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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

TVNZ7 shut up, shop.

Drinnan in the NZ Herald says the rumours are that TVNZ7 - the subsidised, cosetted, digital geek channel - will be handed over to an infomercial outfit when the funding runs out in the middle of next year. That's the first effective privatisation of National's glorious second term.

Guess Russell Brown and the gang better get used to expounding the wonders of discounted cosmetics and magnetised mattresses. And all anchored, perhaps, by the Briscoes lady - really:

Meanwhile, TVNZ is closing public service channel TVNZ7 next June and looking at proposals from ad agency Ogilvy to lease the frequency for a shopping channel.

TVNZ7 has government funding until June next year, but Ogilvy has talked to TVNZ about taking it over.

Ogilvy has a base of retailer clients and its own professional TV studios where it films the Briscoes TV commercials.


Time for Auckland City Council to show real leadership over Occupation protestors

The Auckland City Council have tried to evict the occupation movement out of Aotea Square. apparently the occupation protestors are bringing far too much life, culture and existential questioning of the current injustice of the mega wealthy into the public square, and the last thing we want in our public spaces are citizens questioning the issues confronting us that the mainstream media utterly ignore in favor of stories about lost penguins.

If the Auckland City Council wanted to show real leadership on this issue, they would take the bill for the costs of the Occupation directly to Wellington and demand the Government pay for these costs due to their policies contributing to the reason why the protestors are protesting in the first place.

It's the Government's policies that have seen 200 000 children in poverty while 150 of the richest families gained $7 billion in one year. Until the Government end endorsing policy that enriches the already wealthy, they can pay the costs of the occupation.


The People of NZ have spoken but didn't seem to have heard a word

NZers went to the polls and they have spoken! They said 'We'll keep the vacant aspiration multi-millionaire money trader over the automatron Phil Goff 1980's android thank you very much, and for reasons that defy political gravity, we'd also like to resurrect Winston Peters and his cavalcade of deformed personalities masquerading as a party list."

The Political result in the end was as one sided as the All Blacks facing a kindergarten first 15 made up of children in the late stages of cancer. John Key will take his scrape through one seat majority as a mandate to unleash the 4 horsemen of the Treasury and implement right wing economic policy as social policy where as Labour seem to have bent space and time itself by vanishing from this dimension altogether.

Sadly John fucking Banks is back and he has been tipped as Minister for Corrections? Just what our prison system needs, a law and order sadist.

I feel like I've woken up at a Ku Klux Clan rally wearing a Lady GaGa t-shirt.

If John Banks gets corrections he'll appoint Garth McVicars to run the prison chain gang and book burning programs.

What was more appalling than this homophobic dinosaur gerrymandering Epsom and returning to Parliament was the fact that John Banks revealed during the election that in his entire life, he had only ever watched 4 movies.

That's like only ever eating one type of vegetable, or sticking to just vaginal sex. How does one move through a multi-media age in an affluent Western Culture by the age of 60 having only watched 4 movies? The urban people of Epsom must be spluttering into their Starbucks.

The real question from the election however is which Political Circus Freak from NZ First will meltdown before Christmas?

The entertainment value of having Winston back will be eclipsed by the possible meltdowns of anyone one of the collection of political misfits he's brought in with him.

There's Andrew Williams, the singing weather man Brendan Horan, Andrew Williams, the South Island independence militia man, Andrew Williams, a faceless time server and Andrew Williams.

The NZ First caucus sounds like it will have all the credibility of a panel of lepers judging a beauty competition.

MEANWHILE the entire neo liberal Washington consensus economic hegemonic structure teetered on the brink of an event horizon black hole of financial debt, while we rearranged the deck chairs on the HMRNZ Titanic.

According to National and Labour, NZ would be back in surplus by 2014, GDP would climb, unemployment would dip, bread and honey would rain from the sky and sick pets would be healed.

However, Germany couldn't sell all it's debt for the first time, Chinese manufacturing output plummeted and the Italians had to pay 6.5% yield's on their 6 month loans. That's twice the rate they paid last month and in January they need to sell a further $30 billion Euros in bonds.

What does any of this have to do with us? Well if Italy melts down, that starts the entire Euro meltdown and global economic hegemonic collapse isn't the kinda thing you just ignore with optimism.

John Key's 'we don't know how lucky we are' economic plan is like taking prozac to deal with a gunshot wound to the head.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The polls v the poll: performance credibility [UPDATED: +iPredict]

Uber-blogger and National's polling guru, David Farrar, has made a table of how close the pre-election polling was compared to the figures on the night. The table shows the final polls in the last week. The red indicates the forecast was off by 1.5% or more.
The most obvious observation is how far off the polling organisations were with National's vote - they kept them above 50% when they were never going to get that outright majority - and how they didn't pick up the extent of NZ First's late surge. This was largely due to the polls not taking into consideration the undecideds - a major fault that tends to exaggerate National's actual level of support. The other stand-out is how askew the Horizon polling is - due, I understand - to the methodology of using an online audience that participate as if it were a game.

I made my predictions on 31st October, just before the lists were officially announced - a month before the election - so they cannot be expected to be as accurate as the other polling done in the last week, but they still measure up quite well given the time lapse and mean a lot more than Farrar's bragging over predictions made only a day before the election. Here is what I forecast (with the difference between actual in brackets):

[UPDATE: I've got an email from iPredict on how their dodgy insider trading gambling/market did so I've added in their data (also from one month before the election) after my own and prefaced it with "i"]

Because I'm not perfect and still want to claim I got it right I've allowed a 1% margin for the big parties and a half a percent for the minor ones.

(+/- 1%)
46% National (-1.99%) i-0.89%
32% Labour (+4.87%) i+1.47%
8% Greens (-2.62%) i+0.48%

(+/- 0.5%)
5.0% NZ First (-1.81%) i-2.11%
3.0% Mana (+2.00%) i+1.00%
2.5% Act (-1.43%) i+1.93%
1.0% Maori (-0.35%) i-0.15%
1.0% United Future (+0.39%) i+0.29%

1.5% All others (approx. -1.5%) i n/a

The only ones within my own margins of tolerance to claim I got them right were Maori and United Future - much the same as that reflected in Farrar's table.

Only the Roy Morgan poll was closer than me - not too bad. The specials tend not to favour National either so when the official results are released in a week that should come down a bit closer to where I am, but not much, maybe a quarter of a percent. I said I couldn't see the Nats pulling higher than 47%, so I was wrong on that, but by less than a percent.

Well I was way off. I concluded that Labour's vote would hold up and that a collapse, which I defined as a sub-30%, would be averted. Indeed I thought that all the way through and was confident about a good Labour showing when Goff performed well in the head-to-head debates. However I acknowledged that a meltdown was always on the cards and it would end up favouring mainly the Greens and then NZ First as well as Mana. The polls consistently showed Labour weaker than I thought they were - I should have listened to the polls in this case. I think a lot of Labour voters did turn Green and even more stayed at home, perhaps believing the dire predictions and thinking it was a wasted trip to the polling station. Perhaps a severe erosion is a better description of happened than a catastrophic collapse - it wasn't as if they were ever polling that high to start with.

With Labour eroding away the Greens rose significantly and for once their soft, youth, stoner vote held up and deserting middle class Labourites pumped them well beyond what I thought they were capable of. Doubter. Mr Bradbury actually made a call about a week or two out on this blog that they would get 10.5% - so he nailed that one. They tend to do well on specials so the magnitude of my error will grow once they are counted. The polling organisation captured their vote strength quite well (although Roy Morgan and TV3 were out further than I was).

NZ First:
Apart from Roy Morgan they were all well out - I had picked their rise well in advance. If it weren't for that infamous cuppa between Banks and Key he wouldn't have lifted above the 5 - 5.5% I was picking.

It doesn't help being a partisan trying to pick your party's own success. 3% was always on the high side - the logistics of turning out a vote that high with a new organisation with no dough was always pushing it up hill. The pollsters however under-rated Mana significantly.

They went from troubled to tragic to implosion during the four weeks of the campaign and if I could have revisited the prediction they would have been marked well down. Out of the road-kill was a bleed to National and maybe a quarter percent to Conservative. They mostly scuttled to National, but that just re-jigs things on the right without moving the total bloc vote: on my prediction Nat+Act=48.5%, on the night they got 49%.

Surprised everyone. I thought they could get to 1%, but 2.76% is amazing for a party that no-one knows about, except they are conservative. At least for most people; but the Christian vote knows who to follow and that good showing is mainly due to them.

Maori Party & United Future:
We all got this about right, but I thought Maori Party would dip just under 1%.

Also see Morgan Godfery's data on polling of the Maori seats to see how wild some of those figures are - albeit most were taken in September. I note that Mana only bet the Maori Party in the party vote in a handful of general seats and only one Maori seat, Hone's.

The low turnout was the decider really. The elderly keep turning out reliably while the young, the flaky youth flitter and didn't make it on the day, this leaves the oldies with a disproportionate inflation of their impact and so Winston and the Conservatives and National all did well at the expense of the others. In future things look bad for the left because of these trends. There will be more elderly as a proportion of the population and the turnout continues to drop, so more conservative elements will dominate if things don't change.

Dear Labour Party - don't screw up the leadership decision

Phil Goff, the most humble Prime Minister NZ never had is doing the honorable thing by falling on his sword in the wake of the 27% result.

He fought a bloody hard campaign and despite being written off as a bloated political corpse by the entire mainstream media, he performed far better than the pundits and right wing attack blogs had predicted.

But performing better than expected can't save him from the inevitable, and in this Goff is showing real leadership.

The problem for Goff was that he never fought to win the leadership, while handing him the crown might have saved the Party from in-fighting post Helen's loss, political power can never be given, it has to be taken and in this regard the head long rush by some in the Labour Party to ram through a quick process is the worst possible outcome from the grace Goff has created.

The Labour Party need to breath through their nose and allow the leadership battle to take place over the Summer because this leadership selection is vital if the left are to have any chance of winning 2014 and fighting the vast swath of change Key will claim is his mandate.

The conclave of Labour must decide no who has the backing of Labour's factions, those factions need to work out who can beat Key in 2014 and to beat Key in 2014 you need someone who can do two things:

1: Appeal to the soft centre of National
2: Inspire voters who made this the worst election turn out in 120 years to re-engage.

The only time during the campaign that I heard Labour Party rank and file sound excited during the election was when Cunliffe was performing well in the media. He is sharp, brilliant and the right intellect to go one on one with Key, in fact Key's endorsement in itself yesterday suggests that's the leader National least want to fight.

Having Nanaia Mahuta as Deputy would be genius, however she will have to work on her apparent coldness in the media.

That leaves what to do with Shearer, as his rising star should be used to boost this team. Could he do Finance? With the world economy on the brink and austerity around the corner, the portfolio of Finance will come to be seen as pivotal and if Labour focus on rebuilding the middle class as their mantra, Shearer could create a narrative for voters that goes beyond the impenetrable jargon of economics.

To boost blue collar credentials, Lianne Dalziel needs to be front bench and the intellect of Chauvel and talent of Moana Mackey need to be better utilized as well.

This selection process must deliver a team that can seriously beat Key rather than a decision that hopes voters will have tired of Key.

Labour needs to inspire NZers to beat National, hoping Key loses 2014 rather than winning it is not a strategy.



There was a sick feeling following the election result. An empty, hollow, bleak dawning of realisation that all was for naught. No-one feels like blogging in these circumstances. Still in shock.

I suspect many on the left - especially those in Mana and to a slightly lesser extent, Labour - feel the same. Immediate contemplation of a move to Australia. Maybe come back in three years.

National blitzed in and John smug-arse cunty Key was on the radio that night saying National had "won the argument" on asset sales and that he was looking forward to putting his feet up on holiday in Hawaii - what a prick. Isn't it great to be in the top 1% of the top 1%.

The campaign was both the longest (the PM had announced the date at the beginning of the year), but paradoxically also the shortest (as everything was on hold until after the Rugby World Cup leaving only four weeks). The Nats being honest about their intentions to privatise didn't put people off either as Labour were promising their own poisoned apple of raising the retirement age. This drove many to support third parties, but not in numbers that would threaten a re-election of a National government that had cruised through their term with the assistance of a compliant media.

Record low turn-out means that the elderly make up a higher proportion of the vote and that means a more conservative outcome. So National were at a record high and NZ First had a record come-back.

And so we face the global depression with no economic answers. National's traditional, reactive, inclination to sell everything to their own upper-middle class constituents (and foreigners) on the one hand and treat the underclass with punitive, punishing measures as if being poor was a crime on the other hand is not an answer to our economic problems - they will exacerbate them. The Nat's idea of job creation is to lower wages and force the unemployed beneficiaries into taking them. This is no way to go about solving a growing gap with Australia they say they want to close.

I had a discussion with the Labour MP for Mt Albert, David Shearer, on Mr Bradbury's 'Citizen A' show last year and compared the current recession to the depression of the 1930s: a crash followed by a series of recessions where the governments keep pumping the system to keep credit going, but each time the effect is weaker and things plateau and then go into a long decline. I said that following the 1930s scenario as it applies to NZ, the Nats will be returned in 2011 (just as the conservative Reform-United coalition was in 1932) because the electorate will stick with the conservatives in time of strife, but they had no answers (just as National has none now) and it will only be at the next election when it becomes apparent that the Tory's have only protected the interests of their niche and never had any solutions - and then Labour will become government again - which will be in 2014. It seems a long way off.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Election reflection: Waiariki [UPDATE: booth analysis]

The first time I had any doubt that Annette may not be able to take Waiariki was as a scrutineer watching the initial check through for "informal" votes - Te Ururoa had a lot and Te Kani (the Labour candidate) also had a substantial amount. Worrying.

The Mana team had saturated this town for the last month and got positive local press, the other candidates were not nearly so visible - to have it so tight was alarming. And then the actual count on the booth was Flavell 90, Sykes 88, Te Kani 83. Mr Bradbury texted me the advance voting which had Te Ururoa well ahead. I knew we were in trouble at that point and left immediately for the office. There I heard the town's other booth had gone a similar way. If we can't get enough here I can't imagine we can get enough in all the other places where we weren't as organised and hadn't been going as long. It looked bad. Even worse when the party vote nationally was tracking just below 1%. Mana needed about 1.5% to get Annette in off the list, but this wasn't looking possible unless a massive surge from the big South Auckland booths could pull it up. It didn't happen. I know that not a lot can be expected from a party that is only about half a year old and has no money, but I find it very disappointing all the same - my expectations were higher.

Election night figures:
FLAVELL, Te Ururoa James MAOR 6,878
SYKES, Annette Te Imaima MANA 5,058
TE KANI, Louis LAB 3,896
1,820 majority Flavell

Less than 2,000 means the seat is now a marginal. His majority in 2008 was 6,812 - so it is fair to say that Annette managed to slash it substantially. She should seriously consider running again at the next election.

The Party vote in Waiariki was also a disappointment:

Labour 5,679
Maori Party 3,493
Mana 2,661
NZ First 1,855
Greens 1,443
National 930
TOTAL 16,748

Maori Party had more votes - inexplicable, but I put it down to the inertia of incumbency. I saw quite a few split votes too - Sykes for electorate and either Greens or Labour for the party. I only saw one split vote that was Te Ururoa and Mana (and only a very few going Sykes, Maori Party) indicating a very strong division between Mana and Maori Party voters - reflecting the split that gave rise to the Mana movement.

Looking at the breakdown by booths Flavell won every booth in Tauranga and the Mount - this was Sykes' major weak spot. He also took Murapara - the home of the Maori Party President, Pem Bird. Sykes won a number of smaller booths where the movement had a presence and hoardings were up, like the Coast, Minginui and Kaingaroa.

Waiariki main booths (Sykes win in bold)

Bethlehem (2 booths): TU Flavell 57, A Sykes 21, L Te Kani 20
Edgecumbe (2): TU 64, AS 41, TK 39
Kaingaroa (1): TU 20, AS 42, TK 37
Kawerau (2): TU 219, AS 233, TK 75
Matapihi (1): TU 73, AS 19, TK 78
Matata (1): TU 29, AS 45, TK 23
Maungatapu (2): TU 78, AS 55, TK 87
Murupara (1): TU 132, AS 98, TK 50
Opotiki (2): TU 167, AS 157, TK 147
Taneatua (1): TU 53, AS 67, TK 25
Te Puke (2): TU 125, AS 64, TK 86
Te Teko (1): TU 93, AS 87, TK 39
Turangi (3): TU 166, AS 73, TK 67
Whakatane (6) TU 393, AS 401, TK 267
Waimana (2): TU 33, AS 62, TK 19
Urewera (Minginui+Ruatahuna): TU 34, AS 72, TK 30

Papamoa (5): TU 158, AS 84, TK 124
Mt Maunganui (8): TU 208, AS 90, TK 150
Welcome Bay (3): TU 119, AS 62, TK 96
Tauranga (16): TU 463, AS 229, TK 323
Te Puna (2): TU 74, AS 22, TK 39

Lynmore (2): TU 88, AS 30, TK 29
Ngapuna (1): TU 59, AS 89, TK 22
Ngongotaha (1): TU 218, AS 85, TK 61
Okere Falls (1): TU 50, AS 46, TK 13
Owhata (2): TU 165, AS 125, TK 83
Rotoiti (1): TU 49, AS 53, TK 9
Rotorua (22): TU: 1391, AS 1093, TK 791

Rotokawa (1): TU 45, AS 47, TK 23
Wairakei Village (1): TU 24, AS 9, TK 11
Taupo (21): TU 350, AS 204, TK 123

East Coast:
(Torere+Omaio+Omarumutu): TU 57, AS 90, TK 27
Raukokore (1): TU 15, AS 28, TK 11
Te Kaha (1): TU 50, AS 54, TK 27

Whakatane was a surprise, Mana was late in organising anything there, but ended up winning those booths on the day. Annette represented the so-called "terrorists" in the Crown's Urewera show trial that never was so she picked up a lot of support in Ruatoki and Waimana where it happened and took those booths convincingly. Same with the Coast, the anti-drilling protests were concentrated against the Maori Party and she picked up those booths. She won a few in Rotorua, but not nearly enough to offset those going the other way in big numbers. Same too with Taupo and Turangi where Mana organisation was thin on the ground, Te Ururoa was able to hang on to those ones with a wide margin.

As for the overall result, I'm glad Hone got back in Te Tai Tokerau, but he must carry the banner alone and it will be difficult as one in a House of 121. Better luck next time.

iPredict Post Election One Hour Special 7pm tonight STRATOS Freeview 21 & Sky 89

A preview interview for iPredict Election 2011 with Chris Philpott, TV reviewer at Stuff.co.nz

Review of iPredict Election 2011 by Bryce Edwards

TONIGHT @ 7PM: The iPredict Post Election One Hour Special with National Party MP Simon Bridges, Political strategists Mike Williams, Matt McCarten, Matthew Hooton and iPredicts Matt Burgess

Tonight iPredict reviews the results, looks at the future of opinion polls, discusses the mandate for National and who will lead the Labour Party.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The saddest Day for NZ Democracy

I thought it would be close, the landline polls have inflated National and under valued Labour and it came down in the end to a one one vote majority.

This is a terrible result for NZ, not because John Keys vacant aspiration and free market ideas to solve an economic crises caused by those very same free market ideas are a depressing indictment on what passes as intellectual political debate, it is the saddest day for NZ Democracy because this result is the lowest voter turn out since the 1880s!

We have a terribly sick system when so many are disenfranchised from it. 100 000 fewer voters than last election (which was one of the lowest on record), 100 000 fewer voters for National (so Key can't claim a mandate for his policies) and Labour lost quarter of a million votes.

How to re-engage with those NZers who have been disconnected will be the task of any opposition party in 2014.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

NZ General Elections: results

Just back from scrutineering at a local polling booth in Waiariki and it's close between all three candidates. This is nail-biting. Also noted a lot of NZ First votes.

TV3 reporting @38% counted:
Nat 49%
Lab 25%
Greens 10.5%
NZFirst 6.8%
Conservative 2.3%
Maori 1.3%
Act 1%
Mana 0.9%


Official advance voting:
National Party 139,222 49.65%
Labour Party 74,255 26.48%
Green Party 28,164 10.04%
New Zealand First Party 19,235 6.86%
Māori Party 3,427 1.22%
ACT New Zealand 3,223 1.15%
Mana 2,929 1.04%
United Future 1,746 0.62%
Conservative Party 6,801 2.43%
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 891 0.32%
Democrats for Social Credit 203 0.07%
Alliance 182 0.06%

This is great news for Winston at almost 7%. The Conservatives are polling very high - I noticed a few at the booth I was on and was surprised. The Greens on 10% is massive for them, but Labour will be disheartened with 26.5%. The Nats at almost 50% is astounding however, and I'm a bit shocked it is that high. These are early votes that were counted this afternoon and give a good lead on what will happen later tonight.

9:20pm: Official:
National Party 538,620 49.19%
Labour Party 285,176 26.04%
Green Party 115,062 10.51%
New Zealand First Party 74,646 6.82%
Māori Party 14,182 1.30%
ACT New Zealand 12,035 1.10%
Mana 10,146 0.93%
United Future 7,061 0.64%
Conservative Party 30,552 2.79%

Seats to watch - Electorate status official: (electorate, booths in% and margin)

Epsom 29.8% BANKS, John (ACT) GOLDSMITH, Paul (NAT) 574

Ōhariu 48.1% DUNNE, Peter (UFNZ) CHAUVEL, Charles (LAB) 1,160

Waiariki 62.5% FLAVELL, Te Ururoa James (MAOR) SYKES, Annette Te Imaima (MANA) 1,019

Tāmaki Makaurau 43.4% SHARPLES, Pita (MAOR) JONES, Shane (LAB) 294

Auckland Central 60.0% KAYE, Nikki (NAT) ARDERN, Jacinda (LAB) 329

New Plymouth 87.0% YOUNG, Jonathan (NAT) LITTLE, Andrew (LAB) 3,933

Waitakere 44.2% BENNETT, Paula (NAT) SEPULONI, Carmel (LAB) 293

Waimakariri 79.6% WILKINSON, Kate (NAT) COSGROVE, Clayton (LAB) 172

Winston arrives at his party celebration in Takapuna. Thanking his party."Help is on it's way - and tonight it arrived!" He's happy, jubilant. It's a remarkable achievement and looks well over 5%.

Looking bad for Annette I'm afraid. It's difficult to do this, having put in so much work myself, but I have to project a hold for Te Ururoa on Waiariki. This is not as expected. I'm disappointed because he doesn't deserve it and Annette certainly does.

TV3: Tariana on now talking about Maori Party losing Te Tai Tonga. She's not backing down on voting with National. She says a post-election meeting of the party may say go into opposition.

TV3 projecting Paula Bennett has lost Waitakere - it has gone to Labour. This is an upset. A real slap in the face to her.

Green co-leaders on K' Rd, Auckland being interviewed. They are beaming - smiles a mile wide. 10%+ is a great feat. maybe 13 seats in the House.

But of course what I can't bring myself to mention is that the Nats are returned to government and will take it as a mandate to start their asset sales and welfare crack-down (which passes for economic policy).

John Banks on TV3 being interviewed. Thanking Act on Campus. Bagging Winston. "Cup of tea was worthwhile wasn't it." Yeah - whatever, what did you two say anyway?

As the big South Auckland booths come in at the end the National vote goes down and the Left comes up - that is what we are seeing now:
National Party 920,978 48.31%
Labour Party 512,266 26.87%
Green Party 201,923 10.59%
New Zealand First Party 129,623 6.80%
Māori Party 25,271 1.33%
ACT New Zealand 20,575 1.08%
Mana 18,611 0.98%
United Future 11,679 0.61%
Conservative Party 52,822 2.77%

Looks like Bennett will hold Waitakere.

Brash addresses meeting. At 1.08% for Act it means Brash won't will be back and it will only be Banks. So there was no point in Epsom voting for him anyway. Pathetic really. Says leadership not in his hands. Says he will resign. Fuck off, Don.

I said Mana will get more than Act and it may do if the remaining Auckland booths come in. I'm not sure enough to get Annette Sykes in though - and that will be gutting.

Goff arrives at Labour do.

Big booths having an impact now as Nats down and labour up:
National Party 951,882 48.06%
Labour Party 536,227 27.08%
Green Party 209,755 10.59%
New Zealand First Party 134,724 6.80%
Māori Party 26,939 1.36%
ACT New Zealand 21,329 1.08%
Mana 19,427 0.98%
United Future 12,106 0.61%
Conservative Party 54,728 2.76%

Maori party vote was halved - due to Mana mostly - but I don't see evidence that Mana has picked up the support from beyond that constituency.

Goff speaking: congratulates Tirikatene-Sullivan on winning Te Tai Tonga. Damien O'Conner has won. "A bit bloodied, but not defeated." Saying "I've made a decision" and will be going to caucus. Which means he'll be stepping down.

Brash. He's even more irrelevant now.

Where's that smug prick Key?

Polling underway

The weather in the Bay of Plenty has been good and turnout in the morning was quite heavy, but has tailed off in the afternoon. There has been a lot of advance (early) voting and from what I understand this is a trend that is getting stronger, so there will be less votes cast on the day itself and it makes predicting turnout a bit more difficult. There is still a couple of hours to vote - polls close 7pm.

Annette popped into the local branch office today on her way through the electorate. She has already voted and was relaxed. She will be at Rotorua for the Waiariki campaign party later today.

Post election

I have voted and love that political power can be decided in our country free of violence and intimidation - bless our civil society, today is a true celebration of the power of the individual and our liberal progressive democracy!

Tonight I'll be jumping between the Greens Party in Krd Auckland and Jacinda Ardern's Party on Ponsonby Road, (my invite to Nikki Kaye's party must have been lost in the mail).

Sunday morning I am on Radio Live with Marcus Lush, then doing TV3's 'The Nation' and then off to Matthew Hooton's party for the iPredict show with all the guests who have appeared.

Monday 7pm on Stratos TV is the one hour iPredict post election special with what all the results and political ramifications mean.

And then I block out everything political and count the days till the Foo Fighters come to town.


Gender bias in murder coverage

Opening The Herald this morning we have another example of the way that men and women do not necessarily get treated equally by the newspapers. Carmen Thomas was dismembered by her partner and had been in an abusive relationship, yet the The Herald spins a lengthy piece that manages to make it look as if it is her fault. Binge eating, emotional issues and prostitution paint a bizarre picture of a woman who seemingly tempted her fate.

A woman in pain behind the smiles

Carmen Thomas was known for her love of partying, her dazzling smile and her effervescent personality.

The 32-year-old was dedicated to her young son, and to having as much fun as possible. She was kind, confident, articulate, intelligent, attractive, friendly and bubbly.

Carmen wasn't afraid to live her life, she wasn't scared of anyone and she had a way of making people feel comfortable in her company. But behind the smiles, the laughter and the jokes was a woman hiding personal pain and insecurities, a woman who craved attention and who could be difficult, volatile and with a tendency to go off the rails.

Except there is no way we should be receiving this level of detail on the victim. Where is Brad Callaghan's character assassination? Why is it alright to further victimize the victim of a violent and lethal assault posthumously? This piece is not only unnecessary, it is in poor taste and highlights the gender bias that some women receive in news coverage. Indeed, had Carmen not been a prostitute there would be outrage at this kind of article.

The allegation that Carmen hit Brad in the back of the head at the end of the article is equally dubious. Let's put aside the fact that she was in an abusive relationship with a guy who was not only having a baby with another woman that he wouldn't admit to, but quite happy to chop her up and put her in concrete buckets and spend a couple of weeks hiding her body.

The coverage of women that are perceived as falling outside of societal norms in New Zealand is abysmal and evidences deeply held stereotypes about women's position in society. We only need to look at the way that the way Kristin Dunne-Powell or Louise Nicholas were treated to see that our news culture is male, biased and outrageous at times. Both women were put on media trial for their characters without as if the violence meted on them did not matter.

The reality is that we have a huge problem with domestic abuse in New Zealand and this kind of article contributes to it. A recent study found that New Zealand women were more exposed to more violence than other developed countries covered by the World Health Organization. If we want to change this, we need to start with the media. Dear New Zealand Herald, NO woman deserves this violence or this treatment posthumously, and by portraying her life this way you encourage and perpetuate further violence. Would you talk about your own mother like this?

NZ General Election

Election day is a strange sort of a day in this country. There's a tremendous campaign waged with maximum attention focussed on politics for a solid month, the next day more intense than the last, and then election day itself is calm and quiet and peaceful, with barely a hint of politics as all the hoardings and posters have been removed and all the ads on the TV and radio and in the papers aren't there. Just orange signs here and there pointing towards a polling station.

The election law has a strict ban on anything likely to influence a voter on the day of the election itself which includes the sort of partisanship of - for example, saying:

Vote Mana


The Mana Party is a movement of the people dedicated to raising living standards, creating jobs, a fairer tax system and independence.

So tomorrow, Saturday 26 November 2011, until polls close there will be no partisan or election related blogging and comments will be turned off for this period.

And then at 7pm it goes straight back to maximum impact, high velocity, winner take all, make or break politics as the results start to come out. I will try to cover the Waiariki electorate as best I can as I suspect there will be an upset here that the other pundits are late to see and still aren't crediting. I hope to bring rolling results as I did last time, but we'll see how it goes - it's election night and anything can happen.

NZ General Election links:

Official electoral information, polling booths, enrolment, referendum information etc. elections.org.nz.

Polling booths open 9am - 7pm

Official results from electionresults.govt.nz:

Targets for release of the preliminary election results are:
● by 8.30pm all advance vote results, including the Referendum on the Voting System
● by 10.00pm General Election results from 50% of polling places
● by 11.30pm General Election results from 100% of polling places

Twitter: Follow #votenz. Also TUMEKE_blog.

Friday, November 25, 2011

On the Fence

If you haven't made up your mind on which way to vote this election, why not try this tool? It is a little bit simple, but if you are not sure what way to go it gives you moral questions to ascertain your party leanings. Once you have done that, you could have a quick look at the party website to check that the rest of the policies agree with you.

iPredict Election Show 7pm tonight with Trade Minister Tim Groser & Matthew Hooton, STRATOS Freeview 21 & Sky 89

A preview interview for iPredict Election 2011 with Chris Philpott, TV reviewer at Stuff.co.nz

Review of iPredict Election 2011 by Bryce Edwards

TONIGHT @ 7PM: Trade Minister Tim Groser & Matthew Hooton

Last nights show with Winston Peters and Hone Harawira

Prediction 1 - The market have predicted NZ First as high as 6.4% and MANA as high as 2.6% - how has the mainstream media bias impacted on small party support?

Prediction 2 - The market have predicted National at 48% and ACT at 2%, what are the ramifications of a Brash-Key Government for the country?

Prediction 3 - the market is predicting higher unemployment and lower growth than Treasury are predicting. With the Germans unable to buy billions in debt today, the Dow dropping another 200 points and Chinese economic data suggesting a slow down, how will implementing more free market economic policy protect NZ?

The programme will be hosted by Citizen A host Martyn Bradbury.

iPredict Election 2011 7pm weeknights, Stratos TV Freeview 21 & Sky 89


Last polls

Is Don Brash going to be a minister in a National government - and if so, what stuff will he be put in charge of selling off? If the alternative is Hone and Mana supporting a Labour+Green government in one form or another surely that is preferred.

The NZ Herald with interesting polling news about the surge in NZ First support:

And today's Herald-DigiPoll survey shows Winston Peters' New Zealand First party is above the 5 per cent of voter support needed to put it back in Parliament.

The campaign ends tonight with Mr Key and Labour leader Phil Goff travelling up the North Island in rival buses.
On today's poll, the Greens on 11.8 per cent would bring in 15 MPs, six more than they have now.

Labour on 28 per cent would end up with 34 MPs, nine fewer than at present.

National polled 50.9 per cent (up 1 point in a week), Labour 28 (down 1.1), Greens 11.8 (down 0.8), NZ First 5.2 (up 0.3), Act 1.8 (up 0.1), Conservatives 1.3 (up 0.7), Maori Party 0.4 (down 0.3), Mana 0.3 (down 0.1), United Future 0 (down 0.1).

Act is still polling quite high despite their many, many problems, but it all hangs on Epsom. My guess - although I haven't been on the ground there - is that the Epsom voters will bite their tongue and return John Banks because they know if they do that's one or two extra on his coat-tails from the list and that may well mean the difference between National in government or in opposition. Banks is a conservative in a conservative electorate, he is an experienced and dedicated campaigner and the Act Epsom electorate machine is well oiled, so I expect Banks will scoot through, but the majority will be far from the fairly healthy margin that Hide managed last time.

I suspect Labour will go above 30% off the back of Goff's strong showing in the debates and the position taken against asset sales. There's no way the Nats will pull over 50% no matter how great the media think they are (certainly the NZ Herald whose political correspondents - all of them - inexplicably gave the last debate to Key). They can't get over 47%, but I think they will be around 46% - quite high, and very high after a spell in government.

The Greens showing at over 10% is not surprising to me, but if they actually get that much I would be amazed. Their numbers have always been soft and I can't see that changing - so 10 or 11 is more like 8 or 9 - I'm sticking with the forecast I made last month, probably closer to 8% - which would still be an excellent result.

Mana is not registering that much in the opinion polling, but lately the Maori Party support has fallen off and Mana has been above 1% in the polls, reflecting something much bigger happening outside the narrow range captured by the landline polling techniques. Mana will cut the Maori Party's vote substantially - probably taking them below 1% and causing an overhang. Mana has also made some inroads across ethnicity and regions and may get 4 MPs - probably more than Act will get anyway. A lot of what Hone has been saying is resonating beyond disgruntled ex-Maori Party voters and a top 4 with Sue Bradford and John Minto is attracting working class and Left support. Annette Sykes has worked incredibly hard in Waiariki and deserves to take the seat off Te Ururoa - she seems to have the organisation and momentum to achieve this.

And as for the personal popularity contest, Key is still coasting along in his bubble, but Goff has finally managed to get up to a respectable level - better late than never:

The popularity of Mr Key as preferred Prime Minister remains high at 66.3 per cent, down slightly from 68.5.

Mr Goff's popularity has continued to rise throughout the campaign. He began it on 11.7 per cent and is now preferred Prime Minister by 19.5 per cent.

Why National are nervous - The 5 things Phil needs to win tomorrow

So here is what has to happen tomorrow for Phil Goff to have a chance of leading the country:

1 - Peter loses to Charles in Ohariu

2 - ACT are wiped out in Epsom

3 - The Maori Party lose Te Tonga to Labour and Waiariki to MANA

4 - The undecided swing against the Government

5 - NZ First gain over 5% and MANA bring in 3 MPs

The battle against the National Party Juggernaut could never be head on, it was always going to be won at the fringes of the empire. You'll know if Labour have surprised the media if the word 'overhang' starts trending on twitter.


The celebration of our democracy - why you should vote tomorrow.

Let's be clear.

I loathe National. I loathe the manner in which they have been able to con the 60% of NZ who earn less than $30 000 to support policy which is ultimately counter productive to their long term benefit and believe if National win on Saturday it will be the death of egalitarianism as we understand it in NZ.

I loathe that National have borrowed billions to give the rich tax cuts and handed out billions in corporate welfare while dumping on the poor.

I loathe the right wings selfishness as a virtue with all the ethical complexity of 'me first and the gimmie, gimmies'. I think it is an obscenity that 200 000 children are in poverty while 150 of the richest families made $7 billion in one year and think it is abhorrent that the poorest members of society are being asked to do with less because of an economic collapse they had no hand in making.

As I have asked a thousand times, how many solo mothers in South Auckland were on the phone to their Wall st stock broker in 2008 buying lite crude in Euros while speculating on the Goldman Sachs derivatives market?

In the words of Scribe - not many if any.

I think it is an intellectual absurdity to counter a global economic recession caused by low tax deregulation free market Milton Friedman dogma by implementing more low tax deregulation free market Milton Friedman dogma domestically.

If National win, I will be there every day of their 3 year term attacking their venal farmer and banker self interest while damning the soft fondling the media give Key rather than hold him to account.

All that said, let us rejoice.

Let us be grateful as we gear up to participate in our democracy that the transfer of political power can be handed over in our country without violence or intimidation. Whatever challenges we face as a country, we should be thankful that our liberal progressive democracy demands a civil society which in of itself benefits and enriches us all.

Your participation in the democratic process free of coercion on Saturday is the real freedom we should rejoice in and we should all celebrate our democracy for guaranteeing that process.

However we vote, we should all respect that we can vote.

Kia kaha NZ.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

My wish for election day - watching the mainstream media squirm

It was a Saturday last year. Sean Plunkett looked like he had urinated into his pants, there was a tear trickling down Duncan Garner's cheek, Patrick Gower had gone home sick. There was an uncomfortable silence on the set of TV3's 'The Nation', and it was finally punctured by a weary looking Metro Editor Simon Wilson when he said, "well, something just happened here that the entire mainstream media missed".

It was the 2010 Auckland Mayoralty race and despite the now infamous Herald digi-poll declaration on the eve of voting that the race between Len Brown and John Banks was 'neck and neck', Len Brown had won by a 49% landslide to John Banks 35%, watching the mainstream pundits who had called it for Banks suddenly having to explain how they got it all so wrong was more satisfying than Len winning.

The Herald digi poll simply didn't have the landline penetration into South Auckland to represent the opinion of voters and as such came up with a prediction that was 15 points out.

On Saturday one of three things will happen, National will either re-write the political rule books and win by an outright majority, National will enter into coalition Government or the landline bias that has consistently under represented the voices of those suffering most from the recession will make themselves heard with all the shock of Lens win.

Personally I'm of two minds, if the sleepy hobbits of NZ are really so thick to vote in the vacant aspiration of John Key and his policies which benefit the wealthy while making the poor pay for them, then I shall delight in being that 'I told you so' guy as our assets get flogged off and punitive redneck social policy produces counter productive result after counter productive result, however if Labour, the Greens, NZ First and MANA manage to have the majority, watching the mainstream media pundits try and explain how they've managed to get it wrong for 3 years will be more enjoyable than Phil Goffs victory speech.

I'd be surprised after the 3 year mainstream media honeymoon if John Key didn't win 80% of the popular vote. They are so biased towards Key, that he could punch a puppy in the face live on Close Up with the Walrus of News Mark Sainsbury and the Dominion Post would still criticize the puppy for flinching. They're undying love affair with Key has been our first cult of no personality, hell even when Key went nuts and turned the Police on them over the Epsom Tea Party tapes, they still booty call him.

John Key doesn't get interviewed on ZB, he gets heavy petting and the less said about the broadcasting handjob Radio Live gave Optimist Prime, the better.

If Labour manage to win on Saturday, the entire Herald editorial team will go on suicide watch.


iPredict Election Show 7pm tonight with Winston Peters and Hone Harawira, STRATOS Freeview 21 & Sky 89

A preview interview for iPredict Election 2011 with Chris Philpott, TV reviewer at Stuff.co.nz

Review of iPredict Election 2011 by Bryce Edwards

TONIGHT @ 7PM: Winston Peters and Hone Harawira

Last nights show with Mike Williams and Matthew Hooton

Prediction 1 - the iPredict Market are predicting 48% NationalParty vote, much lower than the mainstream landline polls, can National live up to the hype?

Prediction 2 - the iPredict Market are predicting 28% Labour Party vote, higher than the mainstream media landline polls but could Labour meltdown?

Prediction 3 - who will the Greens support or abstain on confidence and supply? The market gives a Green-National probability 16% and gives a green-Labour probability only 5%

The programme will be hosted by Citizen A host Martyn Bradbury.

iPredict Election 2011 7pm weeknights, Stratos TV Freeview 21 & Sky 89


Right wing conspiracy theorists: know your meme

Okay, this is starting to get hilarious. Having presented on conspiracy theories via the internet in the 2008 US elections, it now appears we have the same problem in New Zealand. Regardless of your political perspective, the truth is never partisan and people should really do some research before they fling stories around. This right wing myth started the rounds on Whaleoil after coming off conspiracy theories in the US. Anyone who knows the abysmal pass rates in the US or anything about their schooling system would be immediately suspicious, let alone the rather amusing proposition that Obama is a socialist. Well now it has come to New Zealand:

An economics lecturer at a New Zealand University made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Labours socialism worked, and that no-one would be poor and no-one would be rich, a great equalizer. The lecturer then said, "Okay, we will have an experiment in this class on Labours plan... All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade, so no-one will fail and no-one will receive an A ..." (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home, and more readily understood by all). After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too, so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the lecturer told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2011 Election. These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment: 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation. Think carefully before you vote on Saturday 26th November 2011

It is really quite a worry that people can't even research enough to see that this is a conservative myth or find the Snopes article which finds that this myth is probably at least 15 years old. What is even funnier is that every person whose Facebook page I have seen this on has an immediate response of "so what"? And we are supposed to trust the economic analogies of these people?

The moral of the story is be very careful who you get information from this election, as you might be voting on rubbish.

What is it about?

To stop the truth getting out about what John Key and John Banks really think, Key has sent the NZ Police out to media organisations to seize tapes and transcripts of a conversation they had at a public meeting they convened together in front of the media. Insane and wrong on so many levels.

Review: Final TVNZ Leaders Debate

I am sure I am not alone in finding last night's Leaders Debate painful. I enjoyed the TV3 one much more, but perhaps that was the additional novelty of getting to watch the worm. Last night was like watching kids in a sandpit arguing, particularly from Key. When I want to watch politicians making faces and snide remarks, I watch Parliament TV. However in a debate I expect much more of a statesman-like style, as I am certain viewers are, as you are really looking for the kind of decorum of someone that might be able to run the country. As I have illustrated earlier on Tumeke, there is a lot of research in political science into the way that televised debates throw attention away from the issues and onto the televisuality and rapport of the politicians involved. And to be honest, last night I had a great deal of difficulty focussing on anything that Key said as he just looked far too irritated. Instead of bringing the leader into the home, I felt like I had an obnoxious eye-rolling teenager on screen. In terms of his performance, he has been much better in earlier debates and I'm not sure that this style of response does his argument any justice and he was erring into the kind of territory that Clark was in when she started to lose her cool in the last election's televised debates. Due to the fact that there was very little new in terms of their arguments, many viewers would have been looking at their responses as evidenced by the way that the debates are assessed by viewers in forums.

Goff didn't do much better either in this one. While his continual flouting of the Privacy Act in speeches to provide examples of the real people on the street worked well in Monday's TV3 debate, it didn't come across so well in the more intimate forum and set up of the TVNZ debate. The focus on attack meant that he was giving far too much time to National. I would also agree with Claire Trevett's conclusion after the debate that the sole focus on asset sales attacks is perhaps not doing Labour any good, given the polls leading up to the elections that have shown consistently that while most New Zealanders disagree with it, it is not really changing the composition of the vote very much at all.

And this taps into one thing that I don't think Labour have done particularly well this election: providing an overall narrative. They do have policy, but they have not been good at conveying how this works independently of National. In an election where votes are driven by an ability to convey complex issues in a soundbite. National's term involving three major crises (the Christchurch Earthquake, the global financial crisis and the Rena) and a Rugby World Cup did leave Labour on the back foot. Labour then came out strong at the beginning of the campaign with a strong opening address and the superannuation policy. However, they needed to develop much more of a strategy for positioning their leadership as not being based around opposition to National. Since Key's claim to "show me the money" in the Fairfax Leaders' debate and Goff's fumbling of numbers more recently, Labour has been working to buttress themselves against claims of not having comprehensive policy. Yet when they have presented this, as in Cunliffe's presentation to the Mood of the Boardroom, it has not been executed well. Cunliffe as an ex-diplomat has the charm and cultivated politeness that would sell well to business, as represented in the fact that the study showed that while businesses overwhelmingly wanted National (98%), they did not mind Cunliffe as leader or Finance Minister. Yet the presentation he gave had too many slides, and he ripped through policy and numbers at the speed of light without giving people the chance to digest it. In contrast, English got away with writing all the policy off by saying that Labour had a "habit" of overspending.

I don't think that if National get the majority the polls are telling them they will on election night that this means that people support all their policy, I think it relates more to people feeling that they have a lack of leadership options. When you have unpopular policy with popular leaders this is not necessarily a mandate, this is a personality based election. We are not going to see the five reports on asset sales as National have blocked it by claiming commercial sensitivity meaning that New Zealanders are not going to be informed in their votes even a couple of days out from an election. More disturbing, their case seems to be based on a complete lack of political advice as Guyon Espinor recounted on Breakfast the other morning. This information should be available to voters so that they can make decisions on policy.

Minor Leaders debate on RNZ

The minor leaders debate on Radio NZ this morning was instructive: Greens confident, Winston all guns blazing with direct arguments with Brash, Brash himself basically conceeding Act was toast, Hone delivering from the heart and sounding mature, hoping for four MPs for Mana, Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell - because their parties are welded to supporting National no matter what - came across as defensive, ineffectual and irrelevant.
Phil Goff has been on RNZ this last hour giving a good performance on all policy areas. Phil is sounding fairly confident too - especially after last night's TV One debate with John Key where he really took it to Key and made him look weak and dithering. This was the third debate and Phil has won all of them. Phil's got nothing to lose and everything to gain and he's relishing this - it shows. He's having a great time. Meanwhile John Key is looking bad and the bizarre 'teapot tape' saga is reaching a denoument as the police commence their raids (or complete appointments depending on the stance of the media organisations) to grab the recording.

Nixon at his worst - this behaviour; and yet a pathetic NZ media used to kowtowing to government has let Key sidestep the constitutional impropriety of using the powers of the state to hush up his personal political embarrassment. If there is a recording - if it actually exists and contains something important to voters - it should be released. If I find the recording in my inbox this blog will publish it. Can't pay for it of course, but will publish it provided it is in the public interest to do so.

Tumeke! reacted more responsibly than the sensationalist NZ Herald when we received Corrections Dept. files and reacted more responsibly than the mainstream media over Paula Bennett's unlawful disclosure of private files of beneficiaries on her political hit list. Tumeke! has a solid track record of acting responsibly compared with other media.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

State of the Nation

The interesting aspect of Hone's State of the Nation address this morning was not so much on the ideological and rhetorical aspects -

And if ever the country needed a movement to redress the devastation caused by 25 years of free-market economics under both Labour and the current right-wing government of National, ACT and the Maori Party, then now is the time and MANA is the team.

- or the policy aspects -

We need to stop tinkering around the edges, and we need wholesale and radical change or we will continue to lose generations of talented NZers to Australia and beyond.

We need to look to progressive countries like Sweden for models, we need to work with the Child Poverty Action Group to create solutions and we need to look to our history for answers to our problems, because the user pays model has failed us miserably and those who have suffered most have been the children of the poor.

- because we know most of these things already (including the details of the tax plans), I was interested in the strategic undertaking Mana is making to co-operate to achieve it:

We need to park our politics at the door, commit to listening to the experts like CPAG, and we need to agree upon a course of action that delivers immediate and positive change for the children of the poor.

We need a formal commitment to a plan to eradicate poverty and we need to work together on legislative change regardless of who the government might be.
And having allowed ourselves to be locked into the global economy without safeguards, we need to accept that when economies start going down the toilet, nobody is going to care about our exports or about our economy or about our people – it will be literally every man for himself.

That’s why we need to act now, and we need to act together to push through the policies that will turn our economy around to cater for those in need, before those in need join their rebellious comrades in wreaking havoc around the world right now.

So Mana will act constructively - even if it is in opposition - that's something Mana voters and potential voters for a Labour-Green government need to hear.

Child poverty: a key election issue

Last night TV3 aired a documentary that every New Zealander should watch before the election, Inside Child Poverty, which traces Bryan Bruce's six month investigation into child poverty in our country and our appalling statistics. In this documentary, Bruce exposes some of the fallacies around the argument that such poverty is self-inflicted.

These fallacies have been amplified during the election campaign, which is part of the nature of politics and perhaps part of the problem around having two dominant parties attempting to differentiate themselves under an MMP system. A large proportion of the debate in the election has centered around these fallacies because they move voters, even if in reality we are talking about very small numbers of people. For example, I have already detailed how Paula Bennett herself admitted on Q+A that the number of women on a benefit with a dependent child of 14 having another baby was only 70 mothers last year, which amounts to 0.0015% of the population. Or how drug testing in Florida only caught out 2.5% of beneficiaries, and the programme was halted by a Federal Judge in late October who argued that the drug testing was based on a faulty rationale. Likewise, too, is the announced policy that National will stop funding to students who are exceeding 2-2.5 EFTs of study in a full-time year. This sounds aggressive, unless you know about EFTs and then you would know that it is near impossible for students to do this. Similarly, we could also look at the way public and private debt have been conflated in discussions over the economy. What we are left with under this partisan system is an election where debate over the big issues is eclipsed by debate over the issues that will win votes, and these two are not necessarily the same thing.

While it is tempting to compare running the country to paying off a mortgage or running a small business as many commentators do, these are bad analogies. The basic fact is that running a country is a lot more complex than either and to explain it in such rudimentary terms undercuts the impact that such changes can have socially. Bruce's documentary last night was important because it highlighted some of the issues around this in relation to child poverty and busted myths in a manner that an extensive debate over one beneficiary's decision to have Sky is not able to. First, child poverty is not just beneficiaries, but it is the working poor also. We know this from the rise in use of food banks by people that are employed. For clarification purposes, it is useful to highlight that the working poor are not families with a combined income of $100,000 (as I have seen so many people argue), but they are people often working multiple jobs on the minimum wage. While our unemployment figures still remain lower than the US or the UK, we haven't really had much study into the casualization of the workforce in New Zealand so we are not sure how many people might be underemployed. According to the NOHSAC Technical Report 10 released in 2008, we have not had any serious investigation into this since the 1990s. This is of concern as we have had more recently moves to casualise the workforce even further, with the 90 day trial period being introduced. These changes tend to push people into longer and less traditional hours, and tend to disproportionately affect the poorest groups in society such as Maori and Polynesians having a flow on impact for childcare. These are people with young children, which makes Key's use of retirement figures during the TV3 Leaders' Debate on Monday to argue that this proportion has declined disingenuous.

Bruce's comparison of New Zealand childcare with that of Sweden is well done, particularly because this is a country that features prominently in the Welfare Working Group's Report as providing a comparison to New Zealand. We simply do not have the structures that they do in Scandinavian countries to buttress some of the changes that they are discussing. Watching the documentary it is not surprising that children are getting sick due to the shocking dampness of our houses. Insulating houses is one thing, but we need to be very careful that we are not penalizing parents further and we need to increase spending on our children. As Gareth Morgan illustrated in Inside Child Poverty, comparative international studies have shown that by insuring that our children are fed at school, live in warm houses and have access to healthcare pays off $4 to every $1 spent. We do not need another Green Paper which is simply tantamount to another public discussion over statistics we have known for years, we actually need to increase the spending in this area and this should be a key issue in this election.

Ransom demands over Koha theft

RNZ reporting:

A rural library in Horowhenua says a United States company has hijacked the computer system it invented and taken the trademark on its Maori name.

The Horowhenua Library Trust devised a software system called Koha 12 years ago to manage catalogues and lending information.

The system is free and widely used by other libraries, churches, schools and corporations around the world.

However, the trust's head of libraries, Joann Ransom, says the American company PTFS/LibLime has been granted provisional rights to the name Koha by the Ministry of Economic Development.
She says she is astounded an international company could trademark a Maori word.

The library has three months to object to the decision and Ms Ransom says it has little money to pay for a legal case.

It's astounding all right, it's a barefaced cheek by the Americans, but that is what they are like. I doubt the Iroquois consented to the use of their name for a helicopter, I doubt the Apache nation was consulted over the naming of Apache Oil - so why would the Yanks give a second thought about appropriating another culture's word for some software they are pinching?

The US will grant corporates all sorts of rights to intellectual property that others never would contemplate doing - so why would we play along with their game? The exploitation and the NZ government's willingness to bend to America doesn't stop with Hollywood's copyright law that both Labour and National have signed up to, or this present government's rushing through anti-union law for Warner Bros. - there is a trade agreement being negotiated across the Pacific that will be full of all these bramble barbs that allow Americans to get away with this sort of thing. They are almost as bad as the Chinese!

BREAKING NEWS: Helicopter crashes in Auckland

From what I've seen on the TVNZ livestream it appears a helicopter erecting a Christmas Tree has gone down at the Viaduct. There are fireman on scene but no evidence of any fire and the helicopter looks largely intact. Hope there are no fatalities. I remember the last time something like this happened in Auckland - about 1993 when a plane hit a helicopter and it crashed on the motorway near Symonds St. This does not look as bad as that accident.

iPredict Election Show 7pm tonight with Mike Williams and Matthew Hooton, STRATOS Freeview 21 & Sky 89

A preview interview for iPredict Election 2011 with Chris Philpott, TV reviewer at Stuff.co.nz

Review of iPredict Election 2011 by Bryce Edwards

TONIGHT @ 7PM: Mike Williams and Matthew Hooton

Last nights show with Russel Norman and Bernard Hickey

Prediction 1: The market are predicting Greens at 11.1% Party vote, can they live up to the promise of double digit support or will they falter on the day?

Prediction 2: Prediction 2 - iPredict is predicting 1.91% growth to the end of March 2012, while Treasury has predicted a bewilderingly optimistic 2.3%. What does Treasury know  that the market doesn't?

Prediction 3 - the market are predicting 6.3% Unemployment for March 2012 quarter while Treasury say 5.8%. With global economic turmoil looming, is 6.3% a guilty buy?

The programme will be hosted by Citizen A host Martyn Bradbury.

iPredict Election 2011 7pm weeknights, Stratos TV Freeview 21 & Sky 89


A matter of record

It all comes down to getting Banks elected in Epsom and the tension is rising. The polls are all over the show, but Act going down the tubes is one of the more noticeable common themes.

The teapot tapes may still be a tremendous bluff - that's my sense. If there was anything "game-changing" recorded surely the Herald on Sunday would have printed it at the weekend. The legal ploy of seeking a declaratory judgement in the High Court is a shrewd one as it keeps the ball in play and continues to put the shits up them. The Nat-Act bandwagon has been hobbled by the teapot cloud and the Judge will lift that cloud when she releases her decision at 2:15pm this afternoon. It may rain or it may clear depending on what was recorded. However not to release it - when it is almost certainly in the public interest - is weakness supreme on the part of the media.

The recording is being treated like the missing 15 minutes of the Nixon Watergate tapes even though the PM insists nothing but blandness was said in the cafe. It smells whiffy.

The media rushed to publish private and confidential information that Paula Bennett maliciously leaked to the press about people on her department's file, but when the tables are turned and it is the politicians who want to protect their privacy the media go wobbly at the knees at their threats. One rule for them another rule for the plebs.

As for the Solicitor-General himself turning up to give arguments? - that is the PM using the officers of state to do his bidding in a personal/party matter and is completely inappropriate. As inappropriate and constitutionally dodgy was his flouncing off in a paranoid huff to the police to get the tapes from the news media. He is in statute the ultimate boss of the police so of course they over-reacted to his request. This is a misuse of power and ought to be recognised as such.

If ther PM is claiming some matter of state (like state security etc.) to justify using the resources of the government to help him suppress a recording then let him be open about it. But he isn't justifying it on those lines because there never was a legitimate reason to involve the police in this matter. He was persuing electoral and party business and acting as though it was a matter of state - it isn't and the threshold isn't met. The judge though is not ruling on these issues, so everything turns on whether she believes it reasonable that what went down in the cafe in front of dozens of media was private or not.