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Nats’ pollster reveals asset sale plan

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 am, June 23rd, 2012 - 250 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, petition, privatisation, referendum - Tags:

National pollster and Herald columnist (I know!) David Farrar has revealed what National has up its sleeve for asset sales. No, I’m not talking about how they would put ‘mums and dads’ at the ‘front of the queue’, or any such nonsense. I’m talking about how they will attempt to de-legitimise the referendum or, alternatively, try to slam the sales through before it happens.

The first partial sale is schedule for the third quarter of 2012, so before 30 September. Labour and the Greens will hope the petition is certified before that sale occurs, as it will allow them to call for the sale to be suspended until after the referendum is held…

…The Government will then decide on the timing of the referendum, so long as it is within the next 12 months. They will want the turn out to be as low as possible, so that it has a reduced political impact. Hence they could decide to schedule the postal referendum very quickly, say in December. Most people in December are busy doing other things, plus that would get the referendum (which would no doubt vote against the partial sales) out of the way.

The other option for the referendum is that the Government sets it as late as possible, so mid to late 2013. By then it is likely three of the four sales would have occurred, and the referendum would look even more pointless than it is.

Isn’t that lovely? National’s pollster revealing the options that National is looking at to disenfranchise the population by either holding the referendum when fewer people will vote, or executing most of the policy before we get our chance to have our say. What a bunch of dirty bastards these tories are.

For a kick-off, the petition isn’t going to be presented to the House by the end of September and a referendum by December is highly unlikely. In the successful petitions to date (and only four out of 46 have gotten enough signatures) it has taken four months, on average, for the Clerk of the House to check the names and present the petition to the House. On average, the referendum has followed eight months later (it legally has to be within 12). Even if they had all the signatures today, there wouldn’t be a referendum by year’s end.

But it is an interesting admission by Farrar of the strength of feeling that people have about asset sales that he thinks it will have the signatures it needs within a couple of months. I don’t think it will be quite that quick (the quickest was the firemen’s referendum petition, which took just four months thanks to their  existing community network, the other three successful ones scrapped in just within the year deadline). The signature collection is about a third of the way there after less than two months but the remaining two thirds will be harder to get..

So, if the Nats have some hope of getting the referendum through in summer to reduce turnout, they’ll be waiting until the end of 2013.

And the plan in that case seems to be to slam through nearly all the sales before that referendum happens. That’s a major speeding up of the programme. To date, it has been costed as a 4-5 year agenda. Treasury told the Government that spreading the sales out over years was necessary to get a decent return. So, if they’re looking at doing 3 or 4 sales within a year, it would be the final triumph of political expediency over economic rationality.

It would also be an admission that National knows it’s losing the next election. Why else the rush?

Now, Farrar thinks that National will get away with this. Apparently, people won’t mind it if their government cynically tries to render their referendum pointless or cynically tries to minimise the turn-out. And, if they do, they will forget all about it by the 2014 election. Yeah, right.

250 comments on “Nats’ pollster reveals asset sale plan”

  1. vto 1

    how surprising that a new zealand government would do such a thing

  2. KJT 2

    The only reason Key is there, is so that his backers can get their sticky hands on the remainder of our assets.

    Finish the (I don’t have the words to express my disgust) theft started in the 80’s.

    So long as he achieves that he will get his lucrative retirement to reward him for the theft of NZ.

    • KJT 2.1

      I do not believe in the death penalty, not even for theft in this scale, but strict liability and long jail terms are appropriate for those who steal so blatantly.

    • RedLogix 2.2

      Exactly. I cannot get past Key’s history.

      A boy from a state house in ChCh makes it all the way up the greasy pole of merchant banking, to sitting on the Overseas Currency Committee for the US Fed in London. That’s a remarkable climb…then suddenly with no obvious reason he abandons this and comes back to NZ as a lowly Opposition back-bench MP for a party that’s just been thrown out of power and will likely stay out for at least three elections.

      On it’s face this story makes no sense whatsoever…

      • What doesn’t make sense?
        Prime Minister might have been his boyhood dream. A lot of people get into politics for various reasons.

        • bbfloyd 2.2.1.1

          “various” reasons? So you havn’t got a point, or any sort of coherent argument to put up…..

          Just more schoolboy hero worship to display…… And what a dud you picked as a role model……

          I hate to be the one to have to tell you this little contra, but nothing seems to make sense to you……nothing that makes sense to the rest of us that is…..Got a bit of an issue with cognitive assimilation then?

          • TheContrarian 2.2.1.1.1

            Hey buddy, another comment made purely of insults, assumptions as to who my role models are etc etc.

            Yep, I can safely ignore you from now on.

            • RedLogix 2.2.1.1.1.1

              A lot of people get into politics for various reasons.

              Which is precisely my point when you think about it.

              What exactly was Key’s reason? Has he ever really given one that made sense in the context of his career?

              • He was initially recruited more than him just deciding to give it a go himself.
                Then he was invited to be speaker at a National Conference
                Some info here:
                http://www.webcitation.org/5VxD4yxyR

                Looks like he just got a taste for it

                • RedLogix

                  So my original point stands …

                  In the case of say Helen Clark her motivation to be involved in politics could never be questioned. Her track record spoke for itself. As it does for many of our great political leaders when you dig into their stories.

                  But the more I dug into Key’s career the more unsatisfactory gaps and inconsistencies I found. Personally if I was hiring, I wouldn’t touch a man with his CV.

        • McFlock 2.2.1.2

          Somehow I don’t get the impression that someone who can’t remember having an opinion on the 1981 tour wanted a career in politics from an early age.

          • Descendant Of Smith 2.2.1.2.1

            Indeed we are fortunate to have a video of a bright eyed Key talking about his future. Can’t see a mention of a political career in that interview.

        • jack 2.2.1.3

          He was put there by very influential people. He was on the board of the Federal Reserve. Now please don’t let the name fool you because it is not a US government institution. It is a private bank looking like a government bank. Key was on the board and now he is in Parliament running the country.. The people on the board were the Rothchilds, Getty, namely the riches men in the world. If you look at a synapse of Andrew Jackson’s term as President he fought the banks from taking over the country. His last words were, ” I beat the Banks.” This is true. The banks have been trying to get their hands on running the economy of the US for centuries and they succeded in 1913 when Woodrow Wilson signed the reverve bank act. He regretted it later. Key is part of this clan. All you have to do is look at what he has done so far. His pattern is take from the many and give to the few. That’s what he is there for. The TPPA will put the lid on his work. He also wants to make New Zealand the “Grand Cayman” of the south pacific. Bring the financing companies here at 0 tax liability and watch the parasites go to work. Key is a parasite.

      • dave brownz 2.2.2

        Red write the rest of the story you have a very good style. 
        This is your mission should you accept it….
        NZ returns to the laboratory, test bed for what exactly? 
        Has the makings of a high powered thriller.

    • geoff 2.3

      In an office drawer, somewhere in London, or Zurich
      or New York, or maybe even Sydney… there’s a cheque
      for many millions of dollars, with John Key’s name on it.

      The sleepy innocence of New Zealanders over this issue must
      be knocked out of them. The country does not belong to John Key
      or the National Party.

      As John Lydon once said – “Anger is an energy”

  3. Jim Nald 3

    Hmm .. reading that brings to mind a certain slogan a few years ago that darling Nationals loved .. something about Democracy Under Attack ?

  4. glg 4

    It may well come down to civil disobediance. I’ll march any time and anywhere aganst asset sales.

    • bad12 4.1

      Marching back and forth in the face of Government intransigence could be said to relieve us of amounts of negative energy but in terms of effect upon the cause might well be said to be a waste of ergs,

      An occupation by the people of both the old and new legislative chambers of the Parliament would be a far more comfortable winter pass-time and for the duration of such occupation business would have to be suspended, a definite act of civil disobedience sure to have the desired effect upon those who would steal from us…

  5. Now, Farrar thinks that National will get away with this. Apparently, people won’t mind it if their government cynically tries to render their referendum pointless or cynically tries to minimise the turn-out. And, if they do, they will forget all about it by the 2014 election.

    It’s not only National who may cynically use the (possible) referendum for their own political advantage. Greens and Labour are putting quite a bit of time and resources (taxpayer funded) into the petition, hoping for a referendum that they know can and will betoo late and ignored, like most CIR.

    I detailed this yesterday: Green abuse of CIR could be more insidious.

    I also don’t agree with cynical manipulation of timing of referenda, as suggested by David Farrar.

    This highlights again that what was purported to be Citizen’s Initiated Referenda was designed by cynical politicians to be toothless, and has been further abused by party manipulation and hijacking.

    We (citizens) need more than ever to take ownership of how to harness the Citizen Voice, and design our own system of telling politicians what we think. It needs to be controlled by citizens, and ringfenced from parties. It needs to be far more responsive (I suggest a 2-3 month cycle). And it needs to be far more flexible – limiting to a single (often loaded) question can make a referendum a year or more later a farce.

    • Not that I care if they do Petey but what evidence do you have that Labour is putting taxpayer resources into the referendum.

      Just a bit of proof would be good. 

      • Pete George 5.1.1

        You might have access to that detail – how much MP and staff time and travel costs being spent on the petition and anti-MOM campaigning? It’s obviously significant. And we know Greens are spending on employing signature gatherers.

        • mickysavage 5.1.1.1

          Bollocks.  You said it, you prove it.

          And stop trying to derail the thread. 

          • Pete George 5.1.1.1.1

            The proof should obvious. Not that you do the decent thing with proof (unless I missed something).

            Why do you resort to claims of derailing threads so much? I referred directly to some of the main points of the post. You’re the one attempting disruption, again, and then trying to blame me, again.

            • mickysavage 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Gawd, here we go again …

              1.  This post is about totally undemocratic manipulation by this Government of which the follicled one is a member.

              2.  You said “Greens and Labour are putting quite a bit of time and resources (taxpayer funded) into the petition”.

              3.  I said prove it.

              4.  You have said essentially you have no proof about Labour.

              5.  I said you are trying to derail the thread by accusing Labour and the Greens of cynically using the (possible) referendum for their own political advantage whereas the post is all about National’s contempt for the petition.

              6.  You keep harping on about the Greens and Labour.

              If you came out and said that National is performing appallingly I might think different but to me it seems clear you are trying to derail the thread of comments.

              • As an aside I don’t support asset sales but can’t agree with the statement: “totally undemocratic manipulation by this Government of which the follicled one is a member.”

                The government is using the democratic system we have lawfully and in line with all societal norms as they currently stand. If you disagree then the problem is with the system

                • The law permits this sort of behavior.  This does not make it democratic.

                  • Could the same apply to the Greens using parliamentary funds to promote a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum?

                    Or should only one side be scrutinised?

                    • felix

                      Until you come up with a reason why there’s anything wrong with it (apart from that you don’t want to hear what the people think on this particular issue) then no.

                    • I see you missed the word “initiated” there. That’s referring to the fact that it’s brought about by the signatures of ordinary citizens. You’re just playing word games now.

                    • Funny felix.

                      I’ve come up with a number of reasons why there’s potential problems – and I’m not the only one. But I’ve also listened to what others say and haven’t tried to shut down or shout down any talk about it.

                      I’m not the one that doesn’t want to hear what anyone that doesn’t want to dutifully join the campaign says.

                      One of the biggest oproblems with the Greens (and some in Labour) that they are so convinved of their own correctness that anyone who criticises must be labeled as an antidemocratic enemy.

                      Matthew – what word games? Do you think it’s appropriate for the Greens to use any parliamentary and MP resources if they consider the cause warrants it?

                    • felix

                      Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. You emphasised the words “citizen’s initiated” as if to suggest that in this case it wasn’t.

                      Is that correct? Yes or no?

                • Lawfully, arguably. (other than their bonus share plans, which they still need authorisation for) Within societal (ie. democratic) norms? Absolutely not. They have suppressed the vote, captured the media, manipulated electoral law to their favour, obviously abused urgency (for instance frequently and unnecessarily eating the select committee phase of bills and member’s day) to the point where they’ve used it several times more often than any previous government, and more.

                  I disagree that the problems we have with the current government are entirely within the law, although some constitutional reform would be helpful in that regard. A lot of the problems we have with this government are due to a lack of media watchdogs to hold them accountable within mainstream media.

                  That, and the fact that BORA needs to be sovereign over parliament so they can’t ignore it at a whim.

            • Murray Olsen 5.1.1.1.1.2

              If the proof should be obvious, why do you have such difficulty stating it?

        • Ed 5.1.1.2

          PG, I am intrigued as to why you think a politician should not use resources to oppose repugnant legislation, to promote alternatives, and to provide those opposed (particularly as all but the determined spin merchants accept is a majority of New Zealanders), with a means of expressing that opposition. Do you think politicians are only there for the baubles of office? Or to pander to whichever party bids the most for your vote? Do you think money provided to parties is only for hair styling, suits and transport? Just what does United Future spend its taxpayer provided money on, PG?

          • Pete George 5.1.1.2.1

            I’m not saying politicians shouldn’t use resources to oppose and to promote alternatives.

            But I don’t think politicians should take over the CIR option as their own taxpayer funded tool, I think that is an abuse of the principle behind CIR.

            There is a $50,000 spending limit on advertising promoting or opposing a petition.

            If parties don’t have to comply with this and can use whatever taxpayer resources they like to promote a petition that gives them a major and unfair advantage over Citizens who have to pay for any promotions themselves and only up to a limit.

            • Kaplan 5.1.1.2.1.1

              “But I don’t think politicians should take over the CIR option as their own taxpayer funded tool”
              I’ll stop you right there.
              That, quite frankly, bullshit line is being repeated far to often.

              I am one of the 70+% opposed to mixed ownership model. Any group that is able to organise opposition to the plan is acting on behalf me and the rest of that 70+% Exactly what public representatives should do.

              Those who oppose, obfuscate and otherwise try to derail that opposition are supporting the economic rapists trying to push mixed ownership. The same economic rapists that are spending 100’s of millions of tax payer money on ‘consultants fees’ in the process.

              So you can cut the hand wringing about tax payer funding. The only people I see using it to the benefit of the tax payer are those helping with the CIR.

              • You are blind to the wider picture because you agree with this cause. If it was protesting about something you supported I’m sure your attitude would be quite different.

                And in fact if there are some people who support the opposite to you on this and wanted to campaign and promoteb their argument, even if only a few percent – don’t they deserve an even contest?

                Because you think you are right doesn’t give you the right to ride roughshod over the democratic rights of those who might have different views.

                • felix

                  “And in fact if there are some people who support the opposite to you on this and wanted to campaign and promoteb their argument, even if only a few percent – don’t they deserve an even contest?”

                  Could you explain what you mean by this? Is someone being disenfranchised somehow by a petition?

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  “…even contest…”

                  Yes, Petey, so the government’s propaganda budget for the theft will have to be cut back a bit.

                  “…ride roughshod…”?

                  Elected representatives acting to represent the views of electors aren’t “riding roughshod” over anything. What idiocy.

                  Kaplan is quite correct: stop right there, weasel.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Because you think you are right doesn’t give you the right to ride roughshod over the democratic rights of those who might have different views.

                  We’re not, they will have a chance to express their different views in the referendum. That’s what democracy is.

                • While I’d rather the Greens restricted their support of the referendum to volunteers from a political perspective, I don’t see how there’s any great ethical or legal issue about what they’re doing or how it somehow undermines democracy. All they’re doing is asking people what they think and asking for a signature in support if they agree that asset sales should be stopped. That’s a fundamentally democratic action even if you pay people to gather the signatures, because it involves personal engagement, and grassroots political discussion and action.

                  National could pay people to gather signatures on any number of things and I wouldn’t object to it- in fact, I’d prefer it, as gathering signatures and talking to people are a much better use of political funding than electioneering ads. If more of politics in New Zealand were approached that way, I’d be much happier with the state of our democracy.

                  As for those who support asset sales- they get to voice that support if we have a referendum, or they can start their own petition to the government to go ahead if they like. If they also approach the issue in a grass-roots way, I’m perfectly happy for them and wish them a pleasant experience, even though I expect them to be very unpopular and to lose. Nobody is being treated unfairly here, and no rights are being violated.

                  • jsrret

                    how would you honestly feel if the act party was using public funds to gather signatures for a petition calling for “one law for all”, or the abolition of parole, or the introduction of civil detention orders?

                    • felix

                      How on earth would they be able to use “public funds”?

                      Also “one law for all” doesn’t mean anything, so I’d object to that on the same grounds as I would to any other meaningless question.

                      But apart from that, ACT are welcome to try to get public support for anything they like.

                      Usually that doesn’t amount to much of course, as they’re way out on the extreme fringe of most issues and poll around the margin of error accordingly.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      how would you honestly feel if the act party was using public funds to gather signatures for…

                      How long would it take to collect the 517 signatures that they would get?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      how would you honestly feel if the act party was using public funds to gather signatures for a petition calling for “one law for all”, or the abolition of parole, or the introduction of civil detention orders?

                      If the ACT party was using their leader’s budget for that, I don’t think I’d care particularly. Their leader’s budget is there’s to decide what to do with. If they spend on that, they won’t be spending it on something else. So there is no extra cost involved if that’s what you’re getting at.

                      On the questions, I’d most likely be getting stuck in and having the debate, there’s a nonzero chance that I’d be signing the petition to ask for the referendum.

                    • jsrret

                      whether you call them public funds or not doesn’t really matter felix, this is money taken by the ird for use by the government on behalf of the public… call it whatever you want… and one law for all was in quotes like that precisely because it means nothing… but i’m sure that given a couple of hours a group of pollsters could come up with a nicely loaded referendum question that was sure to win enough support to pass, and i think you know exactly what would happen if the public were to have a vote on abolishing parole and introducing civil detention orders, and i think many people would be very afraid of how the public might vote on issues like real financial incentives encouraging people on the dpb to receive long term contraception…

                    • felix

                      “whether you call them public funds or not doesn’t really matter felix, this is money taken by the ird for use by the government on behalf of the public… call it whatever you want… “

                      Ok, I’ll call it “The Leader’s Budget”, which is what it is, and as Pascal’s bookie points out is to be spent on what they consider important.

                      You were the one who called it “public funds”, so don’t put that on me either.

                      “and one law for all was in quotes like that precisely because it means nothing… but i’m sure that given a couple of hours a group of pollsters could come up with a nicely loaded referendum question that was sure to win enough support to pass”

                      Good luck with that. I wouldn’t sign a petition that looked like it was aimed at getting a referendum on a meaningless loaded question, but others will. However given that the govt will be quite safe to ignore the outcome on the basis that it was a meaningless loaded question, I’d use your energy elsewhere if I were you.

                      “and i think you know exactly what would happen if the public were to have a vote on abolishing parole and introducing civil detention orders”

                      They’d get to express their opinion in a democratic manner? Is that what you mean? Goodo.

                      “and i think many people would be very afraid of how the public might vote on issues like real financial incentives encouraging people on the dpb to receive long term contraception”

                      Would they? I don’t know what people think about that at all. The handful of people I’ve talked to think it’s either disgusting or a bit weird. On the other hand I’ve heard another handful of people on talkback radio who think it would solve all our problems, but there’s no reason to believe that either of those groups are representative samples of the enfranchised populace.

                      I’m not overwhelmingly interested in any of those questions, but if are then you could always start a petition. Get 300,000 people to sign it and you get to have a referendum, then we’ll know.

                      Again, good luck.

                    • PB: Their leader’s budget is there’s to decide what to do with. If they spend on that, they won’t be spending it on something else.

                      So what was all the fuss about Rodney Hide’s junket with his girlfriend about then? That probably cost him his political career, and there was “no extra cost involved”.

                    • Murray Olsen

                      There was a lot of extra cost involved in Rodney Hide’s political career, Pete – all of it for the less well off in society. Please try to stay on topic. I know you must get tired of defending the haircut all the time, but adding an orc to your list does you no credit.

                    • felix

                      I don’t know, Pete, I don’t recall the precise wording of the legislation relating what Leader’s Budgets are for.

                      Perhaps if you quote it we could analyse it together and try to figure out why Rodney found his use of it so embarrassing.

                      ps was Rodney’s global shag-o-rama even related to his Leader’s Budget? I thought he was using his travel perks.

                      Gosh, Rodney and ACT seem like a distant memory now, don’t they?

                    • felix

                      Hurry up Pete I want to get an early night tonight.

                      I know you’ve got the relevant legislation handy because you’ve been bitching about it being contravened for a week.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      That’s pretty pathetic even by your standards Pete.

                      Rodney got nailed because he built a whole persona around being a perk buster. He railed for years about pollies soaking up as many of the renumeration freebies that they could, including the international airfairs. He then took his friend on a little jaunt and billed the airfairs to the taxpayer. It was a private trip, nothing to do with NZ politics, and he put it on the tab. It was a perfect example of hypcrisy. That’s what he got nailed for. I’m kind of surprised you missed it. It was quite a big deal.

                      The Laeders budget isn’t a perk. It’s not part of the renumeration package in any way.

                      If you’ve seen the greens railing against using the leaders budget to assist in getting petition signatures for a CIR, you’ll have an awesome case for the two things being similar.

                      So get digging.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      And with Hide there was an extra cost involved. MPs aren’t bulk funded for their travel perk.

                      How can you not know this stuff?

                      Do you follow NZ politics at all?

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Of course Pete follows NZ politics – he reads kiwibog and whalespew religiously.

            • Georgecom 5.1.1.2.1.2

              Pete, if you think this petition is beign ‘taken over’ by Labour or the Greens then you are wrong. The petition is sponsored by Grey Power and the Students Association. It is supported by Labour and the Greens, but also by unions, NZ First, Mana and various other groups. I have seen poverty action people and ratepayers groups actively supporting it. The rallies opposing the sales have drawn a cross spectrum of people – left and right wing. People taking the petition out to get signatures have been both left and right leaning.

              Important thing to understand Pete is that Pete Dunne is on the wrong side of this debate. A strategic retreat is in his best political interests. The petition actually provides him with the opportunity to make that retreat and look ‘principled’ in doing so. You’d do far better with your time counselling Pete Dunne to be pragmatic and attempting to hang on to the fragments of United Future.

              • Georgecom

                Ps You always have been the ‘black sheep’ of the George clan eh. “Why does Uncle Peter always take the contrarian view” my mum sometimes says.

                It’s a George male thing eh.

              • felix

                In case anyone hasn’t figured it out yet, a lot of Pete’s opposition to this petition has more of a personal root than a political one.

                Sorry Pete, but The People Of New Zealand have decided to get behind this petition and your pet project is going to miss out on the massive groundswell of support you were anticipating, this time anyway.

                My advice is to make this a valuable learning experience. Ask yourself what do Grey Power, the Students Association, the Green Party and all the other groups who have decided to support this initiative know about organising that you don’t.

                There are lots of answers, obviously. They’re all far more experienced at it than you, so watch and learn. Or better still, get involved and learn. But ffs learn.

                • I’m learning all the time. My criticisms are nothing to do with my “pet project” apart from being based on what I’ve learned about the lack of effectiveness of CIR, and self interest of parties.

                  Sorry Pete, but The People Of New Zealand have decided to get behind this petition

                  Sorry felix, but some of the people have decided so far. A lot, but nowhere near all. A small percentage are behind it so far.

                  They’re all far more experienced at it than you

                  At running campaigns for parties and futile for The People of New Zealand? Get back to me a year or eighteen months (once the well organised referendum might have happened) and tell me how successfully organised it was.

                  • felix

                    “some of the people have decided so far. A lot, but nowhere near all.”

                    Correct Pete, not every single person of voting age is behind this. That was poor wording on my part if it allowed you to infer that meaning. I reckon most of them are, but we’ll find out either way. By referendum.

                    “At running campaigns for parties and futile for The People of New Zealand?”

                    No Pete, I said at “organising”. If you don’t even know what that word means in this context then you really do have a lot to learn.

                    • I know you said “organising”. But what’s the point in being great at organising an exercise in futility and frustration? They might as well be great at organising a Rugby World Cup final celebration next year.

                      If you don’t even know what a year too late means then you really have a lot to learn.

                      Are people hoping the referendum would stop MOM (and DAD) asset investments going to end up thanking the organisers for giving them false hopes far too late?

                    • felix

                      So you don’t know what it means in this context. Goodo. Add it to the rapidly growing list of things it’s a waste of time discussing with you.

        • Frank Macskasy 5.1.1.3

          :…how much MP and staff time and travel costs being spent on the petition and anti-MOM campaigning…”

          Pete, we kniow you’re not concerned about “staff time and travel costs being spent on the petition”.

          You’re simply using those issues to try to discredit the anti-sales campaign, and to ignore the voice of 70% of New Zealanders opposed to the sales.

          Just as your leader is opposed to selling certain state assets; when he said about one SOE,

          “…it is both a symbolic and practical statement of our economic sovereignty. Collectively, it is ours pure and simple. It must stay that way.”

          Source: http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/asset-sales-3/

          That’s very ideological , Pete.

          Question: why doesn’t that statement apply to our power companies, and airline?

          • Pete George 5.1.1.3.1

            Frank, you seem to have a habit of making false assumptions – is that deliberate?

            My main concern is looking for a better, fairer, faster democratic process for citizens, that’s why I got more involved in the political scene in the first place. This predates any connection with UF.

            Do you think the current CIR system is adequate?

            • Frank Macskasy 5.1.1.3.1.1

              “Frank, you seem to have a habit of making false assumptions – is that deliberate?”

              The questions I’m asking – yes, quite deliberate. If you think any of my assumpmtions are false – feel free to further explain your position.

              “My main concern is looking for a better, fairer, faster democratic process for citizens, that’s why I got more involved in the political scene in the first place. ”

              So why undermine the CIR process?

              “Do you think the current CIR system is adequate?”

              Is that the issue here? I thought the issue was about people expressing their views, through referenda – the same referenda that Peter Dunne supports using for his policies.

              It’s quite simple Pete; let the people have their say. What’s the hurry in passing legislation – the SOEs aren’t going anywhere.

              And after the referendum result comes back wuith a 60-80% result rejust asset sales, National can blithwely proceed, ignoring it.

              The question is; will Peter Dunne be comfortable with such a situation? And will he abandon using referenda for UF policies?

              • “Do you think the current CIR system is adequate?”

                Is that the issue here?

                I thought it should be a major issue, especially to those supporting the referendum.

                I think there will be some very annoyed citizens if the referendunm turns out to be unsuccessful – and history suggests it will be.

                Do the parties promoting the petition care about that? I don’t think so, they must be aware of the likelihood of success – of the petition. They may be playing a bigger game, and the citizens hoping for something out of the referendum (and we don’t know if it will happen yet) are being used.

                If that’s a possibility why shouldn’t it be talked about?

                • felix

                  “Do you think the current CIR system is adequate?”

                  It’s far from perfect. And so what? Are you saying it shouldn’t be used at all if it’s not perfect?

                  • Of course it can be used. And it can also be abused, as seems to be happening now. Which I see as a party abuse of the Citizens.

                    Are you not concerned about that? Or do you think the petition/CIR is being used appropriately?

                    • felix

                      Then it’s about time you stopped attacking the use of it on the grounds that it’s “inadequate”.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      No, it’s not being abused PG. It’s just not going to get the result you want and you know it and thus you’re whinging about it.

                    • Let’s ignore the process of gathering signatures for a minute, Pete.

                      If the correct amount of signatures are verified as legitimate, why shouldn’t we vote on this issue? Unlike previous referenda, the question both:
                      1) is clear, and
                      2) has obvious legislative implications.

                      It might not be politically convenient for you, but people should always be given a chance to vote on an issue that’s put before the public. The way the signatures are gathered does not change that, and if people dislike the conduct of the petition, they won’t sign even if they support it.

                    • If the correct amount of signatures are verified as legitimate, why shouldn’t we vote on this issue?

                      No reason why not. I have never suggested otherwise.

                      The way the signatures are gathered does not change that,

                      No, but the way the signatures are gathered does reflect on the signature gatherers and can raise legitimate questions about their involvement and their funding.

                      Poor party conduct can’t be excused by some greater democratic ideal. This touches on a common criticism of the Greens – that the end justifies any means. I think that’s a valid criticism here.

                      and if people dislike the conduct of the petition…

                      …isn’t it ok in a democratic country that’s supposed to support free speech that they be allowed to speak up about it?

                    • No, but the way the signatures are gathered does reflect on the signature gatherers and can raise legitimate questions about their involvement and their funding.

                      Which has zero to do with the referendum itself, and thus why people are accusing you of derailing the topic.

                      Poor party conduct can’t be excused by some greater democratic ideal. This touches on a common criticism of the Greens – that the end justifies any means. I think that’s a valid criticism here.

                      Living up to the democratic ideal is inherently good party conduct, Pete. I don’t want the Greens to do this because it’s poor political strategy and I think it makes the referendum look partisan, not because I don’t think that they shouldn’t be able to spend their political funding on this instead of say, stuffing mailboxes with leaflets that will just get recycled 90% of the time.

                      You’re trying to make this a scandal about PUBLIC MONEY being used to ADVERTISE PARTIES. That’s what this particular public budget is for, and I want the government to spend a small slice of my taxes on that, so they don’t need to go to large corporations just to run an election campaign.

                      …isn’t it ok in a democratic country that’s supposed to support free speech that they be allowed to speak up about it?

                      Absolutely. You’re doing that right now, in your own awkward and hamfisted way, you’re just not making a convincing case. If people want to sign a petition supporting asset sales and National wants to fund gathering signatures for that out of their own leader’s budget, I would support that too. (In fact more so, because the political issues would be biting them instead of the Greens)

                      Don’t forget that even if we trigger a referendum, EVERYONE gets to vote, so those who support asset sales get heard, too. I don’t see how giving you a chance to demonstrate just how widespread that support really is would somehow stamp down your right to free speech- remember that right is a protection from the government quelching any individual’s speech, not guaranteeing you’ll always win a political debate.

    • actually, what you need to do is get onto your mate ,the hairdo without substance, and tell him to stop being such a sellout. I realise that he has had his nose in the trough long enough to get the lifetime pension, but does he want to be hated as much he will be, his only mates will be fine upstanding creeps like john banks. dont forget, you are judged by the company you keep(scum tends to stick together)

    • bad12 5.3

      This from someone who follows a Leader who justifies the economics of asset sales by saying that the earnings hole knocked in the Government revenue from such sales will be covered by raises in petrol and tobacco taxes,

      Thievery as asset sales pass 49% of the asset into the hands of 8-10% of the top income earners in our society justified by the Member for Ohariu on the basis of extra taxes imposed upon small sections of society,

      And,

      In claiming raised petrol taxes will be used to cover the Government shortfall in income from the assets sold ensuring that society as a whole will pay the 8-10% of New Zealander’s in the highest income brackets to take from them those assets and pay the cost as raised petrol prices feed through the whole economy….

      • Pete George 5.4.1

        There’s nothing wrong with referenda if they are for the right reasons, run fairly for all participants, and can have a chance of being timely and effective.

        • Frank Macskasy 5.4.1.1

          “There’s nothing wrong with referenda if they are for the right reasons, run fairly for all participants, and can have a chance of being timely and effective.”

          And… who decides if a referendum is “for the right reasons”?

          Who decides if its “run fairly for all participants”?

          Do we have a referendum on whether another referendum is run “for the right reasons”?

          I guess the question is, Pete; who are you – one voice – to tell 4.4. million New Zealanders whether or not a referendum should be held because it may or may not ne “run for the right reasons”?

          Isn’t that what referenda are all about in the first place?

          • Pete George 5.4.1.1.1

            I’m not trying to tell anyone any of that, you’re still making false assumptions. I’m suggesting we need a much better Citizen Voice system than we currently have.

            Do you think it’s a good system where we may get a referendum on asset sales in the next 12-24 months when the legislation will be passed in the next week?

            • Frank Macskasy 5.4.1.1.1.1

              “Do you think it’s a good system where we may get a referendum on asset sales in the next 12-24 months when the legislation will be passed in the next week?”

              And do you think that passing non-urgent legislation on non-urgent issues is more important that the will of the people?

              In which case, our system of referenda is a futile exercise.

              “I’m suggesting we need a much better Citizen Voice system than we currently have.”

              Such as?

            • bbfloyd 5.4.1.1.1.2

              Petey petey petey…or should it be petit? Blaming the process whereby a referendum comes about simply excuses the fact that we have a government that has no scruple whatsoever regarding undermining the very basis of what democracy is supposed to be about….

              So, from this, we can assume that united future is a party that endorses fascism …..?

              From this, we can assume that both big pete, and his minime (that’s you little pete) are firmly focused on the trough in front of them……

              not a problem for the pete show it seems…..it makes it easier to ignore the effects this self serving is having on wider society…. (the walls of the trough block peripheral vision)….

              Is there any way that united future could actually be more disloyal to the people it is braying about representing? Doubtful…..very doubtful….

            • Draco T Bastard 5.4.1.1.1.3

              I’m not trying to tell anyone any of that,

              Yes you are. You’ve been up here everyday saying that the referendum was wrong.

              Do you think it’s a good system where we may get a referendum on asset sales in the next 12-24 months when the legislation will be passed in the next week?

              Your Hair God could stop that now, couldn’t he? If he had any principles.

              I think it’s really good of you to show just how shallow and unprincipled yourself, Peter Dunne and UF actually are. So keep doing it but some of us are going to be calling your bullshit for what it is.

        • bad12 5.4.1.2

          Care to address the point i make in my comment at 10.27???, or, is it about here when the blatant ‘obscenity’ of your position vis a vis the economics of the assets sales is exposed that you do a runner for the day and hope the same questions do not befuddle your simplistic and false view of asset sales upon your return…

    • Draco T Bastard 5.5

      Ah, PG getting in and defending this governments atrocious and indefensible actions – again – while trying to put the blame on the opposition.

  6. Helen Clarke did something very similar by not holding the anti-smacking referendum during the 2008 election and was called out on it too.
    All government use these tactics. Nothing new here…

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Utterly bogus comparison.

      You forget that in the end every Party in Parliament (except the execrable ACToids) voted for the S59 reform bill. As in fact they always were going to.

      The idea that parents should have the legal right to assault their children is no longer acceptable. The reform was inevitable because it had an essential moral force that most politicians recognised.

      By contrast this theft of our public assets is both controversial… but crucially… is deeply opposed by the entire Opposition.

      • True, true but in CIR it is irrelevant what the opposition thinks or how many people in parliament voted for it. So the idea the the crucial difference is the amount of opposition that disapprove is incorrect – it is a CITIZENS referendum and it sounds like what you are saying is because all parliament is in agreement then they know what’s best for us. If the Opposition agreed with asset sales would you sing the same tune?…..I thought not.

        And 84% of the populace disagreed with your “essential moral force” and disagreed with what parliament thought and Helen Clarke was criticised for not holding the referendum during the 2008 election.

        I am not saying Helen Clarke is as bad as Key or that anyone is worse or better than the other – just saying that this tactic is not partisan.

        • Honestly there wasn’t really time left to hold it at the general election if I remember correctly. If it was practical to do so I would agree that she should have held the referendum during the election. (because it costs less)

          But even if there was, Helen Clark being wrong doesn’t make John Key right to do the same thing. A tactic being used by both Labour and National does not make it good or even excusable, it just makes it widespread.

          And nowhere near 84% of the population could have disagreed with the §59 reform, because even the incredibly misleading referendum barely squeaked by due to a media beat-up on the issue that clouded the facts. Poll people again now on if there ought to be a legal defense for assaulting your child and they will have realise the sky hasn’t fallen and most likely most of them will say no, we did the right thing by repealing that godawful law, and the publicity around it helped in changing attitudes around violence against children.

      • This is in response to my comment….why?

        • bbfloyd 6.2.1.1

          A word of advice….. Read the link again…. but this time, have an adult with you so that he/she can explain it to you using words you can understand…..

          I know tories like to display their ignorance, and stupidity as a political weapon, but you seem to have serious cognitive issues there little conti……

          • TheContrarian 6.2.1.1.1

            “When confronted by a failure of the ‘free market’, the neo-liberal and/or right winger will always respond with one of the three options above”

            Was the discussion about the free market? No.

            “they will always default to one of three positions”

            1. Blame the previous government
            Nope, I didn’t blame the previous government for anything

            2. Blame the welfare state and/or beneficiaries
            Nope, didn’t do that either

            3. Blame the global recession (but not for an increase in welfare beneficiaries – that’s a “lifestyle” choice”)
            Nope didn’t do that.

            Strike three – all out. Next pitcher

            • bbfloyd 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Nice try little cont……It is rather obvious that ascending to actually use even the bogus arguments listed are far outside your cognitive abilities, so you don’t actually qualify as a “right wing commentator”… you classify as one of the chorus that yells “yeah naaah yeah naaah yeah naaah” whenever someone who does possess an iq of fifty stands at the bar and yells “it’s all labours fault!!”……

              So whats with the attempts to paint yourself as “somebody” rather than just a ditto head?

              Do you dream that you are fooling anyone?

              • “It is rather obvious that ascending to actually use even the bogus arguments listed are far outside your cognitive abilities”

                Ahh right, good. We agree then the I didn’t use the bogus arguments and all you have to offer is denigration. Good luck with that, I’m going to have breakfast.

              • Murray Olsen

                I don’t go to the same bars as WhaleSpew.

            • Olwyn 6.2.1.1.1.2

              As I understood you, you were not talking about the failure of the free market, but rather the tendency of governments to sidestep referendums when they do not want to bow to the public’s view on a controversial issue. There are a couple of major differences between the anti-smacking law and asset sales though.

              In the case of the former, there is ambiguity: many people who disagree with the micro-management of people’s lives would agree that “reasonable force” should not provide an excuse where a child is harmed to the degree that the matter is rightly before the courts. The lack of clear disambiguation here has served both sides of this argument; those who disapprove of all smacking and think that their view should be universalised, and those who want any excuse to cry “nanny state.”

              Disagreement with asset sales, however, is unambiguous. A further point; The anti-smacking law was a Green initiative, and was certainly not the raison d’etre of the Clark government.

              It is one thing to sidestep a referendum in conjunction with an election when you pretty much know what the result will be and the polls are not looking so great. It is quite another to avoid a referendum because the main point of your being in government is to get away with doing something that the public will find unacceptable.

              [Added some paras because I like this so much…RL]

              • Indeed I wasn’t talking about free market failures so Frank’s comment seems out of place.

                Your points are well taken but I’ll just clarify that it isn’t the content of the referendum but how governments of both stripes use tactics to offset or delay referendums they no they’ll lose.
                It is a political tactic, not a party tactic….if you follow me

              • Descendant Of Smith

                And let’s be clear there was no antismacking law added. What was removed was the defence of disciplining your children by beating them which had been successfully used in several cases to get off what were serious assaults.
                The last vestigies of an old law that previously allowed you to also beat your wife and your servants for the purposes of discipline.

                That it has gone is a good thing.

                • Olwyn

                  That is true, but people are still grappling with what this means, due to the ambiguity of its presentation. Just this week I saw two grandparents on TV, already seemingly doing a good job of bringing up two of their grandchildren, but denied custody of a third one because they admitted to slapping a child on the hand with a little spoon when other disciplinary measures had failed. Hence it was thought that the third child would be better off in foster care. I would have thought you would be better off with grandparents who love you than strangers, even if you might risk a slap on the hand if you swore at them or something.

                  • @Olwyn – agree.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    Agreed people and politicians and the law are grappling with what it means. That is no different to what happened when servants were removed and when wives were removed.

                    You don’t think it was instantly clear when those changes were made that men stopped beating their wives cause the law had changed and that if they didn’t x would happen to them

                    We’ve managed over time to work those things out and case law has made things relatively clear.

                    Over time the same will happen for children as well. Plenty of men felt they were being treated unfarly when wives were removed – it was normal for them to discipline them with violence.

                    I’d rather case law work through this than some government try and define what is acceptable and what is not. Currently the police exercise pretty reasonable discretion in my view and case law will give them more guidance as when and how they use this.

                • vto

                  So what happens to physical sanction as a tool of control for society? I mean, it has been used in pretty much every society known to man. Our current situation is the odd one out – do you think it will be sustainable given that sort of history?

                  And anyway, the state itself retains its own right to physical sanction in both jailing people and in the defence and attack forces. The state is somewhat of a hypocrite. Then there is the issue of which is worse – physical or mental or some other sanction.

                  I am not condoning violence or assault – just raising some surrounding issues which indicate that the anti-smacking law is out of sync with pretty much all of human history.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    History does however show that violence is reducing and continues to do so.

                    Life is better because of this.

                    Someone recently posted about somewhere where prisons were quite open and people wandered off to serve their time quite almost voluntarily – was it finland? – so even incarceration can be more humane and less violent.

                    For countries like NZ I would argue that the economic violence being done to people is slowing our ability to deal with and reduce physical violence. Getting back to some egalitarian principles where people are valued would help.

                    I despair of politicians talking about citizens in negative and punitive ways – that hardly gives people hope.

                    • vto

                      Hmmm, is that right? Getting less violent? I guess, in our own backyards it is so that’s a start. Mighty fine sentiments nonetheless mr smith.

                    • Olwyn

                      “For countries like NZ I would argue that the economic violence being done to people is slowing our ability to deal with and reduce physical violence.”

                      According to Zygmunt Bauman, “The disappearance of violence from daily life is…one more manifestation of the centralizing and monopolizing tendencies of modern power; violence is absent from individual discourse because it is now controlled by forces outside of the individual reach. But they are not outside of everybody’s reach.” I cannot link to this, but it is from a book called “Modernity and the Holo**ust.”

                      The situation he describes is exacerbated by attempts to eradicate physical violence while permitting economic violence, and this is something to which the Liberal, socially progressive side of the left can be blind. The assumption seems to be that we can’t be like Sweden in providing everyone with adequate housing and income, because the boss says no, but we can be like Sweden insofar as we can micro-manage people for their own good. This involves a slide from promoting liberating ideas, such as women’s and gay rights, to the oppressive demand that the impoverished recast themselves in an urban middle-class image, but without the means to actually be middle class. Meanwhile, society gets ostensibly less and less violent, while more and more violence accumulates at the top: look at the size of the prison population for example.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Olwyn I can’t see that the left are blind to the economic violence and the increasing incarceration rates it’s just that the left in NZ are confused as being Labour.

                      Here’s some of the things that were normal when I started work

                      Decent benefit rates
                      8 hour working day
                      Time and a half
                      Universal family benefit
                      Ordinary people raising a family on one income
                      State housing
                      Weekends free to enjoy

                      New Zealanders didn’t see these as left policies any longer – they had been normalised.

                      Labour supports none of these things.

                      We have moved so far to the right that normal seems beyond the breadth of thought of so-called left parties. Labour couldn’t even give those on benefit their measly $20-00 back.

                • Daveosaurus

                  Good point. If there has ever, since the repeal of section 59, been a case where someone was convicted of child abuse for anything less than either punching a child with a fist or assaulting a child with a weapon, then any such case has never been reported.

                  The smacking referendum resulted in over 80% of responses opposing making smacking illegal, and in consequence the Government has not made smacking illegal. To try to paint this as a failure to heed the result of the referendum is at best dishonest.

              • Olwyn

                @ RL:Thanks. The smiley face still evades me, so I cannot add one.

            • mike e 6.2.1.1.1.3

              the incontenaryan
              insinuating a previous leader is not blaming
              I don’t think you get the picture.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      That referendum question should not have been allowed to go through as it was a leading question designed to get a no answer. As such, it makes that referendum null and void.

      • “As such, it makes that referendum null and void.”
        Aside from that being a sweeping assertion based on, I think, your own beliefs on the topic do you think if the question was worded differently then people would have voted to keep the repeal as it was?

        And in what way do you think it was designed to get a “no” answer? (edit: scratch this question)

        • felix 6.3.1.1

          I find it hard to believe that you’re not familiar with the question, the controversial wording, the statutory requirements for such questions, or the ensuing debate, poli-sci post graduate that you are.

          • TheContrarian 6.3.1.1.1

            It took place during a time when I was overseas for a period so wasn’t seeing it played it in the media.

            I know what the question was and I am aware of the fallout/debate surrounding it but what I am asking is whether if it were worded differently a different result would have eventuated.
            (by different I mean significantly different, not just by a few % points)

            • TheContrarian 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Another interesting point to note is the referendum result matched the polling data which asked the less ambigious question:

              “Do you think the new law should be changed to state explicitly that parents who give their children a smack that is reasonable and for the purpose of correction are not breaking the law?”

              2009
              Change Law
              Yes 82.9%
              No 12.8%

              2008
              Change Law
              Yes 84.9%
              No 11.0%

              2007
              Change Law
              Yes 82.2%
              No 14.7%

              http://www.voteno.org.nz/polls.htm

              • Draco T Bastard

                That’s how the law was already worded and it wasn’t working – people were using that “reasonable” aspect of the law to get away with serious assault. This wasn’t made clear to people.

                …do you think if the question was worded differently then people would have voted to keep the repeal as it was?

                Yes, I think if the wording had been different we would have got a different answer. The phrasing of the question used implied that “good” parents would become criminals due to the law change when that wasn’t the case. That implication should not have been in the question and it was that implication that made it a leading question and there’s no way that implication wasn’t there on purpose.

                • “I think if the wording had been different we would have got a different answer”

                  Even though it matchdc the results of every other poll which asked much less ambiguously whether or not the law change should be reverted?

                  “there’s no way that implication wasn’t there on purpose.”

                  So you are basically claiming Clerk of the House of Representatives, David McGee deliberately made the question ambiguous as to get the result “no”?
                  That is a serious accusation of political manipulation and borderline libel

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Combined with what I first said – you know, the bit about having correct information.

                    • What about this bit?

                      “there’s no way that implication wasn’t there on purpose.”

                      So you are basically claiming Clerk of the House of Representatives, David McGee deliberately made the question ambiguous as to get the result “no”?
                      That is a serious accusation of political manipulation and borderline libel.

                      As to people not having correct information – that is merely an assumption I don’t think you are qualified to make.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The clerk of the house doesn’t write the question.

                      And the wording of the question you quoted would indicate that people didn’t have the correct information as that wording reflected how the law stood and yet people were saying that the law should be changed to that.

                    • Responsibility for the wording lay with him, whether he actually worded it or not is irrelevant. You are suggesting, without any evidence whatsoever, that there was a deliberate manipulation in order to secure the result wanted. That is borderlines libel (and something, again you have zero evidence for).

                      And this still applies:
                      “As to people not having correct information – that is merely an assumption I don’t think you are qualified to make.”

                      Another assumption. That is two assumptions you have made hear and have provided zero evidence to back either of them up. If this was a formal debate you’d have lost long ago.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Nah just implies they cocked it up. I found plenty of the people I knew confused and disagreeing about what a no meant.

                      It was poorly worded.

                    • Yes it was poorly worded which made it even easier to ignore..

                      But most issues are severely limited by needing the single yes/no answer that a CIR requires.

                    • “implies they cocked it up”

                      Indeed it does imply a cockup. DTB however implies “there’s no way that implication wasn’t there on purpose.”

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The question asked is the only evidence needed. It should have been: Should adults be allowed to assault children? Instead we got a load of BS about good parents being criminals which produced an automatic emotional response of no.

                      Responsibility for the wording lay with him

                      No it didn’t, he just approves the form, there are no rules regarding the actual question except that it must have a yes/no answer.

                    • You are suggesting, without any evidence whatsoever, that there was a deliberate manipulation in order to secure the result wanted. That is borderlines libel (and something, again you have zero evidence for).

                      Justify your claim of deliberate manipulation. Otherwise it is pure, and libelous, speculation based on…nothing.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      My bad, I should have said loaded language rather than a leading question.

                      In rhetoric, loaded language (also known as emotive language, high-inference language or language persuasive techniques) is wording that attempts to influence the certain audience by using an appeal to emotion.

                      As I said though, the evidence is the question itself:

                      Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

                      Loaded way up the wazoo with emotive language. You can believe that’s accidental if you like, I don’t.

                    • “You can believe that’s accidental if you like, I don’t.”

                      So you believe, without any evidence whatsoever, that there was a deliberate manipulation in order to secure the result wanted.

                      “Loaded way up the wazoo with emotive language.”

                      And “Should adults be allowed to assault children?” isn’t loaded?

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      I never ever understood why some thought that smacking parents to correct their behaviour was a good thing.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      The assault wording is much more accurate. The law as it stood let people do that. You can argue whether new law should have been added, as noted I Think case law over time will sort out any issues, but I can’t see how you cannot support the defence, that was being used by those assaulting children, be removed.

                    • Assault is already illegal therefore the question:
                      “Should adults be allowed to assault children?”

                      is asking should parents be able to do something already illegal? That is just as loaded in itself

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And “Should adults be allowed to assault children?” isn’t loaded?

                      Nope, it’s accurate. An alternative wording could have been Should children get the same protection in law against assault as adults? You’ll note that you’re not allowed to smack adults as it’s considered assault.

                      Not “should the law change be reversed” but implies assault (which is a broad term) be legalised for parents.

                      It was already legal to assault children – that’s what s59 was, the legal right of adults to assault children.

                    • “Nope, it’s accurate”

                      Assault is, by definition, a crime.
                      The question then become “Should adults be allowed to commit a crime against children?”

                      The very question is whether or not it should be a crime so you are defining it as crime before the question has even been asked. That is as misleading as the original question

                    • felix

                      Contrarian, it was always a crime, yes. But there was a defense available of “reasonable force” when charged with assaulting a child.

                      This is what the entire issue was. That’s the bit that was repealed.

                      How did you get so far into this discussion without knowing the first basic fucking fact of the topic at hand?

                    • Felix, you’re not paying attention. Try harder. The issue is emotive language, not the ‘issue’ as you put it.

                    • The emotive language was what was being discussed until everyone else realised that you didn’t even understand why the repeal took place.

                      We removed the defense of “reasonable force”, which was being used to successfully defend parents who “disciplined” their kids with various impromptu weapons. I don’t care what you think about smacking, picking up anything as a weapon to use against your child isn’t discipline, and should only be done in desperate self-defense. Similar measures to §59 that were proposed were declined because they caused similar problems. There’s no way to insert a “reasonable” or “transitory” or “trifling” defense in there without people beginning to minimise unreasonable assault.

                      It’s much better that the law simply enshrine that it’s wrong to assault a child full stop, and we simply rely on defenses like “it was for their own safety” (eg. forcefully removing something poisonous a child was going to eat, tackling them before they can walk into oncoming traffic, etc…) to excuse reasonable conduct by parents, and that law enforcement use discretion about what might technically be a very minor assault, the same way they don’t prosecute every single J-walker they see.

                      Unfortunately a lot of “discipline” is more about the feelings of the parent than the needs of the child, and it can be done without. Withdrawing attention or approval from kids, when done properly, is way more powerful than ever smacking them, so I don’t see why there should be an argument that there ought to be a defense for such a thing in the law in the first place.

                  • felix

                    No Contrarian, you’ve been arguing that assault was already illegal.

                    I’m pointing out how that demonstrates your complete ignorance of the entire matter.

                    (apologies for putting this in the wrong place)

                    • “you’ve been arguing that assault was already illegal.”

                      As I already said:
                      The very question is whether or not it should be a crime so you are defining it as crime before the question has even been asked. That is as misleading as the original question.

                      “I’m pointing out how that demonstrates your complete ignorance of the entire matter.”
                      You aint pointing out nothing but, hey, whatever makes you feel superior.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Dunno if felix feels superior, TC, but your argument is clearly inferior. The wording in the referendum was so poor that when it was first announced, one of the pro-beating spokespeople couldn’t make up his mind as to whether his preferred answer was yes or no. It was that badly drafted, Parliament had no problem ignoring it.
                       
                      Happily, it is not even an issue any more, and like smoking and drink driving, there is a clear change in society’s attitude to something that was once considered acceptable.

                    • “The wording in the referendum was so poor that when it was first announced, one of the pro-beating spokespeople couldn’t make up his mind as to whether his preferred answer was yes or no”

                      So? That isn’t what we are discussing – the discussion is what the wording should have been. There is nothing inferior about my argument because that isn’t what I was arguing. The argument is about what the wording should have been not whether the wording s misleading or not.

                      “Should adults be allowed to assault children?”
                      That question is asking whether people should be able to do something illegal when the question is meant to be asking if it should have been illegal in the first place.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Ha! I think you’ve lost track of your own argument there, TC, but really, it’s all moot now. That referendum failed due to both the poor wording and the progressive attitude of all parties in parliament, (except the hypocrites in ACT).

                    • Assault is a technical legal term, and was legally what anyone who used §59 was being defended from. It’s charged because assault is actually bad, not because it didn’t apply to this situation.

                      “Should parents have a legal defense for assaulting their children in a reasonable manner?” pretty much sums up where you fall on §59, and nicely points out the absurdity of a “reasonable assault” that lead to juries thinking it was okay to beat kids with hosepipes.

  7. It was known that key and co are ‘slippery’ ministers,so the petition should have been started
    much earlier.
    National have never done any good for the country whenever they have been in power and
    their only mantra is stick it to the people and the country, when they leave office there has
    always been huge debt,less assets,no hope for the average joe,this time around the country
    is being led by the nose right into the arms of the imf,key knows what he is doing and
    does not care,that is his brief from his ‘silent’ bosses.
    National are making a song and dance about labour selling assets, if the country was
    left in a good financial position when they left offfice there would be no need for asset
    sales,would there?
    National’s hell bent on asset sales is not because of debt,it is not because labour left the
    books in bad shape,its purely and simply because their mates and overseas corps can
    get a slice of nz’s pie,proof of that can be seen in the changes of regulations and policies
    under urgency that take away tax payers rights and protections regarding state owned
    assets.

    • bbfloyd 7.1

      starlight…sadly, while you make many valid observations…. the reality is that, until the electorate is suitably motivated to act, attempts to organise petitions, referenda, etc, tend to be wasted effort……

      Failure with initial attempts allows the forces arrayed on behalf of the asset stripper party to have open slather in denigrating any future efforts at resistance…….

      It isn’t a good way to have proper debate, i know, but that’s what we’ll be stuck with until the tories, and their bosses, have been permanently removed from the levers of power……..

  8. “There’s nothing wrong with referenda if they are for the right reasons…”

    Can anyone really be that dim?

    • It looks like you can.

      If concerned citizens had started a petition because they were concerned about asset sales that would be a fair enough reason.

      But if political parties who had just lost an election, one party having extensively campaigned against an issue, became an integral part (and likely instigator) of a referendum that was effectively a continuation of their campaigning, to me that’s a very cyncical and poor reason for a referendum.

      And one very sad aspect of this is it overshadows the legitimate involvement of people who genuinely believe in the cause behind the referendum. Who have been given false hopes by parties overegging the whole issue for political purposes.

      • bbfloyd 8.1.1

        Is that the best you can do tiny little pete? Party political hypocrisy? I can only assume your memory only goes back six months or so…..

        Every national opposition has indulged in loud, and protracted criticisms of policies “voted for” from the week they were ejected from the government benches…..

        this particular incarnation of national has been utterly traditional in that aspect….. your hero. big pete, has been making excuses for them since being bought off years ago…..

        Your assumption that transferrence is a valid political debating tool is just one of the many reasons you are regarded as nothing short of being an annoying pest……..

        Of course, those who choose to pretend that history teaches us nothing useful are the same fools that will continue to repeat the same mistakes time after time……How does that treadmill feel petit?

      • Descendant Of Smith 8.1.2

        I’m quite happy to put my hand up and say I would have put my hand up to start a petition but am happy to defer to the superior organising skills of those who have done so.
        Given I am unlikely to vote for either right wing labour or the greens I’m not partisan to those parties but understand clearly that democracy is about being elected to represent all people in NZ not just those who vote for you.
        Those elected politicians are reflecting my views and many others and they should do so.
        That is their job.
        Your push to either simply assert that National politicians have a manadate to sell assets is a misrepresentation of democracy – they only have a mandate to introduce legislation – the authority sits with parliament which includes the opposition members, it includes processes of select committees and debate, of gathering information and considering the full picture, the views of the public and the interests of all groups, including Maori and minority views.
        This government continually abuses these processes, tries cynically to slip in little bits here and there that differ from what was said per election and has no regard to public views or alternative possibilities. It’s maths is continually flawed and disingenuous at best.

        Equally your push for citizens voting systems is simply a way of moving from elected representatives who are supposed to represent everyone to some form of horrible majority rule.

        If you really want to push improved democracy let select committee processes follow their due process where the public can clearly contribute and politicians can honestly weigh up and consider ther views and contributions, oppose the use of urgency for no good reason and ensure that students in schools understand and are taught how a participative democracy and separation of powers work and why they exist. It,s not the system that’s broken – it’s the way that politicians and business and religious groups have hijacked it.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2.1

          I’m quite happy to put my hand up and say I would have put my hand up to start a petition but am happy to defer to the superior organising skills of those who have done so.

          It’s not that they had better organising skills but that they had existing national networks to work with.

          It,s not the system that’s broken

          No, it is the system that’s broken as it’s a system that’s left the majority of people with no real contact with society, with no networks through which to operate and so powerless. Which is what National, Act and UF want – they certainly don’t want the average citizen having any power as that would stop their ongoing theft.

        • Pete George 8.1.2.2

          It,s not the system that’s broken – it’s the way that politicians and business and religious groups have hijacked it.

          I agree to an extent with that, but the system can also be improved.

        • felix 8.1.2.3

          “Your push to either simply assert that National politicians have a manadate to sell assets is a misrepresentation of democracy – they only have a mandate to introduce legislation – the authority sits with parliament which includes the opposition members, it includes processes of select committees and debate, of gathering information and considering the full picture, the views of the public and the interests of all groups, including Maori and minority views.”

          This, Pete.

          This is what you so very much need to get your head around.

          • Pete George 8.1.2.3.1

            Yes, I think that’s right. But something else that should be considered whether parties shouild stack submissions with orchestrated and sometimes outlandish messages. It’s possible that a whole bunch of turn people would turn up with variations on the same theme but it’s also possible it;s no coincidence.

            The whole shebang (and hebang) could do with a major shakeup.

            Or do you think the problems all come from one side?

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1.2.4

          @DoS – exactly.

      • “If concerned citizens had started a petition because they were concerned about asset sales that would be a fair enough reason.

        But if political parties who had just lost an election, one party having extensively campaigned against an issue, became an integral part (and likely instigator) of a referendum that was effectively a continuation of their campaigning, to me that’s a very cyncical and poor reason for a referendum.”

        But that’s not for you to decide, Pete.

        Surely, if we still live in a democracy, individuals will choose for themselves whether or not to support a petition for a referendum.

        If 90% of people agree with you, they won’t sign it; the petition will fail; and no referenda will be held. So it’s not up to the Parties – it’s up to the citizens themselves.

        Cost to taxpayers: less than a ministerial limousine in Sydney. http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/ministerial-waste-hypocrisy/

        So I’m not certain why you’re hung up on this. the people will decide,

        (a) whether or not to sign the petition

        (b) whether or not to tick ‘yes’ in any given referendum. (And you are free to tick ‘no’ if you so wish.)

        • deuto 8.1.3.1

          Well said. And I will repeat the comment I have just made at 10.1 below –

          My understanding is that the CIR was initiated by the Keep Our Assets Campaign – not by the Greens or Labour. The campaign is a coalition of a number of community organisations including Grey Power, CTU, and the NZ Union of Student Associations (NZUSA) as well as the Labour Party and the Greens Party. In other words, the coalition organisations represent and include a wide range of “citizens” who are not necessarily members of any political party.

          Grey Power, CTU and NZUSA are NOT political parties, and their involvement in the CIR is being overlooked in much of the commentary on the CIR as for example in much of the commentary above. And IMO quite deliberately ignored by Pete George in his quest to discredit this CIR in trying to hang his objections to it on the involvement of the Labour and Green parties.

        • Pascal's bookie 8.1.3.2

          This is the thing I am also struggling to understand about pete’s position.

          Prior to his involvement with UF, Pete talked alot about trying to set up some sort of political organisation. It was unclear what he meant, but the idea was based around much greater use of mps by citizens, a deeper connection between mps and their electorate’s desires.

          how it was supposed to happen, what it would actually look like in practice, remained mysterious; but this cir looks to me to be exactly the sort of thing he was talking about.

          he used to claim that a major problem with the system as it is is that mps are more beholden to their parties than to their electorates.Tthat this disconnect was a fault in the system.

          If that is what he used to argue, then it looks to me like an argument about mandate. What influence should the voters have outside the election system?

          I don’t see how the Greens using funds to colllect signatures on a petition asking for a referendum can be anything but just the sort of thing he was talking about.

          The thing about the petition phase is that it is neutral to the topic. 100% neutral. It is simply asking that the question be put. It is not taking any position at all on the question itself.

          The only reason it looks to be an “anti asset sales campaign” is because we think we know what the public thinks.

          Opposing the collection of signatures, is simply opposing finding out with more certainty what they think.

          How it could be that a political party helping with that process; helping to find out, with more certainty, what the electorate thinks, could be an abuse of the system, or undemocratic, quite baffles me.

          • deuto 8.1.3.2.1

            Exactly – thanks for putting this into words. I was struggling to do so, but have found PG’s stance on the petition for this referendum quite opposite to what he supposedly wants to achieve overall.

          • freedom 8.1.3.2.2

            it’s Ok Pb, you are not alone in your dillemma, it also baffles Pete . Which is why he never responds to any question that uses the frame: ‘how does your political nirvana operate in a real society?’ but oddly enough will complain like a latrine guard whenever someone calls him on it.

            He will stand and rant about how he is out there in the trenches, alone. Bayonet of wisdom at the ready. With an arsenal of bulletpoints and a stockpile of hand-outs he is ready to show the citizens he is serious. He can do more. He means to take his arsenal of illumination and break through the line of political bureaucracy. But like so many with a reveille on their lips, he first needs to explain what where how and who they are wanting us all to bear arms against in this grand battle for a new democracy. What he fails to understand, or at least admit, (as do all who dream of new wars) the problems are not the weapons used, but those who yield them.

            So again it is raised: ‘how does Pete George’s political nirvana operate in a real society?’

            Considering he is being asked that question in various guises almost every day , why does he not stop saying that things need to change and spend some quality time actually considering the problem, identifying real-world applications of his ideas. His mind would probably welcome the silence, and hopefully it would decide to heave out some of his espoused inanity.

      • “If concerned citizens had started a petition because they were concerned about asset sales that would be a fair enough reason.

        But if political parties who had just lost an election, one party having extensively campaigned against an issue, became an integral part (and likely instigator) of a referendum that was effectively a continuation of their campaigning, to me that’s a very cyncical and poor reason for a referendum.”

        *sighs*

        You’re still missing the point, Pete…

        It doesn’t matter WHO starts the petition.

        What matters is how many signatures they get. At the end of the day, that is what matters.

  9. Wayne 9

    RedLogix, that is the point, the sale is being opposed by the entire Opposition. Fair enough, but they are not the Government which is simply carrying out their election commitments. I would have thought that is the essence of being democratic (and hardly traitorous as some here seem to think). If the opposition want to stop sales they have to become the government.

    No voter could have been under any illusions about what National was proposing at the last election. So by voting for National they knew National was going to do this. I guess the voters who voted National, but did not support sales weighed the issue in the overall balance of their choice and decided they could live with it even if they did not support the policy.

    • bbfloyd 9.1

      My word, what a lot of assuming you are indulging in there wayney…..

      Wouldn’t it have occurred to you that even national voters would have hoped that the asset stripping party would have noted their concerns, and backed off the stripping program…..these are their own people talking to them after all……..

      So how many of those “national” voters are still going to vote the same way next time i wonder?

      You know, of course the reality of making an assumption, and putting it forward as valid argument simply allows those with knowledge to argue with, opportunities to dismantle your worldview at their leisure? you do understand that… don’t you?

    • “No voter could have been under any illusions about what National was proposing at the last election. So by voting for National they knew National was going to do this. I guess the voters who voted National, but did not support sales weighed the issue in the overall balance of their choice and decided they could live with it even if they did not support the policy.”

      And people vote for a Party for a myriad of reasons, Wayne. They may agree with some; disagree with others.

      They most certainly appear to be opposed to asset sales. (Even National Party members.)

  10. Fortran 10

    Sadly once again the Greens have upstaged Labour in initiating the CIR on asset sales.
    When can we see Labour come to the forefront.
    The MSM appear to love the Greens – why do we not have the MSM on board too ?

    • deuto 10.1

      Sadly once again the Greens have upstaged Labour in initiating the CIR on asset sales.

      My understanding is that the CIR was initiated by the Keep Our Assets Campaign – not by the Greens or Labour. The campaign is a coalition of a number of community organisations including Grey Power, CTU, and the NZ Union of Student Associations (NZUSA) as well as the Labour Party and the Greens Party.

      Grey Power, CTU and NZUSA are NOT political parties, and their involvement in the CIR is being overlooked in much of the commentary on the CIR as for example in much of the commentary above. And IMO quite deliberately ignored by Pete George in his quest to discredit this CIR in trying to hang his objections to it on the involvement of the Labour and Green parties.

  11. Old Tony 11

    So let’s go through it once again. John Key told you what he was going to do, you voted for him and now he is doing it. The highest standard of electoral integrity it is possible to achieve. Even Chris Trotter gets it.

    A petition to force a referendum is a nonsense. A referendum itself is a nonsense. The people have declared their preference and the government has listened.

    And so now we have the Left – that same Left which bagged its own government of the eighties for springing electoral surprises – condemning the National government for not breaking its electoral promises around the age of entitlement to superannuation and also the sale of assets.

    Where is the integrity guys? You are so blinded by your own arrogance (surely everyone must see that when we the enlightened ones don’t want assets sold it must be correct) you are incapable of discerning right from wrong.

    • Descendant Of Smith 11.1

      Read my earlier comment. I have no problem with National as a political party introducing legislation. That in fact is the only mandate they get.

      They as a political party do not have the power to sell assets – that’s the perogative of parliament. I have major problems with their lack of transparency, the made up and unclear figures, their abuse of select committee and urgency.

      They also did not win the election outright they formed a coalition government – pedantic maybe but hardly majority support for asset sales.

      Can you not accept that parliament not the national party passes laws and it’s fundemental to our system of democracy that these things get argued, consulted, debated, considered?

      Do you fundamentally not understand that these discussions and debates are part of our democratic and parliamentary processes and not sour grapes?

      • Old Tony 11.1.1

        I can accept much of that. Except that your reasoned response does not reflect the way in which the debate is generally conducted either in this thread or elsewhere. Look at the loony references to “theft” in the first few comments above.

        • Descendant Of Smith 11.1.1.1

          I can accept the references to theft as a normal reasoned response.

          I can’t see how in any way the loss of income is adequately offset by the sale price whatever it turns out to be, let alone the future value of the assets.

          I can’t see how the much vaunted ordinary mum and dad’s who currently own the assets as citizens and taxpayers will be able to buy shares – most I know are struggling to pay the bills. They are losing the asset they own with no chance of retaining their ownership by buying shares. That seems to be theft to me.

          Why not just give every citizen x number of shares for free and then let the market buy them if people want to sell them? Seems much much fairer.

          I can’t see with any degree of accuracy where this money will be spent – my local school has had continued reduced funding since this government came in while Wanganui Collegiate gets 2million dollars in the budget – pardon me for not having much faith about where money might go.

          • Descendant Of Smith 11.1.1.1.1

            And of course the other reason for aligning it to theft was the change in Nationals position from ownership to voting rights.

            That alone shows the difference between what they said pre-election and what they tried to do and why people have since grown to distrust them further – or do all the righties here think that the public were prior to the election fully informed by National about that.

            While I have always been opposed to selling the assets – we should remove the fake competition that has been set up between the power companies and just run them without having to have all those sets of management on high salaries – it is clear to me that there is a significant group of public who voted National who disagree with asset sales and that that group is growing.

            Anecdotal sure but if I had come across anyone who was previously opposed but now supports I’d tell you. I know plenty who have gone the other way.

    • Pascal's bookie 11.2

      If politics works the way you seem to think it does, then the left should be being punished in the polls and National should be soaring. Maybe that will start to happen, but the signs are not good.

      An alternative way of looking at politics is that they don, in fact, finish at the ballot box. The ballot box determines a parliament. From the parliament a government is established. the support that that government has is in flux. We cannot know for sure until the next election.

      During the time a government is in power, the people who voted for the opposition are not disenfranchised, and the people who voted for the government are free to change their minds.

      It is perfectly legitimate for opposition politicians to try and win the votes of people who voted for the government last time. that’s obvious enough.

      One way for them to do that would be to shout at those citizens ad say ” Look you stupid fuckers! See what you did!! Happy now you dumb sacks of shit?”

      That would not only be stupid, but would be wrong. The people are not stupid or the like. They vote on a range of factors.

      Instead, opposition politicans should respect that and emphasise that many citizens did not vote for National in order to give National permission to sell assets. National knows this the Opposition knows thia, and most importantly, the electorate knows this.

      The question is only “Will the government listen?”

      But there is nothing undemocratic about telling the government that the country does not want them to do something. What a ridiculous notion.

      • Old Tony 11.2.1

        I didn’t suggest the current campaign was undemocratic. I’m simply suggesting that the “moral suasion” of a petition and of a referendum pursuant to a petition has already been trumped by the legitimacy of the ballot box. If you want to piddle in the wind that’s absolutely fine. But let’s be honest, no one condemning the proposal starts with a qualifier like “while I recognise the government has an electoral mandate to sell assets….”. Rather they generally start with nonsense about ignoring the people, and finish with accusations of theft and corruption. All rather pathetic.

        • Pascal's bookie 11.2.1.1

          Your comment talked a lot about the integrity of the electoral system. I assumed you were referring to democratic principles.

          Obviously my mistake there.

          On this moral suasion business. I would maintain that a refendum on a particular policy would carry more moral weight with regard to that policy than an election based on any number of factors.

          That’s not to say that a party isn’t free to ignore it, of course, or denigrate it.

          Opponents of this policy believe, and polling supports them, that a majority of NZ is opposed to this policy. The referndum is the best way we have of settling that question.

          So what we have is one side saying ‘you don’t care what the public thinks’, and the other side saying ‘this referendum is meaningless’, which kind of proves the point I think.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.3

      Democracy doesn’t work the way you want it to work – it works when, and only when, the people have a say at all times. What you describe is dictatorship.

      • TheContrarian 11.3.1

        So you want direct democracy?

        • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1.1

          I want people to have more say in their own governance than the present system allows. In fact the present system allows outright dictatorship.

          Basically:
          Referendums deciding policy while elected representatives with advice from the ministries implement that policy. There would be some allowance for parliament acting in an emergency situation.

      • Old Tony 11.3.2

        Yes I believe in representative democracy. I do not believe in participative democracy.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.3.2.1

          But the problem is that the representatives don’t represent the people as is being made clear and that makes representative democracy a dictatorship.

          • TheContrarian 11.3.2.1.1

            Dictatorship = autocratic rule
            Representative democracy = not autocratic rule

            • Draco T Bastard 11.3.2.1.1.1

              Except that this and previous governments have acted autocratically which proves you wrong.

              • Citation needed.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Nope, you just need to open your eyes and actually observe their behaviour.

                  • Comments like: “It’s obvious”, “can’t you see”, “That’s what I think”, “Open your eyes” are not arguments nor have any weight to them as statements of fact.

                    Evidence counts, opinion does not.
                    Can you cite any evidence that we are currently under an autocratic governance system?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      This government passing laws that the will of people is against. In fact, are speeding up the process so as to pass them before the will of the people is formally known.

                      Then there’s CERA and the sacking of ECan. It’s abuse of urgency.

                      Rob Muldoon

                      The 1st Act 4th Labour government.

                      All of these actions show that we have an autocratic system.

                    • EDIT TO ABOVE (above duplicate deleted — r0b)

                      Lets define terms:

                      Autocratic: 1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) of or relating to an absolute and unrestricted ruler

                      Autocracy: 1. government in which one person has uncontrolled or unlimited authority over others; the government or power of an absolute monarch.

                      “Then there’s CERA and the sacking of ECan. It’s abuse of urgency.”
                      Abuse of urgency not established – not autocratic

                      “This government passing laws that the will of people is against. In fact, are speeding up the process so as to pass them before the will of the people is formally known.”
                      Not autocratic or autocracy

                      “Rob Muldoon”
                      Not autocratic – tried though

                      “The 4th Labour government.”
                      Not autocratic

                      None of the above, even if shown to be leaning towards the actions of an autocratic system to not establish New Zealand as an autocratic nation

                    • But I’ll go one step further even and accept (hypothetically) that yes these are examples of autocracy.
                      That still does not show New Zealand is operating as an autocracy or dictatorship any more than claiming New Zealand is a theocracy because Parliament begins with a prayer.

                      Every metric, international organization and in the broadest possible definition consider New Zealand to be operating as a parliamentary democracy and I ask you to provide me with an examples of anyone, in any position of intellectual, governmental or international authority that argues New Zealand is a functioning autocracy.
                      I’ll argue right now that the vast, overwhelming and unassailable consensus is that New Zealand is a (parliamentary) democracy and neither autocratic nor a dictatorship

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You know, I actually figured that you’d use the definition of autocracy to try and dispute that we’re living in a dictatorship.

                      I’ll make it easy on you: A government ignoring the will of it’s people is a dictatorship. And that’s what we have right now whether you want to admit it or not.

                    • Every metric, international organization and in the broadest possible definition consider New Zealand to be operating as a parliamentary democracy and I ask you to provide me with an examples of anyone, in any position of intellectual, governmental or international authority that argues New Zealand is a functioning autocracy.
                      I’ll argue right now that the vast, overwhelming and unassailable consensus is that New Zealand is a (parliamentary) democracy and neither autocratic nor a dictatorship….Whether you can admit that or not.

                      “And that’s what we have right now [a dictatorship]”

                      Citation needed.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Citation supplied.

                  • You supplied a link to the dictionary definition of “dictatorship”.
                    The definition of dictatorship is not under debate.

                    You claim New Zealand is a dictatorship.

                    Citation needed.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Citation needed.

                      More like, imagination needed.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And the definition of dictatorship applies to NZ ATM.

                    • Lets look at the definitions then…

                      dictatorship:
                      1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the rank, office, or period of rule of a dictator
                      2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) government by a dictator or dictators
                      3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a country ruled by a dictator or dictators
                      4. absolute or supreme power or authority

                      Not NZ.

                      OK, we need to look at the definition of “dictator”

                      Dictator:
                      1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy)
                      a. a ruler who is not effectively restricted by a constitution, laws, recognized opposition, etc.
                      b. an absolute, esp tyrannical, ruler

                      Not NZ either.

                      “And the definition of dictatorship applies to NZ ATM.”
                      No, it doesn’t. If you think so….Citation Needed

        • Pete George 11.3.2.2

          I think we have it right in ultimately having a representative democracy, but we need a system for more participative democratic input, and our current CIR has too many flaws for that – takes far too long and is far to simplistic for many issues – it has to be based on a single question that can easily be answered yesr or no. Most issues and legislation are far more complex than that allows for.

          I have a good diea of the direction I think we should be going, but I’m not going to say much about it here yet, there’s too many knockers here regardless of what is suggested. So I use TS for experiements and people serious about cooperation to keep putting a plan together.

          • Descendant Of Smith 11.3.2.2.1

            No we have systems that are well tried and tested. We need to have the nous to use them and the integrity to not abuse them.

            Trying to devise new systems is a distraction – hold the damn government to account for not following them with any degree of integrity.

            • Pete George 11.3.2.2.1.1

              I think all we need to do is tweak the current CIR system (as we’re doing with MMP) and supplement it with another fast response level of interaction.

              We need to have the nous to use them and the integrity to not abuse them.

              Exactly – and that’s not apparent at the moment.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                So where are you standing up and saying to national to stop abusing those processes e.g. Not finishing select committee processes and not considering submissions. Welfare reforms and asset sales being two examples.

                What about using urgency for things that are not urgent.

                Go on hold them accountable.

                • That’s inside parliament, not much I can do about that except cajole and encourage better behaviour and better practice from MPs.

                  I’m outside parliament so it makes sense to focus on what can be achieved there.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    That’s pretty lame. It’s precisely outside parliament you should be highlighting the abuse of these processes and saying it’s not ok.

                    For someone who states they want to make a difference and hold politicians accountable you take an abject position of powerlessness.

                    You can see before you the sandstorm of abuse of power and process and worse than simply bend before it’s swirling gusts, you pull your ostrich head out of the sand, hold it high and proud thinking you are making a statement ugainst the wind, all the time being blinded by the sand the wind throws at you and all the time not realising that it doesn’t matter where the ostrich puts it’s head it still remains an unattractive weirdly ungainly beast, a quisling in drag, with a pea sized brain.

    • “So let’s go through it once again. John Key told you what he was going to do, you voted for him and now he is doing it.”

      John Key also promised 170,000 new jobs.

      He is yet to deliver.

      John Key promised not to raise GST.

      He raised it nevertheless.

      National promised 1,000 new homes for low-income earners, under their “Gateways” project. They canned it after 17 houses were built.

      John Key made food-in-schools a priority in 2007. (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0702/S00059.htm)

      Nothing has happened after 2008.

      Key promised not to tinker with Kiwisaver.

      He tinkered with it.

      Key pledged to raise wages to stem the flow of migrants to Australia.

      * Wages have fakllen further behind Australia.
      * Migration to Australia has increassed.

      Now, what were you saying, “Old Tony”?

  12. “If you want to piddle in the wind that’s absolutely fine.”

    Good. Let’s do it then. The results of the referendum will serve as a sound basis for so much change at National’s expense. It will show that what we all know to be the case now, that the significant majority of New Zealanders oppose these sales, is known also by National, and yet they chose to act under the cover of ‘mandate’ that they know is not supported by reality. There’s some uncertainty presently, or at least that can be claimed. A referendum returning the result we expect will clearly reveal National acting against the will of the people. That’s why Pete George and other timorous remora, are fighting tooth and nail to discredit any and everyone supporting and accelerating progress on the referendum.
    In a word, fear.

    • Old Tony 12.1

      See that is where I get irritated. “A referendum…. will clearly reveal National acting against the will of the people”. Nonsense. The people expressed their will at the election. Your bottom line is that you will only accept one result and you keep casting around for a mechanism to support it until you find one that works. Hence my reference to arrogance. If people have changed their minds that is just tough. They get to have another go in 2014.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.1.1

        There’s every likelihood that in 2014, a government will be elected that will repossess our property. That alone will, I hope, sabotage the attempted theft and fencing of the property in the first place.

        PS: you don’t like the word theft? I don’t like select committee submissions being ignored, and submitters insulted, and I would support legislation that made future displays of such behaviour a criminal offence.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2

        The people expressed their will at the election.

        If so then the referendum would have the same result.

        If people have changed their minds that is just tough. They get to have another go in 2014.

        Yes, by now we’re all quite aware of your preference for dictatorship – just like all authoritarians.

        • TheContrarian 12.1.2.1

          Yes, by now we’re all quite aware of your preference for making sweeping claims about NZ being under a dictatorship without evidence.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2.1.1

            The evidence is there – you just need to open your eyes to see it.

            • TheContrarian 12.1.2.1.1.1

              Repeat myself:

              “Comments like: “It’s obvious”, “can’t you see”, “That’s what I think”, “Open your eyes” are not arguments nor have any weight to them as statements of fact.”

              Dictatorship:
              Government by a dictator.
              A country governed by a dictator

              Dictator:
              1. a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession.

              New Zealand is not a dictatorship

              • David S.

                “Autocratic: 1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) of or relating to an absolute and unrestricted ruler”

                This definition is too limiting to be applied to any real system. No person can bend an entire country to their will, there’s always some kind of limitation. In NZ’s case the political right have demonstrated that they can push an agenda without a democratic mandate. Is their power “unlimited”? No, but I’d argue that doesn’t completely invalidate comparisons of our system to an autocracy.

                Our system is less autocratic than most systems that exist currently, but it is not sufficiently divorced from the concept. At least not in my opinion.

                • Nationals governance is neither absolute or unrestricted.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    As they have been learning very slowly, the hard way.

                    • “Dunno where you are in your own political studies but I learned that in pols 102.”

                      I don’t know where you learned yours but I’ll wager not one of your studies ever considered NZ to be an autocracy or a dictatorship.

                    • KJT

                      In NZ.
                      Whatever party gets elected does what they like for three years, constrained only if /by wanting to get re-elected.

                      In the Westminster system, parliament is supreme, which effectively means, cabinet. Not the people. Which is the requirement for a democracy.

                      That is dictatorship. NOT DEMOCRACY.
                      The only power the public is allowed is the right to change their names to “the other lot’, the lot we did not like last time, every three years.

                      CK Stead showed, in a novel, just how easy it is for unprincipled politicians to take over our State.

                      The whole system falls down when, as now, the ones in power just want to commit a theft and run.

                      Politicians on both the left and the right disturb me, because both are happy with this so long as they appear to have a chance to be the dictators.

                      I am just as unhappy with the lefts rejection of concerns about the anti-smacking bill, (Claiming that 80% of those who voted on the referendum didn’t know what they were voting for, is particularly arrogant) as the rights, riding roughshod over our freedoms, and right to make decisions for ourselves, now!

                    • “That is dictatorship. NOT DEMOCRACY.”

                      You asserting something as fact does not make it so…

                      Dictatorship:
                      Government by a dictator.
                      A country governed by a dictator

                      Dictator:
                      1. a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession.

                      New Zealand is not a dictatorship but the same challenge to you:
                      Can you cite any evidence that we are currently under an autocratic/dictatorship governance system given that every metric, international organization and in the broadest possible definition consider New Zealand to be operating as a parliamentary democracy and I ask you to provide me with an examples of anyone, in any position of intellectual, governmental or international authority that argues New Zealand is a functioning autocracy/dictatorship.

                      I’ll argue right now that the vast, overwhelming and unassailable consensus is that New Zealand is a (parliamentary) democracy and neither autocratic nor a dictatorship

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Actually, it is. In NZ and other Winchester based parliamentary democracies parliament is supreme. We can make a noise, protest, but we can’t actually stop them. The only way that happens is if enough of the governing parties or MPs cross the floor bringing the government down. Then, after they get elected or thrown out, there’s tradition and custom that works to prevent the new government from over-turning the new laws that they put in place even if the populace actually wants that to happen.

                    Dunno where you are in your own political studies but I learned that in pols 102.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Which means that national’s governance is not supreme and if they try to do something that parliament disagrees with then they can be bought down – hence the pressure on those coalition partners.

                      I don’t have a problem with any government being bought down if they don’t have the support of parliament.

                    • “Dunno where you are in your own political studies but I learned that in pols 102.”

                      I don’t know where you learned yours but I’ll wager not one of your studies ever considered NZ to be an autocracy or a dictatorship.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And if the government isn’t brought down and the law changes go through despite the will of the people?

                      See, I still call that dictatorship. The will of the people should be supreme, not parliament which is the individual choices of a small group of people who may not have the best interests of the nation in mind and/or can be controlled from an external source.

                      I don’t have a problem with any government being bought down if they don’t have the support of parliament.

                      And yet what we need is the ability to bring down the government if it doesn’t have the support of the people or, perhaps better, the ability to stop legislation – binding referendums.

                    • “See, I still call that dictatorship”

                      Yes you do but I still ask can you cite any evidence that we are currently under an autocratic governance system given that every metric, international organization and in the broadest possible definition consider New Zealand to be operating as a parliamentary democracy and I ask you to provide me with an examples of anyone, in any position of intellectual, governmental or international authority that argues New Zealand is a functioning autocracy.
                      I’ll argue right now that the vast, overwhelming and unassailable consensus is that New Zealand is a (parliamentary) democracy and neither autocratic nor a dictatorship

                  • David S.

                    No governance is absolute or unrestricted.

      • prism 12.1.3

        Your simple assertions get me irritated Old Tony. A win for a political party is just that, it does not indicate that everything they have expressed or thought about is going to be right for the country when examined in depth.

        The only way to ensure that the voters agree, is to make them sit a test after they have studied the factors involved, and those who can quote facts taken from it can then vote. The voters then would be partly informed rather different from voting for sa party because the leader had a nice way of talking and smiling.

        • Old Tony 12.1.3.1

          Of course your first paragraph is right Prism. But the question is what is the alternative? If one says that an issue can only be properly decided by in depth research then one opens the door to governments like the Labour one of the eighties. Man for man one surely the cleverest in NZ’s history. They went on an intellectual voyage of discovery which took us to all sorts of places and each step was able to be justified by logic. Many concluded at that point that trying to objectively determine what is the right thing to do is the wrong question. The right question is to ask what did the populace, however misguided, actually voted for.

          You see that is the great irony here. It was Labour in the eighties that said we know best, we must do these things. The people – people of the Left like the ones who write here – ultimately rebelled at that and said no, its about what we want, however misguided.

          Here a generation later we have the same people of the Left saying, stuff what the electorate voted for, if empirically a thing is wrong the government shouldn’t do it.

          You can’t have it both ways. Either support all governments making decisions irrespective of electoral mandate or damn them for doing it, don’t pick and choose.

          • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.3.1.1

            It’s not an either or situation.

            The processes put in place such as debates, select committees, consultation, etc were to ensure that elected governments did not have the power you think they have.

            If they did we might as well not even have parliament.

            And as someone who voted labour in the 80’s there was no indication they would do what they did and many of us said at the time it was like National had infiltrated and taken over.

          • prism 12.1.3.1.2

            Hey Ol Tony Don’t mess up a theoretical suggestion with discussion on how Labour went years ago.

            I said that the voters needed to do some study before big ground breaking decisions are made. That is the people, otherwise we are giving the politicians the divine right to rule in the stupid belief that they are wise as well as egoistic. We should have well publicised and discussed referenda on important topics like asset sales.

            And maybe it would stop devious moves like those clever Right-Wing Labour people being able to subvert a nation and direct it to poverty. Because that is what they were. The nature of Labour changed, working people stopped thinking for themselves and ‘liberal’ professionals got in. The children of Labour people don’t necessarily understand the nature of their parents’ involvement, and the middle class talked their way into the majority position.

            Funnily enough they and their friends dress sense was dismayed by the homely knitted cardigans worn by civil servants – so smarten up was the call. Power and power dressing became the thing. Minds that are concerned about the look of things more than the essence of the country’s virtues can’t be trusted to make all our decisions for us.

      • Pascal's bookie 12.1.4

        “Hence my reference to arrogance. If people have changed their minds that is just tough. They get to have another go in 2014.”

        lol. I assume you can see the irony in calling people arrogant, and in the next breath saying the opinions of National voters are of no consequence to the National party?

        Yes there will be another election. And before that people are going to talk about the government and what they think about it. If the government doesn’t like that; tough. That’s not arrogance, or at least, if it is arrogance, it’s one drawn from democracy.

      • “The people expressed their will at the election. Your bottom line is that you will only accept one result and you keep casting around for a mechanism to support it until you find one that works. ”

        So you won’t mind if people get a chance to vote, then?

        After all, if “the people expressed their will at the election” last year, they will,

        a. not sign the petition
        b. if they do sign, they will vote in favour of asset sales.

        So your problem being—?

  13. Irritated, Old Tony? How inconsiderate of me! Mustn’t irritate the elderly.

    “A referendum…. will clearly reveal National acting against the will of the people”. Nonsense.”

    No? Why ever not? National, with it’s clever pollsters, know exactly how the people are feeling. The referendum will confirm for the people, how things stood, despite denials from the Nationall Party MPs and the PM. They’ll know for sure that they were being held in disdain by English, Key and co.

    “The people expressed their will at the election.”

    Yes, they did. More people voted for parties that opposed the assets sales than voted for parties that were for them. That’s the will that’s out there, Old Tony.

    “Your bottom line is that you will only accept one result and you keep casting around for a mechanism to support it until you find one that works.”

    I’d be more than satisfied with the results of a referendum that asks New Zealanders what they want. Hardly ‘casting about’. Referenda are for this very purpose, aren’t they?

    “Hence my reference to arrogance. If people have changed their minds that is just tough. They get to have another go in 2014.”

    While we’re on the subject of arrogance, “If people have changed their minds, that is just tough” has to be the winner by a country mile (I used an old person’s phrase there, Tony, so’s you’d get what I mean about your arrogance.)

  14. Old Tony 14

    My last word. Again you are missing the point. The electoral mandate is the one that counts under our system. What are we to do in the alternative? When we wish to make a decision assess the electoral mandate against how the votes actually fell in percentage terms, against the results of a referendum held before a decision is actually made, against the research pertaining to the issue? That’s just silly.

    Lets examine your last point. It is arrogant to suggest that a mandate conferred through an election must be regarded as valid until the next election. Hmm hardly radical. I will leave the readers to judge.

    • The electoral mandate is the one that counts under our system.

      Correction – it counts for those who accept a democratic election result, it doesn’t count for bad losers.

      • Eddie 14.1.1

        if the only thing that mattered was the election result, then there would be no CIR system or any referenda at all. Nor would public protest, lobbying, submissions to select committees, or, indeed, the Parliamentary process matter. Just leave the elected government to it.

        But you would like that, wouldn’t you, Pete. As long as His Hairness is part of the government.

      • Thinking that only the election result counts is what turns democracies back into dictatorships, Pete. The opinions of regular citizens always matter in a country with a strong democracy. If you’d like to argue that they shouldn’t, you’ve given up on our entire system of government.

    • Descendant Of Smith 14.2

      No it doesn’t the right to form a government gives no power other than to introduce legislation.

      The power to make decisions is not with the government.

      One of the reasons for this is because opposition parties do not have all the information they need to take a fixed position.

      Why do you think the powers are separate?

      • Pete George 14.2.1

        Let’s hope that the citizens get all the information they need to take a considered fixed position. There’s plenty of time for that, but so far the debate has seen sparse information from one side, and a heap of misinformation and outright bull from those opposing, which is difficult to separate from the legitimate questions.

        • I agree, let’s have more open debate from parties on this matter. I’d like to see a pre-election style standoff between the PM and the leader of the opposition on this, actually.

          I think it’s just the nature of the beast about misinformation- we both disagree with each other’s interpretation of the issue. If there’s a good chance for people to hear both interpretations, (and we’ve heard a LOT from National regarding privatisation) that’s good. Would that the minnow parties were so forthcoming on this issue.

          • Matthew Whitehead 14.2.1.1.1

            Actually I should probably be fair- Mana and Act have been forthcoming, it’s really only UF that hasn’t worn its opinion on its sleeve about this issue.

            • Pete George 14.2.1.1.1.1

              They have been open and (mostly) clear. That many choose to ignore is not UF’s problem, much of the criticism of UF is based on ignorance.

              • Is United Future above criticism, then?

                If Peter Dunne doesn’t want public critricism, he could reconsider his support for the unpopular asset sales.

                Heck, he’d go down in NZ history as the man who single-handely saved $6 billion worth of state assets from being lost to privatisation.

                More than that – imagine the ELECTORAL support UF would get at the next election!

  15. Wayne 15

    How is it autocratic to actually carry the policy that was the central feature of the election only 6 months ago. In fact governments should implement their declared policies; its what gives value to elections. It means we know what we are going to get as result of our choice in the ballot box. As I said previously the voters who voted National knew this was going to happen, and even if this particular policy was not their preferred position, it did not stop them voting National.

    Just because the Opposition vigorously opposes the sales does not delegitimize the election. The Opposition will just have to wait till they win an election to be able to implement their policies.

    • Because the majority of people oppose it, and there’s no rights being protected by privatisation. Because people already own the shares, so selling them to pay for the deficit caused by ridiculous tax breaks for the wealthy can’t really be defended from the fact that it’s theft. Because wanting a party to govern is actually different, to some voters, from supporting their policies. And because if the election had really been all about this issue, National couldn’t have won.

      It’s not about the opposition parties, it’s about what New Zealand thinks, and whenever we’ve been asked, we’ve said no. The government should have to get us to say yes before they can go ahead with a policy this big- not that I expect them to, because they simply don’t believe in democracy- just elections. Which is sort of like believing in prayer but not believing in God. ;)

  16. It’s not about the opposition parties,

    Then why are the opposition parties so heavily involved in campaiging against the MOM Bill, and why did Labour make it their primary election campaign issue, and why are Greens putting so much resource into ther anti campaign?

    Opposition parties appear to be driving the campaign.

    it’s about what New Zealand thinks,

    That’s not the normal model used by our parliamentary system.

    and whenever we’ve been asked, we’ve said no.

    Many have said no to varying degrees, but the country emphatically preferred National over L:abour in the election desdpite asset opposition.

    The government should have to get us to say yes before they can go ahead with a policy this big

    a) is it really that big? There’s criticism of it being a very soft, minimal asset sale option.
    b) What requires the government to “get us to say yes” before they can go ahead with any policy?

    If Greens view “child poverty” as a big issue, if they are a part of the next government should they promote a referendum on any law changes relative to alleviating poverty?

  17. “Opposition parties appear to be driving the campaign.”

    Indeed, they may well be, Pete.

    But so what?

    You forget one simple truism; if the public aren’t behind it, no campaign will succeed.

    They may be “driving” it – but the public are right behind them.

    Perhaps something to consider?

    That, and the fact you’re on the same side as ACT…

  18. Observer (Akl) 18

    Eddie

    As the lugubrious Mr Farrar with dripping self satisfaction says, the people responsible for taking our Assets will use every means to get past the high oppostion to their greed. I can hear Farrar’s feline lips sucking at his windfall bowls of cream now.

    What can we do?

    We must work hard on Labour, Greens and New Zealand First – and make them collectively realise they have have as much power as the parties of greed and wealth in our Parliament. They have the power to take back our assets and return them to the people at the next election.

    Every time Key or English make an appearance in the media concerning Assets, the leaders of Labour, Greens and NZ First, must jointly make a counter appearance and say the simple words : “We will return the Assets to the New Zealand people.” They must continue to repeat these words at every opportunity. Without any weasel, and with utmost comviction.

    It is pointless slapping the self serving Maori Party and the strange United Future guy for their little dog trot behind Key, unless the parties of the common people have the courage and the will to reverse the actions of the greedy.

    The great majority of Maoris do not won’t the Assets sold; many decent people of the National Party do not want the Assets sold; and most of the people of Labour, Greens and NZ First do not want them sold.

    If the politicians of the common people dither and waver and hide in caucus burrows like frightened rabbits, then they will let the majority of New Zealanders down. And that will not only please the spokesman of greed Farrar, it will prove that although they are few, the wealthy have guts.

  19. prism 19

    I think we need a PG free week, every alternative week. We’d be doing him a favour, as in the time saved he would be able to mow the lawn, fix the cracked window, and start painting the interior of the house (it’s probably too cold in Dunedin for exteriors). I know about these things – that’s what I should be doing to my place now.

  20. Observer (Akl) 20

    Prism

    Yes – where exactly does PG get his waffle time from? Your realism made me smile

    Seriously, he should market his time management techniques and make some money. Although his terms and conditions, let alone the techniques, would be unbelievably obscure – at least to me.

    Perhaps we should be kind to him, for he may have lots of noise in his head such that his babble factor grows like a wild vine enveloping everything he alights upon. He is an overun mono species garden. I fear he will choke.

    We could buy him some pruning shears? I’ll chip in.

    • prism 20.1

      You appear to have a sound grasp on the practicalities and possibilities Observer Akl! I think PGs waffle time is driven by the fact that he’s so worried about everything. It’s becoming a trap for the modern world – because there is so much to……

      I think he, we and yo’all out there, could pause and hear what Terry Jones has to sing about it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0e10baH6cE

  21. seeker 21

    Have just watched “Kate Sheppard” on TVNZ. What a battle she had! Her opposition tried all sorts of manouvres and tried and tested arguments to prevent women getting the vote .At one point ,when all seemed lost, she was asked what she was going to give these opposers now and she said that she would have to use the Irish Answer which was that there was “No good or logical reason why women should not have the vote”
    Using the 1893 “Irish answer” today, I will say, There is no good or logical reason why we should sell our hard won public energy utilities.

    I think that if their sale is made legitimate this coming Tuesday then we should have a day of mourning for the loss of sense and integrity of the New Zealanders who voted for this ghastly act of betrayal against their neighbours.

  22. Obsrver (Akl) 22

    Prism

    A Python Classic!

    I shouldn’t be chuckling as New Zealand flogs itself off, but to be honest it is quite funny. The little world famous lamingtonvores have become lemmings. Suiciding en masse to assist the very rich.

    Thanks.

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