincide with a political party.

It’s no secret that the unelected PM Bill English is a practicing Roman Catholic. He was recently on the news with a lovely choir, however that’s about as far as his promotion of Christianity goes within mainstream media.

But what about the people who will vote for a political party based on religious beliefs… what do they have to say about who best promotes Christianity?

On Saturday, the Gisbourne Herald reported:

Left-wing parties anti-God

ANTI-GOD: This coprrespondent writes that he doesn't want left-wing, socialist, communist, anti-God parties in New Zealand, and will accordingly vote National.


There are a lot of political comings and goings at the moment. Labour and the Greens will tax the pants off us. Do we want that? Absolutely not!

Right-wing parties have been strongly influenced by Christian values. That worked very well, until they started moving away from that base.

Labour used to have a Christian base, but has drifted too far to the left, so now it has lost direction. Under Helen Clark, Labour led New Zealand to the nanny mentality. Left-wing parties tend to go for control and dictatorship, like the majority of communist parties (which are also anti-God).

I went to a National Party meeting a while ago and I heard Anne Tolley speaking. There was nothing that she said that rang alarm bells. I thought she was very good.

I would encourage all Christians to vote for the right-wing National party. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the rest!

But don’t worry Kiwis, she’ll be right! (It’s good to stick to the right. We don’t want left-wing, socialist, communist, anti-God parties in New Zealand).

David Florance

The reality is that the National led government has caused a large increase in people’s suffering in New Zealand. An actual Christian organisation, The Salvation Army, has been working hard to try and fix the government’s horrendous failure in many social policy areas. Their work has been getting progressively harder while National has been in power.

You only have to look at the large increase over the last few years in homelessness and the steady decline in people’s health across the board to see that the current government doesn’t hold very well to Christian values at all. If they did, the economic growth they continue to espouse would have helped those most in need, and not just those at the top who are already well off.

Christian’s should vote for a political party that believes in helping people, and unfortunately that currently isn’t the National party.

UPDATE: This fanatic also believes God is disciplining the world. Why the Gisbourne Herald has allowed him to write such religiously prejudiced articles is beyond me. How embarrassing for New Zealand.

Treating young people differently

The Labour party has hit the ground running with Jacinda Ardern. Not only has she shown immense capability as leader, the Labour party has clearly got its game on and returned to its core values, values that once made New Zealand a great place to live.

The National party on the other hand is looking a bit stale. Bill English has returned to a set of values that caused New Zealand's great decline on most international rankings. Surrounded only by people who parody his archaic belief system, the unelected PM has no real plan to make New Zealand a fair and decent society again.

However it's not just campaign styles where the two major parties differ, it's their policy direction for young people as well. Labour appears to have a more inclusive approach while National wants further discrimination and punitive measures imposed on the young.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Labour proposes free driving lessons for all students

All senior high-school students will be offered free driving lessons and driver's licence tests if Labour wins next month's election.

Labour's new leader Jacinda Ardern says the free lessons would be part of a $50 million-a-year "school leaver's toolkit" that would also include compulsory lessons in "civics" and options in budgeting, work experience and practical certificates such as first aid and hospitality.

A good bit of positive social engineering right there folks, and apart from some whinging from the right wing trolls on twitter, it has received wide spread acclaim. But how does this progressive policy compare with National’s recent announcement.

On Sunday, Stuff reported:

Special bootcamp for youth offenders at Waiouru army camp, under National

National is promising to create a new bootcamp for youth offenders at the Waiouru Army camp, training alongside New Zealand's soldiers.

Making the announcement in Auckland, Prime Minister Bill English said National would crack down on the most serious young offenders and hold "negligent parents" to account.

"It's become clear that there is a small group of around 150 very serious young offenders for whom our Youth Justice System in it's current form just doesn't work," English said.

This policy hasn’t gone down well, even among some in the National party. It’s been tried and failed before and appears to be nothing more than an appeal to National's core youth hating voters. Even the PM couldn’t get his argument straight, so it’s little wonder that it received widespread condemnation.

But what ideology will win out? The more inclusive top of the cliff one where Ardern is looking to empower young people by giving them the skills they need to survive independently, or the more punitive tough on crime one where the old man wants to send young people to boot camps to become better criminals while at the same time building more jail cells for them to live in?

The contrast between these policy directions couldn’t be greater, and both have serious ramifications for society long-term.

There is no question that the cost of the lock-em-up approach far outweighs implementing preventative measures earlier in a persons life. However it’s not just a financial cost that people should be considering when casting their vote this coming election.

14 Aug 2017

PM lied about Greenpeace spies

The Todd Barclay affair, where the unelected Prime Minister claimed seven times that he couldn’t recall if Barclay had told him about the secret recording of a National party staffer, proved without a doubt that Bill English is dishonest!

But if that wasn’t bad enough, only five week’s out from a general election English has once again been caught out in another whopping lie involving the government using the services of a private investigation firm to illegally spy on New Zealand citizens.

On Thursday, the NZ Herald reported:

Greenpeace spying: Is the Govt also involved?

Greenpeace boss Russel Norman is calling on the Government to "categorically deny" any involvement with a surveillance campaign targeting the environmental lobby group.

Greenpeace says it has caught spies in the act, tracking and photographing staff and volunteers and filed litigation against the private investigation company it claims is organising it.

"The information received suggests the New Zealand Government has also been involved," said Norman, a former Green MP.

But Prime Minister Bill English categorically dismissed any suggestion that the Government was in any way involved, or was complicit.

"Not at all I don't where they'd get that allegation from," English said.

He would be concerned if there was surveillance of a protest group, but stopped short of saying he was convinced of Greenpeace's claims that they had been spied on, noting that "Greenpeace like to make people think they're the centre of all things".

There is no question that in the interim day between these two articles, Bill English or his advisors were able to view the evidence Greenpeace had provided the court, evidence that would categorically prove the government’s involvement in illegal spying.

On Friday, 1News reported:

Government admits using information from private investigation firm being taken to court by Greenpeace

“The government admits it’s using information attained from a controversial private investigation firm that Greenpeace is taking to court. The environmental group says it’s outraged the investigators have been tracking Greenpeace staff and passing that information on to the government.”

The illegally obtained information was being provided to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment by Thompson & Clark. The government has claimed that the information they’ve received was obtained legally, however that is clearly not the case.

Head of Greenpeace NZ, Russell Norman, said that the government should not have anything to do with Thompson & Clark, a message relayed by reporter Jessica Mutch to the Prime Minister, who fumbled around for an answer:

Look I think we should just run an open and transparent process people ah like Greenpeace are protesting about things they are free to do so.

Greenpeace are clearly not free to protest about “things” if they’re being actively and illegally spied on by a disreputable private investigation firm that’s working for the oil and gas industry as well as the National led government.

This is especially the case because Thompson & Clark was spying on Greenpeace members when they were going about their own private business.

Intimidation is a tactic often employed by the oil and gas industry to try and impede activists from their lawful and peaceful protests. The only difference this time is they got caught.

There is no doubt that the Prime Minister has tried to mislead reporters and the public once again about illegal recordings. Clearly Bill English is a highly dishonest politician who shouldn’t be trusted with running the National party, let alone the country.

If you value your privacy, don't vote for National.

National party dead in the water

The last week in New Zealand politics has been extraordinary. But there’s one political party in particular that appears to be missing in action… the National party.

The unelected PM Bill English has failed to gain any real traction in the polls over Metiria Turei leaving the Green party. He’s also failed to properly counter the Labour party’s resurgence and policy announcements.

Instead, tired old Bill English has resorted to pandering to the tough on crime crowd by re-announcing boot camps for the youth, a scheme that was tried and failed way back in 2008.

Today, Stuff reported:

PM: There's no evidence boot camps for young serious offenders will work

A suggestion from Bill English that teenage murderers sent to boot camps could have access to firearms has been ruled out by his office.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said serious youth offenders sent to Waiouru Army base would not be around guns while at an Academy for the country's most "hardened" young criminals.

The PM should really know what the policy plan is before announcing it ad hock. Instead, National doesn’t know its ass from its elbow.

In an interview with Breakfast English dismissed international evidence and his own science advisor Sir Peter Gluckman's comments that boot camps have little to no effect on reoffending, because he said this approach was untested.

Even English’s science advisor doesn’t think it’s a good idea, so National’s knee jerk reaction will probably go down like a led balloon with some of National’s more thoughtful supporters, well the ones who live in the real world that is.

The Prime Minister is also trying to distance himself from Peter Dunne after a disastrous Colmar Brunton poll (PDF) for United Future put him well short of Labour’s Greg O’Connor.

This isn’t good news for the right, especially after English had personally written to the Ōhāriu electorate to request that they vote for Dunne, effectively campaigning for another political party using taxpayer’s money.

It’s not just Dunne who’s feeling the political pinch either. David Seymour is frantically paddling to stay afloat by using up some of the political capital he’s accrued previously by supporting National.

Last month English openly encouraged National supporters in Auckland's Epsom electorate to give their electorate vote to Seymour. However, National’s finance Minister, Steven Joyce, yesterday claimed that the Act candidate was likely behind in Epsom as well, so the conservative electorate obviously haven’t heeded the PM’s advice.

Seymour didn’t take the inference that he would be the last Rogernome in parliament very well, and went on the attack.

Yesterday, Scoop reported:

National are the worst re-offenders in youth crime

The worst re-offenders in youth crime policy are the National Party, who are once again re-heating their decade old tried-and-failed “boot camp” slogan for young offenders, ACT leader David Seymour says.

The rift between the right and hard right appears to be growing.

“If National can’t even break their own cycle of behaviour, how can they hope to break the cycle of failed families and youth offenders who cause so much damage to New Zealand society?

English is getting attacked from both sides and looking rather insipid in his campaigning. The Todd Barclay scandal is likely to be still having some effect while his dishonesty concerning the oil industry and the governments illegal spying on Greenpeace NZ looks set to be further undermining to English’s credibility.

The Maori party, perhaps sensing a change in government, was declared an opposition party in the latest Reid Research polling report, which doesn’t bode well for National especially if the Act party and Peter Dunne are gone.

The last right wing government relied on its coalition partners to pass their detrimental legislation, and without them the National party is nothing but a sad pack of bumbling old men bereft of ideas.

The left shouldn’t fear Greg O'Connor

When Greg O’Connor was a young Police officer he did a stint undercover and has lamented having to arrest gang members he viewed at the time as his mates. This is perhaps the main problem for the left, being that O’Connor might once again be somewhat politically undercover.

However the contrast between O’Connor’s stance on many policies, particularly gun control, and those expressed by the National led government couldn’t be more apparent.

The current Minister of Police, Paula Bennett, was recently in the news saying there wouldn’t be any changes to the current gun laws in light of the Quinn Patterson murders. It might surprise people that this actually goes against O'Connor's stance on the matter.

In February, Stuff reported:

Greg O'Connor says he didn't favour Police Association call in 2010 for general arming

Now, with a political career beckoning, he said the only way the general arming of the police could be avoided was if the country got some control over the number of firearms falling into the wrong hands.

"Far from using these incidents as leverage for arguing for the general arming of police, the Police Association is asking why it is that offenders, who in the past might have been armed with knives or other weapons, now seem to have ready access to firearms," O'Connor said.

"Although our position remains that general arming is an inevitability if such attacks continue, what we believe is urgently needed is an inquiry into why firearms appear to be more readily available."

An inquiry is worthwhile. However the measures to reduce illegal firearms are already available, and have been for some time. It stands to reason that better gun control would include better policing practices as well, but really what is required is to have all guns registered.

Obviously the gun industry and their lobbyists won’t like any further restrictions on gun sales. Neither will many hunters and hobbyists unless the required changes to the law like registering firearms is shown to be affordable and proven to be beneficial to society by reducing gun crime.

"Anything is possible but there's got to be a political will to do it," O'Connor said.

This is true for so many things.

Greg O’Connor has stated that arming the Police is inevitable, unless there is a way to limit offenders getting ready access to firearms.

That’s a pretty big proviso being that O’Connor is now entering politics where he has the opportunity to directly promote a number of ways to limit criminal access to firearms. Perhaps he even realises in hindsight that the Police Association should have supported the gun control reforms proposed in 1997.

There is no doubt that O’Conner’s political leanings are more akin in many respects to the right wing. However he’s actually highly conservative in both directions, and will annoy people to the left and right of Labour.

But rather than making O’Connor appear to be a rogue MP, I think this will cause some positive friction within the Labour party who, like National, have taken a very hands off approach to gun laws in the past... tension that is required to ensure that the best changes are proposed and implemented to limit serious criminals from having ready access to firearms.

Nobody, even frontline officers, really want to see the Police armed if there’s a readily available alternative to fix the issue of illegally obtained firearms being circulated in the criminal underworld.

Clearly Labour wanted somebody of O’Connor’s character and conservative tendencies for the Ōhāriu electorate. It seems to have paid off, with their candidate recently polling 14% above the incumbent, Peter Dunne.

It’s also relevant to mention that O’Connor has an adult disabled son and his family looks after a trust involved in residential support for people living with disabilities. Entering politics appears to have been a choice for O’Connor between that and becoming more involved in the disabilities sector.

Only the National party should fear Greg O'Connor, and Peter Dunne of course.